Video gaming has become a massive industry, and as such, it has had to indulge in some standard business practices. Namely, they try to completely rip off their key demographic, which happens to be kids. Now sure, more and more we see video games aimed at a more adult audience, but adults are (marginally) harder to trick, and as such, the younger audience is a much easier target.
As adults, who have had to experience things like taxes and paying for our own haircuts, we know that the only thing you can depend on is another human being trying to tarnish a good thing. If there is a dime to be made by pushing someone in a mud puddle, you can bet that there is someone selling artisanal mud. So, of course, there is a whole slew of examples where companies and programmers threw their principles out the window and attempted to take digital candy from babies. Prepare yourself as we go through some of the best examples of video games doing their best to turn players off of video games forever. May this simple list serve as a prime example of what not to do when you are developing a video game.
Feel free to bite my head off in the comments section explaining in extensive detail how wrong I am, but honestly, these two games were nearly identical. The story was literally the same in both games, and the only differences were the Pokémon available.
They could have released a single game that had all the Pokémon in it, but instead, they made a handful of those cute monsters exclusive to one game or the other, forcing its audience to buy two different games at full price just to catch ‘em all.
The rules of capitalism should be that you pay for goods and services and you get exactly what you pay for. This is almost never the case, because people are greedy creatures. This is also true in Overwatch, which has microtransactions that let you purchase loot crates, hoping for some sweet skins.
I say hoping because you can’t just simply buy the cosmetics you want, you pay for the opportunity to gamble. You could spend countless dollars only to have a pile of skins you find repugnant.
Disney Infinity was an insane cash grab. You had to buy figures in order to play as them within the game's universe, which is fun and brilliant, but also super expensive. So, you’d think that after shelling out money for both the Infinity base and all the characters you want, kids could jump right into the adventure.
Of course, Disney being what they are, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to fill their the game with advertisements for their products. So basically, you paid money to hear a sales pitch.
There’s a common joke in video game circles that all the FIFA games are the same, but honestly, how different can a soccer game be? All you need to do is improve the mechanics and graphics between each title, and that’s a fair improvement in my book.
So, if you skip that step, it’s pretty lame. The only difference between FIFA 12 and 13 is the uniforms and the soundtrack, which is literally the bare minimum you need to do. It’s a barely new skin on an old game, for an increased price.
Ad revenue can be a major factor in creating big projects, but at some point, it just becomes offensive. Like when Uncharted 3 was rife with multiplayer costumes that were plastered with the Subway logo. Heck, buying a sandwich and soda in the real world helped you unlock rare customizable loot in the game.
My favorite unsubtle ad was in the fourth installment, when you NEED to use your Sony phone to solve various puzzles. Just in case it wasn’t clear that this was a Sony PlayStation exclusive title.
Probably one of the most maligned entries in the series, Sonic The Hedgehog, commonly called Sonic 2006, is a nigh unplayable mess. It isn’t fun, the animation is poor, the acting is stilted, and it controls like a toddler moving a fridge up a flight of stairs.
This is in direct contrast to everything fans were shown at multiple demos. The development team had been reduced multiple times during production, and the game was basically unfinished. Despite all this, Sonic fans shelled out a lot of money for this game.
Amiibos are another beautiful example of corporate greed. You buy unmoving toys so that they can be put into games, and for Odyssey, using these things actually make the game incredibly easy.
Tapping literally any Amiibo will give Mario an extra heart. Also, tap a Mario Odyssey Amiibo and you can get boons ranging from revealing moon locations all the way over to invincibility. Nintendo didn’t even try to hide the “pay-to-win” aspect of this game.
The Arkham series of games are some of the best I’ve ever played, so my heart broke when I heard that the game was pretty much a no-go for the PC crowd. They were truly missing out on a great game. Why weren’t they made aware that the game didn’t play on PC?
Turns out, the publisher knew it wouldn’t play, but did their best to cover it up. They actually sped up footage of the game on PC to make it look like it ran faster than it actually did.
EA has a reputation for being more concerned about their bottom line than a quality product, so people were relieved to hear they had a new Tetris app. How badly can you mess up Tetris, right?
Badly. The game is rife with ads that constantly interrupt gameplay, and there are more microtransactions than you can shake a stick at. Don’t worry, if you find these transactions too expensive, you can buy a subscription that makes these purchases cheaper. What a bargain.
The Simpsons has been on for longer than I’ve been alive, so they’ve had more than a few memorable episodes, characters, and locations. Capitalizing on that is their mobile game Tapped Out, which lets you build your own version of Springfield.
The problem is, the buildings they let you set about town are some of the more boring ones (probably Flanders’ house). If you want something iconic, like Moe’s or the Power Plant, you’ll need to spend “doughnuts.” Doughnuts will cost you real money, by the way. D’oh!
Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery is a game that launched on mobile devices a few months ago and quickly became notorious for microtransactions aimed at its audiences. The most famous is when your characters begin to get attacked by a magical weed called Devil’s Snare.
You need energy to break free of the tentacle, but even if you enter the encounter with full energy, you will quickly run out. You can either watch your avatar get throttled while you wait for your energy to refill, or you can pay some muggle money to buy more energy.
Nobody would blame you if you assumed that when you bought a new console, it would come with the capability to download games. After all, that’s one of the very few things you expect it to do; however, early 360s did not come with that option.
Instead, you were encouraged to buy memory cards, which turned out to be outrageously expensive. Some people thought they could get by without either, but soon found out that open-world games were basically rendered unplayable.
Remember the craze that took the world by storm, then promptly vanished? I think it is safe to say that a lot of the reason for the drop in popularity is due to how unfairly the system of Pokémon GO was structured.
Pokéballs were extremely expensive, which isn’t a problem for adults, but it's a huge burden on kids. Not to mention, people in more rural areas have way less access to shops and gyms, making the game a huge drain on their wallet if they wanted to continue playing.
I have a word limit on these articles, so I can’t actually list all the times Peter Molyneux has lied about a video game. In fact, it would be a shorter list to give examples of times he was 100% truthful about one of his projects.
The worst example is when he went to Kickstarter to fund an upcoming game called Godus. Once he raised the money, he released an alpha and beta version and then kind of disappeared. The game remains unfinished to this day, and the Kickstarter and early access money disappeared into Molyneux’s pockets.
For whatever reason, a girl named Jess wanted to play a DS game called Discovery Kids: Dolphin Discovery. She bought the game, which was advertised as being about training a dolphin for an amusement park, and found out that the game was actually set on a desert island.
Turns out, inside the box of her game was a completely different dolphin game. When she reached out to the publisher, hoping to receive the game she wanted, she got stonewalled. It’s all actually pretty weird, so here’s the full story.
Solitaire is the lonesome, weird, boring card game that comes free on your computer. That is a universal fact, like disliking socks. So, imagine if a company had the gall to want to get you to pay for Solitaire. Well, not exactly pay, but “upgrade to premium,” which actually might be worse.
What really grinds my gears about this is the fact that premium mode removes ads. You’ll note that those ads are actually added in, since every computer before this had an ad free solitaire. So, you are paying a monthly fee to remove something that wasn’t originally there.
There have been more Final Fantasy games than should be humanly possible (I refuse to count them, they are absurdly named). After over 30 years of these games, the series has amassed a fairly large roster of memorable characters, many of which you could play as in the mobile game Final Fantasy: All The Bravest.
Well, you could play as them if you wanted to fork over some cash. To play as a favorite character, you had to pay $1 real money, and even then, that dollar only gives you the opportunity to randomly get a favorite character, so hypothetically, you could fork over $85 and never unlock your personal favorite.
Let me start out by saying that I actually really enjoyed playing Angry Birds. It was fun, colorful, and the mechanics worked flawlessly. If you could avoid the countless microtransactions that are constantly thrown at you, it’s pretty cheap, too.
Not as cheap as the game it rips off, though. The free web browser game Crush The Castle is almost exactly like this. The reason it wasn’t as popular is that it didn’t have the polished, brightly-colored animal mascots that Angry Birds has.
If you’ve ever been to an arcade or movie theater, you’ve seen Stacker. It lured you in with the ability to win some pretty hefty prizes, like cameras, shoes, or even laptops. For three dollars, who wouldn’t try their luck?
When the establishment sets up the cabinet, though, they get to manually set the win ratio. The company recommends a ratio of 1 win in every 400 plays, but a really greedy store owner can scale that number to as high or low as they see fit.
What do you think of when I say Jurassic Park? You either think of Chris Pratt’s beautiful face, or a T-Rex. So, it would be perfectly understandable if you thought a Jurassic Park game featured a Tyrannosaurus Rex. You’d be technically correct, as Jurassic Park Builder does let you have one, but…
The T-Rex costs a whopping $30. Yes, players don’t get access to the most iconic dinosaur of the series unless they want to shell out some actual cold, hard cash. That’s more money than you would’ve payed for a movie ticket.
It’s safe to say that Star Wars has a pretty dedicated fan base. So, of course, any time you release a Star Wars video game, people are going to buy it. It’s basically like printing money. So, everyone grabbed Battlefront when it came out in 2015 and...
...then they were forced to grab the Season pass, which cost an extra $50, on top of the $60 game price. I mean, you weren’t forced to, but it gave you access to 16 more maps, which you desperately needed because, oh yeah, there was no single player campaign.
If you’ve ever played Hearthstone, you can already guess what this complaint is going to be. If you haven’t, I’m not going to go into how complex this weird game is, suffice to say that it involves gold, dust, Shaman decks, and something called a Spiritsinger Umbra.
Apparently, everyone who plays this supposedly “free game” concludes that it's next to impossible to have a good deck (and have actual fun) without paying loads of cash. Cash that usually doesn’t even get you anything, as the cards you get for your money are always randomized.
We all love a free iOS game, so when the much beloved Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga was announced as a free mobile game, kids all over the world were filled with delight. This was their first mistake.
Turns out, the game is free in the sense that the first episode is free. You know, The Phantom Menace, everyone’s favorite. Sure, you can play the other episodes for free, but only if you like playing as subpar characters like a Jawa or a Gonk.
Leading up to the release of Battlefield 3, EA and DICE promised that it would be released along with another game, free of charge. That game was meant to be Battlefield 1943, which sounded incredible and had gamers pre-ordering like crazy.
So, Battlefield 3 comes out and 1943 is nowhere to be found, with no apology or explanation given. And of course, they kept all that sweet, sweet pre-order money. Eventually, after being threatened with lawsuits, they offered up a free digital download of 1943.
Tales of Phantasia is a popular RPG that eventually got ported to the iOS. Soon after, the publisher introduced an item that cost $2 each called a Life Orb, which revived fallen players. To make sure players bought them, Bandai Namco added some patches.
Later, they locked the game at its highest difficulty, removed save points before boss battles, and doubled the price of in-game items (the good items that stopped you from failing). The icing on the cake is that they removed the game after a year, rendering it unplayable even if you had spent the money.
I actually had to look this up when I heard about it because it had totally passed me by in my youth. Apparently, the Game Boy Advance had a series of cartridges that held individual episodes of popular shows, but this was a colossal failure.
Not only did nobody want to pay this kind of money for a single episode, but the quality of the episode was grainy and hard to see. Couple that with the size of the screen, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Minecraft is one of those simple delights, basically a more dangerous version of Lego. For most people who played it on the PC in Beta, it cost something like $10, which may come as a surprise to anyone who has played it on their console.
Not only does the game cost more on console, but they also have to pay to play online and for resource packs. This all seems baffling to anyone who plays the game on PC.
It’s pretty much accepted at this point that “freemium” games are anything but free, but kids may not have figured that out at their age, and back in 2012, it was still a somewhat novel concept. My Little Pony is a massively popular franchise, so they wanted in on that mobile game cash.
Gameloft created a mobile game for MLP and decided to charge players (or Bronies) 500 gems for Rainbow Dash. While that amount can be earned in-game through countless hours of playing, you could also buy the gems for over $40. Did we mention that you need Rainbow Dash to finish the game? And that they are also a fan favorite?