My new issue of Computer Gaming World (CGW) contains a groundbreaking review of Postal 2. It’s groundbreaking because in the history of that venerable magazine, it’s the first time they’ve ever given a game zero stars. Zip. Zilch.
My great hope is that this marks a kind of game design nadir, and portends a general rise in the level of design standards. Hollywood has wrestled with issues like this before, and thankfully the market always tends to keep things from disintegrating into chaos. For example, Tinseltown went through a gore-fest period when new makeup techniques made open wounds believable, but after a while the audience became repulsed, and the industry backed away. Now such technology is usually only exploited in motivated contexts, such as the grisly opening sequence in Saving Private Ryan. (No, not the sequence with the perfectly framed breasts – the one after that.)
Maybe the deep-thinking philosophers at Running With Scissors will turn their considerable talents to actually making a playable game next time, instead of trying to set a record in the ‘Most Constituencies Annoyed by a Single Software Title’ category. In any case, I hope the design floor is now as low as it can possibly go in mainstream interactive entertainment, because we’ve already wasted too many resources trying to find that limit.
— Mark Barrett
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