Before I state my position on this, I just want to make it clear that I’m a huge fan of hosted games. If I were to make a top 10 CoG/Hosted list, it would be dominated by hosted games. I think the ability to write without the restrictive shackles of CoG’s style and design guidelines is a huge boon to authors. That said, it would also easily dominate a list of the worst 10 games I’ve played. I believe CoG should seriously consider implementing a more thorough approval/vetting process.
I’m not asking for CoG to set up some arbitrary quality standards or writing guidelines they do with their official label, infact I’d actively discourage that, but there needs some sort of barrier to entry set up to stop games that are actively diluting the hosted games brand and damaging it’s reputation with customers from slipping through. I am aware of the basic rules, but these are not enough. Games like Sword of the Elements and Zombien should never have been published.
Here are some of my proposed rules. These are fairly basic and, in my opinion, the bare minimum of what should be expected for a commercial game. They’re also fairly objective, so simple to enforce.
- The author should be fluent in english, or at the very least the game should be edited by someone who is. CoG already require the games to be in english, It would be easy to take another step and say they should be in fluent and smooth english.
- Grammar/Spelling. I can forgive the occasional mistake, but some games are just so egregious with it that it turns me off from them entirely. It gives me the impression that either the author never graduated from school, or is just incredibly lazy and doesn’t care for the quality of their work. CoG should enforce grammar standards and consistency above and beyond the basic “this sentence has to make sense”. If a game frequently switches between past and present tense, that’s not up to grammatical standards. If a game doesn’t make proper usage of paragraphs and page_breaks, that’s not up to standard either. Refuse to publish their game and make them fix it.
- The game needs to be relatively bug free. Yes, I know it’s near impossible to eliminate all bugs, but I should be able play through it with the expectation that I won’t be running into weird continuity errors every chapter.
What do you guys think? Do you have any additions to the list? If you disagree, I’d love to hear why.