Fool us once, shame on you

Friends. Family. Spam bots. We’re not going to stand up here in front you and claim to be flawless. Just because we put on a good show doesn’t mean we’re incapable of making mistakes–of being suckered into absorbing some foul practices. And though we’ve discussed before the bad habits we developed in all video games, we thought that it was time we admitted to our more specialized flaws.

Today we go over the industry’s biggest money makers (and biggest political scapegoats) the shooter. Come one, come all, and take a glimpse into the psyche of the average mass killing simulator fan. Who knows? You might find that you’re looking into a mirror. And then you might shoot that mirror, because… well, that’s one of the things on this list.

Reloading after every shot

So let’s get this straight, brain. Sup. You told us to pick the weapon with the most ammo. Yup. You chose it specifically because it has, like, 100 bullets in a single clip. Yessir. You did this so that we wouldn’t have to reload that often. Mmhm. And then you’re going to tell us to reload the SECOND we fire a single shot? For sure. You’re the worst.

Trying to shoot out lights

Hey, remember when games first started adding dynamic lighting? That was cool. Swinging lightbulbs, cool shadow effects, flashlights and stuff. A bunch even included the ability to shoot out light bulbs to shroud an entire room in darkness. Some, like the Chronicles of Riddick game and the aptly named The Darkness, actually made it a major part of the game, and rewarded you for turning off the lights. Beyond those few games, though, lighting has sort of been ignored for the past few years. That hasn’t stopped us from trying to take down every light bulb we see, though, Edison be damned.

Ignoring tutorials

What? You’re trying to teach us–US–how to play a shooter? Listen, kid, we’ve been at this for a long time. We’ve been jumping over rocks and crouching under railings since before you were a splatter of code in your designer’s eye, we don’t need you lecturing us on how to do this or that. Now we just need to open this door, and… wait. What? What button opens doors? This button reloads, this one jumps, and… help! We’re trapped! The game’s glitched! #occupythisshooter! Worst game ever! And… oh. We need to hold down the triggers and turn? That’s… shut up.

Never, ever, ever, ever using our powerful weapons

Hoarder? What? Us? No. We just like having an inventory full of missiles, and hate wasting grenades, and don’t want to miss an opportunity to toss a Molotov cocktail at a big group of foes. Why would we use our rockets against this boss–this guy is a pushover, for Pete’s sake! We’ll just hold on to them for a little longer, until we really need them, and then we’ll totally use them. Like now! Look at that boss! He’s huge! Maybe we should… no, now isn’t the time. We’re going to keep holding on to these, actually–don’t worry. We got this.

Unloading ammo at invulnerable targets

It doesn’t matter how much ammo we waste firing at armored enemies or foes with riot shields, we’re still going to approach those encounters the same way: stupidly. Even if the enemy has a giant glowing orange weakness and a “shoot me here” sign around its neck, we’ll still fire blindly at every part of its armor, wasting hundreds of bullets and doing no damage at all. Why? We don’t know. Maybe, deep down, we hope that one of the bullets will pierce his armor. Maybe we expect a lucky shot to glitch through their hard shell and penetrate their heart. Maybe we’re just dumb. Yup. That’s it. Dumb.

Shooting every red barrel

Explosive barrels hurt us more than they hurt enemies. Not from their explosions, mind you, but from their very existence. When we see a barrel and some enemies, we immediately look for a way to use it and kill as many foes as possible. This, often, means waiting around, trying to lure enemies out of their cover so they might stupidly stumble in front of a bright, shiny barrel. If they do, we take the shot, sometimes kill half of them, and then smile at our success–despite the fact that we took more damage lining up the perfect shot than had we just killed.

Trying to shoot allies even when the game doesn't let you

Listen, game, we know you don’t want us to shoot at this guy. When we look at him you make us lower our gun, or you simply don’t let us scratch our itchy trigger finger. But that isn’t going to stop us. Nothing will. We’ll find a way to inflict damage on our friends. We’ll knock a box on their head, throw a grenade at them, or spray bullets in their direction hoping one connects. Our bloodlust will be satiated.

Always sprinting through single-player missions

Oh! We know this. This is the part of the level where we’re just supposed to run and ignore the bullets and shrapnel entombing us. We’re supposed to dodge foes and sprint, and… oh. We died. Well then.

Always sprinting through multiplayer levels

Every single time we spawn in a competitive first-person shooter we do the same thing: Start running until a lump of hot lead stops us. Then we’ll wait a few seconds to spawn, come up with a new battle plan, and then throw it to the win, and do it again exactly as before. Exactly the same. Every time. In the rare–RARE–occasion that we actually remember not to sprint everywhere, we’ll do great, but that just doesn’t happen often. We’re too busy sprinting into bullets.

Getting cocky right before a Pointstreak/Killstreak/whatever

This is a glimpse into the rare occasion that we just mentioned where we remember not to sprint around like idiots in a shooter. When we actually play smart and do well, we’ll undoubtedly score enough points to be close to unlocking some sort of awesome killstreak or pointstreak award. It’s here that we’re at our worst. Suddenly, visions of artillery strikes or bomber runs fill our heads, and we run out into the open to score that one last, beautiful kill… before getting killed. Because we’re idiots.

Underestimating enemy AI

Heh. Stupid computers. We’re just going to hide behind this box, and one-by-one the enemy guards will walk into my view. We’ll shoot them in the head, take their ammo, and repeat the process until they stop coming. Befo–WHAT THE HELL! They can flank? Not cool, video game AI, not cool.

Overestimating enemy AI

Heh. Stupid computers. We’re just going to hide behind this box, and one-by-one the enemy guards will walk into my view. We’ll shoot them in the head, take their ammo, and repeat the process until they stop coming. Befo–…wait, where are they? They forgot we were here? We killed like, 40 guys in this base and tripped every alarm, why are they just walking around? Not cool, video game AI, not cool.

Not realizing that enemies will respawn infinitely

Heh. Stupid computers. We’re just going to hide behind this box, and one-by-one the enemy guards will walk into my view. We’ll shoot them in the head, take their ammo, and repeat the process until they stop coming. Before long they’ll all be dead, and… yep, we’ll just keep killing them. Man, there sure are a lot of guards. Stack of bodies is getting pretty high. Just going to keep killing. And killing. And… oh, the end of the level is right there. Not cool, video game AI, not cool.

Shooting at our reflection in the mirror

Shooting at our reflection in the mirror is the modern-day version of the movie cliché where a drunken, down-on-his-luck detective walks into a dive bar’s crummy bathroom and punches a mirror because he just can’t deal with the person he’s become and this case is going to be the end of him. Man, it’s totally badass.

We just can't get enough

So, yes, we’re prone to making mistakes–and we plan to keep making them. We have no excuses. So get off your high horse and tell us about the habits you’ve learned from shooters so that we can all grow from our mistakes.

And if you’re looking for more, check out real-life skills we learned from video games and bad habits we learned from video games.

By Hollander Cooper