There are certain games that are just that special type of….addicting. For lack of a better word. They are games you love, but you also hate them. Or you hate them, but there’s so much good that you addictively love them. The games you love to hate. The ones that make you rage quit, but you know you’re coming back.
Back in the day these were often the games that seemed like a good idea during set up and then resulted in a board flip. Or a busted controller, based on whether you were hitting a table of board games or firing up your vintage video game system.
Video Games You’ll Love to Hate
These are games that have a lot of good things going for them. They are games that overall I enjoy, that deliver a great experience, and are a lot of fun for various reasons. The most common thread between them all being the feeling of well-earned accomplishment when you actually get through a game and beat it.
There might be plenty of times here where you throw the controller, scream at Steam, or hit that uninstall button in a self-righteous fury before slinking back weeks, days, or even hours later. Look no judgement, we’ve all been there.
But when you get through one of these games and come out victorious on the other side – you’ve earned that accomplishment. That feeling stays with you, as do the bragging rights.
In fact we’ve done an Unqualified Experts Episode on Video Games We Hate to Love/Love to Hate. Check it out if you haven’t seen it already for highlights, a great opening sketch, and to commiserate with fellow gamers who have those games they want to just pitch…but there are things that just keep them coming back. Or keep them hanging on, for you old school Rod Stewart fans.
While that goes over a good selection, it’s far from complete. And this list goes on to look at all the great, yet rage-inducing, games that are going to create these types of reactions among gamers of all ages and tastes.
Deadly Towers – The Original NES
Deadly Towers is like Dark Souls before Dark Souls…but maybe far more infuriating in the many ways you can (and will) die. This was a game that threw you into the deep end and then you either sank or swam and the game couldn’t give less of a crap which way you ended up going.
This was also one of the first video games where I felt a LOT of pride every single time overcoming a “small” boss, a small part of a dungeon, or just seeing a few new screens before getting murdered.
Among old NES games it is a cult classic and it did introduce a very interesting gaming experience. I will say that a criticism Braden had when trying it out is legit. As with many old NES games the controls could be wonky. In certain situations, broken.
Back in the Wild West days of 8-bit Nintendo games from dozens of companies, you accepted sometimes bad or broken controls at certain sections of game were just going to be a thing. With three decades of advancements in gaming, any broken, busted, or badly designed control function is no longer acceptable.
That makes this especially hard to appreciate if you didn’t play it back in the day, and will mar the nostalgia glasses. But if you can work your way through then it’s still an accomplishment to take pride in.
But you’re more likely to spike the controller on the floor in frustration first.
Many, many times.
Darkest Dungeon – PC Game / Steam
So let’s start out this section with a real life conversation with a friend in my D&D group from a few years ago:
“Shane, Joanna took your recommendation and played Darkest Dungeon.”
“Oh? How’d she like it?”
“She loved the first four hours. Then she rage quit. This is the first time I’ve ever seen her rage quit before.”– Shane: “Not gonna lie, I’m very proud of this.”
I absolutely adore Darkest Dungeon and had well over 400 hours of playing time in before the DLCs came out. This is one of my favorite games but yeah, even when you have the mechanics down at high levels it gets vicious.
Favorite characters would die. Depending on the types of teams you ran and the missions you had to grab, you have a pretty full graveyard as a result.
Minor RNG issues can be fatal at high levels but even then it often wasn’t even necessarily just RNG. This is a difficult game about an area under full onslaught of evil.
Things can just go wrong, and even your best team can meet a challenge their not optimized for. Boss fights are terrifying even when you have the right team ready to go.
This is an incredible game that should be in your library. You will love it for a few hours. Maybe a few dozen hours, but there will be a point where you party wipe and man – that’s gonna hurt!
What hurts most is that even after that you will still love the game. It is an incredible game to play on its own or with the DLCs. And speaking of the DLCs…
The DLCs bring an entirely different level of pain to the base campaign. The base game is a game you will love AND hate. Even without the DLCs putting additional baddies, mechanics, and fear into the issues you will be facing.
With or without the DLCs this is a game that will cause you some pain.
But you’ll love this game. And hate it. Hate to love it, love to hate it – it’s an awesome game that stands the test of time but man there are moments…
This is sort of the banner example of a game that is designed around making you ridiculously easy to kill. This is the “throw down the gauntlet” to the gamer with a difficult video game refusing to tell you how to slide on through or how to use gamer logic and the “hero blessings” to be anything but human.
You are human. You will die to skeletons. You will die to enemies. You may even die to a chicken. It’s possible. It happens.
Now this game has done a great job embracing this so heavily that it has become wildly popular and there is no question that based on the reviews it is a game that far more gamers will love as opposed to hate but no matter how much you are embracing the death by everything mantra that this game brings to the table, there are going to be times where it just gets so, so frustrating.
Ever try fighting a dragon where one hit murders you because hero or not you’re just a squishy little meat bag?
Yup. Good luck, scrub.
If somehow you’ve lived under a rock and haven’t gotten into these games, welcome to the world of Dark Souls to which an entire section of the Internet is devoted just to memes around this game.
- Redditt thread on most ridiculous Dark Souls 3 deaths
- Dark Souls Death compilation (YT Video)
- Dark Souls You Died Memes
Battle Brothers has an enormous following and it isn’t hard to see why. This game of building and managing your own mercenary company as you race against (meta: a difficulty curve that steepens based on time) the impending feeling of oncoming disaster. Which absolutely ,
But man, adjusted RNG…it’s bad. It’s just clearly intentionally designed to try to do the “make a bug like a feature.” The game cheats. Period. When RNG is just straight up no longer RNG then it’s bad news. And this is the biggest issue with Battle Brothers.
To the point where Battle Brothers RNG is its entirely own set of memes.
And that’s a shame because there’s a lot about this game which should make it easy to love.
The gameplay is exciting and addictive, the various stories are cool, and running a mercenary band in a fantasy world during a time of disaster is engaging and great. And it’s fun…until the adjusted RNG comes into play.
And then you’re dead. And if you’re not dead, you’ve lost so much in such a ridiculous way that you have no chance of salvaging the game. So even then you’re actually dead.
Especially playing in the Iron Man mode the game recommends.
I can see why it’s so popular. And I’ve been suckered into over 240 hours of playtime. But man do I also freaking hate this game.
The “Adjusted RNG” is broken beyond belief and sometimes the computer decides one or two of your guys are going to die no matter what. Then no matter the percentage of hit chances it “makes up for it” by making all your 10% chance shots hit after the damage is done. Rage inducing on an entirely new level.
This is a game that is incredibly addictive, very unique, and tackles plot & story in some truly remarkable and memorable ways.
While not overly common, there are some reports from Steam users that after a certain amount of hours it seems like the game has a tendency to get a bit buggy when it comes to crashes.
This is a shame, and I have to admit that I have actually experienced this and it is…aggravating beyond belief. I would still recommend the game because it is so good, it fills a niche unlike any other game you’ve played, and it is something that is hard to find in this day and age of the open video game marketplace: it’s a UNIQUE experience.
So would I recommend the game? Yes absolutely.
Will there be serious moments of b.s. that include potentially glitchy crashes? Yes.
The rage is real with this game. But no one said creating a cult under the watchful eyes of the authorities without getting executed would be easy.
Death in Vinland
There’s so much I love about this video game. Unfortunately, there are plenty of legitimate issues that overshadow the beautiful artwork, interesting moments, and very fun basis for what should be a top tier survival game but which unfortunately falls short. In many places this game is a solid A grade.
But in those other areas where it falls short you end up with a D or F grade and that creates a really mixed result that isn’t necessarily a net good. And this is a shame.
Because there’s something deeply satisfying to building the camp, balancing future needs with current needs, growing out the community, and getting ahead while also fixing and balancing moods. However, it doesn’t take much to break these balances and that’s what tends to happen with Death in Vinland quite a bit.
At the end of the day while there are moments that are amazing – there are such major issues that you end up with a really mixed bag of a game at the end that had so much potential and yet doesn’t deliver because those flaws are just too glaring.
The bonuses that characters get while falling in love, or while first in love, etc, should stay with them after the last event. Not only does this make sense – but the negative effects from choosing certain paths are permanent so why aren’t the good ones? Add in the fact that finishing certain story lines results in the random bonuses certain camp members give ceasing, it makes many of them less useful.
It’s a system that really doesn’t make sense and makes a game that is already hard enough unnecessarily harder in a way that is challenging but not fun. It actually feels like a penalty for bothering to fill out the storylines as opposed to working them to death or banishing them for no reason. Just becomes a broken mechanic that doesn’t work.
Honorable Mention: Deadly Days
This is one that some people who are in love with roguelites will like and I honesty thought about not adding it to this list as it does a lot of things well and the first dozen hours are actually quite a bit of fun as you are figuring things out, unlocking tech trees, and learning what type of options you have, what missions you have, and see the different zombies that show up.
And while it does a lot of good things well, as my Deadly Days Video Game Review shows: there are a lot of warts, too, and some that are just so infuriating that it makes you want to rage quit.
If you are a fanatic for rougelite games the way that I am a fan of RPGs and you may end up liking this one. But to me it just becomes such a mediocre-average to average game.
That should have been more. But those warts were just too much, IMO.
Though undeniably the soundtrack is freaking banging, and the game isn’t terrible…but it should have been so much better.
Board Games You’ll Love to Hate
Some board games are a lot of fun. Some aren’t. Some are popular but you want to toss them out anyway.
Chances are you have played some or most of the games on this list. Many of them are simple games that you start with young and that stick with you throughout youth and even growing up into adulthood.
Some of these are popular advanced boardgames that have a strong following, but there are still reasons for loving to hate these, as well.
Look, there are simply a lot of games that are better than Risk. In the same way there are those bands in high school you just move past as your music tastes develop (looking at you, Foreigner), Risk is a great board game as a really easy introduction into strategy games. But it won’t take long for you to get to the point where you are sick of the random luck of dice and want more skill involved.
Risk really is a great game, especially when playing with younger siblings or gamers and introducing them into the more strategic and complex games that will come along as they head into their tween and teen and then adult years.
Risk is a starter game. But that’s all it is. And if you are more of a Wil Wheaton than a Phillip Breja at dice rolling, it can be infuriating. Especially if you grew up playing Phil in Risk.
So angry. So over it.
Coming Soon: 22 Board Games Better Than Risk
So yeah, once that link is live, definitely check it out for better gaming options.
Ah Monopoly. The game that has different rules in every house hold and that has probably caused more board flips or table flips than any other game in history. I don’t think I have to explain this one too much.
The game is fun enough, simple enough, and known well enough that it’s going to be a game you play at some point. That said, I don’t know very many people at all who think Monopoly is one of the absolute best (or their favorite) board games out there. But it’s a common meeting point.
If only people actually knew the rules to keep it from getting out of hand.
On the plus side: there’s now a Monopoly for Sore Losers!
So eventually we will definitely be pulled back into that game once again 🙂
This is a game that I want to like so much, and there are parts of it that I do. The super dark humor that goes along with a Steampunk post World War I Europe is incredibly fascinating and the writing is great.
The game is also very dense. That doesn’t scare me off by itself but it’s a game that for whatever reason just struggles to work. The combat system is asinine and really punishes someone who goes all out in the military offensive, not realizing a giant victory then leads to him/her getting curb stomped by the rest of the table for easy points for the rest of the game.
There are also some severe balance issues. The game plays very good with a full board, but terribly with half a board or less because non-neighboring players will jump out to a commanding lead while those starting out right next to each other either need to collaborate blatantly or die…and they might be forced to fight each other anyway.
You either have dice luck or you don’t. Most of us don’t but we all have that friend who has their share…and yours. And your siblings’s. And their siblings’s. And then some extra because screw all of you, what do you need good luck in life for? Here’s another five sixes in one roll!
And so on and so forth.
Yahtzee is plain dice. As a child it’s fun because you’re exploring games and it’s easy to play. Plus since it is almost all chance you never know. At some point you might win. Even against an adult.
That isn’t something to just blow off. Especially as a young child that’s an important level of excitement. It’s a great way to bond and its easy. There aren’t a lot of hard feelings because chance is chance.
A great introduction game as a small child. Also great if you happen to have dice luck but seeing as how most of us don’t…at a certain age unless you’re playing with younger siblings or your kids or nephews/nieces, then it’s well past time to move on.
If you have terrible dice luck like I do…then you won’t miss this one. Not one bit.
Braden’s Contributions: Root & Dixit
Other one Braden hates and I don’t completely blame him. I like some aspects of Root, but I don’t think balance is achieved by throwing imbalance vs imbalance vs imbalance. I’ve played it multiple times to try to get the hang of it, especially since the online adaptation via Steam is actually very, very good – but I just can’t get into loving it.
Much like Shane admits that Scythe should work for him, Root is a game that feels like it should work for Braden, but it just doesn’t. Known among some of us as “The Vagabond Show” it often seems like one group gets insurmountably ahead in turn one and that’s it. Unless the vagabond turns on a dime and if he/she has the right equipment, then a person who was powerfully in the lead gets steam rolled.
Either way, it’s a frustrating gaming experience for anyone who is not called The Vagabond. And since there’s only one vagabond per game…well it just feels like everyone is doing their thing waiting for their turn.
There’s some smart game design and I do believe it plays better with the expansions in play, but this is more because of additional strategies added into the current game covering up flaws versus fixing them.
Matching patterns of famous artists. It’s a visual game that’s a nightmare for someone with any vision issues whatsoever. So for those of us with bad vision and color blindness….”not exactly fair” seems like a radical understatement.
Dixit is a game that a lot of people are going to like and it’s understandable. For some groups it will work. But there are very few people with great eyes, no color blindness, and fast accurate pattern recognition skills.
For those of us without, seeing this game come out is just…all the groans.
We have even more thoughts…
None of you should be surprised to learn that we care enough about this topic to visit it. At least once if you’re reading this the day it was published but probably multiple 🙂
Good Games But Time to Move On:
Sometimes you enjoy a game but given enough time it’s clear this wasn’t a game meant for a long-term classic stay but it was right for the moment and then it’s time to move on. The game was good, but it’s been overplayed to death. We’re guessing a lot of you are probably on board with this one, too.
Cards Against Humanity
Look, this was a great game when it came out and the entertainment value was off the charts. Add in that it opened the flood gates for many more games in their own ilk or genre (my personal favorite, and the one I think is most replayable, Joking Hazard) but Braden’s complaints about this game from our Unqualified Experts episode are valid.
After so much overplaying, you realize pretty quickly that the humor is pretty much the same. There’s the illusion of choice, but all jokes, all cards, all efforts that will usually win in 99% of groups is whoever can consistently create the biggest shock value. Which gets old really fast if you like subtle humor, clever humor, or have just played Cards Against Humanity enough that the fun of the shock value has long since worn off.
This was a good game that did great things for opening up entirely new areas for gaming, but it’s past time to move on.
This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t still jump in during a drunken New Year’s. And if you’re in a group who has never played this game, it’s worth the buy and jump-in, but then look at games like Joking Hazard and others that have gone further in this genre and built games with more replay value.
You can check out Cards Against Humanity from that link – OR –
This Cards Against Humanity Hidden Gems Bundle adds to the CAH game and if you’re not tired of this game, these add a LOT of extra cards to this game that can add a touch of freshness to it.
What Are Your Games?
Which games do you love to hate? What games do you hate to love? I guess “mixed feelings” are a great way of putting it. Are these the games on your list? Do you have others?
It’s an interesting topic and one that we’ve visited before on Unqualified Experts and are sure to talk about again in the future. Now with mixed feelings that doesn’t change the fact that these are games we don’t straight up hate. What does that mean? That means they had good features. There were things about them we liked, or at least felt addictive enough to keep them completely out of the scrap pile.
There’s a reason many of these games are popular, or were popular in their time.
And they’re worth checking out.
Where you go from there, well that’s up to you and your tastes in gaming!
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- Games Like Stardew Valley
Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.