Sometimes it’s the little things mean a lot. And don't respond with "That's what she said." While big problems in games (clipping, bad controls, bad physics, repetitiveness, etc. etc.) are the obvious cause of most sucky games’ suck-it-tude, there are small, easily-correctable problems with some videogames that we would love to never, ever see again—teeny things that won’t sink an otherwise good game but annoy us, and could (and should) be abandoned for all time.
- “You Suck” messages: Thankfully, this device isn’t used all that much anymore, but back in the day, it was pretty common for a game to upbraid you after you died or fell off your skateboard. “You suck!” the screen would read, as if you didn’t feel bad about yourself already. But maybe you don’t suck. You just got further than you ever had before, and rather than diss you, the game shouldn't tel you everything is going to be okay. Maybe the game should try to understand you instead of berate you. Maybe you’d be better with high self-esteem.
- Needing Documentation: It was understandable back in the day when memory was short, but there’s no excuse for needing a manual to play a game anymore. Tutorial levels are a must. I’m looking at you, Mass Effect… which brings me to:
- Unskippable Tutorials: While we need tutorials, we also need to skip them sometimes.
- Unskippable Cut-scenes: Dear Videogame, I know your writers and producers worked really hard at putting together the story, but don’t force me to watch it. Sometimes I don’t want to follow a story; I want to dust off bad guys, just because they're bad. I get it; I have to kill aliens. I don’t care about character development and plot nuance, just show me the dungeon door and lemme go to town on those jerks!
- Save Points (Lack of): We’ve all been there: dieing right before you reach a save point and having to re-do an entire level. Very rarely, a dearth of save points works. In Dead Rising, it’s awesome and adds to the apocalyptic air of the entire game. That’s the only example I can think of, though.
- Follow technology in racing games: Sometimes I want to win the race by a LOT, not by a split second every time, yet no matter how well I drive my jacked up car, someone else is always gaining on me at the end of the race. No sense of personal progression can be gained without extending victories. Maybe make this optional?
- Tacked-on extra features in sports franchises: You don’t have to add something new every year to a sports game, other than the teams—spruce up the graphics and framerates if you can, but don’t add useless stuff no one will ever use. If you must add something new, make it worthwhile. Best example: You can pick the parents of your superstar athlete in Madden 06. Why on earth would anyone at a eugenics function to a sports game?
- Painted-on doors: If there’s no way to get through a door, don’t draw it. Put in a lamp or a hat-stand or something.
- Living things you can’t shoot: We’re looking at you, dog in Duck Hunt. We should be able to punch, kill and/or eat every living creature in every game, always.
- Any underwater level, ever since the beginning of time. Why, game designers, why? I’m a land-based creature, not a fish. You didn’t see a walking on the ground level in Ecco the Dolphin, so why a swimming level in Doom?
So what's your personal pet peeve? Leave it below: We'll discuss.