Is RPS Gaming’s Stupidest Website?

By Kieron Gillen on January 7th, 2008 at 11:58 pm.

All signs point to Yes.

I felt particularly stupid running around TF2 levels, trying to get a shot of the heavy doing a taunt while getting shot. So I like to think that as method blogging.

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.

10) Lu-Tze:

“Civilisation reminds me, that wonderfully glorious moment when I realised that YOU COULD MOVE DIAGONALLY. Oh Christ I felt stupid.”

9) baf:

“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.]

7) drunkymonkey:

“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.]

6) Zoetrope:

“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".]

4) AbyssUK:

“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!”

3) Shanucore:

“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.”

2) Terry:

“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.”

1) Winston:

“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.”

Videogames, eh?

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.”

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99 Comments »

  1. Andrew says:

    That comment thread is indeed supremely entertaining.

    But there seems to be yet more stuff of Kieron becoming SHOD… I mean, RPS. That Kohan 2 anecdote… you’re not fooling anyone by speaking in a collective third-person, Gillen.

  2. Kieron Gillen says:

    L-l-l-look at you, reader. A p–pa-pathetic creature of meat and bone, panting and sweating as you ru-run through my comments-threads. How can you challenge a perfect, immortal blogger?

    KG

  3. Andrew says:

    Fuck, all we need is John Walker as Xerxes now and we’ll really be in trouble. :(

  4. Seniath says:

    Isn’t there a law, or commandment or something about false idols? As if you, a lowly mortal, could replace my godess.

  5. Leeks! says:

    Is it just some kind of latent Whedonism that made you pick a girl robot to inevitably transform into, Kieron, or is it something deeper and more sinister?

  6. Kieron Gillen says:

    You saying that, given the choice, you’d be someone other than SHODAN?

    KG

  7. Lacero says:

    Helios could take down SHODAN any day.

  8. Grant Gould says:

    And Durandal could take them both, even on his worst day.

  9. Kieron Gillen says:

    One day I’m going to do an AI-off article.

    KG

  10. WCAYPAHWAT says:

    Shodan was not a triumph. She was not in fact, a huge success.

  11. Janek says:

    But would Helios be COOL?

  12. Leeks! says:

    Touche.

  13. Cargo Cult says:

    Portal.

    It took me fifteen minutes or more of being stuck on one puzzle to figure out I could pick up cubes with the ‘use’ key – previously I’d been ever-so-laboriously pushing ‘em around with my feet.

    Fortunately, nobody ever found out about my idiocy – apart from the entire Portal development team, quietly, patiently sitting around their office, watching my (lack of) progress on a big screen, almost pulling their hair out.

    Go me.

  14. Simon says:

    How is that going to be distinguisable from a piece of SHODAN- GLaDOS slash fiction?

  15. Chris R says:

    GLaDOS is greater than [insert rival AI here] and will kick [insert rival AI's fanboi's here] all over the map.

    :)

  16. Richard says:

    “Shodan was not a triumph. She was not in fact, a huge success.”

    Ahem.

    “It’s clear SHODAN can’t be allowed to play God. She’s too good at it.”

  17. WCAYPAHWAT says:

    Playing god? She created……worms?

  18. Richard says:

    Psionic, megalomaniac worms capable of taking over humanity’s biggest bestest starship in the whole world ever! If you please…

  19. WCAYPAHWAT says:

    Point taken, good sir…. Damn you journos!

  20. Richard says:

    Here is a can of petrol and a bottle of matches. Please burn yourself horribly, heathen heretic person. And don’t mock my One True Love again.

  21. Richard says:

    A bottle? Yes. I totally meant that.

  22. StolenName says:

    My now stupidest moment, having to use Wiki to determine that:

    SHODAN (Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network) is a fictional artificial intelligence and the main antagonist of the cyberpunk first-person shooter/role-playing games System Shock and System Shock 2. She is voiced by game writer and designer Terri Brosius.

    Don’t hit me! Please, I’m innocent. I was a Mac user till 2003 :)

  23. Thelps says:

    SHODAN beats all. She’s just hot, and no stock Intel cooling fan could ever stop her melting my heart.

    Love tha SHODAN.

  24. The_B says:

    AI FIGGGHHHT!

    Is that even possible?

  25. Lunaran says:

    Fortunately, nobody ever found out about my idiocy – apart from the entire Portal development team, quietly, patiently sitting around their office, watching my (lack of) progress on a big screen, almost pulling their hair out.

    Serves you right for that crate-plug-knocking-out puzzle in Metastasis.

  26. WCAYPAHWAT says:

    I have a bad, bad feeling about where this comment thread is heading….. I fear we shall need more than one bottle of matches =)

  27. Will says:

    Leeks for Winner! FOR PRESIDENT!:

    —————————-

    “Leeks! says:

    I’m a little late to the party, but what the hey–

    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.”

  28. Ging says:

    AI FIGGGHHHT!

    Is that even possible?

    Yes, but it means we all die in a nuclear holocaust, so perhaps we should hold off on that and just let KG write an article instead.

  29. Lh'owon says:

    Durandal would clearly win. Clearly.

  30. Chis says:

    > How can you challenge a perfect, immortal blogger?

    Fear my Cream records! Bwahaha!

    Bloody hell, I just can’t imagine playing through Doom without autorun. Especially as I only play Doom with the -fast monsters option…

  31. Lucky says:

    “SHODAN- GLaDOS slash fiction”

    Had someone just looked at me, he or she could’ve seen the very definition of horror in my eyes.

  32. Masked Dave says:

    I just remembered mine. It’s not a huge one, but when playing Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker I never bothering hitting that old guy 100 times with my sword. So I never learnt, or even knew about, the extra sword move that you needed to defeat those heavily armoured dudes.

    I would have to go to huge lengths to do it, including planting bombs then having them chase me over them so they’d be behind them and hit the weak spot, and all sort of craziness. I couldn’t believe it when you’d get rooms with three of them in. THREE! It was impossible to ever get behind them!

    I only realised when having to look at a walkthrough for the final Ganandorf fight since I just couldn’t hurt him at all. Still. I managed it. Hoorah!

  33. AbyssUK says:

    4th.. hmm do I move up a spot if I admit that I did the same god damned thing in real life!!. One birthday I did the laser quest thing and ended shooting myself in the mirror and then in the second game just 10 minutes later actually ran full speed into same god damned mirror!! and while on the floor in pain nobody bothered to help, all people would do is run up, point, laugh and then shoot me in the back… I love the people of Hull I really do…

    p.s. I just realised i might have a problem with mirrors…

  34. Lacero says:

    Ging:
    “Yes, but it means we all die in a nuclear holocaust, so perhaps we should hold off on that and just let KG write an article instead.”

    Of course we won’t, Helios will protect us. He is a perfect immortal machine, unlike shodan whose failings are all too human.

  35. Philip says:

    One of my first console memories is trying to play Super Monaco Grand Prix on the SEGA Megadrive/Genesis. Unfortunately, as a 6/7 year old, I wasn’t very good at it. I remember driving at Imola, which used to start with a pretty long sweeping set of easy, flat-out corners, followed by a hairpin.

    I’d worked out the concept of gears. My problem was, if I shifted up to top gear, I’d always crash on the hairpin. My solution to this was to stay in 2nd/3rd gear all the way up the straight, take the hairpin and then shift up to top gear. Later my Dad explained to me the concept of brakes…

    Then there was that bit in Carnival Zone in Sonic 3 that seemed to perplex a large number of people. You were locked into a room with one of the spinning cylinders, found throughout the zone, which you could bounce up and down to gain height. However, this being a Sonic game, I wasn’t really expecting a puzzle – even a really simple one – and spent about 6 months working out you had to bounce the cylinder up and get underneath it. I eventually only worked it out by buying a walkthrough book. And then had to lend it to a friend who was having exactly the same problem…

  36. Piratepete says:

    what makes me laugh is all the “when I was 6-7 i was playing Mechwarrior 2/Super Mpnaco Grand Prix”

    When I was 6-7 I had the option of scramble on the ZX81 or similar. Guess it makes me a sad old man trying to keep up with the kids. *Sigh*

  37. Zephyrtron says:

    God! Bruce Lee! What memories, most specifically the awesomely rewarding final ‘laser floor’ sequence. Phewee, I just had a nostalgic epiphany.

  38. Junior says:

    I’m backing GLaDOS in this one. For one thing, Chell killed her, and she’s still alive. And she is very very persistent, how long has she been training her test subjects in there?

    Finally, she is smart enough to know that you don’t have to try and take over the world, if you work long enough, you can make someone else who can do it for you. And unlike Shodan, she can survive the inevitable rebellion from them.

    So her only weakness is the pain she feels each time you break her heart, tear her into pieces and burn her.

    And cake.

  39. Piratepete says:

    My vote goes to Glados too I’m afraid

  40. Leeks! says:

    Thanks, Will. You’ve validated my pain.

  41. Nallen says:

    What makes 8 even more amusing is that throw grenade is bound to middle mouse by default…

  42. Shanucore says:

    Woo, I made the list! I’m plenty stupid!

    Personally I figure RPS readers are best characterised by the Many: “What is a drop of rain, compared to the storm? What is a thought, compared to a mind? Our unity is full of wonder, which your tiny individualism cannot even conceive.”

  43. I_still_love_Okami says:

    You can all stop your juvenile “My AI can kick your AI’s ass” fights. Because the bestest AI ever is surely Mycroft and none of your upstart little girly AIs could ever get the better of him, he’d just drop rocks on them. TANSTAAFL!

  44. LaKriz says:

    Later my Dad explained to me the concept of brakes…

    LOL! That could have been me… ^^

  45. malkav11 says:

    Bah, having been a Mac user is no excuse for not knowing about SHODAN. System Shock was ported to the Mac ages ago. (Sequel, not so much. But SHODAN was first seen in the original.)

  46. Kast says:

    If I must, GLaDOS through pure hilarity. But preferably I’d go hide in Minerva’s satellite.

  47. Phil says:

    It a little cross media but Ellison’s AM, from ‘I have no mouth..’ fame has got to beat SHODAN, Helios even the Master Control Programme to the scary, omniscient, utter, utter psycho award.

  48. Phil says:

    “It’s” rather – sorry for the error, I was having a Nimdok related flash back.

  49. AbyssUK says:

    Also the battle of the AI’s has been won already by, Skynet as its the only real one.

  50. Phil says:

    @AbyssUK

    Good to see someone in the MOD has a sense of humour. Or something.