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The backseat gamer's burden

Feeling sorry for whatever they have to kill to stay alive

"Why do I have to kill that thing?"
"Because it's a three-story zombie dragon that has eaten every member of your character's family, including his wife and unborn son, before his very eyes."
"But maybe its mommy left it and it was just scared and lonely and it didn't mean to eat them but they came in and started being mean to it. Maybe it just wanted to be left alone. Maybe we shouldn't play this game. I don't like it. It's insensitive."
*grabs controller and beats the dragon's brains into a bloody mush*

Never pressing Down in puzzle games

Above: "All right, we'll be back in ten minutes when your piece has dropped"

This is specific to every Tetris-inspired dropping block puzzle game. After the third block has dripped down the screen like maple syrup well after they've decided where it's going and at what orientation, we've ripped out half the hair on our heads.

Playing in constant fear of the Fox news version of videogaming

These people are always worried about a game's imaginary psychological effects, as if it's going to randomly flip some mental switch and turn them into a slavering, maniacal murder-rapist.

"Is this that level where you beat hookers? I don't want to beat hookers."
"No, you actually never have to ever beat hookers. That's just a news story that got it all wrong."
"I don't have to have sex with anyone, do I? I definitely don't want to have sex with any other characters."
"No, you don't actually have to do that either. And even if you did, it's not a porno. It's a PG-rated love scene. And a different game."
"I'm sure killing a lot of things. Do I have to be so violent? I don't want the game to make me violent."
"I promise, you're safe. I'm the one becoming more violent.” *slaps forehead until unconscious*

Playing in constant fear of dying

Okay, we understand that a little caution can make you not look like an idiot, but this is a videogame. You can't really die, because it's not real life. So why do some people creep along, peeking ever so carefully around every corner, taking a few steps forward and then scooting back even though nothing dangerous happened? It's especially aggravating during a game like Left 4 Dead. They don't seem to get that creeping along and jumping at every shadow isn't going to keep them alive; in fact, the zombies won't stop coming if they don't get their ass moving.

Above: They don't experience fear or remorse, they have infinite respawns, and they absolutely WILL NOT STOP until you are DEAD

No ability to comprehend special moves in Street Fighter, etc.

We want to rip our own eyeballs out and beat someone with said bloody orbs when watching them struggle with charge moves, or especially the Dragon Punch.

"Hold back for 2 seconds then press forward and punch. No, two seconds. No, forward and punch at the same time. You're not holding back long enough. No that's kick, you have to press punch. No, forward and punch AT THE SAME TIME. FARGGHHHHHH."

The Dragon Punch is even more hopeless.

Above: "A Z-Motion. Its like a fireball motion. Oh, a fireball motion is down, down-forward, forward, punch. No, at the same time.” Etc.

Not building workers

This one's specific to RTS games. While many recent RTS games have de-emphasized economy, the traditional ones still require you to constantly build workers. As in, NEVER stop. We always see people build a few workers, then get tunnel-vision marching their troops across the map. Then they come across their opponent's force, which is three times the size of theirs, and is of a higher technology level, and of course they get steamrolled. Naturally, they ask, “How did they get so many guys?”

Not understanding what the brake is for

So, they've driven a real car before, right (children are excused)? So, when they're screaming along at 150mph, and a hair-pin turn comes flying at them, it never occurs to them that there are other buttons on the controller besides STOMP ON THE GAS?

Above: "I can totally take this at 178mph"

Overusing the F-bomb

This is a special case, and one that makes us wish we could reach through our headsets and throttle half the people in online games. Instead of just taking over their controller, we want to snatch it and shatter it on their TV. We’re extremely sick of the F-word (not the four-letter one, the homophobic one). We're annoyed at the frequency with which it’s used, however, and not for the reasons you might assume. Regardless of what any whiny, albeit well-meaning, advocacy group says, there are certain instances where throwing out that F-Word can be appropriate, or at the very least funny. No, we’re not calling for a retirement of the word… Because it’s a word, and that’d be stupid. Of course, proper usage is all dependent on the context, and a celebratory headshot, or a well timed Madden pass almost never fall into it.

Now, we’re all for talking shit over the net - that’s what it’s there for - but not only is the word a needless showstopper, it’s one of the most creatively bankrupt things you can say in an argument. Yeah, it’s offensive, but more importantly, it’s hack. There are literally millions of ways to take jabs at another player’s sexuality and masculinity, so those idiots endlessly barking the word over their mics come off as homophobic AND as unimaginative assholes devoid of anything clever to say.

Above: Doesthisreally seem like a badass insult?

The word’s barely even rooted in any homosexual slander anymore and instead has become just the cruelest “fightin’ word” one can cowardly utter into a headset. It has no equivalent and no comeback. All they can do is lob it back and forth until all parties involved look like childish morons. These lazy, unoriginal slobber-jaws are polluting a healthy medium for humorously insulting discourse. Indiscriminately tossing out the F-Bomb is the argumentative equivalent of spamming Ken’s Dragon Punch: It’s cheap, indefensible, and reflects poorly on you. And yeah, it also upsets gay people, so cut it out already!

Mar 1, 2010

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