By Kieron Gillen on January 7th, 2008 at 11:58 pm.
All signs point to Yes.
On Thursday, we posted a story about a reviewer completely missing a major game mechanic and instead of piling on and laughing, in the standard electric internet manner, we thought it’d be a good excuse to come clean with our own extensive tales of ineptitude and tiny-mind-dom. We ended up with a request for the good readers of RPS to do likewise. And the good readers of RPS did exactly that in a sprawling 130-post and counting thread.
Man! It’s a miracle RPS has any readers, as evidence suggests it was fairly likely everyone could have killed themselves via recreational plug socket licking.
Since there were so many good stories buried in the thread, we thought it’ll be a good idea to immortalise our ten favourite in some kind of hastily arranged list which we’d hide beneath a cut in a webpost or something. (EDIT: And updated with another one too)
Mein Gott! There’s a list down here.
“Civilisation reminds me, that wonderfully glorious moment when I realised that YOU COULD MOVE DIAGONALLY. Oh Christ I felt stupid.”
“I managed to get through the entirety of the original Doom without knowing you could move faster by holding down the shift key. I only learned this when I played some add-on level (one in the “Final Doom” package, I think) that was literally impossible to pass without it. I finally read a hint file to find out what I needed to do, and it said that you needed to run off a particular ledge in order to clear the lava below. Not knowing what it meant by “run”, I proceeded to repeatedly walk off that ledge and into the lava, wondering what I was doing wrong.”
8 ) darkrippers:
“I played most of the CoD4 singleplayer without grenades because I was too lazy to bind the 4 and g keys to mouse buttons.”
[Which, as far as stupid things to do go, has the charm of being a self-made one. And we can all understand laziness.]
“The biggest moment I can think of is a horrible yet hilarious little bug that was found on an old Premier Manager game for the Amiga. I attempted to give Paul Gasgoine a payrise, as I thought he had been doing quite well for the club. Unfortunately my club did not have enough money to support one, so clicking the option told me that I wouldn’t be able to. I then proceeded to come off this payrise menu only to be informed that Gasgoine was not prepared to come from this interview without a payrise. I was left stuck on a screen about giving a washed-up football player a payrise I couldn’t afford and he couldn’t live without.
For an eight year old, that’s quite a bewildering experience.”
[It’s stupid developers more than stupid gamers, but we like the idea of eight-year olds being bewildered. Serves them right, with the rest of their life ahead of them and stuff.]
“Here’s a very recent regret since I just learned about this highly useful World of Warcraft fact today. Over the holidays, I got a 10-day-invite pass from one of my old guildmates to play WoW again, now improved with the Burning Crusade expansion and a faster leveling speed. I really wanted to check out the new BC content for higher levels, but I had stopped playing my main character at level 47. I knew that to enter the Dark Portal (which takes you to the higher level content in BC), you need to be level 58. So I spent a good chunk of my holiday break furiously powerleveling to gain 11 levels before my 10 day preview was up so I could see some of the new content. Today, I finally reached level 57 and was chatting with guildmates about how I’d be able to accomplish my goal with some time to spare. They did the obligatory round of “grats!”, but a mage also quickly remarked that they have a new portal spell that allows them to send anyone (even a level 1 character) directly to the capital city in the heart of the new BC content area. Long story short, I managed to burn myself out on WoW again in record time and haven’t log on since…”
5) Frans Coehoorn:
“I always thought the friendly EVA lady said “Silence needed” in the original Command & Conquer. I thought: what kind of cynical joke is that? Are the NOD soldiers screaming too loud when you kill them?! Turned it she said “Silo’s needed”. It all made sense to me eventually…”
[Which reminds RPS of playing Kohan II, where I thought my female character was saying “I Feel Nothing”, in her strained mock-medieval tones, reminding me of a perpetually unsatisfied housewife whose husband has a subnormal member. It was only near the close of the game that I realised she was actually saying the somewhat-more-relevant “I Fear Nothing”.]
“Duke Nukem 3D, didn’t know about the mirrors spent a good 5-10 minutes trying to shoot my reflection as i kept diving for cover when it shot back at me in the toilets of the cinema of the demo. DOH!”
“I’ve just read all the comments and don’t think I can equal any of the finer tales on offer here. That said, the first PC game I really played was Civilization, on my Dad’s 286. For some reason we could only play it with the keyboard, I didn’t know any of the commands, and the manual was a bit heavyweight for a seven year-old. So lots of fun ensued with attempting to figure out the game by using what I knew (rather than trying different keys). Memorable examples including not being able to change city build orders, resulting in a single city civilization defended by countless militia units, and not knowing that there was a sentry or skip turn button, resulting in a hefty army of knights being moved into and out of my capital every turn to use up their move points.”
“Bruce Lee (zx) – I was four. I had little to no coordination or reading ability. I played Bruce Lee. I played Bruce Lee a lot. I would beat up the green sumo over and over and over, gaining miraculous highscores (which I would ask my father to read out so I could write it down in biro on my highscore book – a necessity when games didn’t think to save such things). It was even better than Mr Wimpy. Bruce Lee had it all. Punches, kicks, some little shit with a big stick. 3 screens of heart-stopping lantern collecting action. Except – I never realised you were supposed to collect the lanterns- indeed I didn’t realise there were more than 3 screens. I must have played those 3 screens Donkey Kong-style for years before someone blew my mind by dropping through the floor, revealing the rest of the game that had eluded me. Doh.”
“My dad had a PC when I was 10 or so. It had little character mode platform games that you played with 2, 4, 6 and 8, for down, left, right and up. It took me about 3 years to realise that they meant the keys on the keypad, not the ones along the top. I had been wondering who thought that layout made sense…”
Our hearty congratulations to Winston, who may – if he so desires – officially use the title of ROCK PAPER SHOTGUN’S MOST STUPID READER (WHEN HE WAS 10).
(Walker maintains firm grip on the title of RPS’ stupidest writer (When He Was 10))
Oh – and before we go, a professional entry from Dinger…
“I’ve done tons of stupid things in my time, many of them unintentionally. But my glory days of gaming stupidity happened many years ago, when I was very young. I had a job, if you could call it that, at an independent software testing house, back when such things existed. Basically, this was before the internet and minions of unpaid volunteers and all that nonsense. So it usually worked that the game mills would dump on us the crap that their in-house team was sick of. Sometimes, we’d get SimCity, but for every Maxis port, DataEast had 30.
Again,this is before the internet, so once the thing was sent to the duplicators, that was it. And some companies found it made sense to master the disk that we had tested from in-house, and this would occasionally happen without us on the floor being made aware of it (so if you collectors find a 68k port of OutRun with a high score list that is rather vulgar and homoerotic/homophobic, I can certify that it is a first pressing).
One company that didn’t master the test disk was developing a jet fighter game for the PC (actually a port of their Jet Fighter game for the Amiga released through EA, as far as I could tell, but nobody seemed to care), and I was the tester assigned to it. These guys wre ‘fiscfally aggressive’, demanding that we only spend so many hours on each build. Long story short, each mission began with this zoom that the first time it happened, it looked really cool. You started out in space, and the camera zoomed all the way until you were sitting on a carrier or a runway, ready to go.Well, they started getting really worried about hours at the end of testing. So, what that emant was that, with each build, I’d go in and verify existing bugs before searching for new ones. And the existing bugs took most of the time to confirm. In all this, I was helped by a shortcut: hitting ESC would skip by that zoom sequence.So, sure enough, they shipped and at some point, a crash bug had gotten into the zoom. So unless you knew the shortcut -which nobody did, having not played the game -, the game would lock up the PC every time, before you even got to start the engines.It’s the opposite stupidity of what you’re looking for I suppose: how knowing a shortcut ruined the game for many.”
EDIT: And in a late entry, here’s one which won’t leave a dry eye in the house. Poor Leeks…
“When I was in that 6-8 range, my dad got me Mechwarrior 2 for christmas, because it was one of the only games that had a release that would run on my Mom’s PowerMac 7500. I started playing it one night when she was out with friends, and, as 6-8 year olds often do, I got tired of it and decided to go off and do something else. When you tried to quit that game, though, a prompt would come up saying “Admit cowardice?” with “yes” and “no” options appearing underneath. Even with my impressive 6-8 year old vocabulary (mostly due to compulsive reading of The Hobbit), I didn’t really know what “cowardice” meant. And, being somewhat obsessive-compulsive/paranoid, I quickly began worrying that clicking “yes” would cause my mother’s computer to burst into a fireball, for some reason that made perfect sense to me then. And I knew that she had to use it for school, and she would be upset at me if I made her computer explode.
So I sat there, tears in my eyes, playing Mechwarrior 2 for three more hours, because I was afraid it would get mad at me and destroy my mom’s work if I quit. When she came home, she asked me why I was crying while playing a videogame about blowing things up, she thought I loved blowing things up. I explained the computer’s dire threats to her, and she laughed so hard I think she spit on me a little bit. She explained to me that “cowardice” derived from the word “coward,” and then I understood.
So that was the first (but by no means the last) time I cried while playing a videogame, and also how I learned about suffix use.”