Recently I was confronted with one of the worst scenarios a human can face. The kind of thing that can put such strain, such pressure on the psyche of even the strongest person that their very mind could snap like an over-stretched rubber band and lash back to poke the eye of a loved one. The cold face of madness stared into my soul and I could not turn away. It was, and I hesitate to even type this, a jumping puzzle in a video game.
Yes, the bane of all who value enjoyment over repetitive stupidity, which, due to the success of reality television, I think it’s safe to assume is the minority in our rotten world today. And in Borderlands 2, of all places! A game so full of action, fun, and whimsy that I include it on my short list of games that I actually find fun to play at length and repeatedly. My heart began to crack, but praise be to the old gods and the new, after a few failed attempts the narrating characters took over and explained that I wouldn’t have to do the puzzle. I warped right to where I needed to go and went back to shooting dwarves in the face with a shotgun that fires balls of electricity.
That’s why I love a game like that. If there’s a stupid part that serves no other purpose to annoy, you don’t have to do it. Even better are games that are so fucking awesome that they don’t even put in annoying parts in the first place, but they only make a new Bioshock game every few years. But most games seem to be designed by people who feel the need to include shitty parts in otherwise decent pieces of entertainment. I don’t like dealing with idiocy in people who I meet for free, so why should I put up with it in a $60 disc? Exactly, I don’t. I play them at Eric’s place, because he already paid for them.
For some reason, that goofy guido loves a ton of games that I have played through and found utterly infuriating at best. And they all share one or more common elements, as well as most of the many games I’ve never played and never care to (I assume), that really just make them suck in that extra special, well-paid-hooker kind of way.
Crappy Writing – An obvious one that lots of the sort of stupid people who watch Michael Bay movies or still think Avatar was anything other than James Cameron masturbating in your face for two hours (in 3D!) probably dismiss with a wave of their crusty, clammy hand. But for my part, I really have trouble ignoring painfully shitty dialogue throughout the main action, no matter how entertaining it may be. Yeah, Dishonored, keep droning on about the missing fucking princess for hours. I don’t have people to shoot with a crossbow or anything. And then there are games like Binary Domain that not only has godawful fucking dialogue, but it let’s you actually make choices in the conversations. It’s like giving you a restaurant menu that’s nothing but different types of turds on paper plates.
Repetitiveness – Speaking of Binary Domain, one of the most frustrating sequences was when you have to spend a good fifteen minutes just shooting the same robot out of the roof of a car. And then there was that other ten minutes where you have to keep shooting at another robot from the side of a truck. And then that other part where oh fuck it you get the point. And don’t get me started on the widely loved Uncharted games. If I wanted to spend twelve hours climbing up and down walls with slightly different colored vines, I’d start doing parkour and become a complete jackass with absurd core strength.
Faux Options – This is a big one that really pisses me off. I enjoy games that give you flexibility to overcome obstacles, and nothing grinds my balls like a game that boasts that as an attribute but is as full of shit as that theoretical menu I mentioned two paragraphs ago. A game like The Last of Us, that boasts a big, lush world with a myriad of ways to defeat or get around the various zombie types is a prime example. Half the game is spent doing shit like finding the exact plank of wood to bring to the exact spot to pick up Ellie and bring her to another exact spot to turn the exact wheel to open a door and then try to quietly sneak around a group of zombies because the game gives you no ammunition and you haven’t leveled up to beat the clickers yet so if they hear you, you die instantly and you have to start back with the fucking plank.
Dishonored is an example of a different but equally frustrating variety of “fuck you.” I actually enjoyed most of the play through of the game, as it did give me the solid option of taking my enemies head-on or getting all stealthy (read: boring). But then I got to the end and it turned out that my choice to kill my enemies as opposed to shoot them with sleeping darts or spend 8 hours climbing on rooftops to get around them (see Repetitiveness), was actually the wrong way and made me evil. So I got one of the “bad” endings. Eric laughed. I thought of killing him, but I was worried I’d get a bad ending.
Jumping Puzzles – Seriously? I already went over this. Does anybody actually enjoy doing this? Anyone? Honest to fucking goodness, if you can find somebody that actually gets a legitimate thrill out of trying to push “forward” and “A” repeatedly in a specific sequence, I will give you 500 quatloos. No fooling.
Repetitiveness – Speaking of Binary Domain, one of the most frustrating sequences was when you have to spend a good fifteen minutes just shooting the same robot out of the roof of a car. And then there was that other ten minutes where you have to keep shooting at another robot from the side of a truck. And then that other part where oh fuck it you get the point. And don’t get me started on the widely loved Uncharted games. If I wanted to spend twelve hours climbing up and down walls with slightly different colored vines, I’d start doing parkour and become a complete jackass with absurd core strength. See what I did there?
If somebody could please just pass all this on to some top game developers, that would be great. We can see shitty games wiped out in our time, with a little luck. And it will help if you idiots stop buying those goddamn Call of Duty games for a while. All right, I gotta go electrocute some more dwarves while listening to entertaining dialogue delivered by likable characters. Give it a try some time, dummy (read: Eric).