6 Ways Modern Gaming Has Ruined the Fun (And How to Fix Them)

Philip Bates 15-03-2017

For anyone raised on systems like the Nintendo 64 or Game Boy, gaming is now a very different beast. Gone are the heady days of the PlayStation 1 Get Nostalgic: Four PS1 Games We Still Love Going Back To You can keep your Xbox One, PS4 and Wii U; the original PlayStation will always hold a special place in a generation's hearts. Read More , in favor of the blander era of modern gaming.


You might argue that it’s a better experience — that the graphics are better, the community is more accepted 3 Awesome Social Networks Just for Gamers Are you looking for a social network where you can meet other like-minded gamers? Here are the best sites to check out if you need a bit more gaming chatter in your life. Read More , and that more brands have become household names. Nonetheless, the popularity of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Mini NES Mini: Everything You Need to Know Nintendo has released a retro replica of its popular Nintendo Entertainment System! Should you buy it? Here are the pros and cons of this "new" mini console! Read More proves the call for old-fashioned gaming is massive.

Playing games was once a lot more fun than it is today, and here are a few reasons why.

1. Season Passes and Downloadable Content

Remember the days when you could buy a game and play it in its entirety without fussing over downloadable content (DLC)?

Those rosy times aren’t that far behind us. So-called “season passes” were only introduced in 2011 and became standard the following year. For the uninitiated (how I envy you), these are up-front payments in order to get discounted rates on DLC, including any additions immediately available when a game is released, and any content in future.


What’s problematic is that most of the time, the contents of a season pass aren’t guaranteed beforehand, and they aren’t refundable. Blindly paying another $50 on top of a $60 game makes every new purchase quite expensive.

This likely crept in from mobile gaming, in which free games offer in-app purchases What Are In-App Purchases & How Can I Disable Them? [MakeUseOf Explains] "I can’t believe it!" my cousin said to me the other day, "someone’s just bought a $10 in-app purchase on my mother’s phone, and she doesn’t even know what I’m talking about!". Sounds familiar? How... Read More . But a title for your PS4 isn’t free. You have to cough up a considerable sum for its basic version — then more money to enjoy the release to its fullest. Equally awful are microtransactions in AAA games, which let you spend more money in exchange for virtual currency or shortcuts if you don’t want to grind them out by playing.

Things were a lot better when games had unlockable levels and hidden areas 5 Gaming Achievements That Are Close To Impossible That's right, this is a challenge from me to you. I'll bet all my marbles that no one reading this article has (fairly) earned any of the achievements you're about to read into. Read More that you were rewarded with because you proved an excellent player. You got the complete experience without having to indulge the developers’ greed.


What can you do about it? Simply refuse to buy season passes or pay for microtransactions, no matter how tempting they are. The less demand, the more likely developers will give up on the idea.

2. DLC Codes

We could argue about whether Amiibo and its ilk actually enhance a game Amiibo, Skylanders, Disney Infinity - What's The Difference? We're here to break down all the differences and help you choose which to invest your money in. Read More (though they admittedly look great in a display case), or if we should actually just expect the full content when parting with our cash initially. DLC codes, however, are an altogether different beast.

We’ve already ascertained that the current DLC situation sucks, but it hits new levels of notoriety when that content is free. No, seriously — everyone love free stuff, but not when it’s essentially rendered inaccessible. It’s dangled teasingly in front of you, then snatched away.

Let’s take Pokémon as an example. Last year, the brand celebrated its 20th anniversary 8 Ways to Celebrate Pokemon's 20th Anniversary This year, on 27th February, Pokémon celebrates its 20th anniversary. Here's how to celebrate in style! Read More , released two new titles for the 3DS Pokémon Sun and Moon: Are They Worth Buying? Pokémon Sun and Moon are finally here, after much anticipation. Are the latest entries in this treasured series worth your time and money? Read More , and hit the headlines with Pokémon Go. To further commemorate the occasion, various legendary Pokémon were made available through free codes — some through the Nintendo Network, and others via physical stores. The former was great. The latter less so.


6 Ways Modern Gaming Has Ruined the Fun (And How to Fix Them) Pokemon codes

You could receive a shiny Xerneas and Yveltal by visiting your local Smyths Toys. My local shop is at least an hour and a half away, and that’s with a car. I don’t drive. Check online and you’ll see a raft of similar complaints.

Remember when you just used to be able to catch a Mewtwo in Pokémon Red?

What can you do about it? Complain to developers. They’ll especially take note if you call them out on social media. Other than that, it’s worth emailing or phoning stores to explain you can’t get there, and ask if they’d be willing to send you the codes otherwise. It may surprise you.


3. Consoles Try to Do Everything

Really, I just want to play games.

I want to put a disc into the drive, grab a controller, and be lost in an adventure for a few hours. Thanks for offering Netflix, Hulu, Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Which Should You Choose? It has been years since we've compared heavy-hitting streaming services, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. And with changes in pricing, content, quality, and interface, we thought it was time to revisit the topic. Read More and YouTube, but I’d rather just crack on with playing. No, I’m not interested in Facebook and Twitter right now. Is the Weather app some snide statement about the amount of time I spend indoors?

We’ve moved a long way from plug-and-play consoles. We now expect them to do everything. I’ll admit the Netflix app is handy (though my Blu-ray player also has that feature), but we’ve got enough gadgets elsewhere that let us scour social networking feeds. And who actually checks their stocks on a games console anyway?

One thing that’s put me off buying anything from PlayStation since their first unit is the PlayStation Network, which I’d apparently have to join. Why? I don’t want to sign up to something. I’m safety conscious enough as it is! More than that, why should I have to?

I just want to play games!

What can you do about it? The key is limiting the amount of details you submit Think Twice about Buying a PlayStation: How Getting Hacked Made My PSN Content Useless My story begins sometime around the American launch of the PlayStation 4. I hadn’t turned my PlayStation on for about a week having been bowled over in work - I needed a break. I’d bought... Read More . In the case of the PlayStation Network, enable two factor authentication Why Gaming Network Hacks Prove The Need for Two Factor Authentication Can I have a hacker breaking into PSN/XBL/Steam/all three? usual Matrix-style code thing, but with the logos in the background, perhaps? Read More , or risk a lot of personal information getting out. Even then, it’s not impregnable.

You can also support systems that don’t need excess data. Look at how successful the NES Mini was: it’s just a plug-and-play that require no details about the user. Perfection.

4. Online Play Encourages Trolls

If you sit next to an enthusiastic gamer, your vocabulary will increase. More specifically, you’ll learn new swear words and realize just how many threats include controllers being forced into orifices.

6 Ways Modern Gaming Has Ruined the Fun (And How to Fix Them) 1186476322 3873d0ec12 b
Image Credit: Benny Mazur via Flickr

If you’re doing it right, gaming is an immense amount of fun, but the competition can get rather heated. Such exclamations were once confined solely to the house or arcades. There’s something wonderfully intimate about locking eyes with an adversary and battling it out face-to-face. There’s nothing quite like reveling in triumph in a game of Mario Kart, or look bitterly disappointed when your teammate lets you down in Time Crisis.

But online gaming can turn nasty.

Sure, it’s nice having a community around you, but as ever, a level of anonymity encourages Here's What Happens When You Confront An Internet Troll Face To Face When you're just typing words into a machine, it's easy to forget that there are real people reading those words. Unless those people get in touch. Read More what’s commonly referred to now as “trolling.” This is simply being a horrible person for the sake of it. Alongside a barrage of curses, playing with random folks via the internet can lead to a lot of unnecessary abuse. From in-game annoyances like killing your teammates to verbally assaulting someone, the online gaming world can be a toxic place.

It’s insane because even though games mean a lot to many people, they’re designed to be fun.

What can you do about it? Obviously don’t get embroiled in the abuse yourself. Keep a level head. Online gaming is far from essential, so if you’re happy enough playing against the computer or someone you know, ignore the Wi-Fi!

5. Pre-Ordering Online

Head over to Amazon and you’ll be able to pre-order books, Blu-rays, and music months in advance. The same goes for games and consoles Watch Out! These 7 Game Pre-Order Bonuses Are Total Rip-Offs One source of outrage in the gaming community is pre-order "bonuses" that consist of pathetic toys, unfair advantages, or carved-out content. Read More . This might seem great, and it is… as long as you get the new product the day it’s released, or, if you’ve more forgiving, the day after.

But look what happened to the NES Mini: soon after its announcement, online retailers sold out Can't Find a NES Mini? Try These Alternatives! Not interested in the Nintendo NES Mini? There are lots of other retro-style consoles designed to bring back your oldest favorites! Here are a few alternatives! Read More . Similarly, getting a Nintendo Switch 15 Questions You Have About Nintendo Switch Answered The Nintendo Switch is here! We've got one, and have answers to the top questions about the system. Read More is a nightmare. If you were lucky enough to snag one, I hope you ordered spare controllers in advance too. When I inquired at a local store about additional NES Mini controllers, the assistant could only wish me good luck.

If you didn’t pre-order in time Beyond the NES Classic Edition: 5 Awesome Alternatives for Christmas Looking for an NES Classic Edition mini console? You might not find one this holiday season because of high demand. We've got your back covered with five amazing NES Classic alternatives! Read More , you could resort to eBay, where you’ll have to relinquish your bank account to get the console within its first week of release.

6 Ways Modern Gaming Has Ruined the Fun (And How to Fix Them) Nintendo Switch sold out

Gone are the days of queueing outside GameStop, surrounded by like-minded, excited peers overjoyed at the prospect of digging into a new Legend of Zelda title. Buyers risked hypothermia, but for many, that would be their sole interactions with the outside world for the next three months.

Pre-ordering hardware makes sense, as there’s a limited supply. However, every major release now advises pre-ordering months in advance to get a stupid cosmetic pack with your purchase. With digital downloads, there’s no reason to pre-order since you can read reviews once the game is out and decide for yourself whether it’s worth the cost. This culture of pre-ordering leads to people paying for disasters like No Man’s Sky before they even know if the game is decent.

What can you do about it? This is a difficult one. Pre-orders aren’t going anywhere. I’d advise against paying grossly-inflated prices on auction sites, and really reinforce the need for calm. You might want to get your hands on a new console ASAP, but the universe and your social life won’t suffer if you have to wait an extra month. For games, don’t pay until you know the game is worth having.

6. Overpriced Games

You have to save up for new consoles, but they’re not that frequent and you come to expect a huge amount from them. Modern-day games, however, command massive prices that simply can’t be justified.

Quality graphics are great. A strong plot is definitely a positive The 5 Best Plot Twists And Shockers In Video Game History How many video games have actually shocked you? How many games have made you set down your controller and ask, "What in the hell just happened?" If not many, I'd like to introduce you to... Read More . High replayability is ideal. But you shouldn’t have to pay upwards of $50 for one title. I was hungry for the Nintendo Switch Nintendo Switch: What We Know and What We Don't Nintendo has announced their latest console: The Switch! They've released some information, but not a lot. Here's what we know, and what Nintendo still has to tell us. Read More . Finding out I’ll have to pay between £50 and £60 (actually more in the U.K. than in America) for one game has completely put me off.

What’s more, the company’s asking you to gamble $60 for a title that’s also an entirely new concept. You’ve no idea if you’ll like ARMS enough to justify such an expense.

We are feeding the greed of gaming developers Big Game Studios Are Killing the Video Game Industry The big names in gaming—like EA, Square, Valve, Blizzard, and Ubisoft—have a big problem. They've lost sight of their most important market: gamers. Read More , lapping up releases with an insatiable appetite. Desperate to get your hands on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? No one blames you. The latest name in the franchise has been teased for years now. E3 2016: Why Nintendo Might Still Impress Us All E3 2016 is right around the corner and we haven't heard much from Nintendo. Here are four things Nintendo might do to make a big impression at the show. Read More  Reviews have been glowing. It’ll cause a considerable dent in your bank balance, but what else can you do? You can’t very well wait another year for the prices to fall considerably, right?

The problem is, youngsters don’t have any chance of affording new games anymore. They have to rely on Christmas and birthday presents. That passion won’t be passed on to the next generation. We all have rosy childhood memories of our first Mario, Sonic, and Bomberman games. By outpricing children, studios are robbing them of their fun and emotional connection.

What can you do about it? Keep an eye out for sales and don’t immediately jump on every title Which Nintendo Switch Launch Games Should You Buy? The Nintendo Switch is here! Let's take a look at all the launch games and see which ones are worth buying. Read More . You can consider second-hand items Video Game Rentals: Where Can You Borrow Your Fun? Video games are awesome, but buying them all brand-new can get expensive. Save some money with these rental options. Read More or just use an online price checker. The only way to save cash is to have patience.

Ruined Play?

Despite our critique, the gaming industry is in a good place right now. Graphics are rivaling movies, massive multiplayer games let you wage war against dozens of real-life foes, and they’re churning out incredible worlds that you can spend a hundred hours in. However, without criticism, this industry may grind to a halt.

Taken to the extreme, you may even start to feel gaming burnout and gaming fatigue—a phenomenon where you don’t even feel like playing video games anymore. Check out these tips on how to deal with gaming fatigue and gaming burnout.

What else is ruining the fun of modern gaming? Where could developers improve? What would be the last straw, forcing you to give up on a gaming company? Please tell us below!

Image Credits: Blackregis/Shutterstock

Related topics: Nostalgia, Online Games, Retro Gaming.

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  1. peoplearedumb
    December 13, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    Trolling, holy shit people just stopped giving a shit what it actually means. Trolling does NOT MEAN BEING A PIECE OF SHIT FOR THE SAKE OF IT. Go do your research BEFORE writing your crap.

  2. Andy
    May 15, 2019 at 12:50 am

    I don't buy ANYTHING NEW ANYMORE. Greed at the top has ruined america. Consumers are kept eternally in debt and are convinced that is the ONLY option to be happy. Growing up in the 80s video game's/ consoles were never cheap but the undiluted greed greed and money grab by big studios/corps is shocking. As you said the gamer, the fans, the consumer, the citizens are all forgotten in the brave new world of greed, if haves and have nots...yeeehaw

  3. Jeff Paquette
    April 15, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    I would agree with you on many points here except for one - overpriced games. Consumers are paying less for games than ever before. The price hasn't even increased with inflation! For example, Phantasy Star II for the Sega Genesis was $80 back in the day! Many Indie games that are made with the same quality and care are selling for 10% of that price today! Waiting for Christmas and birthdays is not a thing of today, it's a thing of the past! When I was kid back in the 80's and 90's, a new video game cost our family a quarter of my father's paycheck, and he was a skilled laborer. So I would say cost of living may have gone way up, but the value of video games have not kept up with those margins at all.

    As proof, here is a video clip of a video game aisle in 1990.

    • Matt Johnson
      August 10, 2019 at 5:16 am

      Thank you, Jeff: voice of reason!! I, too, agree with many other points, but when it comes to the price of video games, the price has arguably gone DOWN, *especially* when you consider inflation. I paid $50-60 for Nintendo games in the '80s ... So paying the same for a game nowadays doesn't seem like a stretch AT ALL.

      That being said.... it's been a LONG time since I've played and actually enjoyed any modern mobile game. Everything mobile is either A) Freemium w/ endless micro-transactions , B) laced with adds, C) Premium, or worst D) a combination of the above. TBH, I actually prefer the Premium games. At least some of them are decent, and worth the money.

      The price of modern games doesn't bother me. The quality, and what you actually get for what you pay....... THAT. THAT bothers me.

  4. Oisin
    February 11, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    My biggest annoyance at the moment is that I've tried to go back and play a few of my older games for a bit of nostalgia and fun and every single one I get a 25gb- 30gb update for and I'm currently living in a very bad internet area so have wait times of up to 60 hours to play. There is no more just throwing in a game for some fun for a couple of hours unless planning it 3 days in advance for me!

  5. Jerry Walz
    January 1, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    You were close in talking about it, but ya my biggest peeves would be pay to play. It should be obvious. It makes the game all about how much money you spend, and then that leads to "mods" which gives people a chance to cheat. That definitely ruins a game.

    Making games for mobile devices instead of PCs. Civilization V is a good example of a terrible game. If you can't see it, just ask yourself. If you were stuck in a cabin for a month and all you had to choose from was those two games. Would you choose Civ IV or V? Now you see it.

    Finally after decades of computer games being around, what have we actually accomplished? There should be many more websites that make it easy and make players available for multiplayer but not massively multiplayer. We used to have them. There are plenty of browser games that use them as a vital part of what they are marketing so why did we get away from that with PCs. Sony and Microsoft tried to abolish PC games. Yes it is mad science, but from what we have seen from eccentric billionaires, they don't care if it is possible or not, but it has caused major damage to the industry.

  6. declassified
    October 4, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    1. Microtransactions - they only belong in games that are free to play. Some devs make progress like getting XP or some ingame currency so slow that you're almost forced to pay extra because otherwise you would get bored of the grinding.

    2. The release-now-fix-later attitude. - I'm done with all the broken releases full of bugs, or games that are badly optimized for the PC.

    3. Devs striking deals with consoles - I'm talking about console exclusive stuff, DLC that gets released for a specific console one month before the other. Or a dev lying to us about wether or not they are making a PC version. (GTA V)

    4. Milking out franchises. - trying to shit out a game of a certain franchise every year, ending up making a low quality one.

    5. Franchises getting changed to attract more people - Example, dead space 3 changed from horror to action.

  7. user888
    April 4, 2017 at 4:39 am

    Most of these games are not playable on Windows anymore.

    Unity Web Player no longer works on chrome, firefox, or opera. I also tried Yandex, no luck.

    It says use IE11, but I could not get it to work in IE11 either. And I definitely don't want to use IE but I still tried it as the last resort but it did not work.

    If I, a network engineer and tech expert, can't get Unity player working on my computer, that means no one else can either and no one plays the games anymore since it doesn't work on computers.

  8. Richard Wallace
    March 16, 2017 at 8:32 am

    One thing you left out is outright theft. I am referring to the fact that Microsoft can trash the value of your Xbox One or 360 console by banning the console for some infraction that the owner had nothing to do with, rather than banning participation in a particular game. There should be a class action lawsuit over this

  9. Kelsey Tidwell
    March 15, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    #4 is EXACTLY why I quit World of Tanks cold turkey and have never looked back (with still quite a bit of "gold" lying dormant in my account). How anybody can enjoy multiplayer games with so much toxicity I don't know. It's not necessary at all and it ruined a great game for me to the point where I dreaded playing. Oh, well. Onward to better things. :)

    When you combine low maturity with internet get a lot of garbage going on.

  10. spyjoshx
    March 15, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Even though I am only 15, I grew up playing Gameboy and GBA. Obviously no DLC of any kind. Since then I bought a DSi XL and got a 2DS. I had a lot of fun with my DSi, but I have only one game for my 2ds (Pokemon Alpha Sapphire) and have enjoyed it, but I don't have much experience with other 3ds games. I just got a Wii (not U) for Christmas (yes I know, I'm a little late to the party.)and I have been LOVING it. Thankfully I am a console generation behind all the evils you describe above. It all sound awful to me...

    • Philip Bates
      April 30, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      Sounds great to me! Pretty similar to my youth, really, and yes, these set-backs of modern gaming really do feel awful if you've not grown up with them. Still, there's a lot of good to enjoy too. Try more 3DS/2DS games; it's a fantastic console!