A version of this article originally appeared on March 1, 2013.
What really grinds your gears?
Look, we all love games. Deep down, no matter our differences in opinion, this medium is something we're all incredibly passionate about. But you know what? Even so, there are still certain things about games--and the people who play them--that drive us insane.
We're all allowed our grievances; none of the following issues are deal breakers, but they drive us insane none the less. What are some of our greatest pet peeves when it comes to gaming? Read on.
People who skip cutscenes
Scripted cutscenes are an integral part of many game franchises--good luck wrapping your brain around the events of Metal Gear Solid without soaking in its 45-minute hands-off excursions. But there exists a strange breed of gamer, one who views games solely as a thing to be played, never to be watched. This is problematic when playing a story-heavy game with such a person, one who doesn't care if you want to see cutscenes. He opts to skip them, and continues along without concern (or regard for your love of lore).
Now, in the same breath, I will admit that unskippable cutscenes are also a huge pain. While I maintain that skipping cutscenes important to plot is silly, not being able to skip them when they're intrusive is worse--especially in games with poor checkpoint placement. Nothing sours the fun quicker than having to re-watch a 10-minute cutscene that introduces a boss who has already killed you 400 times.
Online potty mouths
The masking of identity through Gamertags and online handles allows the masses to meet at random in the online gaming arena. But that anonymity also means trolls can lash out with obnoxious trash talk without fear of retribution. How many times has a 12-year-old challenged the honor of your angelic grandmother? How many insensitive slurs and slangs have you heard tossed around like it's no big deal? These inevitable insults are annoying, to say the least (thank the gods for the mute option), and they can even discourage some from jumping into online games. There's only one thing worse than encountering a loathsome troll...
Not being able to destroy trash talkers after they've insulted you
Ahhh revenge, the sweet nectar of competition that can turn a soured mood into a great one. We know you've been in this situation before: You're sitting in a multiplayer lobby, waiting for a game to start, when out of nowhere some dude who goes by XxKilla420xX hits you with a barrage of hurtful unpleasantries. He starts by making fun of your Gamertag, then graduates to your immediate family. Eager to put that jerk in his place, you vow to hunt him--and only him--in the following match. Except once said match begins, you're unable to kill him a single time. He frags you over and over until all that is left is shame, tears, and the shattered pieces of your family's honor.
Games that take 15 minutes to get to the title screen
Animated developer splash image. Animated publisher splash image. Multiplayer developer splash image. Single-player engine splash image. Multiplayer engine splash image. Game series splash image. Console manufacturer splash image. Shoutouts to developer/publisher/engine and console manufacturers' family members via a splash image. Pictures of random dogs in a splash image. The letter "Q" in a splash image. It has eyes. Splash image. Pre-title screen splash image of what the title screen looks like. Nap time.
Sharing a controller with an inverted (or non-inverted) gamer
Online multiplayer is great and all, but sometimes nothing beats some old fashioned couch co-op with a pal. Passing the controller back and forth is a great way to engage in some friendly competition and see who, exactly, is the better player. But there's one thing that will transform fun into frustration real quick: playing with a friend who uses inverted controls (or standard controls, if you're an inverter yourself). In this scenario,sharing a gamepad becomes an immense hassle, as you'll have to dig through menus to manipulate the control scheme time and time again, eating up the precious minutes you could've spent playing games.
Friends who don't give up the controller after they die
And then there are the type of people who, during the aforementioned scenario, just won't give up the damn controller after their turn is up. It's one of the frustrating aspects of playing with a friend, where "OK, let's pass off after each death" turns into "NOT YET, JUST ONE MORE TRY THEN YOU CAN PLAY, OKAY, GET OFF MY BACK." As one gamer's greed destroys the other's joy, enemies are born from the wreckage of friendship. Just remember: Sharing is caring.
Playing a game with your buddy's greasy and/or sweaty controller
That being said, sharing is not caring the moment your friend hands you a controller covered in greasy grime. Alternatively, a controller drenched in so much sweat that it looks as though it was dropped in a bucket of water before it ended up in your hands. The former scenario is certainly the more baffling of the two--how can one stand playing with a controller layered with an inch of Cheetos dust?--while the latter is an unpleasant surprise that requires more delicate handling. Sweaty hands happen. Just remember to bring a towel next time.
When your wireless device runs out of batteries
Maybe it happens in an intense clan scrimmage against a rival team; or perhaps during a raid in your favorite MMO. It doesn't matter--the fact is, your wireless gamepad/mouse/keyboard (shame on you) will run out of battery power at a crucial moment. It never really happens at a convenient time, does it? Like, say, right when you power on your device before jumping into the competitive sphere. Then, while you're off scrambling for replacement batteries, you come back only to discover you've been g-kicked or penalized by your team for leaving them hanging. Hooray!