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As I briefly touched on in this article, the one thing common to every gamer I know is that they all have at least one revolutionary, brilliant, perfect and heartbreakingly unrealized "I Have a Game" concept: some combination of elements, some untapped property or some new direction for a sequel that just never got made, but would shake the gaming world to the core if it did. The single greatest tragedy in gaming isn't what that manipulative bitch Peach is doing to poor Mario's heart; it's that, though we will get endless iterations of Call of Battle: Duty Field from now until the heat death of the universe, we'll never see these masterpieces get made.

But fuck that noise: This is the Internet. This is where dreams come true, even (hell, especially) the awful ones. Why can't we have these? Indie games have more of a market than ever, talented designers are increasingly going freelance and Kickstarter and similar programs are disseminating funding outside of the old publisher model. All we need is a big enough platform to publish our ideas and somebody with the will and ability to take advantage of them. Well, I've got the platform right here, and everybody reading this right now has the ideas. So somebody, for the love of God, please -- take advantage of us.

A Zombie Game Done Right


This being the Internet and all, I'm sure people are going to generally crap all over and ruin everybody else's wonderful game ideas. Me being a part of the Internet and all, I'm sure I'm actually going to be the first one to do it. But it seems unfair for me to shoot down anybody else's I.H.A.G. idea without putting my own out there for mockery. So here's the one I'm waiting for: the perfect zombie game.

What? Guys, what?! Jesus, stop booing! I'm a person, too! I have feelings! AND THEY HURT SO BAD RIGHT NOW.

I know, I know, zombie games are totally played out nowadays, which is why I find it so amazing -- with the absolute glut that we've all endured over the last decade -- that nobody ever even tried to make one right. There were some good ones, sure: RE4, Dead Rising, Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare and so forth -- but there's one very simple, very appealing aspect of the zombie apocalypse that nobody has sufficiently addressed.

The "apocalypse" part.

Source.Which is weird, right? Seems like it'd be hard to miss the end of the whole world.

We don't love zombies because of the monster: We love zombies because of the unique scenario the monster creates. Zombies are just slower horror versions of the bandits from The Road Warrior, or stupider versions of the vampires from I Am Legend. (The book. We will not now and shall never discuss the Will Smith "movie" version.) And yet every zombie game takes place with you either trying to prevent or fighting your way through the zombie apocalypse. They should be taking place, say, a year after it. A year after the large-scale fighting has died out; after the survivors have been whittled down; after what few people are left have already executed their survival plans and are now just dealing with the fallout in a world of the undead.

My perfect zombie game would be an open world one, in the style of Grand Theft Auto IV or the Saints Row series, but with an emphasis on completeness instead of size. See, I think the ambitious scale of open world games these days is actually a weakness. They create vast play areas, sure, but they're ultimately empty and inaccessible. I know that's a matter of hardware and design limitations -- you can't satisfactorily model the inside of every building in LA with current hardware and realistic resources -- but why hasn't anybody scaled down? Instead of creating a two-dimensional theater backdrop of New York City, why not give us every living, breathing inch of Small Town America? A little backwoods city with a modest downtown area, surrounded by a bit of suburb and wilderness, and every inch of it totally realized. You can't tell me we can build World of Warcraft but we can't nail down a decent facsimile of Redmond, Oregon. Give me a small town in the country, with every room in every building built out, as much of it interactive as possible, and the whole damn thing just friggin' lousy with the undead.

Source.Like, objectively just too many undead. So many they don't even have stuff to do anymore; they just loiter.

You start out with a home base and some resources, but your job isn't to save mankind or rescue the Zombie President's daughter or anything so grandiose. Your job is just to start retaking the town however you see fit. Maybe that means you find the other survivor bases and meet up with them, or take them out, or work together to build some new ones. Maybe you cordon off the top floors of all the buildings downtown, nail the doors shut, demolish the stairways and lay planks from building to building to create a rooftop outpost. Or maybe you clear out the local Walmart and have yourself a massive concrete bunker complete with vital Hot Pockets and subpar jean caches.

Source.That game would be called America: Faded Glory.

In general, I would put the focus more on complete interaction with a small environment instead of partial interaction with a large environment, and shift the mood from pure action to strategy/survival. Sure, you'll probably have some intense moments with zombies clawing at the windows as you unload a shotgun in every direction -- but most of the game will be about carefully making sure that scenario never happens.

So, it's like Grand Theft Auto meets Left 4 Dead, with a hefty dose of Minecraft mixed in. But here's the kicker -- here's how you could extend the replayability to infinity: You swirl in just the tiniest dash of Animal Crossing.

Haha, what? Do I want to see Tom Nook torn apart by an undead cartoon hippo?

Of course. The miserly bastard pays how many bells for a shell? This one has motherfucking rainbow swirls, you cheap son of a bitch. The fires of hell should warm your breakfast.


But that's not what I'm talking about: I'm talking about stealing one of Animal Crossing's online mechanics, wherein you exchange a code with another player that allows them entrance to your town (and vice versa). Because in my tragically fantastical zombie game, what you've chosen to do with your town changes everything completely. Walking into somebody else's play area, even if it started out the same, would be a wholly different experience. Did they hole up in the library, too? Or did they move underground and seal off the sewers? Do they even have a home base, or do they just camp in the woods and keep moving? Did they corral all the zombies together in the Costco and routinely drive a Zamboni through the aisles just to thin out the crowd a little? Or did they go completely mad with isolation and just build a giant, towering metal cock out of the rusting husks of destroyed vehicles?

How It Could Be Ruined:

Nobody would buy it, and you would therefore have nobody to play it with, because seriously: More fucking zombies, man? Ugh. They're just done.

How It Could Be Even More (Unrealistically) Amazing:

If you didn't have to trade codes at all; if the town was semirandomized and every single instance was unique, all linked together by short expanses of highway. There's no way the computing power exists for that, I know, and if it did, the connectivity issues would be staggering. But that's what the word "unrealistically" is doing up there. Because oh, shit, how cool would it be if that were possible? You finally conquer the horde in your city and get bored, so you just hit the road, hopping from town to town, encountering, bartering or butting heads with other survivors. Maybe you find somebody whose strategy is way better than yours, so you form a raiding party and go after their resources. Or maybe you're won over by their superior way of thinking, and you decide to permanently join up with the Grand and Esteemed Order of the Metal Cocktower ...

A Horror Game That Understands Subtlety


By CestMoi

A horror game that isn't at all marketed as a horror game and you could conceivably go through the entire thing and not experience a single ounce of horror apart from perhaps a slight feeling as you're playing that something isn't right with this game world. However, if you go away from the main quest or whatever horrible creepy shit goes down and you realize that as you were playing this game that there was always this horror lying just underneath the surface and you never even saw it until just now and OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL.

Or perhaps similar to that idea a game that is completely normal the first time you play through it again, just a sense of "something peculiar is up and I don't know what it is" and then you get the horror coming through on subsequent play-throughs. You'd need some sort of incentive to do multiple play-throughs, though, maybe something like a promise of multiple endings.

Why It's Awesome:

Subtlety is perhaps the single rarest virtue in any form of modern media. For example, I've always wanted to see CestMoi's exact concept done as a movie: A film that seems maybe slightly unsettling at first, like the overall atmosphere is just a little strange and tense, but it's only if you pay really close attention that you see all the details of true horror in the background. Things like monsters lost in the crowd, reflections that subtly don't match up, things scurrying in the shadows -- but the movie itself never focuses on them. It never explicitly even mentions them until the end. Although CestMoi is right, of course, in that it would be even more killer as a game. A sort of Eternal Darkness that only becomes a horror game after multiple play-throughs, when you start chasing after those monsters you didn't notice in the crowds, or finally exploring what was on the other side of that door with the weird scratches that you've passed by a million times ...

How It Could Be Ruined:

The audience. Obviously, it would be spoiled to hell in the first week, and probably memed into irrelevance by the second. But more importantly, subtlety isn't prevalent in our media precisely because we as an audience just don't have time for it. You'd essentially be asking a dev team to create a somewhat boring game first and hide an amazing one underneath it. That sounds amazing in theory, but I have a few hours a week to play games, if I'm lucky. If the first hour of your game is my character depositing checks at the bank to set up the "normalcy" of the scenario, I'm sure as hell not playing the second hour. And the whole thing hangs on that -- on building a convincing normality and then subtly violating the sanctity of it. We all live normality every day anyway; who wants to play that shit, too? You give us the tiniest bit of freedom in a video game and the first thing we do is jump an ice cream truck through the front door of the police station. A subtle horror game would be trying to set up the atmosphere and we'd all be off in the corner, hitting the squat button and giggling because it looks like our butts are in the teller's face. I mean, it could be done, of course. Normality could be made intriguing long enough to subvert it, but the balance needed to maintain interest while essentially playing through a disposable main plot would take an absolutely masterful horror writer.

How It Could Be Even More (Unrealistically) Amazing:

If they actually got a masterful horror writer to write the damn thing. Seriously, video games, most writers I know work pretty cheap -- why do you keep giving scripting duties to the drunkest intern? Chad's a good guy and all, but his character sketches for "the guy with REALLY big hands" are just not all that scary.

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No, Seriously: Who Framed Roger Rabbit ... The Game


By Bender_Is_Great

I would love to see a L.A. Noire-style game set in the world of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a game where you play as Eddie Valiant, or some other human character, and travel around a photorealistic rendering of 1930s- or 1940s-era Los Angeles, interacting with classic cartoon characters and solving mysteries. The human characters and environments would all look realistic, but the Toons would all be cel-shaded, and ideally voiced by their current voice actors (if you go into Toon Town, then all the environments are cel-shaded and your character is the only one who looks realistic). The Animated Series-style skins in Arkham City prove that it is possible for a game to have some characters look cartoony, while other characters look realistic.

Why It's Awesome:

It's like Kingdom Hearts meets Mafia II, except you can play as Bob Hoskins (OMG, finally!), and Jessica Rabbit is way more effective at confusing your sexuality than Daisy Duck.

How It Could Be Ruined:

Bender_Is_Great realized it himself later in the post: licensing. If any aspect of the licensing fell through, the center could not hold. If they couldn't get all of the actual character rights, you'd just be mowing down totally random cartoon rabbits with a Studebaker. And while that's pretty funny, it's just not the same thing. Or it could be even worse: They could get licensing for the B-listers, and you'd end up playing a sexy game of cat and mouse with Olive Oyl while trying to solve a murder plot masterminded by the Great Gazoo.

How It Could Be Even More (Unrealistically) Amazing:

Four little words: Bob Hoskins motion capture.

Survival Horror With an Emphasis on "Survival"


By EzioAuditorre and TheSax

EzioAuditorre had the theme down ...

I've always wanted a survival game where you actually work to survive and even struggle. Say, the beginning of Fallout. You get kicked into a wasteland from the only thing you ever knew where you had almost no survival skills. Instead of the first thing you do being go forth and kill people, you attempt to find food and water without getting caught. You find a gun? Too bad, you have no idea how to use it unless you train with it, and by that I mean target practice. As you train your ability to use that weapon or item gets marginally better. You hide in the day and scavenge at night, until you can finally confront people. Also, the world has its own ecosystem and does its own thing, kind of like Skyrim, but less scripted things. The end goal would probably have something to do with why you're in the wasteland in the first place, which is why this game is so hard for me to figure out. Like, you can't just go scavenge forever and eventually become Bear Grylls and that's the end, there has to be a driving plot that makes it vital to survive but also keeps you from just sitting on your ass trapping animals. And that is where my idea falls apart, because I am for shit at making up stories.

But TheSax solved that problem for him:

I would absolutely love that set on the Jurassic Park islands. The basic premise is that it's a hardcore survival game, but with dinosaurs. The highlight would be of course the hardcore mode, in which you only have paper maps and a compass, whatever weapon you find throughout the island and that's that. No radar and the dinos (raptors) would stalk you at every turn, you would have to run desperately up a tree (or fight I guess) against them. You need to eat, drink and sleep, and any part of your body can get damage and will need medical attention. Basically Bear Grylls in Isla Sorna, without the camera crew and shit scared.

Why It's Awesome:

A survival horror game. With dinosaurs. If you don't have an erection right now, then it's either perfectly OK (because you're a female), or it's never going to be OK again (because somebody has absconded with your dick).

I know this concept has technically been done before -- but not done well. Not like they said: with an emphasis on total helplessness and wilderness survival instead of rehashed crate puzzles and shitty shooting mechanics. It never occurred to me before they said it, but the two of them are absolutely correct: Dinosaur survival horror isn't "done right" unless your character has a "drink own urine" button.

How It Could Be Ruined:

You could pick the wrong dinosaurs. If you cast biologically accurate velociraptors, for example, it would just be a game about a water sports fetishist swatting at clawed turkeys.

How It Could Be Even More (Unrealistically) Amazing:

If you get to play as this guy:


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Magic: The Gesturing


By Reckless_abrandon

My idea is a multiplayer 1-vs.-1 dueling magician game for something like the Kinect. Spells would be cast by hand gestures alone. One hand would cast defensive wards and buffs on yourself, while the other would cast offensive spells and curses on the opposing player. Weaker spells would have easy gestures, and stronger ones would be more elaborate. Also, the strength of the spell you cast would depend on how precisely you performed the gesture, and a completely failed attempt at a spell could actually harm yourself.

So there would be a very steady learning curve for all levels of players. Beginners might just be spamming weak magic missiles at each other. Experts might be ripping walls of stone up from the ground to block massive fireballs while calling down chain lightning strikes. This would of course be incredibly difficult, as you would not only have to have good enough muscle memory in each hand to do whatever complicated gestures, but you'd have to be able to do it without thinking about it so you could watch what your opponent is doing to counter his gestures. You would also be able to study the styles of different opponents and find their weaknesses, just like a real imaginary wizard battle might go.

There would be a leveling system, but in no way would it affect the strength of your spells. All spell casting would be entirely reliant on personal skill. Leveling would give you cooler accessories to decorate your avatar. Beginners would all just have robed acolytes that could gradually evolve into a necromancer, warlock, or what have you. It would be easy to determine at a glance how skilled your opponent is just by how much character their character has. One would be able to determine just how fucked up they would get by the length the opponent's wizard beard, the solid mass of facial piercings on a tribal shaman or the intricacy of the lacing on a sorceress's bodice.

The other thing that the leveling would affect would be the arena of battle. Beginners might duel in small caves or castle halls, intermediate players would be in haunted swamps or forests and expert-level players might fight on massive barren plateaus on alien worlds. This would give an eye candy incentive to improving your game, as there would be plenty of satisfying environmental damage. As you level up, you eventually get to watch entire countrysides get burned and demolished as your spellcasting becomes more godlike.

Why It's Awesome:

That's the kind of total immersion that no motion capture game has even thought about employing. Sure, MC consoles have a few similar games with simple gesture controls, but nobody's actually utilizing how technologically impressive stuff like the Kinect can be. Plus, most developers just don't seem to get that sometimes difficulty is the best thing you can do for a game.

How It Could Be Ruined:

They could make it about Harry Potter. That's the obvious tie-in. Don't get me wrong, I liked the movies OK, but I am not a Harry Potter fan. I straight don't give a fuck about British magical allegories for puberty. My problem isn't with the setting, though; it's that Potterizing the bastard would limit the scope. Nobody in Harry Potter was tearing apart worlds with their bare hands. Or if they were, they probably cried about it afterward, over tea, whilst discussing their unrequited feelings for one another.

How It Could Be Even More (Unrealistically) Amazing:

Tie it to a better property -- or fuck it: all the properties! Gandalf versus Emperor Palpatine; John Constantine versus Doctor Strange, hell -- you can even have Harry Potter in there. Just know that he's going to get his ass rocked off if Raistlin so much as coughs in his general direction.

Han Solo: The Game


By Blemm

Man, just "Han Solo: the Game." You and Chewie just bombing around the Outer Rim in the Falcon, smuggling stuff, before the events in Star Wars. An open world/galaxy game, with multiple worlds and space combat in between. Basically, Evochron-esque space flight with Bethesda-style world building set in the Star Wars universe. Shoot, the final mission in the main story line could start with you taking Luke and Obi Wan to Alderaan and end with you getting those medals. It seems like such a no-brainer idea that I can't believe no one has even tried it.

Why It's Awesome:

Everything. Everything about it is the most awesome thing. And it's so goddamn simple. So ... why? Why do we have 20 Star Wars spaceship games, but not this one? Why do we have even one pod-racing game, and not 15 sequels to this instead? Why are there any other video games at all?!

How It Could Be Ruined:

George Lucas could get involved. That guy's deal with the devil expired on May 26, 1983, and he was never allowed to have another good idea again. But that didn't stop him from trying. I don't follow extended universe stuff, but I'm sure in the decades since Jedi they've already documented Han Solo's complete history, and Lucas Arts can never give us this game because, according to canon, Han was off winning a dance contest at the time.

How It Could Be Even More (Unrealistically) Amazing:

If somebody had a time machine and could get George Lucas from 1980 in on this shit. I don't even care that it was almost assuredly all fueled by Satan; that guy was friggin' rad.

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Honorary Mention


By Herr Terror

I'd like to see a fantasy action/RPG that actually married action and character-building while finally doing away with on-screen numbers and stats. There are so many entries in this genre, yet everything thus far has either compromised the action feel (Bethesda, et al.) or been too light on the skill-building (any action game with upgrades, really). On the RPG side, allow polished collision detection rather than stats determine whether or not strikes connect. Whether a weapon is nice or dull, say it graphically.

On the action side ... say your character is armed with a sword and shield. Even though you have a basic block button, you tend to pull the directional stick away from opponents when you anticipate an attack. Doing this frequently in the context of combat causes your character to gradually move more quickly when stepping back, eventually developing a backward leap and increasing agility ... but failing to develop any skill at shield blocking, being easily staggered. Or perhaps you tend to strike out when you anticipate an attack, rather than use the block, and as a result your character parries more quickly, but still doesn't shield block so well. Or you use the block but tend to spam the attack button before the animation is over, eventually developing a shield bash. This is very simplified, but you get the idea. You would essentially grow your character, starting out untrained and slow and becoming something that handles crowds like Batman in Arkham City.


This was a damn fine idea, but the appeal of it was too similar to the Kinect wizardry game up there to use both, and I just can't resist the opportunity to slip in a Dragonlance joke -- for I am but a man, with all of man's weaknesses. But holy shit, what if you could do both? What if you could marry this idea of gradual, personalized skill-building with the motion control magic? What if that's how games like Skyrim or The Witcher work in the future? Choose to be a warrior, and you develop your skills in this fashion; choose to be a mage, and it's all gesture-operated spells. My God, that would be the end of nerds as a species. We would all die quietly, not with a bang, but with a nasally whimper, as we happily starved to death in front of our computers.

Herr Terror, what have you done?

In Summation:

Nobody's saying this is it, that these are the best possible game ideas in existence. They're just a few examples of all the vast untapped potential out there, literally just laying around in their frayed off-brand boxers and wasting their lives on Cracked articles. Think you have a better idea? Shit, you're probably right! Post it in the dang comments so that everybody here can experience the precise shade of blue your nerd balls have been, lo, these many years.

Fair warning, though: I am personally encouraging any and all game developers reading this right now to steal every single concept they see here. Dear Game Developers: I know you think you have a good idea for your next project, but you know what? Judging by the state of the game industry lately, you probably don't. Instead, if you have the talent and resources to take a crack at one of these, then for the love of God, steal from us. Do it shamelessly. Do it blatantly. Take every ounce of credit for everything but just give us the goddamn games already.

You can buy Robert's other book, Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or follow him on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook.

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