Chances are if you’re a hardcore gamer, or even a softcore gamer, you’ve developed a group of friends that are just as interested in games as you.
Maybe you invite a couple of friends over on the weekends to catch up on the latest episodes of a Telltale game. Maybe you get a huge group together for a massive game of Halo. Either way, when you’re playing games with your friends there’s a safe space there for all of you. But inevitably, sometimes this safe space is broken and the Backseat Gamer makes his way into the fold to ruin your day.
All of us have definitely known a backseat gamer or two in our time. Whether they’re trying to tell you where to go in your game, or they’re just keeping your attention away from it, these people can just be a darned nuisance.
The following is a list of the Top 10 backseat gamers that I have encountered throughout my short gaming career. I could give every single one of them a specific name as I know exactly who each one is from my past experiences. I will not be doing this for every one, but what I will mention is that almost all of them are my dad. Sometimes even one of the most important people in your life can take on the role of a backseat gamer and you can either look the other way or get revenge on them by writing an article about how annoying it is. Needless to say, I’m doing the latter.
10. The Loud Backseat Gamer
The loud backseat gamer is a bit of a rare breed but if you look closely enough, you’ll be able to find them hiding underneath their little pink baby blankie waiting for the perfect time to let out a deafening scream at the first sign of a jump scare. This gamer is the one who you invite over to play a horror game and when they arrive they tell you that they get scared easily but they’ll watch you play. You will inevitably sigh, agree to let them watch, and get ready for the blood-curdling screams from the couch as they howl at every zombie, every dinosaur, or frankly any shadow or bug that happens to move on the screen at the moment they get brave enough to look up from playing Solitaire on their phone.
Loud backseat gamers are truly loud, they’re proud, and we love them. But next time if you could just bring over Monopoly instead it would really help so I don’t lose the hearing in my other ear before I’m 25.
9. The “Don’t go in there” Backseat Gamer
The “Don’t go in there” gamer, or the DGIT Gamer, is a close cousin to the loud gamer. They’re the ones who try to tell you where you should and shouldn’t go. Specifically when it comes to horror games – they’re the ones who convince you not to go somewhere even though you’re pretty sure there’s something important in that direction, just because they heard a scary sound. The DGIT gamers are very controlling and come very close to playing the game without ever actually holding the controller.
Sometimes there are even DGIT gamers who will physically stand up and put their dirty Dorito-crusted fingers on your television or PC screen just to show you where they want you to go. I only hope, as I’m sure many others do, that this breed of backseat gamer is slowly becoming extinct as respect for others’ technology is becoming the norm. For this type of backseat gamer, my only request is you that you play the game yourself if you want to control where to go. Please.
8. The “Just let me do it” Backseat Gamer
Now this backseat gamer is one for the books. They are truly one of the most annoying types. On occasion, my father has become this person; as I mentioned he applies to almost all of these, but nothing makes me rage more than someone who thinks that I can’t do something.
“Looks like you’re struggling, why don’t you let me do it?”
No, no, no, no, no. This only fuels my hate fire. This only makes me more determined to do it myself. You will never take this from me. That is, at least,until my 30th or 40th try when I shamefully hand over the controller and swear to get you back at a later date for ruining my fun. Just let me do it, backseat gamers. Just back off for once in your life, come on.
7. The “WHAT’S GOING ON?” Backseat Gamer
This backseat gamer is a very personal pet peeve of mine. Just to put it into context, I have to mention that all of the Telltale Games (with the exception of Minecraft: Story mode, obviously) are some of my favourite games of all time. Now my father, a lover of games like Borderlands, Far Cry and Witcher 3 believes that Telltale Games don’t count as “actual” video games. So nothing bothers me more than when he looks over my shoulder while I’m enjoying one of these games and am suddenly overwhelmed by the amount of questions being directed at me.
“So is that the bad guy?” “Wait, who is that?” “Where are you?” “Well that’s not realistic.” “WHAT’S GOING ON!?”
Thus, this backseat gamer has become my least favourite of all the backseat gamers. I would be lying if I said that my dad was the only person in my life who falls under this category. I’m sure you’re thinking of someone right now who falls under this category. We can’t hate them for being who they are. Oh who am I kidding, we totally can. We hate you “what’s going on” backseat gamers. Do your own research if you’re really that interested! Jeez!
6. The Spoiler Backseat Gamer
I know way too many Spoiler backseat gamers. These are the backseat gamers that waltz in, see that you’re playing a game that they’ve played before, and proceed to talk to you about the main plot points that you haven’t played through yet.
“Oh have you gotten to the part where that giant shark eats that guy?”
“No but thanks for that. The jerk store called, they’re running out of you.”
Or, my favourite:
“I don’t want to spoil it for you but…”
“Uh uh, just stop right there. Nothing good can ever come at the end of that sentence. Just don’t.”
I don’t know what it is in their brains that makes it so impossible to hold that info in, but I wish I could sew their mouths shut. Especially in games like Heavy Rain or L.A. Noire. If you tell me who the killer is, what’s the point in playing the rest of the game, bro? Just don’t be that person.
5. The Puzzle Solver Backseat Gamer
Now more often than not, I actually love this backseat gamer. The puzzle solver is probably exactly what you think it is. They’re the ones who solve all the puzzles. Most of the time, the puzzle solver backseat gamers are the ones I call when I’m stuck in Portal 2 or a Professor Layton game.
The only time that I don’t love them is when I haven’t even gotten a chance to look at the puzzle before they’ve solved it. Just give us non-geniuses a small chance to try before you push up your glasses and solve it for us would you?
4. The Intellectual Backseat Gamer / The Nerd
This backseat gamer hold a special place in my heart because its title belongs to one of my best friends, and occasionally to me if its a game I’m really invested in. This gamer is the one that knows everything about the game. They know the names of the developers, the names of the writers and the voice actors. They know what kind of computers and what kinds of engines were used. I really mean everything.
The thing is, sometimes I just don’t want that much information about a game. Tell me it has a great story, fun gameplay, cool concepts – I’m all in. I don’t need to know that the lead developer once won a Pulitzer Prize for his animation of that one character that steps in that puddle at exactly three minutes and fifty seconds into the first cutscene. It’s just too much. Stop. We love you for being who you are. But please, stop.
3. The Mom Backseat Gamer
This breed of Backseat Gamer is more of a heightened observer than an actual gamer. These are the moms – I mean friends – that start watching you play something while they’re waiting for their popcorn to pop, or they’re waiting for you to get to a stopping point so they can talk to you. Then they immediately start judging you for the choices that you’ve made.
“Why are you wearing that? You can’t make her wear something else? It’s pretty revealing.”
“Is that character in the background naked? They can do that in video games?”
They’re so innocent and naive that’s it’s almost adorable. But mostly it’s just sad. The mom backseat gamer that I’m thinking of is actually my mom in this case. But I’ve known a few mom backseat gamers that weren’t actually moms. It’s another breed that we love, but we wish they would just educate themselves a bit more. It would be for the best.
2. The Know-It-All Backseat Gamer
This gamer is a bit different from the Intellectual because the know-it-all backseat gamer doesn’t know all of the technical behind the scenes stuff about the game, but they’ve played a game to a certain extent that they know everything else there is to know. This makes them impossible to deal with because they can’t keep this knowledge to themselves.
“Oh, that mission is pretty tough, you might want to do this one before you do that one.”
“Thanks, I think I could figure that out myself because it says ‘difficult’ right underneath it. Looks like you’ve run out of refills for your know-it-all prescription, so you’re going to have to shut up now.”
“There’s a chest in the next room with two swords and 50 coins in it.”
“Oh really? This chest right here? This chest that if you had just waited five seconds, I could have found myself? Thank you! NOT.
I simply wish they could resist. This is all I ask. Unless I ask for help, just keep it to yourself. Otherwise I will yell at you. Looking at you again, Dad. If you don’t like getting yelled at, stop doing the thing.
And the final type of backseat gamer. ladies and gentlemen. is YOU. If you’re a gamer, and you probably are if you’re reading this, then you have, at one point or another in your life been at least one type of these backseat gamers. I know for a fact that I’ve been three of them, maybe more. It’s just something that happens to all of us. Like getting a job, growing old, or giving up and finally watching Grey’s Anatomy after all these years. We just have to calmly embrace this reality and move on with our lives.
After all, without backseat gamers I would have never written this article about them and realised how funny I am. Perhaps I should change careers. Hmm. Just something to think about.