12 things you'll only understand if you play a lot of shooters

Fool us once, shame on you

There are just some things you expect in a shooter, like where the reload button is, or how good a perfect headshot should feel. Certain elements should just have a comforting predictability, like a favourite biscuit. But with those familiar patterns and instinctive muscle memory come some problems. Well not problems, just some things we all do without thinking. See how many we've got here that'll make you say 'same'. 

Reloading after every shot

Must. Have. Full. Magazine. It's that background thought that makes the reload twitch almost impossible to avoid. No one wants to run out of bullets mid spree. So you flick that useless magazine, with its missing three bullets, out after every burst. Habitually. You can't stop. Must. Have. Full. Magazine. This is a problem isn't it? Especially when...

Accidentally reloading a heavy weapon then swearing while you wait... and wait...

So let's get this straight, brain. Sup. You told us to pick the weapon with the most ammo. Yup. You chose it specifically because it has, like, 100 bullets in a single clip. Yessir. You did this so that we wouldn't have to reload that often. Mmhm. And then you're going to tell us to reload the SECOND we fire a single shot? For sure. You're the worst.

Trying to shoot lights, windows, toilet rolls

Look, it's just a test okay. I'm certainly not going to judge a game on how objects react to my bullet wand. I just need to know if anything other than the enemies notice I'm here. You can argue that you're just testing the lights in case there's a potential stealth benefit but, be honest, you just want to break stuff. All the stuff. 

Watching the bullet holes. Just to check.

Do they disappear? You know have to know. It's pointless but somehow irresistible to check. You may not always set out to do it but there'll be a quiet moment of reflection at some point in the carnage where you'll find yourself looking, out of curiosity, just to see if... there it goes. Gone. I... what am doing with my life? 

Never using the big guns

It's just prudent to keep an inventory stocked with RPGs and grenades. Sure there's like a million enemies on screen right now but this is manageable and the mega-death-gun will be needed when things get really bad.

[Finishes game with 43 rockets, 19 grenades, and a gun you never even fired.]

Shooting red barrels for our own protection more than anything else

Obviously when you see an explosive barrel you immediately look for a way to use it and kill as many foes as possible. But, more realistically, there's also the lingering thought that it'll go off in the middle of fight when you're right on top of it, or potentially hiding behind it (because you forgot and no one's perfect, okay). So, sure, think about the perfect multi kill explod-o-death, but maybe just blow it up now before something goes horribly wrong. 

Trying to shoot allies for research purposes

Listen, game, we know you don't want us to shoot at this guy. You can lower our gun when we point it their way, or activate a mysterious safety catch should the cross hair drift over their face, but we'll find a way. Maybe aiming just over their head and moving really quickly mid-burst? Or a splash happy grenade? 

Oh wait. You can totally kill them. Huh. I miss that guy already. 

Always sprinting through single-player

When you're not shooting why wouldn't you sprint? 'Over there' is a long way away and if there's a method of getting there faster why wouldn't we use it. I know somewhere an artist poured their life, and possibly a marriage, into making the best desks ever seen in a video game, but I've places to be and people to shoot. 

Absolutely, always, blaming anything but yourself in multiplayer

When was the last time you honestly conceded, 'fair play, you got me there. Well done'. I'm going to guess the answer is likely never. There's always some hot BS at play - your internet connection, the other player's apparent psychic abilities, the divine intervention of some deity that only likes bad people. Anything, rather than concede you're maybe not that good.  

Not realizing that enemies will respawn infinitely

We've all done it: spent hours fighting a tide of enemies, pilling up the bodies for ages before realising that they're not stopping. Thanks game. I mean, I like this box. We've got pretty close in all the time I've been hiding behind it, but if you could have let me know the invisible 'make game continue' line was three feet on the other side we could have all moved on a lot sooner. 

Checking, then shooting, our reflection in the mirror

Again, file under research. Everyone knows all the best games have actual working mirrors, and who doesn't want to check out what you actually look like in-game? There's only so much character you can get from feet and hands, no matter how good the gloves are. It's also important that the mirror breaks when you shoot it. For reasons. But not before you've finished admiring your powerful hero shoulders.  

Hollander Cooper

Hollander Cooper was the Lead Features Editor of GamesRadar+ between 2011 and 2014. After that lengthy stint managing GR's editorial calendar he moved behind the curtain and into the video game industry itself, working as social media manager for EA and as a communications lead at Riot Games. Hollander is currently stationed at Apple as an organic social lead for the App Store and Apple Arcade.