I’ve been aware of this annoyance for years, but I thought it was just concentrated to my household when I was young, where mum would walk by me sat on the floor playing Tomb Raider and ask why I was taking the long way round when there obviously an easier way out (she wasn’t aware or artefacts and what not); but then I realised, just last night, it’s followed me.
So what is a backseat gamer?
I’ve decided they can be put into 3 different types.
Type 1: The Gamer
This type of backseat gamer is just watching you play either because they can’t get to a computer to play on, they are waiting to, or they just came to talk to you but ended up staying and offering “advice”.
They are possibly the worst type of backseat gamer because they are the ones who think they know best because they have already completed the game you are playing, and have decided their way is the most logical (though that doesn’t mean it’s fun), they are also usually the ones who will buy a game on release day, rush through it without appreciating it, purely to say they did it in X amount of hours.
Type 2: The Watcher
This type of backseat gamer watches you play because they either lack the confidence or skills (or both) to actually attempt the game themselves or because they simply like being passive. I have found this type does however tend to play ‘casual’ games.
They shout out what they feel are useful bits of information for you, telling you someone’s behind you, or that your low on ammo. If you’re playing something that involves a track or racing, they will even tell you when there’s a bend or corner and remind you your 7th out of a possible 8th which is really the last thing you need to hear.
I like this type of backseat gamer; sometimes it is nice to have an extra set of eyes, which I have found especially true having played though Bioshock with a friend years ago, or watching my partner game now. Extra Eyes are helpful, I get even more of this now as streamer but with the time delay that can be… problematic.
Type 3: The Passer-by
This type will not have any previous gaming experience nor have any interest in picking up what you are playing, they may even dislike games altogether; instead they will walk past, realise your doing something, stand and watch for a moment and then proceed on with a list of things you should be doing, or things you are doing wrong without actually contributing anything of use.
My dad was possibly the worst for this, when I lived at home my PC was in the living room, and he was nice enough to get me Halo when it first came out, but he wasn’t kind enough to leave me alone with it.
He’d come in from work, walk past me realise I was playing a game instead of doing homework (Oops) and then start on one of his usual rants of “that’s just not going to work”, and then he would walk off. See now I was so annoyed by this I would usually turn and stare at him or just not concentrate for a few seconds and then BAM I was dead, and then he’d hear me swear and shout back “I told you so”.
This may seem like the worse type, but it isn’t because in my eyes, anyone who won’t play a game for themselves can’t really justify being a backseat gamer. It’s like telling a driver what to do when you have no licence, a crime which I am occasionally guilty of.
Which one do you think you’re guilty of?