We're not idiots! How Games Insult Our Intelligence

There is a slight tendency of RPGs and games from other genres to take players for complete idiots in various forms, be it saying things that are painfully obvious, bombarding them with information they may already know, and so forth. This editorial will highlight various ways in which such games may insult our intelligence.

To Move Around, Use the D-Pad

RPGs, simple or complex, may or may not have in-game tutorials, which aren’t necessarily a bad thing as long as we can revisit them later, and which can in some instances be nice supplements to the instruction book, if it doesn’t explain things clearly enough. However, certain games, for instance Final Fantasy X and the Mario RPGs, have a tendency to force us to endure these tutorials, even if we’ve already read the instruction book and/or have played the game before, with no opportunity to skip them. Please, developers, give us the option of skipping these tutorials, even in the middle of them if we feel we grasp a concept or mechanism even before it’s over. Seasoned RPGamers such as I just get really tired of them.

Game Over, Tough Crap

Many of us dread seeing a generic Game Over screen/message after a long, grueling fight or in the middle of a dungeon. We know we lost the fight, we know we have to retread the dungeon again, so don’t state the obvious. Developers, try and be a bit more creative with the Game Over, don’t even use the term “Game Over” since more than enough of us are familiar with the concept. What happens plot-wise when the party dies? Do the villains take over the world? Is the world destroyed? Maybe have a few different premature endings in lieu of a traditional Game Over screen when we die, as I mentioned in a previous editorial, and ease the humiliation and unceremonious nature of defeat.

Ding, Dong, You’re Nearly Dead

One of my least favorite recurring features in a few action RPGs is their tendency to annoy us when we’re low on health, mostly with an irritating sound, like in the Legend of Zelda and Kingdom Hearts games. Some turn-based games such as the Pokémon series do this, as well, even when it’s painfully obvious we’re low on health and know we need to recover. Silent indicators, such as the HP gauge flashing or changing color, are definitely preferable, and an option to turn off the aural indicators would be nice, as well.

There Are Five Enemies Remaining

While I enjoyed Persona 3 and Persona 4, one of my least favorite features of both games is the presence of a battle narrator who has to mention every trivial thing that happens in battle, such as if a character is low on health, how many enemies are remaining, if a character is poisoned, if a character dies, if a character knocks down an enemy, and so forth. While an option is available to somewhat silence (albeit not completely) these voices, the option completely turns off voices during cutscenes, and thus, separate options for battle and cutscene voices would be welcome, since the quality of either varied at times. Still, we just get really sick and tired of this kind of voicework, especially if the actors aren’t nearly as good as others think, and they say things that are, again, painfully obvious.


Odds are that the average RPGamer is of higher intellect than players specializing in other game genres, and thus, there is no need for RPGs, let alone other genres, to take their players for idiots. Some may appreciate the insults games toss at them, but many others, such as I, just get sick and tired of being insulted in the ways mentioned, especially after well over a hundred titles or so.

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