What really grinds your gears?
Look, we all love games. Deep down, no matter our differences in opinion, this medium is something we're all incredibly passionate about. But you know what? Even so, there are still certain things about games--and the people who play them--that drive us insane.
We're all allowed our grievances; none of the following issues are deal breakers, but they drive us insane none the less. What are some of our greatest pet peeves when it comes to gaming? Read on.
People who skip cutscenes
Scripted cutscenes are an integral part of many game franchises--good luck wrapping your brain around the events of Metal Gear Solid without soaking in its 45-minute hands-off excursions. But there exists a strange breed of gamer, one who views games solely as a thing to be played, never to be watched. This is problematic when playing a story-heavy game with such a person, one who doesn't care if you want to see cutscenes. He opts to skip them, and continues along without concern (or regard for your love of lore).
Now, in the same breath, I will admit that unskippable cutscenes are also a huge pain. While I maintain that skipping cutscenes important to plot is silly, not being able to skip them when they're intrusive is worse--especially in games with poor checkpoint placement. Nothing sours the fun quicker than having to re-watch a 10-minute cutscene that introduces a boss who has already killed you 400 times.
Online potty mouths
The masking of identity through Gamertags and online handles allows the masses to meet at random in the online gaming arena. But that anonymity also means trolls can lash out with obnoxious trash talk without fear of retribution. How many times has a 12-year-old challenged the honor of your angelic grandmother? How many insensitive slurs and slangs have you heard tossed around like it's no big deal? These inevitable insults are annoying, to say the least (thank the gods for the mute option), and they can even discourage some from jumping into online games. There's only one thing worse than encountering a loathsome troll...
Not being able to destroy trash talkers after they've insulted you
Ahhh revenge, the sweet nectar of competition that can turn a soured mood into a great one. We know you've been in this situation before: You're sitting in a multiplayer lobby, waiting for a game to start, when out of nowhere some dude who goes by XxKilla420xX hits you with a barrage of hurtful unpleasantries. He starts by making fun of your Gamertag, then graduates to your immediate family. Eager to put that jerk in his place, you vow to hunt him--and only him--in the following match. Except once said match begins, you're unable to kill him a single time. He frags you over and over until all that is left is shame, tears, and the shattered pieces of your family's honor.
Games that take 15 minutes to get to the title screen
Animated developer splash image. Animated publisher splash image. Multiplayer developer splash image. Single-player engine splash image. Multiplayer engine splash image. Game series splash image. Console manufacturer splash image. Shoutouts to developer/publisher/engine and console manufacturers' family members via a splash image. Pictures of random dogs in a splash image. The letter "Q" in a splash image. It has eyes. Splash image. Pre-title screen splash image of what the title screen looks like. Nap time.
Sharing a controller with an inverted (or non-inverted) gamer
Online multiplayer is great and all, but sometimes nothing beats some old fashioned couch co-op with a pal. Passing the controller back and forth is a great way to engage in some friendly competition and see who, exactly, is the better player. But there's one thing that will transform fun into frustration real quick: playing with a friend who uses inverted controls (or standard controls, if you're an inverter yourself). In this scenario,sharing a gamepad becomes an immense hassle, as you'll have to dig through menus to manipulate the control scheme time and time again, eating up the precious minutes you could've spent playing games.
Friends who don't give up the controller after they die
And then there are the type of people who, during the aforementioned scenario, just won't give up the damn controller after their turn is up. It's one of the frustrating aspects of playing with a friend, where "OK, let's pass off after each death" turns into "NOT YET, JUST ONE MORE TRY THEN YOU CAN PLAY, OKAY, GET OFF MY BACK." As one gamer's greed destroys the other's joy, enemies are born from the wreckage of friendship. Just remember: Sharing is caring.
Playing a game with your buddy's greasy and/or sweaty controller
That being said, sharing is not caring the moment your friend hands you a controller covered in greasy grime. Alternatively, a controller drenched in so much sweat that it looks as though it was dropped in a bucket of water before it ended up in your hands. The former scenario is certainly the more baffling of the two--how can one stand playing with a controller layered with an inch of Cheetos dust?--while the latter is an unpleasant surprise that requires more delicate handling. Sweaty hands happen. Just remember to bring a towel next time.
When your wireless device runs out of batteries
Maybe it happens in an intense clan scrimmage against a rival team; or perhaps during a raid in your favorite MMO. It doesn't matter--the fact is, your wireless gamepad/mouse/keyboard (shame on you) will run out of battery power at a crucial moment. It never really happens at a convenient time, does it? Like, say, right when you power on your device before jumping into the competitive sphere. Then, while you're off scrambling for replacement batteries, you come back only to discover you've been g-kicked or penalized by your team for leaving them hanging. Hooray!
Updates that reboot your PC mid-game
Anyone who hasn't taken the time to properly schedule PC anti-virus updates knows the pain of sudden reboots. Just like running out of batteries for your wireless devices, unforeseen reboots will always occur at the worst possible moments. Like when you're about to finally trounce your clan's rival team in a neck-and-neck match. Curse you, Bill Gates, and all your Windows Automated Updates.
Unexplained internet outages / slow speeds
It's Saturday night. After spending the past two days hanging out with your BFFs, you're ready to dedicate this entire evening to your favorite online game. A two-liter of soda sits atop your desk, a hot pizza on the table nearby, and some energy drinks reside in the fridge for when sleep attempts to deprive you of joy. An hour into your perfect night, your internet connection takes an dump. Maybe it cuts out altogether--or worse, it works, but so slowly that you can't play without rubber banding all over the freakin' place, and OH GOD just thinking about this is upsetting.
Getting kicked from from a game for "being a bad"
There are few things as frustrating as being booted from a dungeon run in an MMO because you were still learning the ropes, or reported for intentionally feeding the opposing team in a MOBA like League of Legends when, in reality, you didn't know what the hell you were doing. It takes a little bit to learn the ins and outs of even the most basic of competitive games, and getting penalized for trying to do so just plain sucks.
Getting kicked for being too good
Then there's the opposite end of the spectrum. If you've become an amazing player in a particular shooter after spending dozens of hours honing your skills, or just lucked into an unprecedented winning streak, people tend to assume you're too good. So good, in fact, that they believe you're cheating the system. Next thing you know, everyone's accusing you of being a "hax0r," and demanding the admin to perma-ban you from the server. Just when these complaints are flowing in full force, you nail a seemingly impossible headshot--it was luck, honest!--and the admin's corpse falls to the floor. PERMA-BANNED.
Online teammates that rage quit
It's incredibly frustrating when things just aren't going your way, especially in an online match. And when your team relies on each member to pull his or her weight (especially during games that don't allow substitutes to fill a vacant spot), it can be absolutely devastating when someone just up and quits because their rage meter has reached its limit. There's no "I hate you guys" in "team."
When the person in front of you at a store gets the last copy of a game you wanted
The newest game in your favorite franchise just released, and you've been anxiously waiting for school/work to end so you can go pick it up. It's a popular series, but retailers in this day and age typically have more than enough copies on hand. Or at least, that's what you think until you arrive at the story and patiently wait in line, only to find out that the guy in front of you just bought the last copy.
Gold farmers are the bane of all MMOs. Their chat spam ("hello!, come 2 visit gold4cheap.com for 1000g/$7.99, coupon code #1414 BUY 1 GET 1 FREE $$$$$!!!!!") will quickly make you want to sever all communication with public channels, which kind of defeats the point of a massively multiplayer online game. At least you can derive some sort of joy from hammering away at the report option when things get real bad.
Achievements / Trophies that spoil stuff for you
Hunting for Achievements and Trophies is an addicting hobby for many gamers. For others, they can sour the whole experience. How many times have you downed a boss, not knowing if it was the final enemy or merely a prelude to something greater, only to be showered with multiple Achievements congratulating you for completing the game? This scenario is a huge bummer when you know, without a doubt, that there's nothing else in store aside from a brief ending cutscene.
Ah, yes, multiplayer Achievements--a game feature that no one asked for. Man is this a huge pain, especially in games where the multiplayer component is tacked-on garbage. It's infuriating to be one or two Achievements away from 100-percent completion, only to find you're roadblocked by one that requires you to win 8,000 matches of team deathmatch. Which nobody--nobody--plays. How convenient.
People who write off entire genres as garbage
Let's say you have a friend name Billy, who really likes video games of all genres. Well, most genres. See, Billy doesn't particularly understand the finer points of resource gathering and base building, and has convinced himself that real-time strategy games--your favorite type--are dumber than Nintendo's investment in the Virtual Boy. "But Billy," you protest, "there's so much skill involved! You have to micromanage, learn when to invest resources in passive upgrades or new units, develop strategies for taking on an equally intelligent opponent. There are so many elements at play!" To which Billy, unwavering in his opinion, responds: "You're an idiot, as is anyone who plays those stupid games." To the Billy's out there: just because you hate a genre doesn't mean others need to adopt your opinion as fact.
"Ahoy, brave traveler! Would you be so kind as to accompany me on an obnoxiously long journey to the other side of the map? Do so, and I'll reward your kindness with 3,000 experience points and 150 gold coins! There's just one catch: Once we begin, I'll shut my brain off and walk into walls while goblins stab my kidneys until I slowly bleed out. You won't be able to save me because, in effort to confuse said goblins, I will run into their base for no apparent reason while you give chase. Then I will die, and you will fail your mission, at which point you'll be forced to start over ad infinitum. Deal?"
Good god. Does anyone enjoy these things?
Few things in life are less enjoyable than respawning in a multiplayer game only to get slaughtered the second you come back to life. There's a special place in hell for spawn campers, the folks who somehow derive joy from pitching a tent right outside a spawn point, guns drawn, waiting for some poor sap to come back to life. And as your lifeless virtual corpse falls down for the tenth time, adding to the ever-expanding pile of bodies at your feet, you disconnect from the server out of sheer anger. It's alright, we've all been there.