As players, most people get through games the way they were meant to be played. Kill the monsters, rescue the princess, save the planet and end the war, all the standard stuff. But between slaughtering hordes of endless monsters and completing quests, gamers can become their own worst enemies. Confusing and useless habits form, and despite wrecking enjoyment, these habits are so core to us that we can barely stop doing them.
In the hopes of breaking the cycle of destructive behavior, here’s a list of things we’ve all guilty of while playing, and should really stop.
Something that I didn’t realise I was doing for almost a solid week in Skyrim was looting everything I could. Thousands of arrows, hundreds of swords, helmets, and shields. I’m ashamed to admit that I even had large amounts of plates in my possession. Not to mention all the ingredients I gathered together. You know, for that day I was planning to spend mixing them all together. Just after that next quest. This form of digital hoarding will choke up any in-game inventory, and it’s best that you break this habit before you start hoarding IRL.
Searching For Secrets
We all love finding little niches of secrets tucked away in games. But scrubbing through every wall, pipe and corridor for hidden rooms can often be a waste of time. Yes, occasionally you might find a sword at the bottom of a lake, most of the time you’ll find yourself just swimming around like a moron until air runs out and the screen goes black. Even if death isn’t certain, the time you spent searching for your way back to the main path with take up tons of time.
Over-Preparing for the Final Boss
Levelled up to the max? Got all the potions you can carry? Is your party full of experienced fighters? Okay, this is it. Ready your weapons. Dodge that attack, strike now and… wait, was that it? All those endless preparations and strategies planned out in advance and the final boss was a tad underwhelming when your team is overleveled. Sure, you’ll be prepared for that secret mega-boss hidden in the post-game, but that made the campaign’s main final bosses far too weak in comparison. There is such a thing as being too prepared.
Oh, you think that a super-soldier can swim? Or even take one step into the water at all? Sorry, lungs are just a fiction in some games, making the water is deadly dangerous if you don’t know for sure. It can make cars explode, tanks catch fire and murder main characters in moments. So don’t get into the habit of thinking H2O is a laughing matter.
Overusing One Combo
Anybody who’s played an arcade fighter will have found their perfect fighter and that unbeatable combo for said competitor. So every time a nasty fight comes along, you spam that combo for all it’s worth, to the exclusion of all other possible ones. When you’re lost in this bad habit, there’s no time for playing fair or mastering a new moveset, because it’s time to WIN.
One More Turn
It’s late. So late that it’s actually early. But the civilization that you’ve been guiding since the dawn of recorded history is one move away from unlocking nuclear power. Before we stop, we’ll just position some units here, and here. Now we’ll just move our weapons of mass destruction over a bit. Aaaand there — oh, what’s this? The sun has risen and it’s time to go to work. You seem to have stayed up through the night again playing “just one more turn.” We’ll have a shorter game next time (no we won’t, as this is a terribly hard habit to break).
Going Too Fast
When you want a game to get on with it, maybe you’ll just pound away on the A button to get to the interesting bits. Boring dialogue, boring dialogue, boring dial – hang on, what was that bit? Did I just skip the start of an important mission? Maybe. There’s only one way to be sure: restart at the last save and go through the entire set of dialogue all over again.
Going Too Slow
Side-quest, side-quest, side-quest, storyline. Side-quest, side-quest, side-quest, how many is that now? We’ve spent so long avoiding the main plotline that there’s enough playtime under our belts to cover the first few years of our lives. Know when it’s time to cut to the chase and get back to the campaign (or the next game).
Going For Every Achievement
Using a stone dagger and no armour, you must travel to the pits of Hell and take on the Spawn of Satan. Reward: a brief sound effect and a pop-up on your screen. What use do obscure Achievements actually fulfil other than a painful reminder of how much time you’ve spent playing a single game instead of playing lots of other games just sitting on your shelf? Yet despite the total lack of meaning, we gladly give up another few hours of our time for a little *ping* and piece of text. Not every Cheevo is created equal.
Underusing The Best Item
Now, this bazooka I’ve brought along only has a single shot, so it should only be used as a last resort. I can’t just use it on the first horde of zombies I see. This miniboss? Too weak, and I’m sure I’ll find more deserving ones. The boss of this level boss? I think I can get by, and maybe I’ll need it on the next boss instead. Hang on, what’s this room? Oh, it’s a cache of bazookas, invalidating the one I cherished for the last three hours. Maybe I shouldn’t be so precious about every little item I find.
On Your Marks
When you’re in the heat of a deathmatch, it’s easy to get in a big rush. The moment you respawn feels like a green light, so you pick a direction and start running. It doesn’t matter that you’re sprinting down the same killing gallery that sent you back to respawn in the first place. Or even that your constant sprint to death is ruining the match for your team. If you’re getting there fast, you must be doing well!
Did any of these bad habits sound familiar? Try to keep them in mind the next time you pick up the controller, and you might just have a better experience next time.