To rage quit is to experience a moment in a game so unbelievable in its injustice and unfairness, you just have to stop.
By best I obviously mean worst. Rage-quitting is something that’s meant to happen to other people. To hyperventilating teens high on Mountain Dew and yelling spittle at their screens in their parents’ basement. But no, unfortunately it can happen to anyone. I’m sure somewhere a refined elderly gentleman fan of Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training hurled his Nintendo DS to the nearest wall upon being told by the game that his mental age was 100
To rage quit is to experience a moment in a game so unbelievable in its injustice and unfairness, you just have to stop. Falling to your knees and cursing the sky dramatically, throwing your controller at the wall, going outside for a walk to cool off, your trembling hands struggling to light up a cigarette or make a cup of coffee. Some forms of rage-quitting are simply down to sore losers, which is especially annoying in multiplayer games, but the less said about them the better. I’m more concerned with the kind of moments that send controllers hurtling around the house due to intense frustration at your inability to progress in a game.
Below is a list of my most memorable modern instances of giving up a game, or taking a momentary break from it to save my sanity. Most are instances of me attempting to complete a game statistic, gain a trophy or achievement, with the odd few selection of games so inherently bad they caused me to walk away.
Elder Scrolls: Skyrim’s PS3 release
A game broken in every single aspect upon release. Somehow ratcheting up a world record of 0 frames per second in a test conducted by Eurogamer. ZERO. Every mission had the potential to be broken. It was different for every gamer. Maybe one mission was broken for me, but not for my friends, and vice versa. Some gamers claimed to get to a hundred hours of game-time without encountering any serious problems. But I found that the majority of players experienced variations of what I did, which was a nightmare of epic proportions.
The game’s problems ranged from NPCs not being where they were supposed to be and never resetting to their correct spawn points, thus permanently breaking quests, to items also ruining quests if you picked them up too soon or too late. Problems ranging from items refusing to be removed from your itinerary, to your own character’s clothes not changing when you wanted them to. Everything from trivial aesthetic issues, to game-breaking problems resulting in gamers unable to progress to the end. Nothing worked the way it was supposed to. The troubles were endless, like a boulder splashing into a lake causing violent ripples to spread in every direction. This was meant to be a console-friendly game, but felt like the very worst of a PC gamer’s experience.
Each patch Bethesda put out continually screwed over the fans. The frame rate inexplicably got worse for some. The more hours gamers put into the game, the worse it got, which caused a special kind of pain knowing that all you accomplished in the game would go to waste. Whiterun looked like a flickering flip-book to some people after just several hours of gameplay. The frame rate problem was so random, that a year of detective work by members of Bethesda’s own fraught forums formulated substantial theories, but ultimately Bethesda itself still couldn’t figure it out. For a period of time some users’ PS3s were dying, and conspiracy theories were whispered by the forums denizens, but it didn’t really take off. Personally it wouldn’t have surprised me if PS3s were chugging away trying to make the damn world of Skyrim work properly, dying of heat exhaustion as a result.
Promises were made by the company to deal with the biggest problems, but most were not kept. DLC released for Xbox only materialised for PS3 ages later after most people had stopped playing. The game’s ardent defenders blamed the PS3 being hard to code for. Whatever, all formats experienced issues which should have been resolved before release date.
As for the question of when I rage quit, strange to say it was after a hundred hours. I’d got the platinum trophy, but so many quests were broken, and there was still so much more land to cover, towns to discover, but I just couldn’t take the litany of bugs plaguing me every step of the way anymore. I left the land of Skyrim under a heavy cloud that day.
The game practically made me rage quit Bethesda, or at the very least vow to never buy any of their games on the day of release, just to teach them a lesson in causality.
Not finding the remaining pigeon from GTA4
The title says it all. Rockstar recreated a mini New York and hid 200 pigeons in the most ridiculous spots. You had to shoot every single one to get a trophy. You have to laugh at their temerity, but soon the laughter dies into a half-hearted chuckle before the sobbing starts. You’ve killed 199 pigeons and can’t find the remaining one. Go check a fan-made map, right? Oh, you have and still can’t find it? Try again. Good times.
So of course gamers made maps available online, making note of every pigeon location, but that’s not the point is it? You want to be able to accomplish something as simple as finding collectibles to get a 100% stat without the need for help from others. Granted, the pigeons had a red glow to help you spot them, but when you’ve got pigeons hidden in nooks and crannies, in a city spanning 6.8 square miles. Well, let’s just say the task was so fruitless it caused a happy and well-adjusted family man called Niko Bellic to go on a murder spree.
Ramon boss fight from Syndicate 2012
As if it wasn’t bad enough that we had to endure what was quite possibly the worst instance of HDR bloom effect in a modern game, combined with horribly blurry and tiny font in the menus, Starbreeze Studios kicked us while were down by having the worst boss battles I’ve played in a long while. You thought Deus Ex was uneven? That’s nothing compared to Syndicate.
Halfway through the game I came upon a typically infuriating boss battle which seemed inherently unbalanced, with nothing enjoyable or challenging about it, just dependent on large bouts of luck to coast on by. After 30 minutes trying to beat a son of a beeswax called Ramon, I realised life is too short to spend on a game as annoying as this one. The boss battles are nothing but you suffering constant damage, inflicting only a smidgen in return and the whole thing just dragging on. Every boss was an ordeal and yet I still lumbered on in a misguided attempt to prove skill over luck, but it was Ramon who made me issue a mental fatwa on the game.
Burnout: Paradise corrupted save glitch
This was a moderately entertaining game, nothing to shout about. Just a good way to pass the time. It had a lot of trophies, and like a dutiful trophy-hound I set about obtaining as many as I could before moving on to more important games worthy of my attention. I’d downloaded it from PSN as it had come free with a bundle of “sorry for getting hacked” games courtesy of a chagrined Sony. I spent around twenty hours or so, racing to my heart’s content, racking up the stats. I was approaching that Platinum. I could smell it. Like the smell of freshly cut grass wafting along a spring breeze. So tantalisingly close.
Then one day I start up the game and every single stat has gone back to zero. Unlocked races and cars are all locked in default again. I do a double-take. A nervous smile. What is this? Is this a joke? Did I start a new game by accident? No, there’s only one save slot, I definitely didn’t start a new game. I distinctly remember a bike race from last night and the game autosaving as usual. What’s going on here?
I go online and google it. Same thing has happened to others before. I lost everything. For this segment of the list I don’t have anything smart or insightful to say, except: ARRRRGHGHGHGHGH!!!!
Dragon Age: Origins shoddy frame rate
Frame rate troubles again. Seriously, what decade is this, and am I on an Atari ST or what? Nope, just the PS3, that weird console some developers can work wonders with and others not so much. Every time a battle scenario reared its head in the kingdom of Ferelden the frame rate would dip. Given the genre, you can expect a lot of battles with your main characters swarmed by Darkspawn, turning the screen into a stuttering mess. Though this problem was exacerbated on the PS3, a quick google shows that PC users also experienced similar issues. Xbox owners lucked out it seems!
I started to feel trepidation in anticipation of this problem, like a Pavlovian effect kicking in, anytime I sensed enemies approaching, my heart would sink. Needless to say, combined with the generic story, my time in Dragon Age was not a particularly enjoyable one and involved many breaks from the game. Luckily I did not physically break anything, Morrigan got me through it somehow.
Far Cry 2 regenerating checkpoints
This game gets a lot of flak, but I think it’s an underrated game that tried to stand out from the usual military shooters obsessed with arcade-style frenetic action. Crytek are more about dropping you in an immersive sandbox and letting you handle the environment at your own pace. You can go in guns blazing or sneak around like a ninja. Sounds good so far, but what became a big sticking point to everyone and has given this game a maligned reputation are the military checkpoints littered around 25 kilometers of the game. The checkpoints you destroyed, yet somehow magically came back to life soon after.
This ultimately meant that every five minutes driving around the countryside you’d get shot at. There wasn’t a single moment of peace where you could just drive and appreciate the scenery. Thankfully they learned from their mistake and fixed this problem in Far Cry 3 where after taking a checkpoint it became manned by allies. I still have a soft spot for this game though, and would recommend it to fans of the franchise and the kind of gamer who likes the brutal nature of Operation Flashpoint and ARMA.
Wipeout HD trophy hunting
Wipeout is an acquired taste, but for me is my favourite racing genre game. By this point in the list you’re thinking I’m a trophy hound, but I assure you I’m not really. I don’t have an insatiable need to platinum every game I buy; it’s just an extra challenge to squeeze more life out of a game after I’ve completed it. I don’t judge people by their trophy or achievement count, that’s silly shenanigans. But if I see someone with a platinum trophy in Wipout HD I will shake their hand. This game truly requires genuine skill from the player, and no amount of luck will help you.
I’m sure Wipeout is infuriating for some gamers due to the fact that if you touch the sides of a racing track it instantly slows your craft down, and combined with the breaking shoulder buttons it requires a deft touch. All in all, it’s not an easy game to master. Some of the trophies require you to attain the patience and timing of a Zen master. No coincidence perhaps that one of the racing modes is called Zone Mode and literally requires you to ‘zone out’ to succeed. Your craft must lap around a course with no other racers to distract you. The track itself changes colours in kaleidoscope fashion every time you lap around it, and you speed up with each successful lap. Oh and if you hit the sides too many times you weaken your craft which will eventually explode.
One trophy requires you lap around this increasingly psychedelic course at breakneck speed 70 times. No amount of luck will help you. Only pure legendary skill.
Another trophy is called Beat Zico and requires you to equal or beat a lap time set by someone called…Zico. Zico the merciless game designer. This trophy I didn’t really bother with, but I’ve gotten so close to getting Zone Mode it’s tortured me and kept me awake at nights. It’s like a regretful memory, a missed opportunity; a gaping wound in my soul leaving me forever unfulfilled. Not so much a rage quit than a sorrowful one.
This mind-bending platform game is pretty audacious, and kudos must go to Jonathan Blow for really shaking the genre up. The game’s creativity had me grinning, as I realised each level’s unique set of rules and how to manipulate time to my benefit.
Until I hit mental barriers preventing me from proceeding. I’m probably going to grow into an old man throwing Dr Kawashima’s game against a wall, but some puzzles in this game had me completely stumped and I had to just walk away at times in frustration. Frustration in knowing that the solution was on Youtube if I wanted to peek at it, but my pride wouldn’t let me. Some puzzles I eventually solved in the end, but others, well…
“My pride fell with my fortunes.” – William Shakespeare
Lost In Blue (DS)
This infuriating game has you essentially babysitting a useless girl, who is incapable of walking without being guided. The only thing she’s good at is dying. Oh wait, she can do one more thing: cook. What a quaint depiction of the modern teen girl Konami have created. Quaint indeed.
So the gist is that you and Skye have crash landed on an island, and the game requires you to head out and find supplies and seek escape, but don’t head out too far for too long because Skye will do what she’s best at and die.
Putting aside the completely patronising attitude towards the female gender, the game just feels like torture. The concept is great, but continually retracing your journey to look after the girl made the whole experience painfully repetitive, and there’s only so many times I can watch Skye cook and die before I called it quits.
No Swimming lessons in Assassin’s Creed
But I can’t swim. Get outta here.