A Life In PC Gaming: My Shame

I have, at least, never broken a monitor

I’ve been playing games on computers for the vast bulk of my life. From BBC Micro to Spectrum to 486 to assorted Athlons to the quad-cored radiator I used today, I’ve rarely been far from a keyboard. I have seen much, I have played much, I have learned much. But learning so often comes from failure. There have been many, many failures: these are but a few.

  • I spent what was then my life savings on a Voodoo 2 card – my first ever 3D card – specifically to play Half-Life. Excitedly fitting the card and installing the game, I was depressed by how poorly it performed, how the game would only run in software mode, and how any sequences that involved swimming were impossible because the entire screen turned flat, soup-thick grey. I should have bought an ATI Rage, I thought. I didn’t play many games for a while, because they either didn’t run or looked hideous. PC gaming wasn’t me for me, I decided – too expensive, too inconsistent, too mysterious. It was a full year before, when opening up my PC to fit a new hard drive, I realised the Voodoo was only resting lightly on the edge of its slot. A little gentle finger pressure later, a whole new world awaited.
  • Having breezed my way through Quake 1 on easy with only a few hundred deaths, I confidently accepted the challenge of an older acquintance to hook our PCs together with a serial cable and engage in dramatic deathmatch. I’d absolutely murder him, I was sure of it – and I told him so. I think I even bet him a Mars Bar or something. Of course, he knew what strafing was. I didn’t. And I was playing on cursor keys with left and right set to slowly turn rather than sidestep. And I wasn’t using a mouse. I believe, to this day, that this was the formative moment that made me primarily a singleplayer gamer, often nervous to the point of terror about stepping onto a server in case that dread childhood humiliation is repeated.
  • A little later, after my Voodoo 2-inspired sabbatical, the release of Aliens vs Predator led to my deciding to build a new PC from scratch. I’d never done this before, but I had upgraded pretty much every common component at some point or another. What could go wrong? Blazing, humiliating rows with the impatient manager of a PC hardware shop in Swansea coloured a full month of my student life, with him stubbornly refusing to refund what I’d paid for a motherboard that clearly did not work. I can’t remember how we worked out that I’d bolted the board directly onto the PC case – no static-blocking separators or washers or the like, just screwed straight onto the bare metal. The first time I turned the new build on, the motherboard and everything attached to it was instantly fried. So I never did get my refund from that angry Welshman. But I did send the motherboard back to its manufacturer, plead ignorance and somehow wangle a replacement.
  • I was convinced Thief was a jolly cartoon PlayStation platformer until around 2001. I have no idea what I was actually thinking of.
  • The first time I played it, I couldn’t complete Doom II without cheating. From the second level onward.
  • I managed to hack some ancient, incredibly basic but undeniably entertaining DOS game about trying to catch fish that fell from the sky with a basket so that the introductory screen declared I had written it. This copy of the game somehow made it all the way over school, most every pupil with access to the computer room spending their lunchtimes playing it. Normally something of an invisible man to my peers, for a short time I was approached with something like reverence. “Did you really make that fish game?” I’d smile smugly and say something like “oh, y’know, piece of piss.” My invisible status returned all too swiftly when another pupil wandered in one day with an elderly boxed retail copy of the Spectrum version of the game in question, whose manual declared a rather different author.
  • As a young boy impatiently wanting to access to my family’s PC so I could play more X-COM, I would occasionally sneak out to the garage and flip the electricity breaker switch to interrupt my mother’s word processing (she was studying for an Open University history course) in the hope she’d give up. “Another power cut?” I’d wonder innocently as she fumed. “This probably wouldn’t happen so much if we didn’t live in the middle of nowhere.”
  • In my initial forays into World of Warcraft – on its original beta – I had no idea whatsoever of MMO lingo. Playing primarly solo as a Night Elf priest, I fought what I believed to be a titanic battle against a pack of gnolls (about three), somehow surviving by a whisker. Another player had wandered up to watch me and my eventual victory, and as I self-adoringly wrote in a magazine preview of my experiences a little later, he uttered “way to go” in awe at my actions. Because I was amazing – he knew it, I knew it and the reading public of PC Format magazine should know it. Of course, what he’d actually said was ‘WTG’ as he’d spotted how cackhandedly I was fighting and thought I needed a hand, but I didn’t know the abbreviation for Want To Group? back then. Thank the lord not too many people were still reading PC magazines by that point.
  • I critically mis-described the Witcher 1 combat controls in a magazine review, which was then used as incontrovertible evidence by a small but very loud and utterly fearsome contingent of outraged Witcher fans as to why my 68% score for the game was because I was an idiot, rather than because I didn’t like it that much. I will, I suspect, never escape that shadow. (It was a lousy review in many other ways, in fairness – I’d been given way too short a deadline for a massive game, and did a horrid rush job. Lesson learned: I always take/ask for more time if I need it now, or pass the game onto someone else if I can’t/aren’t allowed to give it the hours required.) I still shudder.
  • I’ve said this before I know, but I was humiliated in front of my entire history class for drawing dozens crude Dune 2 Ornithopters on my exercise book when the teacher noted my lack of attention and asked me who Churchill was.
  • Believing it to be my likely big break, I sent a reader review of Deus Ex into PC Zone. It was 90% ranting some crazy grievance about ladders I can’t even fully recall now, and said nothing of the game’s achievements. Suffice to say they didn’t publish it, but I live in fear it still exists in someone’s inbox and could be unearthed.
  • I bought the PC version of Street Fighter II.

This is my shame. What is yours?


  1. terry says:

    I bought Brink.

    • Echo Black says:

      I bought DNF.

      I got all achievements for it.

    • valient says:

      yep bink because all my friends where going to buy it and i didn’t want to be left out, i had not interest prior.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      I bought the DNF Collector’s Edition. I hope that if I hide it long enough behind the bookshelf in my living room, I forget I have it.

    • CaughtVD says:

      I bought brink had an issue with it and got instore credit for it back, then used that credit to buy DNF.

    • youthful cynic says:

      I bought Brink and ENJOYED IT

    • Horza says:

      I bought Elementa: War of Magic Collector’s Edition.

      I wish it had been Brink or even DNF.

    • rocketman71 says:

      I believed Splash Damage when they promised Brink would be playable in a LAN offline.

    • MoeGreen says:

      I purchased Brink on release day hoping it would be the next Team Fortress 2. I guess we were all wrong.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      I bought Asheron’s Call 2 (fail), roughly two weeks before Turbine announced its closure and promptly shuttered it (fail), because I wanted to better know the developer of DDO, because I was certain DDO was going to be awesome (fail).

      It was a Fail-fecta.

      [edit] To celebrate that level of fail, I have deliberately posted this in the wrong thread, so the fail is ongoing.

    • Yosharian says:

      I too bought Brink and live in shame because of it.

    • BathroomCitizen says:

      I bought Brink, DNF and Elemental: War of Magic (though no collector’s edition).

      Now, beat that.

    • Chris D says:

      You need to have Stronghold 3 as well for the full set.

    • N1kolas says:

      I bought Space Siege.

      I played it start to finish.

      I still cry myself to sleep sometimes.

    • LintMan says:

      I too bear the shame of purchasing Brink, much to my sorrow.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      I pre-ordered demigod

    • Dr. Shenanigans says:

      A friend of mine asked if I would rather have Deus Ex: HR or DNF for my birthday.

      Guess which one I picked.

    • HilariousCow says:

      doo do do, dee do doo, doot!

    • meatshit says:

      I bought Daikatana.

      About a week after it came out, I saw it on sale for $20 and quickly bought it, knowing nothing about it except that it was made by people with some connection to id. A huge discount on a brand new game should have set off some alarm bells, but it didn’t because I was a dumb teenager.

      That day I learned the importance of reading reviews first and haven’t bought a single game on impulse since.

    • dahiro says:

      wrong response here

    • bjohndooh says:

      I bought Brink, for the Xbox.
      Gamestop might give me a $1.
      This comment thread makes me want to douse it with gasoline and set it on fire instead.

    • Ruffian says:

      Bought into RAGE’s hype and extremely deceptive add campaign, and pre ordered it. Stayed up half the night while it downloaded….It’s safe to say I’ll probably never pre order again. (for those who don’t know it was essentially broken at launch)

    • adam.jutzi says:

      I also bought Street Fighter II on PC, oh the shame. I wanted Mortal Kombat, parents weren’t too keen on that one.

      Edit: and Rage too, maybe one day I’ll be able to play it.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      I preordered Daikatana, brought it home, there was an unidentifiable problem with it which was only slightly corrected by cranking up the gamma correction to maximum and even then I couldn’t see three feet. So I returned it (the soundtrack was plain mp3s, and absolutely the best part of the game, so I kept those files) and got Diablo II with the store credit.

      On second thought, I guess that’s not really a failure.

    • mbourgon says:

      I buy games even though I have absolutely no business doing so. I’ve played and finished dozens (hundreds?) of games, but I can still I can look up and see the BOXED games I’ve bought and stopped about between 20% & 80% of the way in (TOEE, Thief2, Thief3, Psychonauts, Dreamfall, Tomb Raider Anniv, NWN2, Oblivion, some turn-based Warhammer 40k game, Deathspank, Prototype,Deus Ex 1,…), not to mention all the stuff from Steam I bought during a sale and haven’t ever installed (Time Gentlemen Please, STALKER…).

      I _can_ finish games – but it’s like I’d rather have the eternal promise of being able to play more, regardless of whether or not I do, to the satisfaction of having finished something.

      Now Playing: Arkham City. Hopefully I can finish)

    • Alaphic says:

      @mbourgon: Are you me?

  2. skinlo says:

    In CSS I was the last one left, knew I had to disarm the bomb, knew where it was, had time, just didn’t know what the button was. So I panicked and force rebooted the computer.

    • Bokai says:

      Haha, I’ve done the exact same thing! Thought I was the only one.. :)

    • Riotpoll says:

      I did this too!

    • jonfitt says:

      In my first few games of CS (pre-1.6) I hadn’t worked out the buy menu so had no idea that you needed to buy defusing tools.
      I stood as the last person left sadly staring at the bomb waiting for the embarrassment.

    • CLD says:

      Happened to me too. I asked on the chat which button i have to use. Everyone laughed.

    • Ovno says:

      But you don’t have to buy the tools, even in cs 1.5 you could disarm by just holding ‘e’

  3. lordon says:

    I bought mw3

    • thebluemonkey81 says:

      MechWarrior 3 was awesome

    • jezcentral says:

      Given the choice between BF3 and MW3, I chose BF3, and I only play single player.

      I gave up after an hour, defeated by the quicktime events.

    • Ruffian says:

      That SUCKS man. word of advice – never buy a MW or Battlefield game for the campaign mode. That they will suck is like a law of nature.

  4. FreudianTrip says:

    Does the shop in Swansea still exist? I spent the last 3 years arguing over various bits and pieces in that hellhole. Mostly the guys power supplies but every purchase was a battle to be won.

  5. fivesixpickupsticks says:

    I used YouTube to help me in Portal 2.

    • Clean3d says:

      I watched a complete walkthrough of Portal on Youtube before ever playing it. I knew the entire plot.

    • Binary77 says:

      Man, i’m glad i’m not the only one. Even though i was quite ill at the time & wasn’t thinking straight – i still feel dirty & kinda dumb over cheating.

    • woodsey says:

      I spent 30 minutes trying to work out how to cross a gap in one of the later levels. I was surrounded by white walls, as was the other side.

      I think I took a break after that.

    • Loopy says:

      Thankfully I only used Youtube once to get through a Portal 2 puzzle, after many frustrated hours trying to figure it out myself. Of course I felt like a complete knob once I realised how simple the solution was.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Ditto, I couldn’t work out one particular puzzle in P2 where you have a button that makes the tractor beam go backwards.
      I could see that I had to get some gel from one place to another, and could work most of it out, but I was just missing the crucial middle step…

    • Quote Unquote says:

      I hadn’t played FPS games before starting up Half-Life 2 and Portal two years ago… I had to use a walkthrough to find a certain door right at the beginning of HL2, and must have spent 45 minutes near the end of Portal trying to figure out where to go next at a certain point.

    • Ruffian says:

      The P2 puzzle that got me was the one towards the middle/end where you were in a small room with 3 lasers (mighta been only 2) shooting at weird angles, and you had to get them into 3 receptacles in the adjacent room all at the same time. idk it was weird.

    • Oneironaut says:

      The first time I played Portal there was a bug where none of the dialogue audio played. I enjoyed the game well enough, but didn’t realize the mistake I had made until I read about the bug on a forum.

  6. Optimaximal says:

    I purchased a gaming bundle that had Bedlam, Gender Wars, Mortal Kombat 3 AND Battlecruiser 3000AD (among others) in it. I somehow extracted some entertainment out of each.

    I was once caught by my mum asking a babe in Duke3D to ‘shake it’.

    I was building a PC for someone in my early years before I understood that electricity thing and wondered what would happen if I set the switchable PSU to 110V. I managed to blag an RMA shortly afterwards.

    • piphil says:

      Yeah, once tried to fix a non-booting family PC by switching the PSU voltage. The flash of blue visible through the PSU fan grating was a sign that this wasn’t the best course of action. Turned out the hard drive was fried in the end (before my blowing the PSU).

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      Oh jeez, I did that with my first PC (as in, the first one that wasn’t also my parents’). It only started up properly about 30% of the time, and among my wire-wiggling of trying to get it to start properly I flipped the voltage switch and blew up the PSU. Thankfully nothing else was broken, but to this day I detest the shop that built my PC for me for

      1) claiming that a 266 MHz AMD chip was equivalent to a 266MHz Pentium 2
      2) charging me £70 to reinstall a Windows they hadn’t set up correctly, claiming that since I’d modified the computer (by installing Quake 2) it was obviously my fault
      3) not sealing away the voltage switch or gluing it so it can’t be messed with like has happened on every other PC I’ve bought (as opposed to self-building)
      4) being mean to me

      That’s User 2 Computers in Edinburgh. Almost certainly as bad now as they were twelve years ago.

    • Axess Denyd says:

      I bought BC3K on release after being excited by previews.

      I was then disappointed.

      Ever since, I have had a(n) (ir)rational hatred of Derek Smart.

    • piphil says:

      The PC I blew up we were told was a 120 MHz Pentium – it in fact was a 90 MHz IBM Cyrix chip, which was seen as equivalent. I was never quite sure of that.

      My blowing up of the PSU did have a good side – except in educating me not to do it again – in that when it returned from being fixed the hard drive was a 4GB model, up from the original 1 GB, and the 16 MB RAM had been doubled to a more healthy 32 GB.

      I later added a Voodoo 2 to the 1 MB 2D graphics card, and stepped into a world of Ultim@te Race Pro, Incoming and G-Police. Heady days indeed. Although Half-Life and Unreal Tournament had to wait for the new PC and the TNT2 M64.

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      I did the PSU voltage thing with my first new-build PC too. Remarkably, the only thing that got fried was the CPU.

    • Jockie says:

      Ohh, here’s another one: I totally got flamed by Derek Smart on the old RPS forums, and begged Jim to unlock the thread so I could respond.

    • thegooseking says:

      My brother forgot to switch a PSU from 110V to 230V and fried the CPU. Needless to say, he replaced the motherboard, but not the CPU. Turned out the motherboard worked just fine. I got a free motherboard.

    • skalpadda says:

      My very first PC (I can’t remember the exact make and model but it had an 8MHz CPU and came with Windows 1.02) had one of those gargantuan monochrome CRT displays which I was absolutely fascinated by.

      I was still young enough to believe I could understand how anything worked by taking it apart and looking at it closely. So I unscrewed the chassis and was greeted with the big glass tube inside which I couldn’t make any sense of, but there were some wires going into it through something that looked like a bath plug. So I pulled on it and was delighted when it came away with a brilliant sucking noise. Of course I almost instantly realised that a sucking noise probably meant that air had gone somewhere it shouldn’t be. Important lesson learned.

    • mongpong says:

      @Jams O’Donnell “That’s User 2 Computers in Edinburgh. Almost certainly as bad now as they were twelve years ago.”

      They’re still here, and still crap! So out of touch and over price everything. Currently they are trying to say a Dell Latitude D620 (refurbed), 2 Gig ram, 80Gb Hard drive with Windows Xp is worth £299. For further hilarity there price list can be found here link to user2.net

    • Axess Denyd says:

      skalpada: Amazing you didn’t die! Those things keep a LOT of voltage for a very long time.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Best fuckup turned upgrade for me was the first time I tried water-cooling my computer, and somehow killed the graphics card (an ATI 9600XT iirc).
      So of course, I just stuck the original cooler on and asked $retailer for a RMA.
      As the card was already a few months old, they didn’t have one in stock to give me, so they gave me a refund. Somehow the refund was for more than I’d originally paid for the card, and as a few months had gone by, the money they did give me paid for a significant upgrade (Geforece 6800 something I think).

    • Ruffian says:

      well since everyone is recording their pc building “learning experiences” I figured I’d tell mine as well. When I was building my first pc without any help from friends I bought an AM2 cpu not realizing that my motherboard only supported AM3. So of course I got the thing, tried installing it, became surprised when it wouldn’t slide right in, applied more pressure (the big mistake), and bent a line of pins along the back beyond repair. Luckily I was able to convince the sellers it must have happened in the mail and got a new one. Which of course still didn’t work. So i sold it and got an AM3. Since then I’ve learned to treat my components much more gingerly, and also to always check compatibility beforehand.

  7. Juan Carlo says:

    I bought the PC Street Fighter 2 as well and it was fucking kick ass. Apart from the low rez 320×240 graphics, it was a really good port. Maybe even better than any of the other ports at the time (Genesis, SNES, etc).

    Nothing to be ashamed of there.

    • Tuco says:

      You are probably talking about SUPER SF2, which was indeed a good port, but SF2 was a mess.

  8. torchedEARTH says:

    I bought a PS3

    • iucounu says:

      PS3s are pretty great. I speak as someone who bought a MegaCD.

  9. Shadowcat says:

    My backlog of barely/never-played games :(

    • AmateurScience says:

      This! My greatest shame is the dozens of bought but unplayed treasures on my hard-drive and on my steam list. I truly wonder when I’ll have the time to do them all justice.


    • Xercies says:

      I still haven’t played Pathologic.

      Or got anywhere near Psychonauts

      And gave up on STALKER

    • Krzykyle says:

      Yeah, my list just keeps growing too with all those crazy steam deals

    • noom says:

      Totally +1 on that. I’m genuinely embarassed to own so many unplayed games. I have no idea exactly how it happened either, except that Steam had a lot to do with it…

    • Paul B says:

      I’m just about about to buy some games from the GoG sale which I will probably never play. However the price is just too good – why do we do it? ;)

    • Armante says:

      I too have many games on Steam yet to play. I’ve even archived them off to an external drive to make room. This doesn’t embarrass me though – I live in perpetual hope that eventually I will have time to play them all. To completion.

      Hope is a wonderful thing

    • TheGameSquid says:

      Precisely. My backlog is GINORMOUS. The worst part: I consistently keep adding games to it. I’m trying to catch up on all the games I missed out on because I was too young while still trying to keep up with modern games. And Steam sales. And Indie bundles. And two consoles.

      I live in shame.

  10. nervouspanda says:

    I also bought Battlecruiser 3000AD, but as a standalone game rather than a compilation

    I spent £100 on an external 56K modem back in 1998. Which meant I couldn’t eat but could look at very slow forums

    Best of all, I borrowed £1000 at about 25% APR in order to buy my first computer so that I could play Championship Manager.

  11. bwion says:

    I bought Ultima IX.

    • adonf says:

      I bough the US version from an overpriced import shop because it came in a real box (not a DVD case) with a cloth map. Didn’t play the game too much but I still have the box and it’s still awesome so not such a bad deal after all.

    • Jockie says:

      I *finished* Ultima IX

    • adonf says:

      It’s funny because even Origin didn’t.

    • Revisor says:

      I finished Ultima IX, Liked it

    • Urthman says:

      I finished Ultima IX, enjoyed it, thought “someday all RPG’s should be like this, but better,” and I WAS RIGHT! Skyrim is totally an Ultima IX clone.

  12. adonf says:

    I bought Fallout 3 for the Xbox, twice.

    • Zarunil says:

      I bought GTA IV for 360 twice, after I ruined the disc by tilting the console 90 degrees while the disc was spinning. Go me!

  13. Danny says:

    – I bought the first Age of Empires based on the awesome box pictures, only to find out about the population limit and the fact that you could only get so many units on screen with the editor.

    – I couldn’t finish Diablo 1 without my best friend placing his hands on the shortcuts so he could immediately use a potion when I would be low on health/mana.

    – I’ve played half of Dungeon Keeper 1 with the most terrible Dutch voice acting that you can think of, before finding out that it was possible to change to English.

    – Finished Baldur’s Gate 2 during a 2 week Holiday. It was shameful, because I did nothing else but play, sleep and eat during those days. My mother would make dinner and afterwards I’d run upstairs again to keep on playing.

    – Sold my entire CD collection once in order to upgrade my GPU to be able to play Half Life.

    – Spent the money my parents saved for my education on a beast of a machine.

    – Closely related to the last one: dropped out of college because I only played Dark Age of Camelot and couldn’t be bothered to go to class.

    Looking back I’m still amazed that I didn’t end up in a gutter.

    • Untruth says:

      I used to be obsessed with the first Age of Empires. It’s been destroyed, hated on and warped out of it’s original form now… but was it ever good?

      I mean, I played it so much, so, so much. And I loved it. I loved the ‘soft play’ of just lazy skirmishes and fishing in the lake leading to the hard play of epic invasions and wandering around with a religious bloke converting everyone. I remember climbing the skill trees gleefully until I had the most awesome shit imaginable to build.

      It was great, right?

    • Danny says:

      It was great for it’s time, definitely. Unfortunately I’d have to wait until Age of Kings until it became the game I actually wanted it to be ;)

    • Bhazor says:

      I think the first time I saw ingame screenshots for Cossacks I let out a tiny bit of wee.
      link to uk.pc.ign.com

      My shame? I still haven’t actually played any of those games yet bar a very brief demo of the first one.

    • Zeewolf says:

      “- I couldn’t finish Diablo 1 without my best friend placing his hands on the shortcuts so he could immediately use a potion when I would be low on health/mana.”

      That reminds me of how I played Delta Force. It was one of the first shooters that basically had to be played with the mouse, and it took me so long to get used to mouselook after having used keyboards (or even joysticks; yes, I played Doom-clones on the Amiga) for years. So me and my brother had to cooperate, with one of us aiming using the mouse and the other one moving the character and using other keyboard commands.


      Though it gives me some understanding of why it’s hard for non gamers to play core genres like FPS-games. And I’m still complete crap at using twin stick controllers for these genres. Feels unnatural, like I’m controlling a tank instead of a man.

    • Sigh says:

      Danny says: “Finished Baldur’s Gate 2 during a 2 week Holiday. It was shameful, because I did nothing else but play, sleep and eat during those days. My mother would make dinner and afterwards I’d run upstairs again to keep on playing.”

      My brother and I abandoned must basic human survival and hygiene requirements (eating three proper meals a day, brushing teeth, showering, sleeping) to play Fallout 1 in marathon sessions during a summer vacation from school. We repeated the same process again with Fallout 2.

  14. Rinox says:

    Misinterpreting titles of games when I was young and my English was still at a questionable level. For the longest time, I thought “Betrayal in Antara” and “Betrayal at Krondor” referred to a fictional main character called ‘Betrayal’, visiting these places. :-/

    I probably even knew what the word ‘betrayal’ meant back then, but once I stuck it in my head that it must be a person I even pronounced it differently: Beh-trai-al.

  15. Edawan says:

    Actually… I can’t think of any shameful moment in my gaming time.

    Maybe I could say that I never payed for KotOR despite it being one of my favourite game ever.

  16. Insidious Rex says:

    I have a PC that’s powerful enough to play Skyrim, Battlefield 3 et al and I play Freecell and Minesweeper.

    • Bhazor says:

      Meh you could say the same about almost any office PC bought in the past three years.

      When I think of all those poor GPUs so cruelly ignored by their callous owners… my heart, she weeps.

  17. Jams O'Donnell says:

    I bought the Amiga version of Street Fighter 2, though I don’t regard that as a mistake. It was a decent-enough port, and it made me suck less against my SNES-owning friends.

    I used to bait people into teamkilling me in CS so I could record it and have them banned from the server.

    In the hotseat multiplayer mode of Geoff Crammond’s GP I would ruthlessly go after my brother’s car and damage it, with no heed of what my position in the race was.

    I have never completed a point and click game without a walkthrough.

  18. Arkaniani says:

    Played World of Warcraft for way too long (about 5 years). I don’t really regret, because I did have tons of fun with it, but I didn’t get to play as many other games during that time.

    • sneetch says:

      I did the same thing up until quite recently when I realised that I had bought about 10 games this year that I hadn’t even installed much less played. WoW had to go. I’m now catching up on my backlog and actually finishing games.

  19. wearedevo says:

    Sorry Alec, but you’re going to need to add this year’s Clash of Heroes review to the article: link to rockpapershotgun.com

    Play it online for just a little longer and you’ll find out why. One of the best games released on PC this year, even if it is just a port.

  20. airtekh says:

    My shame is similar to Alec’s.

    The first time I tried to install a 3D card, my attempt failed because windows didn’t detect the card. After a lengthy trip to a store to get the card changed, I made a second attempt at installing the card.

    I then found that the reason the card wasn’t detected the first time, was simply because I had not pushed it hard enough into the PCI slot. It had been sitting above the slot, gold connectors still visible. I had been so afraid of breaking it that I didn’t put any pressure on it at all.

    Also, up until two years ago, I still pronounced id Software’s name as ‘eye-dee’.

    • Radiant says:

      It is eye dee.

      I don’t care what Carmack has to say on the matter.
      Also gibs is not jibs.

    • Duality says:

      Wait – “eye-dee” is wrong? I have always pronounced it like that D:

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I pronounced it “Eye-Dee” for years–or before going to college and reading Freud anyway. Then I pronounced it as “id” as in id/ego/superego.

      Not sure how it’s supposed to be pronounced, but I assume as “id.” Eye -Dee doesn’t make much sense, unless it stands for something, whereas “id” is the perfect name for the studio that brought us “Doom.”

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      But “gibs” is short for “giblets.”

    • Bhazor says:

      My GPU shame is a bit different.

      My original card had burnt out maybe 8 months into a 12 month warranty so I sent it off to Dell for the repairs. A couple days later Dad brought it back home with him. So I plugged it all in as you do and was shocked to discover everything was rendered in software mode. So I checked the cables and found out there was a big hole where the graphics card should be and I’d plugged the monitor straight into the motherboard.

      Cue angry emails/phone calls to the manufactuer until a week later I recieved a replacement card in the post. So I crack open my rig and there lying in a thin layer of dust is the graphics card. it seems it had just fallen out.

      I should have been embarrased of my lambasting some innocent customer support guy. But truthfully? Didn’t care, had a free graphics card.

    • Reiver says:

      Installing a P4 for the first time i couldn’t reconcile myself to the force needed to snap the (stock) fan into place. I thought it was on properly and couldn’t work out why the computer worked fine on its side but crashed after about 20 seconds when it was stood upright. Eventually it clicked and i had to bend the plastic snapper past the point where it felt sure they’d break so that the heatsink locked into place. The week of desperately searching the net for solutions and the the constant rebuilding and testing of individual components is definitely one of my more shameful PC gaming related experiences.

      The sheer effort i put into arguing about Oblivion (to the extent that i saved large tracts of notes for future discussions) is rather embarrassing. I honestly think i put more time and effort into bitching about it than i did playing it. On the plus side i think i’ve learned from it and i shy away from almost any internet argument these days.

      The my little pony mod i made for Oblivion is another low point.

      My Steam list is pretty shameful as well. 200 titles. At least 50 bought at full price. Only a tiny number played for more than a few minutes. When it was boxed games i could at least pretend at being a collector with digital games though… What point was there in buying Dead Rising 2 at full price for it to sit unplayed for over a year.

  21. Jockie says:

    – It’s highly possible that PC gaming contributed towards me failing my degree. I am still studying towards it through the Open University and it’s going very well indeed, but the time and money I wasted is shameful. Neverwinter Nights 2 (and the PW’s I ran for a while – the Frontier and Reborn) is the biggest culprit here. Don’t try and run a community and a rapidly evolving online fantasy world while trying to get an entirely unrelated qualification at the same time folks!

    – On Football Manager, if I lose to Newcastle, I quit out of the game and replay it until I get a better result.

    – I’m pretty horrendous at League of Legends.

    – I have never managed to finish Throne of Bhaal. In my last few attempts, I’ve failed to even reach Throne of Bhaal, and get buried in a gigantic questlog in SoA.

    • Paul B says:

      I failed my degree due to a love of JRPGs – Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy et al – played on a PC instead of going to lectures. Of course it may also have been down to the fact I disliked my course, and playing these games was more fun then attending lectures.

      On Throne of Bhaal, I’ve also never finished it – it’s no shame to get caught up in SoA though – it’s one of the most detailed and wonderful RPGs ever made.

  22. kupocake says:

    Equipped with my first 3D capable computer, I insisted on putting every bell and whistle into the ‘on’ position in 3D games (In Unreal Tournament, I even inverted the mouse because I thought I was giving myself an edge). One day, a friend told me what frames per second were and my Voodoo Banshee’s attempts at 1280×1024 were swapped for the ability to actually aim at things.

    • Japjappieo says:

      Hilarious! Always tried the same thing, and then had to scale down to embarassing settings.

  23. Vexing Vision says:

    I bought Street Fighter IV for PC, but I fail to be ashamed. I’m also playing it with cursor keys.

    Take that, padboys!

    • Tuco says:

      Can’t see why you should be ashamed to palt SF4. It was an excellent game and port.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      Plus Street Fighter 4 works surprisingly well on a keyboard. I’m a bit rusty at the moment, but a couple years ago I kicked ass in SF4 with a keyboard. I actually found it much easier to pull off the special moves just because keys are more precise than an analogue stick.

  24. piphil says:

    I bought a Packard Bell PC from PC World.

    To be fair though, the tortuous experience of trying to get the thing fixed under their warranty drove me to learn more about PCs, and to build my own. So every cloud….

    • piphil says:

      And to expand on this slightly – The PC I bought was a P4 with 1 GB RAM and a Geforce 4 MX440. The other PC at the same pricepoint in PC World was a P4 with a Geforce 3 Ti. I was told that the fact that the number was bigger meant it was a better card. In fact, the MX440 was a re-branded Geforce 2.

      I then compounded this error several years later by upgrading to a Geforce FX5700. For those not in the know, the FX series were a bit pants…

    • Ross Angus says:

      Yup, I did the same. Lesson well learned. I’ve built every PC I’ve owned since. The RAM the Packard Bell used, weirdly, was for Macs. Or so I was told. Impossible to upgrade.

      [edit] this was in the 486 days. It came without soundcard or CD ROM.

  25. James says:

    I’ve never played past the first 10 minutes of Deus Ex.

    I crushed an Athlon XP 2400 trying to install its heatsink.

    I managed to snap a capacitor off of a brand new 6800 ultra while I was installing it. Luckily it didn’t seem to matter and it functioned flawlessly until I upgraded to an 8800gt roughly 3 years later.

    • Guvornator says:

      Last year my HP laptop, which was the only PC I’ve ever had that just, you know, worked, was overheating something horrible. Obviously it needed cleaning. Getting it done at a local shop would have cost at least £30, and, with money being tight I thought I’d do it myself.

      Only when I had taken everything out and removed an inch thick strip of compressed dust from the fan vent did I realise that I had mixed up all the screws. So I sort of estimated how long the screws needed to be an ended up putting a nasty hole on the motherboard. Trying to sort that out, I managed to drop the laptop, smashing the blu-ray drive back inside the case. Trying to sort THAT out I managed to snap the paper thin ribbon connector that connects the power button assembly to the rest of the PC. Total cost: £72 for a new top panel plus a laptop that no longer has functional speakers and can’t run on battery power…

    • mongpong says:

      @Guvornator – I feel sorry for you as that was an epic fail but at the same time you tell the story hilariously. I’m torn…. pity peppered with laughter.

  26. Dominic White says:

    As a kid, I was a super-casual gamer. I’d cheat my way through everything, play on the easiest setting, and generally cheese or abuse my way past any problem I encountered. It was never really satisfying, but it was all I knew. It was shameful. I noclipped my way through Doom, effectively just skipped to the cutscenes in Starcraft and worse.

    Then I played Halo on the original Xbox and fell in love with how it got more complex and demanding on higher settings, and how I couldn’t just quickload-undo every little mistake I made.

    Now I play bullet hell shmups to relax. I’m closing in on 30, but I think I’m better at games now than I’ve ever been. Yep. Console gaming – especially FPS’s – made me a better PC gamer. And that’s shameful.

    • CliftonSantiago says:

      Exactly the same! I remember playing everything on easiest & quick saving and loading every 10 seconds and just generally being a pussy. Then when there was all the hype about how good Halo was, after playing the game on Easy I was totally underwhelmed. But then somehow I tried it on Legendary and totally was sucked in by how rewardingly difficult it was, and the sense of relief and making at to that next checkpoint after sneaking around for 20 intense minutes hitting Elites in the back and running for cover because I had no more bullets. Good times. And now I always rack up the difficulty. Arma II on its highest difficulty is utterly nerve-racking

  27. Girfuy says:

    Thinking my dad was going to buy a PC in the mid nineties I bought a copy of the just-released Sim City 2000 for the PC, rather than buy a game i could actually play on my Amiga. I must’ve read that manual 20 times while i waited for the PC to be bought. He ended up finally getting one 4 years later.

    • piphil says:

      To be fair, the manual for Sim City 2000 was very good. From a bygone era when manuals were actually things to enrich the game, rather than just tell you the controls and warn you about epilepsy.

      The “Four Wheel Drift” booklet that came with Grand Prix Legends now sits on my bookshelf, and is still a point of reference when working on car setups in racing sims.

  28. Eich says:

    I never finished “Baldurs Gate 1” although I started it 5 times and got into Baldurs Gate 3 times…

    • Zarunil says:

      I’ve lost count of my attempts at Baldur’s Gate 2. I swear I will finish it some day!

    • Njam says:

      Don’t lose hope! I managed to finish Planescape: Torment after only four attempts! Though not so with The Longest Journey. Or Neverwinter Nights. Or System Shock 2. But I never uninstalled any of these. That’s because I intend to play them!

  29. Metonymy says:

    Worst gaming moment of my life was playing quake 1 against a guy that only LANed on one map, all day, every day. I was good, but there was no chance in hell of beating a guy with that much experience on one map. dm6 I think. I was shut out, 0 to 20, with several friends watching.

    I learned never to engage enemies on their home turf.

  30. Caleb367 says:

    I bought Supreme Commander 2.
    Seriously, that’s the one mistake I’ll regret in my entire gaming life.

    Also, I’ve found I’m not cut for multiplayer when years ago went for a LAN party with friends. Playing Starcraft, I went as usual, base building, collecting, nice and easy as I always play. Then I see fifty goddamn thousands siege tanks parked outside my base. And the devilish giggling of that heartless bastard on the other side of the room, who then commented “I can’t believe you never noticed” and proceeded to flatten me in seconds.

    (also, Alec, my fanboyish instinct tells me you should flogged and paraded naked around town for slamming the Witcher, but my grown-up reason respects you for the atonement)

    • ShowMeTheMonkey says:

      I bought SC2 (For £1).

      My shame?


  31. Major Seventy Six says:

    Bought the PC version of Resident Evil.

    Lost the human version of Carmagedon.

    Didn’t understood well the post Geforce 4 initially and thought a 6200 would be faster than a 5600. Though, it still is in the kids PC, it runs BF1942 and the Sims 2 alright to this day, and they seem happy with it.

    Bought an Xbox 360 and a PS3 that I barely play with.

    • qrter says:

      To be fair, the whole naming business of graphics cards is incomprehensible to this day.

      I remember about a year ago spending about an hour looking for a possible new card online, and finally giving up, actually sweating and feeling slightly woozy.

      I think the graphics card is the only real aspect of PC gaming that still conforms to the old idea of PC gaming being too much trouble to be worth pursuing.

    • Amun says:

      I had my parents order a computer with a GeForce 256 after I read about it in a (grossly outdated) magazine. Of course by that time, the GeForce 2 was already out and little did I know that I was getting something much less capable than I imagined. My logic went 256 > 2, thus it is better.

  32. Untruth says:

    I had Windows 3.1 and tried to get Monster Truck Madness demo to run on it, but in anger deleting it, kept deleting mtm.exe, which, it transpired, after an expensive trip to the expensive computer shop, stood for ‘multimedia’ and was the only thing keeping the CD-ROM drive spinning.

  33. db1331 says:

    You botched The Witcher review due to controls? What did you do, play with the top down, click to move view? Oh my. What a shame.

    I too have a shameful WoW starting story. It was my first MMO as well. My first character was a human warrior. At around level 3 or so, I ran into my first Defias bandit. Or rather, he ran into me. I was just trying to get to my next objective and I got too close. I thought he was another player trying to kill me. My heart was pounding in my chest as I fumbled my way through what I thought was my first PVP encounter. I beamed with pride after I emerged from the battle the victor. I had quite the swollen head for near a minute, until I stumbled upon a field full of Defias bandits, only then realizing how much of a complete idiot I was. Looking back, this is even more embarrassing due to the fact that I wasn’t even playing on a PVP server.

  34. unacomn says:

    My biggest fail story would have to be a Baldur’s Gate 2 one. I was over at a friend’s house and we were playing Baldur’s Gate 2, he was in the tavern in Athkatla, where you hade the option to duel someone. He said at one point that he thought about using a spell in the fight, since he was playing a bard, and had a few low level ones. And I said: “Sure, as long as you’ve got enough mana, go for it.”
    At first he laughed and smiled, but when he realized I was being serious, he just froze. A few seconds later it hit me. There were no mana points in Baldur’s Gate 2. Why on Earth I even said that is beyond me, since I was playing it myself at the time.

    I also own a big box copy of X-Blades and never finished Super Mario Bros. That about covers my shame.

  35. googoogjoob says:

    “I was convinced Thief was a jolly cartoon PlayStation platformer until around 2001. I have no idea what I was actually thinking of.”

    pretty sure you were thinking of sly cooper

  36. Major Seventy Six says:

    I bought fallout 3 on Xbox initially

    • sneetch says:

      I bought Fallout 3 and Mass Effect (special steelbook edition) on XBox first. I believe I got through the prologues of both before giving up on the dual stick controls.

      Ironically I only started to get good at dual stick controls playing Space Marine on the PC.

    • Shooop says:

      You could have bought it on PS3 instead and gotten plagued by texture pop-in every few seconds.

  37. Kdansky says:

    I had ~200 day /played in WoW when I last logged in two years ago. I also have an Exalted rep with the first Cenarius-themed faction, which I farmed during classic. I should have wasted less time.

  38. Jams O'Donnell says:

    I bought Codemasters’ Little Puff from a Boots that was staffed by girls from my fifth form (two years above me) and got the piss taken out of me at school for months because of it.

    • NathanH says:

      Hahaha, that one wins so far.

      Also, I never thought I’d hear of that game ever again!

  39. eraserhead says:

    I own about 50 games I never ever started… still I keep buying new ones. That’s so sad…

  40. valient says:

    I was a old school Everquest player and couldn’t wait to play EQ2. I got into the World of warcraft beta and EQ2 beta, I bashed WoW for cartoonish look even though i had a great time on the beta and only had a decent time in EQ2 beta.

    Bough EQ2 on launch day only to quit about 2 weeks later and had the greatest MMO time in vanilla WoW with a of top server guild from day one.

  41. Guvornator says:

    “I believe, to this day, that this was the formative moment that made me primarily a singleplayer gamer, often nervous to the point of terror about stepping onto a server in case that dread childhood humiliation is repeated.”

    I had a very similar experience involving being chased* around Quake 3 with some bastard from PC Gamer who was a dab hand with a rail-gun. Put me right off multi-player gaming. I wonder where he is now?…

    *At least this is how it seemed to me, though multiplayer-wise I’ve always been the equivalent of a very tall man in platforms wandering around a WW1 trench with his helmet off. I remember being schooled in the original Quake by some appalling little shitebag who mocked my lack of skills then convinced everyone else I was a bot. They all ganged up on me as well, so I ended up a very disgruntled pile of gibs painstakingly typing out insults to all and sundry. The worst was I was playing on a steam powered modem so every death normally involved a long, lingering vista of nails heading in my direction that I couldn’t outrun…

  42. abigbat says:

    Convincing my mum to buy me Resident Evil, rushing home in a childish fervour only to discover it required a 3D card.

    Playing Quake without sound because it required 16mb of RAM and I had a mere 8.

    Attempting to run a Quake 3 clan when I only had a 56k modem.

    The list goes on, but they’re all fond memories.

  43. TormDK says:


    • Skabooga says:

      I played Crusader: No Regret to death. It took me 15 years from the time I started playing until the time I finished it. This is my shame. That game was not on friendly terms with Windows ’95, so the family upgrade stopped me cold where I was. Then I lost the CD. Many years later I found it at the bottom of a box of old VHS tapes, around the same time Dosbox was getting pretty good, and I knew what I had to do. I carried that torch for more than half my life.

  44. Cunzy1 1 says:

    Alec I think you may have been thinking of Sly Cooper? If it is, I had the same thing. Kept wondering why everyone was going on about a cartoon thief raccoon…

    At a stretch you may have confused Thief with Sly Cooper then with Jersey Devil which I always associate together in my mind.

    EDIT: Guvernator called it

  45. Tei says:

    I bought a game called baltlsetar3000ad or something made by D. S.

  46. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    I ordered a Geforce2 card from Komplett for £400 back in the day. Madness.

    Fortunately, their stock levels were incorrect and they didn’t have any available so my order was cancelled.

    I then re-evaluated my life and I’ve never spent more than £130 on a graphics card since, with no discernible negative impact on my gaming experience.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Plus One

      Or whatever the hell it is the cool kids are doing these days

    • Mirqy says:


    • MrEvind says:

      spent 500£ on one of the first 17″ LCD screens from samsung.
      Don’t regret it tho, still use it as a secondary.

    • adammtlx says:

      “I then re-evaluated my life and I’ve never spent more than £130 on a graphics card since, with no discernible negative impact on my gaming experience.”

      That’s kinda like saying “I’ve never played basketball with no discernible impact on my ability to enjoy playing sports.”

      It’s only in the absence of something you HAVE experienced that you discern its actual impact.

  47. Rinox says:

    I just remembered another one: buying Daggerfall when I was really young and not knowing how to get out of the starting dungeon…I figured that the game was all about wandering around in dungeons like that and was disappointed, so I took it back to the store. They refused to take it back so I went back home and gave it another shot. Suddenly things ‘clicked’ and I found my way out of the dungeon and had a +- gaming orgasm when I made it to the first town and realized the scope of the game. Things were never the same again.

    Thank you, unfriendly sales person, for not taking back the game.

  48. cloudkiller says:

    I bought Windows Me the day it came out.

    Long before hot-swappable hard drives, I learned you cannot hot-swap a hard drive with my friends dad’s bran new and utterly huge 100MB hard drive. The click and spin down I heard has prevented me from ever hot swapping a hard drive, regardless of what the manual says.

    • Ross Angus says:

      I’m still running Windows ME on my retro-gaming PC (“retro” meaning “nineties”). I’m running it ironically. It’s OK!

  49. MannyCalavera says:

    “I spent what was then my life savings on a Voodoo 2 card – my first ever 3D card – specifically to play Half-Life”

    I did that and it was amazing! Changed my world that did. I skived off school for two days to play Half-Life in its new found glory.

    “I can’t remember how we worked out that I’d bolted the board directly onto the PC case – no static-blocking separators or washers or the like, just screwed straight onto the bare metal”

    I did that to. That was not so amazing. Live and learn ‘ey.

  50. ShadowBlade says:

    I bought Unreal 2 :(