Your Gaming Pet Peeves
Oh, you've got 'em. We've all got 'em. Here are some of mine (and your list, like mine, can include anything related to the industry):
Use the analog for everything!!! ...what face buttons?
This is first on the list because I continually come across new games that focus entirely on the analog and almost completely ignore the rest of the controller. This happens a lot with some sports games, for example, and for the life of me, I can't understand the fascination. You know, there's a reason why many FPS fans don't particularly like the Sony controller for their favorite genre; the analogs have always been too sensitive. The analogs on the 360 controller are stiffer and feel firmer, while the ones on the Dual Shock and Dual Shock 2 gamepads always feel lighter and looser. I have never found them to be pinpoint accurate, and developers are starting to think the analog is the only goddamn button on the controller! Just using face buttons doesn't mean your "last-gen," people. Seriously.
Put in the game, turn the power on, and...why am I still waiting?
It's one of my longest-running pet peeves and one that typically kept me away from PC gaming. I always hated putting in a PC game and then having to spend a half-hour fiddling with settings and options before I could even play the first level. Oh, the sound card needs adjusting. Now it's the resolution. Now I need to install something. Now I need the gamepad and not the mouse. Now I need to download a patch. Blah, blah, blah. Unfortunately, a lot of this has popped up in some form in the console realm, but it's not quite as bad. I just hate having to wait through some sort of update whenever I go to play a new game; there was a time when you put a game in and played it. Not that the results aren't worth the wait; I'm just saying.
Worthless NPC dialogue
I may be one of the few people left who appreciate becoming immersed in a virtual world, which is why I always like to talk to everyone in the area and hear what they have to say. This dates back to my RPG-intensive days of gaming, and I always despised the vast number of townspeople, villagers, city-folk and what-have-you that never once had anything useful or interesting to say. They don't have to say anything, as far as I'm concerned. But if they're going to talk, I'd like to think they'd have something interesting to say, especially considering the fact I'm usually playing a stranger who is just meeting everyone for the first time. I dunno...I know it can be challenging to write a zillion pages of script for basically non-existent characters, but it always irked me.
Reviewers who only care about "innovation"
Usually, the elitist critics use this word in every other sentence; it's just an excuse to score a game lower and to feed their gigantic egos. The bottom line is that while I always applaud innovation and evolution, and I don't condone shameless repetition, there's no reason to tear down a game because it's not "new." You may not have noticed, but there are plenty of different genres, and just about every year, we can point to several titles that absolutely innovate in some way. ...is there any particular reason every single title has to "innovate" in some way? It's an effing sequel. What do you want now? Oh, Twisted Metal 2 was too much like the original...what were you looking for, Ace Combat? Crash Bandicoot? I mean, the entire thing just drives up the wall.
So those are a few of mine...how about you?
2/1/2009 Ben Dutka