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Player Hater

By Shamus
on Monday Feb 19, 2007
Filed under:


Jaquandor quotes me, and then has this to say:

I have got to stop reading Shamus’s blog, because every day I read him I feel my resistance to allowing computer games in the home to slip a little.

I see this in the comments as well. People say things like, “I don’t play computer games, but reading your site makes me wish I did.” I can’t explain this. Most of my posts are long, nitpicky rants that enumerate the various flaws of a game in obsessive detail. The more I hate a game, the more I write about it. My favorite game of the past year was Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, and I haven’t done a single post on it. My least favorite was Neverwinter Nights 2, and I won’t shut up about it. I’m like the anti-fanboy. My hobby isn’t videogames, my hobby is complaining about video games.

Still, I’m glad my painstakingly cultivated neurosis is a source of entertainment to others.

Comments (20)

  1. unbeliever says:

    yeah, but car crashes are entertaining, especially in slow motion. Same goes for rants.

  2. Robin Z says:

    Hey, I joined the Scouts because of my brother’s story of almost drowning on a camping trip.

  3. Ermel says:

    Well, I don’t play computer games, and reading your blog makes me glad I don’t. So there.

    But yes, well-written rants are entertaining, almost regardless of their topic. Keep them coming please.

  4. I guess the thing is, writing long rants about things shows that you’re passionate about the subject in general. It makes me think I’m missing out on something. Not that I have time for games, but still…

  5. LafinJack says:

    Well, you did that Youtube video about RT3, no?

  6. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    I have the Classic Doom series and thats it……OH OH and mine sweeper
    00.13 on beginner WOOT

  7. Rich says:

    I personally find it amazing that there are people who own a computer and DON’T play games. What’s wrong with you people? ;)

  8. Mark says:

    A while ago a friend told me that I absolutely had to watch the anti-fastfood documentary Super-Size Me. She claimed that I would never eat fast food again. Not that I eat much in any case, but after watching the movie, I really, really wanted some McDonalds. Similarly, after reading a rant about how bad a video game is, I generally want to play a game (not necessarily the one ranted about though). Go figure. Now that I have a computer that can actually handle recent games, I’ve been playing a lot…

  9. Mordaedil says:

    From reading your rants, it doesn’t look as though you dislike any game you play. You actually, as many other gamers, search for a perfect game, present some ideas that make me wonder how feasible they are, and some games you would have made different design decisions in it. Just look at how you process EVE Online or World of Warcraft. You don’t say “these games are a piece of shit”, but instead you say “they have some very good ideas in this game, but I’d prefer to take A and B and replace them with C for it to work for me in the long run.”

    You also seem to hold a lot of patience for NWN2, which you say is the game you enjoyed the least (even though I can’t really see that).

    Now, the reason why people might feel different about restricting games in their homes after reading your rants, is because they probably prohibit games for all the wrong reasons in the first place. Not that I am an expert at child-care, but denying kids access to a toy that is pretty affordable and has a really long life-time is kinda stupid. But maybe that’s because I was brought up playing games freely on the NES, SNES, PC, N64 and so forth. I don’t really feel it affects me in a negative way.

  10. Andrew Cory says:

    I think Jaquandor problem is more the time-sink aspect to a game, rather than the rating aspect…

  11. David V.S. says:

    An Italian Koan

    Mr. Agostino claimed pizza proved we all had a heavenly existence before we are born…

    He observed that we could go to a new restaurant and have the best pizza of our lives, and afterwards say to each other, “that was almost perfect, but…”

    How could this be, he said, smiling, unless we had once eaten the perfect pizza for our basis for comparison?

  12. Dez says:

    “My hobby isn't videogames, my hobby is complaining about video games.”


    Keep up the good work!!


  13. Justin says:

    Now, the reason why people might feel different about restricting games in their homes after reading your rants, is because they probably prohibit games for all the wrong reasons in the first place.


    When it comes down to “allowing computer games into my home” it’s not a matter of lack of time or inclination to play. I’d call it an active aversion toward them and thus, just as your parents played cops and robbers as kids and there was no reason to stop them, kids can and will play video games and computer games, and there’s no good reason to stop them from it once they’re old enough to handle whatever subject matter is in a given game.

    I’d rather have my (as-yet unconceived) children playing games than watching TV.

  14. Jaquandor says:

    Mordaedil: When I say that I don’t allow games in the home, I should clarify that I don’t allow MYSELF to have games in the home, because I spend enough hours in front of my computer as it is! My kid’s totally different; I have no problem with games for her, and one of the main reasons I really wanted to upgrade my computer recently (and did) was so that she could play her games again (the old computer would crash after about two minutes of game play). But as for me, I know I’d spend too much time playing games and not doing stuff like writing, cooking, cleaning, speaking to my wife in more than grunts, et cetera.

    Strange how I have no difficulty limiting the time I allow her to play games on the computer, and yet my own personal willpower is nowhere to be found!

  15. Mordaedil says:

    Oh, I see. Well, no problem, Shamus was a bit general so I assume I can be a bit general too, even to the point where you’re actually not the intended target. But that’s fine.

    If you feel the urge to play video games, I say go for it, but also set your own boundaries. All games are roller-coasters, with natural pauses and exciting parts leaving you wanting for more. At least most games work this way. If you use those moments properly, you can do: “Writing, cooking, part A of Zelda, cleaning, discussing with the wife, part B of Zelda, massaging the wife, and walking the children/dog, part C of Zelda”

    Well, not that you’ll play necessarily Zelda… Though almost all PC games have save functions and are fun enough while not detracting from life.

    My life is not the best example of that though.

  16. AngiePen says:

    Between your rant about EVE and the recent review in Computer Gaming World Games For Windows, I downloaded the front end and started on my fourteen day free trial this evening. [duck]

    So far I have two complaints. One is that they should explain, right off the bat, that you can quit the tutorial and that it can be saved and picked up later, and how to do so. I had to get that, after five or six hours of increasingly tired and annoyed play, from some nice people on my corporation chat window. Two is that the darned pirates were respawning so fast in the… second practice area? the one where you needed to find the key, that I didn’t have time to search them. I finally searched ONE pirate wreck and was lucky enough to find a key in it and it still took me three or four more pirate swarms to make it to the darned gate and get my butt out of there ’cause I was sick and tired of pirates, whether they could do me any significant damage or not. Any game that gets you into the habit of indicating the passage of time by numbers of pirate swarms has too darned many of them.

    It does have some nice features, though, so I’m not going to quit just yet. I’ll finish the tutorial and see how the real world works.

    Angie, crossing her fingers

  17. Talitha says:

    I try to limit the computer games I play not because there’s anything wrong with the games, but because I know my own weaknesses. I have no self control, and I have an addictive personality. If I really get into a game, then I will obsess about playing that game to the exclusion of everything else for as long as it takes for me to get bored. Which could be weeks. I have enough problems putting games down when they have endings like the Thief series. So there is no way I can allow myself to own a copy of WoW, where the *game has no end*. They’d find my emaciated corpse still clutching the mouse after the neighbours complained about the smell.

    Kingdom of Loathing is a good one for me to play in that respect, because you only get 40 turns per day. (Although I do have four different KoL characters going at once, so it’s more like 120 turns a day for me) I get a couple of hours play out of it, and then I’m forced to stop playing and go do something useful.

  18. bbot says:

    I see you’ve got Tessa from Full Metal Panic there, and oh my god I hated that show pretty much just because of her. Sosuke was a nickel plated badass and a 24 carat retard, but I could tolerate the usual Japanese romantic idiocy, if it wasn’t for Tessa.

    Lets ignore the complete and total disregard for physics (jumping mechs! a submersible aircraft carrier!) and suchlike for now, and focus just on Tessa. Supposedly, she’s the captain of TDD-1 because she’s a “whispered”, who are magical fonts of scientific knowledge and tactical genius. Hey, that’s great! Sounds like the perfect thing for a technical advisor, or a R&D director.

    Oh, wait, you say that instead the sixteen year old female prodigy should instead be given command of a submarine, a tedious and frequently thankless management position which requires extreme competence and tens of years of experience? Sounds great!

    And, of course, she is frequently disrespected by the crew, is socially incompetent, and *never* displays the tactical genius she was chosen for, the one trait that apparently overrode the hundreds of reasons *not* to put a sixteen year old girl in command of a submarine.

    And why is a “whispered” even *on* a combat vessel? The only other “whispered” we see is valuable enough that a terrorist group is willing to hijack an airplane to get at her. Shouldn’t she be on a military base somewhere?

  19. Julia says:

    I don’t have interest in playing video games (I have time sinks I consider to be more constructive; if other people prefer playing video games, that’s fine, and I’m glad they’re having fun somehow!), but I love a good rant. And you can turn out a mighty fine rant, Shamus.

  20. Morrinn says:

    I love your rants, Shamus, Especially the ones on NVN2. I I played the game completely through and hated it to bits. It always makes me feel a little better reading your posts on it and in hindsight it makes it seem alot less a waste since I can come that much closer to understanding your anger.

    I’m looking forward and hoping for yet another deconstruction of that game.

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