Feedback is one of the most important things when developing games. In all of my games I tried to take all the feedback seriously and iterated on that note. Usually it's easy to rant about games someone else made. After a certain period of development, it's possible you start to get blind for important aspects, if you aren't already. That's a great moment to ask other people what they think of your game and if everything designed also communicates the way you intended. In this article I would like to review some old games I made myself during my time in university. Since this is a few years ago (my second year of study), I think it's fun to 'bash' and 'scrutinize' my own games into the ground. *Important note: all of these games I made on my own, so there is not anyone feeling offended than just myself ;).
Download the game: http://www.keokendesign.com/wp-content/uploads/Threats.exe
Let's start with this attempt to be something special. Threats is actually a mix between pac-man and a bad rip-off of a topdown space shooter, except you can't shoot but collect! How fun is that? Well, it's not. Not only does this game fail to be fun, it's also very frustrating. What is the challenge here? The so called 'Threats' spawning everywhere, spawn randomly. The idea was to get as much 'Threats' eliminated as possible before the time runs out. At the end there will be a Highscore list to leave your name. Boring! There are only 5 stages in the game. Each stage the 'enemy planes' will spawn from different sides. Stage 5 is the worst, because planes are black, so it's very hard to see them coming. Overal it was a nice try for just one week of development.
Download the game: http://www.keokendesign.com/wp-content/uploads/Really-Bad-Santa.exe
I remember making this game when I was fed-up with everything and I wanted to create something with guns. So what's 'cooler' than a 6 year old girl, rocking a pump-action shotgun? Right, nothing if you do this right! The game doesn't make sense at all. There are 'static' elves standing all over te place. It looks like they are shitting cars that do severe damage to this girl by driving her over. Therefore she has grenades to get rid of these cars. Of course these grenades only damage the cars, not her, not the elves, just the cars! Uh OK?! Than we have the one-way of shooting these elves. They will always collapse in the same pile of meat! It reminded me of the old Duke-Nukem, where all the pigs dropped down in the same 2D pile of guts. Anyway, at the end you will encounter Santa himself. He is keeping your baby brother hostage. So what do we do about that? We systematicly strip down Santa of all his limps and to top this of, blow his brains out at the end! Great gameplay!
Download the game: http://www.keokendesign.com/wp-content/uploads/Lake-Battle.exe
Ok so I already described two slightly horrible attemps of game design, but now you are in for a treat! Lake Battle is the worst game I have ever created. In this game you have to fill the lake by opening the valve above. By doing this, you slowly fill the lake which results in more and more 'rare' fish swimming there. There is however a nasty 'purple' hippo with an amazingly long elephant trunk sucking up all your water if you stop filling the lake. Fish will leave if the waterlevel drops. So don't stop filling this thing! Very occasionally a duck will fly by that seems like he's the invincible hulk and rips open your valve. You have to fix your valve first to start filling the lake again. There is one solution to get rid of the flying duck by initiating a large wave of shotgun hail coming from the left of the screen, talking about random! I think this game was made to show a certain "system" you keep controlling. Well, I think it's a crappy system and fails on every level of game development.
Download the game: http://www.keokendesign.com/wp-content/uploads/Husband-Quest.exe
Husband Quest is the best 'game' out of these four, but it isn't flawless at all. In Husband Quest you are a woman in search for her husband. Because she is scared in the dark, she is imagining scary creatures around her. When she shines her flashlight on them, they change from terifying creatures to just regular animals. So far it sounds a little interesting right? Let's take it down! For some reason, you are only able to shine your light to the right of the screen, if you want to shine to the left, that's impossible. Also when you want to jump on moving platforms it's possible to get stuck under these plateau's. Apparently your flashlight can run out of batteries. Maybe it would come in handy if this was communicated through a form of GUI. The glowing orbs lying around seem to help my batteries recharge, very logical! The end is the worst of all. When you finish three 'levels', you find your Husband just standing at the end of the game. When you reach him, she wakes up, followed by a cheap screenshot of her house in daylight. The house emits the letters 'Z z z' indicating she would still be asleep. So who woke up then? Maybe something we will see in a sequel, yeah right, Please keep it an eternal sleep.
I know I sound harsh in a few of these reviews. I think the most important note from this article is to remain critical about your own projects and try to handle with critics from others. If you can take the game down yourself, why not try to scrutinize the hell out of it? It's what everyone else will do after you release your game. Besides that, it's great to see the progress you have made through the years. I sure as hell would do a lot different if I made one of these games today.
Can you point to any stupid flaws in games you have developed the past the years?
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