Not being able to pause in cutscenes really annoy me. Life interrupts and I don't want to have to rewatch cutscenes all the time. There are a few games that allow you to pause mid converstion/cutscene, I wan't all games to have this.
My biggest gripe is un-rebindable keys. Even supposedly PC-centric games like The Witcher did it. As a lefty who uses the cursor keys and other keys on the right side of the keyboard it drives me crazy when for no logical reason you can't use them. The latest culprit is Sleeping Dogs which won't let you bind the cursor keys and other main keys like enter because it uses them for the in-game phone. Madness. I've not bought the game specifically because of this. I held off on buying Dead Space until someone had worked out how to hack the keybinding config file to allow use of the cursor keys and enter.
The thing is once you have a key binding system for the most part all the keys should work anyway. There are a few special keys that need additional programming support to access, but the majority of the keyboard should be usable with out any problems. So developers have to go out of their way to specifically lock off those keys. It's more effort than letting you bind any key!
Unskippable logos and intro movies also annoy me. There's no reason not to make them skippable after the first time you've viewed them, and preferably there should be an option to disable them altogether.
Another gripe is excessive consolisation of the controls and user interface. Crysis 2 got off to a very bad beginning by having a 'Press Start to begin' message when you booted it out. Even if you didn't have a controller plugged in. I don't know about you, but my keyboard doesn't have a 'Start' button.
I suppose the infuriating advent of every fucking game being multiplayer driven is partly the fault of cyberspace being almost entirely peopled with assholes, so you can't hang that entirely on developers. (Unless you want to hang the fact that they don't recognize that cyberspace is almost entirely peopled with assholes.)
But I think there's two things that I find really annoying in game design.
The first one would be fake difficulty. Where the "challenge" is ramped up in rather cheesy ways. In modern gaming, this often takes the form of Quick Time Events where one must have the reflexes of a coked-up hummingbird or an average korean starcraft player to pass them without dying.
The other would be a game where the dev team blows all their good ideas in the first two or three areas. Leaving the latter parts of the game to be a rehash of those early levels at higher difficulty or often just battles of attrition because they can't think of anything else. This tended to be a problem with older games, but modern games tend to do it as well. Like in Devil May Cry 4 where you when you reach the mid point of the game you go through the levels backwards, fighting the same bosses. Or in Binding of Issac where bosses are constantly reused and recycled. Also the ultimate boss is simply a reskin of the penultimate boss with a slight bump in difficulty. (But the real difficulty comes from getting softened up by his level, which is almost like a boss rush. See Fake Difficulty, Above)
What I will not learn to live with is when a game, when told to quit to the main menu, quits to the 'Press Enter' screen instead. Lookin' at you, Quantum Conundrum. Rayman. Just let me quit the game from the pause menu instead. And don't you DARE disable Alt-F4. I will open task manager and manually kill the process just out of spite if you take that away.
Actual question, but why do we have those Press Start screens? I presume at some point in the past it was used to cover up loading or something, but I guess that doesn't really apply today. Why is it such a big issue to show the title screen while loading menu assets and then going straight to the menu?
EDIT: Okay I bothered to Google it and it turns out that they did have some valid reason in the NES days for having a simple "safe" screen always resident in memory for the user to interact with, but I still can't find any decent reason for why they're still around.
In consoleland: because (these days) due to patches and the like, you might put down the controller before you go do anything. Also, it is increasingly common for games with one (story) mode to automatically load your previous save when the game starts, so that avoids having Cole get sodomized before you are ready.
In PC-land: Most of those games are cross-platform, and this provides one fewer difference to deal with.
If you want me on either service, I suggest PMing me here first to let me know who you are.
Further Googling suggests that on the 360 it's used to identify controllers, so maybe it does have a valid reason after all.
It's also the screen the games go back to when you change profiles. Different profiles = different saves.
Honestly, I hate it when the narrative of a game has the chance to either go in a bold direction or say something interesting about its subject matter, but instead falls back on a very familiar trope and washes its' hands of any opinion.
This is a gripe I have for 30 years - Stop making crappy endings. Seriously.
I invested so much time in the game you designed and I think I deserve to get a little more than a simple congratulation! or asking me to press a button to pick an ending, in a linear game, instead of making one big and impressive conclusion. The ending scene (or at least the final moments of the game) is something that can actually ruin a good game by leaving a foul aftertaste.
That kind of goes back to the game with no choice tricking you, and that door you forgot to check half way through the game means you loose. Or the game with choice that tricks you into thinking you can beat the boss, and really it's suppose to be a loosing battle that cuts to a cut scene.
If I alt-tab out of a game I expect the game sounds to stop and the window to be minimized (I usually play full screen, for windowed mode this is not necessary). I do not wish to listen to the music, no matter how fine it is, during a skype call, or if I'm checking something on youtube, or whatever.
Also, as above, every esc menu should have "Quit to Main Menu" and "Quit to Desktop" options. Everything else is just retarded.