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What are the worst game ideas you can think of?

A topic by omegabutton created 94 days ago Views: 782 Replies: 52
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Some context: I have an idea for a possible future game jam. You know how some games, books, etc. have an amazing premise but fall flat on the execution? I want to try for the opposite. Participants will choose one of three atrocious game concepts and try to make a good game based on it.

But I’ll need some help to come up with something truly terrible. So please tell me some bad ideas you have! Ideally, they’d work for multiple genres—the idea I had is “a game about watching paint dry”—but genre-specific ones are also welcome.

If I end up using your idea in the jam, I will credit you.


A game about:

  • Waiting in line at the dmv
  • Studying for a final exam
  • Folding a fitted sheet
  • Pokemon but you can't catch or train pokemon
  • Browsing Reddit
  • Watching grass grow
  • Watering a fake potted plant

:) Folding a fitted sheet !!  Made my day, thank you!

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The worst game idea I can think of?

The Wacky Adventures of Arsonist Peepee in: “Running from the German Skunk Fursuit Police while Denying the Holocaust”

Edit: Though to give a more serious answer, there is one that I had. A while back there was somebody on here who kept posting threads about hating Visual Novels, stuff like “what would you do if you found your kids playing them” and the like. So as a joke I started making something called “My Son Will NOT Play Virtual Novels”

The entire thing was going to be an anti-VN where you assumed the role of a father (as opposed to most VNs customizing your persona) dead-set on having his rebellious teenage son be shielded from VNs after they killed the rest of their family. You would have had no outward customization of the characters, but instead your son would react to how you behaved, and that would have lead to different scenarios (i.e. giving your kid a laptop but being strict would turn him emo, and thus he gets into online roleplay and from there writes a VN, leading to a lose-state). And at the end of most of the scenarios where he inevitably picks up a VN, the player/father would enter a minigame where they brutally kill the son in some cartoonishly over-the-top way (i.e. chasing his bike down from the family car lined with nitro, smashing all of his bones in a sumo ring after catching him with an 18+ VN, smiting him with lightning after the VNs turned him gay, etc etc) all while the BG music changes to some crappy screamo of me shouting “I HATE VIRTUAL NOVELS” over and over again. And then for most of the endings would have just been you getting put on death row.

Dropped it after a bit since I’m having a lengthy time making a simpler game than that, so I won’t be upset if someone lifts that idea.


I’ve got another one: Asset-flip Tycoon.


That sounds like base premise for GBTK (Game Breaker's Toolkit) jam made by adriendittrick.

Anyways, for worst game idea, for me it's any idea whose controls/abilities conflicts with game rule. Examples:

1. Player can only move left or right but the game requires player to move up or down.

2. Player can't control the character but it's required to complete some tasks in good manner.

3. Player is forced to read long texts to progress but the game has strict time limit.


A war game played in actual real time, where wars take months to years of playing time.  Bonus points for playing as a soldier why needs to patrol around the camp for months before dying from a bombing, without ever seeing an enemy soldier.

A game about being a soldier in a time of peace.

A game about some criminal activity (e.g. piracy, street races, theft, whatever) where the game prevents you from actually breaking any laws, including the really little ones.

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This is a great idea for a game jam! And it can be a bad idea in terms of theme or mechanics:

1) 50 Shades of Grey- nothing sexual, that's just the palette you have to use.

2) Rebellious Hero- your character constantly ignores your input, or delays their actions, or does something else altogether.

3) Lost in Translation- a text-based game (VN, choose your own adventure, point n click etc.) where the text is fed into different languages in Google Translate repeatedly until it barely makes sense when it returns to English.

4) Jack of all Trades Jam- all the art and graphics have to be hand drawn by the coder and scanned in, and all the audio recorded from their own voice. Ideally this should be a solodev jam, but small teams are ok so long as nobody with any drawing, voice acting or singing talent joins the team. Any dialogue must also be written by someone who hasn't even attempted to write a story, poem or article since they were forced to in school.

5) Diplomatic Solution Jam- Sure, Mario may be fun, but wouldn't it be better if the representatives of Bowser and the princess got around a table and discussed a future for the Mushroom Kingdom that was acceptable to all parties? Similarly, instead of all the mindless violence in Doom, maybe their differences should be settled peacefully by the UN? Unleash your inner bureaucrat with Diplomatic Solution Jam...


Thank you, Krunchy Fried Games! I had a good laugh reading this; happy holidays!


Thanks- and to you!

I think it would be really cool to have a game where the character has their own mind, like occasionally they could go the wrong way, delay commands and so on


Another crappy idea: you know how crappy mobile games try to make money through in-game purchases, gachas, and ads?  Make that the entire game.  Gachas that contain ads that unlock in-game purchases for more gachas, with no actual game behind any of it.


Think I've played that one :-(


Walking simulator where you have to walk 100 miles and you walk at 1 mile per hour and if you stop at any point  before the end you go back to the beginning.

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So Desert Bus but without the bus?


turn based combat .. not my kind of games to play


Thanks for all the responses, everyone! Some of these are really good. And by that I mean they sound like torture!

Multiple people suggested some variation of “the player character doesn’t listen to you”, so I think I should include that one! The only question remaining is exactly how to word it.


based off of a real dream I had: walking around in a PS1 graphic style store and paper cut outs of people jump out from the walls to ask you to bring them stuff, a good example is when  Freddy Fazbear appeared next to a refrigerator and asked me to bring him a quesadilla in a deep demonic voice.

That's a very specific idea for a jam, but I definitely want to play your dream game XD


the whole thing probably wont work as a game jam but part of it could [also i just kinda felt like posting this dream bc its funny]

Super Cool Advanced Game Engine - 

STORY: As a last ditch effort to get yourself out of a major rut in your struggling quest to become a Super Pro Game Dev, you sign up for a Super Cool game jam. The only rule is that you must use the Super Cool Advanced Game Engine to build your game.

GAMEPLAY: Navigate through a complex, insanely bloated spiderweb of features in the Super Cool Advanced Game Engine to try and make a functioning game! There are many features which are deprecated, but you don't know which ones, and almost every feature requires you to download a giant package that crashes your operating system and requires you to restart your computer. Nothing about it is intuitive, but don't worry - you can consult the Docs! The Super Cool Advanced Engine comes with the Super Informative Documentation, a link to a single massive, ancient HTML page with 404 links for everything. you also can't post in the forum without getting verbally assaulted, banned, and SWATted for asking stupid questions~

I guess this won't sound like a bad idea at first:
Lemmings with portals
(or teleporters)
so you try to save a bunch of little dudes by getting them to the exit
and you can place a portal entrance and destination with the mouse


"antimatter lemmings with portals"

it would be a far worse concept ;-)


I can see it now: one lemming barely touches a ground pixel and the entire level explodes 🤔


pay 2 save 


lol! Or to really bump up the scumminess- pay to load.

pay to do anything. pay to contact the developer and give them a piece of your mind. pay to just move one tile in-game. pay to save and load, pay to accept defeat in-game once you lose, and yes of course, pay to win

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A game about rat race where you just wake up , eat and go to job then return home , watch repeat telecasts on television, then use social media and sleep. until you eventually grow old enough to retire and you children throw you out. Then some crazy b*stards catch you and sell your body parts. Then they left you to die.


in a few years, if capitalism goes down its current path, you won't need to play an "atrocious concept" video game to experience this, lol

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You know the saying a watched pot never boils? Yeah that

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that's the essence of every clicker, idle, and incremental game ;-) and I would know, 'cuz I made a ton of these to get views on here, lol


If only Kongregate was still going- they loved idle games there!

I have never used Kongregate - I used Newgrounds for a while until I moved on to bigger ambitions - but just curious, what happened to Kongregate? Why are they not "still going"?


Well, they are still around- but it's no longer a site like this where anyone can upload and comment on games- they're mobile game publishers now. I think they did this for financial reasons.

We're certainly not too ambitious for NG- our aim's to release a commercial game next and plan to release a demo there so more people know about it!


LOL Pot Watcher The Game by JohnSu


I am not sure if I understand the term "game concept" correctly in context of a premise.

A premise would be more of a story thing. Like the classic boy meets girl.    And most of the concepts I read  are rather mechanics. And ways to frustrate the player. But   player frustration is a rather   well working concept ( I am looking at you, Dark Souls).    And even the silliest concepts like idle games do exist. Cookie Clicker was specifically designed to be a non-game.   So I am not sure, if there even is such a thing, as a  bad game concept.  Because, well, everything that is new is exciting, therefore, if you manage to come up with a bad concept it would be new and exciting and it were a good concept for the novelty alone.

(Oh, and watching paint dry?  Seriously?  People will use it as an awesome screensaver. Also, would not be a game, but a movie. You woud have to add blow dryers,   open windows,   use a fan, etc, (but that would be the awesome execution probably))

That being said:

A typing learning    game, but the words are spelled wrong. 

A game about being invisible in an unlit room.

 A match-1  game.


Examples for previously thought of "bad concepts", to illustrate my point   ...

A game where you have to control passports.

A game where your character can die permanently.

A game where you try to score with the ladies. But fail.

A game where you have to read. Lots and lots.

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I think you got what I meant in terms of game concepts! I was using “premise” and “concept” interchangeably to mean a basic idea, what you would use to pitch a game in one sentence. But you’re right that “premise” is more associated with story.

What you said about the paint drying concept illustrates the exact thing I was going for: something that sounds bad on paper but can be done well. The “bad concepts” you listed fit great, but I also see what you’re saying. (You are listing existing games, right? I recognize “Papers, Please”.) When you look for a “bad” idea that could theoretically make a good game, it does kind of circle back around to a good idea, doesn’t it?

That being said, I am enjoying the bad mechanic ideas, yours included! Especially the “match-1 game”. That’s hilarious.

Glory to Arstotzka! Hehe.  When I thought about it, the permadeath came to mind. People whined about it in Diablo, but is   was optional.   And with  all the rogue likes, the concept is almost a sign of a good game concept now.  So yeah,   bad game concepts are hard to think of.  It might be, that it is always just bad execution.   The other ones were of course the Larry games and the whole genre of visual novels. 

I am sure many known good game concepts could be pitched  in a   way that they sound boring, nonsensical or  just like a bad idea in general.

There are just too many existing games that do well, but are not appealing as a game concept to many. Kinetic novels for instance. Even if I would like the story, it just would not be a game to me. As soon as you have any type of input that the player can optimize, the gaming part starts. That is one reason to play a game, but there are many more.

You cannot even pitch a bad concept like: let's make a game  about x, but the graphics are bad.   Because, already done and working, see    pixelart games and of course Minecraft. Some people even made a fighting game ... with only on button. I  believe that is even a genre now.

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make the player have zero feeling throught out the enitre game, make it not memberable, make it mediocor, dont do the its so bad its good, also i sugest look at Josh Strife Hayes or game dungeon. (both on youtube)


A batman game where all you do is invest as bruce wayne


if by invest you mean like financially, that actually wouldn't be a very bad game idea. paper trades (stock market simulators) run on this concept, albeit without specifically naming the trader's player character and tying it to a real-world franchise property.


I know, but pretend your a little kid expecting this to be an epic super hero game and you find it boring as hell.


The flipside of this could be a stock investment simulator game where your character turns out to be a superhero and you do no trading at all! 
Maybe 'Misleading Game Jam' could be a good bad idea....

come to think of it, bruce wayne could've done a helluva lot more good for Gotham City if he'd skipped the whole batman cosplay BS thingy and just put his money in some good, well-placed and well-timed investments, in say, public works / infrastructure, or education. the best way to eliminate crime is through education and not putting pigs on every street corner, according to karl marx... I think ;-)


There is a reason, why they have super villains. 

Bruce Wayine fighting against the IRS, because he tried a tax deduction for his bat cave.

bruce wayne is probably one of gotham city's biggest supervillains considering he's a crazy rich guy with the balls to don a bat costume and fight actual crooks... oh wait, he's how rich? well then that means he probably got rich by making the little guy - the everyday person - poor. a pox on his house! eat the rich, you know.



I do not think, he qualifies as a super villain. Or even a villain. Being rich alone is not  enough to qualify. Neither is dressing as a furry.

You need do crime stuff. And to be super villainous the crime must be too big for the police, so only heroes will be able to deal with you. Super heroes. If the police could deal with you, you would just be an ordinary criminal.

Crimes against  anti-capitalist   world view are not enough. Oh, and that Wayne Foundation  does do the social stuff, like supporting education. In the DC universe it is supposed to be basically the biggest  private foundation to support charity stuff.

Of course, society might be better off without needing charity in the first place...


New bad game pitch:

Play as an Agent. An IRS Agent.

"Play as an IRS agent."

Don't quote me on this but I believe the IRS uses something similar to train its new incoming freshman agents with. They don't call it a video game or a visual novel but from what I gather, it's eerily similar to a visual novel.

It's made by a government contractor for the specified government agency. I doubt anyone at the IRS actually knows how to make games, but I could be wrong. The CIA and the NSA are confirmed employers of hobbyist game developers, so FYI in case you weren't aware of that.

The US Army (or was it the Marine Corps?) a few decades back hired a defense contractor / game development studio to produce a recruiting video game that sucked balls or was lots fun depending on your age group and whether or not you had fascistic tendencies, but that's another story altogether. :-) Personally I didn't play it but that was due to my PC not being up to spec. I loved the notion of a military recruitment video game. Boy was I a naive fool, back then. :-D

Don't quote me on this


The pitch was supposed to be a let down. Starting with high hopes, like, oh an Agent game, like James Bond or Spy vs. Spy, how cool. And then following with the clarification of the less exciting prospect of a bureaucrat. ;-)

I do not think they would call their simulation training software a game, although technically you could. The games pilots train with are better, I guess.

Flight simulator but you play as someone flying coach.  You can play with a little screen on the back of the seat in front of you and sometimes a headphone jack depending on the model of plane you're simulating.  Maybe the screen could be a launcher for other games or movies that sometimes gets interrupted with announcements or when the flight is over.

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A game where you have to kick old grannies or old people walking on the street and run away....(~‾▿‾)~ until you find anyone else.

an Adult porn anime visual novel made by a minor