How modern gaming has made us into wimpy gamers

Once, we were a proud warrior people, adept in every skill, discipline and combat technique required to earn mastery over our every digital domain. We were a pantheon of noble thumb-ninjas, our legendary victories and kill-counts matched in number only by the calluses on our digits; calluses we wore as badges of honour through the eternal, bloody war against AI and our fellow man. But through its ever more sophisticated design and an unerring need to be accessible to all, modern gaming has done us a disservice.

Not only are our skills being neutered, it's being done in a way which makes us think we're still at the top of our game. It's exactly like The Matrix. Exactly like The Matrix. Yes, a no-thumbed bonobo monkey can now feel a simulation of the sense of achievement we've enjoyed since the '80s, but just remember, as The Incredibles told us, when everyone's super, no-one will be. Don't believe the full extent to which we've been emasculated? Read on.

Regenerative health

By far the worst offense perpetrated against good, honest, battle-hardened gaming skills. Let this be clear; you have no reason - no reason at all - to feel proud of yourself for defeating your enemy if you can shrug off a bullet-wound with a nice quiet sit down. That's like Superman beating up old ladies and being all "Hur hur! I r teh badass" about it.

Automatically regenerating health makes an utter mockery of the skills really needed to succeed in any combat situation. Is it enough to wade blindly into any conflict, happy to soak up any number of gunshots, punches and stabbings to the face as long as you're scoring a few hits yourself? Has any soldier, swordsman or martial artist in history ever tried to get through a fight by simply dishing out the damage with a flagrant disregard for personal safety? Probably a few have, but no-one's ever heard of them because they died really bloody quickly!

Real combat is a skilled balance of damage and evasion. It's about wrong-footing your opponent and maximising attack opportunities while maintaining a tactical sense of self-preservation. It is not about charging into a battle zone, thoughtlessly swinging your gun around your head, safe in the knowledge that you spotted a rock to recharge behind on your way in, and thus are in no danger from the assembled enemy ranks whatsoever.


A system implemented originally, and still primarily, in the first-person shooter. The first-person shooter being a genre based almost entirely around the concept of aiming. Is anyone else seeing anything wrong with this?

So what's next? Auto-driving in the next Burnout update? Auto-punching and kicking in the home versions of Street Fighter IV? A Mario game where we only have to maneuver the portly one within six feet of a koopa before he runs up and bops them on the head, all of his own accord?

Look, we could understand this crap when FPS had rubbish controls. Aiming up and down with cursor keys was always an excercise in knitting with spaghetti, and in a strictly head-on game like the original Doom, vertical auto-aim was vital. But in this age of decent dual analogue control and the unfailing wonder of the laser mouse, it's just patronising. Auto-aim is like being eight years old, falling arse over tit off the bike you're trying to learn to ride, and having your well-meaning but intrusive grandma grab the back of the saddle and guide you along.

"Aw, is the poor wittle man having trouble shooting the baddies? Here, let Granny Halo do it for you, diddums"

"Sod off, grandmother. Shooting these bastards to death is my own business. How will I ever become a man if you won't allow me the honour of my own headshots?"

Unskippable Tutorials

We need a manual or a tutorial, not both. Do publishers assume we're illiterate as well as woefully unskilled? Do they think that we won't understand the meaning of all those cryptic symbols, shapes and colours in their unfathomable grimoire, and thus will need worked, practical examples before we can make sense of "Press A to jump"? This kind of hand-holding just will not do.

But woah! "Hold A to jump higher!?" What kind of avant garde torment is this?

Hold us mother, we're scared!


  • sporeboy100 - August 1, 2013 2:17 p.m.

    bullshit, bullshit everywhere, gaming isnt getting easier, its getting harder, there are still games being made by devs that are stuck in the 80/90's of gaming, that being most indie dev teams, Nintendo when they make a 2D mario game and the asshole teams that made Demon/Dark souls and (Super) Meat Boy, those who are saying games are too easy must be stuck in the 80/90's oh and for the save thing, the original LoZ had saves but no one moaned, maybe because the game WITHOUT saves would be like playing super meat boy, so hard you would NEED to break out the game genie and the forced tutorials because companies are being hippies and leaving out the instruction booklets that i doubt anyone ever reads anymore seriously, if you want to develop a game that is CRUEL, UNFAIR and PUNISHING to the player, make it exclusive for the OUYA or make it for the older consoles, i think some people are still doing that (hold that thought, gotta google that) *1 search on google later* (oh, nightmare busters for the SNES, came out earlier this year) just let us enjoy the handholding, and get your impossible mode loving heads out of the 80/90's, this isnt the 80/90's anymore, so get used to the handholding
  • Jason.Darksavior - October 11, 2008 8:40 a.m.

    haha. I agree espicially with 'auto-aim'.
  • ShadowGryphon - September 24, 2008 3:08 a.m.

    Two things I'd like to take to task. 1: "Anyone can be good in short bursts. It's consistency that really counts. Anyone who started gaming back in the early days of cassette tapes and 8-bit cartridges knows what commitment really means. Hard-drives and memory cards have killed our dedication." Sorry, but you're wrong here. There is commitment, then there is pure stupidity and playing a game from beginning to end in one sitting comes under the heading of stupid. Besides, some of us simply don't have that kind of time, what with work and wives(husbands) and actually living our lives. 2:"Does the adjudicators of school tests lower the pass mark for stupid kids so that everyone can get an A?" In the US........ HELL YES they do. damned liberals have to make sure -everyone- is on the same footing. Screw that, sink or swim damnit!
  • TheKickAssSpartan - September 23, 2008 3:14 a.m.

    i'd agree fully, the first halo you couldn't through the first lvl on legendary for hours, on halo 2 and 3 it takes a couple seconds, and no, it is hot that girls like games but I don't think that way about ppl like you that can pwn, and don't say we haven't been laid...! well, not all of us anyway...
  • genequagmire - September 22, 2008 4:23 a.m.

    I'm tired of this pseudo-wistful past bothering. Games are different now. Stop the presses! Also, girltroll is troll.
  • Jerm007 - September 21, 2008 4:02 p.m.

    registered just to say how much i loved this. David Houghton? now one of my gaming hero's.i'll link this everywhere i can think of(that it hasnt been already).
  • familyguy829 - September 20, 2008 10:34 p.m.

    i've got to say that i disagree with the article..
  • JumppyMcFarfingham - September 20, 2008 1:46 a.m.

    @GamerGeekThatGetsLaid: Yes, I've played both of them. Not as challenging they could be. Devil May Cry's AI is very simple to predict and basically Hell and Hell mode is simple memorization. Ninja Gaiden, eh, a decent challenge, but not as hard as it could be. Anyone who can't get through it is a weakling in terms of raw skill.
  • Spybreak8 - September 19, 2008 6:39 a.m.

  • Thequestion 121 - September 17, 2008 8:21 p.m.

    I wholeheartedly agree with this article.
  • bron1417 - September 17, 2008 7:32 p.m.

    i lol'd hard at the whole article nicely done.
  • quicksilver_503 - September 17, 2008 5:58 p.m.

    i don't really agree with all that was said but still, a good article.
  • Vita Spero - September 17, 2008 3:02 p.m.
  • dustLOOP - September 17, 2008 9:21 a.m.

    Like cart00n said, take it with a pinch of salt. I admit games are a hell of a lot easier today. Loads of people are saying 'LUL, PLAY IT ON HARD/VERTAN/HEAVEN OR HELL' whatever you wanna' call hard mode. Well the truth is, NO ONE what-so-ever wants to play a game on the hardest difficulty. There are a few that will willingly play it on the hardest difficulty, I am one of those people. To all people piss-moaning about this article, its true. You had to pickup health packs, save at the END OF THE LEVEL or not even save at all. I've said it since day one, have levels fair enough, but take away the regen health and checkpoints and see how much people enjoy games then. They wont because they will have to THINK about what they have to do. I am still playing Ridge Racer 6 because that game has stuck to its roots in terms of difficulty. You can say lol n00b and all that, but if you have finished the game, link your gamertag here to prove it. Also with the ninja gaiden thing, that again is a game that stuck to its roots. If you take out the games that are difficult like Ninja Gaiden, Ridge Racer and Devil May Cry for example all games are easy. Call of Duty on vertran isn't. It just isn't just because I have seen it that if you die repeatedly, the game gives you a checkpoint like its feeling sorry for you! Anyway, I found the funny side in the article. Keep it up GR!
  • Juriasu - September 17, 2008 7:48 a.m.

    What about COD4 on veteran!! That is some difficult shit.
  • cart00n - September 17, 2008 1:30 a.m.

    You are pretty dense if you don't understand that this ENTIRE article is facetious i.e. the whole damned thing is a joke! Of COURSE D.H. isn't being (entirely) serious here. Do you REALLY think that any person a part of this magazine, all gamers to the core, would be able to SERIOUSLY compare today's apples to yesterday's oranges and say "they had it harder" without throwing in a sizable amount of salt? Even so, you have to admit, he's right. Yes, today's games are far more complex than the days of yore, meaning the gamer has to keep track of a LOT more things at a time at once. But games are, in many ways, a LOT more accessible as well. While Pac-Man's controls are certainly simple to grasp, that constant siren whining and ghosties coming at you from all directions certainly ramped up the pressure! I know many a non-gamer who blames Pac-Man's intensity on never picking up on the hobby...
  • JakeBob - September 17, 2008 12:59 a.m.

    you say these games are easy, but only because you've been playing since the pre-NES days at the earliest. they're only easy cause you know the controls and your reflexes are quite high. you'll probably be able to call yourself a moderately good player of the video games if you can get 45 points on 150cc Special cup on Super Mario Kart.
  • JoeMasturbaby - September 17, 2008 12:48 a.m.

    EdelweissPirate: im a gamer geek, i get laid. swallow your pride. you are no better than the "geeks" you insult.
  • GamerGeekThatGetsLaid - September 17, 2008 12:48 a.m.

    Bulllll...shiiiit. I take it that you've never played Ninja Gaiden, Ninja Gaiden 2, or pretty much any top-quality video game on the most difficult setting. Devil May Cry 4, Hell or Hell mode, anyone?
  • JumppyMcFarfingham - September 17, 2008 12:10 a.m.

    Ah, this is very true. We need more games like I Wanna be the Guy. Yes, I beat it. Yes, on hard mode. Every time a game comes out that presents the slightest bit of challenge, people wine about it. guess what? Halo on legendary mode is EASY! Anybody can beat that game. Devil May Cry, not that hard. Shinobi, decent challenge. Gamers ARE soft nowadays.

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