Video games are incredible. Just think: 40 years ago, we were batting a square white ball between two digital planks, and now we have whole gigantic universes to explore. But of course, we’re human beings and so still cannot be completely satisfied.
While riding across the beautiful landscapes of Witcher 3, or guiding Nathan Drake through another improbable architectural marvel built by poorly educated 18th century pirates with little access to construction resources, sometimes there are things that don’t quite work. Sometimes, there are things that drive us crazy with frustration.
So while acknowledging the majestic visual and narrative craft of modern video games, here are a few of those features we’re still not as keen on. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.
1) Unskippable cut scenes
Especially when placed between a save point and a boss battle. This contravenes our basic human rights.
2) Unreasonably long loading times
Maybe don’t watch all of this …
The rule is this: if after dying in a game you have time to find your smartphone, go to Twitter, type ‘Ugh this game has unreasonably long loading times’, then reply to everyone who agrees with you, all before you get to restart – the loading times are unreasonably long.
3) Formulaic boss battles
You: So I just have to keep shooting at the weak spot on the giant robot’s chest plate and it’ll eventually explode?
Game: Aha, no, because …
You: Let me guess, when its health gauge reaches a certain level of damage, the robot varies its attack pattern?
Game: Well, yes, but …
You: It’s okay I’ve got this: when it hits a critical level of damage, the robot transforms into something else for one last onslaught?
4) AI companions
“I’m so glad I have a computer-controlled character to help get me through this mission, it’ll make things much … wait, he’s stuck behind some scenery. Oh right, now he’s locked into cover and won’t come out. Oh he’s gone – where is he? Ah right, there he is, juggling grenades near that nuclear reactor …”
5) Accidentally leaving voice comms switched on while playing online shooters
You: I fancy an exciting multiplayer session with chart-topping military sim, Necessity of Violence.
12-year-old from Texas: *$%£ YOU, YOU $%£$ING $*£$.
You: on second thoughts, Overcooked anyone?
6) Over-elaborate controls
Just because the PlayStation 4 controller has two analogue sticks and a further 16 possible button presses (as well as a swipe pad), it is not a legal requirement to use ALL OF THEM (often with a further set of button press combinations), making your game only truly accessible to a Venn Diagram of people who have limitless time, patience, digital dexterity, and the working memory of a chess grandmaster.
7) Poorly spaced save points
You: oh no, I’ve been blown up near the end of level 20, I’m sure I’ll be respawned nearby.
Game: welcome back to the middle of level seven!
You: Just kill me again.
8) Weird voice acting
You: I just have to head into the command room and speak to Captain McDonald about my mission and…
Captain McDonald: Greetings. Soldier. The. Time of. War … Is NOW. Upon. Us. Please sit. Down. As I slowly. Provide … 17 HOURS of. Plot. Exposition.
You: Actually, I … I think I’m in the wrong command room? I’ll just …
(Exit. Run away forever)
9) Misleading navigational signposting
“So I just follow the slightly ambiguous giant arrow down here and … oh, I’ve fallen off a cliff to my untimely death.”
10) Most motion control sequences
Game: To complete this mini-task you have to *snigger* rotate the joypad! It’s so cute!
You: Really? Can’t I just use the buttons?
Game: No! It took us two years of R&D to implement this feature and you’re going to damn well use it!
You: *sigh* okay … so I just rotate the pad like this?
Game: No not quite, just a little bit more …
Game: No, you’re twisting it, you have to rotate it …
You: Is this right?
Game: No, if you could just …
You: I’m just going to switch you off now.
Game: No, please! You almost had it!
11) Escort quests
So often “protect the president on your way to the safe house” becomes “watch as the president runs into gunfire flailing and yelling ‘shoot me, I’m in an escort mission.’”
12) Poorly designed inventory management screens
“So, I press X to bring up my weapons arsenal, then R2 to select a character slot, then press Y to equip an item, while pushing the analogue stick right or left to select the light or dark option, then … wait what was the first bit again?”
13) Tank-driving missions in first-person shooters
Game: are you enjoying running around shooting at things?
You: Yes, this is great!
Game: OK, well in the next mission you get to sit in a tank and fire aimlessly for five minutes as it trundles slowly along a pre-defined route
You: What?! Why?!
Game: It’s to vary the pace.
You: I don’t want to vary the pace, I bought this game specifically to run around shooting at things. If I wanted to vary the pace that much I’d play another …
Game: GET IN THE BACK OF THE TANK.
14) Hacking mini-games
No, I do not want to spend 10 minutes slowly rotating the right analogue stick while inputting a sequence of button presses. Also, THIS ISN’T HOW HACKING WORKS.
15) Indestructible doors
You have a grenade launcher that can destroy a tank, but the locked door in your way is absolutely impassable until you find the correct key.
16) Quick time events
Press X then Y then left, right, left to begin legal proceedings against the game designers.
17) Sex scenes
Nobody wants to see two dead-eyed polygonal models awkwardly rutting, their limbs nightmarishly passing through each other due to collision detection issues, their heads thudding together in some sort of brutalist parody of kissing. Especially not if there are quick time events.