Game Design Gets Taken to Court

game design lawsuits

In the wake of the recent Mass Effect controversy and all of the other game-design related outcries, I sometimes wonder if gamers would take games to court if they could. 1up recently put up a feature about six game design choices that should be punishable by law, and it’s a pretty good read.

Sure, it’s humorous in nature, but there’s no denying that I feel like I need compensation for the pain and suffering caused by some of their examples. The slow-moving text in Skyward Sword is a great one, and it’s something that a lot of Nintendo games, from Pokemon to Mario, are guilty of. Sure, you can hold down the A button or whatever to speed up the text, but it still crawls pretty slowly. Ninty seems set on doing this and a lawsuit just might be the only way to get them to change their ways.

Personally, I’d like to sue someone over the Journal design in Mass Effect 3. I can get around bad quest logs, but the one in ME3 is just plain unhelpful. Main quests, side-quests and fetch-quests are all lumped together and the damn thing doesn’t even update when you’ve gathered one of the items necessary for your eavesdropping side-business on the Citadel.

I could probably also make a case against some of the things in Battlefield 3, and maybe for the extreme time-loss caused by Skyrim, but I’m pretty sure I have Stockholm Syndrome where that game is concerned. What did you guys think about the article? Are these choices worth going to court over? What games would you get litigious against?

Source – 1up

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mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

11 thoughts on “Game Design Gets Taken to Court”

  1. This reminds me of an excellent quote by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw of Zero Punctuation fame:

    “Now, I want you to imagine something with me. Imagine a world where sequels are banned. Would this not be a beautiful place? Sure, we’d miss out on genuinely good sequels like Thief II or Half-Life 2, but I think that’s a small price to pay. Every story would have to be fresh, so writers would have to work extra hard to make the characters relatable. With no sequels, there are no franchises, so there’d be less fandom, so all the nerds would go off and become doctors and scientists and rid the world of all known diseases. And best of all, endings would have to have some f***ing closure! Under this regime, ending the game with ambiguous “To Be Continued” bull***t when you have no idea if you’ll even make a sequel will be punishable with prison time! Cautions will be issued for recurring themes and metaphors, and remakes will carry the death penalty.”

  2. I think a game design choice that should be taken to court is when you decide to end your trilogy by giving no closure! /end troll. Lol but seriously I HATE it when games hold your hand for too damn long. If the entire first level is a tutorial, you’re doing it wrong. Also excessive tool tips (for me at least) almost feel insulting. YES HALO I KNOW THAT HOLDING X PICKS UP A WEAPON.

  3. [quote comment=”18851″]I think a game design choice that should be taken to court is when you decide to end your trilogy by giving no closure! /end troll. Lol but seriously I HATE it when games hold your hand for too damn long. If the entire first level is a tutorial, you’re doing it wrong. Also excessive tool tips (for me at least) almost feel insulting. YES HALO I KNOW THAT HOLDING X PICKS UP A WEAPON.[/quote]

    THIS. THIS ALL DAY.
    Can we please add every single Legend of Zelda game to this please. Okay, Navu, I understand that the L-button is for L-targetting, but I need you to remind me every five seconds please.

  4. I would like to add Multiplayer achievements to the list. As a achievement whore these are the worst things in the world.

  5. First of all, thank you, Mitch, for reclaiming the top of the site with something that doesn’t constantly remind me of the narrative brickbat that is evidently lying in wait for me at Mass Effect 3’s finish line.

    This article definitely hits some nails on some heads; slow text is a particularly vile offender. It’s only been a design issue for, what, 30 years or so? That at least merits a criminal neglect conviction.

  6. This article missed a lot of juicy game design issues. I was expecting things like quest markers for linear quests, obligatory overpowered Sniper weapons, escort missions, friendly fire, and so many more possibilities!

    Oh, and Skyrim’s user interface, particularly the inventory UI, is worthy of capital punishment. Seriously, Fallout 3 was perfect! All Bethesda needed to do was add the Favorites menu (a good addition, I’ll be honest), allow customization of the order of the Favorites Menu, and reskin everything so it looked Elder Scrolls-y, not Pre-Alpha-y.

  7. @ Cossack, I thought Bethesda did a great job with the inventory in Skyrim and thought it was leaps and bounds above Fallout 3s cluttered, bland and clunky inventory. But to each his own. Additionally, you are 110% correct: OP sniper rifles and Escort Missions should have been on there.
    And DaPurpleSharpie, I love Skyrim’s lockpicking so much! Fallout 3’s system but without the need to be a certain level. Perfect. What was it that you didn’t like about it?
    When reading that article I was constantly thinking of so many offenders for each crime, it’s scary how many idiotic decisions there are made by developers. Slow moving text has to be my fave one as I’m replaying Ocarina of Time 3D and it drives me nuts. Unskippable cutscenes too. NINTENDO! Y U NO EVOLVE WITH TIMES?
    I’m not looking forward to playing Skyward Sword now.

  8. Personally I think unlockable difficulty levels should have been higher up on the list and slow text nearer the bottom. Honestly, slow moving text is just irritating, but I don’t think it’s one of those things that ruins the entire experience. Unlockable difficulty levels is literally a taunt at gamers that “you aren’t ready for my super hard hardness”.

    Escort missions should be capital punishment, if you have more than one in a game. I can understand one, if it relates to the plot.

    One thing I like that’s actually a real improvement in ME3 is the skipable cutscenes if you’ve already watched them. Still a failure: No pausing during the cutscene.

    I know it’s not exactly game design, but games (especially high end ones) seriously need to invest in good writers *cough*EA*cough*. Poor writing can really kill a game for me. Cheesy dialogue makes me cringe in a game that’s supposed to be serious.

    Also, Skuba, I agree with Cossack in that Fallout 3’s item system was great. Everything was arranged by type, then by name. Simple, easy to navigate (except Misc. sometimes). I haven’t played Skyrim so I can’t make any judgments on that.

  9. @ El Kibblez, Skyrim has type and alphabetical order too. I just thought its neater and more aesthetically pleasing layout worked a million times better than Fallouts. Don’t get me wrong, Fallout’s system is fine but comparing the two? I’d take Syrim’s any day. Just my opinion of course! 🙂

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