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10 worst ways to spend your time in a game

When games just forget to be fun

Outside of games there’s this thing called work.

Work tends to be done in the form of a job and it can often be menial, demanding, dangerous and a hundred other kinds of no fun whatsoever.

It is perhaps a sad reflection on the progress of games towards simulating reality that this drudgery is no longer confined to our working hours.

Here are some of the worst offenders for when games just forget to be fun.

10. Living in the Zone

Though buggy it is hard to deny the quality of both STALKER games, Shadow of Chernobyl and Clear Sky, although both offer a somewhat unique gaming experience; that of eking a living in a miserable and hostile radioactive wasteland.

There is no happiness in the Zone. No joy. Soon you get so used to the misery and squalor that the moment after a kill when you get to rummage through your foe’s meagre possessions feels like Christmas morning.

The zone

MISERY: Home sweet Zone. Don’t worry, if the monsters don’t get you the radiation sickness will

9. Social networking

Although GTA 4 brought with it some excellent characters they are a needy bunch if ever there was one. Want to go for a beer? Can you take me to a show? Want to play darts?

It seems ironic that in a game where you can kill practically everybody you encounter the people you can’t kill are the ones you most want to.


WHAT NOW? Ah, Cousin Roman, please, be more needy

8. Building a base

The staple of real time strategy games for so long was base building. Thankfully it has fallen somewhat out of favour recently, but the history of the genre is littered with rubbish bases.

Build this rectangular thing so you can create that, upgrade that so you can get this bonus, build a generator of some sort and so on.

This is not a problem in some games where the decision of what to build in what order can determine strategy, but for many, when base building is just an arbitrary process that does nothing but delay a good scrap, it’s a chore.

Building bases

BASE BUILDING: Woo! I’ve built a base. That was a lot more fun than killing bad guys

7. Level grinding

A great many games have a level based character advancement process without diminishing the fun – usually these games are single player RPGs where the completion of the story is the goal. Online RPGs, particularly MMORPGs, tend to focus on the character as the goal.

A good MMORPG will give you a story, quests, plots and other players to kill and by the time you have exhausted these you find yourself at maximum level, a bad MMORPG will make you stand in a field clubbing monsters while the minutes turn to hours, the hours turn to days and your soul withers and dies like a prune.

Levelling up

THE GRIND: Levelling up was so much fun in Hellgate London they had to shut the game down

6. Harvesting

This is another staple of the MMO genre; running around the countryside gathering things to use for crafting. This is pretty much the sort of thing that so often in the real world gets done by illegal immigrants because most people consider it demeaning. Done for free, in a video game, it’s all part of the fun.

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5. Sewer levels

They crop up so often. Games are a chance for players to fulfil their ambitions, to experience things they would never do in reality, to see the world, to be a hero, albeit safely within the confines of a game.

So with that in mind where does chasing baddies through rivers of sewage feature? If it just happened in one game it’d be an interesting twist, but no, sewers are a top choice for a level setting.

Sewers are added for plot reasons. of course – it’s nothing to do with the fact you can use a small amount of textures to pad a whole lot of game time. Oh no.

Sewer level

GOING UNDERGROUND: Typical examples of sewer dwellers: dead people

4. Playing the bass

Insult and injury combine for one member of a Guitar Hero co-op team.

3. Rare spawn collecting

This practice dates back to the golden age of Ultima Online. Every day the server reset at about six in the morning and when it did several rare items would spawn that would not spawn again until the next day.

Players would set their alarms, and soon as the server would come up players would pile in to collect the items. Fun on a bun.

2. Mining asteroids

If you want something in EVE Online it has to be built and this means that somebody has to build it, and for that to happen somebody with a big spaceship has to zoom out to an asteroid field and dig some minerals out of a rock.

Combat with non-player enemies in EVE is not very exciting; combat with large pieces of floating rock is even less exciting.

Eve online

ROCKING: Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go

1. Working

Released on the PSP, Work Time Fun is a collection of minigames which offers a nightmarish insight into exactly what gamers are willing to put up with.

Each minigame is based around some menial job, from picking up golf balls to putting on pen caps, you complete them, earn money, buy meaningless rewards. That’s it.

As a game it ranks on the fun scale alongside punching yourself repeatedly in the crotch.

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  1. chuia
    October 3, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    lol I always spend my time building big bases

  2. December 21, 2009 at 6:09 am

    wow …lol….

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