'Well excuuuuse me, Princess!'
'Excuses, excuses' - where in the world would we be without them? Probably turning up to all of those social functions we'd drunkenly agreed to, or heaven forbid, actually out using our gym memberships. Eurgh Well, I for one don't want to live in a world without excuses. That's what they do in [your least favourite nation] and I'll be damned if [your least favourite politician] is going to turn us into them! *Rapturous applause*. And how about that local sports team, huh? *standing ovation*
Well, now that I've whipped you all up into a frenzy of wide-eyed excitement, it's time to bring everyone crashing back down to earth, courtesy of my very latest article. This one's all about video gaming excuses - which ones work best and when to employ them. Oh, and if you don't like it, I was ill, or really tired, or covered in bees when I wrote it. Whichever one sounds more plausible. Begin!
'My pad doesnt work!'
Ah mankind, the species for whom oblivious stupidity apparently knows no bounds. Let's face it, self-awareness isn't exactly our strong suit. We'll gladly chuckle at some talent show troglodyte only to wind up on that very same stage, fighting back tears as our all ukulele rendition of Purple Rain goes down like an anthrax sandwich. This unwitting idiocy, this 'humorous hypocrisy', if you will, is especially apparent within gaming, particularly as it pertains to the issue of 'unresponsive game pads'.
Yes, we've all gotten a good old laugh out of seeing our buddies scream in disbelief, hoisting up their 'faulty' bit of kit to demonstrate which thumb pressed which button at what time - as if their incredulous reconstructions will somehow convince us that they're in the right. Then of course the exact same thing happens to us and we proceed to perform that very same pantomime. Alas, it doesn't actually matter if the game flubbed your input or not. No-one's ever going to believe you.
Success rate - 3% - To be used in the company of overly trusting siblings and/or the elderly.
'There's too much lag!'
Lag, or 'the dance of the juddery ghost men' as its known to expert gamers, is a form of technological pestilence inflicted upon mankind by the vengeful gods of the Internet. Only by supplicating ourselves to their divine will - their great and terrible moodswings of spotty service - are we allowed to continue blasting our buds online. Praise be to the Internet that sent out its only engineer, that having turned off the router, saw it risen again from the dead after the customary 30 second waiting period. Amen.
As fun-ruining phenomena go, lag is a real killer, and unlike many of the entries on this list, definitely does exist. Still, it's probably best not to wheel this one out after every minor defeat; we wouldn't want you to lose all credibility, now would we? Cry wolf one too many times and the townsfolk will only be too happy to see you lining a lupine belly, so save this excuse for only the most egregious of multiplayer muck ups.
Success rate - 60% - Sadly, some folks just aren't ready to believe anything they hear online, and who can blame them - right now you're reading an article on how to choose the most convincing excuses, you daring, deceitful rogue, you.
'I wasn't ready!'
Here's one that hardcore 'excusers' will recognise from the real world. A time-honoured appeal thats just as prevalent on the squash court as it is in the annals of the inner city knitting society, probably. Sadly, the superior applicability of this fib also proves to be its downfall. After all, everyone's used it so often by now as to rob it of any kind of credibility. Not only that, but it's also a tacit admission of your own lacking skillset, a slowness of mind and body - a proper 'donkey braining'.
Telling your foe that you simply weren't ready is no better defence than a milk chocolate riot shield, as the members of the Belgian SWAT discovered to their detriment. So, If you're looking for an iron-clad excuse, something to spare your blushes following an almighty cock up, then prepare to look elsewhere.
Success rate - 10% - Stands a fair chance of convincing during local multiplayer matches, provided your opponent can see your cack-handed inanity in action, but unlikely to cut the mustard online. Either way, know that you use this one the expense of your dignity.
'The CPU cheated!'
'CPU' - now there's an acronym with a dozen credible interpretations. 'Computer Punishes Unjustly', 'Coded to Play Unfairly, 'Considers People Unworthy', 'Completely Pwns Us'... The list goes on. Its real meaning - long since forgotten following the great clash of Akkator, when the armies of Bill 'The Bloodlust' Gates ransacked Silicon Valley - is of no real significance. What does matter is how often this A.I. abomination shows up to sully our good times.
Bot-based bastardry, henceforth to be known as 'botstardry' is an ever-present part of gaming, and yet, we as gamers will still call foul on anyone claiming to be so cheated. What ought to be among the most welcome of gaming get-outs is instead subjected to naught but the most eye-rolling of responses. As ever, we grab the chance to knock down our fellow man rather than joining him in solidarity. Something tells me we'll come to briefly regret that decision during the six-and-a-half seconds it takes machinekind to utterly liquefy our fleshy, cheese-encrusted species.
Success rate - 20% - Credible, though largely ignored, placing blame on the CPU is a lot like telling a jury that your evil twin did it. It may actually be true, but you'll still have a tough old time proving it. You win again Armando...
'I'm stuck on the crap team!'
They say there's no 'I' in team, but there are several 'I's in "I'm terrible at this game and so are most of my friends, so why exactly did we choose to enter the competitive ranked lobby and subject some poor unfortunate to teaming up with us?". Finding yourself marooned on the B team is never easy, but then just what are you supposed do about it? Quit and be labelled a big fat quitter, incapable of watching any-and-all Sly Stallone movies in which he makes a big emotional speech about not giving up? Never! So you slog it out instead, trying your damnedest to 'Mighty Duck' your entire team to glory. You lose heavily.
Now it seems your only recourse is to complain. After all, being magnanimous will only get you so far when the folks responsible for watching your back are still trying to figure out which end of the gamepad fits into the disc tray. Sadly, being borne on the winds of justice doesn't really count for much on the Internet, so prepare to be completely ignored, reported and/or cast out like a big whinging leper. Better just to ride out the match and hope for better luck next time.
Success rate - 5% - The other team aren't about to stick an asterisk next to their glorious win. Likewise, your own teammates won't want to hear about how they held you back all match.
Nothing says 'commitment to the cause' quite like soiling yourself in front of your Xbox. Or PlayStation - I'm an equal opportunities purveyor of poop jokes, and damn proud of it. For the non-crazy gamer, this need to relieve oneself - ideally before turning one's undercarriage into a less colourful take on Splatoon - is simply too strong an urge to deny. When nature calls, gamers just have to answer.
Being AFK due to IBS is about as good a reason as any for mucking up online. Of course, the major limitation of this excuse is that you can't just go around using it willy-nilly. After all, no one's going to buy that you were busy anointing an outhouse when your avatar's been running around chucking chaff grenades. For a more inspired lie, try telling your fellow players that you were only away for most of the match, thereby making you look like some kind of post-flush wunderkind. Empty bowels AND an 18-point killing streak. We're simply not worthy!"
Success rate - 90% - 'Everybody poops', and most of them will be willing to believe that you do too.
'The dog ate it!'
Ate what? Don't know exactly. The console? My gamepad? The Internet connection? Yeah, that'll do: "Sorry folks but my dog ate the Wi-Fi. Just leapt right up and took a chunk out of it. Snatched those pesky radio waves right out of the air. What do you mean 'fundamental misunderstanding of the electromagnetic spectrum'. You're a 'fundamental misunderstanding of the whatever-those-last two-words-were'". Alright fine, so maybe this isnt the most watertight of excuses.
Then again, who needs reason when you have a story about a dog, and not just any dog, but the dog - the one kids have been trotting out since the dawn of time in order to take the blame for their 'misplaced' homework. She's the evil equivalent of Lassie, keeping kids ignorant, then chucking 'em down wells. "What's that girl? You've rigged the chamber to begin filling with hydrochloric acid? Gee wiz"
Success rate - 100% - Everyone loves dogs, ergo everyone will want to believe this excuse, however inane it is.
'Complete schizoid embolism!'
What's that you ask, some sort of complete mental breakdown? Well err, sort of. This fictional affliction comes to us by way of Arnie action classic (and nasal tweezers commercial) Total Recall. And no, it won't cause you to begin crying out in guttural Austrian vowel sounds. Instead, the 'schizoid embolism' results in the complete brain death of the victim - caused by their inability to determine which reality actually exists and which one boasts three-breasted women, mutant baby slings and the inimitable Michael Ironside.
What better way to paw off a loss than by telling the grinning victor that you'd simply 'slipped into a paranoid delusional coma state, one in which the very fabric of reality was torn asunder revealing the crushing weight of nothingness'? I'd say it's worth a shot, at least.
Success rate - 50% - Which side has it right? What is truth? What is a man, but a miserable pile of secrets? GRAUOOOWUGH! *mysterious xylophone music*.