Stop Grading Me!

WARNING! The following will contain a ginormous amount of ranting, complaining, and anger. Why you ask? Because I am sick to the bone of being judged by video games. I play video games to unwind, to complete, or to play with friends – as I’m sure many, many other gamers out there do. What I do not play video games for, or indeed complete video games for, is to be told that I am apparently not quite up to the game’s standard of player.

I bought Grand Theft Auto 4’s expansion pack ‘The Ballad of Gay Tony’ because I wanted all the brand new, shiny multiplayer options to play with all the Ready-Uppers on Monday nights. Recently though, at about 4am, I found that there was nobody online to play with; so I thought I’d give the single player of BoGT a shot. It was fantastic (of course), and exactly what I was expecting from GTA. Lots of interesting characters, guns, drugs, cars, and old ladies ricocheting off the bonnet of my 4×4 – I could not have asked for any more from it. I blast my way through the first (surprisingly long) mission and wait for the autosave. The autosave does its thing, and I’m all ready to go on to my next escapade!… Wait… What the Hell is this?!

I was greeted with a big fat ‘TARGET’ meter in the middle of my screen informing me that I was too slow, took too much damage, and didn’t get enough headshots – but it was okay, because I still completed the mission just fine! I half expected the game to hand me a lollipop, tuck me into bed, and patronise me until I fell asleep.

Nope. Still not good enough for GTA.
Nope. Still not good enough for GTA.

I’ve never liked this aspect of games, because I’ve never seen telling me that I suck at a game as an effective way of making me replay it. ‘Splosion Man was smart about it, they gave me the option to skip the level if things were getting too tough, this little nudge to my ego was enough to keep me fighting for that sweet end of level cake. Games that grade me however, only do so after I’ve already proved that I can complete the level, but apparently just not up to its standard. I don’t run into this idea very often, and when I do it’s usually something along the lines of Sonic Unleashed where I might not have such high expectations, but I never thought I’d see that kind of stunt from Rockstar.

It’s insulting, pointless, and the most frustrating aspect (for me) to be shoehorned into a game. I play and complete the game the way I want to play it, and most games I love understand that. Imagine if at the end of every Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer game it graded you and told you to do better even if you won, who would think this would be a good idea?

Exactly. Nobody!
Exactly. Nobody!

The thing that angers me most is that it’s becoming a more widely used trend. Highscores are brilliant, they are a tried and tested and fully approved method, because you still get a feeling of accomplishment even if yours isn’t the highest. Plus, it doesn’t burst its way into your face at the exact second you’ve completed a part of the game and scream: “FAIL! OH, SO MUCH FAIL! Why don’t you try again kid? Only this time, try not to suck out loud.”

Okay, deep breath. Developers, please continue to make all the wondrous and imaginative games that you do, but please, PLEASE don’t use a grading system. If I wanted to be interrupted while I’m trying to play a game by somebody telling me that I’m not good enough, then I would plug my headset in on Xbox Live. Okay? Okay. Now, I’m going to go and have a nice relaxing game of Pacman, where I may or may not beat my old highscore. Have a nice day.

Oh you son of a...
Oh you son of a…







2 responses to “Stop Grading Me!”

  1. Simon avatar

    I hear you Duncan, I hear you.

    Also, GTA would definitely be better with Chuck Norris. Get on it.

  2. Darach avatar

    Everything’s better with Chuck Norris.

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