What's something in games that gives you way more joy than it should?


Cribbing, with some tweaks, off the topic of this week’s GWJ Conference Call, what are some of the minor or mundane things in games that make you irrationally happy? Maybe you love it when a game has captions turned on by default. Maybe you go weak in the knees when they let you put silencers on shotguns. Whatever gives you that flutter. I’ll start off:

Drawing a walk in MLB the Show. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal. About 8% of all MLB plate appearances end in a walk, which means the average team draws about 3 per game. Yet somehow, after decades of playing baseball video games, I have absolutely no command of the virtual strike zone. I get probably closer to 3 walks per week. Do you know how embarrassing it is for your team’s OBP to be lower than its batting average? (For you non-fans out there: really damn embarrassing.)

The time two years ago I managed to draw three walks in one game WITH THE SAME HITTER (Daniel Murphy off Vince Valesquez)‽ I’m getting tingly just thinking about it.

Your turn!


When a character creator gives you the ability to see your character in different lighting settings! Let me see how my beautiful avatar will look outside of the creator before I have to commit to anything, please!


Being able to pet animals! Also being able to see your body in a first person game is something I quite like.


Monster Hunter: World’s character creator is so good in terms of, well, creativity. The customization settings give you a lot to work with. Like, under the makeup tab (which includes makeup, obviously, as well as scars and face paint/tattoos) you can fuck with the amount of matte, metallic, and transparency that goes into whatever you’re doing on your character’s face. My hunter, Afriel, has a relatively big scar on the right side of her face, and I was able to make it an appropriately faded light brownish-pink that matched her skin tone! And then, I futzed around with a little glossiness and metallic shine to make the scar more realistic!

Another one is the more mundane stuff in Destiny 2, like organizing your many exotics, shaders, and ghost shells. Or just like— contrasting weapons and armor against each other before you decide which one’s gotta get vored by the other. Or adding shaders to your already ridiculous-looking weapons and armor so you can get a theme going. After I got the expansion pass and finished cursing Bungie for their good, but needlessly expensive aesthetics, I made my warlock goth; it’s pretty big considering their gold/white angelic motif with that exotic chest piece that has wings and a name I can’t remember off the top of my head.

I like the little details you can get lost in, honestly. Sorting through the random garbage I pick up in D2 is like an entire pastime to me. Aesthetics are very critical to how I consume video games and most visual media. Even if the look has no real function beyond looking nice, I’ll spend an hour on it. For the aesthetic.


I feel like baseball games in general, simulation or arcade, really de-emphasize plate discipline. Part of it rests on the fact that the strike zone is called by a computer rather than a human, making it easier for virtual pitchers to work with a more predictable umpire. The other part is that player development in games like The Show only really improve your power and contact while leaving you to sort out your eye at the plate by yourself. Plus, once you’ve figured out the swing mechanics it’s pretty easy to mash some taters even on harder difficulties. Hopefully with the rising pitcher’s dominance in the current real life MLB there will be more emphasis in future games on working counts and the like.

As for something that gives me way more joy than it should, facial expressions during gameplay! Specifically, Link’s expressions in Wind Waker. I just die when I see our little roly-poly boy make these exaggerated faces at everything he comes across. So cute!


This is definitely true, but doesn’t change the fact that I am pretty much guaranteed to panic-swing at every 3-2 slider a foot and a half off the plate. I’m the video game equivalent of Adam Jones.


I don’t know if I shouldn’t get joy from this, but whenever the music changes in the middle of a battle (when Revived Power or The Opened Way come on when you mount a colossus in Shadow of the Colossus, shift from Ludwig the Accursed Blade to Ludwig the Holy Blade in Bloodborne). These moments become absolutely ingrained into my brain.


Honestly, as much as this makes me sound like a fuckin neanderthal.

Love me a big punch. The Big Hitty makes me feel good.


When you swing a weapon in Dark Souls in a cramped space and it scrapes the walls and sparks, but doesn’t hit the wall so much it bounces off.

When items glow.

I’ve been playing Neverwinter Nights 2 again and I’ve been using a helmet that produces an orange light for no other reason than it produces an orange light.


This is similar to yours, but I love it when, in a modern basketball game (2K18 or NBA Live 18), a player tries to drive on your player one-on-one and your presence pushes them back and forces them to pass away. This may be because I grew up on games like NBA Live 2003, which is a fun game but one that gives like 100% of the power to the offensive player with the best handles. Defense in basketball games only became a real-ass idea when I reached adolescence, but my memory of getting blown by so many Allen Iversons without a care of if I had a guy there to defend or not still has me relish the simple feeling of making a guy pass the ball


i like it when you wiggle the stick and fuck up the walking animation

i really like it when you can rotate your character at extremely high velocities

i don’t know if this counts because honestly i feel like this gives me the right amount of joy, which is a lot. if anyone knows of a link to an article on disrupting the constructed realities of games in this way, and what it means philosophically, please share it so i know i don’t have to write it myself.

but also i’ve been thinking about in Ocarina of Time when you attack-roll into a wall, and you get the sound, and the screenshake, and the rumble feedback. there are some boundaries where there isn’t really a collision, the animation just continues and finishes without Link moving, and that could have been the global case but there was a decision not to and i appreciate that.

i have had Several Beers, apologies for many words.


YES! Being able to rotate characters incredibly fast is very important to me, especially in multiplayer games as spinning is my greatest form of expression along with jumping!


Couple of things I like…

In game mirrors and other reflective surfaces with like really good reflective properties.

‘Settings’ menus that give descriptions of what each option/setting does.


Resident Evil 4: Opening a door slowly, but then at the last second booting it.

…creaks… BANG


Getting to be a badass melee fighting lady and put on a maid outfit


Ok, that reminds me of another one. When games have a Walk button, so I can make my character move like an actual human being and not some freakazoid who drops into a weird, slouched half-jog every time they need to travel more than 2 feet. Three cheers for Final Fantasy 15! (I make my characters walk a lot. The button is so I don’t have to nurse the left stick.)


Crossbows. Crossbows are good.

Also, voiceline spamming (especially Hello!) in Overwatch holds a special place in my heart.


need a dispenser here

need a dispenser here

n e e d a d i s p e n s e r h e r e


Others have already mentioned spinning around real fast, but finding out that they had put this into Pokemon Sun made my whole life. I literally screamed and showed it to all my friends who were present, like I was 10 years old again. I can still clearly remember that feeling of simple joy, as if it was still happening. I like to think the little triumphant fist pump at the end is Nintendo’s version of “we see you”


Hyper Light Drifter - Whenever you open doors or anything actually, a bar fills up and there are sounds associated with it and it was like catnip to me.

Super Smash - This is a common sound in a lot of Japanese media but the home run ping really tickles my brain.