None of this, thanks
For a form of entertainment that's supposedly centred on fun, gaming certainly makes us endure our fair share of thumb-numbing tedium. From loading screens to backtracking, repeated bosses to level grinds, glitches to hitches, our wacky world of interactive storytelling is no stranger to the occasional blast of boredom. And why not--it cant all be shooting down helicopters and sexing up alien ladies.
Given the average attention of span of most modern gamers is shorter than Hey, seriously, are you clicking through to the next slide already? PAY ATTENTION! This following list of things deals with the ways tedium been fixed in some startlingly original ways, by pioneering games. So, without much further ado, here are eight ingenious solutions to gaming's biggest time-wasters.
Boring End Credits (fixed by Vanquish)
Here's to you, end-game boss monster. You certainly put up quite the fight. Now I know you may have had your heart set on obliterating the Earth and/or enslaving its population of buxom bar wenches, but that I just could not allow. Fortunately, after 5 hours of hardcore recreational frustration, you're now absolutely, positively, 100% dead, and what better way to celebrate that fact than with a lengthy look at all the peeps who made this pain possible. We're talking about end credits, those pesky, meandering registers that afford each and every designer's name exactly one-tenth of a second's fame. The crazed egomaniacs.
Most gamers tend to skip these lists outright, which is a highly unfortunate situation; one that the devs at Platinum Games (of Bayonetta fame) decided to do something about. As part of the team's 2010 shooter Vanquish, all completionists are treated to an extended shooting gallery featuring the faces of prominent designers. As an added quirk, the title's A.I programmers are made that much harder to hit, while the games director, Shinji Mikami, turned up in the form of a monstrous bullet sponge. Credit where credit is due--that's clever.
Music stops when exiting vehicle (fixed by Scarface The World Is Yours)
Is there anything more maddening, more irritating, more singularly infuriating than losing access to an in-game soundtrack every time you exit a vehicle? Its like slamming both hands in a printing press, or catching the super cholera: your issues are almost so old fashioned, so ludicrously outdated that no one even thinks to help. Ask any fan of sandbox gaming what their abiding memory of the Grand Theft Auto series is and they'll inevitably mention some Cluedo-esque mishmash of music, murder and mayhem--ala Colonel Cortez, with the candlestick, blasting Beat It--so why is it we've yet to receive a proper portable MP3 player?
Oh, theres one in Watch Dogs you say? Fair point. Its all smart phones, and hacking, and twerking in that game anyway. Looking a little further back, Scarface offered a more ballsy solution to the problem. Simply ditch your ride at any point and Tony's choice of tune will follow the player around, switching from in-universe music to a proper bona fide soundtrack. The reason? Just because.
Endless reloading (fixed by Gears of War)
Say what you will about COD's community of obsessive-compulsive reloaders, one fully fresh clip can often make all the difference. Imagine for a moment two equally skilled opponents clashing on the battlefield, one with just half a mag, the other having made certain to refill his clip with the erratic passion of a crack addict. Either way you slice it, old Senor half-mag is now at a distinct disadvantage, and--no matter how many racial slurs he can squeeze down that mic--he's likely going down for the count. To summarise then, reloading sucks, unless of course you can turn that simple irritation into a meta-game all its own.
Enter Gears of War, Epic's wall-hugging, limb-pruning shooter series that began life way back in 2006. This original Gears title did for reloading mechanics what the electric chair would presumably do to the members of One Direction: give them a good old shake up, before cutting out the nuisance for good. The best part of all is the sheer simplicity of the system, a 'stop the slider here' type mini-game usually reserved for the likes of dance party titles and torture scenes or in my case, the very same thing. Haha etc.
Pointless encumbrance (fixed by Resident Evil 4)
There's something to be said for a video gaming hero who can pack eight full-sized dragon skulls into a single knapsack but crumbles under the weight of an additional biscuit and that something is 'Balderdash'. While being 'over-encumbered' might sound like the kind of thing you'd have to fly all the way to Amsterdam for, it's actually far more benign, and a whole lot easier on the knees. In an effort to retain some measure of realism--fairytale monsters and non-rotting teeth aside--many RPGs will choose to place tough upper limits on your rampant item collecting. Sadly, not knowing exactly which pieces of junk might soon come in handy, many players quickly turn to hoarding, transforming the average game of Skyrim into little more than a hardcore cataloguing sim.
Fortunately, there is a solution, and its name is Resident Evil 4. While this classic horror series certainly isnt the first to experiment with limited inventory spacing, its suitcase-stuffing approach does make for an enjoyable, engaging aside. Whether youre twisting Tetris-like shapes to cram in one more hand grenade or saving that bulky rocket launcher to one-bomb the final boss, Resi 4 does gear management in style.
Hard restarts (fixed by Battlefield)
On the grand scale of things that are woefully depressing in the real world, but sometimes quite funny in video games, suicide may just take the cake. You see, most modern games are so concerned with keeping our big stupid avatars alive that they never think to offer the more exacting gamer an easy out. For example, let's say you've just blasted through a game stage with the consummate ease and lightning quick skills of a cheese-stained layabout ninja. Great--the last thing you'll want is to follow that up with an uncoordinated slap fight in stage B. It just feels uncool, unbecoming: lame even. After all, we do have our standards to think about, and 100% completion doesn't mean all that much when we're made to look like a bunch of fat-handed children to achieve it.
That's where the suicide button comes in, a thigh-slapping alternative to the more commonly encountered 'checkpoint restart' key, and a godsend to any gamers trapped in terrain, sitting out an alert phase or otherwise blundering through a level. Unfortunately, this form of instant do-over isn't all that common, though is has made appearances in select games like Battlefield and Postal.
Load time waiting (fixed by FIFA)
Whereas FIFA the organisation routinely bumbles, blathers and bureaucratizes its way through the 'beautiful game', FIFA the actual game kicks all that time wasting nonsense to the curb. Case in point--the ingenious loading screen kick-abouts introduced in FIFA 11.
Replacing the static loadscreens--and scowling footballers--of previous entries, these training ground preambles allow one or more players to flick and trick to their heart's content. It's a simple, even elegant solution to a tedious mainstay of the industry, and one that better reflects the pre-match activities of real life players. That's pitch-related activities mind you, not the kind that usually ends with a court case and a dose of penicillin up the John Thomas.
Long pauses for dull story exposition (fixed by Dead Space and BioShock)
Quick, raise your hand if you've ever dozed off during a cutscene. That's alright, you're in a safe place now, Hideo Kojima won't be invited back. And how about those lengthy text logs, little in-game tomes that take all day to discover and a lifetime to read? I bet you'd love to know every last scrap of detail on your favourite games, right? So why is it that so many titles still insist on presenting their extra-curricular offerings via a dusty old book. No narration, no picture-in-picture, just the occasional big screen e-reader and an obligatory moment of silence. From slaying trolls to story time in just under 5 seconds; surely there's a better way, and there is.
Series like Dead Space and BioShock cleverly skirt this issue by way of in-HUD vids, voice work and simple button prompts. Want to hear the tragic history of a dead girl while continuing to murder men with a large gun? It's all up to you, with the added bonus being that the more hands-off exposition there is, the easier it becomes to swallow traditional swathes of text. Their rarity can even add a whole new layer of appreciation, just like that shiny George Bush jnr card in your Presidential baseball card collection.
Lengthy walks (fixed by Zelda and Skyrim)
In a way, every one of mankind's achievements can be traced back to the need for speed. No, not the underground car racing franchise--though that is rather good--were talking here about the basic human desire for progress, promptness and really big engines. We want to go there, and go there now. Damn the expense. and the death toll; it's jetpacking time. It might surprise you to learn that video games have been offering this option to whizz around the map for since Zelda 3, and yet many titles still refuse to implement such basic timesavers.
I mean, who really needs to backtrack down another empty corridor before they die? Luckily, games like Skyrim, and the Grand Theft Auto franchise, take all of the busywork out of their big maps by allowing gamers to instantly appear at any destination, regardless of distance or danger. As ingenious solutions go, fast travel may just be the most under-appreciated of them all, but in a world where the miracle of the microwave--and the eight second christmas dinner--is deemed too slow, maybe that isn't all that surprising.
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Spotted any ingenious solutions of your own lately? Some quick fix to a horrible gaming headache? Maybe you just fancy a good yell in my general direction. Whatever the case, head on down to the comments section below to register your delight and/or disgust. Like Snap, you have the power.