The Dumb Sh*t We Do In Video Games
Sometimes playing a video game is more than just our experiences following their stories and completing everything we're tasked to do. Whether the games wanted us to or not, we've found countless opportunities over the years to go off the rails and spend hours engaging in all manner of eccentric behavior or subjecting ourselves to self-imposed handicaps just for the fun of it. The GameSpot staff has done some pretty dumb stuff in games in our time, and we're willing to bet you have too. It's a big part of what we love about the medium, after all.
Below we recount some of our fondest memories, both old and new, spent trying to break a game's rules, engaging in a funny activity we made up when we were bored, and much more. But what dumb, funny, or peculiar things do you do when you play games? Be sure to share with us in the comments below!
Endlessly Subjecting My Dad To My Favorite Custom Rules In Halo - Kallie Plagge, Reviews Editor
When I was a preteen, I would play a lot of Halo 2 multiplayer with my dad. I always insisted that we use custom rules, and I made my poor dad 1v1 me on Lockout with rocket launchers only every time. I would basically just jump around and try to make things explode. Then Halo 3 came out, and I added low gravity to the mix so I could rain down rockets from above. I think it's because one of the first games I can remember is Quake, but regardless, this was the only way I'd play Halo for an embarrassingly long time until my dad decided we'd have to take turns picking custom rules.
I was also really into piloting Banshees and would try to fit them into ridiculous places mid-match. My dad was really, really patient.
Spamming The Taser In A Syphon Filter Demo - Chris Pereira, Engagement Editor
The incredible graphics that PS1 offered after years of playing on SNES inevitably resulted in me just poking and prodding at games, admiring their visual fidelity and lifelike simulations of reality. Case in point, I spent hours with the first level of Syphon Filter, which was featured on one of my precious demo discs, long before I ever got my hands on the full game. And that's not because I was exploring every nook and cranny--in fact, I often wouldn't make it past the short stretch of a city block that you start in.
That's all thanks to one weapon in particular. Alongside Syphon Filter's standard arsenal of ballistic firearms is the taser, a weapon with infinite ammo, a long effective range, and a cinematic camera that cut to your target when used. It's also a weapon that causes enemies to burst into flames and shout in hilarious voices if you hold down the Fire button for long enough. Combine this with a never-ending supply of enemies who would climb over the wall at the end of the street--and both the sense of humor and amount of free time that a 12-year-old has--and you've got a recipe for hours of wearing out the R1 button and laughing hysterically with friends. Will you rely on the auto lock-on, or pull off a trick shot by manually aiming? Or how about being a real badass and performing a trademark Gabe Logan roll before taking down another terrorist? The world was indeed our oyster on that city block.
Character Role-Playing Even When It's Inconvenient - Jordan Ramee, Associate Editor
I play pretty much every game as realistically as possible and thus control my character as to how I imagine they would move given their personality and the game's genre.
That means Resident Evil 3's Jill can't reload her pistol until it's almost empty--in real life, reloading a gun after one or two shots is a waste of bullets and not something a trained officer would do. Animal Crossing: New Horizons' Villager only takes a few resources from each island he visits and only catches a few insects and fish each day, as razing an ecosystem would ultimately destroy it. Oh, and Breath of the Wild's Link stops every evening to eat, rest, and wait for daybreak, seeing as how backpacking long distances with a massive inventory is exhausting--you can't do that for days straight without rest. In other words, it typically takes me much longer to complete games in comparison to most people.
Why do I do this? I genuinely don't know. But I'm compelled to play most games this way (there are very few exceptions). It's not just for single-player games either. If I'm playing as Octane in Apex Legends, I will literally never stop moving. I will spin in circles rather than remain still in a corner because that's what I assume the idiotic adrenaline junkie would do!
Wooing My Childhood Crush In The Sims - Nick Sherman, Content Producer
When I was growing up--maybe eight or nine years old--there was a family next door to us that had kids roughly the same age as my brother, sister, and me. We took part in the usual gamut of things you do when you're a kid: we ran around outside, we had sleepovers, we played Tony Hawk (well, I didn't, because of the "wait-your-turn-but-you're-not-actually-going-to-get-a-turn" older brother hierarchy). But there was one thing that catapulted us into the complications of adulthood much earlier than anyone our age should've been subjected to, and that was The Sims.
Back then, I had a pretty big crush on one of my neighbors. Let's call her--I know; I'll spell her name backwards--Hannah! (...wait.) Unfortunately for me, my older brother did too. Instead of talking to her about our feelings, or giving her Skittles, we figured the best way to form a union in the real world was to do so in The Sims.
We all modeled our Sims after ourselves to the best of our understanding at the time. I, of course, was fast-tracking my way into becoming a professional athlete by swimming in the pool I had bought with my "rosebud"-generated funds. At the same time, my brother went the route of a professional musician. He played guitar at the time, and I'm pretty sure I owned a soccer ball at some point, so it all checks out. While that a**hole was out at guitar lessons or learning how to skateboard, my Sim was laying down a strong game on Hannah's Sim. I'd call her over to visit, and I'd make her dinner. She'd leave her plate half-finished on the table and walk out without saying goodbye sometimes, but whatever, we were basically engaged, right?
When it came down to sealing the deal, though, my Sim couldn't seem to make the first move. He loved to talk and gave some Mr. Rogers-level hugs, but for some reason, he never developed the option to kiss her. I asked my sister what the problem was, and she told me to bring up how I had allocated my personality points. "Nick, you didn't put any points in 'Outgoing.' If your character isn't outgoing, they're not going to be brave enough to ask people to kiss or marry them." "So, how do I fix it?" "You can't. You'll have to get her to propose to you."
I know somewhere my old computer hard drive is rotting and rusting in a landfill. There, my Sim is still calling over Hannah, watching patiently as she eats her meal, waiting for the day she realizes her true love has been there all along, talking her ear off about sunglasses and pizza. Ah, to be young again and know love, but not yet know what outgoing means. What a feeling it all is.
Playing "Freddy Vs. Jason" In Halo 3 - Jay Julio, Video Producer
Back when the Halo online community was still growing, I remember hanging out with a couple of friends in the Avalanche map for hours. It was strange because it's not like we were trying to come up with battle strategies or looking for map glitches; we just roamed around the empty map, talking about anything and everything. It was nice to be able to get the feeling of hanging out with friends even though you physically lived nowhere near each other.
We'd even take the time to play custom games like "slappers only" or my all-time favorite, "Freddy vs. Jason," which was basically a substantial, timed game of Hide & Seek. Two players were either Freddy (red team) or Jason (blue) and everyone else was Blondes (yellow). Freddy & Jason could only kill by using the Brute Shot’s melee attack or vehicles, and Blondes could only hide and use a pistol. The best part of it was we couldn't mute our mics, so you had to try and stop chatting or laughing when Freddy & Jason were nearby trying to find you. You can imagine how crazy entertaining it was to hear one of your blonde teammates being chased around the map only to have them be a jerk and run into your hiding spot on purpose. Ah, good times.
Memeing Instead Of Trying To Win Trials of Osiris Matches In Destiny 2 - David Ahmadi, Video Gameplay Producer
Every weekend for the last four weeks, I've logged on and tried my absolute best not to get crushed into the ground in Destiny 2's pinnacle PvP activity, Trials of Osiris. The ultimate bragging rights, the sickest gear, and the Flawless emblem were all up for grabs. Only problem? My fireteam and I couldn't stop making intentional and unintended memes of our loadout and ourselves throughout this process. This Included GameSpot's Entertainment Manager Mike Rougeau using a hilariously dumb yet incredibly effective loadout of making his fusion grenades explode on impact, to having these goofy detonators glow and stick to our enemies as they ran around unwittingly. Our buddy would come out of nowhere and pop up behind enemies who wouldn't see him, and it was just this perfect comedic moment game after game in what's supposed to be the most challenging activity in Destiny.
Of course, there's no world where we could reasonably get seven wins in a row, the required amount to go "Flawless"--not when we ignored the current Hard Light meta and just clowned around half the time. But isn't that what makes games so much fun sometimes? It certainly was for us, and despite each of us eventually making it to the Lighthouse, the ridiculous number of hours we've spent in recent days and the tactics we've been using are just equal parts dumb-as-hell and amazing. It's moments like these that are the main reason why I love video games so much.
Insane Grinding in Secret of Mana -- Dave Klein, Entertainment Video Producer
It's a fantastic experience when you play an RPG and the game is so well balanced that you only have to do minimal--if any--grinding, but still feel your character progressively growing stronger. Secret of Mana is one such RPG that manages to hone in on that balance. And yet, after I beat the game as a kid, I decided to become the most overpowered character of all time.
Typically, you only need to be within three to four levels of each boss in Secret of Mana to survive, but that wasn't good enough for me! I decided to reach 10 levels before facing every new boss. As an example, for the 2nd boss of the game, you might only need to be around level 6 to comfortably defeat them, but I would roll in at level 20. If you’re a fan of JRPGs, I’m sure you can imagine how quickly I started steamrolling everything that came my way.
While it was a fun concept to be this overpowered, to get there, you're fighting the lowest-level enemies who give you meager experience points. That meant hours upon hours upon hours upon hours of grinding for me. As much as I love the music and art style of the game, it was a brutal, dull, and miserable experience. I have no idea why I decided to do this, or why I kept it up for as long as I did. I think I finally stopped after the fourth boss as I couldn't take it anymore since, at that point, I'd probably spent enough time grinding just to finish the game normally.
Making The Dumbest Custom Characters Possible -- Tony Wilson, Video Producer
I am terrible at making custom characters. I've seen people make picture-perfect replications of themselves in The Sims, or create spot-on celebrity Miis, but that's just not a skill I have. So I go the opposite direction and make my avatar as bizarre as the menus will allow. I beat that Bernie Sanders custom character meme to the punch is what I'm saying.
Fizzlesticks, my Bloodborne hunter, was a purple-haired Joker lookalike with a goofy Grinch-style smile. My Ryder twin in Mass Effect: Andromeda was a green-haired, purple-lipped, dead-eyed jerk who never said a kind word to his shipmates. Things only got funnier when he stood next to his "twin" in cutscenes.
The one exception to this is my Animal Crossing villager, who rocks a custom Deftones hoodie and actually does resemble a chibi version of myself. Maybe I'll make an effort in the next RPG that lets me customize my face... Who am I kidding, Fizzlesticks Jr. will probably show up first.
Street Fighter II Jousting -- Tamoor Hussain, Senior Editor
Like many, I had an ongoing Street Fighter rivalry with one particular friend who believed he was better than me. In the Street Fighter II days, for some reason, we concluded that merely playing this fighting game designed and developed to decide who was the better player empirically was not the best measure of skill. Instead, we decided this could only be determined with Hurricane Kick Jousting.
Instead of just duking it out after the announcer told us to fight, his Ryu and my Ken (the superior character), would take a few paces back and stop, there would be a quick "3, 2, 1" countdown, and on "Go" we'd both input the command for the Tatsumaki Senpukyaku, which is tryhard for Hurricane Kick, the move during which both characters become little karate helicopters and, in a perfectly straight line on a horizontal axis, spin towards each other with their foot out. After colliding with each other and doing some damage, we'd pick ourselves back up, step away, and repeat.
The ultimate victor would usually be anointed after a best of 50 matches. I still don't understand the reasoning, but I think it was supposed to be a test of who could consistently input the command reliably. Regardless it was a disgraceful waste of time, but we took it very seriously.
The problem was, usually, a lot of rounds would end in a Double K.O. At a certain point, we decided that Hurricane Kick Jousting was no longer cromulent, so we switched to Hadouken no Senso, which is tryhard for keep doing Hadoukens until one of us is dead. That dude is no longer my friend. I wasn't kidding; he really thought he was better than me--as a person. He tried to fight me in real life. Should have seen it coming, really.
Playing Hide & Seek In Competitive Games -- Dave Jewitt, Video Producer
For as long as I can remember, if I was playing multiplayer games with my friends, I would eventually try to shoehorn a game of Hide & Seek within the constraints of whatever video game we were playing.
In Halo, we would go into separate corners of Blood Gulch or Hang Em High. At the same time, whichever player drew the short straw counted to 60 as we waited to be found. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, we would throw on Cold Blooded and hide in the grass from each other in the most bizarre places until we were eventually discovered. In everything from Red Dead Redemption to Minecraft, if there were a space big enough to conceal ourselves, toward the end of a night of gaming, we would devolve into the childish giggles that went hand in hand with the games of our youth.
This behavior wasn't something I did when I was a kid, either. I was anywhere between 17 and 22 when I participated in this dumb nonsense, and honestly, I even had a game of Hide & Seek in Animal Crossing: New Horizons last week. And while we knew it was daft, I think it was as close as we could get to a socially acceptable game of Hide & Seek as a bunch of men in their 20s. However, as far as I'm concerned, you're never too old to enjoy the panicked glee of watching your friend wander past your hiding spot, or finally finding your finest hiding spot, whether that's in the real world, or whatever virtual one you and your buds feel most at home.
Obeying Traffic Laws In GTA: Vice City -- Persia Hancock, Video Host
Out of every single Grand Theft Auto that I've played, Vice City continues to be my favorite. But one thing I always do when I'm driving around and not on a mission in GTA games is obey the traffic laws. I'm not sure why, but when I'm not out wreaking havoc, it's nice to chill out and be a law-abiding citizen. I stop at every red light; I'll stay stuck in traffic, I leave at least a few car lengths for safety, all while in route to rob a store or take someone out. It's my own game-within-a-game where I have to keep a low profile, ya know? Not to mention, I love listening to the radio while cruisin'--that Vice City soundtrack was FIRE! It's silly, but I really love it, and it's somewhat therapeutic. I've also done this in open-world racing games, like Import Tuner and Need for Speed, but it always felt different, and funnier, in GTA. Now that I think about it, I couldn't legally drive at the time I first played GTA, which probably explains a lot.
Watching What My Kids Do In Zelda: Breath Of The Wild -- Aaron Sampson, Senior Video Producer
One of the amazing parts of being stuck at home these past few weeks has been watching my kids take to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in really unexpected ways. My seven-year-old has now spent hours tending to chickens in Kakariko Village. She named each one and talks to them like she's their mother. When it rains she takes them inside one at a time. She'll also spend hours just running up a hill and gliding off while holding them or tossing all of them onto the roof of their chicken coop. Hearing chickens squawk for hours at a time can be maddening, but she enjoys it so damn much that I've invested in noise-canceling headphones.
When not doing that, my daughter's usually up at Goron Hot springs setting her underwear on fire and then jumping in for a refreshing bath--thankfully, the pools have medicinal side effects. She has also filled the entire inventory with dishes she's cooked simply for the love of cooking. Meanwhile, my other daughter is obsessed with riding horses. She gets up early every morning to take her horses out from the stables and get them exercise and food. It's adorable.
Gosh, I didn't expect it, but Breath of the Wild has wound up being the best thing at the best time for my children and me during these strange times.
Telling Randos Fake Cheat Codes In Return To Castle Wolfenstein's Multiplayer -- Michael Higham, Associate Editor
Listen, when we were young, we all got a kick out of harmlessly trolling players or teammates. I was pretty well-behaved in online games when I was a kid because I'm not an a**hole, but you be the judge on this one. Return to Castle Wolfenstein was my favorite game on the original Xbox, and it was the perfect showcase for what online multiplayer could be when it was in its infancy on consoles. Because of that, most players were pretty gullible when it came to selling them on "glitches" or "cheats" you "found."
What my friends and I did was tell other players that you could give yourself extra ammo (or spawn a panzerfaust, or whatever the hell we wanted) if you hit a specific button sequence. We'd tell them to press, "Start, Up, A, A, really fast." And well, that would make you quit out of the game. We'd get a kick out of them falling for it and seeing the game log say they left the match. But the best part was that split second the game took to actually exit the match as you could hear their disappointment over voice chat just before they cut out before they left. To mix things up, we'd also suggest pressing "B, X, Y, Start, Up, A, A, really fast" as a real slick diversion.
Wow, we were dumb. I don't know, man.
Punching Soldiers Over Railings In The Engine Room Of MGS2 -- Matt Espineli, Editor
Before I was courageous enough as a kid to play through all of Metal Gear Solid 2 by myself, I would often muck around in my older brother's saves. He had invested into countless replays of the game, so he nearly had all the secret items unlocked. One of those items was the stealth camouflage suit, which fully cloaked you into your surroundings, ensuring enemy patrols never see you. It was a godsend for my cowardly 10-year-old self, who so desperately wanted to play as Solid Snake, but couldn't handle the pressure of sneaking around and fighting bosses. But with the stealth camo, I could realize my desires, as well as explore a small portion of the game to my heart's content, free to make mistakes without consequence.
As you can imagine, the time I spent roaming the corridors of the opening chapter as a bandanna-wearing, cigarette-smoking phantom ultimately led to messing with enemies. Of all my memories engaging in shenanigans, I most fondly remember fooling guards in the engine room by knocking to attract their attention, so I then could punch-combo them over the railing and down into oblivion. Hearing their horrified cries as they dropped threw me into a fit of hysterical laughter; I literally thought it was the funniest thing in the world. And I'd spend dozens of hours doing this repeatedly, cracking up at every single guard who fell into my trap.
But before you call my 10-year-old self a lunatic, please understand that all the soldiers in MGS2 had these hokey Russian accents that were ridiculous and cartoonish to hear even then, so it was oddly amusing when they screamed. (It still sounds a bit cruel, huh?) I did recognize some of the soldiers were voiced by one of my favorite voice performers, Michael Bell, who played Raziel in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver among many classic '80s cartoon characters, so that was pretty cool for me back then.
After a while, my older brother got in on my antics too, and together we'd switch off punching and roundhouse kicking soldiers over railings and laughing our asses off. Heck, I think one of my cousins joined in at one point when they came to visit one day--clearly, this ridiculousness ran in the family. Eventually, the humor of it all did get old, but I'll never forget my time doing this sort of dumb stuff in MGS2. After all, it helped me build up the determination and skill to play the series all by myself!