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Feature: 'The Designer's Notebook: Bad Designer, No Twinkie'

Back for another year of his "Bad Designer, No Twinkie" feature, Earnest Adams calls out the guilty parties with an all-new list of common game design mistakes he's been collecting over the past year -- Dungeon Keepers, Grand Theft Auto, eve
Earnest Adams returns with his annual "Bad Designer, No Twinkie" feature, bringing with him a fresh new batch of "Twinkie Denial Conditions" inspired by reader submissions collected over the past year. As with previous years, Adams takes developers to task -- and, of course, denies them cream-filled snacks -- for mistakes, sloppiness, laziness and just-plain-awful ideas. "Some of these are biggies that I really should have mentioned years ago," Adams says. Among the items on this year's list: Mandatory Wildly Atypical Levels, as defined in the article by reader Joel Johnson: I'd like to point out the painfully irritating sections of games where they "change it up." Mini-games are fine by me, but when the game is an FPS except for two levels where you drive a car, race style, that's not a lot of fun. It's just padding that hides the fact that there isn't a lot of content in the main game. Another move that Adam says is by no means worthy of Twinkies is the use of "Dominant Strategy": It refers to a state of affairs in which one particular course of action (a strategy) always produces the best outcome regardless of circumstances. A dominant strategy doesn't necessarily guarantee victory, but it is always the best choice available. As a result, there's never any reason to use a different strategy. A game with a dominant strategy is flawed, because it offers no meaningful decisions for the player to make. You can now read the complete feature, which includes more of Adams' in-depth analysis on these and many other game design mistakes he's collected with the help of readers over the past year.

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