Find all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here. Some highlights:
- Have you tried to make your own game or mod?
- What game would you like to see tackle a different genre?
- What's your favorite podcast game?
When we're children we've got all the time in the world for videogames, and so their frustrations and failings don't always register with us as strongly. As we get older and develop our critical faculties, becoming cranky and time-poor adults, we stop being able to put up with some of those problems.
What's something about games you didn't mind as a kid but can't stand now? Is there a whole genre you loved once but can't be bothered with now, or just a single game? Have you become less tolerant of drawn-out cutscenes, badly placed save points, random encounters, or the entire concept of boss fights?
Here are our answers, plus some from our forum.
Alan Dexter: This is going to be controversial, but I've had enough of rubbish graphics. I survived monochrome computing, the colour clash of the ZX spectrum, and the relative beauty possible on the Commodore 128 and then the Amiga 1200. Since moving over to PC (in the early 90s) I've witnessed graphics improve at an incredible rate, to the point that I'm totally spoiled now and want everything to look gorgeous. Throw me an 8-bit retro game, no matter how good, and I'll niftily step out of the way. No thanks. Not for me. Been there, done that.
Robin Valentine: Looking back, as a kid I was rubbish at games—but what I had then that I've totally lost now is determination. I used to spend hours and hours banging my head against rock-hard platformers, dying over and over and over. And half of them didn't even have saves, so I'd start over from scratch every time, trying to get just a little bit further.
In my adult life, that style of punishing gameplay has had a huge resurgence, but I've got zero patience for it now. I like challenge and difficulty, but I just don't have the time to die 100 times trying to beat one level, or to memorise the attack patterns of every enemy and boss monster. If I'm not making progress in a pretty immediate way, I start getting bored fast.
Christopher Livingston: Adventure game puzzles.
I truly used to love point-and-click adventure games, and didn't mind spending a long time, sometimes hours, trying to figure out which item needed to be used with which other item in order to progress. But this was mostly before the days of walkthroughs and guides where you could look up the answer in a few seconds (LucasArts had a phone number you could call for hints, how quaint) so I didn't really have much of a choice besides figuring it out myself.
A lot of adventure game puzzles—not all, but probably most—are pretty bad. They don't really make sense even in the context of the game, and require a lot of guesswork, revisiting areas you've already been, and just going down the list of the various things you can try before you eventually rule everything else out and stumble on the solution. I don't have that kind of patience anymore. I rarely even play adventure games at all these days, and if I do and I'm stuck on some puzzle, I'll give it at most a few minutes before I open my browser and search for the solution.
Morgan Park: Lag.
Let me tell you, I had some really bad internet growing up. When I was 11, I spent every night in Xbox parties with school friends playing Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4. Not only would our entire internet conk out four or five times per night, but most matches were laggy about half the time. I'd get clobbered by a Warthog that teleported 50 feet to my body, headshot by some sniper that was around the corner on my screen, or lose an entire match of progress because the peer-to-peer player host quit to go eat dinner or something. It was a dark time to be an FPS fan in retrospect, but I remember just rolling with the punches. Nowadays, I'm spoiled by games with dedicated servers and a (relatively) fast connection that can handle online games and HD streaming without issue. If I had to go back to laggy Halo 3 lobbies, I don't know if I could take it.
James Davenport: The act of playing videogames itself.
Most videogames are long. I'm 30 now and I haven't written the great American novel. I can chop wood, but not like, in a cool way. I love to cook and make some killer curries but curry is level one shit for anyone that isn't from a landlocked state in the US. I didn't know about the good spices until I hit 25, damnit, Montana. Currently my skills consist of: writing for a videogame website, playing videogames, MS Paint art, and reading a lot about agricultural practices. Videogames are a huge time tax that detract from the things I really want to accomplish, and while I don't consider them time wasted, as I age I more regularly feel like if I died tomorrow and all I had in my prefrontal cortex was a malformed Last of Us Part 2 take, I'd definitely go to hell. As a kid, it didn't matter. I could pee in the sink and be proud of myself for having such a good idea. Cheese + tortilla was a feast the finest chef would adore (and really is even at 30, tbh). I could play big, dumb, mediocre videogame without the fear of my eventual, ever-closer death hanging over me. I love games, but I love a lot of stuff. Finding a way to keep them and cheesy tortillas around while truly living and serving others is some real math.
Jody Macgregor: Repeated dialogue annoys me more than it used to. What I remembered about a sci-fi racing game called Slipstream 5000 is that it was a fun predecessor to the likes of Wipeout or Pod Racer. What I'd forgotten is that the other racers keep up a constant stream of banter during races (sometimes in accents so caricatured they're straight-up racist), and repeat the same lines over and over. I can't believe I didn't turn the volume down, or even notice at the time how awful it was.
Lauren Morton: Random battle encounters.
You're minding your own business, walking through the tall grass when—aw gee, seriously? A fight? Now? I was on my way to do some other menial quest. I'm not even sure this didn't bother me as a kid. It's just that the ends justified the means. If you had Pokemon Yellow you needed to catch yourself a level 2 Pidgey and farm levels for the thing until it evolved in the single tiny patch of grass outside town before you could take on gym leader Brock. Now I can't stand random battles. You don't see hidden fights as much as you used to these days. Throwing some extra sprites or 3D models on the screen is peanuts, so you can usually spot a fight and avoid it. Thank goodness. If I hear random battle music while I'm minding my own business I might just throw in the towel.
From our forum
Zloth: I used to love cruising the aisles at Best Buy to see what games had come out. Sometimes I would go every day if a game I really wanted had "shipped" to see if it had shown up. Now I would be pretty annoyed if I had to drive for miles just to get a game and I would be livid if it had "sold out" or, worse, if the game was expected "in next Tuesday's shipment."
XoRn: Nothing irks me more than booting up a game and discovering my entire previous session worth of progress was wiped out because there was no autosave or check point system. What's worse is it usually happened after the first time playing a game, meaning the next step to continuing the game usually involved watching all the starting cutscenes, again, doing the tutorial missions, again, and beating the easiest, least consequential missions of the game... again. I might even fail a mission along the way, at which point the game happily lets me repeat it, which of course means it's been tracking my progress!
Games that only have manual saves can kiss my ass, and then promptly reboot and do it again.
Frindis: Bad voiceover. If I ever play a game with someone talking like they were half asleep or with an accent so horribly done that it makes you die a little inside, I instantly lose interest. Oh, and 20+ minutes loading times.
Johnway: A lot of my stuff is from the 16/8 bit era. i think the biggest has to be rogue-likes that resets all progress. Why the change of heart? Time. In some ways the problem is worse as some rogue-likes rely on luck as much as skill. Sometimes you get good power ups, other times the game gives you the middle finger.
Vanishing power ups or collectibles. I know its partially technical reasons, but in this day and age they shouldn't vanish for no reason. if they float away or fall into hot lava, fair enough. Flash away and disappear after a few seconds? Sod off.
Timed missions. These days I like to take my time playing games exploring, taking in the sights and generally experiencing everything at leisurely pace. Timed missions goes against that and can get immensely stressful. Especially in RTS games as i'm not that good at them and leaves little option but to adopt more reckless tactics. Extra black marks if the missions are timed and doesn't tell you how much time you have until its too late.
Pifanjr: I don't play platformers any more. They weren't ever my favourite, but as a kid I didn't have a lot of choice and I played quite a few of them. The last time I tried was with Unepic. The RPG elements kept my attention for a little bit, but platforming gameplay just can't keep my attention.
I also don't play race games or sport games any more, but that's mostly because those are more fun when playing with friends, preferably sitting on the same couch or at least in the same room, but that just doesn't happen any more.
Berious: Can't be bothered with any game that doesn't respect my time eg checkpoints rather than save anywhere or huge difficulty spikes. Back in the day I'd bash my head against the wall mastering a gaming to get past the un-fun bits, now I'll just drop the game and move on.
stevemcongdon: Being British and nearly 44 I'd have to say Loading times, growing up with ZX Spectrum 48k and moving to a 128k +2 the anticipation and sometimes disappointment of waiting for a game to load and watching the screen graphic load was great at the time. Moving onto an Amiga 500 to 600 and to 1200 with CD and HD was a step in the right direction, I loved my A1200 I had a CD drive Hard disk and an 030 accelerator card loading times were less and having WHDload ready games was a bonus. but now my patience seems to be less.
Sarafan: Probably farming. 15-20 years ago I didn't mind to spend countless hours farming in single player games. It was very enjoyable for me to achieve as high level as possible. I even done a lot of farming in Planescape Torment. Reached 100 level with my Namless One by killing respawning mobs in Undersigil and Modron Maze. I'll never ever do something like that again. I had enough of this game for roughly 10 years after that. Then there was farming in some MMORPG games as well. Now I dislike farming in games if its justification is only to reach a higher level. It's still hard to avoid it in many titles, but I try to limit it and be reasonable.