Image Source: EA Games

12 Frustrating Things In Video Games Only Gamers Will Understand

Seeing red.

In a hobby like gaming, you’d expect it to be all sunshine and rainbows guns, swords, and fun times. And to a certain degree it is. However, there are times when your favorite pastime sneaks behind you when you least suspect it, and backstabs you with a devastating critical attack. Yes, let’s be honest: Video games can occasionally veer into frustrating territory. So, for your reading pleasure, here are a bunch of things only gamers will understand that really grind our gears. Let’s go!

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When You Think You’ve Killed a Boss But It Regenerates Back to Full Health for a Second Phase

12 Frustrating Things In Video Games Only Gamers Will Understand, Wo Long
Image Source: Koei Tecmo vía Twinfinite

The feeling of accomplishment that washes over you after beating a challenging boss to a pulp is undoubtedly second to none. But you know what really puts the kibosh on all that air-punching triumph? When said boss refuses to lay down and bite the dust, but instead transforms into an even harder boss with an entirely new moveset. Talk about moving the goal posts, right?

Seriously, your patience, pride and humility will begin to deplete as the boss’ HP replenishes back to full health. You’ll feel used and a bit of a chump for celebrating so soon as the rug is pulled from beneath you. ‘Not today!’ You’ll scream at your screen, before getting lopped in two by your foe’s second boss phase, which is astonishingly even harder that its first. We’ve all been there!

When You Assume a Game Has Autosave and You Lose Hours of Progress

12 Frustrating Things In Video Games Only Gamers Will Understand, Nier Automata
Image Source: Square Enix

Autosave is such a handy feature, it’s easy to get sucker-punched into believing that it’s ubiquitous in all modern games. And for the most part, you’re right. Thing is, there are a few titles that love to do a Mr Burns from The Simpsons, and lure you into a false sense of security, before tripping you up, laughing at your fall, and then kicking you when you’re down.

In essence, losing hours of progress due to a lack of autosave is a surprisingly common occurrence in this day and age, and it breaks our heart every single time. Having to replay entire swathes of a game due to this avoidable blunder always gives us major déjà vu vibes as we trudge through the same environments for what feels like the umpteenth time. We may be miles apart, but we can feel your empathy and sympathy from here.

Not Being Able to Enjoy Something You’ve Paid for Until It’s Been Patched to Hell and Back

Image Source: EA Games via Twinfinite

It’s safe to say that patches have equally been both a boon and a curse in this industry. On the one hand, it’s awesome when a developer listens to community feedback and deploys an update to ameliorate a problem. But on the other hand, it’s led to a release-it-now-and-fix-it-later culture that’s disrespectful to those dedicated fans who pull the trigger on launch day.

Don’t want to wax nostalgic and sound like an old fart, but I do miss the days of yore when you’d buy a game and, well… get a fully functional experience with no issues. While on paper, patches are a nifty idea, it’s undoubtedly helped usher in a new generation of games that release in a ropey state, and are fixed months down the line. Heck, if they’re ever even fixed at all.

When You Run Into Invisible Walls

fallout 4
Image Source: Bethesda via Twinfinite

Invisible walls have been a staple in video games for a long time, though it’s fair to say that the issue became more pronounced when the medium transitioned from 2D to 3D back in the ’90s. Yeah, technically, there are examples of invisible walls in 2D games, but the problem became far more immersion-breaking in the more realistic 3D experiences that were released on the PlayStation 1, Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64, and beyond.

Surprisingly, invisible walls still rear their ugly head now and again in modern games. Sometimes, it can be useful, like stopping you from falling off a cliff to meet your untimely demise. And sometimes, it can just be downright annoying. Like, why the heck can I not walk that way? Well, that’s just pulled me right out of the experience…

When Your Favorite Weapon Breaks Because of Weapon Durability

Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Image Source: Nintendo via Twinfinite

Weapon durability is kind of like the marmite of gaming; you usually either love it or absolutely hate it. One thing’s for sure, though: when your favorite weapon snaps in two like a freeze-dried Oreo, you’ve got to admit that it’s kind of annoying, eh?

Indeed, it’s that age old dilemma of realism vs. fun, and while some games have implemented the mechanic really well, like The Last of Us, there are plenty more that do it to egregiously frustrating degrees, like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

That being said, Nintendo’s 2023 sequel actually improved upon its predecessor’s unpopular system in a big way, giving players the chance to fuse weapons in clever combinations. Still, on the whole, we think it’s a laborious mechanic that can take a hike in most games.

When NPCs Tell You the Solution to a Puzzle When You Actually Wanted to Figure It Out for Yourself

12 Frustrating Things In Video Games Only Gamers Will Understand, Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores
Image Source: Guerilla Games via Twinfinite

In an era where getting frustrated in a video game can lead you to shutting it off and never coming back again, developers have tried their best to eliminate any friction in a bid to make sure you’re having a smooth ride. Thing is, the more they grease the wheels, the more patronizing it can feel.

Case in point: 2022’s Horizon Forbidden West was an amazing experience, but it left us feeling a little irked sometimes. Why? Well, on a few occasions, when we felt like we were this close to figuring out a puzzle, Aloy would pipe up and tell us exactly what to do.

Helpful? Sure. Mildly irritating? Undoubtedly. While we understand the reasoning behind why it’s done so prevalently in big, blockbuster video games, continually telling us the answers to puzzles has the potential to seriously rain on our parade.

When Games Deliver Overly Long Exposition Dumps

Metal Gear Solid 5
Image Source: Konami

Some of you out there are likely wondering what the heck fried eggs have got to do with long and tiresome exposition dumps. Meanwhile, the other half of you out there are probably like, I REMEMBER THAT! Well, the eggs in question are from the opening cutscene from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and merely thinking about it takes years off my life.

From what I can recall, these eggs are very, very important to ol’ Solid Snake, but I cannot for the life of me remember why. Yes, the fourth installment boasts lots of heavy themes centered around political espionage, the necessity of war, and… well, the importance of cooking your fried eggs with thoroughness and care, apparently. Or perhaps I just missed the whole point of the entire scene and fell asleep? Let’s just go with the latter.

When You Go Toe to Toe With a Bullet Sponge That Refuses to Die

12 Frustrating Things In Video Games Only Gamers Will Understand, Starfield
Image Source: Bethesda via Twinfinite

When life gives you lemons, it’s time to shoot ’em into a fine mist of lemonade. We’re pretty sure that’s how the saying goes. But, what if those lemons refuse to give up the ghost even after you’ve pounded them with enough bullets to make Iron Man feel uncomfortable? Enter: the bullet sponge.

While bullet sponges have been around for ages, they’re still a common practice in modern games. The most widespread use of them can be found on harder difficulties in Call of Duty campaigns, or incredibly tough enemies like Deathclaws in Fallout or Terrormorphs in Starfield.

In a nutshell, bullet sponges are exactly as their name implies: they sponge up bullets like nobody’s business and are insanely tough cookies to put six feet under. The cynical folks out there may see it as a way to artificially make a game much harder and more demanding, and honestly, we tend to agree with that sentiment.

When You Fail an Instant Fail Stealth Section For What Feels Like the Hundredth Time

Image Source: Insomniac Games

Nothing spoils a game’s pacing and momentum more than an awkwardly placed instant fail stealth section. Yes, they may change up the core moment-to-moment gameplay, but if they’re dropped in willy-nilly without any care or thought, they can really stand in the way of a player’s excitement level.

Even though these forced stealth gameplay segments were the du jour in the noughties, they can still be found in lots of modern games these days. Truth is, every time we stumble into one, we all let out a collective groan, especially if it’s in a game where we’ve been regularly kicking ass and taking names.

When You Have to Walk With an NPC But Their Speed Is Too Slow for Your Run Speed and Too Fast for Your Walk Speed

Image Source: Bethesda via Twinfinite

Walking and talking is another common occurrence in video games, though it can be particularly vexing when the NPC strolls along a little bit slower than you can run, and a wee bit too fast for you to trudge alongside them. The end result is an awkward dad dance where you’re trying to keep up as the NPC rabbits on about the woes of their digital world.

Of course, the worst offenders are games where you’re just forced to walk side by side and the sprint button is temporarily deactivated (We’re looking at you, The Order: 1886!). While this may mitigate the awkward situation above, it does sometimes break our immersion as our controller is virtually snatched from us.

When You Need to Find a Specific Place But the Game Has No Map

Dark Souls 3
Image Source: From Software

The Souls franchise brought a lot of amazing ideas to the table: clever risk and reward gameplay, punishing bosses, slick combat, and much more. However, the lack of any discernible map was a bold design choice, which thankfully paid off. That’s not to say it can’t be incredibly frustrating trying to get a sense of direction as to where you’re meant to go next, though.

Frankly, from a thematic standpoint, a lack of map sort of works in Souls games, because it feels like the game is actively trying to stop you from making any progress. But outside of the soulslike genre, it’s fair to say that it can be a real pain in the backside trying to get from A to B without a map to help guide you.

When You Spend Ages Grinding for Something Only to Discover You Actually Needed Something Else to Unlock It

Starfield, Skill tree, Piloting
Image Source: Bethesda via Twinfinite

Maybe this one’s on us, but there’s nothing worse than grinding for a specific unlock and then realising that you also needed some other random knick-knack to unlock it. Really, it’s another example of moving the ol’ goalposts and it can be utterly exasperating.

The latest example of this issue reared its ugly head while I was playing Starfield recently. See, the best ship in the game is allegedly the Narhwal, so I spent ages saving up my pocket money creds so that I could scoop it up and set sail for the stars. After many hours, I finally took the plunge, but could I actually fly it? Heck, no!

Apparently, there’s something called the Piloting skill, which I needed to level up in order to fly the Narwhal. Thing is, it entails destroying dozens upon dozens of spaceships, which is another massive time sink. Suffice to say, I’m still unable to fly that damn Narwhal. Booo!

And that does it for our list of frustrating things only gamers will understand. But what say you? Did we miss anything? Do you have any frustrating things you’d like to share? Take those blood pressure pills and head down to the usual place below to let us know.

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Image of Dylan Chaundy
Dylan Chaundy
Dylan is a Senior Writer at Twinfinite and has been with the site for over two years, and in the games media industry for over a decade. He typically covers horror, RPGs, shooters, Roblox, indie titles and movies, and loves reading, pizza and skateboarding; ideally, at the same time. He has a degree in English Literature from Aberystwyth University, Wales. He thinks FTL may be the most perfect game ever created.