Games That Inspire Adult Tantrums

Several posts ago, I wrote about how many video games seem to be getting easier now than in the past.  This made me think of games on the other side of the spectrum.  Not really difficult games, though, as you’d expect.  Difficult games can be good for those who like a challenge.  But, what I had in mind was games that were difficult in a bad way.  Some of us like a challenge, while others prefer games that are simpler and more relaxing.  But, I would have trouble believing anyone enjoys games that are just, well, ridiculous and unfair.  That make you toss your controller across the room and tug out all your silky locks.  And scream completely new profanities at the images on the scream that made you behave this way.  You know those kinds of games, don’t you?  Don’t feel ashamed if a game has reduced you to insanity one time or another.  It happens.  But, boy, do I despise those kinds of games.

“Donkey Kong Country Returns” is one game that automatically springs to mind.  While the old Super Nintendo “Donkey Kong Country” games could be pretty hard, they never inspired such absolute loathing as this game.  This game has moments of fun.  It looks beautiful.  But, I hate it.  I just hate it so much.  It is ridiculously hard sometimes.  You know that Super Guide I mentioned in an earlier post, that completes the level for you if it’s too hard?  While it’s silly to have a game that plays itself, I do understand why they added it.  Because some levels can’t be completed using the skills readily available to us carbon-based life forms.  But, I have a tip for you, game developers.  DON’T make the levels so hard that they can’t be completed using the skills readily available to us carbon-based life forms in the first place!  What a radical notion!

This game had me revert to a two-year-old.  You just had to be so perfect, or you’d die.  I hate that.  I’m not perfect.  I’m a duck.  This game is meant for androids to play.  Only they have the reflexes and the clarity of mind to complete this game without developing superhuman strength and tossing the TV out the window.  And the rocket barrel levels!  You gotta be freaking kidding me!  I’m not the swearing type, but…  Hold the button to go up, release to go down.  Sounds simple, but it’s so picky.  It’s just stupid!  So stupid!  I can’t stand those levels!  Once again, you have to have the perfection of God to beat those levels!  The barrel has deceptively simply controls that are in actuality extremely difficult.  It goes down, and you press the button to go up, but it doesn’t go up fast enough, and before you know it, death by lava!  It just keeps plummeting into the molten depths even as you’re holding the button down, cussing enough to summon a thunderstorm.  Those may possibly be the most horrid levels ever created in any video game!

And then you have games with bad cameras.  One day I was battling enemies in “Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One” when the camera decided it would be really cool to introduce me to what lies below the floor.  It suddenly just dropped below the level, as I frantically pressed buttons and hopped around like crazy, hoping my character was avoiding the enemies I now couldn’t see.  Or games with very annoying controls.  Like you press the correct button to make a character jump, and for whatever reason, nothing happens, and they fall to their doom.  Or you’re walking along, and you suddenly fall through the floor.  Or something that happened all the time in “Sonic Heroes”, another game I want to murder, revive, and murder again.  Jump on the platform, and somehow your characters fall through it or slip off, even when you’ve landed on it like a kajillion times before!  There are other times when you just accidentally touch the wrong button, and your character goes speeding off a cliff.  Give me some chance to recover.  This isn’t fun!  Who made this!  I’m going to find them and force them to play the game they made!  It may sound like a cruel and unusual punishment, but they deserve it!

And “Jak 3”!  People said “Jak II” was too hard.  Forget that game, I can do that with practice.  While “Jak 3” has fewer difficult missions, it has several missions that are absolutely impossible.  The mission where you have missiles following your vehicle, and if you go too slow, they hit you.  Last time I played, it was my third time through the game, and I still spent an hour on this one.  I press the accelerate button down as hard as I can, and I still get hit!  I press the button any harder, and I’ll push it right through the controller, darn it!  And the game apparently makes things easier if you die too much, but it didn’t.  It didn’t at all.  And I didn’t have a clue anymore what I was doing wrong, so I couldn’t correct my mistakes.  Just awful.  I’m just grateful I have mission select unlocked, so if I ever come to a point in my life where I truly can’t do it, I’ll skip it.  I swear, I’ll just skip it!  I backed up the game to other memory cards just in case.  Then, I’ll beat the entire game, minus that mission and the one where you control that spider robot thing.

And then there’s the Wii version of “Okami”.  I simply adore this game.  It is wonderful.  But, the controls are perplexing.  Draw a crescent moon.  Okay.  No, wrong, draw it again.  It looked fine to me, but all right, then.  Wrong again.  Wrong again.  Wrong again!  Fine, I’ll draw it starting from the bottom rather than the top.  Oh, so that did it.  Would’ve been nice to know the secret rules.  And one of the worst areas of all time, close to being as dreadful as the rocket barrel levels of “DKCR”, was this one area where you draw circles to make these flowers blossom.  Yes.  You draw circles.  But, they must be just circular enough.  Just close enough.  But, just far enough.  This may’ve taken me days, if I remember correctly.  It was early in the game, and I came close to never progressing because of it.  I ended up saving a separate file right after, so if I ever can’t do it, I’ll just load that, make a copy for the future, and go on my merry way.

And one more thing.  Games where you must press a button really fast.  In “Star Fox Adventures”, in one area, you must press a button really fast to basically beat this guy in a test of strength.  I just couldn’t press the button fast enough, so I had to have my mom do it (she was much better at it than me).  “Banjo-Tooie” did this several times, as well.  You’d press the button fast to win a race against the unsettling Canary Mary, and the faster you press the button, the faster you go.  But, it is a long race.  It is exhausting.  Whoever said video games are bad for your health never played those.  My arm hurt so bad.  This is not quite as bad as the “DKCR” and “Okami” issues, at least.  I did finally get the hang of these, and the last time I played “Star Fox Adventures”, I completely spazzed out on the controller and beat that guy in the test for the first time ever, in under a second.  I was so ready for that guy that time.  But, I hate those kinds of things.  You can’t even keep trying until you make it because your arm dies from overuse.  I should have this totally buff right arm by now.

So yeah, video games.  I love them most of the time.  Sometimes, I really hate them.  A lot.  But, only the games that are insane.  Challenges are fun.  “Rayman Origins” and “Vexx” kicked my butt.  But, I could do it eventually, and I was so proud when I did.  I just don’t like games that are impossible.  I want to put in some effort to progress through the game, but I don’t want it to be so hard I never get anywhere.  Or if I get through the level once, I just know I never can again.  I liked some aspects of “DKCR”, and so I’ve kept it, but I seriously don’t know if I can ever beat it again.  I don’t know if I ever even want to.  Maybe I’ll just let Super Guide do the hard parts for me from now on.  Life is too short to waste time on games that aren’t fun.

The Duck Who Has Created a Bald Spot on My Head From Game-Induced Feather Pulling

Screenshot from Flickr User: pressakey.com

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Ahaha, Okami on the Wii. That brings back memories, for sure. Loved this entry! 🙂

    – Britney

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      Thanks. “Okami” was a good game, but those Wii controls… The game inspired both delight and molten rage in me.

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  2. Hatm0nster says:

    Your mentioning the rocket barrel levels in DKCR reminded me of the rocket barrel level in DKC3. The frustration induced by those inverted controls is still fresh in the memory. Also, I too remember that rocket chase mission in JAK 3 (so stupid!) but I think one of the worst JAK missions has to be the part in JAK II where you pick up part of Mar’s seal in the flooded district and you then have to fight your way through an infinitely spawning stream of enemies that come at you from all sides until you get out of the area. That one STILL takes me upwards of 15 tries to get through.

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      Oh, yes, I forgot all about that. That certainly is the worst mission in “Jak II” by far. I dreaded it so much the last time I played. That one takes me forever to get through. I thought I’d be clever once and just cross the area by way of the water, but then some thing came and killed me.

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  3. simpleek says:

    I haven’t finished Okami, but I know how you feel about those damn controls! I’d stare at my TV and think, “Really? You don’t think that’s a circle? Are you out of your *bleeping* mind?!” Challenges are good, but I do want to move on.

    I’m guilty of not finishing most games because I reach a part that’s hard, get stuck, and put it on the shelf for years because I can’t get past something. Maybe someday I’ll dust off those games that gave me trouble and give it a go again. For now, I’m onto other games that don’t frustrate me half as much.

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      I had to do the same thing with “Metroid Prime”. Sometimes I’d get to a boss I just couldn’t beat, and I’d have to take a break for a month and come back to it later. I slowly made progress through this game over the course of a long period of time, only to be absolutely stuck on the final boss. I had to take a break for several years from “Metroid Prime 2”.

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  4. cary says:

    These days, I’m way less motivated to complete games that I find hard than I was years ago. I just don’t have the time to repeat levels over and over and over just to progress! I totally agree with your DKC Returns story — that game was a controller-flinger for sure! I know that if I tried it now, I’d have a terrible time getting past some of those levels.

    It’s also really hard to go back to a game in which I’m stuck at a difficult part. Little Big Planet comes to mind. I haven’t touched that game in a long time because I just can’t get past this one part. And I can’t bring myself to face the frustration. It seems rather pitiful, but no matter how many days go by in which I think “I can do it!”, I just don’t. I’d rather have real fun with something else. (However, I can’t give up LBP because of this, so it remains, forever faithful, in the backlog.)

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      I am usually pretty stubborn and won’t give up on a game until I’ve gotten through it. But, I do have some games that are really hard, and I, too, don’t want to return. I got all the way to the final boss of “Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts”, and I just can’t win. The game also requires you to be good at building vehicles, and I am not, so it feels hopeless. I would like to beat the game, but I just don’t want to try that battle again. It’s just too awful. I also want to beat “Sonic Heroes”, but that game hates me, too.

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      1. Hatm0nster says:

        Beat Sonic Heroes (does anyone else think those stages were ridiculously long?), but only got a few levels into Nuts and Bolts. The construction mechanic was novel for a time but it wasn’t enough to overcome my disappointment.

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      2. duckofindeed says:

        I agree, the levels of “Sonic Heroes” were indeed long. And I can’t beat the levels where you get the Chaos Emeralds, and the levels take so long, I don’t feel like redoing them to get to the Chaos Emerald levels. And “Nuts and Bolts” was disappointing. I wish they’d make more games like the original “Banjo-Kazooie” games.

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  5. Sam Leung says:

    I totally agree with you! I’m ashamed to admit that some games have reduced me to acting like a complete infant. I’ve sworn, tossed my controller away, quit and then immediately reloaded and so on. I love challenging games, but games which feel impossible for bad reasons… not so much. Awkward controls and cameras are my worst triggers. It’s the frustration of doing possibly doing everything right, but failing because of the way the game is designed frustrates me to no end. You are not alone! It does seem that this mainly seems to be the case for a lot of old games, since as you said, a lot of modern games seem to be getting easier, but it’s definitely not exclusively so. I think it would be a lot easier if I could actually give up on a game, but the more difficult something is the more I just can’t let it go until I complete it! Basically, you are not alone in your adult tantrum throwing! 😀

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      I really dislike games where you fail when you didn’t really do anything wrong. It’s one thing where I make a mistake, but when I basically have no control over whether or not I lose, it makes me rather mad. And I, too, quit games then come right back in. Sometimes, if I make the slighest mistake, I know I’ll end up failing, so I quit and try again because I’m in no mood to waste my time redoing the whole thing if I know I’m doomed from the start. But, no matter how angry it makes me, I can’t give up. I’m too stubborn to do that.

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