Things I'm sick of games making me do

If there's one thing videogames have become exceedingly good at, it's forcing tedious, mind-numbing busywork upon unsuspecting gamers. Repetitive and tawdry tasks, or uninspired, frustrating, cut-and-paste missions infest an inexcusable number of games, and it's getting pretty dire.

I'm sick of games making me do the same old shit, and it's about time somebody did something. Nothing solves the world's problems quicker than a sarcastic list column, so join me as I stomp my feet over the miserable chores that videogames keep imposing upon me.


Role-playing games are all about immersion, about sinking one's self into an experience and enjoying the flow of a game's world. Nothing breaks that flow quicker than having to stop every five minutes to watch a poorly rendered image of a bit of wire going into a lock.

Picking locks appears to be a firm favorite of Western RPGs, appearing most recently in Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Alpha Protocol. It seems that whenever a game feels like being able to open a door is just too easy, they'll throw some awful, frustrating, poorly explained little lock picking sub-game into the mix.

Lock picking is boring, irritating and contains less gameplay than the first 30 minutes of a Metal Gear Solid game. Stop it!


You can't have lock picking without hacking, right? A huge amount of games these days love to stuff their environments with computer terminals and electronic locks that are just begging to be hacked.

Usually taking the form of a minigame that wouldn't even be considered kosher on the latest Carnival Games knock-off, these insipid little tasks serve no real purpose, are usually completely arbitrary and take you out of the experience in the exact same way as picking locks. When I'm in the middle of a hard-hitting first-person-shooter or sci-fi RPG, the last thing I want to do is stop for five minutes to move little squares around or play "spot the password" like an idiot.

Sneaking around in a non-stealth game

Stealth games are called stealth games because they're all about being stealthy. Action games, role-playing games and shooters are not called stealth games because THEY'RE NOT ABOUT BEING STEALTHY! Try telling that to the dozens of games that shoehorn in some dreary stealth section in order to create an artificial sense of gameplay variety.

Games both good and bad have tried to randomly inset stealth into their decidedly non-stealthy games - Beyond Good & Evil, Wind Waker, Uncharted... you could compile an entire list column out of games with pointless stealth. The worst part is many of the games' engines aren't designed for stealth, because that's not what they're intended for. Having AI, controls and environments geared towards heavy action aren't going to work out so well for stealth. You know why? BECAUSE IT'S NOT A STEALTH GAME!

When I want to be stealthy, I'll play Metal Gear or Splinter Cell. You know, a STEALTH game!


What is it with all the climbing, lately? Uncharted, Assassin's Creed, inFAMOUS, it seems that so many games want to follow the Prince of Persia path, although they tend to do climbing with half the finesse and elegance that Ubisoft once did. The climbing in Prince of Persia had a great flow to it, while this generation's slew of climbing games feel ponderous and slow most of the time.

I'm bored of hammering "A" to wearily clamber up a building, or methodically trying to find the one beautifully rendered ledge that I can grab among an army of beautifully rendered ledges that I can't. I wouldn't mind the climbing so much if they weren't in so many games this generation, but they are, and they're really quite dull now.

This is why I actually liked Prototype (screw the haters). Being able to just run up the side of a skycraper is infinitely preferable to something like Crackdown, where you have to just spam the action button and pray that you don't randomly fall off.




  • Skitter - April 13, 2011 8:09 a.m.

    As for the second page- -Alchemy It really depends on how easy the things are to find. In Oblivion, all you need is to join up with the mage's guild (talk to someone in the mage's guild, it's easy) and then find some alchemy equipment and pick it up. Equipment, done. As for ingredients, practically every plant can be harvested from. Fly aminata and cairn bolete are everywhere. It's just matching them up that takes time. -Hammering buttons to open things Waste of time. Lockpicking is something realistic, but hammering a door down isn't really at all like lockpicking. -Escorting I hate that too. You have to do it in Oblivion too, but at least they are smart enough to follow you, but they are so dumb they will just walk into a wall instead of going around it, and you have to go back and make them walk in the right direction again. Things I would add: -Traps. You get yourself hurt because you were walking and didn't stare at the ground all the time. WTF?! -Idiots. In Oblivion, sometimes they give you a quest, and immediatly afterward ask you if you have whatever they wanted or have found whoever, or whatever they asked you to do. I HAVEN'T EVEN STOPPED TALKING TO YOU!!! They should make people smarter. That's all :) Nice ideas.
  • Skitter - April 13, 2011 7:57 a.m.

    I agree with some, I don't agree with others. Lockpicking. I am a big fan of Oblivion, personally. I don't think lockpicking is that much of a waste of time, because just walking in and grabbing something in the middle of the night isn't realistic. It's realistic that people would have locks on their house doors. As long as there isn't a lock on every door and they aren't to hard to pick, it's fine by me. They should make it eaiser to get lockpicks, though. Hacking. I've never really played much games with hacking, but if it's like lockpicking, I think the same. Stealth. I don't really get what you mean by "non-stealth game", so I can;'t really have an opinion. Climbing. I agree it's annoying, having to climb all the time. Why can't people think of a better way up? It's getting old. Nice ideas, though. :)
  • JosefMotley - September 26, 2010 12:28 p.m.

    totally agree about lockpicking and hacking. HOWEVER... "Games both good and bad have tried to randomly inset stealth into their decidedly non-stealthy games - Beyond Good & Evil, Wind Waker, Uncharted... you could compile an entire list column out of games with pointless stealth." last time i played beyond good & evil it was approximately 80% stealth and 20% photographing things. so really it was a stealth game. there was nothing else to do in it's surpisingly tiny game map beyond that. i'm so, so sick of people hyping what was a best forgotten clunker. just like ico, which should be rightfully reviled as a terrible terrible escort mission spun out into a whole pointless and actually quite ugly looking game. ico is like one long irritating puzzle that you'd barely tolerate if it was one room in a zelda dungeon - yet turn that awful idea into a whole game and for the next dull ten years people will be calling you an auteur. PAH
  • Shuuvuia - September 25, 2010 1:49 p.m.

    Ico may have been frustrating at times, but the difference was that I actually really cared about Yorda. It made the whole thing go down a lot easier (considering it is a huge escort mission). I think that's why the game is so beloved. It's the experience much more than the actual, occasionally frustrating gameplay. Don't get me started on Resident Evil 4. I HATED Ashley. Hated her with every being of my soul. It made what probably was a better escort setup than Ico much, much more frustrating and un-fun. In other news, I think the two words that I have to type to post this message are "The crapperoff".
  • elpurplemonkey - September 25, 2010 8:27 a.m.

    I agree with everything on the list except Ico. Its inclusion just seems misguided to me. It reminds me of that old penny arcade comic-
  • Skywalker007 - September 24, 2010 6:09 p.m.

    Is it really necessary to bash ICO? There are much more worst escort mission.
  • sepirothpk - September 24, 2010 7 a.m.

    This article came across as whiney and while making a few good points was overloaded with rubbish comments and rude remarks attempting humour via the potty kind. I mean, what the heck, does this guy need an enema?
  • Zepaw - September 24, 2010 4:58 a.m.

    Several nails all hit directly on the head. Great article.
  • Nolidusk - September 24, 2010 4:31 a.m.

    ico super stupid overrated game
  • FamousAnonymous - September 24, 2010 3:41 a.m.

    Put a lot of that silly stuff in the iPhone version and sync up with my xbox.
  • QWERTYCommander - September 24, 2010 3:16 a.m.

    I liked the climbing in Uncarted 2. the places you could climb were clearly marked (with colored ledges, bricks jutting out, etc.) so you didn't have to look for any "beautifully rendered ledges"
  • Sleuth - September 24, 2010 1:35 a.m.

    Totally agree about Prototype, it's a great game.
  • Helios - September 24, 2010 12:19 a.m.

    Hey, I liked the hacking in Bioshock. I though it was fun. I also kinda sorta a little tiny bit liked the lock picking in Oblivion.
  • gopikmin - September 23, 2010 11:26 p.m.

    i hated climbing (not wall jumping) in Metroid:the other M. you couldn't mash 2. Instead you had to time it and then press 2. i prefer games with jetpacks, grappling hooks or high jumping
  • Abe504 - September 23, 2010 9:19 p.m.

    That is one of the reasons i can't play God of War for more than 30 mins, too many button mashing sequences, annoys the crap out of me, and its such a good game. Just needs less button mashing and qte
  • oryandymackie - September 23, 2010 8:15 p.m.

    I don't think you should be playing games if this sort of thing annoys you...
  • Moe77 - September 23, 2010 8:03 p.m.

    this guy needs fired
  • metalgatesolid - September 23, 2010 7:25 p.m.

    Wow kinda turned into a ICO hate mission at the end there. I agree with the escourting, does my head in. Prototype had that stupid poxy "protect the drill" mission that was hard as nails (its the same thing!!!!). I like Alchemy in games, Dragon Quests are great.
  • billybobbyjoe - September 23, 2010 7:06 p.m.

    I'd forgotten all about that mission in spartan total war!!!! The game was good but my god was that frustrating!
  • foxyexplosion - September 23, 2010 6:42 p.m.

    well oblivion lockpicking could be used to get you something of a higher level with skill. I mean using 20 skill to break into a very hard is impressive shit. I mean i agree with the rest but oblivion lockpicking i think is an exception. I also liked how you tried to bring up 3 examples for each. except for the hammering buttons to open doors. God of war, Arkham Asylum and what....

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