Top 5 Video Game Sins

Every once in a while a game just does something that grates on your nerves.  Maybe it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, perhaps the game’s amazing otherwise, but you feel it in your heart that just a little tweak or a bit more thought into what they were doing during development could have avoided it altogether.  That’s why I bring you my personal Top 5 Video Game Sins.


1. Counting player deaths


Retro City Rampage DX

This isn’t a very good silent motivator, it’s just a negative number telling you how much you suck.  I know I suck, but I’d rather not be reminded of that.  Counting player deaths is possibly one of the most negative statistics that any game keeps track of, it’s just a bad number and all it does is grow.  If it instead told me how much I accomplished before I died, maybe I’d have something to aim for.  Instead however, we’re treated to a permanent number clinging to our save, a constant reminder of all past failures.


2. Giving you the option to skip when you’ve failed


Grand Theft Auto V

This is adding insult to injury.  Maybe you’re not doing too hot on a particular mission or level, perhaps you’ve died a few times, so the game decides to prompt you with the ability to skip the level.  This is essentially telling the player that they might not be good enough to finish this section, which is pretty insulting.  I’ll beat the level, just let me keep trying!

Why would you want to let a player skip a level that you put effort into making anyway? What if the player misses a plot point because you let them skip it?  And where’s the challenge if you can get a free pass any time you like?  From a gameplay and story perspective, it’s just a terrible idea.


3. Quick Time Events


Resident Evil 4

Some Quick Time Events are acceptable, sure, but when your character’s life is in the hands of a quick time event, someone messed up during development.  If I die because I got shot too many times, fine, I’ll accept that fate because maybe I shouldn’t get shot so much.  I can change my tactics.  But when my reaction time in a cutscene, which is supposed to help break up the action, isn’t up to par, I’d rather not be punished for wanting to enjoy some voice acting and animation.


2. Lack of clear direction in linear games


Outlast: Whistleblower DLC

A lot of classic first person games had this problem, but it still persists even in some newer titles.  Moving corridor to corridor and, for one reason or another, you can’t find your way out.  There’s no indication with lighting, set pieces, or any natural flow to the layout of the world around you as to where you should be going, so you’re lost.  Enough running about and you eventually find your way, but you can’t help feel that extra time faffing around could have been avoided with something put in place to draw attention to the exit or goal.


1. Unlocking New difficulties


Resident Evil 4

Some games pad time with collectibles, cutscenes, puzzles, you name it—in some cases, this can add to the overall experience.  But sometimes they pull the ultimate jerk move and withhold the hardest difficulty until you’ve beaten the game.  You know, I’m not the best player out there but I know there are some people who like to go with their balls to the wall from the very beginning.  It’s even worse when there’s already a hard difficulty that you might mistake as being the most difficult setting.  So you get to go through the blood, sweat, and effort to finish it only to realize at the end you’ve unlocked an even harder difficulty.  Oh thanks, game.  After that ordeal I’d love to have an even more difficult time.


Thank you very much for reading this list!  If you know of any game sins that would have been worth mentioning or why you might disagree with an item on this list, let us know about it in the comments!

Darrell Thody

Living and raised in Oregon, USA. Writing and video game enthusiast. New to freelance writing.

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