How to turn a fun game into a frustrating one...
It's been said that the best video games combine a planning challenge with an execution challenge. If that's true, then it follows that the one surefire way to ruin a game is to cockblock the player from both planning and executing his plan. Tentacle Wars is that game. Let's go down the list:
- Start with a totally new gameplay concept so the player isn't familiar with the game's verbs or interface. (Or at least rip off something you saw on Kongregate.)
- Don't include a tutorial. After all, a walkthrough is pretty much the same thing, right?
- Use obscure level names that seem to hint at the level solution but don't really mean anything unless you already know the answer.
- Carefully balance the gameplay so that even a moment's hesitation will force the player to start over.
- Make as much time as possible pass between the player performing an action and seeing the result of that action.
- Don't even bother writing up your walkthrough, just record yourself beating your own game and then put it up on youtube. Everyone knows there's nothing more fun than watching someone else play the game you wanted to play.
- BitmapData display programming is the fastest way to improve performance in flash, so don't use it. Instead, use MovieClips! That way flash will randomly hang for a split second every so often on some systems, causing the player to mis-time your clicks.
-Restrict the player's gameplay options to a single correct answer in the later levels. Make sure this solution is as obtuse as possible. If you must throw the player a bone, for example by altering the level over time so that a secondary solution becomes feasible, be sure not to tell him that's what you're doing so he thinks it's a glitch.
- Give the second-to-last level some pointless busywork at the beginning so that every time the player dies, he has to go through the hassle of executing the same 4 or 5 obvious opening moves again and again.
- Make the final level insultingly easy. Hey, it worked for Halo 3!
-Tack on a story, literally, so the player knows what's going on right after he finishes completely beating the game. If you can't think of anything original, just quote some famous author.
If, despite all of this, your game has nice graphics, a novel gameplay mechanic, a satisfying difficulty curve, and a quick way to retry when you lose, your game might actually end up being good in spite of itself.