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Opinion: Can The Industry Make A 'B Game'?
Opinion: Can The Industry Make A 'B Game'? Exclusive
March 11, 2009 | By Christian Nutt

March 11, 2009 | By Christian Nutt
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    38 comments
More: Console/PC, Exclusive



[Everyone knows low-budget, clumsy, charming B movies -- but can the industry make a 'B game'? Gamasutra's Christian Nutt examines the efforts -- and the key obstacles.]

If there's one conversation I've had several times over the years with other gamers that never ends with anybody satisfied, it's the B game conversation. Everybody knows (and many people adore) B movies -- whether they're intentional or not, they're films that tend to be low-budget, clumsy, and charming.

Sometimes they shoot for the bottom of the barrel; sometimes, they just land there. The best B movies have some intrinsic charm that elevates them in the eyes of their fans. They may do everything incompetently, but somehow there's just a certain something that makes them so much more enjoyable than they have any right to be.

Can our industry make a 'B game'?

The reason this came up again is because of last week's release of Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard, from Vicious Cycle and D3Publisher, for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game, for the uninformed, is a shooter with an elaborate back-story.

The marketing has been jokingly pretending -- for months -- that it's a re-envisioning of an (actually nonexistent) classic franchise from the '80s (compare to what Capcom is actually doing with its soon-to-be-released Bionic Commando.) The game features comedian Will Arnett in the lead voice role of a (parody of a) Duke Nukem-style action hero.

Wait, wasn't Duke Nukem a parody? Hold on...

Check out this high concept trailer, which itself parodies VH1's Behind the Music.

The result? As of this writing, a 56 on Metacritic for the Xbox 360 version. 1UP's Justin Haywald is particularly scathing, but his writing gets to the heart of why this is a dicey proposition:

"The only real laugh in this game comes in the opening introduction... The rest of the game is a plodding, boring mess that that forces you to play through the worst shooter genre clichés, and then asks you to laugh simply because the game's creators self-referentially point out how annoying those tropes are."

If ever there were a time where the gulf between games and movies were more obvious, it's hard to think of one. Put simply: playing an annoyingly bad game for 10 hours is too much to ask. The line between intentionally bad and unintentionally bad is probably too fuzzy in games.

Intentionally bad, even done with no subtlety whatsoever, is usually good for a chuckle in the right context. Scary Movie 4 may be a much worse film than Eat Lead is a game, but it at least functions as intended. And at least you can surf on by it when it gets boring, on cable.

The truth is, writing effective satire is extremely difficult. It's much more difficult than writing convincingly serious dialogue for all of the un-ironic bald space marines in gaming to grimly belch.

The Opposite Result

Perhaps the polar opposite of Eat Lead, and another good candidate for an intentional B game, is Indies Zero and XSeed's Retro Game Challenge, which came to the Nintendo DS about a month ago.

It's a jokey compilation of brand new faux 8-bit Nintendo NES-like games wrapped in a very silly story. You've been turned into a child and sent to '80s by a demonic digital incarnation of a gamer so frustrated he wanted to punish everyone with a Nintendo DS.

In stark contrast to Eat Lead, it has a very healthy 81 on Metacritic as of this writing. Why? Says IGN's Daemon Hatfield, "The developers of Retro Game Challenge didn't just accurately recreate 8-bit gaming -- they made a bunch of really good games."

Sure, the game is an intentional joke, and is filled with stuff that's actually bad in the real world -- poor translations, at-times frustrating or tedious gameplay. But that all evens out, because the whole package is creative, clever, and well-executed. It's aware of its limitations and finds ways to counteract them before they overwhelm the whole package.

To that end, it doesn't really succeed as a B game either.

Here's the Problem

Here's the problem with setting out to make a B game. Your game turns out to be a good game, or it doesn't, and that's the level on which it is judged, honestly and genuinely. Sure, gamers experience the whole of what's packed into a game experience -- but a game lives or dies by the quality of its gameplay.

Getting back to Duke Nukem, the character was an obvious parody of the over-muscled steroid supermen of '80s action movies. But the series has been taken purely seriously by fans on the merits of its core gameplay. They may enjoy the tawdry humor, and it definitely adds to the series' notoriety, but that's not the primary draw.

Think about Resident Evil. The first game had voice acting that was widely derided even in 1996 when it came out -- "Jill sandwich"? -- but the game was an instant classic regardless of this. And the games in the series have largely continued to have risible dialogue and bizarre and grotesque storylines that wouldn't make for compelling (or even comprehensible) films. Yet the series is continually lauded, and lauded even by people who will openly admit that they can't take its storytelling seriously.

Though it's more rare, this can even work in reverse. Consider Resident Evil's obverse, Silent Hill. The series has long been infamous for its weak and plodding gameplay, but the story, characters, and out-and-out scares are so compelling that its fans overlook its tedious combat. The games are simply that gripping.

The Old-Fashioned Way: By Accident

But what about the best kind of B movie -- the earnest failure? The B movie that sets out with big dreams but its cut down by a lack of talent, time, money, or expertise? Are there games like that -- ones that can exceed their boundaries and become B games by accident?

This is where things get really tough. Sure, there are niche games and genre games that do one thing well (or mine one specific fan base effectively, even if they do nothing with particularly remarkable quality). But there are very few games you can laugh at and still enjoy despite the derision.

Racking my brain, the closest I can come in recent memory is 2006's Wild Arms 4 -- a game that has a dreadful script and a host of annoying characters. But it somehow strikes enough of a balance gameplay-wise to remain engrossing -- and score a better-than-Matt Hazard 69 on Metacritic.

But no. When Wild Arms 4 is not being legitimately fun, it's just grating. The developers rolled back many of the gameplay innovations in WA4 for WA5; without them, I hated it, despite a mild uptick in both production values and storytelling.

Wild Arms 4 has the obvious low budget of a "true" B game, but the story of an F game. (You can see both here.) The result is confused; it's unable to be laughed with and too tedious to be laughed at, yet somehow still engrossing anyway.

A group of filmmakers can set out to make an intentionally terrible film. They can even force themselves to work within the limitations that were just happenstance for the last generation's unlucky filmmakers, and wind up with something that's still a good laugh. Anybody seen The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra?

But game developers don't have that luxury. Games are judged primarily by gameplay, and how you succeed or fail there determines your fate. Even a game with an overt grindhouse subtitle like Bikini Samurai Squad can't catch a break, at least not reviewer-wise.

Can we make a 'B game'? The question nags me. It seems that by either accident or intention, it's a very tough place to get to.


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Comments


Devraj Pandey
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I think this topic shows a clear point of separation between games & movies.

B movies are a genre in another medium(films), whereas in games I would say most of the positives (viseral action, Shoot anything that movies,etc) as well as the negatives(The story, Dailogue & delivery of it,etc) of B-movies are present in most games, hence we use a different genre subset, it's kind of like having an FPS movie (from beginning to end, not just 10 minutes! groundbreaking I know).

Genres change from medium to medium. Eventually it just shows that we should stop aping our sister medium so much or not, there's always the chance that the sequel will be better.

Personally, I had high hopes for this game.

Andy Lundell
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So called "Advergames" are sometimes sort of like B games. So long as solid and bug-free enough to play. (No one wants to interact with a computer program that doesn't work right. Even if it doesn't work right in a charming way.)

The "Chex Quest" trilogy comes to mind.

Tom Newman
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A lot is based on consumer expectations. I feel there is a lot of room for "B" games, and many can be fun. A good example is Earth Defense Force for 360. This is obviously a low-budget title sold at a budget price. I knew going in that this was no competition for games like Halo, but provided a fun experience nonetheless.



The problem with most "B" games is that they are sold and marketed as "A" games, which leads to consumer dissapointment. Budget pricing, and truthful marketing can open up some room in the market for sure!

E Zachary Knight
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I think that the reason B movies have a bit of charm that allows them to find an audience is the fact that they last no more than 2 hours. People can justify a 1.5 hour crap movie easier than they can justify playing a crap game for 10+ hours.



I also agree with Devraj and Tom have said. Most of the AAA games from a narrative standpoint would be considered B movie material and any games from a gameplay standpoint that could be considered B game material are marketed as A games.



I think that in order for games to have a B game level we would need to stop taking ourselves so seriously. The AAA mentality that most major publishers have is what is really holding us back as a medium. In my opinion that is.

Simon Préfontaine
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. I haven't played it, but it seems like it achieves a b-movie feel by mixing good (or at least decent) gameplay with a ridiculous narrative.

Victor Perez
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If I’ve got it, the axiom here is AAA games = Good Games, No AAA games = No Good Games.. And it is true if we see the press and hardcore public opinions, but perhaps it is because we educate them for that. Game is FUN… If we compare with movies… well there are going to be always eye amazing movies and good movies (or the latest Clint Eastwood movie is not good?), in movies you are looking for good scripts, STORY… in game we should look for FUN. And none can convince me High Budget provides FUN… but help…

Gregory Kinneman
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I think the issue is coming from our perspectives. The people who read Gamasutra are people who like to play games (or at least make them). As such, we consider most AAA titles to be excellent and anything below that to be inferior.



I think the question at hand is not "can we make a B game" but instead: "Can we make an AAA/A title with a low budget and poor quality and expect it to still have enough charm to succeed as a B title?" I feel that the writer and I agree that the answer is no. Yet a game designed to be a B title, such as Peggle, has a great chance of succeeding because it is designed to be a B title that looks like a B title.



I doubt many would give World of Goo a high review if it was being sold for $50, but because it's not a AAA title, and not marketed as such, people appreciate it for what it is.

Evan Combs
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A true B game is going to be extremely rare simply because games in general are not passive activities. You don't have to think to watch a movie, hell 90% of all Hollywood movies are made on that principle. This makes for a B movie to be a lot more easily enjoyable. Add to that what Ephriam Knight said about length, and it is clear why enjoyable B games are rare to come by. If a B game is to succeed I believe it would need to have some kind of established IP like Star Wars to its name.



The only game that I would consider a B level game that I enjoyed was SW:Battlefront. There was so much wrong with that game that it was surprising that it was fun to play, but it did just enough right to be fun to play.



A games gameplay has to be fun for a player to enjoy it. That is hard enough to achieve with a AAA game, and only becomes even tougher when you are intentionally making a B game.

David Delanty
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"The game features comedian Will Arnett in the lead voice role of a (parody of a) Duke Nukem-style action hero."



Wait, did I read that right? A parody of an action hero...that in itself is a parody of an action hero? Absolutely brilliant!



Though I feel that the 'B Game' has been in existence for quite a long time. A good example I can think of is Serious Sam. It was a budget title that aimed for a thoughtless, campy delivery. A lot of people praised the game for its visuals (considering the low price tag) and straight-forward action, though it didn't get a lot of recognition for story, plot progression, character development, and all the other traits that define the contemporary AAA title. While we could call this a quintessential 'B Game' many referred to it as more of a 'Tech Demo' than an actual game just because the game's intent was to license its engine.



Or so my recollection of history serves me. Correct me if I'm wrong.



I suppose one reason why 'B Movies' get such a strong following is because the viewer only has to stomach it for an hour or two. Games are generally designed for several hours of gameplay; even the casual titles. It would be difficult to have one of those games that are 'so bad it's good' because the human psyche can only take so much 'bad' before giving up on the experience completely. It can be done, of course, but I doubt the 'B-level' phenomenon will be as prominently recognized in gaming as it is in movies.

Austin Ivansmith
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To my understanding, a B movie is incredibly low budget, and the kind of thing where the producers say "We need something fast that looks like some other movies. Go shoot it in the woods, get some no name actors, and show some boobs. Teenage boys love boobs."



Now with that as your definition, I ask if you have ever played a game made by Crave or XS Games? I can imagine the same thing coming from the management: "Just get it out the door."



When a B Game is an "Earnest Failure" you get Cosmic Race or Big Rigs: Over The Road Racing. So we have had those, and they have a place in our hearts, on Youtube.



If you are putting in the EFFORT to make something that is cheesy and tongue-in-cheek, you are not making a B Game, pointed out you are making a satire, as Christian Nutt pointed out. So I don't think we ever will see a "true" B game which will get a strong following, especially not at AAA console title prices.

Christian Nutt
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50 Cent actually comes close, I think, in terms of how people are enjoying it -- at least people I know. It's definitely a guilty pleasure for them. One of the best quotes I read recently was a couple of game enthusiast journalist friends discussing it on Twitter -- one suggested playing the PS3 version (which lacks trophies) so it didn't "taint" the other's Gamerscore.



I had considered mentioning the game in this piece but I didn't get there.



50 Cent is a really laughable celebrity. The fact that he's cast as a soldier in a game makes it really hilarious. But the point still stands that even if people are treating this like a B movie and laughing at the scenario and enjoying it ironically, they absolutely wouldn't play it if the gameplay wasn't legitimately entertaining, and that's the point.



As a movie, it would be beyond ridiculous. As a game it's only ridiculous because it stars a rapper Compare Army of Two, which is about a millimeter away in terms of its ridiculousness; beyond that I think was essentially considered to be ridiculous by a lot of the press, but essentially skates by at face value anyway, in the end.

Jamie Mann
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I'd actually say that there's been a few "B" games - Serious Sam, Prey, Max Payne and Painkiller come immediately to mind, with over-the-top action and a sense of humour running throughout. Dead Space is another, more recent potential example.



In truth, this article may be looking in the wrong place - people generally don't set out to make a b-movie, but are constrained by lack of money (and/or talent). As with Eat Lead, efforts to deliberately make a b-movie generally fail - Evil Dead 3 being a prime example.



As with the movies, it's generally best to look outside the mainstream: the indie scene is one place where there's a lot of B-movie style stuff, produced by people on a very low budget and varying levels of talent (this isn't a criticism: my own graphical and audio skills are best described as either primitive or non-existent!)

brandon sheffield
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I would argue the case of D3's Japanese offerings in the "earnest failure" category. Onechanbara actually fits the bill for me, in that they tried to make a T&A zombie game, and sort of did a bad job of it, but the end result is pleasing for people who just like to mash the X button to take out some zombies, whilst collecting new costumes and suchlike.



EDF 2017 is another, where the game tackles a broad subject - aliens attacking the earth - and makes the story as inconsequential as such a cliche should be, while allowing and encouraging the simple fun of blowing things up. The unintentionally (maybe?) cheesy dialog actually helps the process, building a package not unlike enjoyable B-movies that one might watch over beers with friends.



GHM's Michigan is another, with poor voice acting and limited action, but a compelling theme, and music that actually draws you in despite the game's obvious limitations.



So I think it's possible, but maybe not intentionally. Within the realm of budget publishers you do occasionally see those glimmers of a good idea in an otherwise poor game, and perhaps that should be the definition as applies to games, though many of them truly feel more like a "C" experience than a B.



Also: I hated the lost skeleton of cadavra, just to say, but I'm more critical of movies than I am of games!

Sean Parton
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For some reason, there seems to be this assumption that a B-movie is considered good by most people who watch it. I'd like to challenge that notion, as it seems absurd.



It is claimed that such a low score for Eat Lead and other similar games makes them bad games and at the same time not B-movies. A causal search of Metacritic for movies (oh noez guys, that site has those too!) finds classic B-movies like Army of Darkness at 57.* If B-movies are often rated so low by critics, why is the author (and many others here) holding games at such a different distinction?



We should be able to agree that B-games are games that do something well, but have other startling limitations. One of my favourite games that would probably be considered a B-game is Gauntlet: Dark Legacy. Ridiculously repetitive, very simple, in many ways very tedious to go through... Metacritic average of 60. But the game is so damn fun for me and a few friends to plow through at least once.



I feel just the same with Eat Lead. Yes, there's a lot of absolutely horrible gameplay (I don't normally play console shooters, but I can tell that). But just the same, it has it's charms: some parts of the gameplay work rather well (cover usually does it's job, and shooting works moderately well), and the dialog is fantastic. As such, it's a perfect candidate of a B-movie game.



In summary, I believe the industry not only can make B-movie games, but does so regularly. And just because it's a B-movie game, doesn't mean it's bad... it usually just ends up meaning only a select few groups of people are willing to tolerate it. But for those people, the game is amazing. And that's what counts.



*I'd find more examples, but I'm not a big movie buff, so I'm not well versed in B-movie knowledge

Christian Nutt
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Yes, but we generally accept that movie critics and game critics approach their respective media quite differently. As has been pointed out, game critics tend to align much more closely with what is popular than movie critics align with the general moviegoing audience. This has been discussed frequently, recently because it hasn't been holding true for Wii/DS casual/family titles. For games like Eat Lead, it does.

brandon sheffield
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and on top of what christian says here, in movies you have a far more educated critical public. so a B-movie can be appreciated by a select group of discerning viewers, but the game audience is much more likely to like a game simply because they haven't played anything in that genre before. As Sean notes, he liked Matt Hazard, but doesn't usually play console shooters. Is that then an informed opinion? The general game-playing public can't possible be as game-savvy as moviegoers are movie savvy, given the time commitment for each.



So the environment that allows the existence of B-movies doesn't really exist for games, which I think is part of the issue.

Stephen Chin
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I think the real matter isn't whether we can make B-games. As previous posters have mentioned, there already exists B-games (titles that aren't AAA-titles but aren't instant bargain bin crud either). The real issues is the acceptance of such games as 'legitimate' and 'quality' by both consumer/player and developer as a whole. When going to see a B-movie (or really, any movie not made by a major studio), there's an expectation of low budget which in turn means people are willing to accept cheaper results as long as it's entertaining. In video games though it seems it's either AAA-title, niche/genre, or some sort of serious/artsy game. Anything that isn't one of those is generally considered average at best and not worth ones time by both the critics and the players at large, be it casual or hardcore (or whatever).



It isn't helped by the misleading transparency of video game development. It's relatively easy to 'get' various programming and art concepts and being computers, there's the cultural expectation of 'cheap/easy' which leads to people believe that AAA-title effects or gameplay or whatever is much more easily achievable. Similarly with all the games-from-garage type stories we throw around.



This lack of support for them means a similar lack of non-development resources like marketing and promotion. Companies seem less willing to talk about non-AAA titles; they just release them and critics don't get copies to talk about. At best, you get one paragraph recommendation in the occasional quirky column on a dedicated video game site. Thus it's either 10+ million budge or sub 100K budget.



Get rid of the glass ceiling between AAA/niche/etc and 'everything else', make sure people hear about them and can accept them, and I think the presence of B games and a mid-budget middle ground will be much common and acceptable.

Jeffrey Fleming
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With all this talk of “B Movies” it occurs to me that the game industry might do well to examine low-budget films, not for their content but for their actual production methods. Now, I understand that comparing movies and games can be seen as a lazy metaphor in writing, but the game industry itself (particularly publishers) loves to make the comparison so I’m sticking with it.



The production of both movies and games require significant outlays of time, personnel, technology, and money—even at the low end. Film is a far more mature business and has been dealing with its own limitations for decades longer than the game industry. The B movie is functional response to those limits. Game makers can learn much about alternative financing and distribution by studying say, Russ Meyer or Larry Cohen. The production of Mario Bava’s films is a case study in how to achieve visually striking results with extremely limited resources. The early days of porn are a tale of filmmakers who made movies by any means necessary while facing deep cultural and legal resistance—only to be ripped off by the moneymen at every opportunity. Sound vaguely familiar to anyone?



The game business should know its own history but learning from its older sibling’s response to similar problems can be instructive as well.

E Zachary Knight
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All this talk of B-Games has reminded me of one of my favorite B-games. Final Fantasy X-2. Gameplay wise it was blast to play. I enjoyed the battle sequences quite well, but storywise it ran like a sci-fi movie crossed with a chick flick.

Paul Lazenby
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Unfortunately the Behind the Music parody wasn't funny, just dumb.

Which goes to show that you can have a good idea, and poorly execute it.

Which, in the case of Eat Lead, translates to the game itself also.

Christian Nutt
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Absolutely you can have players take games seriously that have lower budgets and production values than so-called AAA games. That's outside of the scope of my original post though, by a fair distance.



The issue is that you simply necessarily limit your audience. I think that Japanese developers take this tactic rather effectively on a fairly routine basis (Disgaea, Persona 3/4 are some good examples that are very well-known and have semi-crossed over.)



It's sort of a chicken and egg thing; but knowing your audience will take you very far here.

raigan burns
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Wait, seriously.. the entire article and dozens of comments and NO mention of the TIGSource "B Games" competition?!?! Come on!! http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?board=19.0



This is like the recent Tony Hawk series retrospective that refers to Pain instead of Stair Dismount: distressingly oblivious.

jaime kuroiwa
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It's strange that Eat Lead would bring up this topic, because I would associate this game more with the retro genre. A B game is an inspired piece of work with little funding, while a retro game is a litany of in-jokes.



The appeal of a B movie, at least for me, is that the filmmaker was COMPELLED to make the movie, regardless of budget, time, trends, etc. While some B movies attempt to copy popular genres, the standouts are the ones which clearly achieve someone's vision. It's the difference between Day of the Dead by George Romero and the one by Steve Miner.



The game industry, thankfully, is trending towards the smaller developer through digital distribution and inexpensive tools, so expect an explosion in B game development because there are a ton of people out there who feel compelled to make a game, and the barriers to entry are considerably lower than before.



The B game, like B movies, survive by vision alone. Gameplay and visual quality may play a part in its success, but those are only embellishments for an otherwise solid foundation. There is no "accident" for the B game/movie; They have achieved exactly what they aimed for.



So I think we have a disagreement with the definition of a B game. By Mr. Nutt's definition, we have yet to make a B game. By my definition, we're already surrounded by it.

Christopher Enderle
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I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to say shelf life can contribute to whether or not a game/movie succeeds as B fare. Being enticed by the fan following to pick up a copy of Evil Dead is a much more realistic proposition than finding yourself a copy of the original Resident Evil. Without being able to cultivate and sustain a particular culture to say "This is B quality, these are the things that make it hilarious" it's really hard to get the same perspective on games as you can with movies.



Also, I'd say B quality definitely exists in books, but what about music?

Jeff Haas
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Two points:



1. B movies traditionally were genre pictures. For a long time, if it was science fiction, action, suspense or similar categories that appealed to adolescents, it was a "B" movie. The "A" movies appealed to adults.



Once genre movies became summer blockbusters, they became "A" movies because of their wide appeal and huge box office take.



The videogame business is almost completely dependent upon "B" movie genres.



2. Even in a low budget B movie, you can still have good timing and pacing, so the result is really entertaining. Evil Dead 1 & 2 are good examples of this. They're over-the-top and cheesy but the editing and talent behind them makes them really entertaining.



So the videogame equivalent shouldn't be full of self-referential humor...it should be an inexpensive game with a low budget that plays really well; it should have its heart in the right place and succeed in spite of the limited resources.

brandon sheffield
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Raigan - hmm, even I forgot that existed!

I guess this means we'll have to fight to the death, if you're coming to GDC.

raigan burns
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Yes, pistols at dawn! ;p

raigan burns
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p.s - that's either Hagar from Final Fight or Freddie from Cromartie High pile-driving a shark.. either way, AWESOME!

Ian Barkley-Yeung
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I would say Castle Crashers is a successful B-game. It's obviously got low-production values -- as in the art looks like something I could have drawn, almost; the story is pretty non-existent, and the voice work is, well, there is no voice work. The gameplay is pretty retro -- basically Golden Axe with worse graphics -- and yet it's a lot of fun to play. And metacritic gives it a solid green 82.



I think the trick to "B-games" is good gameplay with cheesy other elements, like art, story, or sound. That works.



P.S. I used to work at 3DO, and one thing that Trip Hawkings always used to tell us is that he wanted to make the "B" games of the industry. 3DO is bankrupt now...

Joshua Dallman
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Sexy Hiking anyone?



I've been playing B games for years. They're called shareware, indie, freeware, and home-made games. YouTube is full of B quality clips, AddictingGames is full of B quality games. And I love them. The more terrible the graphics the better.



As for The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra reference, though I enjoy B movies, I thought Cadavra was boring as hell. Game-makers can't get away with poor gameplay, and film-makers (parody or not) can't get away with boring their audience.

raigan burns
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@Ian Barkley-Yeung: in what universe does Golden Axe have better graphics than Castle Crashers?! It's not about "production values", it's about aesthetics and style -- something that CC has an abundance of. And mentioning story or voice acting when talking about games is totally moot-larious.

Yannick Boucher
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Erm.... NOT ONE among all of you guys (including Christian) mentioned House of the Dead ??! I think you're missing the obvious. As far as "B STYLE" games go, this is it !! As for B-grade GAMEPLAY, well I agree that there is TONS of that in iPhone games, web games, casual, etc.



I really don't see much of a debate or even an issue, really ! There's B-style, and B-grade. The latest Shellshock is a B-Grade through and through, for example.

sebastien clavel
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Virtua strike 2000.1 on Dreamcast is totally B style !



A serious (arcade) soccer game made by people who never played soccer before and with lot of funny bugs !



I laught so much thx to this game !

Raymond Grier
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Though I'm a little disappointed at the amount of attention this article received as opposed to many others, I feel obligated to point out the missing piece of the puzzle.

The first paragraph of the article touched on what's missing. The earliest most classic B movies were unintentional but they were also not considered B movies at the time they were made. Traditionally a B movie was taken seriously by the viewers, not just the makers, at the time it was released. These classics weren't considered B rated until they were supplanted by better quality productions in following years. It is only the last 2 decades that we have considered it possible to make a B movie intentionally and, as someone else pointed out above, these are parodies and not true B movies.

To find a true B game one must look to old classic games that were great when they were released but are both laughable now and yet still playable.

Dave Beaudoin
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What I'm seeing from all this discussion is the basic idea that in order to "succeed" in making a B movie or game the most important thing is that as a creator you have to do the core thing well. That is, you have to make a technically "good" movie or a well designed game. As long as we're still looking at movies for inspiration in this discussion, it is also important to consider that many of the classic B movies were not only cult hits, but actively changed the direction of cinema. Movies like Evil Dead, Bad Taste, and El Mariachi directly influenced some of the biggest block busters to come out of hollywood. I think these sort of niche movies, which were technically excellent but may at first blush appear to be too strange to be accepted by the mainstream have more in common with games like Katamari Damacy. I would tend to consider the first Katamari (at the very least) a B Game in the sense we're talking about. It featured an utterly ridiculous cast of characters and an over the top premise but also thoughtful and well designed game play. Maybe by focusing on the "bad" part of the game we're not looking in the right places for the elusive "B Game."

Blayne Williams
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The whole time I was reading this article one game was screaming in my mind as the perfect example that this is phenomenally difficult, but fully possible.



GOD HAND for the PS2.



First, this is literally a B Game as it was a discount title from the get go and clearly made on a budget. Enemies are palette swapped and reused, graphics are of a low standard for the release date. The story is over the top, ridiculous, and at times flat out offensive to a number of minorities. The gameplay is entirely unforgiving, punishing the player for all but the most skillful execution. It is also incredibly repetitive, simply increasing in difficultly as the game goes on. IGN gave the game a 3/10, stating "God Hand quickly becomes a boring, annoying and frustrating game. "



Despite all that, it sits at a 73% on MetaCritic with and 8.5 average from users and 75% on GameRankings, VideoGaiden declared it one of the best videogames ever, and I personally replay the whole things ever 3-6 months. The gameplay, story, and presentation is only enjoyable to a very specific demographic, but to those specific people it is phenomenal. The game didn't sell overly well and can be found on eBay for a mere 10-20 bucks.



You should really check the game out as I feel it is the perfect example of what you are considering.

Jamie Roberts
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It's surprising that only one person so far has picked out the fact that the stories in almost every game rely on B movie material. In my opinion most of the current glut of games will be designated "B" games far down the line, when we have moved away from stereotypical sci-fi/fantasy tropes. B movies bring on the cheese, and most videogame stories have cheese in spades already. They just have a much lower standard to live up to.

An Dang
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I'm not sure if this game falls into the category of "B Game," but it is one of my favorite games of all time: Earthbound.


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