Good Design, Bad Design Vol. 12 – Video Game Graphic Design at its Best and Worst

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We’ve got video games and we’ve got graphic design in Good Design, Bad Design Vol. 12. Let’s talk about diegetic and non-diegetic level select menus, weird typographic choices, syncing animation, sound effects, and music, and little layout errors that add up to bigger problems.

Super Mario 3D World: Bowser’s Fury
Opus Magnum
The Witcher 1

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29 thoughts on “Good Design, Bad Design Vol. 12 – Video Game Graphic Design at its Best and Worst”

  1. May I just mention how well-designed your "Bad Design" titles are for invoking that visceral, quintessential feeling of bad design? They're always so good, at being bad.

  2. Its funny you say that about bowsers fury because there were amazing 3d platformers like Jak and Daxter doing this in 2001. The precursor Legacy was always extremely my cup of tea. Some fairly challenging platforming mixed with exploration and a structured open world. Yes please

  3. 'what is this unique font used in VEXX"

    It's the font Exocet. If you've played DIablo or Diablo II, it's instantly recognizable as the font those games use for everything.

  4. To be fair to the Witcher 1, when you complain about the sizes of UI elements, don't forget that the game was released in 2007, so it was intended for a smaller resolution (probably 480/720). When I played it back in the day, those elements weren't as small.

    The UI/UX is still garbage tho.

  5. Hey Design Doc, all of the games you put clips of seem very interesting. Is it possible to add their names maybe at one of the bottom corners?

  6. Hey Design Doc, there is a game I think you should check out called Hardspace: Shipbreaker, a game about dismantling ships in outer space, particularly I think the game needs to improve the UI and the pace of gameplay, its still in early access on steam so hopefully those issues will get fixed.

  7. Clears throat.
    So apparently Youtube hates Unicode. I had posted a comment about the matter of universal symbolics while mentioning various industry standards; how the Biohazard symbol and how it communicates effortlessly the nature of danger in spite of being an abstract symbol made mostly of circles.

    Basically, I issued a challenge to the entire Space Empires series to see how the symbolic logic evolves over the series to not only communicate with the player, but also be stylistic. After all, communicating without words is important. What cues a player that this button is "Move ship" over "Land Ship" is very important in nonverbal communication.

  8. Can we talk about how small UI writing has been recently? I have a big ass TV, but game developers seem to want me to get square eyes. What would my mother say?

  9. So basically it comes down to making things consistent and readable while not overindulging on thematics for the sake of it, as while making things thematically fitting can work when done right (Persona 5), doing it just because with little thought on readability (The Witcher 1) is a recipe for disaster. Also, "Shadow the Edgeedge"? Really? Regardless on ones thoughts on the game that jab and attempt at a joke felt pointless and forced honestly.

  10. I would personally love to see Sonic Free Riders covered in a future episode. I don't think Sonic Free Riders was a bad game necessarily, but I feel like the game's menus and how relatively long it takes to make basic selections really don't do the game any favors. In fact, I know people who were turned off from the game, just by how frustrating it can be to get through the menus and to an actual race.

  11. Note on the Witcher UI: it was designed for a 4:3 computer monitor; played at a 1080×1260 resolution. Anything greater or 16×9 and the UI scales and stretches weirdly. Not defending bad design, but when played as originally intended, on a 2007 era PC with a CRT monitor, it's nowhere near as bad.

  12. Can you talk about how important it is to know what platform your game is going to be compatible with and how important it is to build with that?
    I think Phobies needs to hear this


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