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Camp/"So Bad It's Good"

Recommendations by Ivanr

It might seem strange that a video game, which relies on consistent and effortful coding in order to deliver any kind of experience, could be "so bad it's good" in the way that an Ed Wood movie is. But it can happen, as this list hopefully demonstrates.

Deliberate "badness" is arguably not badness at all, but camp. On the other hand, I'm not really interested in any kind of authorial authenticity in general, but purely the aesthetic experience. If deliberate goofiness and slapdashery can create an experience enjoyable in the same *way* as a genuinely "bad" game, that's good enough for me.

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1. Acid Whiplash, by Ryan Stevens and Cody Sandifer (1998)
Average member rating: (16 ratings)
Ivanr says:

Rybread Celsius's masterpiece. Retrospective, introspective, and "trippy", arguably. Very Ed Wood.

2. Stupid Kittens, by Marc Valhara (2000)
Average member rating: (15 ratings)
Ivanr says:

Not a Rybread Celsius game, but it displays a similar sensibility to Acid Whiplash. Enormously fun. Valhara's other works have a similar tenor, but Stupid Kittens is the least coherent of all and one of my favorites.

3. The Fat Lardo and the Rubber Ducky
by Anonymous
(2003)
Average member rating: (14 ratings)

Ivanr says:

This game is neither trippy nor confusing nor even badly implemented - it's just crude, ugly, and profane. And utterly pointless. Surprisingly polished, given the cruelty and vulgarity of the actual "content".

4. Pick Up The Phone Booth And Die, by Rob Noyes (1996)
Average member rating: (88 ratings)
Ivanr says:

Definitely further on the "camp" or "troll game" end of the spectrum, but a seminal classic. Does, as they say, what it says on the tin.

5. Mystery Science Theater 3000 Presents "Detective", by C. E. Forman, Graeme Cree, and Stuart Moore (1995)
Average member rating: (50 ratings)
Ivanr says:

The guileless ineptitude of "Detective" is a charming pleasure, and the MST3K commentary enhances the experience much the way that the dialogue in the real MST3K TV show did.

6. When I Was Shot By Elephants III, by Ray (2012)
Average member rating: (7 ratings)
Ivanr says:

I regret that I arrived too late to experience the (reportedly inane) series of games to which this game is an homage, but WIWSBE III is a delight in itself. The nice, Inform-competent handling of think/remember commands is a delightful contrast to the actual content. At least two interesting endings!

7. Conan Kill Everything, by Ian Haberkorn (2005)
Average member rating: (59 ratings)
Ivanr says:

Like "Pick Up the Phone Booth and Die", this is a classic of minimalist design. Raar!


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