7 Commandments Get Cracked

By John Walker on April 30th, 2008 at 12:42 am.

Not enough stuff is written in stone these days.

The excellent folks at Cracked.com have announced some new rules for videogames, and by the law of Enough Of Them Being PC, we link away.

We are here to condemn Grand Theft Auto IV, and other equally great games, not out of hatred, but out of love. For it does no good to point out the flaws in bad games as bad games by definition cannot be saved. No, we aim to save gaming from the abyss by pointing out the sins of games like the Elder Scrolls and Half Life series, games made by creators who actually care. It is in that spirit that we proclaim the commandments that they have broken, so that they may be redeemed.

Some of it’s familiar – too much WW2, etc – but more importantly, a lot of it is filled with ire and rage. We like ire and rage. So yes, they missed your one. Post it below.

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32 Comments »

  1. zergl says:

    The article wins for having a screenshot of Goldeneye on the N64 in the console multiplayer part.

    Extremely fun and I still play it from time to time with friends, despite its agedness.

  2. Kieron Gillen says:

    Only *some* familiar, man? Ending on Graphics over Gameplay. That’s some radical free thinking shit going on there.

    KG

  3. RobotLiberationArmy says:

    Any cool kids points they lose for being so incredibly radical are returned by their linking to Erik Wolpaw’s wikipedia page\, which, in turn links to his ArmchairEmpire interview (http://www.armchairempire.com/Interviews/old_man_murray.htm).

    I think we should all be inspired by his rise to fame from the hard streets.

  4. James T says:

    Nice (except for the wrench/crowbar complaint, which is just a bit odd), but I think the moratorium should be on requests for WW1 games. Seriously, you wanna sit in a trench in France and get gassed? You’re gagging to get minced by Turkish guns at Gallipoli? With a weapon gamut of… hand-grenades, bolt-action rifles and maybe some mounted Maxim guns?

  5. Albides says:

    That picture there is of the true 10 Commandments. You can tell because it has the eagle and the American flag up the top…

    As for the list, most of it can be covered with a “don’t do boring or stupid shit”. I’d contend that Oblivion wasn’t too big, though. It was too small for wat it supposed to depict. Some of it is due to the fact you can’t walk three metres in any direction without falling into a dungeon or stubbing your toe on the ruined step of a crumbling castle, which hurts immersion more than big spaces hurt fun.

  6. Windlab says:

    That picture there is of the true 10 Commandments. You can tell because it has the eagle and the American flag up the top…

    I’d never thought of those items as being connected with the 10 commandments in any way… ;)

  7. Arnulf says:

    The very last page is actually pretty well written and could stand on its own.

    The rest has some truths in it. Unfortunately they’re dilated by that over-the-top pamphlet writing style. Which is in itself is funny to read once or twice.

    I guess we will always have a WW2 first person shooter as long as people use a mouse and keyboard for gaming. No ranting will stop that trend.

    I don’t get what they’re talking about in #7. Sure it’s better to have social games, in some ways. But, so what?

    Crappy voice-acting, game-crashing bugs, content that is too thin and just there for filling is something that is there to stay. Even good games have some of that, look at FFX.

  8. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    There is a WW1 game in development right now, I can’t remember the name of it though. Will have to look it up.

    Remember, stalemate trench warfare on the Western Front was only ONE arena in WW1. It was called WORLD War 1, after all, not Western Europe War 1.

  9. Jahkaivah says:

    Now I never played the PC port of Gears of War, but honest to god how difficult would it be to download and install the Nvidia Forceware driver?

    I suppose I should just take it as a compliment that the article called me a 1337 Hacker for managing to get all my games to work.

  10. Dermo says:

    The complaint about GTA4 not featuring split-screen multiplayer smacks of naivety somewhat but I pretty much agree with the rest of that particular point.

  11. Pidesco says:

    All good points except for the thing about the weapons. There he’s just asking for things to be dumbed down and is assuming that everyone plays games in the same way.

  12. spd from Russia says:

    boring commonplace stuff Iv read 100 times. and wrote 1 time myself (typical ’10 things I hate about games’)
    why is it worth mentioning at all

  13. sinister agent says:

    Wow, lots of surprising comments on this one. Quite how anyone can disagree with any of that article is beyond me.

    As for the ‘stop giving us crap weapons’ thing, it’s still spot on – consider Deus Ex, where you can get a sniper rifle and rocket launcher from the very start, but will still be using the pistol late in the game simply because it’s still powerful and effective. There’s no reason to make the first few hours Alien Horde Vs. Sharp Stick beyond cynically padding the game out.

    The key is to make even the starting weapons useful. Half Life 2′s crowbar was literally completely useless once you got a gun, and surely some of you remember that hideously poor bit in Max Payne with the baseball bat, which could well be the worst weapon in a shooting game ever. By contrast, Call of Duty 4′s knife is always useful, and what about Aliens Vs Predator, eh? You started that game with a combination machine gun/grenade launcher, but did you get tired of using it? No.

    The rest of it is just stuff the industry should have learned ten or fifteen years ago, and the fact that they haven’t is bloody embarassing. Sure, we’ve heard it all before, but that doesn’t make it any less valid.

  14. Kismet says:

    Just to spare Katsumoto the effort of looking up the WWI game name: it’s “To End All Wars” for PS3/360, developed by Chemistry (ex Kuju Sheffield).

  15. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    Ah, cheers! Shame i’ll never play it. Damn console exclusives!

  16. Kismet says:

    Probably me neither, but when I read about it some time ago, I couldn’t help but remembering that very long thread on Eurogamer forums and start tracking it. ^_^

  17. Dolphan says:

    AI teammates can be good, on occasion – anyone remember Elite Force?

  18. hungSolo says:

    I’m sure this has been written about at length elsewhere, but I think WWII is the default setting for a lot of games because the circumstances best conform to shooter mechanics (first-person, small squads, objective capturing).

    We’ve already mentioned the difficulty of making the grinding trench warfare of the First World War “fun”, but then there are the more recent conflicts like Vietnam (yes, I’m American) in which hit-and-run ambush tactics were the norm. Stalking through the jungle for hours, watching your companion lose a leg to a booby trap and die, and then stalking some more doesn’t exactly spell high adventure.

    Which isn’t to say it’s impossible to make worthwhile games out of such scenarios; but it requires rethinking what constitutes play.

  19. Geoff says:

    @ sinister

    Actually one of the best examples of the “no crap weapons” thing is Halo. Instead of the usual “start with weak weapons, get better weapons”, you start with common or ordinary weapons (pistol and assault rifle) and get more interesting ones. But there’s an obvious effort to balance all the weapons, many players even loved the pistol. There’s rocket launchers, but with only two shots per clip, long reload time, and splash damage that hurts you, it’s not really “better” than the plasma rifle or pistol, just better for certain uses.

    I really wish FPS had just picked that up as the obvious way to go, in the way that RTS games all tend to pick up the latest improvements and run with them.

  20. Robin says:

    Pretty weak article. Many of the points suggest that the author just hasn’t played the game(s) that have since fixed that issue.

    RE4 fixed escort missions (and had excellent handguns to boot), Freedom Fighters had AI squadmates worth keeping alive, the Metroid Prime series solved first person platforming.

    And checkpoint saving is a perfectly valid design choice.

  21. sinister agent says:

    RE4 fixed escort missions (and had excellent handguns to boot), Freedom Fighters had AI squadmates worth keeping alive, the Metroid Prime series solved first person platforming.

    Perhaps, but will that mean that other games stop doing crap team AI, jumping FPS games and useless escort missions? Will it, arse. New games are coming out with them all the time. Halo did the ‘no crap weapons’ things aaaages ago (and don’t tell me nobody tries to mimic Halo), but has the industry at large learned its lesson? Hell no.

    There are exceptions – glorious, brilliant exceptions – but the bulk of games are still making the same mistakes they always have.

  22. Johnny Law says:

    When I read the standard diatribes about “don’t make us repeat stuff”, “don’t give us puny starter weapons”, “don’t have difficulty spikes”, etc. … in general I think each is a fine point, but I do admit to having a tiny bit of apprehension about some hypothetical day that game developers really take these points to heart.

    Hopefully the result is not a new generation of games with the fine, even consistency of ground mush. At the end of the day there is something to be said for having a bit of adversity to overcome. Obviously, like anything else, you don’t want to take it to extremes.

    One thing that brought this to mind recently is when I was recording video of playing through a few Myth:TFL levels on Heroic difficulty. Because I wanted to put on a good show I decided not to use pause, time slowdown, or (except at the end of each level) savegame. I think I ended up actually learning a little more about how to play Myth (which surprised me given how much I played this back when it was released) and I had some memorable experiences that I would have missed even if just playing with a “reasonable” use of pause or savegame. Which I would have done in normal circumstances.

    This being the Internet, I’m sure someone is tempted to take my example above, generalize it, dial it out to some extreme, and then argue against it. :-) Of course I don’t believe that designers/developers should ignore things that punish or frustrate the player. To come back to my specific example, I’m not even saying that I would have wanted to play Myth that way when it was first released. I’m just musing that a bit of rocky road in a game can make the end goal more rewarding. (Maybe I would have better memories of Prey if the spirit-walking mechanic hadn’t turned it into one continuous sprint from start to finish.)

  23. MaW says:

    I’d like weapons that aren’t crap – let’s think about Oblivion. In Oblivion, I can shoot someone in the head with an arrow from my longbow five times and they still aren’t necessarily dead.

    Arrow through the head of a human who isn’t a magician, or a superhero, or some sort of fast-healing mutant: FATAL.

    Well, almost certainly fatal, especially with Oblivion’s level of technology. No air ambulances to come and take them off for emergency surgery, hmm?

    Likewise when I whack someone in the head with a sword, I expect them to be severely injured.

    And is it too much to ask that my fireballs set things on fire?

  24. araczynski says:

    personally, i say ‘bullshit’ on all but 2 & 6.

    but to each their own.

  25. malkav11 says:

    The main things people seem to have learned from Halo are: having only two or three weapon slots (possibly with a separate slot just for grenades), and having health that regenerates with a brief time away from taking damage. I don’t mind the latter mechanic, but the former drives me batty.

  26. Scandalon says:

    RE: 2 people above:

    HL crowbar – not useless, use it to bust crates (and zombies and some other assorted creatures) without using ammo.

    Halo 1 pistol – some people didn’t just “like” it, it was horribly overpowered on headshots. 2-3 hits to the head will kill a fully-charged shielded player. (In multi) This lead many to go almost exclusive w/ the pistol, and much wailing and gnashing of teeth when it was removed for the sequel.

    Re: Myth! Yet another myth mention…yay! Myth myth myth. :P

  27. Johnny Law says:

    *does secret Myth handshake*

  28. Lh'owon says:

    I used to have Myth 2 hooked to my veins but that wasn’t efficient enough, so I suspended my brain in a bath of pure, undiluted Soulblighter goodness.

  29. Albides says:

    Myth lovers unite!

    Myth was awesome, but I have to admit to hopelessly abusing the dwarves. In a gameplay way, I mean.

  30. Masked Dave says:

    “Grand Theft Auto IV multiplayer is a world without hugs.”

    This is a sentence that should be remembered.

  31. Grant Gould says:

    Myth myth myth! The prelapsarian pinnacle of RTS!

  32. Icepick says:

    Most of that article sounds to me like the entitled whining of someone who hasn’t even the slightest clue about game-design and basically just wants everything handed to him right away. There are a couple of valid points from an interface design standpoint (being able to skip cutscenes, for example), but aside from that it sounds to me like the author of that article is the kind of person who buys a game and immediatelly puts in the all guns/invincibility/level select/whatever cheat codes.