Metacognition: Pet Peeves

We’re back with our “thinking about thinking” series! If you’re interested in our previous deep thoughts, check out the Metacognition series.  Join us for some deep thoughts (and maybe the occasional not-so-deep thought) about gaming. If you find one you’d like to answer, you can either comment below or write a post and share the link so we can all read your fantastic thoughts.

What are seven of your pet peeves about games?

I remember learning what a pet peeve was way back in third grade. Why the school thought a bunch of eight-year-olds needed to learn about “pet peeves” in school, I can’t remember, but it really is such a great term, isn’t it? “Pet” is usually meant as something close to you, a term of endearment, or, in the case of animals, something you happily care for. A pet peeve is equally close: something you care about so very much because you dislike it so very much.

samuel-johnson

 

It’s fitting to use that term here, then, to talk about a few things I really dislike about a hobby that I really enjoy overall. Anyway, here we go: five of my pet peeves about games.

7. Adding map area because all the cool kids are doing it

This was something I was concerned about when I started my Year of the RPG project. Would I become so jaded by open-world games and large maps that I would grow to hate them? Well, the short answer is no, but it’s given me a chance to see how different games use their maps. Some games, like Skyrim, present the player with a living, breathing world to play in, and the huge map is, well, huge, but not irritating to travel across. Also, fast-travel (for those times when you just didn’t want to walk across the entirety of Skyrim) were easy to use.

Image result for witcher 3 map

Then there are games like The Witcher 3, which has a huge, beautiful map that you are forced to traverse, because you can only fast travel from other fast travel points. This means that if you are in the middle of the country (like Geralt often is), you are going to run yourself to the next destination or to the closest fast-travel spot, which takes a few minutes, in my experience. This begins to flirt dangerously with the line of “too big,” in my opinion, because while I don’t mind traversing the country, I want an easy option to zip around when I just want to slam out a few quests.

Then there are the open world games that just did it for all the wrong reasons, and I suspect one of the reasons was “Skyrim is popular so let’s do that!” This is sort of what happened with Dragon Age: Inquisition, that has a beautiful, but ultimately padded or “empty” world. If you are going to make your game huge, don’t do it just so people think, “Wow this game is huge!” Chrono Trigger and Baldur’s Gate were also a pretty expansive game, but it never felt unmanagable.

Image result for baldur's gate map

6. Fabricated drama/controversies

Mass Effect: Andromeda had some issues, but was not the worst game ever, and screaming about its graphics detracted from some of the actual production issues it suffered from. Final Fantasy XIII is not a bad story, because I’ve now played the beginning of three Final Fantasy games (including Final Fantasy VII) and they all amount to having one hallway that you have to walk down and fight stuff. Dragon Age II had a solid story and did a lot of things right, despite the distracting copy/paste environments. Let’s stop bellyaching about things to get a click, a view, a subscriber, and go back to actually critiquing games so they can improve, not just get torn down if they aren’t perfect.

5. Yearly game releases in a franchise

Just… why? Why is this a thing, other than to make money? I’m not sure if it bothers me more that this happens, or the hypocrisy of people complaining about it and then buying the yearly releases anyway.

Image result for call of duty

4. Inconsistent/Unresponsive/Unintuitive controls

This is absolutely a list I compiled by looking at my games collection, and while this doesn’t come up too often, when it does, it’s a glaring problem. Spec Ops: The Line is one such game, although fans will tell you the bad controls are actually a good thing, because it… somehow symbolizes the mental state of the character or something. When I press ‘X’ when the screen says “Take cover,” I would like my character to take cover, immediately, every time, not sometimes immediately and sometimes after he’s had a bit of a think and a coffee break to mull the request over.

Related image

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is another game I have some control beef with. The camera controls being mixed in with combat controls was ridiculous. The right anologue stick, again, did not always respond to direction accurately, and poor Henry responded to direction as quickly as if I was there shouting at him from the sidelines, rather than being inside his head like first-person implies. If a main character were to have only one job, that job would be to act as an extension of myself in the game world, and I don’t have to send a postcard to my hands kindly asking them to work and hope they do what I ask, when I ask it.

I’m on the fence about controls that make you use special super-secret abilities (Inquisitor senses, Witcher senses, dowsing abilities, etc.) to find otherwise-unfindable plot points. When used well, I think they can be a very interesting mechanic, but this does have the potential to be obnoxious, so it only gets a little paragraph.

3. DLC

I talked about this a lot more before, and my stance then was “DLC isn’t so bad” (seriously, go read the article if you haven’t), but the way DLC is implement now I often just can’t stand it. I know production costs are up and capitalism is a thing and bla bla bla but don’t charge me “full price” for a game that isn’t a full game.

Image result for dlc pizza

You want to offer extra stories beyond the original game so players can muck about in the world more? Sure, go ahead. I loved my Dragon Age: Origins DLC, after all. You want to pay 70 real dollars to purchase a diamond unicorn named Princess Shimmy-Shine for your playable character to ride around on? Sure, I guess that’s fine too. But don’t ask me to pay $60 for a game and then another $40 in order to get the rest of the actual, canonical story.

2. Non-stealth boss battles in stealth games

Why? Why? Why ask me to practice all of this stealthing and then ask me to run in guns blazing into a boss battle? Boss battles are there to test the skills you’ve learned leading up to that point, which means if you’ve been playing a stealth game, the boss battle should include the same mental acrobatics that you’ve been honing up until that point.

snake in a box.jpg

Double “boo” on you if the game requires you to level up, like Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and you spent most of your points on stealth so you are really ill-equipped for the boss rights.

1. Unnameable save files

It’s 2018! Why is this not something we can do, yet? I can stream from my console, take screenshots, have multiple save files, skip between programs with a touch of a button, purchase games digitally, and talk about all of it on social media at the same time. Why can’t I organize my multiple save files so I actually know what’s what? Maybe I want to have different files for different decisions in an RPG. Or maybe I want to write myself a note about what I was doing. For goodness sake, I was able to do this in Baldur’s Gate, so why can’t I do it in modern games, too?

This is by far my number one pet peeve when it comes to gaming….

What about you? Are any of these your pet gaming peeves? What is your number one pet peeve about gaming? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
~Athena

Do you like what you’ve read? Become a revered Aegis of AmbiGaming and show your support for small creators and for video games as a serious, viable, and relevant medium!

 

 

13 comments

  1. One of my big ones is the opposite of your number two: Stealth sections in video games that are not designed with stealth mechanics. Taking away your weapons in an action game so you can sneak (AKA not run) down a badly-lit corridor where it’s unclear what counts as the enemy’s sightline is really cruddy design.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooo that’s really annoying too. I think the only time I wasn’t annoyed by that was during Hellblade, because the controls worked for both sneaking through the area and for the more battle-intense sequences in other parts of the game. But yeah, again, poor design.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For me, I’d say my pet peeves are:
    1) A lack of multi-saves. I mean, there’s more than one eprson in the house, but some games on consoles don’t allow you more than one save. Which sucks.
    2) A lack of local multiplayer. Again, there’s more than one person in the house, and we want to play games together. But can you both grab a pad and play? Of course not because modern gaming = needs an internet connection and strangers to play with. Of course that’s a slight exaggeration, but I stand by the point.
    3) DLC when you need it to have a complete game, especially when hte game is full price already. If the game is a budget title and clearly advertised as ‘the first half’ or whatever, fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those are also excellent points!! The multi-save thing… yeah I can get on board with that for games that don’t have it, because I know how convenient it is with games that do. And a resounding YES to couch multiplayer. I was more miffed by this in the past, but unfortunately the people I play games with IRL are dwindling in number, but yes I miss couch co-op games… And of course I agree with your stance on DLC.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was actually the lack of couch co-op that stopped is getting the last Turtles grand in Xbox as my partner and I wanted to play together but we wouldn’t have been and to.
        We’ve had the workaround of switching profiles for games that we both want to play but that only allow one save, but multi saves would be much easier. Even more so on multiple ending games.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You get a standing ovation from me for #6! *claps furiously* I love Mass Effect Andromeda, FFXIII, and Dragon Age II despite their flaws that don’t really bother me. No game is perfect and these hate bandwagons people mindlessly jump on are probably my biggest pet peeve in gaming culture. I definitely agree with all of your list.

    For another one, I’d like to add that shoehorned multiplayer modes in primarily single player games are a huge annoyance to me. It’s okay for a game to just be single player so no need to jam in a half-assed multiplayer mode in an attempt to appease the l33t eSports people out there. This is especially annoying when there are two stupid multiplayer only trophies preventing me from getting a Platinum trophy in a certain video game…. *glares at copy of Assassin’s Creed Unity*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HAHA Well thanks 😉 I suppose I should have said “toxic people in the community” but I am not as creative as you 😛

      Yeah, I’d get on board with this. It’s nice if you want to do it, but it shouldn’t be mandatory, and it definitely shouldn’t be added if it’s just tacked on “because reasons.” Stinks about your Unity trophy (or lack of trophy)……… 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oooh some amazing good points!! For sure! I love your last point – that is so spot on. I want to say “Decision – let this happen” “Decision – let that happen”
    “Before the big decision!”

    And I TOTALLY agree with the drama thing. For real. I just – I won’t go there.

    Seriously, I agree with so much of this. I don’t think I disagree with anything! XD Fantastic and fun read. For sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! And yes, that’s pretty much what I did for my Baldur’s Gate game: “go down the stairs on the right” “pre-boss fight” and so forth..

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the read! I’d love to see your own list, too, if you ever get the chance!

      Like

  5. The fact that the biggest gripe about FFXIII was that it was linear should’ve been a HUGE red flag for me that I shouldn’t have hopped on that hate bandwagon. All of them are linear to some point or another. You don’t get to do what you want for at least a third of the game, and VII is a great example of that. Until you get out of Midgar, you’re pretty much stuck on one path.

    Not being able to skip cut scenes is a pet peeve of mine though it’s not as prevalent in this day and age. There’s nothing worse than losing a boss battle and having to sit through a monologue again.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s