Twelve Gaming Gripes of Christmas: Pt. One

By Daniel Shaw:

The holiday season is in full swing and already the shelves are filled with sales for all. And if it’s one gift that keeps on giving it’s the good ol’ video game. Or is it? Like a child of today who’s never known a moment without a screen in front of them, I grew up in world of gaming. It started on the living room floor of my cousins’ house with Super Mario Brothers, and to this day gaming remains one of my primary pastimes. However that also means that in that time I have come to compile a list of certain complaints. No system is perfect no matter how much time and effort is applied, and while I would never claim to be an expert, I feel I have enough experience to call out bull where it festers. SO! In the spirit of a season that is supposed to celebrate good-will toward men and cheer for all, I present to you a mean-spirited examination of some things in gaming that easily anger me.

These are my twelve gaming gripes of Christmas!

12) Quick-Time Events

One selling point of games today is their level of cinematic feel, particularly for the higher-profile titles. Many of these kinetic moments are featured in major action set pieces or a level’s final boss. We’re all familiar with “the boss” at the end of a stage, the last line of defense after going through hordes of enemies. Sometimes the boss is a bigger meany-er version of a previous foe or a brand new baddie who swoops down just before the exit. This can be either the highlight or the most tedious portion of the game, and in almost no other instance is it more of a chore than with Quick Time Events. What’re those, you may be asking?

These events are a series of limited controls presented to the player as onscreen prompts to direct them. Pressing “X” as one character slowly launches a punch allows you to dodge said punch. Failing to do so means you get punched. Clever, right? Wrong. Used sparingly, this mechanic can help keep the flow of gameplay during a frenetic set piece moving. For a boss fight, it just smells of laziness and leads to frustration. Imagine if there was a game set in spooky steampunk London, where Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table dedicate themselves to fighting the supernatural, and in the meager four hours of total gameplay you fight TWO werewolves in disappointing quick time events. Hang on, that’s Sony’s The Order: 1886!!!

11) No Pause for YOU!

Picture this: you’re sitting on the couch or before your computer. You’re playing away the hours on a brand new game that you just got from jolly ol’ St. Nick and suddenly, for whatever reason, you need to get up. “So what,” you say? “I’ll just pause the game,” you say? Well, nice try sucker, because after a few moments of careful searching, you come to the bewildering realization that there is no pause. There is no way for you to stop the game unless the system itself is powered off. What kind of sense does that make?! This is a trend that I’ve only recently begun to notice, and when it pops up I almost immediately take the game back to Red-box. </