Mashing a Button or two is . . .
. . . a bit shite really isn't it?
It's something that's patently obvious but is often unsaid, perhaps taken unread as part an parcel of "press X not to die" mocking of what we know and loathe as "quick time events." As such this gameplay mechanic has perhaps escaped from the vitriol it truly deserves. Since it's introduction as an alternate two button mashing variant in Daley Thompson's Decathlon* it has subsequently been dumbed down for the modern audience to the mashing of a single button** and features in a wide variety of games.
The question is, why the fuck is that?
Seriously, is there anyone out there that finds repeatedly hitting a single button for an arbitrary amount of time in the least bit fun? Raise your hand now. Nope? Thought not.
So I repeat, why is it there?
Not to mention the abuse the poor keyboard suffers as a result (usually the space bar, poor lad). At least it makes it easier button mashing with a controller is a nightmare for the underdeveloped thumb of the PC gamer*** leaving them having to put down the controller and manically stab at the button with their forefinger, somehow contriving to make themselves look even stupider than they would waggling a Wii remote. If nothing devs should shy away from it on the basis that this sort of thing might just turn away the older audience who are more prone to self examination and thoughts like "why, as a grown man, am I doing something which makes me look like a hyperactive toddler throwing a tantrum?"
Nothing could be more distracting from the lovely animation somebody has oh so lovingly worked on than having to focus on a monster mash**** session. Seriously, if you have to do it I'd far rather press buttons in a sequence or if sequences are going to be deemed too complex have hitting the button at a steady pace be the marker for success. It'd still not be fun but at least it would be less not fun. Heck, even the Daley Thompson thing would be preferable in that it at least has some semblance of skill.
Plus there's the fact that most developers seem to set a required pace from these events at random from a dartboard containing the options "fairly fast," "too fast," ""faster, faster" as the Beach Boys once sang" and "the finger tapping equivalent of Usain Bolt." They can't be solely to blame of course, whoever had the misfortune to test the sequence can't, as I'm fairly sure has been established, be having fun so the only possibly reason the damn thing stays in the game must be that people running quality assurance are so bitter about their jobs that being able to inflict a heap of shit upon the average gamer is one of the few sources of joy in their day.*****
In short, single button mashing is a rubbish mechanic that is dull, unimaginative, frustrating and above all not fun and should be consigned to gaming's scrapheap.****** Much like 80's joystick's after the Daley Thompson game!
*This may not actually be accurate
** Or the waggling of a Wii remote, but at least that sometimes bears a vague resemblance to what the character is doing.
***Yes, yes, it's just me I'm shit at games, carry on.
****It was a graveyard smash. Sorry.
*****Disclaimer: I have no idea of the actual mechanics of testing games but considering that one of my friends who once did it got bored of playing a popular footie game that he was a big fan of I'd imagine testers look pretty miserable all of the time so whoever collects their feedback probably assumes they're overstating their complaints!
******I'd propose a boycott but then I wouldn't have been able to play the Walking Dead and that would have been a shame. At least it's mashing sections were mercifully brief and easy. Still shit though.