Let me clarify something, before I begin, here: don’t take this as a stab at gaming. I love video games and I thoroughly enjoy playing them. However, like anybody who has gamed for as long as I have can tell you that there are some habits the industry has when it comes to making their games and while it’s entirely up to them to make the product they want to there’s nothing in any contract or agreement that says I have to like it. That being said, let’s get right to it:
10. Fetch Quests
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: you start literally anything with any kind of RPG elements in it within the last ten to fifteen years and I guarantee you it will either start you on a fetch quest or two or, at the very least, have one or two over the course of the game. For the uninitiated, let me give you a quick run down of what to expect: you’re a guy with a penchant for saving worlds, romancing maidens, and strapping yourself with the best and sharpest weapons around and there’s about twenty baddies between you and your next conquest. However, first, as some kind of rite of passage or moment to prove yourself, you must do ten things that are as menial and tedious as finding ten rocks of little significance to your goals or the plot or helping an old man find his cane that could have been easily been done by the nearest other nice guy who wasn’t tasked with saving the world. There’s a lot of games where this kind of thing happens a lot and some games, like those in the Legend of Zelda franchise, are practically built around fetch quests, some of them being so bad that the plot and world-saving are intricately tied to finding something and racing to another location to apply that something, only for it to open the next opportunity to find and apply the next thing.
While it’s kind of quirky and was cute in the older days where there wasn’t much room for epic storylines, deep characterizations, and philosophical explorations of social conditions or commentaries on humanity but now that we can do all these things it really seems like the only reason why we continue to do it is because the companies that make games can get away with it. I go back to Legend of Zelda; this is a franchise that will literally cause a stink if Nintendo deviates too far from the kinds of things they’re used to about the games and fetching items like this to drive the plot is one of them.
One of the main reasons it’s so low on the list is the simple fact that, honestly, if it wasn’t something that has been done to death, I probably wouldn’t mind it so much. I mean, yeah, sure, it’s stupid as hell, but let’s say you’re the typical hero guy in a video game… you’d wanna do a nice thing or two on the way to saving the world, right? Otherwise, what are you fighting for? I can understand it, if it’s written well. Right now, it’s a game mechanic crutch and I hate it.
9. Puzzles That Make No Sense
Yes, Resident Evil, I’m calling you out, here: one of the biggest beefs I’ll ever have is a game that fluffs up their game for no reason other than to add to the gameplay time and nonsensical puzzles rub a couple of nerves in that category. Not only does it add padding to a game that may or may not need it, it also removes the player from any kind of immersion it sets up. Resident Evil gets the call out here as two games in the franchise are some of the worst offenders: Resident Evil 2 and Code Veronica. These games would have you believe that in order to open the door to a municipal government or military building, you must first place three medals into appropriate slots and then attach a crank to the side, which slowly opens the door… for Christ’s sake, if you don’t get it by now, you never will. It makes no sense and nobody in their right mind ever would. However, this is also the same franchise that gave us that domestic nuclear deployment is an appropriate response to a disease outbreak.
A lot of role-playing games fit within this, as well, as it will sometimes hide clues to puzzles in literature that most people would never even bother with, forcing anyone who refuses to read guides on the first time through – is that just me, by the way? – or doesn’t have a reliable internet connection to fold through crap not because they want to but rather because they have to. Sometimes, very rarely, with lore-heavy games like The Witcher, it feels properly placed but there are some where it feels forced and the puzzle itself is forced, too, and extremely insulting.
8. Arbitrary Wait Times or Grinding
Okay, guys, we know: you have to give the press some idea of how many hours of gameplay your game has and the more your state, the better it looks; it’s even gotten to the point where companies are starting to state that their hours of gameplay are in the main campaign of the game and not padding. We all know that there’s gonna be some kind of padding, though, and some of the most useless padding is a wait time or stupid grinding: both things that require absolute no thought and feels mind-numbing. The kind of thing that I’m talking about here is having to wait around for something or having to plod through a passage that just removes yourself from the immersion of the game and really serves no purpose other than getting that gameplay hours count up.
Some of the worst is when you are through most of the game and know how to readily handle a good portion of the challenges you have faced in the past: however, in the name of padding gameplay, it continues to send those same challenges at you, almost to check and see if you still have a pulse. Some areas feel ridiculous in that it will send enemies that you have zero problem dispatching only because they didn’t want an area to only have story exposition. Mass Effect did this at times and there are a lot of games where I would have been fine without having to dispatch goons #200-215. If you’re going to throw cannon fodder at me, at least upgrade them a little, or something. I mean, if I were some kind of megalomaniacal villain hell-bent on destroying everything and there was only one man who could stop me – a man who has proven himself in dispatching entry-level thugs – why would I waste resources in continually throwing the same guys at him? What? To slow him down? Why not just put more effort into out-and-out stopping him?
Worse is when you, more or less, have to just wait around for something to happen or you have to press a button to perform an action that should have very well been scripted: nearly every first-person shooter franchise has been victim to this and Call of Duty has this kind of shit down to a science. The people who make these games should be well aware of their audience by now: we either want a dumbed-down game where our only purpose is to be a bad ass that blows shit up or we want a compelling experience but, as time has told us, we’re not going to have both work out well, together. Look at Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare as a classic example; it’s great that you scored Kevin Spacey and you’ve given us a plot worth a damn but the common core audience for that game couldn’t give a damn about that as, when the main campaign is done, they’re playing nothing but multiplayer, anyway. I don’t want to sit through segments of dialogue that serve no real purpose other than to draw the game out in an attempt to give people something they never really asked for.
7. Scripted Gameplay Scenes
This is a hard one to define. While I love the ability to, every now and again, go out in a blaze of glory, it doesn’t always work out that way when it comes to scripted events and it doesn’t always make itself bloody apparent, which sometimes forces you to pour every ounce of effort, skill, and stress you can into it, only to find out that it was worth nothing and you may have lost whatever you used in that event permanently. It could go from something that should have elevated a scene and your immersion into a scene to something that could easily break your experience in that moment if it’s not executed right. It’s rather unfortunate that, more often than not, it’s either incredibly obvious or that it’s really hard to tell until you’ve died multiple times going through the event wrong, wondering what you did wrong, or you end up dying and realizing everything you did could have been averted.
These kinds of things feels really stupid because it either feels stapled on or that it would have been better off if it was removed altogether and replaced with a cutscene. One great instance of this is from the beloved Compilation of Final Fantasy VII entry Crisis Core which already stirs the pot of an already messy canon: in Last Order, and, by extension, the core game itself, one is led to believe that a single Shin-Ra soldier takes Zack out; in the former, it’s a sniper that does him in. When Crisis Core presents its last battle in a way that is removed from all past canon, you would think being faced with an opportunity to take on an entire Shin-Ra army would not only mean that Zack would, according to canon, survive the encounter but it would also mean that you get the chance to whoop every one of their asses. Yeah, boo on you, he still dies, they patch up the canon yet again and it turns out what could have been awesome was just scripted. It was pretty obvious at the end of everything but it still was a great opportunity to give the player a sense of real power and dramatic effect that was wasted. Hell, let’s pull the kid gloves off and go right to Final Fantasy VII and that final battle against Sephiroth. It wasn’t explained, it wasn’t set up, it wasn’t really even given the chance to take advantage of the massive dramatic potential of the scene; instead, it’s just an opportunity for Cloud to haul off on Sephiroth and say “AGH I HATE YOU” and smash him repeatedly. As a matter of fact, after Sephiroth hits Mako, he’s more or less a McGuffin. The entire game, Cloud was essentially chasing ghosts and wraiths.
6. Useless DLC
I’m not going to enter in the debate of Day One DLC, unlocking portions of game content that is supposedly on the game disc, or anything like that. That’s a wholly separate discussion for another day and, honestly, I don’t mind DLC that you have to pay for, most times, so long as it actually adds something of worth to the game. However, some of the worst nickle-and-diming bullshit comes from creating an in-game currency and making microtransactions the only way you can get it or having a bunch of cosmetic items that, honestly, don’t change or add to the game whatsoever and serve as a way to milk the shit out of your wallet because you wanted to look cool for your buddies. Of course, this is, at this point, just as much our fault as it is the industry’s fault because we keep buying into this shit, but I try my hardest to avoid this kind of thing if at all possible.
As far as I’m concerned, if your DLC required little to no effort – or, better yet, was a color swap and based on resources already in the game – then you should be giving it away for free, no exceptions. Metal Gear Online and, for that matter, a lot of online multiplayer first-or-third-person shooter games like The Division are absolutely fucking terrible for this kind of shit. It’s bad enough that they’re holding actual content over our heads which serves as bait for a Season Pass that, in some cases, almost costs as much as the game itself, but this continual pressing for absolutely useless and effortless content is ridiculous. And telling me “you don’t have to buy it, Kenny!” is not a god damned excuse. This is taking advantage of people who don’t know better and that’s just ethically gross. What’s even worse is some of the games that are clear cash grabs already – such as the entire Hyperdimension Neptunia franchise – that serve as fan service and little else and then just bombard the players with stuff the creators know they’ll buy like pervy outfits and completely aesthetic items.
5. Unabashed Fan Service
Since I brought up weeaboo fan service, why not tackle that one head on? Yeah, say what you want in defense, there is a huge market for games that are clear references to anime, Japanese culture, practically hentai fan service, and tropes found all over just about everything imported from Japan and the creators of said games are taking advantage of the fans of this type of thing. Games like Hyperdimension Neptunia and Akiba’s Trip are unique and isolated instances of weeaboo fanservice: anime girls with revealing outfits serving a very shallow purpose of fueling the fantasies of those who would play them.
Did you think that I was gonna spend this entire time bashing on Japanophiles? Oh, hell no. This goes for every pixel-art-based, nostalgia-pumping, rehashed piece of shit that comes out, whether it’s decent or not because, let’s face it, it’s a whole lot easier to sell a game that references guaranteed successes of the past. Long awaited sequels or remakes fit within this, as well, where it’s very clear the company responsible is simply pushing out the easiest fan service they can: given, some games will require massive resources to create and produce, but because it’s fan service, it’s like printing money.
4. Purposely Creating Controversy
If there’s one thing I’ve grown to hate and I’ll talk about later is the need of a large group of people to loudly complain as much as possible and will not rest until everyone else, gamers and non-gamers alike, thinks the same way they do. It’s an incredibly tiring thing to be constantly surrounded by and just like having a really negative, lazy, or depressing friend, it can be exhausting because, at first, you do want to help that person enjoy life more. Life’s always filled with these types and the Internet has given them the perfect platform to amplify their voice to ridiculous levels and all people have done is given them a spotlight.
Some people, however, would use this as a means to get people to talk about a game and either establish a demand for the game where, before, there was none, extend the longevity of said game by mere existence of the “controversy” it creates, or recreates interest in something that would have otherwise been forgotten. I despise this. I know the expression goes that “bad attention is better than no attention” but I beg to differ: I’m the kind of guy that believes that if you cannot bring anything positive to a discussion and you’re being forgotten as a result, you deserve to be forgotten. When you have nothing left to a game or, yourself, personally, but to stir shit up, you officially have come very close to the bottom of the barrel.
3. Batshit Insane Fanbase
Alright, so, this one’s going to rustle a lot of Jimmies and I’m completely good with that because I don’t feel the need to coddle the absolutely and completely batshit insane fanbase of some franchises. Pictured here is a person named Kristen who used to go by the handle of “Summoner Yuna” online who stands as, probably, the most popular example of how completely apeshit insane someone can appear and how quickly it can spread, control, and infect a community in gaming. You see, part of my enjoyment of gaming is being able to share that love with other people and discuss topics in gaming; people like Kristen are exactly why I absolutely refuse to go on most forums or even open my own. People like her are why I have hesitation to go on reddit to discuss a topic in the gaming world. While Kristen serves as an extreme example, her kind of irrationalism, overreactive personality, and tendency towards deception and complete delusion is rampant in many fanbases today and it makes me, in some cases, not want to discuss certain topics or games in certain arenas of discussion. I actually had the displeasure of knowing some people like this and that’s partially why I’m hesitant to join any groups in real life for this stuff. An example of what I mean, from the mouth of the beast herself:
“There are many people out there who try to claim him. I’m sure there are many people on here who think he belongs to them. I am not out to sound like I’m better than others, but I always seem to be able to prove anyone wrong when they try to tell me they love him more than I do. They either love a RL boyfriend more, have other characters/celebrities/etc that they also “love”, etc. Keep in mind when you say you love someone, that you should only say so if you truly, deeply love them. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to the term “love” … and although many people use that term to describe liking/fandom/crush, it always irks me. I see fangirls saying “I love Sephy” and I’m like … no you don’t, you even said it somewhere that you just think he’s hot, etc. That is not love, it’s fandom. What I have is love.”
Need I say more?
2. Collector’s Syndrome
Now, we’re delving into personal territory: it’s one thing to have a collection of video games. It’s one thing to have a large collection of video games. But if you have a collection even close to the one above, I hate you. I don’t care if this is what you enjoy doing and that you’re not harming anyone directly by doing this. I don’t care. These types are almost always the same types of hoarding pricks who want to keep everything to themselves and if they aren’t, they may as well, as they’re giving these things away for prices reserved for important purchases, like say, a washer, dryer, or, maybe, a down payment on a fucking house. Not everyone who collects video games falls into this category but you best believe you know the type if you know anything about buying discontinued video games at all: the kinds of ungrateful pricks who amass such a collection that it’s literally impossible to enjoy it all. Ever.
This is one of those pet peeve things that really gets my underwear in a serious twist and I’m not even sure why: I wouldn’t collect games like this regardless of whether I had the money because I think buying something just to look at it when that’s not even close to its purpose is just fucking stupid and arrogant. What I think is wrong is having to even think about spending over a hundred dollars for Suikoden II and thinking of that as cheap because it came out digitally within the last year: you used to have to spend many hundreds of dollars to get that game in its case. That’s mental. I don’t care what your justification is, if you do this, you’re being a capitalist in the worst way and you’re keeping someone from enjoying something they really want because you’re a greedy dick. If the one game I want and feel I should be able to afford is out of my reach because you’d rather milk me for every penny I have, I hate you. And I kind of wanna beat you up.
1. Non-Gamers Complaining About Gaming
Number one, with a fucking bullet, here goes nothing: if you’re a person who doesn’t like video games, doesn’t like a lot of things about video games, doesn’t want to play video games, that feels gaming is not quite to your taste, I have a personal message for you. Stop fucking playing and talking about video games, then. You’re like the cocksucker out there who goes to a Starbucks, orders eight coffees, all ordered and adjusted in such a way that they’re really no longer coffee, and then bring them back because they taste too much like fucking coffee. You’re better off not going to Starbucks, then, and ordering coffees in the first place, then, right? Exactly. There’s these bastards that jump into gaming because it’s the pop culture medium of choice these days and then expect everyone to bend to their will when it becomes very clear they don’t fucking like video games.
This millenial-grade bullshit that seems to be embedded in the loud minority of gamers these days makes reporting on the industry tough, some days. It’s because of the lot of you that come into a game like Call of Duty and say that it sucks but then continues to say that it should be less like a first-person shooter, have a compelling story, more realistic graphics, better voice acting, and shit like that. When was Call of Duty EVER like that? When was it well known for that type of thing? Just play another FPS franchise and enjoy that! Or, better yet, don’t play shooters at all!
This shit literally gets me steamed every time I even think about it and there’s a special place in my heart for every ass-kicking I reserve when I see some self-serving prick verbally bombarding the gaming community because gaming isn’t to their tastes. I don’t get into the movie community to tell people how they should be making movies because, in all honesty, I think they mostly suck and I really don’t know what I would do to make a majority of them better, in reality. Same goes for comic books and, to a degree, TV shows. Instead of getting fired up about the stuff I dislike, which is a majority of those three mediums, I just avoid what I don’t like and embrace what I do like.
Argh, I’m getting a headache just thinking about this; especially among those on Twitter. Oy.