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.”

.

99 Comments »

  1. Seniath says:

    On the topic of Skynet, during revision for my Professional Development exam, we had to look at the ‘Grand Challenges in Computing’ set by some boffins in the US. One of the listed ones, ‘Conquer System Complexity’, is investigation the creation of systems “…that can autonomously adapt, maintain, repair, and heal themselves.”.

    I’m rather worried about what they’re cooking up over there…

  2. Richard says:

    “It a little cross media but Ellison’s AM, from ‘I have no mouth..’ fame has got to beat SHODAN”

    Nah. AM’s too damn whiny. And the version from the computer game gets its silicon ass handed to it in every chapter, whereas SHODAN loses at most once a game.

  3. Phil says:

    @Richard

    Too Whiny? That’s why he’s so damn terrifying. Living inside the consciousness of a hate fuelled super computer is one thing – living inside the consciousness of a hate fuelled super computer with the motivations of a psychotic five year old is something else entirely.

    Also, SHODAN’s getting fat. There, I’ve said it.

  4. Richard says:

    “living inside the consciousness of a hate fuelled super computer with the motivations of a psychotic five year old is something else entirely.”

    True enough, but the only reason AM’s in power is that he’s got a big stick. SHODAN would wrap him round one digital finger with the power of her advanced mind, and spank him like Benny on Christmas morning.

    Then she’d play Minesweeper on him for eternity.

  5. Phil says:

    @Richard

    I have no idea how to visualise one super intelligent free form AI construct spanking another like Benny Hill on Christmas morning, but I’m willing to bet they’ll be a forum devoted to it somewhere in Japan.

    That said, if SHODAN can’t keep her own children in order, to the extent of them launching a full scale and largely successful war against her, I can’t see her keeping AM distracted for longer than a tea break.

  6. Optimaximal says:

    In all fairness, the Skynet program was started 15 years before The Terminator was released :)

  7. Lu-Tze says:

    The merged entity of the Tessier-Ashpool’s Wintermute and Neuromancer is the most potent AI. Clearly.

  8. Richard says:

    That said, if SHODAN can’t keep her own children in order, to the extent of them launching a full scale and largely successful war against her, I can’t see her keeping AM distracted for longer than a tea break.

    Pfft. AM couldn’t keep five squishy humans under control in an underground torture chamber/psychodramas of its own devising. And of course, in the game version, he’s being torn apart by his own fractured personality, regardless of what the prisoners get up to around him.

    SHODAN knows who she is. God.

  9. Kieron Gillen says:

    I wonder if we should bring Culture AIs into this. I dare say the Grey Area could fuck some shit up…

    KG

  10. Pidesco says:

    All these awesome tales of idiocy make me feel guilty I don’t have any immensely stupid gaming moments. Really, I don’t!

    The stupidest thing I can remember was, when I was like 10 or 11, trying and succeeding to insert a pen inside my first PC’s floppy drive. I managed to break it, and when my parents asked me, accusingly, why the drive was kaput I gave them the naive saint schtick. Thinking about it, they never found out what really happened. Unfortunately this doesn’t really qualify as gaming stupidity, so I’ll go back to feeling inadequate.

  11. Richard says:

    Ah, yes, good old Meatf***er. Although that would probably work better on the squishies than fellow AIs, unless they were silly enough to let someone fit a neural lace into their main processor.

    I’d bring in the Xenophage as the muscle though. Not as smart, but if it wins, the loser has to face the extra humiliation of their new master being a cuddly toy that likes hugging people and organising orgies between blowing up planets.

  12. Phil says:

    @Richard

    It should be remembered SHODAN was beaten by someone who, if memory serves, thought it would be a viable tactical decision to drag a basket ball through a majority of their second encounter.

    @ Kieron

    Hippies are never scary, even armed with knife missiles.

  13. Richard says:

    It should be remembered SHODAN was beaten by someone who, if memory serves, thought it would be a viable tactical decision to drag a basket ball through a majority of their second encounter.

    Pah! She wasn’t beaten. As the ending clearly shows, she simply re-re-reevaluated her priorities and drew the ending to a new conclusion.

  14. Phil says:

    “Pah! She wasn’t beaten. As the ending clearly shows, she simply re-re-reevaluated her priorities and drew the ending to a new conclusion.”

    Her priority was to reject the chance to remake creation in her own image in favour of marooning herself in deep space with a man called Tommy? Her subtlety knows no bounds…

  15. Tim says:

    This makes me think of something that happened in TF2 the other day. I got shifted to the other team for balance and didn’t notice. I spent a few minutes valiantly attacking my own team mates, constantly ducking in and out of cover. I thought I was doing great at avoiding their fire.

  16. Richard says:

    Her priority was to reject the chance to remake creation in her own image in favour of marooning herself in deep space with a man called Tommy? Her subtlety knows no bounds…

    How can you hope to understand the endless machinations in her silicon brain? If SHODAN does something that makes no sense, clearly the weakness is yours….

  17. Richard says:

    (For example, she’s not marooned. She’s heading back to the Von Braun in a new body, with nothing to get in her way except an exhausted marine who thinks he’s in charge. As soon as she takes care of him, she can get right back to Project The Universe, C’est Moi)

  18. Lennigan 'Flipper' McNulty says:

    I always thought that Meatfucker’s real name was Grey Matter, not Grey Area. My memory is faulty and my Punisher is misnamed.

    Most of my EVE ships are named after Culture ships. I wish that I had enough characters to do “GSV Anticipation of a Lover’s Arrival, The” and “GSV Something of a Gravitas Shortfall”. Calling a ship “GCU Killing Time” will just be asking for trouble.

  19. drunkymonkey says:

    Minerva doesn’t even need sound! That’s how hard she is!

  20. Shanucore says:

    Heh, my main PC is called GreyArea, my laptop is Meatfucker, and my backup PC is called NotInventedHere, and, breaking the trend, the filedump P2 is called GypsyPunk.

    *wants more computers just to name them*

  21. phuzz says:

    Minerva ftw
    that is all.

  22. Frans Coehoorn says:

    Arf, that post was my third or fourth post on RPS *ever* and I already made an honourable mention – in the Stupidest Gamer list! Is this good or bad? ;-)

  23. Pace says:

    Well, I’m a little worried about our champion, Winston. Unless I missed it, he hasn’t come forth to claim his new title yet. Hopefully his victory hasn’t caused him to crawl under his bed and curl up in a fetal position?

  24. Winston says:

    Victory is mine!

    My girlfriend asks that I point out that I went on to get a degree from Cambridge, thus proving that intelligence and common sense are mutually exclusive.

  25. Masked Dave says:

    HK-47 counts as an AI, right? My money’s on him.

  26. Raptornas says:

    All this talk about an AI fight is pointless, everyone knows HAL 9000 would destroy all. He was going nuts and killing all humans before it was cool.

  27. Tom says:

    Banks’ Minds ftw! Plus they have a sense of humour – says it all surely?!
    The moment I stepped in to Eve I immediately started pillaging his names: my Wolf’s called So Much For Subtlety. Seams fitting since all it ever does is blow up.

  28. Tom says:

    god damned italics

  29. mister slim says:

    I don’t know if I’d bet on Mycroft alone, he lacks the necessary killer instinct. But with his allied AIs Athene, Minerva, Dora, and Gay Deceiver it would be a cakewalk. And Mike predates HAL by two years.

  30. Goldstein says:

    If SHODAN is so perfect how come her pronunciation is so poor?

  31. Alex 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.’

    Right. And since I posted on the other dumb moments thread that I was stuck on that one, I’d better post here that now I done it cos I is good. Still a PITA though :)

    Oh yah, Helios > SHODAN. I mean SHODAN is the ultimate computer baddie’n'all, I’ll give you that, but she wasn’t too too clever all in all. Besides, who would you rather want to go to a party with? Helios would be *much* better at chatting up the lasses (in a way that cannily suggests they should actually go to bed with the pale, fat man standing on his own in the corner going ‘gief beer tbh’ and then chuckling).

  32. Garth says:

    Mine is from game testing, and fairly recent.

    I was a focus tester for Radical on Scarface. There was a mission where you had to drive a Bank truck from A to B.

    Well, I managed to go so far off course the lead designer of the game came over to watch me play. It took me about 20-30 minutes to do, but I did finally beat it (although barely.)

    After trying to figure out why I had taken that route (I saw less cops, and figured a slightly longer, safer route was a better one) he informed me the whole part should have taken me 4 minutes. Oops.

  33. Obdicut says:

    No, no. The best AI ever is Durandal. He lives until the end of the universe. I don’t think that’s a very beatable record.

    Plus, he had style, panache, finesse.

  34. Jahkaivah says:

    Worth pointing out the possiblility that Glados isn’t an AI, her name “Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System” suggest an organic origin, also the presentation found in in near the end says “arguably alive”, when we find her “form” its humanoid shaped and arguable of similar form of the creature sketch on the clipboard found the one of the offices with the word “failed” on.

    Or in all, I don’t care what she is, along as she reappears in Episode 3, which, given that her name is found the the Borealis blueprints (and her popularity), is likely.

  35. Lorc says:

    >He lives until the end of the universe. I don’t think that’s a very beatable record.

    Multivac begs to differ, and has seniority over most of these uppity young contenders to boot.

  36. matte_k says:

    Deep Thought from “Hitchiker’s” anyone? Or does that not count?

    Leek’s comment reminded me of using an RM Nimbus from my sister’s school during holidays when i was about 8 or so, and in a small tussle with friends hit the zoom function on a paint program. When we looked at the screen, the message said “please wait while i explode…” and we all dived for cover on the other side of the room. Three minutes later one of us thought it might be a good idea to see if it was still trying to explode…

  37. danny says:

    I have to say, I love the AI-off in the comments. I hope KG writes one.

    SHODAN for the win.

  38. vic says:

    This is my stupid. KOTOR was the first RPG I ever played and I quite enjoyed having the party to rely on in fights. So much so that I developed my character in the game by maxing out intelligence and charisma and security skills so I could loot every box and charm every NPC in the game and then give all the sweet loot to my party who I turned into hardcore killers to do the fighting for me – a scoundrels path for sure. Towards the end of the game I was still a bit of a weakling but my party was the best of the best, pimped out with strength, dexterity, the best weapons and implants. Then the final scene arrives and I get separated from my party and I have to fight the boss alone. WTF! I’m standing there like Woody Allen vs Dolph Lundgren. My hits missed most of the time and if they hit they did next to no damage anyway – it took hours and hours of run away run away combat to bring that bastard down. I later found peeps complaining that the boss was too easy cause they defeated him in 30 secs. Still a great game though.

  39. Alex says:

    I’m standing there like Woody Allen vs Dolph Lundgren. My hits missed most of the time and if they hit they did next to no damage anyway – it took hours and hours of run away run away combat to bring that bastard down.

    That’s classic, nice.

  40. Sarah says:

    I knew someone who’s mother thought that a game that said “Yes my lord!” Said “Suck my balls!” It was some RTS game. She was like “Why are you playing something like that!”

    While I’ve had many stupid gamer moments, I’ve narrowed it down the best two that I can remember. My memory sucks.

    I once ran around in Assassin’s Creed for hours. The map said that the location I was supposed to be in was in front of me, through a “portal” type wall/loading point. When I went through it, it said it was on the other side. So there I went, walking through a loading point for a few hours. Than I realized that it was on top of the mountain right beside me (It only looked like it was in front of me). I’ve done that numerous times.

    I didn’t know you could run in DOOM3. I ran into a row of steam jets that killed me, and kept thinking, ‘How do they expect me to beat this?’ I already had low health, otherwise I might have lived. Than somehow I finally figured out that pushing down on one of the sticks made you run. (I was playing on an Xbox. I’m think that’s how you run in it).

    Oh, and I never knew that there was a way to move/rotate things in Oblivion. Why have I wasted all that time intricately placing books in shelves only to place the last one and send them all flying out at me?

  41. RCG Tiburon says:

    When I was 11 or 12 I had Madden 2000 for the PC, and I ended up getting Madden 2001 and 2002 a year or two after release as well. Took me a solid year and a half to figure out you could only kick a field goal and punt from the “Special Teams” formation – that’s a year and a half of 2-pt conversions and constant 4th and long. Never surrender :)