The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. is the story of a psychic high school boy and the numerous problems caused by his mental powers. One of his most helpful–and at the same time most troublesome–powers is his latent mind reading ability. Without meaning to, he is constantly bombarded by the thoughts of all those around him. Simply put, this means that anything that is popular–book, movie, or game–is spoiled for him just by walking down the street.
In a world where surprises are rare, they become valuable, no matter the source. So when it comes to gaming, Saiki plays only the most unpopular, crappy games. And while they are indeed a novel experience, they are also a terrible one–as Saiki points out by listing the eight hallmarks of crappy games.
Crappy Game Hallmark 1:
“The explanations are unintelligible.”
Many terrible games try to make themselves seem more interesting and complex than they really are by making up tons of proper nouns for creatures and ideas that already exist. While this can add to making a world feel alien and fantastical, it can also make the plot feel like little more than gibberish.
Crappy Game Hallmark 2:
“There is no ‘skip’ option.”
Sometimes you just want to play the game. You might not really care about the plot (or maybe find yourself unable to understand it courtesy of Crappy Game Hallmark 1), so you feel no need to watch the game’s cutscenes. However, you soon find that you have no choice in the matter but to watch the game’s unskippable cutscenes–something that can be both boring and frustrating.
Crappy Game Hallmark 3:
“QTEs suddenly starts during the cutscenes…”
QTEs–i.e., Quick Time Events–are button presses or controller movements that appear during a cutscene and alter how said cutscene plays out. Unfortunately, after minutes spent watching a cutscene, you aren’t really expecting a QTE (and have perhaps even set down your controller)–all but guaranteeing a failure of the QTE.
Crappy Game Hallmark 4:
“…and cause insta-death.”
While the sudden, unexpected arrival of QTEs can be bad enough in their own right, many can also cause instant death–requiring you to watch the cutscene again at best and to restart from the last save point at worst.
Crappy Game Hallmark 5:
“There is no ‘try again’ option.”
Many games come with no way to continue when you die other than to start over at the last save point. Some games don’t allow even that–forcing you to start the game over from scratch. When insta-death QTEs enter the mix, the lack of revivability moves from frustrating to enraging.
Crappy Game Hallmark 6:
Crappy games are filled with bugs and glitches. The worst of these (and often the most common) cause the game to freeze. Once this happens, you have no choice but to restart the game and load your last saved game.
Crappy Game Hallmark 7:
“The artwork on the packaging is totally different from the graphics in the game.”
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover.” It’s a phrase that is no less true when applied to games. Often in crappy games, the art style of the cover and the look of the game are completely different–with the cover art being the better looking of the two, of course.
Crappy Game Hallmark 8:
“Supposedly innovative controller operation”
Games sometimes attempt to do something new with how the game controls function in an attempt to add something novel. Unfortunately, this often means controls that are simply hard to use and that add nothing but frustration to the overall gameplay.
For all these examples of what makes a crappy game and more, check out episode 48 of The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.