Is a game that is not "fun" a bad game? In popular culture, video games are often considered to be a type of junk food entertainment, producing instant gratification for players with limited attention spans.
Anyone who has played through the excruciating first hour of Fallout 3 before being released into the wasteland knows this to be completely untrue.
In fact, the debate around how traditionally "fun" or "entertaining" a game needs to be has raged for years, coming to an often ugly head in the most recent decade. The derogatory term "walking simulator" was one coined for pieces lacking traditional "gameplay" as some would call it.
However, this is now a very popular tag on Steam, implying that people are more than happy to buy titles not considered the kind of "fun" associated with most other games.
Games have always had various components that were made to be frustrating on purpose. When video games were most commonly caged within arcade machines, it was to squeeze as many quarters out of you as possible.
In this article, we will take you on a tour of games that are intentionally not fun, ranging from 1985 titles to bizarre mobile hits about a doomed bird. Although it sounds counter-intuitive, these games used intentionally bad mechanics to prove a point.
10. Don't Buy This
Intentionally bad game design is not new. This ZX Spectrum title from 1985 revels in its badness, but sold nearly a quarter of a million copies. This ironically makes it the best-selling title from the publisher, Firebird Software.
A quarter of a million is a really huge number of sales when considering this game pack's release date. This curated selection of awful games was never meant to be good, in fact, it was published purely out of professional spite.
Games made by first time developers are not always great. Some games made by massive studios are also not great, as software like Anthem goes a long way to prove. Firebird, having received many submissions from developers, was insulted by certain pieces it was sent. As such, the publisher released this anthology designed to poke relentless fun at the developers with the audacity to submit their games to the company.
The game selection includes Race Ace (a racing game, unsurprisingly), Fruit Machine (a theme to the game's names is becoming apparent), Weasel Willy (guess what animal this is about!) and Fido. Also included is the essential sequel Fido 2: Puppy Power, continuing the first game's whack-a-mole mechanics.
It then went on to be the publisher's best-selling game release. Either karma or reverse psychology was a powerful tool at play in 1985.