31-Day Mage Challenge: Day Four – “Most Frustrating Thing in a Video Game?”

31 Day NES Well-Red Cover

Day Four, ladies and gents, and we’re onto another question that has simply too many possible answers. Sometimes video games can be more frustrating than fun, so…

What is the Most Frustrating Thing in a Video Game?



timemage The Timely Mage

Missable items? Game breaking glitches? Long load times? Multiplayer trophies? Save point marathons? While all of these are the bane of my existence, I think one that is perhaps more unique to me is character creation, or more specifically one that has no good options. Not only are you cursed with having to stare at defective mannequin for the entire game but they force you to create it. I typically spend at least 10 hours staring at the poor monstrosity, adjusting sliders and swapping plastic toupees in a futile effort to try to make something that resembles a human being.ca8abcb2d510b4076da869aa50947a15



blackmage The Black Humor Mage

Grinding us perhaps the most frustrating thing in a video game. You’re not proceeding with the storyline, and you’re not encountering new enemies. You’re stuck. You’re stuck watching the same battle animations and the same wimpy enemies over and over again until you can get back to the actual game. It’s not a game anymore at this point. It’s a chore.13599684_1056208704416795_2048742691_n



ragemage The Rage Mage

RAAAWR! Too many to choose from! Save data corrupted! System crashes! Download times that are too long! Loading times are too long! Ugly graphics in an otherwise good game! Terrible gameplay in an otherwise stunning game! Any Game Over screen in any game ever made! Running out of quarters at the arcade! Lazy translations! Delayed games! Cancelled games! Games that definitely should’ve been delayed or cancelled! Button mashing your way through a torture scene! Tripping over the controller cord and tearing the console out of the entertainment system! Having to watch somebody play a game when they have no idea what they’re doing! Fetch quests! Spilling food on your naked lap and having to pick the pieces up with your tongue because pause is disabled! Deadbeat “friends” dropping by and wanting to talk while I’m on the last boss! Marketing images of families pretending to have fun playing video games together! Shaq Fu! Stupid bloggers who write about games they’ve never played! Falling madly in love with a chick in an RPG only to discover that she can’t reciprocate affection! Being pandered to by anime tropes! Being patronized and condescended to by too many tutorials! Hearing Navi say “Hey, listen”! Hearing that wretched dog laugh when you miss a duck! Hearing someone say “It’s on like Donkey Kong”! The red ring of death! Having my account deleted for, quote, “violating our respect of individuals policy”! MMO’s! Nikki Minaj whining on Just Dance! Hearing the synapses misfiring in some idiot’s brain when they say of anything pixelated, “Hey, izzat frum Minescraft?” Spikes, you’re dead! AND waiting an eternity for a line piece, then ruining it!




FF3-NES-Summoner2 The Green Screen Mage

Turn based and level up fighting. I’m so bad at it and I have no patience to save my life. If a game takes a long time to level up in order to get through the next part, nine times out of ten I’m going to stop playing. The exception is Pokémon, and even some of those I have put down. I just don’t have that kind of attention span.




whiteoutmage The White Out Mage

When you can clearly envision what needs to be done but the movements have to be so precise that it makes you fail a million times and you have to repeat the process again and again to get to the next stage/level/what-have-you. It’s like your brain knows what has to happen, but the hand-eye coordination isn’t there. They make it so frustrating where it’s one mistake and you’re dead and you have to start over again. I hate things that make you repeat processes. I just like to play a game that’s doable and enjoy it.




Untitled2 The Well-Red Mage

First off, I am sarcastically appalled at the answers of some of the other Mages! Turn based level-grinding puts hair on your chest!

Anyhow, anyone who knows me knows that while I love video games I also have a long list of gripes about them, particularly in terms of modern gaming. Too much tutorializing and “hold my hand” levels. Pandering, cardboard cut-out, cliché characters. Endless microtransactions or too much DLC and not enough of the actual game that I already paid for. Too much reliance on connectivity. Having to download 80% of my game after I bring it home. My wireless cutting out and ruining my MMO experience. The lack of local multiplayer. Really, really oversensitive controllers aimed almost exclusively at FPS-junkies (which I am not). Trophies that demand an extra 100 hours of gameplay to grind out. Heck, I’ve written extensively on the matter in an entire series of indictments against modern gaming in contrast with the timeless classics of the golden age.

But at the risk of channeling my colleague, the Rage Mage, I’ve decided to mark a frustration that plagued even the timeless classics. Most notably RPGs. There’s nothing worse than a save point that is simply too far away from a very difficult boss. Some really old games (think the original Final Fantasy) didn’t even have convenient save points in dungeons. And there’s nothing like finding out that you’re woefully unprepared and unequipped to face a highly difficult and tactically complex boss fight only to die horribly and have to load your previous save… back at the top of the dungeon… or before 20 minutes of cutscene conversation with said boss. Now you’ve got to either grind your way back down to the bad guy (most likely through random battles) or endure the same scripted cinematic all over again. Oh and don’t try to get up to use the restroom. There’s no way you can pee fast enough before the cutscene ends and then the boss’ll just tear you a new game over. God forbid you have to fight another boss right after the first, or the boss has a second or third form. Because then, if you die, you’ve got a dungeon, a cinematic, and multiple boss fights to play through all over if you perish. Inconveniently placed save points, my friends. They may not be a trend of the future, what with the auto-saving feature of almost every game out there today (you can thank the original The Legend of Zelda for auto-saves, among other early titles), but it sure deflated all the fun out of my fun-balloon back in the hey-day of RPGing.

My word, what a long-winded response.Vagrant Story-2.jpg


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33 replies »

  1. Ooops! Forgot: I always ask at till whether you have to download dlc or it’s jus there (Borderlands GOTY PS3 it’s there, but had to buy BioShock 1 & 2 on PS3 & X360 due to dlc being downloadable on 1 but just ‘On’ the other…)
    Thank the gaming gods for different consoles/developers having a choice, if you have no internet (I’m phone only) then yay, sadly, more & more games have dlc Lord C’ll never see… & don’t even get me started on the fact that the ‘cheat disk’ has seemingly died out w/PS2/Xbox era (I got action replay for PS2 & DS, but everything else no, even standalone companies have abandoned me (The Lazy… *Sobs Uncontrollably*)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good God Y’all!
    Considerin the dlc bs & all the modern pitfalls, I’m truly glad I’ll forever be stuck in the PS1/PS2/DS/PSP/Wii/PC era of gaming…
    That being said…
    Lord C’ll make an open admission hear & now:
    I cheat. A lot. No level skip or anything silly like that, but if there’s an ‘Infinite Health’ & ‘Infinite Money/Gold/Gil’ option, I’ll bloody take it, as I’ve said previously, I played so my Mum could enjoy with us, & she didn’t have time for lengthy grindin & whatnot…
    Jus to clarify however:
    I NEVER cheated on FF7 on my 1st 10-22 playthroughs, I earned my way through to the meteor crater the hard way! (Pagoda!!!) But since Mum went to home (but b4 govment shut us down) I have been using inf money & tryin ta get multiple Ribbons cos you only get 1!!! People seem to forget Inf Health doesn’t stop Instadeath, Petrify or other things, so it’s still bloody hard to get done in some cases!!! Tomb Raider 2 was yeearrghh!!!!! & I may never finish Primal cos not enough mana… *Sobs*

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would state saving is the most irritating aspect of computer games. Badly placed save points are very annoying (Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb is an example of a badly designed saving system). I also get irritated when I select the save option when I want the load option, so I can only watch my character die again and again from the save and have to start the game from the beginning.
    I liked the statement about Tetris.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There are two things I really don’t like in terms of game mechanics: bad backtracking and getting sent back to the beginning of a dungeon or level. Backtracking is alright if there’s something new to encounter along the way, but when you’re constantly being sent back and forth through the same locations with nothing to change things up…it’s enough to make one want to quit the game outright! This might tie into bad save points (or a lack of them), but I hate it when a game presents you with a multiple-part challenge or level and then punishes even a single mistake by sending you all the way back to the beginning. Nothing makes me drop games faster than having to repeat a difficult challenge over and over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Backtracking seems like a lazy way for developers to extend the life of the game without adding too much additional content. I agree that’s frustrating. Thanks for sharing, Hatm0nster!


  5. I think it was already mentioned, but for me, a limited inventory is just the absolute worst. I’m playing EarthBound right now for the first time and I find it excruciatingly tedious to figure out who should carry what. I just want to carry endless cookies and bread rolls, okay? Early Harvest Moon non-stackable inventory spaces also tested my patience. When you’re checking on your chickens and pick up your eggs and half your inventory is suddenly full, it gets to be obnoxious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Duuhuuhuude, the limited inventory in EarthBound is ridiculously tiny. I mean, realistically it’s about how much stuff a kid could fit in a backpack. But I’m fighting aliens! I don’t want realism! Oh and I forgot about non-stackable items… Not cool. Thanks for sharinG!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great answers! I personally love grinding and typically do it for fun, but I can see why it is not for everyone. What irks me the most in a game is a poorly explained puzzle. Puzzles with no real hints just come across as unfair. A good example of this is Flip’s Twisted World. In World 6 (Or 7?) You are thrown in a pitch black room with gravity shifting across all directions and the room has many false leads and tunnels that take you back to the start. You have to either go old school and use a pen and paper to keep track of where you are, or you’ll have to hope that you get lucky. I’ve been trying to escape for hours to no avail and the game quickly landed itself back on the backburner. A good puzzle can be fun, but lately they all seem to be sooo tedious. Of course, Flip’s Twisted World is not exactly known for its quality gaming…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The not having a save point nearby was the bane of my existence in the first two Final Fantasies, and those games were HARD. IV is pretty challenging, too, but they’re much more generous with their save options. I’m currently level grinding in it, and that never bothered me hehe. This might be a weird analogy, but it’s kind of like note taking before writing an important scene in a story. You have to make sure you’re prepared. It can get tedious, but I look at it like I’m making progress and preparations for something important.

    I like when games have the option to skip cut scenes, but since I’m more of an old school gamer, and I love cinematography, I tend to not mind the lack of it too much 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think 6 may have been the last really difficult Final Fantasy, and even that was much easier than 1 and 2 and 4. I never so much minded grinding either since I’d usually just put music on or watch something while banging out the levels or waiting for drops. Some games are even fun enough with grinding that it’s a game in itself. Cut scenes only bother me if they’re laboriously long or if the facial animations are atrocious. Like in Injustice. Terrible character designs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed. IV makes you work for that story! I’m currently in the Giant of Babil grinding, which is why I kind of giggled seeing that being one of the gripes. I’m trying to use the leveling trick where you fight that enemy that constantly calls others, and you can wind up with over 90k experience per battle. It’s STILL taking forever. I’ll say this, too, IV does not have a lot of strat guides/walkthroughs to choose from. I’ve combed through GameFAQS, and there are just a few that are even worth looking at. I’d say I’d write one, but I have way too many projects already hehe.

        I’m guilty of overleveling so once I reached a certain point in VI, I was nigh on invincible. I took advantage of the Vanish/Doom glitch like a fiend 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • VanishDoom should’ve been the name of a secret weapon in later FF’s. Such an iconic cheat! Overleveling can also ruin the experience of the game (pun intended) but it can be so fun sometimes. I dramatically overleveling in Ni no Kuni, for example, and faced the last boss with every character and familiar at max level.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Lol you’re absolutely right with the experience 😋 At the very least the guides I found warned about that with IV. I remember being over leveled in Link to the Past having gone to the 4th Dark World dungeon before the third so I had the better sword. I whacked the boss, a giant bat or something, with it three times and it was game over…for him.

            I’m okay with boss fights being less challenging though since I’m all about the payoff!

            Liked by 1 person

    • The lack of save points and the dreaded SPELLS PER DAY of the original NES Final Fantasy were hard-frickin-core. If your mages burned up their spells while you were down in a dungeon the chance of getting through it was slim to none. Very difficult, but I loved it! What a challenge!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Omg yes, the spell charges were BRUTAL. I actually ended up watching a Let’s Play of that one to finish it. I was really stupid about it when I first started playing, didn’t realize you had to make sure there was an E next to your equipment so I spent about a week grinding for cash completely unequipped. It was much easier once I figured out my snafu, but by then I just wanted to get through the game so I could write a review. I’d played it enough to have a good idea of its difficulty and game play so I didn’t feel too bad.

        With FFII the translation didn’t come through properly, and the dialogue would just turn into gibberish. FFIII wasn’t available for emulation so I wound up just watching them both, too. FFIV I’ve played before, but I’m overjoyed to play again. It’s a fantastic game, woefully underrated, and one of my favorites. I’ve played the Interlude, but never finished the After Years or played the DS version (I bought the FFIII one, too).

        I’m doing an FF play/replay project so I can review them all. I already love the progression I can see! I’ll probably do the Chrono Series, too, since I’ve only finished Trigger and want to give Cross another chance.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. How about dodging lightning bolts 200 times to get a Venus Sigil.

    Why, Square, why did you have to turn our love into an abusive relationship? Things were going so well, then you turned the love into hurt and made me destroy my controller. Not cool, man, not cool.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I agree with the save points. God it’s so damn annoying, especially when it’s put just before a long unskippable cutscene prior to a difficult boss fight. What were you thinking, devs???? Thankful this is less of an issue nowadays. Personally I’m not a big fan of item endurance and encumbrance systems that seems to find its way into western RPGs. It’s feels like a big annoyance rather than anything additive to the experience, unless I suppose the player wants something of a survival mode, in which case, let it be optional!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Stealth segments in non-stealth games. I’m looking at you, Legend of Zelda. I always freak out as soon as the obligatory stealth section pops up. Skyward Sword had some of the worst, in which you had to collect certain items. If you didn’t collect any in time, these scary statues started chasing you and a loud heartbeat sound echoed. It was too much.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Generally, any long cinematic is enough to annoy me. It should only be there for as long as absolutely necessary, and only if there’s no way whatsoever of putting it in game-play. In fact, The Last of Us is basically one long cinematic with occasional moments of interactivity. That’s why the critics love it – because it’s more like a film, which they understand more than games.

    Liked by 1 person

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