Though they aren’t fatal.
- Learn-by-Dying – No matter how clever you are, no matter how good you are, no matter how careful – the only way you’re going to get past this one particular area is by going through the first time and getting killed by it, and then knowing that it’s there beforehand the next time you go through. Any pretense you had about being in control of your situation or surroundings is far, far gone. Sorry. Only one way to learn it.
- Luck Through it – Just keep doing it until your luck happens to turn for the better. Games that feature instant-saving and instant-load actually will run into their own player workaround for this – where they save every time they have a lucky run through an area, and either ‘load’ every time they have an unlucky run, or die and just reload at their last lucky spot. The end result of this, is that the player’s ‘arc’ of save points appears as if he’s made every lucky break that’s possible.
- Jumpey-Jumpey – A long, complicated series of platforms or crates or whatever to jump between. Any false jump is death and starts you back at the beginning. Whenever you find yourself in this situation, you are supposed to exclaim,
“Jumpey-Jumpey!” in an exasperated voice. Some platforms completely live in this world. I tend to get infuriated with this.
- Attrition Death – A long board or level which isn’t particularly hard, anywhere. However, you have to executed it near flawlessly, because any mistake you make reduces your life by an ever so small amount, and by the time you’ve gotten to the end, you have no health to do whatever it is you need to do, or you get killed by a lame low-level boring creature. You have been ‘attritioned out’.
- Cruel and Unusual Punishment – Death and failure are an inevitable part of video gaming. Video Game Makers, please, don’t make it more painful than necessary. For example, In Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, if you die, you lose your weapons and a chunk of money, and your car. You have to go and buy more, which means you have to steal a car – preferably the one you like, I’m partial to one particular model which I try to use for everything – and then you have to go buy weapons. Then you have to go drive to the mission-launching point, which may make you drive somewhere else. All the while, you have several ‘loading’ segments that kick in. Brutal. If I die, I just load my save game, because I don’t want to fling my PSP across the subway car in anger.
- I can do that, but my character can’t – This can drive you completely insane. There’s a little tiny step, about 6 inches high. Your character cannot get over it. You have to go around. That’s really really obnoxious. Notice that the converse of this (my character can do this, but I can’t) is fine.
- My own AI is dumber than me – Every time someone tries to make a 3/4 perspective game, or an over-the-shoulder game, they have to do some kind of AI for targeting and shooting. And inevitably, you get in a situation where you want to shoot that guy over there who is right in front of me, but when you say ‘auto-target’, it inevitably tries to target some other guy. Maddening.
- Camera’d to death – You’re walking through a simple straight sidewalk, but the camera is managing to do some crazy flip or pan at the same time. So you actually have to carve out some kind of crazy parabola on your controller in order for your hapless player to walk a straight line. I’ve also seen this in a 2D platformer where your character would go _behind_ some scenery, and you would have to just ‘know’ where he was. And you can’t see the enemies. Craziness making.
Funny, so many of my video game problems are related to external-view 3D FPS-esque games. Perhaps that says something.
And there are probably more, but I can’t remember them right now. Maybe I’ll do an edit and put them in if I think of them.