QOTW: What overused gameplay element are you terribly sick of?

Every week the hosts of TalkRadar present and answer a new "Question of the Week" - a personal inquiry which unearths some of our deepest, and sometimes most sinister, gaming memories. Everyone is encouraged to answer each week's question, so go ahead, tell us your most glorious, nostalgic, or shameful story!

This week's question:

“What overused gameplay element are you terribly sick of?”

Interactive cutscenes? Day and night cycles? Collectibles? What tired, overused gameplay idea have you grown to hate over the years?

Answer this week's question in the comments!

Questions can also be answered in the QOTW forum thread. Our favorite posts this week will be read next week on TalkRadar 58, and appear in the next edition of this article. Listen to TalkRadar 57 on Friday for our answers!

Last week's question:

“What’s the most you’ve geeked out over a game?”

Below are a few of last week's answers that tickled our collective fancies, but since we can't feature them all here, check out last week's article and forum thread for more...

G0523 wrote…

The games that I've geeked out on the most are the Sonic games...well the decent ones. If you ask anyone what's one thing that I love, it's Sonic. A few of my friends even got together and bought a giant Sonic plush doll almost as tall as me! I even showed off Sonic Unleashed to anyone who was within distance of me to show how fast the Sonic levels are. I have so many Sonic toys, comic books, dolls, and games that sometimes my friends and family worry about me.

Above: A fine group of games 

Thephntm wrote…

SSBM. When I unlocked Mr. Game & Watch, I did this stupid dance around the house, yelling "Mr. Game & Watch" over and over again. Then I sat down and played as him and found out he SUCKED BALLS!

Above: Preparing to SUCK BALLS? 

SandroTheMaster wrote…

Heroes of Might and Magic V... let's just say this much: I participated on the beta, I endured time and time again the terrible connection crashes just to keep playing that limited part of a game... aaaaaaaand, I made a 200+ page (in Microsoft Word, font 10) story based on the setting of the game in the official forums. It was called Heroes Fables. My enthusiasm even inspired Ubisoft to make a small promotion based on writing small 2 page tale that was called, guess what: Heroes Fables Competition. I participated, but ironically, my country wasn't eligible for the contest, but I participated knowingly of this fact. Then... the game was launched, everybody left the forums and I lost 90% of my readers. I wasn't exactly disappointed with the game, but, as some pointed out in those forums, they could have improved the campaign a lot by ripping off my story (and that's not a statement to my talent... just a statement to their lack, unfortunately).

Above: Sir Ivory Feathers has a compelling backstory. Maybe 

BadgerWilson wrote…

Most definitely the Fallout games, specifically Fallout 3. I've played that game for around 250 hours since I got it a couple months ago, which is probably about 4 times as much as I've played any other game. I found a way to relate everything in a conversation to something in Fallout 3 to the degree that MY GIRLFRIEND OF 3 YEARS BROKE UP WITH ME. Example: we were in the theater watchin "Up" and, when they mentioned Paradise Falls I leaned over to her and said "That's the name of the slaver camp in Fallout 3!" She broke up with me when the movie was over, saying she'd finally had enough. I wish I was kidding, I wish that was an exaggeration, but it's not. So, yeah. Good times with that game. I still play it, by the way. Just started up a new game.

Above: Carol will never leave you, and neither will we 

Revrock wrote…

Has to be Super Metroid... one of the rare cases of playing for so long that I fell asleep in the chair with controller in hand, only to wake up the next morning to go at it again. Other than that, we used to have some pretty massive Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter "tourney" after parties at my house. Each person with their own favorite character and moves etc. Other than that, I think the last true "geek out" was 9/9/99 with the Dreamcast launch. Never again will we see only us "geeks" lined up to pick up consoles on release day. Too many soccer moms and auction resellers have spoiled the bunch... ahh the 90's and gaming--- I am geeking out again.

Above: Who needs geeks when we have… whatever this is? 

PatriotDye wrote…

Well, this is pretty weird but...I was in love with Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater in middle school and every time the game got rescheduled and pushed back i'd take it way too hard. As a big MGS fan i just wanted to play it now, and getting my hands on the demo drove me even more crazy over the game. Sadly enough, one night i had a twisted nightmare about getting it. I dreamed i was running to walmart to get the game. I could see it through the case and everything then Freddy Krueger(yes, the Nightmare on Elm Street guy) threw me out of the was and broke the key off in the key slot, making it locked forever...I told my friends about it, they all thought it was pretty sad that i'd have nightmares about not being able to play a "lame" videogame. But several months later i finally got it and the pain of waiting was totally worth it. ^_^

Above: In lieu of a photoshopped Freddy image, here’s a picture of Snake 

Shadsy wrote…

There is a game called The Labyrinth of Time. I own two copies, have spoken to its entire development staff, have framed (and autographed) artwork by its art director, wrote the game's Wikipedia article, researched the stock music company its soundtrack came from and re-recorded it, arranged sheet music from those recordings, recreated areas from the game in Half-Life 2, own a T-shirt I won for winning the game's only ever art contest (possibly be being the sole entrant), and hold a seemingly-permanent $50 store credit with the company now that now holds its rights in the event that they ever make a sequel.

The Labyrinth of Time is a Myst knockoff that came out in 1993. I've wasted my life.

Above: We hear it’s really good 

BeefSupreme wrote…

My best nerd moment happened while I was at work, which at the time was Z Gallerie, and I was the person in charge of the art portion of the store. One evening in January of 06' I'm cleaning up the gallery, when a customer asks if we have a certain print in stock. I tell him that we don't have it but I bring out the ordering book for him to take a look at for the print he's interested in. As I'm taking the book out I notice that his jacket have Valve embroidered on it in the specific font that Valve uses for it's company logo. At that moment I'm trying to figure out in a fit of excitement if he just bought the jacket or if he actually works at Valve. I'm a little timid to ask him outright as I don't want my manager, who I had a crush on, hear me nerd out in front of a customer. I ask him if the jacket is for Valve and he replies yes, then I ask is he works for Valve.

As soon as he says yes I descend into nerd town and it now goes from me helping a customer, into a Valve admiration summit. I completely disregard any other customer in the gallery and just talk about Half Life 2, which I finally got to play when the original Xbox port came out in fall of 05', and just gush like a schoolgirl meeting Zach Ephron for 10 minutes about how great the game is, and then for another 10 minutes I go on about the glitch the game had when you played it on the Xbox 360, and then he explains in great detail that the game wasn't ported with the intent to be played on the 360. I want to sit and talk more with him about awesome the game is, but his wife finishes up at the register and is now ready to leave the store. I am such a Valve fanboy, and to be able to talk at some length with a Valve employee who involved with probably my favorite game of all time was unreal.

As soon as he leaves, I stand and stare into space for a few minutes in a euphoric haze. I put away the art book, and go back to cleaning. Just as I turn away from where I was standing my manager is standing right in front of me and just looks at me like I'm the biggest nerd she has ever met. Didn't talk to her for the rest of evening.

Above: Valve is one letter away from value!

To see the rest of the stories, check out our previous QOTW articles, and for more podcast related discussion, introduce yourself in the TalkRadar forums.

New episodes of TalkRadar post every Friday afternoon, and can be found on iTunes or as features here on GamesRadar. We archive every TalkRadar episode in the TalkRadar Compendinarium.

Jun 24, 2009


  • doewnskitty - July 1, 2009 5:48 p.m.

    I also would like to mention a disdain for simplistic choice systems when it comes to having morality as part of the gameplay. I'd really like more to it than a simple "Good choice, evil choice," especially with how often the choices really represent differing shades of grey. It's even worse when that's the difference of choice given for a consequence that is very ambiguous, such as some of the choices that can be made in series like Fallout (and the main questline in Fallout 3's The Pitt is a prime example of too simplistic a definition of the choice contrasting with the implications and consequences of each). People understand what moral relativism is, even if they've never heard the term. Many people know the meaning behind the expression "Sometimes you gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette." Sometimes the better choice requires an ugly compromise, and I'd like to see greater depth in those choices. Plus, by extension, mechanics like the karma system in Fallout 3 are often implemented far too simplistically and often unrealistically. Why not enable the player to decide what his character's moral leaning is at the beginning, and then base it off that? That could add an interesting wrinkle of depth to the mechanic.
  • PlatypusFan - July 1, 2009 4:20 p.m.

    well i have a lot 1)timed events like i can deal w/ super mario bros because they give u a decent amount of time but in super mario galaxy i dont see y i have to find the bunnies in the snow place while under a time limit also those comets that time u while u go through the level 2)races not driving races i mean super mario galaxy boo race loz oot running man race and super mario 64 koopa race 3)escort events y in loz tp do i have to guide this stupid caravan that keeps catching on fire and having bombs dropped on it only for me to use my gale boomerang and have it catch on fire again 4)UNDERWATER LEVELS especially those that u have a breath meter like i can handle games where ur a fish(or a magic star from Pufftop) and u can breath underwater but when i have to get a stupid gold shell from penguins i gt annoyed 5)bad maps i kno im supposed to find hima by myself but could u give me an arrow or something so im not circling around cliffs looking for the path
  • DarxStar - July 1, 2009 10:32 a.m.

    I hate it when the game has a cool reward you can only get for 100% complete! I've beat the game and saved the world, why do I need all those stars to play as Luigi? SMG (Super Mario Galaxy not Submachine Gun) drives me insane! Why do I have to beat Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga to use Super Force Powers? Why do I need all those gold mrdals for that acheivement? It makes me ANGRY!!!!!!!!
  • FamousMortimer - July 1, 2009 8:24 a.m.

    I'm not exactly sure what the feature I'm thinking of is called, but it's definitely overused. I'll try to describe it. The feature I'm thinking of involves the stalking, aiming and shooting of enemies from the perspective of an unseen protagonist (you can only see his hands, really). The player is typically the animating force behind this protagonist, who assembles a veritable arsenal in the pursuit of some vague group of individuals known as "enemies." This game is usually played fromt the first-person, or "first-person" perspective. I daresay, if I have to play one of these "first person shooters," (my name for them), I'll simply scream.
  • xillance - June 30, 2009 11:34 p.m.

    Your in a laboratory/military base/structure that is owned by some evil organization. You reach a point in the game where you fight a boss or around where a major twist in the story occurs. Then suddenly: THE SELF DESTRUCT SYSTEM HAS BEEN ENGAGED AND YOU HAVE 4 MINUTES TO ESCAPE!! Then some of the most difficult enemies in the game are blocking your exit, or you need to fight yet another boss battle to escape. You will fail at least once, and then the timer resets and you need to run the gauntlet ONCE AGAIN. Why does happen in every single Resident Evil game?
  • DontEatRawHagis - June 30, 2009 10:24 a.m.

    Im sick of open world. Most games just make something so big that it feels desolate or too artificial.
  • BannedInDC - June 30, 2009 7:43 a.m.

    @VoodooPanda: They have done second person games...Dungeons and Dragons comes to mind. Congratulations, you've met a masturbating bear at the end of the third dungeon. Would you like to use your ten-point power sword?
  • winner2 - June 28, 2009 2:56 p.m.

    Oversized swords.
  • Tabinabinamina - June 28, 2009 7:23 a.m.

    Zelda ice levels, every time I manage to barely stay alive with my one and a half hearts. The whole level is me constantly on the verge of death slideing around into things with the low health beeps constantly reminding me of my failure. "Excuse me did you notice you have only two hearts." "Yes I noticed it five minutes ago and it still hasn't changed you can stop warning me" "nope I'm gonna keep on beepin" arrrrrrrgh.
  • Solstice - June 28, 2009 2:58 a.m.

    Well, I have many complaints about video games. Let's start the list, shall we? 1.) Unskippable cutscenes. 2.) Endless wave of enemies until you reach a certain checkpoint. 3.) Stealth missions. 4.) Always being the hero. 5.) Deadly water. 6.) Always helping someone out.(You're knocked out! Get someone else to wake you up!)(MGS4) 7.)Never having to buy things for yourself in video games. They're always given to you. 8.) Game Over screens. (They creep me out. I don't know why, they just do.) Let's see... what else? I guess nothing else. OH WAIT! 9.) Dumb AI. 10.) Did I mention unskippable cutscenes? That really grinds my gears.
  • Finklemeyer - June 27, 2009 9:39 p.m.

    You know what pisses me off to no end? Effing good/evil systems in EVERY GAME!!! I mean, some games do it right, but in others its just there to make you fell like an asshole. SCREW YOU FALLOUT 3!!! I WILL KILL THOSE INNOCENT POEPLE AND I WILL ENJOY IT!!!
  • AntistasBoneShield - June 27, 2009 8:38 p.m.

    A list in no specific order. -Open world: Does 'Open World' count if there is a 'Quarantine Zone' or endless nothingness. -Unskippable cutscenes: If i wanted to hear Cortana explain why she picked Chief over and over, I would have read the books or went on Wikipedia. Just let me play the damn game! -Button press cutscenes: " Oh great! I did it. I think I'm going to drink my Dr. Pepper. Oh F@$%! GAME OVER! -Endless wave of enemies: Play CoD WaW on Veteren...Nuff said. -Realism: Does it look like I really want to be in the Middle East or on a race track.
  • WolfAeter - June 27, 2009 6:23 p.m.

    gore control in videogames... specially in star wars games, c'mon the lightsaber is supposed to be able to cut almost all type of material in the galaxy, but seemingly stormtroopers are cutproof
  • secretsearcher - June 27, 2009 5:39 p.m.

    The "stealth level". Why is it that almost EVERY SINGLE GAME that goes on the market just HAS to have a stealth level in it? It's almost like the developers have a checklist or something before a game gets released: "Ok...let's see here...Developed Characters? Check. Detailed worlds? Check. Awsome combat system? Check. Stealth level? OH S***!!!" I mean, seriously, a random stealth level can ruin an otherwise perfectly good game. I'm not saying that stealth games like Sly Cooper and MGS are bad, I just am so sick of game developers throwing in stealth levels to give a game "diversity" or "a change of pace." It's not either of those. IT'S JUST ANNOYING.
  • VoodooPanda - June 27, 2009 3:07 p.m.

    First-person and third-person gameplay. Someone should take a risk and try second person.
  • Sandman89 - June 27, 2009 12:46 p.m.

    The open game world thing. Works for games like gta and fallout, but i dont understand why almost every single game these days wants to force you into a massive, confusing and boring open world. Freedom is overrated -_-
  • Pepsuber88 - June 27, 2009 1:55 a.m.

    Also, I am tired of making decisions for the main character. ¿don`t they have free will? i.e. all games.
  • Wizrai - June 27, 2009 12:05 a.m.

    The green plastic button?
  • shelcobsohn - June 26, 2009 6:05 p.m.

    boss fights where the only thing you have to do is shoot, stab, or punch a glowing body part. developers need to be a little more creative with using the environment to fight bosses. and don't knock regenerating health, it beats looking for health packs any day.
  • onesweetdream11 - June 26, 2009 3:34 p.m.

    Definitely have to get rid of save points. You should be able to save any game, any time, and any where. Unfortunately the games that this is most relevant in are the ones that still utilize the stupid save points!

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