I’ve been playing videogames for long enough now to have found myself developing what can accurately be described as ‘gamer pet peeves’. Gamer pet peeves are things that routinely show up in videogames that seem to exist for the sole purpose of hindering the enjoyment of an otherwise pleasurable gaming experience. No gamer likes them, yet developers frequently insist that we should put up with them. Here are 5 that annoy me the most:
Although AI in videogames has improved since the days of old, it still doesn’t mean that we’re comfortable with holding stubborn Sally’s hand as we try to protect her from a horde of oncoming enemies as she crouches next to a wall and screams. I accept that it must be difficult for developers to ‘pad out’ their videogames, but putting us in the role of babysitter really shouldn’t be the solution.
No online multiplayer
For many gamers the inclusion of online multiplayer is the deciding factor on whether or not they will pick up a new release. Many ‘old-school’ gamers turn their nose up at this, saying that “a game doesn’t have to be online in order to be good” and for the most part, they’re right.
If a game has a well-crafted and enjoyable single-player mode then online multiplayer would merely be an added bonus, however, if you’re going to create a game purpose-built for multiplayer then your decision to exclude online play just seems lazy and outdated. Also, ‘Online Leaderboards’ doesn’t count (I’m looking at you, SSX).
Inverted Camera Angle
Since videogames first made the leap into 3D, have you ever used the inverted camera angle? I know it’s not the default option anymore, but the ‘Invert Y Axis’ and ‘Invert X Axis’ options still exist in the Settings of most releases, presumably remaining there for the pleasure of the kind of masochist who would take sexual satisfaction in having his testicles slapped by a burly middle-eastern man wearing sand paper gloves.
I know that the option to invert the camera angle doesn’t directly affect my gaming experience, but just seeing it lingering there in the Settings menu like a bad smell makes my blood boil.
Final bosses in fighting games
As a lover of fighting games who has to suffer with the terrible burden of not being very good at fighting games the ‘Final Boss’, be him Seth, Shao Kahn or otherwise, has a tender, bleak, black space in my heart.
As I’ve previously mentioned AI in videogames has drastically improved over the years, yet the most inventive thing game developers can conjure up when thinking of a difficult final obstacle for gamers to overcome is to pit them head-to-head against a Doctor Manhattan wannabee with two ridiculously overpowered moves.
The ‘videogames should qualify as art’ argument is held back because of one sole reason: the heroes. Now don’t get me wrong, the film industry has churned out some truly terrible protagonists in its time, but certainly not as frequent and embarrassing as the world of videogames. When a series such as Gears of War, which is basically the tale of two walking phallus’ shooting aliens in the nose, is praised for its ‘compelling story’, it’s time to re-evaluate what we should be looking for in terms of narrative in the 21st century.
With so much money being piled into the game industry it begs the serious question: why can’t anybody hire decent writers? Seeing a grizzled, white, 30-something American male adorn every cover of every game on every shelf is not only tiresome, but downright disheartening.