1. Thou shalt make all consoles completely back-words compatible.
For the most part console makers have done a good job of providing backwards compatibility of older games into their newest systems. There are however a few noticeable exceptions. The Xbox 360 does play original Xbox games but this typically requires downloading a software patch which i find a little annoying but bearable. The new DSi has removed the Gameboy advance slot thus taking away its backwards compatibility but i don't find this especially egregious considering the original DS is still widely available.
The console that breaks this rule almost unforgivably is the Playstation 3. To be fair there have been some PS3 models that do allow for some PS2 compatibility but none of those are in production. According to gaming site the Koalition, Sony has put any rumors of future backwards compatibility to rest with this response they received.
My main beef with this is that the console costs way more than any of its competitors. Sure, it's got some cool features like Blu-ray, better graphics (arguably?), larger hard drives, etc. But why not include the ability to pop in a PS2 game and play it? it's already compatible with PS1 games. WHY not PS2? it's silly if you ask me. The Playstation 3 is already this huge box i don't see how adding a little bit of hardware and software to facilitate this is going to cause major problems (admittedly I'm not an engineer so I could be way off on this one).
What's more is they would probably make more money with backwards compatibility as it adds more value to the console. Their excuse of focusing on next gen games is weak. They're walking away from an extensive library of games that still sell on retail shelves. Also, most PS2 owners probably dropped a pretty penny on their collection. Why would they want to buy a system that doesn't respect that?
The Nintendo Wii, on the other hand, is fully backwards compatible with Gamecube games. While their game library isn't as large as the PS2 nor was the Gamecube was nearly as successful, they still made sure to include that into their newest console. i give Nintendo an A+ for remembering their old-school fans and making sure they're taken care of.
2. Thou shalt provide an easy method for watching cut-scenes and other bonus content.
Most graphic heavy games do an excellent job of making game cut-scenes available for later viewing (probably because a good percentage of the games are cut-scenes). This seems even more prudent when speaking of genres that require many hours to complete, most notably Role-Playing Games. Since RPG's can last more than 80 hours and normal people don't play through this kind of game in one sitting, it's important to have a gallery of videos where the gamer can go back and get clarification of the story. This concept is also being more widely used in the first and third-person shooting genre.
Portable games also need this feature. Whether you're traveling on a plane or on your lunch break portable games are typically played in small and far between sessions. It's easy to get confused as to what's going on when you pick up a game that you haven't played in months, so a cut-scene gallery would help those players immensely.
A note on any games' ending cut-scene. Make this available from the gallery once the game is completed. It's a little annoying to play the final stage again just to show someone that last cut-scene.
3. Thou shalt provide a CD of music with each game if your game is an epic orchestral-worthy masterpiece.
This commandment is more on a personal level. in many instances music acts as a defining piece of drama, mood and flow of a game. What would Halo be like without its chanting? What would The Legend of Zelda be like without its iconic score? How would any number of Final Fantasy games play without their moving melodies? if the gamer can hum your games' musical score then it's time to release an Audio CD or mp3 download.
Since studios love to publish the same game in different marketing packages these arrangements should be made available with any "collector's" edition. This doesn't add any additional costs to making the game and the only costs that would be affected would be production and shipment of an extra disc (a mp3 download wouldn't cost anything).
Providing the music from your game could increase replay value (our next commandment). if someone is listening to your games' music they're most likely thinking about it in someway. By providing the music you could see more people playing your game for longer.
4. Thou shalt provide meaningful replay value.
As vague as "replay value" is this is still an important concept on any video game. First of all, replay value does not mean you make only a handful of levels and then require players to play through a few times to really experience the game. It also doesn't mean that you make your game so difficult that you have to keep playing and re-playing the same level just to get through it.
Replay value means you make your game interesting enough that gamers want to try different ways to approach any situation. Specially unlocked weapons, characters, abilities and levels are great ideas. This allows the gamer to try new things. Also, allowing for character upgrades or customization also gives players another angle to consider. The idea here is more. More content, more customization, more options. When you charge people $60 for a piece of software you better give them every last penny of value.
5. Thou shalt include quality multiplayer, co-op, and online play with every first-person shooter.
First-person shooters are a dime a dozen. That's why it's so crucial for these games to feature quality co-op and multiplayer modes. The only reason Halo has maintained relevance is because of its multiplayer dominance. Honestly the story is convoluted and plays out like Jack Bauer on steroids - in space. But the multiplayer is so exquisite. It leaves a fine taste in your mouth.
Need another example? Call of Duty was your run of the mill WWII first-person shooter. There was really nothing to set it apart from Medal of Honor or Brothers in Arms. They're all just the same game. And then Infinity Ward got a hold of it and made the most amazing multiplayer experience ever. That franchise is now crazy selling and well received.
If you're not going to have a multiplayer system like Halo of Call of Duty then don't even bother putting out a first-person shooter.
6. Thou shalt not make a video game for every movie that Hollywood releases (especially Disney movies).
The list of crappy licensed games could stretch on forever, so for brevity's sake I'll mention the only good movie licensed game - Goldeneye for Nintendo 64.
7. Thou shalt not charge $60 for a sports game that didn't change anything from the previous year.
It seems like Electronic Arts and 2K think that any new sports game they put out is worth the full $60. This just isn't true. For the most part every single sports game franchise whether that be Madden, NCAA or FIFA only have moderate changes to the gameplay or graphics each year. I realize that sports themselves don't change often so it would seem only natural not to change that much about a sports game. I'm okay with that. Just don't insult us by claiming your "new" game is worth $60. It's not. Charge $20 for those who trade in last years' version of a game and $40 for brand new buyers. Not only is this more fair, but it also gives the publisher a piece of the used game pie because they can then resell those traded in games for $10.
8. Thou shalt not initially charge extra to download new maps or levels to a game people already purchased.
Let me start by saying that I'm all good with DLC.I realize that it costs money for publisher to continue to generate new content and programming quality additions to games isn't easy or cheap. That being said heavily reliant multiplayer games like Halo and Call of Duty seem to think that the way to generate continued interest in their game is to release random map packs.
Ten bucks for three new maps is not a good deal. A dollar a map, now that's a good deal. Heck, three maps for 5 dollars, that's a good deal. Maybe that's not realistic and maybe gamers, while I grumble about it, are willing to pay that much for so little. For whatever it's worth I propose the following in regards to DLC.
- All downloadable songs for rhythm games should be 99 cents.
- Map Pack downloads should be included as a free download during their first weekend.
- Map Pack downloads should be free to download for "Collector's Editions" at all times.
- No game add-on should cost more than $5.
9. Thou shalt not require ridiculously expensive peripherals to utilize all the features of your console.
This commandment is aimed squarely at the Microsoft Xbox 360 wireless adapter. How dare you Microsoft. How dare you charge $99 for a peripheral that should have been added to the console in the first place. Wireless adapters do not cost $99.00. Heck i bought a wireless extender/emitter thingy for my Wii that cost me $8. You suck Microsoft. Also, why do 1st party controllers cost as much as brand new games? This is ridiculous. Let me break it down.
Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Controller - $36.88 at Walmart. 3 controllers total = $110.64
Playstation 3 Dualshock Wireless Controller - $42.88 at Walmart. 3 controllers total = $128.64
Nintendo Wii Wireless Wiimote and Nunchuck - $53.76 at Walmart. 3 controllers total = $161.28
Apparently console makers thing that complimenting their products with the allowed amount of controllers should be a pricey endeavor.
10. Thou shalt not make nearly impossible achievements/trophies that no normal person can obtain.
There's nothing like pure futility. It seems like some game creators fall so in love with their own games that they make achievements and trophies that no sane person could possibly obtain without selling their souls to the game. I'm not saying that these meaningless accolades shouldn't be difficult to get. Every game should have one or two that require going the extra mile. That being said they shouldn't have to go the entire continent to get.
No game should require more than two play-throughs to obtain all achievements. If you're going to require multiplayer achievements than make sure your game is fun enough to warrant it. There's nothing more ridiculous than a game with multiplayer achievements that nobody plays online. Also, let's cap it at 1000 points. Your DLC doesn't deserve any achievement points or trophies.
Also, no more arbitrary achievements that require you performing the same function over and over. If you've done it once then you can do it again. Why killing something 100 times should earn a trophy is beyond us. Oh, and forget timed stuff. Look if I wanted to play levels or whatever that required finishing within a certain time frame then I'd play any of the side-moving levels from Mario Brothers 3. You know the ones with the platforms and the jumping and the flying turtle ducks. Bottom line, if you use achievements to make your game seem more substantial then you've got a problem.