Hey there, Gamers and Game Makers!
This week, we're going to talk about why and when it's okay to make a bad game. Now before you ready your pitchforks and burning torches all the while proclaiming "It's never okay to make a bad game", let me explain.
Spending three or more years working on a game only to have it turn out to be a bad game is never good. It happens, but it's never a good thing really. Spending a full development cycle on a bad game means losing a lot of time that you can't get back and a lot of money too.
So when is it okay to make a bad game? Well, there's a lot to be said for Game Jams. You have a very short amount of time to make a playable game and the best part of this is, you don't have to worry too much about bugs or polish. As long as the game is playable and fun, then you've done great. There's something very rewarding about making a game and not having to worry about bugs and polish because you'll not only have a lot of fun with it but you'll learn a lot in the process.
So, what should you take away from making a game in such a short space of time?
1: You'll learn if the game idea is good.
Working in a Game Jam or even just making a game yourself over the course of a weekend is a great way to prototype a game fast and determine if the idea works.
2: You'll see what works.
Setting up mechanics in such a short time forces you to focus on the core gameplay and avoids the feature creep, allowing you to determine the mechanics that work best with your game.
3: You'll see what doesn't work.
Most importantly of all, you'll see what doesn't work about your game very quickly and you can adjust the design of the game or scrap it if it's just not working out in favor of a new idea.
The information you get and the lessons you learn from making a bad game in a short period of time is invaluable. So, can you really call a game like that a bad game? I don't think so. For now, if you have an idea for a game you want to make, then take a weekend and just knock out a rough game and see if it's a bad game or something you can actually learn from and build on.
Until next time!