Top 10 videogame annoyances

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Some might argue that what separates videogames from other forms of electronic entertainment is the fact that games challenge and test us. While a healthy challange keeps us coming back and gives us a sense of accomplishment at the end of it all, there are some things that can just tip us over the edge and put us on the warpath; green skin and ripped purple pants included.

Seen as just about everything has been organized into lists of ten since Moses came wandering back down the mountain, here’s our Top 10 videogame annoyances.

10. Getting up to change discs

You know how convenient it is to load Arcade games in the Xbox 360 or PSN games in the PS3? Imagine if all games were like that… As somebody who actually owned the ill-fated HDLoader for the PS2, which allowed you to upload your games to the PS2’s HDD, going back to swapping discs for the current generation consoles has become quite a drag. With Microsoft edging all its bets on the death of the physical medium and the fact Sony offers gamers the chance to download some of PS3’s games, it’s only a matter of time before having to get up to change games is nothing but a painful memory.

9. Metal music = Action scene or boss fight

Ever payed attention to the music of any of the Devil May Cry games? Yeah, it’s all basically the same. I guess it’s a safe bet to include metal music in action scenes and boss fights, but why not try to do better than that? It gets tiresome. I wish more developers payed more attention to a game’s score, like the guys behind Super Smash Bros. Brawl, BioShock and Mass Effect did.

8. Delays

I understand publishers need to promote their upcoming high-profile titles, but when a release date is delayed so much that the game’s development spans 15 years and two console generations, the whole thing becomes ridiculous.

7. SKUs

Microsoft and Sony wanting to offer different products to different market segments is understandable, but all the different SKUs available for the Xbox 360 and the PS3 might actually be hurting things. These different SKUs can confuse and alienate casual gamers who don’t have the time or desire to research the differences between them. Why not keep things as simple as Nintendo has with the Wii? Or have 2-3 options at most, rather than releasing a new one every six months?

6. Politicians and moral crusaders

As videogames edge their way into the mainstream media, there is an ever greater chance that politicians are going to scapegoat the media for all of societies ills. In the US, both Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, have spoke of videogames in a negative light during speeches.

While Obama has said gamers are underachievers, Clinton has been much more critical and seems to bare some personal vendetta against videogames. Brace yourselves, soon there will be more and more self-help writers like Cooper Lawrence and moral crusaders like Jack Thompson publicly passing sensationalist, unfounded judgments on the medium. Hopefully organizations like the Video Game Voters Network will continue working to ensure a stigma free environment for developers.

5. PS3’s forced installs

While I’m all for faster loading times, the fact that I could not play Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds or Devil May Cry 4 as soon as I popped it into the PS3 really annoyed me. I got Devil May Cry 4 for the PS3 instead of buying the 360’s version because of the faster loads on the PS3 due to the HDD installation, so I knew what I was getting into. My only beef is that right after you buy a game and get home, the first thing one wants to do is actually play it, not wait for almost 20 minutes for the PS3 to perform a forced installation. I find it more convenient to have the option to install a game, and not force it on users. I had a much better experience with Ninja Gaiden Sigma, as I played it for about an hour, and THEN I installed it.

4. Cellphone games

Why spend five bucks or more on a game that has inferior graphics, terrible sound effects and even worse gameplay? Even the free games that come with most cellphones are just a waste of time, especially when you could be gawping out of the bus window. There are some exceptions however, but they are few and far between, do yourself a favor and stay clear of cellphone games.

3. Games with no autosave

There is nothing more disheartening than coming back to your game after a couple of days and finding out you didn’t save your progress the last time you played. Yes, it would be your own stupid fault, but why don’t developers just include autosave as a default feature in all games. Granted, I have only faced this problem with handheld games lately, but those are the games that need the feature the most. Batteries could run out at any time or you may just need to turn off your game suddenly. A few of the recent casualties include Professor Layton and Patapon.

2. Gimped online features

I’m still trying to understand why most reviewers downplay the gimped online features found in most Wii games, specially in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Why would I want to bother playing online when I cannot really interact with the other players in any way before or after matches. Why can’t SSBB have leaderboards? Thankfully, the big N has addressed some of those issues with Mario Kart and its dedicated online channel, but there’s many things both Nintendo and Sony need to do before their services can compare to Xbox LIVE, which takes us to…

1. Xbox LIVE’s racist/homophobic/ignorant 12-year-olds

I can stand getting pwned on Halo 3 by some middleschooler with robotic snipping skills, but being the receiving end of racial or xenophobic slurs, that I will not. Many times I have been turned off from online gaming on Xbox LIVE by mostly angry and ignorant teenagers looking to insult just about anyone. It’s gotten so bad that it’s to be expected during a match on LIVE. Microsoft’s online service has definitely reshaped console gaming and has created a community. Unfortunately, in this micro society of gamers there are just too many homophobic, racist, xenophobic and just plain ignorant individuals.

So, dear reader, what should or should not be on this list? What are your top videogame annoyances?

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