Our traumatic gaming moments of 2021

Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-12-27 12:00 (JST)
Translated by. Ryuki Ishii

Each year, the contributing members of the Japanese edition of AUTOMATON select their personal favorite games of the year. We went a little extra this year and also asked our staff about their memorable gaming moments. The unforgettable mistakes they’ve made, the obstacles they couldn’t overcome, and the horrors they’ve experienced. Here are some of the episodes they shared:

*This is a summarized version of the original Japanese article.

Psychopathic curiosity

By. Ayuo Kawase

The very first thing I did in the time loop adventure game Twelve Minutes was to kill the wife of the protagonist by stabbing her with a kitchen knife. My partner, who was watching me play the game, turned around and looked at me with a face of disgust.

I didn’t do it with any ill intent, though. I was just trying to test out how much freedom I had over the gameplay, and my first instinct was to grab a knife and interact with her. Yes, I did consciously ignore the warning message, but I didn’t think the protagonist would actually kill his wife. Only a few minutes into the game, and already a disaster. The wife character lying on the floor, a huge pool of blood, the protagonist apologizing, and my real-life partner showing a repugnant reaction.

My partner and I are close, and we can talk about pretty much anything. There haven’t been many awkward moments in our relationship. But this time, I was met with a frightened face telling me, “I’m scared of you.” Suddenly, I felt ashamed of myself. I can hardly remember what came after that. Again, it wasn’t my fault. It was the game’s sense of agency that doomed me. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself to repress the memory.

Encounter with the unknown

By, Yuki Kurosawa

Trying out new content for a game is always a delight for a gamer, but I was shaken by the horrific creature design of a new enemy introduced in Risk of Rain 2. For me, this is a game in which I can play casually with my friends to relax and enjoy, but when I came across the “Grandparent” after the anniversary update, I couldn’t help but scream at how creepy it looked.

In a sense, I had a newfound respect for the design team of Hopoo Games. It felt like an entity I was not supposed to see, with its slimy golden body and hollow ring-shaped head. Not too grotesque, yet exquisitely unpleasant. Easily my personal traumatic character design of the year.

There’s no use crying over spilt milk

By. Takayuki Sawahata

It was a mix of carelessness, pride, and most of all, lack of sleep. I was pushing myself to beat Shin Megami Tensei V so that I could finish up my review before the deadline. It was past midnight, and my party was leveled up enough to cruise through the dungeon. I was taking out formidable foes right and left without struggle. “I can do this, I can finish the game in time,” I thought to myself. That’s when I encountered a group of level 99 demons. All I could do was helplessly watch my party get wiped. Game over.

I took a sip of my lukewarm coffee and looked up at the ceiling, realizing the fact that this game doesn’t have an auto save feature, and I hadn’t manually saved the game in quite a long time. Trying to come to terms with this harsh reality, I drank the rest of my coffee in one gulp, brushed my teeth, and went to bed. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well that night.

Forgetting to save data has always been a common mistake, but I think it has become especially easy to forget nowadays with the proliferation of auto saves. I tried to tell myself that there’s no use crying over spilt milk and that while it’s important to push forward, it’s also important to stop and reflect on one’s life. As the year 2021 comes to an end, this was a good life lesson for me. At least, I try to think of it that way.

Rooftop tanks and elevator ambushes

Battlefield 2042’s Breakthrough mode used to have several unconsidered, I mean, unassailable objective points. To be specific, the rooftop objectives that were removed with the recent update. C2 on Kaleidoscope is one of them. It was near impossible to take over by the attacking team.

I still remember how confused I was when I fought on this map for the first time, and how the text chat was filled with reactions from equally appalled teammates. C2 is located on the rooftop of a skyscraper, so the invasion routes are limited, making it difficult to break through the enemy’s line of defense.

For some unfathomable reason, the game lets you call in tanks, even on the rooftop, and as for C2, the defenders can respawn directly from the rooftop, so just trying to stir things up with one or two squads won’t be enough to break the stalemate. Yes, there are some possible solutions such as making full use of drone bombs and helicopters, but that would require team coordination, which is difficult within the limited means of in-game communication Battlefield 2042 provides.

The frustration of not being able to communicate stood out in this objective point. Unable to communicate and not knowing what to do, each of us scattered, helplessly wasting our lives. It was like watching the Tower of Babel. There were other rooftop objectives on other maps that were also hard to conquer, but the C2 on Kaleidoscope was the most challenging one.

I was mildly moved when I witnessed a livestream of someone successfully taking the C2 point. Proving how it was not an impossible feat, and that it was a challenge we could overcome. I’m relieved that C2 is no longer located on the rooftop, but I miss that absurd objective point to some extent.

Holding a fishing rod makes me want to throw up

By. Aki Nogishi

There are currently 249 Big Fish in Final Fantasy XIV. Collecting them all will earn you the Big Fish achievement. I think most of the players who participate in the Big Fishing activity aim for this achievement. As for me, it’s been a little over a year since I started my endeavor, and I still haven’t accomplished it.

There’s a legendary Big Fish called The Ruby Dragon that dwells in the Ruby Price. More than two and a half years have passed since its implementation in March 2019, but many fishermen are still struggling to catch it, including me. I’ve been trying to catch it for six months straight and still no luck. My friend who started fishing with me caught it around the end of last year. I didn’t want to fish alone, so I invited another friend to go with me, and they caught it right beside me too, without any struggle. Now, I never want to go fishing with a friend again.

If this fishing feature was skill-based, then I could practice and get better at it. But in FFXIV, it’s primarily a matter of luck. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first attempt at fishing or if you’ve been at it for years. Honestly, I want to quit, but I’ve come too far to stop now. The Big Fish achievement is within my reach.

It’s better not to try at all than to try half-heartedly. That was the lesson I learned this year.