Smash the Cat
It didn’t always used to be this way. There was a point in time where Steam had something resembling some measure of quality control — where 90% of the contents of their digital games store wasn’t low-effort asset flips and interchangeable RPG Maker anime boob simulators. There was a wonderful era where seeing half-baked releases on the service felt something like a novelty, rather than them comprising the vast majority. And for as much as I love so-called bad games, there’s no denying that browsing Steam in this day and age can be a bit disheartening, even for me.
Before all the three-cent trading cards and gambling for gun skins, Valve had to make their money mostly on the back of actual game sales. And before users had their choice of thousands of one-dollar games to gift to their friends as a “joke,” they may have had to spend a little more and pick from a much smaller selection. For many consumers, the bad game du jour ended up being 2009’s Bad Rats: the Rats’ Revenge — more commonly shortened as Bad Rats.
According to Steam’s own achievement tracking, only 12% of players have played the game long enough to unlock what should seem to be its most easily-attainable achievement (beating 10 of the game’s 44 levels). If we’re being generous here, it’s still very likely that less than 80% of players who own the game on Steam have ever even bothered launching it. Because Bad Rats isn’t a game you’re meant to actually play: It is simply gifted and traded as a gag — an entry in your library that you can’t get rid of, and are meant to pass on to others like a plague.
… But what if you do play it? Could it really be all that bad? Is it fair for folk to judge this book by it’s cover? There’s a chance that Bad Rats may simply be a victim of circumstance — unfairly maligned based on its premise alone. There’s a very real possibility here that Bad Rats isn’t quite as bad as it’s made out to be. So, let’s try our best to clear our heads of preconceived notions, and give this game the benefit of the doubt it so rarely seems to receive.