"Bad" charting rules!

wow, can’t believe it took me this long to post a pointless rhythm game rant on my blog!

I love “bad” rhythm game charts. They’re awesome. Here’s why.

First up, In this post I’m gonna be using the term “bad chart” the way most of the rhythm game community uses it - to describe charts that have patterning that is considered “bad”, or are designed in ways that are considered “bad”. I’m not intending to defend off-sync charts, autogen, or anything like that. I’m talking about technically competent, “bad” charts.

Different communities have different, often contradictory ideas about what makes a chart bad. ITG is a prime example of this, with parts of the stamina community considering crossovers largely bad charting, while the FA community loves using crossovers as part of more technical sections. O2Jam charts use a lot of things that a Quaver player would probably consider truly awful charting, but they are normal in O2Jam.

Generally, what gets labelled “bad” charting seems to be stuff that could be considered “awkward” to play. Back when I played ITG stamina, I would call practically everything I saw from DDR bad charting, because DDR charting is generally more “awkward” to play than ITG charting. Charting that goes against a game’s dominant style or meta tends to also get called “bad” charting by that game’s players, who will find it more awkward to play as it goes against their intuitions for how a chart “should” work in that game.

But I don’t think this is justified. Charting that is “awkward” to play has another name in the rhythm game community: it’s technical charting. And I love playing technical charts. Patterns considered plain bad in one community are tech to another. Reading scroll speed changes, warps and gimmicks is a skill. Playing one handed patterns is a skill. Footswitches, twists, and spins are skills. Fingerswitching is a skill. Trilling a long jack on the center note of 7 key with both hands is a skill. They’re all skills. This is all tech! But charts that contain these things are often just considered bad.

Usually this is defended with some appeal to “flow” which I find fairly meaningless - generally what people say has “flow” to them with tech is whatever they personally like. A lot of things in charts can also deliberately break flow, and reading and playing that is a skill too, and can be really fun! Playing bad charts helps you develop skills in areas of a game you never would have even considered playing normal meta charts. To me, the only thing that can make a technically competent chart actually “bad” is being boring. (most modern Pump it Up charts under an S8 commit this now. Old charts were “bad” but they are more fun to me)

Making “bad” charts is how we discover new things. Making “bad” charts is how we push the limits of our games. Playing “bad” charts makes you a better player.

Also, play O2Jam. The “bad” charting rules.

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