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The more games I saw, the more I feel that the standards and processes I had used to evaluate games are all bullshit.

Recently there are two top selling games on Steam from Chinese developers, and neither of them is available in English.This makes me question the previous criteria and procedures in my mind.

Recently there are two top selling games on Steam from Chinese developers, and neither of them is available in English. When I judge these two games by a set of criteria that I'm used to, I can't understand why they're so successful. This makes me question the previous criteria and procedures in my mind. And I realized that: the more games I saw, the more I feel that the standards and processes I had used to evaluate games are all bullshit.

When I break down a game into several parts (art, gameplay, music, backend, etc.) and score them one by one, it looks like I'm doing it professionally and methodically. But in fact, I am bringing in my own prejudices to the fullest extent possible. Can I really say what kind of art is good, or what kind of gameplay is good?

Of course, by following these standards and processes, I can increase the chances of getting a not-bad product, but I might also miss a lot of the games that can give us a return well in excess of the cost and the expectation.

Maybe it can be a better way to evaluate a game by:

  • understanding what the developer is trying to say
  • analyzing whether the game has been effective in conveying the idea
  • and assessing the potential impact of the idea on the players and the community

If you look at LOL, PUBG, and the current Global Top Selling Chinese games 中国式家长(Chinese Parents) and 太吾绘卷(The Scroll of Taiwu), yes they all have their own limitations and problems, but they all successfully expressed the creator's intent, and that resonated with the players and the community.

  • With just the right simplification, LOL has transformed MOBA from a niche market into a mainstream market, despite that many people feel Dota has much more interesting gameplay mechanism.
  • By successfully creating an extremely intense competitive environment in the game, PUBG attracted a lot of players to this fresh experience, despite the high spec requirements and all the bugs in Early Access.
  • In 中国式家长(Chinese Parents) , the gameplay is not complicated at all, and sometimes you even feel it's too simple. But the experience that every day is jammed with monotonous and repetitive things, is precisely what most Chinese adults had in their childhood.
  • 太吾绘卷(The Scroll of Taiwu) is super hardcore and very difficult to learn, but if you are a person familiar with Chinese culture and Chinese martial arts novels, you will understand that this game is actually replicating the complexity of Chinese society in a very fascinating way.

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