Real-world problems only a gamer could understand

All of the gaming lifestyle's little disasters

Yes, we know. By their very nature, any complaint dealing with a video game is undoubtedly a first-world problem. But like anyone else, we need to vent, because there are plenty of downsides to our favorite hobby. And what follows aren't the trials and tribulations we face within games--oh no. These are all the real-life occurrences that seem to befall gamers exclusively, no matter their race, gender, creed, or religion.

But sometimes, our shared experiences are what bring us closer together. That's why it's time we get all these gaming-related gripes off our chests, from the most minor frustrations to the devastating catastrophes that we've all suffered from in the pursuit of video game greatness. You probably know our pain; if not, count your blessings, because you never know when these real-world misfortunes may strike you next.

No, you're not interested in a pre-order

Pity the GameStop employee. They're not stupid; they can read the look on your face, see the panic in your eyes. All you want is for this transaction to end, so that you could abandon this brick-and-mortar mausoleum of overpriced used games and return home to play your new purchase in comfort. But, as if an invisible person was holding a gun to their heads, they have no choice but to ask: Will you be interested in making a pre-order today? Of course they know you can pre-order on Amazon with no money down. Of course they know that if you wanted to pre-order something, you would've said so. And still yet, they must berate you about upcoming games, for that is their lot in life.

Trying to buy something you already own

During every big bi-annual Steam sale, the funniest thing occurs: We attempt to pay for the exact same game twice. "Hey," we say to ourselves, "Look at how cheap Deus Ex: Human Revolution is selling for! Isn't it time we picked it up and played it?" Then as our mouse cursor hovers over the add-to-cart button, we realize--we went through this exact same process one year ago, yet we never did get around to installing and playing Deus Ex. And what we were excited about playing two seconds ago has now become just another uninteresting reminder of what's languishing in our backlog.

The cord reaches just short of the couch

Would it have killed controller manufacturers to make their cords a foot or two longer? It feels silly to move the couch a few inches forward so you can sit comfortably without holding a tautly tethered controller, but it feels equally silly to slump in front of the TV like a nine-year-old when there's a cushioned seat directly behind you. And yet, you have no choice but to sit on the ground, lest you turn your controller cord into a deadly tripwire or accidentally yank the console right out of its sockets.

You can tell your spot in the pecking order from the controller your friend gives you

First player gets the standard controller. Second players A button is sticky. Third players trigger buttons have lost their springs. Fourth players controller is a knock-off of a third-party disaster that has turbo buttons slapped across its broken surface. You think you can faintly hear it whispering Kill me as you lose your fifth consecutive game of Mario Kart. And no, none of your buddies want to trade controllers.

When your cartridge doesn't work on the first go...

In the grand scheme of things, it's pretty amazing that a piece of technology from two decades ago can still function at all. But that doesn't make it any less annoying when your aging console simply refuses to recognize the presence of a game, or boots it up for a split-second before degenerating into a mess of glitchy sprites. It's not like you can trade in your slightly defective copy for a new one, seeing as they went out of production three console generations ago. Nothing left to do but give it the ol' cartridge blow...

...and you just blew spit onto it while trying to fix it

F$*%. You knew this was a bad idea. In your heart of hearts, you were well aware of the potential damage this could cause; old habits die hard, no matter how ineffectual they might be. But on this particularly day, at this particularly moment, your saliva glands decided to play a hilarious prank on you, sending out globs of spittle with your gust of breath. Whether or not there was anything wrong with the cartridge connection to begin with, there's definitely a problem now. Who knows what kind of havoc your spit is currently wreaking on all that delicate circuitry.

You've got a game case with no game inside

Nostalgia hit you out of the blue today, and all of a sudden, you've got a hankering to play your favorite game from yesteryear right now. After hours of digging through closets and interrogating your family/roommates, you at last locate the game box, still in pristine condition. You crack it open with glee and--nothing. Just a vacant hole like the one in your black heart, taunting you with its stark emptiness. Who knows where that game is now--all that's left to do is curse the name of whoever misplaced it (which, let's be honest, was probably you).

You've got a game case with the wrong game inside

Ah, there's the case you're looking for. Grab it. Grip it. Open it up, and see that it's not the game you expected. Huh. There's a shooter in the box for this RPG. Well, go ahead and grab the box for that shooter and--what? There's a sports game in there? This daisy chain continues until one of two things happens: you either find the game, misplaced after a gauntlet of laziness, or you eventually find an empty box and hate your life.

You've got a game with no case

Time to play something new--eject the old game from the console, grab the case, and wait. Where is that case, anyway? You couldn't have lost it, right? Maybe you put it back on the shelf? Or maybe it's under the couch? You wouldn't have lent it out, you wouldn't have thrown it away, so it must have just vanished. Guess it's time to toss the disc on a table like a cheap coaster, where it will likely stay neglected for days.

Lucas Sullivan

Lucas Sullivan is the former US Managing Editor of GamesRadar+. Lucas spent seven years working for GR, starting as an Associate Editor in 2012 before climbing the ranks. He left us in 2019 to pursue a career path on the other side of the fence, joining 2K Games as a Global Content Manager. Lucas doesn't get to write about games like Borderlands and Mafia anymore, but he does get to help make and market them.