In his latest Designer's Notebook feature for Gamasutra, freelance game designer and writer Ernest Adams outlines several "Twinkie denial conditions"
for developers that make bad design choices.
One of Adams' no-Twinkie conditions is the infamous "bad, boring boss battle" that could involve a perpetually self-healing boss, a boss rehashed from previous minor enemies, or a boss that requires endless repetition on the part of the gamer.
Sarah Ford, a contributor to this most recent crop of Twinkie denial conditions, explained, "One of the worst I've sat through is at the end of Final Fantasy X
. Spend the whole game chasing this epic whale thing and the last boss is a bin lid with legs. Total anticlimax."
"What's worse, you can't even die," she continued. "What's the point in that? It's not even a short symbolic battle, it stretches out forever and the thing keeps healing itself. Rubbish."
Another common game design flaw Adams notes is the poor placement of save points, particularly ones that are placed just before a long, unskippable and non-interactive cut scene. "Put your save points after
any non-interactive content (cut scenes, dialog, long walks), and shortly before any big fights," he suggests.
"If the player respawns with very little health, be sure to put some healing potions (or equivalent) around too, because respawning with low health straight into an unavoidable fight is another common complaint," he added.
Other Twinkie denial conditions compiled and commented on by Adams include game mechanics that are inconsistent with a story's plot, background music a player cannot turn off, and other missteps of game creation. The full Gamasutra feature
on the topic is available now.