7 Deadly Sins of Gaming - Sin 6Sin 6: Shovelware
Now, before you think I'm about to pick on the Wii here, let's get one thing straight: every system has a heaping helping of shovelware.
Have you ever seen the bargain bin at a Walmart?
Okay... so the Wii has the majority of the shovelware. Probably more than twice that of the other systems.
It's just a side effect of its popularity.
Making good games is hard. It takes time and energy. It takes a careful understanding of what an audience really wants and the desire to create it.
Unfortunately, this also costs money.
Making bad games is easy. Throw a mediocre control scheme at a tired or pointless story and bing bang boom, you got a bad game.
It takes extremely little effort and yet, bad games often sell for the same price as a good game.
Yeah, once we figure out it's crap, that game is on a one way trip to the discount bin, but for a brief, glorious time, that game makes some serious coin.
Little effort + generous return = good idea
From a business standpoint, I get it. They're making games that are easily cranked out and yet still sell.
This is the definition of a practical business plan.
Unfortunately, it produces a glut of useless, terrible games that no one in their right mind could say are worth playing. These are the games that only sell when your Aunt Edna, who has no idea what a gamestation 380 is, decides to be cool and buy you game for your birthday.
Damn you, Aunt Edna.
Now, shovelware shouldn't be held against a system. Saying a system is bad because of a huge amount of terrible games doesn't make sense.
It should be held against the game companies.
There is no way most of these games could go through the development process and someone not point out that they're basically producing digital shit.
Someone in that company had to.
Someone had to point out that they're doing a huge disservice to both their consumers and their profession. Someone had to point out that they are the dregs of gaming society, a blight on our community.
And when they fired that guy, someone may have pointed out that they'd make more money if they made better games.
Not great games, mind you. I'm not saying they should be creating epic works of art or anything.
Just make games that don't make people want to jam their fingers into their brains and swirl them around.
I don't think that's asking too much. I really don't.
Here's a little system that I invented. I call it Reactive Quality Control.
Someone at the game company has to play their product. If that person:
a) becomes terrifyingly angry
b) becomes violently sick
c) threatens to destroy all of humanity
Then you don't release that game.
Crap. Billy died. Back to the drawing board, people.
Then you start over with the next game you make. Not only will this increase product quality and decrease shovelware, but it provides a steady supply of jobs as previous testers just die.
It's like a make work program, but with more spontaneous death.
The worst that could possibly happen is that every single person at one of those companies could end up dead.
Still, it'd solve the shovelware problem.
Oh, well. You can't make an omelette without killing hundreds of people.
Since none of those people are me, I'm actually okay with it.
Isn't that funny how that works?