Nitpicking Video Games

The things I’ve listed here probably shouldn’t bother me, but I can’t help it. Sure, some of what I mentioned here make the offending games more palatable to players, but they don’t make sense to me!

No Understanding Of Building Planning

This one is going to seem oddly specific, but when Commander Shepard strolls by Executor Pallin’s office in the first Mass Effect, his door automatically opens, yet the bar and hallway doors require Shepard to manually open them. What gives? Wouldn’t Pallin get extremely annoyed by the foot traffic into and out of the bar next door, constantly opening his office door? Why is there a bar next door to Executor Pallin’s office anyway? He’s the C-Sec head honcho, so where’s the rest of C-Sec? Oh right, it’s downstairs on a completely separate level.

Really, building planning in the Mass Effect universe, along with most games’ settings are pretty suspect. Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Mankind Divided come to mind as well. Adam Jensen’s apartments in both have a small bedroom, one tiny bathroom, and a gigantic damn living room. Or Oblivion and Skyrim, where Ayleid and Dwemer ruins are arranged in nonsensical manners. It’s as if the ancient civilizations that created them just dug out passages and randomly decided “Oh, you know what’d go great next to this steam generator? A bedroom! And let’s put random mechanical spider dispensers everywhere too.”

Leaving Explosives, Ammo, And Valuables Lying Around

If you’ve ever set foot on a military base before, you’d immediately notice all of the explosives and ammo lying around everywhere. Just out in the open and readily available to be snatched up.

No, wait. The opposite of that is true.

What is it with video game bad guys and leaving ammo out in the open? That and stacking explosive barrels liberally around their workplace? It’s like they have zero care in the world for any sense of workplace safety.

Perhaps the most puzzling thing though is how often characters in video games just leave money, valuables, weapons, ammo, jewelry, heirlooms, sensitive information, and incriminating materials out where anybody could stumble across them.

Reloading Magazines Is Easy And All Ammo Is Magic

I don’t know about anybody else, but I have a formidable knowledge of firearms and weaponry. I go target shooting on occasion, though I’d love to do it more. However, one of the parts about going shooting is that I loathe loading magazines.

I don’t know if you readers have loaded magazines for a rifle or pistol, but it’s a huge pain in the ass. One of my pistols (I have two) has a 15-round magazine, and loading rounds into it is time consuming, and can get painful after a while. Possibly because I have girly hands… I’m not sure. Loading a 30-round rifle magazine is even worse, and can take about 2-5 minutes depending on how skilled you are with the practice.

With that in mind, how in the hell is it that so many games get this wrong? Honestly, I do get it; they are video games, and watching your character slowly reload their entire arsenal over the course of several minutes would suck immensely. However, many shooters are lauded as realistic, yet overlook this little detail.

Also, while I’m on the subject of ammunition, if you take out a half-empty magazine to load a full one into your weapon, the bullets don’t magically fill the half-empty magazine. That damn thing stays half-empty until you sit down and reload the bastard. It ain’t like filling a bucket in a pond.

In Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, Bioware attempted to emulate the use of ammo by implementing thermal clips in the series to replace the weapon heat mechanic. I don’t like this change, but I’ll go with it… Up until the logic of it fails. The thermal clips allow a the weapon you’re using to fire, and each thermal clip gives users a set amount of shots that can be fired before the clip’s capacity to soak up heat is expended. Except, if you load another thermal clip into a weapon before the loaded one is expended, the capacity of the partially expended clip somehow, magically transfers its thermal soakiness to another thermal clip.

The “Good” Guy Stealing Everyone’s Stuff Is Okay

Picture this, a long-haired man opens up your front door, walks into your home, and starts rifling through your cabinets for gold and food. He then walks over to your bookcase and takes a couple books and stuffs them into his bag. It’d sound like someone committing a burglary, but no. I just described Geralt of Rivia walking into a random villager’s house.

For some reason in many RPGs, it’s perfectly fine if the main character barges into someone’s home and steals their belongings. Would it be remotely okay if somebody did that in real life? Nope. If I walked into your house without being invited and started eating your food while looking for loose change in your couch, I’d end up getting body slammed into the ground by a police officer.

Stealing From The Dead Is Perfectly Fine

With that last point in mind, let me turn back to Skyrim. For some reason, nobody bats an eye that the Dragonborn strips and loots dead people, or defiles the graves of the Nordic ancestors by ripping open the mummified corpses to rummage through the deceased’s internals for gold.

I’ll just leave you with that mental image.

Running On Ice And Wet Surfaces With No Issues

I know some of my Canadian readers on here can relate to this one. If you’ve ever tried to run on ice, you’ll totally understand where I’m going with this. I’ve yet to play a single game that properly illustrated the negative aspects of trying to move quickly on slick surfaces.

The example that comes to mind at the moment is in The Division. In it, you can take cover behind vehicles, and climb over them if necessary… Which requires the player to walk over the hood/trunk/roof/etc. You know, the vehicles that are covered in snow and ice. Go ahead and ponder that for a moment. Picture yourself trying to jump up onto the hood of car that’s just wet. Now factor in 50 lbs of equipment and assume the surface is covered in snow or ice…

Yeah, you’d be down with a concussion or broken arm in no time at all, and that’s just one example. How many games feature a section where you run across a frozen lake? Hell, in The Long Dark, you can sprint across an entire frozen lake with no problems. I mean, I love that game but still. I know I’d fall flat on my ass if I tried just walking normally across ice, let alone running.


Are there any things that bother you about games? Little details that developers seem to miss or overlook? What weighs on your mind as you’re exploring the vast reaches of virtual worlds? Let me know!


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29 thoughts on “Nitpicking Video Games

      1. At least you vented to the world and shared it with us. I usually just curse or mumble at the tv at how unrealistic some of these things are. Like, while you check your map and inventory, no one attacks you. They just stand still and wait patiently. haha. OR when you press the slide button to get under a spiked banner, and he pops up in mid slide and slams his head into the spikes. I mean, who does that!? hehe

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This is fantastic. I have moments like that…. And usually it is the musical side that bothers me. No, random fingers do not lift and just do whatever until you decide to hit buttons and then random perfect notes….. But then again, I am a band nerd. Houses and the stealing used to bother me too. I loved in Reckoning that you got negative points with people and could be caught.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. My main thought jumped to Zelda games when they play the Ocarina or any game where they play flute or woodwind instruments. XD At least with piano they pretend better by moving hands to a correct “area” but hide the actual piano playing. XD

        Liked by 1 person

            1. I thought about using Link smashing random people’s pottery for rupees as an example, but I felt like that has been done to death. I loved doing it, but I kinda felt bad afterwards each time. But they always bought new pottery for me to smash, so they must’ve been okay with it.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe the guns in video games have a quantum thing going on where the number of bullets in each clip is determined retroactively the second you press the reload button. In other words, if you reload a gun after firing it seven times, that clip only had seven bullets, but if you do so after eight, it’s because it had eight. In any event, I heard there are some games that acknowledge you can’t do that without losing bullets.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember Rainbow Six 3 did it correctly. If you fired 15 rounds, then reloaded, that 15 round magazine went into your ammo inventory and would be prioritized to be used last. It’d progress like this:

      * Start with 30 in weapon, 3 spare magazines
      * Fire 30, reload with 30
      * Fire 15, reload with 30 + 1 in chamber
      * Fire 21, reload with 30 + 1 in chamber
      * Fire 31, reload with 14
      * Fire 14, reload with 8
      * Fire 8, empty

      Which is correct! Most Tom Clancy games do it this way at least. I think I’ll go with your quantum theory for other games at least.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Parachutes. I’m currently playing Just Cause 3, and that dude’s got a super awesome parachute that magically folds itself up, does its own safety checks, then redeploys seconds later without ever, like, getting tangled and shit.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha I honestly haven’t thought about this kind of stuff in a long time, so it’s funny to hear your thoughts! I remember thinking about this a lot when I first started gaming, but lately I just kind of take the mechanics for granted even when they make no sense.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hahaha This is a great post! Most of the time I just chuckle and roll my eyes, especially the building layouts…

    But I never understood why “heroes” were allowed to become burglars and looters without incident. Sometimes I really try to role-play and not actively loot things that aren’t nailed down/belong to someone else. I also hated the switch to thermal clips in Mass Effect. Cooling and changing clips took almost the same amount of time, and thermal clips seem like they should just cool down, as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My boyfriend told me that he, while playing Battlefield 1, shot an enemy in the foot three times with a handgun and killed him. Imagine if someone shot you in the foot three times and you died? That’s an interesting gun mechanic.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The ability to just waltz on into people’s places and examine there stuff. Like in Pokémon, I know the protagonist is like 12 but it’s still must be annoying for the residents, but no, they just want a chat or to give you things. Gave me false expectations of the world 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  8. this reloading issue came to mind the other day, I’m no firearms expert, but holy crap do these characters reload fast! even faster with upgrades!!!

    But it’s like the action movie thing, all sorts of unrealistic things happen in movies, tv shows and such. It’s not meant to be realistic depiction depending on the genre. If it’s an action game, then yes, but all means go ahead and reload super fast, immersion is not our #1 priority, it’s blowin’ shit up!

    But yes there are things that bother me, not so much in games, but I’ve seen movies where there is a “guitar player”, and there is a backtrack playing, but oh man is there no care for the “guitar player” to actually look like they are playing guitar. It’s just their hands moving randomly all over the damn neck not even remotely closely resembling what playing that song would look like. As a bass player this bugs me big time! Even though I know the movies main objective is not to simulate real life musicians, I still can’t help but let it bug me. You pick and choose your battles I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I don’t know how characters do it in games, but even the most novice gunman somehow can reload a firearm in a fraction of a second. I know that once the adrenaline is flowing though, precision goes out the window.

      But… It does make a game more fun, instead of being frustrating.

      Except the instrument playing thing. That’s seriously annoying. Almost as bad as terrible lip-syncing.

      Liked by 1 person

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