'Fra-gile'? It must be Italian
Gamers breaking their controllers in fits of rage is such a tired trope. Who can afford to do that now that the damn things cost as much as a new game? No, the real scourge of the video game peripheral is the games themselves. And across the decades, many titles have emerged with strenuous demands that are liable to push our poor little plastic paddles over the edge.
With that in mind, we went through the annals of gaming history to find some of our favorite examples of games that tend to wreck your stuff. Whether it's buttons that will never push the same or analog sticks that are about ready to break off, you might want to plug in the junky controller you reserve for guests for these eight moments...
Metal Gear Solid tortures your circle button
I could've written this whole thing about how the Metal Gear Solid series has permanently smooshed every generation of my DualShock controller (bide your time, DualShock 4 - The Phantom Pain may not be as merciful as Ground Zeroes). Instead, I'll focus on its original controller-ending event: MGS' torture scene. Within seconds, it becomes clear that Revolver Ocelot loves electrocuting folks almost as much as he loves making thinly veiled sexual innuendos about guns.
This scene is notable because it actually offers players and their poor, abused circle buttons a way out - simply give in to the torture and tell Ocelot what he wants to know. If you instead persist through multiple sessions, Dr. Naomi Hunter will radio in and offer to use muscular implants (read: the vibrating controller) to massage your weary arms. Her nanomachines can't fix the controller if you smash its buttons in, though. Never forget your DualShock's sacrifice.
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS smashes circle pads to bits
Many fans were dubious when Nintendo revealed that Super Smash Bros. was headed to 3DS before its release on Wii U. They questioned whether it could display all the often far-reaching action on its smaller screen, and whether its less-powerful hardware would mean more limits imposed on its big-screen cousin. Turns out those concerns were mostly overstated, but there was another hazard that few people saw coming: the 3DS' flat little Circle Pad just can't take all that high-impact brawling.
With the C-Stick gone (for now), there's only one way to input Smash Bros.' eponymous, momentum-shifting smash attacks: slam the circle pad to the side as you hammer on the A button. And that's just one of the game's many uses for high-speed directional inputs. Sure enough, many players reported that their circle pads went loose or popped off altogether after a few weeks - or even days - of play. Better to leave the really high-impact smashing to the Wii U version.
Mario Party grinds analog sticks down to nothingness
Remember all those minigames in the original Mario Party where you had to rotate the analog stick to win? Ostensibly you could do it with your thumb, the same way you played the rest of the game. But Party professionals know that there's only one surefire way to take home the coins in Tug O'War or Pedal Power: by pressing the analog stick into your palm and twirling it in a miniature wax-on, wax-off motion.
Victory comes at a steep cost, but blisters and friction burns will eventually heal (Nintendo actually distributed special playing gloves to kids as part of a legal settlement). No, the real damage is done in plastic: the N64 controller's persnickety analog stick, which gets all gunked up if you look at it funny, frequently suffer reduced sensitivity from the repeated grinding motion. Mr. Miyagi didn't prepare us for this.
Down will come 3DS in Tomodachi Life's baby rocking minigame
Tomodachi Life lets you fill an island with little Mii lookalikes of all your favorite friends and celebrities. But players who have a tough time saying 'no' to their Miis will soon find their island overrun by infants. Seriously, you'd think Shaun White and Christina Aguilera were trying to repopulate the Earth. But just because they're good at making babies doesn't mean they know the first thing about taking care of them.
The new parents will inevitably ask you to come over and soothe their demonspawn through a rocking minigame, in which you're advised to cradle the 3DS in your hands much as you would a baby. No apparent logic dictates the rhythm that will cease its mad shrieking, but if you get frustrated and rock too hard? There's a good chance that your 3DS will come sailing out of your arms - since, y'know, you're holding it like a baby instead of a 3DS. Maybe a five-foot drop will shut it up.
Baby credit: Sosostris
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a work out
Yes, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas delights RPG fans with its range of physical stats for CJ, each of which can be improved by visiting the gym, picking a salad instead of a burger, or simply by sprinting around. But even as CJ's stamina improves (and, after completing a certain mission, is made infinite), you have to keep tap, tap, tapping to get away from the cops on foot. Look, I know those buttons are designed to take a lot of punishment, but I'm not sure we're talking 'Los Santos to San Fierro roundtrip' levels of abuse here.
Wii Sports bowls into oblivion
Somebody at Nintendo had to see this coming, right? When you introduce a new generation of folks to gaming with a virtual rendition of bowling, they're going to act like they're bowling. And what do you do when you bowl? You take a long stride forward, swing your arm in a deep curve from back to front, and release. Wait! You're not actually supposed to Oh, well, now you know for next time. That is, after you buy a new Wii Remote and a new television.
I was never all that worried about my friends wrecking my games before, but you better believe I cinched those Wii Remote straps tight to their wrists after I saw the dozenth news report of shattered peripherals. Wii Remotes were few and far between back in 2006! And yeah, I guess the destroyed TV sets were kind of a shame too.
No More Heroes clashes and smashes
You knew there was going to be more than one Wii Remote waving game in here, right? Though there are plenty of haphazard motion control mechanics to choose from, No More Heroes' sword clashes take the cake. Protagonist Travis Touchdown will often find himself locked in a desperate struggle (hey, that's what they named the sequel) as his matter-annihilating beam katana somehow becomes trapped against an enemy's weapon. The only way to prevail in this contest of strength? Spin the Wii Remote around in rapid little circles like a high-speed feather duster.
Combine this haphazard motion with motion-controlled wrestling moves and the frustration from attempting the same damn boss fight for the dozenth time, and you have a recipe for airborne Wii Remotes. At least all these goofy battle moves that players are forced to perform don't look as questionable as the beam-katana-recharging animation, which you could be arrested for attempting in public.
Track & Field was the scourge of the arcade owner
Most video games let nerds like us abstract our competitive spirit, so that we don't have to rely on raw physicality. Track & Field humors no such foolishness. Instead, most of its events come down to a straight-up mash-fest: whoever pounds the buttons fastest wins the day. Arcade and NES players alike share blister-inducing speed techniques. Those who are less concerned with maintaining the integrity of the game can rub coins or other foreign objects across the buttons to attain land speeds that would make Usain Bolt look more like Usain Bus.
Speaking of 'the integrity of the game', all those hacks meant Track and Field's buttons were regularly busted in pursuit of high scores. At least the little cretins that broke them got to do some real-life running before the arcade manager saw what they did.
I'm about to BREAK
All your buttons still intact after that? If not, don't say I didn't warn you. And don't stay quiet if you have a few favorite examples of your own to add - be sure to let me know in the comments!
Ok, so maybe a few levels are frustrating enough to make us break our controllers. And maybe a few bosses, too. We're not perfect, ok?!