January 27, 2013

5 Things Gamers Hate

Everyone has pet peeves. Even gamers have them. There are things that plague all sorts of games, across consoles and PCs alike, that many gamers wish developers would stop putting in their games. This is my top five.

Before I start, I’d like to set down some guidelines. I based this top five list on features, tropes and ideas commonly found within video games; meaning that this certain thing is featured in several games. This list also does not include glitches or bugs, but things that are specifically put into the game by developers and are intended to be part of the game.

Number 5: Pay to Win

This is a feature most commonly found on free-to-play PC MMOs, but is now being implemented into console gaming in games like Assassin’s Creed and other Ubisoft titles. It usually consists of an item mall in the game where players can spend real money to buy game items that are not available by any other means, or would normally take much more time and skill to gain access to. This bugs gamers like me, who expect that when a game is free-to-play, that the game is COMPLETELY free to play. It also is a major game-breaker in some cases because the items are usually much more powerful than any regular, in-game item.

Number 4: Invisible Walls

This is pretty self-explanatory. You know, when you’re playing some open-world sandbox game and you’re just walking along the path when all of a sudden you just stop moving. Or, you’re out exploring and your character magically collides with the air as if he ran into something and you get the message “You cannot reach this area yet.” The invisible wall, in most cases, is the result of laziness on the part of the developers. Sometimes they’re used to block off certain areas of a game to make sure you don’t arrive there too early. At other times they mark the edge of the playable map. If you have a map that cuts off in the middle of nowhere, it should be blocked off by something in the game, like a cliff or a roadblock. It’s an open-world game, the world is supposed to be open.

Number 3: Save Spots

To those who don’t play games, or may not have played a game with save spots, it may sound like a good thing. Trust me, it isn’t. A save spot is basically a predestined location where you HAVE to go to save a game. There’s no other place you can save your progress outside of the save spot. The reason this is so frustrating to gamers is because the game will usually put you in a spot where you have to walk for 20 minutes to reach the nearest save spot. There is no reason for this. You should be able to pause the game and save anywhere. Better yet, include an auto-save so we don’t have to waste our time doing it.

Number 2: Un-skippable (that’s a word right?) cutscenes

Now I’m sure almost every gamer out there has experienced this is some way. Cutscenes are video segments within a game where the player has no control over what is happening. It’s usually used to develop plot or introduce a boss battle or things like that. It’s basically watching an animated movie. Cutscenes themselves are not bad. They’re good, in and of themselves. But when a game puts a long scene right before a hard boss fight, without a skip feature, it makes me want to break my controller in half. All modern games should feature a custcene skip feature, even if only as a simple gesture of love to the players.

Number 1: Loading Screens

Back in 2001, this wouldn’t have been an issue. Gaming hardware wasn’t as powerful as it is now and many developers didn’t have the software to develop games that didn’t require any sort of loading transition screens. But today’s hardware is more than powerful enough to create a seamless gameplay experience without these conventions. Two of the biggest offenders of this are Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 and Skyrim for Xbox 360 & PS3. There are some cases where loading screens are needed and “okay,” but in these games the loading screens can take up to a minute to put you back into the game, and in Sonic’s case, the loading screens are EVERYWHERE. There’s never been a time where I appreciated a loading screen, nor will there ever be a time I will appreciate a loading screen.

And that brings us to the end of the countdown. These things are definitely problems in games and I think most gamers would agree with me that they should be fixed. But, these are only my humble opinions. I would like to know what you gamer out there think. Post a comment, tell me what your top gaming pet peeves are!

Image Credit: maximino / Shutterstock

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