Bad Games Are Necessary For Appreciating The Good Ones

Perfectly balanced, as all things should be.

Story Highlights

  • Balance is necessary for everything. Without the existence of bad games, the good ones will lose their luster over time.
  • Even bad games bring great ideas to the table that give rise to some amazing titles. 
  • Bad games play a pivotal role in the development of good ones. They contribute to their growth which then continues this cycle and elevates gaming as a whole.

Video games have been around for a very long time. It is one of the mediums that people have used to display their creativity and bring their ideas into existence. Since the dawn of gaming, there have been two sides of the spectrum like with everything else—the good and the bad.

This is something that has existed since time began and as much as we’d like to remove everything that is bad, it is simply impossible. Good can’t exist without bad and vice versa. It is because we can see that something is bad that we can distinguish good from it.

The same philosophy applies to video games as well. Considering how long gaming has been around, there have been innumerable examples of not only bad games but also bad decisions and practices. On the surface, this has an adverse effect on people who just want to enjoy video games and want them to be fun and creative.

While it’s true that these bad choices have impacted gaming and caused a lot of bland and uninspiring titles to come into existence, even they have immense value and deserve a degree of respect. I say respect but it’s more in line with recognition for different yet justifiable reasons.

The Value Of Bad Games

I like to think that everything in this world has some form of value — even bad games. And this has been proven time and again. Let’s look at some examples from the past. Keep in mind that in this context, a bad game is referring to a title being bad beyond its world and gameplay elements. This also includes the state of a game since it determines whether or not a player would want to play it.

The first example is Spider-Man 2. This famous movie game about a beloved character was released on multiple platforms including the PlayStation 2 and PC. Yes, I said PC. Now, if you remember what the PC version was like, you are immediately forced to combat the threat of internal screaming and cringe — it was that bad. 

People who say TASM 2 is the worst Spider-man game of all time haven’t played Spider-man 2 on PC(Don’t confuse with the PS2 version) from SpidermanPS4

This isn’t even an exaggeration. If you remember that game and if you played it for even a little bit, this picture will trigger some unwanted memories. I hate this game with a passion to this day and for good reason.

Everything that is needed to make a Spider-Man game, was thrown out the window. Who came up with this garbage? This makes The Amazing Spider-Man 2 look like the best Spidey game of all time.

The Spider-Man game that shouldn't have existed.
The Spider-Man game that shouldn’t have existed.

However, it’s because it was bad that we were able to fully understand that its PS2 counterpart was good in more ways than one.

I believe it isn’t an exaggeration to say that just like the great games out there, bad titles in general serve as a torch. They’re there to remind people of certain failings and bad decisions that prevent them from repeating.

After all, Ride to Hell: Retribution was pretty successful in reminding people what gaming should and shouldn’t have. It’s such a horrible game that it even managed to break Angry Joe’s mental fortitude.

That’s not all, just because they’re bad games doesn’t mean that they will always be devoid of good ideas.

Forspoken is the most recent example of a game with some great ideas and potential held back by its own shortcomings. A bland and uninspiring open world along with a protagonist that just simply isn’t likable combined with bad writing and tons of other problems just don’t let it excel. 

Another example would be Atlus’s Soul Hackers 2. Fans of the Megami Tensei franchise were divided due to the many risks it took such as overly simplified combat and demon negotiation mechanics. Ultimately, as a game, Soul Hackers 2 excelled. It provided fun gameplay, and an amazing cast of characters in a beautiful futuristic setting. 

CD Projekt RED, The Witcher, And Cyberpunk 2077

With the release of The Witcher 3 in 2015, CD Projekt Red has risen to prominence. That name has distinguished itself in the industry and is known by tons of people. This is all because of the fact that The Witcher games were good — they were great. But let’s look at how it all began.

CD Projekt’s first attempt at game development resulted in the first entry of The Witcher games—The Witcher. People around the world, those who read the books and those who didn’t, were able to control Geralt of Rivia for the first time ever. It was a great experience if you could look past all the jank that was present in that game.

Now you can hardly fault the first launch of a new developer but The Witcher was just in a league of its own. Everybody knew this, they could see it but somehow they still enjoyed the game. They could see what it brought to the table and they could see the potential. Despite all the technical issues and clunky systems, The Witcher was a good game at its core and that’s what mattered.

Not everyone may be capable of sitting through a good game marred with an unholy amount of jank but that doesn’t change the fact that the game, at its core, was good. People knew this and it prompted the development and launch of the sequel — The Witcher 2. CDPR showed that it gained experience from the first title and injected all of it into making another good game.

Then the same thing happened and we saw the launch of The Witcher 3 and we all know how that went. That game is just mindblowing. There’s not much I can say here except for the fact that it has stood the test of time and will probably do so for decades. If you haven’t already, you should really play that game.

The same occurred with Cyberpunk 2077 although it’s a much deeper topic. But I will say that at its core, Cyberpunk 2077 was and is a great game. Its launch was extremely tragic but it’s heartening to see that it was able to rebound. Phantom Liberty is on its way and I can’t wait to get back into Night City.

The Chronicle Of Movie-Based Games

We all know the deal about this one. A video game based on a movie that tries to follow the movie’s plot as closely as possible while adding certain new elements just to increase the length of the game. More often than not, and I’m being generous here, they end up as absolute dumpster fire.

Now that’s not to say that some of them don’t have decent gameplay mechanics. However, when you look at the bigger picture, they just lack something crucial.

No one remembers Spider-Man 2 for its amazing storytelling or characters. They remember it for pioneering the web-swinging mechanic and the combat system we saw in the Arkham games. No one remembers Web of Shadows for its open world. They hold it in high regard due to the versatility of its combat system.

Hogwarts Legacy is launching on 10th February 2023 and it’s based on the world of Harry Potter but it’s not directly about Harry Potter. It’s not limited by the events of the books and movies.

It’s doing something on its own which gives it a level of freedom — a chance to rise above expectations and deliver an experience of a lifetime.

Now whether it does or not is yet to be seen and the launch is right around the corner. Some gameplay made its way online and from what is there to see, Hogwarts Legacy is shaping up to be a big thing that might actually deliver.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012 Movie Game)
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012 Movie Game)

To get the point across, The Amazing Spider-Man game was fun even though it was based on the movie. There’s something important to note here — it took place after the events of the movie. It was based on that movie’s world but not the movie itself. That’s what made it fun. The same can’t be said for its sequel.

What It All Comes Down To

It’s possible to enjoy bad games and we all have a bunch of games like that. We can’t ignore the facts and one of those facts is that having bad games in the mix is just another way for gaming to raise its quality every time. If we look at the history of FFXIV 1.0, it’s pretty dramatic but there are clear takeaways present over there.

The original game was horrible but it had some things going for it. All it needed was the right group of people and as we can see now, FFXIV is quite literally carrying Square Enix. There’s absolutely no denying that. It’s not without flaws but it’s most certainly one of their strongest games right now.

Balance is necessary for everything — even video games. We can’t always put out quality titles, it’s not exactly possible. Even FromSoftware put out something like that. Dark Souls 2 had a lot of good ideas and definitely started something. But it was far from perfect and had a lot of questionable elements.

People tend to warm up to such titles even the actual bad ones. What it all comes down to is — one cannot exist without the other. It’s because both sides of the spectrum exist that it all becomes so clear to us. The bad serves as a stepping stone for the good but it also serves as a torch for future projects. After all, somebody has to play that role in the big picture.

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Ahmed Shayan is a News Writer on eXputer with decent experience writing about games. He’s a machine learning enthusiast with a passion for a plethora of gaming genres. Ahmed is fond of Soulsborne games in which he has invested more than 3,000 hours! You can follow Ahmed's gaming activity on his PSN Profile.

Experience: 1.5+ Years || Mainly Covers News Stories on eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Data Science.

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