In the humble beginning when we sat for hours in front of the TV running through platformers or clicking away on our humble PCs in strategy games and indulging in narrative with the sole purpose of entertaining a single individual in that space and time, we never imagined that these experiences would blossom into the world we have come to know today. It was a simpler time where the only stressful encounter you’d be exposed to was to solve a particularly hard puzzle, defeat a level boss, or blow on a cartridge if the game froze at some point.
With the internet becoming as essential as wearing underpants, we’re faced with different stresses and perhaps a whole lot more of them. This is because we’re now subjected to other personalities online. Personalities that seldom gel well with our own. And some that do certain things for either personal gain or just to get a reaction out of you. Some can be forgiven as it’s just part of the game and you’d be hard-pressed to find fault with it, but you can’t help but have your shoulders dropping, rolling your eyes and letting out a sigh of disbelief and disappointment. This list has some of those situations where you’ll find yourself doing just that.
Gears of War: grenade team kill
When I started my venture into this iconic 3rd person shooter, I was immediately subjected to the rampage of roadie running shotgun battles, tactical lancer face-offs and cover-to-cover sniper dodging, I felt like this is something I could get into and really enjoy. Certain game modes would see you and your team run the objective and skillfully obtain the upper hand with pure grit and determination. Many occasions you’d find yourself in the last dying seconds of a King of the Hill match warding off oncoming enemies reviving downed teammates and using everything at your disposal to clinch the win. One of those being explosives in the form of grenades.
Now, don’t get me wrong. In a private lobby with friends just mucking about, the occasional hilarious team kill with grenades is always a fun affair that can even send some people into a laughing fit (you know who you are). This doesn’t translate too well into the more competitive online modes though. You’re playing the objective and you’re about the capture the point. You and the rest of your team are sitting pretty capturing the point. In steps the random grenade tosser. “Ding, ding, teet, teet, teet… BOOM” Team gone. Lead lost. And sometimes because it’s some random that joined the game who for some reason thinks it’s a good idea to play a team game without using comms, there’s no apology or you can’t even ask them “WTF?” And yes, this is one of the reasons you don’t see me in Gears lobbies that often anymore.
Battlefield: bad pilots/drivers
You decide to try a different online war by jumping into Battlefield where you either squad up with randoms or some peeps on your friends list. And as you stare at the loading screen planning your move to take one of the objectives, you notice that one of them is across the map and spot a vehicle with a lone operator in it. It’s not a squadmate, but it’s heading that way, so why not?
You hop in, lay down some cover fire or take out other vehicles on the way and you get ready to approach the objective. You take a second to investigate why the engines of the vehicle you’re in suddenly went dead quiet. You look over to where you’d expect the other player to be and, oh, look. An empty driver’s seat. You then just sit there asking yourself “why?” as you careen towards the ground and an imminent fiery death. No time to eject. Nothing. No warning or any sign of why the player ditched the craft in mid-air. I understand that you wanted to get to the objective quickly, but, why waste a perfectly good vehicle in the process?
KD = ruined.
Racing games: reckless drivers
The two variants of racing games out there, arcade and simulation, I believe exist for a reason. One of them being that you can go around in an arcade type racer like Burnout or Forza Horizon 3, doing whatever you feel with friends just messing about, doing doughnuts and stunts as you desire. I enjoy a good run about just blasting through the fictitious locations with anyone. But when it comes to sim racing you expect a certain amount of racing etiquette as it’s no longer about who’s going to get the most air or wreak havoc.
Sure, you can start an event with friends and allow some shenanigans to ensue, but that’s when it’s agreed upon before entering a race. On other nights where you’d join weekly league races with fellow enthusiasts that follow a specific code to respect other drivers and follow the rules. There’s always one or two people that would subscribe to using other your car as a buffer to get around a corner sending you into the barriers. There’s also those that drive a car that’s slower than yours on the straights and intentionally cut you off because they don’t want to give up their position. Not cool, man. Not cool.
Online gaming: disconnects, camping and lag switching
Many have felt the wrath of being disconnected during a heavily contested online game whether it be racing, fighting, all-out war or even just playing Uno. It always gets you sitting there sulking because you were having so much fun and the internet gods decide to cause despair with a polite message popping up on the screen “You have been disconnected from this online session”. Sigh.
Then you get those moments where you’re playing a relatively serious game or even just for fun, and you come across someone who uses techniques and tricks to gain the upper hand over everyone which only paints them as complete and utter trash. Campers and Lag Switchers. That person you’ve unloaded a whole clip into, stabbed in the heart, rained down hell and fury, and they simply and effortlessly dispatched you by turning around and putting three bullets into you before they magically teleport away. Then you get those that spawn camp giving you no time to react or sit around a corner waiting for victims to lay waste to. First you sigh, then rage, then look for revenge, and rinse and repeat. Lag switching is a common element of the P2P online system that has plagued us for ages and doesn’t seem to let up. I’m not entirely sure if the same applies to dedicated servers, but I haven’t come across these issues on them. Yet.
Mario Kart: lightning strike
Good ol’ Mario Kart. One of those games that can easily turn from fun to frown factory. Tuesday nights have seen us here at SA Gamer join our readers and followers in sometimes chaotic displays of all-out road carnage that has become a feature we look forward to week in and week out. We go through about 8-10 races per evening that start off with a lot of banter, all in good spirits of course. The power-up boxes give you tools of destruction and slight advantage that you can use as you please and it’s not like you have a choice in the matter, because of RNG.
Now, as much fun as it is to launch a blue shell at the leader or red shells in either direction, which can put a damper on things but not so much to get your blood pressure up, there’s nothing more frustrating than collecting your power up, eyeing the person you wish to use said power up on, and SKRAKOOOOW!!! Everyone gets hit, no one has any power-ups left, you’re shrunk to the size of a micromachine and all your plans have been laid to waste.
I know, I know. You don’t have a choice of what you get out of those boxes. It doesn’t help with the sheer disappointment though, and it’s no one’s fault, it’s all part of the game.
So, are there any other gripes you beautiful people would like to share?