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  • Game Design Challenge: From Bad to Better

    - Danny Cowan
  •'s Game Design Challenge is an exercise in becoming a game developer, asking you to look at games in a new way -- from the perspective of a game creator, producer, marketer, businessperson, and so forth.

    Every month, we'll present you with a challenge about developing video games. You'll have two weeks to brainstorm a brilliant solution (see below for how to submit your answers). After the two week submission period elapses, the best answers and the names of those who submitted them will be posted.

    The Challenge

    Re-design a bad game and make it playable.

    Assignment Details

    Everyone who has ever picked up a controller has had the misfortune of playing a game that they consider to be "the worst ever." Many bad games boggle the senses with combinations of terrible mechanics, awful graphics, and nonsensical gameplay. You've likely played something so bad that it's made you think, "Even I can make something better than this!"

    Well, can you? For Game Career Guide's latest Game Design Challenge, your job is to redesign a bad game and turn it into a good one.

    For this challenge, take the worst game you've personally played and turn it into something that you'd want to play again and again. You can change genre, music, theme, engine, or anything else that originally hurt your chosen game, but make sure your design retains a few defining elements that link it to the original work.

    For inspiration, check out Arcane Kids' Bubsy 3D, which turns a hated PSOne-era platformer into a virtual dérive of the James Turrel Retrospective at LACMA. If you'd prefer to take a more traditional approach, check out Arthur Lee's Streemerz, which takes an unlicensed NES game and replaces its flawed mechanics with addictive grapple-hook platforming. Good luck, and have fun with this one!

    To Submit

    Work on your ideas, figure out your strategy for coming up with a solution, and ask questions on the forums. When your submission is complete, send it to with the subject line "Game Design Challenge: From Bad to Better" Please type your answer directly in the email body -- do not submit .pdf or Word documents.

    Submissions should be no more than 500 words and may contain up to three images. Be sure to include your full name and school affiliation or job title.

    Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, May 21.

    Results will be posted Tuesday, May 27.

    Disclaimer: is not responsible for similarities between the content submitted to the Game Design Challenge and any existing or future products or intellectual property.


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