Outdated game design we can’t stand

In an industry where technology marches relentlessly forward, developers that don’t adapt get left behind. A delicious new bit of tech comes along (like Rockstar’s Euphoria physics) and immediately makes the old way (like bodies that tumble as Tetris blocks) look positively antiquated. We admit, we’re spoiled, but who wants indestructible walls after playing Red Faction: Armageddon? Or invisible ones after Red Dead Redemption? Here are some examples of outdated game design we can stand for no longer.

Invisible Walls

Years ago in the 32-bit Stone Age, when the most detailed feature of a character’s head was its pointy triangular nose, invisible walls were a necessary evil. What’s easier to render than something that’s not even there, right? Now, however, we look upon the invisible wall (though we can’t see it) with scorn.

Far Cry 2 cleverly contextualized its need to keep you from seeing what’s behind the curtain with a dose of malaria for those who stray, and Red Dead Redemption gets around the issue by neglecting to give your character swimming lessons. Yet invisible walls remain a cop-out in sandboxes like Fallout: New Vegas, where shooting super mutants with mini nukes is nothing next to overcoming a metaphysical wall of nothing.


Look, we know not every game can be Red Faction or Bad Company – imagine how short Skyrim’s dungeons would be if you could shoot out every locked door between you and the loot – but we can’t help craving ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION.

Above: Sandbags…Well, it’s a start

Next to other advancements – ultra-realistic textures, motion capture and *drools* cloth physics – a grenade exploding next to a wall and leaving nary a scratch just doesn’t cut it anymore. Sure, having the power to level everything would counteract developers’ hard work designing environments, but hey, we’re selfish.

Repeating Crowds

Score a touchdown in Madden, look up to your adoring fans for praise and what do you see? Eight identical lines of topless jocks hollering. Like other entries here, cloned fans obliterate immersion and render your heroic on-field efforts nothing more than pandering to computer code. Which, admittedly, it is.

We aren’t experts, but can’t developers use the same tools behind, for instance, randomizing your created Shepard’s face in Mass Effect to make thousands of unique fans? We wouldn’t even mind if they were all topless, standing in a line and hollering.

Loooooong Loading

In the age of monster hardware power, on-the-fly streaming and installing to the hard drive, loading screens seem a bit primitive. With them, how can videogames pose an artistic equal to film? Imagine if Stanley Kubrick subtitled the bit in 2001 where the bone is thrown skywards with the words “now loading space.”

Above: These ones weren’t so bad

Even 14 years after Resident Evil on the PlayStation it’s rare to see a character open a door and simply walk straight through it without several seconds of blackness and furious CD-whirring prior. Would it help if we went in through the window?

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