Nuclear Throne - (Matt Cox)


Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.>

Nuclear Throne [official site] is a bullet hell, twin-stick shooter roguelike set in an apocalyptic wasteland. Like, seriously apocalyptic – playable characters include a telekinetic sack of eyeballs, a mutated plant that s 90% mouth, and a blob of radioactive gloop. (more…)

Nuclear Throne

Vlambeer's Nuclear Throne, a "lightning-fast top-down roguelike shooter in which squidgy mutants vie for possession of the eponymous throne," came out a couple of years ago to widespread acclaim. We scored it 90/100 in our review, and it enjoys an "overwhelmingly positive" user review aggregate on Steam. It also wore out the developers pretty thoroughly. 

"Nuclear Throne took a lot out of us, and when we finally released the current U98 over a year and a half ago, we were all entirely exhausted," Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismail said last week. "Since then, we've slowly been finding our footing again, and now that we're feeling creative again, we decided to return to form with an long-long-long-awaited final major update to Nuclear Throne for PC, Mac, and Linux." 

That would be Update 99, which dropped yesterday, developed alongside Nuclear Throne Together mod creator YellowAfterlife. It doesn't add any new content, but "it is nevertheless significant," bringing improved performance, easier modding, and "a lot of quality of life and balance fixes." 

"We're excited to have one more update art by the phenomenal Justin Chan, we're excited to see the meta change once more, and we've genuinely missed seeing your responses to our silly development antics," Ismail wrote. "We are eternally thankful for your patience, and your sense of enthusiasm and community for the game." 

The full patch notes are too long to list here, but these are the new "features" listed: 

  • Area/weapon/mutation seeding is now far more consistent.
  • There's now an option for borderless fullscreen on Windows (Alt+Shift+Enter / in options).
  • There's now a confirmation dialog when exiting/restarting a run; R confirms in it.
  • Safe spawns now work consistently.
  • Added a setting for native cursors - when supported, this gets rid of mouse lag once and for all.
  • Added a setting for mouselock (when available) - for windowed or multi-screen setups.
  • Both players can now play the same character in coop without making use of bugs.
  • Added localization support (see lang-example.ini / copy to lang.ini for translating)

Some commenters have said that their progress was erased following the update, or that the game launches into a blank screen and refuses to progress. It's not clear yet if the two are connected (at least as far as I've seen) but if you do encounter the blank screen issue, hitting alt-enter will apparently get your wheels turning.

Nuclear Throne - (Alice O'Connor)

The rad roguelikelike shoot ’em up Nuclear Throne has launched what developers Vlambeer are calling its “final major update”. This comes almost two years after Nuclear Throne launched out of early access. Update 99 brings balance tweaks and buckets of bug fixes, improves the game’s performance, and should make modding easier. It doesn’t add gobs of new content but is intended to tidy up odds and ends to leave Nuclear Throne in a fit state for posterity. Well, mostly – it does seem to have a nasty little bug wiping progress for some players. Maybe wait a bit, just to be safe. (more…)

Nuclear Throne - Rami

It's update 99.

  • Area/weapon/mutation seeding is now far more consistent.
  • There's now an option for borderless fullscreen on Windows (Alt+Shift+Enter / in options).
  • There's now a confirmation dialog when exiting/restarting a run; R confirms in it.
  • Safe spawns now work consistently.
  • Added a setting for native cursors - when supported, this gets rid of mouse lag once and for all.
  • Added a setting for mouselock (when available) - for windowed or multi-screen setups.
  • Both players can now play the same character in coop without making use of bugs.
  • Added localization support (see lang-example.ini / copy to lang.ini for translating)
  • Almost too many bugfixes.

  • Weapons returned by Determination no longer have cooldown of last seen weapon in that slot.
  • Trying to pause mid-generation now pauses as soon as loading finishes.
  • Game now auto-pauses if connection is lost to the in-use gamepad.
  • Grenades no long persist on level change (since they could break generation / kill you).
  • Proto statues no longer keep rads from previous encounter if forgotten
  • Discs now have an axis-aligned bounding box and bounce *a little* more predictably. (don't get too excited - the spread is still there and you'll still hit yourself a lot)
  • Player' plasma shots now hit players with iframe rules when reflected.
  • IDPD grenades now harm IDPD (alongside everyone else) if deflected.
  • Mimics are no longer multiplied on loops.
  • Select enemies now just don't increment kill count instead of reducing it by 1.
  • You can now blow up the last enemy with Melting's Ultra A (the trick: it'll leave a corpse).
  • Proto chest now defaults to rusty revolver if it's weapon is gone.
  • Jungle now consistently offers new mutations on each visit.
  • You no longer accidentally pick up weapons when entering secret areas via objects.
  • Weapons can no longer end up under $$$-specific prop.
  • Hyper Crystal now clears additional area upon noticing the player.
  • Ravens no longer lift up and land on same spot if there's nowhere to fly.
  • Giving up crown of destiny no longer can cause you to have -1 mutation points.
  • Rads should now get stuck on wall edges slightly less often now.
  • The game will take minor effort not to spawn the player right on top of cars/generators.
  • IDPD explosions appearing on one spot no longer stack horizontally.
  • In a particular location, other cars no longer explode when using one of them.
  • Elite inspectors no longer pull non-moving projectiles.
  • Maggot spawns can no longer be duplicated on loops.
  • Enemy' slugs will no longer hit things while on last (almost gone) frames of animation.
  • Frog can now use Hammerhead mutation - use active ability when standing next to a wall.

  • Fixed original weapon gaining cooldown of what last was in your secondary slot when picking up a new weapon while having only one (mostly affected only Chicken and Robot).
  • Fixed portal not opening until van is gone if Big Dog and van are the last enemies on the level.
  • Fixed automatic weapons/abilities being used when unpausing via Continue/ability button.
  • Fixed necromancers trying to revive things that they can't revive (such as boss' corpses).
  • Fixed necromancers not doing anything if the nearest corpse has no line of sight to it.
  • Fixed a broken torch with T1 collision box behind T1 if dealing >1K damage to it during intro.
  • Fixed grenades getting blown up in portal proximity few frames after opening.
  • Fixed a number of oddities with Skeleton<->Melting changes.
  • Fixed it being problematic to sit down on 7-3/HQ3 sometimes.
  • Fixed portals in HQ not opening chests.
  • Fixed IDPD freaks being able to freely leave 0-1.
  • Fixed Rogue sometimes getting a rad canister on 7-3 with Open Mind.
  • Fixed Crown of Love not applying to chests on 7-3.
  • Fixed it being possible to farm kills by going between a level and HQ.
  • Fixed some tiles being slippery when fighting guardians in 5-2 vault.
  • Fixed a very occasional out-of-level hole appearing together with a hostile Horror.
  • Fixed cluster spawns breaking through safe spawn walls sometimes.
  • Fixed ultra bolts vanishing when out of 0-1
  • Fixed it being possible to farm rads by killing-reviving Horror in coop.
  • Fixed IDPD plasma ignoring iframes completely, as result dealing ~120 damage per second. It's now only almost always an insta-kill.
  • Fixed ravens duplicating if killed just as they are about to liftoff.
  • Fixed cars duplicating if grabbed by a snowbot just as they are about to explode.
  • Fixed it being possible to force self to deal with a van by blowing up the last corpse around.
  • Fixed Gun Warrant not allowing to use "infinite ammo" if clip is empty.
  • Fixed blood weapon "exchanging" not working for Steroids' active.
  • Fixed vans being required to destroy before a portal can open at 1-1 \ 1-2.
  • Fixed proto chest jumping around if pulled onto the crown pedestal.
  • Fixed jungle flower not spawning sometimes.
  • Fixed certain 2-1 specific props not spawning sometimes.
  • Fixed Technomancer spawning turrets outside of the level.
  • Fixed a possibility of getting multiple 101-1 portals on loops.
  • Fixed ultra bolts skipping enemies/walls sometimes.
  • Fixed elite enemy spawn condition not being checked for each enemy separately when duplicating.
  • Fixed "spawned" enemies (green rats, nest maggots) not getting killed upon entering secrets.
  • Fixed Horror's Meltdown allowing to "reroll" any extra mutations due to some real old code.
  • Fixed it being possible to pick up invisible weapons while in portal sometimes.
  • Fixed big rads charging the statues only by 1 rad.
  • Fixed 5-1 special prop sometimes getting destroyed by enemies on loops.
  • Fixed laser and lightning crystals freely moving for a few frames if hit mid-charge.
  • Fixed Lil Hunter extremely occasionally dying during spawn phase.
  • Fixed weapons not being swappable during boss intros.
  • Fixed it being possible to get free ammo via YV Ultra B when having no rads.
  • Fixed IDPD portals spawning on top of the player without intending to.
  • Fixed elite shielders telefragging the player sometimes (and generally teleporting oddly).
  • Fixed golden cars still occasionally being amiss on 3-1.
  • Fixed assassins not getting killed on special level transitions.
  • Fixed quick restart in hard mode not incrementing hardmode runs statistic.
  • Fixed "pop pop upgrade" not being free in terms of rad cost on ultra weapons.
  • Fixed explosions and enemy flak-type projectiles not being cleared when a portal opens.
  • Fixed it being possible to destroy throne columns with SPC/other wall clearing weapons before starting the fight.
  • Fixed lightning weapons not working correctly at 0-1 boss fight.
  • Fixed rogue strike canisters being replaced by rad canisters if a big weapon chest spawns.
  • Fixed statues absorbing rads even before activation.
  • Fixed weapons sometimes rapidly flying off in a direction because of appearing at the same spot.
  • Fixed weapon pickup mask being slightly off-center.
  • Fixed a rare crash related to elite shielder.
  • Fixed 6-1' stationary enemies spawning under 6-1 L1+ boss sometimes.
  • Fixed 7-3 and 0-1 bosses not dropping rads that were beamed into them.
  • Fixed a rare softlock in 7-x enemy teleportation.
  • Fixed "cursed"/glitched crown vaults (where non-guardian enemies would spawn inside).
  • Fixed portals sometimes appearing at position of last exploded barrel on 1-x.
  • Fixed Frog being unable to turn around when providing an opposite-to-moving-direction inputs.
  • Fixed elite shielder's teleport not working correctly.
  • Fixed a bug with specific prop unintentionally exploding after hitting it with an energy screwdriver and laser brain mutation.
  • Fixed a rare softlock in raven flight algorithm.
  • Fixed hyper launcher and hyper slugger hitting allies.
  • Fixed a very rare bug with portals spawning off-level.
  • Fixed portals spawning at an unnecessary offset from the last killed enemy.
  • Fixed a rare crash on dying to CrownGuardian.

  • Swap button now switches skins on daily, for lack of any other function.
  • Weekly' tooltip now shows the name of the weapon in case you've no idea.
  • Health chests now have a separate sprite when dropping from enemies with Confiscate in 2-?.
  • Added a potential fix for music playing for a split second even if muted.
  • Controls menu now knows more button names.
  • Controls menu now waits until newly bound button is released to avoid triggering it's effect.
  • Reworked formatted text drawing for performance and locale features.
  • Holes inside 0-1 level are now a little darker for contrast.
  • IDPD chests no longer appear to be regular large chests with Steroids' Ultra B.
  • Proto chest now displays under the weapon(s).
  • Names on daily/weekly boards are now shown to best extent.
  • The game now randomly cleans up some of smoke/dust/debris if there's enough to lag the game.
  • HUD now draws on top of mutation bar in case of too many mutations.
  • Control menu' items can now be triggered with Enter (accept-key).
  • Regular secondary weapons now draw with outlines during boss intros (b/c black background).
  • Secondary weapon' outline now draws on 7-3 for ease of identification on screenshots.
  • Van portals now display over most other enemies and effects (as they're a larger threat).
  • Pickup prompt now shows the correct key name if it's not E.
  • Crowns can now be picked with digit keys (like mutations/ultra mutations).
  • Snowbots now have a separate sprite for holding red cars.
  • Positional audio ("3d sound") can be disabled in audio options.
  • Rusty revolver now has a separate sprite for loadout (thanks to BioOnPC).
  • Most sounds can no longer restart more than once per frame, which helps performance.
  • Large-scale wall destruction now lags less.
  • Freeze frames now have decaying effect when stacking up too much (i.e. no 1s worth of FF).
  • Settings are now saved right upon exiting the options menu in-game (to avoid loss of changes).
  • Allies dying after portal opens should be a bit less laggy now.
  • Grenades no longer make continuous sounds if hit near walls.
  • 3-3 boss music now ends after it explodes.
  • Captions are now shown for the nearest weapon, not for all nearby weapons. This is also guaranteed to be the weapon that you'll pick up on key press.

    Coop-specific fixes and improvements:
  • If Chicken didn't find a health pickup on time in coop and was revived by other player, max health is no longer further reduced by 2.
  • Fixed the game only checking if one (random) player has low health for health chest spawn.
  • Swords & guitars now drop even if the according L1 level was skipped.
  • Fixed rads not being attracted to a non-Horror player during beam use.
  • Unsuspecting players now cannot be hurt by Frog "not holding it" during level loading.
  • Fixed a player being stripped of Rhino Skin passive if they were fainted when it was picked.
  • Mutation bar no longer displays under mutation buttons in coop.
  • Players can no longer attempt revival of coop partners while at 0 health.
  • Health chests can now restore maximum health to both players at once if they are Chicken.
  • Rogue' ammo is now preserved upon reviving.
  • Hammerhead uses left are now preserved upon reviving.
  • "mutation bar" now displays the coop ultra mutations.
  • If one of the players is YV, you now get the expected one-time effect on level ultra.
  • P2 can now skip credits as well.
  • Fixed Horror' passive having no effect on coop mutation choice with Crown of Destiny.
  • Coop HUD no longer has duplicate elements for P2.
  • Item drops now consider both players in calculations.
  • Fixed Crown of Death' effect wearing off upon revival.
  • Fixed "Eagle Eyes" bonus wearing off upon revival.
  • Fixed camera looking at nothing if your Chicken's (missing) head gets exploded.
  • Bloodlust/lucky shot now proc simultaneously for both players with the according "bond" mutation.
  • Robot' passive now works consistently in coop.
  • Fixed Strong Spirit recovering only for one player per level.
  • Players now will automatically pick up their weapons upon revival, provided that they are still lying nearby.
  • Fixed extra feet speed boost wearing off after a player dies.
  • Fixed it being possible to pick wrong mutation in coop when both players are actively mouseovering them.
  • The game now displays a separate kind of HUD for fainted players.
  • Fixed Melting sometimes getting 3/2 HP upon revival.
  • Fixed discs starting to hurt one of the players in coop earlier than the other.
  • Fixed chests and crowns not always playing the touching player' sounds in coop.
  • Fixed wrong line 2 color in Throne Butt description in coop.
  • Fixed proto chests closing only by proximity towards one of the players in coop.
  • Fixed player-race-specific alternate soundtracks not always triggering in coop.
  • Fixed area-specific player sounds playing only for one of the players in coop.
  • Fixed ammo pickups getting cursed only based on one player's actions.
  • Fixed shovel/ultra shovel precision based on one player's stats in coop.
  • All of the players are now shown on loading screens.
  • Fixed various skills and effects only displaying above one player in coop.
    (Bloodlust, Horror TB, Laser Brain, Level up, Robot' active, Steroids TB, Strong Spirit, weapon switch)
  • Fixed Rogue' chests not always appearing in coop.
  • Fixed Rogue not always causing the additional enemies to spawn.
  • Fixed Melting' passive not always working in coop.
  • Fixed weapons not always uncursing correctly in coop.
  • Fixed gas TB effect not always working in coop.
  • Fixed Rebel-specific sound on 1-3 victory not always playing in coop.
  • Fixed Horror' passive not always working in coop.
  • Fixed Y.V. specific loading screen text not always appearing.
  • Fixed maggot canisters not checking appearance condition correctly in coop.
  • Fixed big maggots only attempting to ambush one of the players in coop.
  • Fixed 2-1 exploding enemies not always making the "approaching" sound in coop.
  • Fixed 2-1 L1+ boss item drop condition not always working in coop.
  • Fixed 4-1 entrance condition not always working in coop (now requires any player to meet the condition)
  • Fixed 5-3 boss being biased towards terrorizing one of the players in coop.
  • Fixed 6-1 exploding enemies only desiring to explode near one of the players in coop.
  • Fixed 6-1 stationary enemies only being triggered by one of the players in coop.
  • Fixed 6-1 L1+ boss not necessarily tracking the right player.
  • Fixed 7-3 boss being only activateable by one of the players in coop.
  • Fixed 7-3 boss only being interested in walking towards one of the players. If you had situations where one of the players was randomly ran over by the boss, that's what it was.
  • Fixed vans being biased towards running over one player in coop.
  • Timer now displays in bottom-left corner of the screen in coop.
  • Fixed timer going faster than usual in coop.
  • Fainted players now carry over to the next level as you could expect them to.
  • Fainted players now emit a small amount of light in dark levels.
  • Fixed wasting health on reviving characters with less maximum health.
  • Fixed "Bloodlust" proc not working correctly in coop.
  • Fixed "Recycle Gland" resetting P2's bullet ammo.
  • Fixed Fish' passive working only at P1 slot.
  • You can now switch to B-skin in coop by using "swap" key on character select screen.
  • Fixed "Trigger Fingers" mutation' effect in coop.
  • Fixed "Rhino Skin" mutation' effect wearing off after respawn.

Huge thanks to YellowAfterlife, who we hired to work on update 99. And thanks so much to you all, for your enthusiasm, care, patience, and for being part of this community.

Vlambeer & the Nuclear Throne Team
Nuclear Throne - Rami

Hi there! It's been a long time, and as you all probably noticed, Vlambeer has been in somewhat of a hybernation state. Nuclear Throne took a lot out of us, and when we finally released the current U98 over a year and a half ago, we were all entirely exhausted. Since then, we've slowly been finding our footing again, and now that we're feeling creative again, we decided to return to form with an long-long-long-awaited final major update to Nuclear Throne for PC, Mac, and Linux.

We've hired YellowAfterlife (the creator of the Nuclear Throne Together mod) and worked closely with community members and feedback to create an update 99 that is worthy of the wait. While we want to stress that you shouldn't expect new content for this update, it is nevertheless significant: the game performs significantly better, is easier to mod, and a lot of quality of life and balance fixes have been introduced.

We're excited to have one more update art by the phenomenal Justin Chan, we're excited to see the meta change once more, and we've genuinely missed seeing your responses to our silly development antics. We are eternally thankful for your patience, and your sense of enthusiasm and community for the game.

As such, we're announcing an AMA over on the official Nuclear Throne Reddit for November 6th, and Update 99 will release at some time near the end of the AMA.
PC Gamer

"Videogame music is as much a part of the discography of our lives as any other LP, and indie game music has transcended the 16-bit throwback vibe so much lately," said Patrick McDermott of Californian record label Ghost Ramp while chatting to Andy earlier this year. According to McDermott, Ghost Ramp's raison d'être is to portray game composers as artists in their own right, and as such has set out to launch videogame soundtracks on vinyl—the company's first major game-to-vinyl release being Crypt of the Necrodancer.   

Now, Vlambeer's top-down shooter-meets-roguelike Nuclear Throne is in line for similar treatment, with composer Jukio "Kozilek" Kallia's work being transformed to record-form, boasting the following ultra-cool sleeve art: 

The artwork featured above comes courtesy of Justin Chan, with vinyls being sold in both Limited and Special Editions. Full details on what each package offers can be found via the Ghost Ramp store, however expect extra goodies such as stickers, enamel pins and digital download keys. 

Shipping in May of 2017, the Nuclear Throne vinyl costs either $40 or $50, depending on whether you vouch for its Limited or Special Edition. Preorders are available now if that's your thing. 

PC Gamer

Nuclear Throne is the rare game that I fail at over and over again, but keep coming back to. It s such a satisfying twitch shooter that I m constantly on edge and terrified for my life in the later levels our review very accurately describes it as a roguelike shooter of insidious grace and flexibility, with every single moving part a source of terrible fascination. When I saw an online multiplayer mod pop up last week, I was immediately compelled to play it what better way to alleviate the stress of an intense roguelike than to have a friend there to help? What an innocent though that was.

Nuclear Throne Together works shockingly well, and is a ton of fun, but if anything, it makes the game more stressful and frenetic. My co-op partner Tom Marks can attest to that, as I spent most of the later levels in our sessions shouting oh god oh god oh god as everything on the screen exploded constantly. We exploded a lot of stuff, Tom and I. It was a good time, and co-op adds an interesting strategic twist you won t find in single-player. When your partner goes down, the game gives you a limited window to revive them and split your HP. If you leave them down, you start taking damage and die yourself. We ride together, we die together. Mutant freaks for life.

I m still a little amazed that this mod exists. Nuclear Throne shipped with local co-op for two players on the same PC. Nuclear Throne Together takes that mode and brings it online, with full Steam integration (friends list, invites, etc.). I m no programmer, but I m pretty sure writing solid netcode for someone else s game especially when the source code for that game isn t publicly available is a hell of a task. Modder Vadim wrote on his website: Should you have an impression that reverse-engineering an existing large game to poke few thousand new lines worth of code into it isn't a bad idea it very well is.

Oh, and that s not all it does. As Vadim wrote, Nuclear Throne never was a coop-centric game, and thus coop mode didn't receive enough attention, remaining ridden with various small bugs. This mod changes that, fixing pretty much every known issue, and giving coop some much-needed polish. He also fixed some other game bugs while he was at it.

From my hands-on time with the mod, it worked perfectly about 90% of the time. In a few moments of heavy action, with tons of explosions going off on-screen, Nuclear Throne lagged to the point of entirely freezing up. This happened about four or five times across three runs (we even made it to the Throne in one of them!) and usually lasted a handful of seconds before clearing up. I believe both of us were on stable connections, though Vadim notes that the mod requires somewhat-low-latency (100ms delay / 200ms ping) connection for comfortable play and Comcast could be to blame for our little lag spikes. Either way, they didn t get in the way of us having fun. For the majority of our time playing Together, it was smooth shootin .

I hope this mod is the sign of a co-op naming trend, by the way. Don t Starve Together, Nuclear Throne Together it s just such a nice way to say two-player. Grab the mod here.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Alice O'Connor)

Online co-op multiplayer has arrived in Nuclear Throne [official site], Vlambeer’s John-pleasing rougelikelike shooter, thanks to an unofficial new mod. YellowAfterlife’s Nuclear Throne Together mod cleverly adds online multiplayer completely with Steam invitations and lobby lists, which is awfully impressive considering Vlambeer never shared source code – this is reverse-engineered. Now you and a pal can try to become kings of the nuclear wasteland together.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - Rami
It's been a while, but update 98 finally seems ready. While we've done lots of testing on this build over the last few weeks, do note that the changes to this build are 'deep' enough that we can't guarantee it's 100% stable. Over the next few weeks we'll work on update 99, which will fix any issues that come up as 98 rolls out.

Most of Update 98 is balancing and fixes to issues introduced in 97, but the biggest change is the re-introduction of the Thronebutt meta-leaderboards. Nuclear Throne now directly interfaces with the site, and that means you can keep track of your Daily and Weekly performance there.

Thanks for the patience, and let us know what you think!

  • integration!

  • Heavy Slugger Buff
  • Jungle flies now have a chance of dropping maggots
  • Lightning Crystals are now more aggressive
  • Ultra Bolt Damage Buff
  • Some minor Steroids changes (now starts with bullets, starting ammo increase)
  • Huge things can no longer be revived (bosses, etc.)

  • Fixed some retroactive achievements
  • Removed Daily/Weekly from DRM-Free builds
  • Coop fixes
  • IDPD Van Depth fixes
  • Several No Portal Bugs fixed
  • Less freeze frames on Ally death
  • Skeleton now loses mutations properly
  • Lightning can now escape certain levels
  • Mom attacks with toxic again
  • YV purgatory bug fixed
  • Lots of crashes fixed
  • Van infinite loop fixed

  • Collision optimalisations
  • Lightning optimalisations
  • Melting scorchmarks depth issues resolved
  • Loadout guns no longer sound like chicken sword and vice versa

As a fun side-note, community member lietu has been working on Throne2Speech, which sort of narrates your Nuclear Throne run using the new Thronebutt. It's still in beta, so it might not be perfect still. We're looking forward to what people create with the new stream key and Thronebutt integrations!
PC Gamer

Games confront us with failure all the time. It could be the famous YOU DIED message of Dark Souls, or the unfavourable scorecard at the end of a hard-fought round of Rocket League. In the heat of the moment calm Vulcan exteriors can crack. Curses are uttered. Innocent controllers are thrown out of windows. Things can get intense.

Some games induce rage more than others. A long game of Dota 2 squandered by one error will understandably leave some participants furious, but when we started writing about the games that made us quit in anger some surprises turned up. Even a serene adventure like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter or a strategy game like Civ can trigger a moment of total despair. Here is a collection of our ragequit stories. Share your own in the comments.

Rocket League and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Samuel Roberts

About ten years ago I used to break games, controllers and keyboards on a regular basis after losing at something (without going into it, losing my Ifrit card in Final Fantasy VIII s Triple Triad to the game s awful random rule ended up costing me 30). Then, in the last few years I thought I d mellowed out, sailing through much of my twenties with only a vanquished 360 controller (vanquished by my foot—I don t remember why) to show for it. Turns out, this was delusional and I m still furious all of the time. Usually when I m playing online.

Rocket League came out last year. I must ve reinstalled that game about five or six times after having bad games and deleting it from my Steam library, and it s always for the same reason—losing when I feel I didn t deserve to, either because my teammate was rubbish or because I was (usually the latter). The worst time was when I turned my computer off at the wall after, probably, an own goal. I am a tit. I m staying away from competitive games from now on, going back to my precious little bubble of mowing down NPCs in a bid to see the closing credits of story-based games because I m too much of a baby to compete with other humans. Wah! In a similar vein, I also wasn t massively keen on the time we lost an amateur match of Dota to a surprise team of experienced players, and my measured response was to never play Dota again.

I tend to have more moments of indescribable disappointment than ragequitting these days. This happened to me with The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the first-person adventure released in 2014. I was enjoying the feeling of being in that world a lot, and while I loved a few of the individual, weirder moments I encountered in that world, I didn t really like the story that much at all. I wandered into a mine, went down some stairs and a monster walked up to me and killed me without any explanation. I turned it off, uninstalled it and went to bed. It s a very mellow form of ragequitting.

Now, I ve been told there s a very easy way to get past this bit by PC Gamer s Tony Ellis, and I don t doubt it. But there was something so crushing about this seemingly random death in a game about walking through an environment and absorbing story that I just had to leave it. I didn t play games for an entire month after. I m sure it s not just Ethan Carter s fault, but I found that moment so oddly depressing that I needed a month off from the entire medium. Still, I very much enjoyed the trees and the tense atmosphere, and maybe one day I ll go back and activate the simple solution for getting past that monster. And then I ll take another month off playing games.

Nuclear Throne

Wes Fenlon

A lot of things explode in Nuclear Throne. Barrels. The grenades and rockets you fire out of very dangerous weapons. Worm things. Frog things. Cars. I ve died many times in Nuclear Throne, often due to one type of explosive or another. Usually that death comes swiftly and unexpectedly, and I sigh or go UGH and start up another round. But sometimes that death is annoying enough to make me mash the ESC key until I m back on my desktop to cool off. And man, nothing in Nuclear Throne has managed to piss me off more than a stupid exploding car.

The cars are just environmental hazards to avoid or use to your advantage. Shoot em and they can take out a good chunk of enemies. Stand near them when bullets are incoming, and you might be blown up yourself. Got it? Easy to understand. I never took damage from an exploding car. Until. UNTIL. Until I cleared out a level and the portal to the next level appeared near me with a boom, as it always does. Near me also happened to be near a car. And when a portal appears near a car with a boom, that car explodes. And when you re near a car and it explodes, even as you re being dragged helplessly into the portal that whisks you away to the next level, you take damage. And, in my case, die. And, also in my case, mash the ESC key so hard it will forever fear the touch of an index finger.

Fuck you, portal. Fuck you, car.

I relaunched Nuclear Throne three minutes later.

Tomb Raider

Angus Morrison

I ragequit a series. One of my favourite series, in fact, but despite knowing that I burn with the self-righteous anger of a fanboy, I won t go back to Tomb Raider. Each time I post about an impending Rise of the Tomb Raider release I secretly wish that Microsoft s exclusivity deal had been that little bit more exclusive. I retreat to a dark corner so as to escape the vile glow of other people s excitement.

I tolerated the new Tomb Raider, for a time. The blocky climbing frame formula of the previous games was ancient after all, and the series was due for a refresh, but Crystal Dynamics refreshed it so hard it became something else, namely an over-earnest story about a psychotic, angst-ridden gap year.

The open, choose-your-own-route environments had a dash of brilliance about them, but on every clifftop was a platoon to be mown down while teen Lara warbled about Bastards! in a comically bad British accent. And the actress is British! I got so sick of shooting things and failing QTEs that I left the main story in search of what I was led to believe would be a tomb to raid: The Tomb of the Lost Adventurer. It was in the name. What I got was a lone physics puzzle, but as I was willing to try anything to relive Lara s glory days at that point, I gave it a crack anyway.

The lone physics puzzle bugged. The body of a crashed plane I had to topple to make a bridge just hung in the air devoid of support. The sole remnant of Tomb Raider s heritage as a puzzler was inexplicably borked. I m done.

Super Hexagon

James Davenport

Sometimes I wonder what it would take for a video game to kill a person. During my senior year of college, I found Super Hexagon. I dabbled with the mobile version between classes, but didn t get serious until I could sit across from 50 inches of warping, pulsing, spiraling shapes on an obscene TV via my PC. Games rarely hold my attention for more than their running length or the first few times I hit a difficulty wall. There are just too many other interesting games to try out, and I get anxious about missing something special.

Super Hexagon consumed me. I spent hours and hours trying to beat my friends high scores on every level, and eventually unlocked the final stage, Superhexagonest. At first, it seemed impossible to survive for 60 seconds, the requirement to win a given stage. During a weekend visit back home, I ignored my family for a day, working to hit that sweet 60. Hours of attempts didn t even net a close run. Sleep was difficult that night.

Immediately after waking up, I booted up the game, still not entirely conscious. It was magic. Like some kind of sleepyboy superhuman, I hit 45 seconds with ease and kept going. Suddenly aware of my nearly perfect run, I started to wake up. 55 seconds, still going. My hands start shaking. 57 seconds and the sweat rolls in. 58 and I nearly cry out. 59 and I fuck it. Without a word, I got dressed, packed up the dogs into the pickup and drove up Elk Ridge, a mountainous forested area ten miles out of town. I brought headphones and set Boards of Canada on shuffle. My dogs were excited for the impromptu walk, and started peeing on every tree and bush they could. This was something I could control, something I could win. So I peed on their pee until my place in our little hierarchy was made clear. We walked for a while, spooked a black bear, sat on a log, and then went home. I didn t touch Super Hexagon for months.


Chris Livingston

Not only is Spelunky the rare game that makes me ragequit, it s the only game that always makes me ragequit. I never finish on a high note: if I have a good run but die, I always play again to try to best it. If I have a terrible run, I keep playing until I have a better one, but then after that better run, as I said, I keep pushing until I have another terrible one. It doesn t help that I ve never once successfully beat the game, which means every single session has ended in disappointment or frustration. And we re talking about over a thousand sessions.

What s more frustrating is that the rage is directed at myself rather than the game, as my deaths are pretty much always caused by a mistake, a stupid risk, or an error brought on by trying to be overly cautious due to a previous mistake or stupid risk. Spelunky is harsh but generally fair: I ve learned how everything works so there are no real surprises. I love it, but stink at it, and the only way I see not ragequitting it is to beat it, which I just can t seem to do. I hate you, Spelunky. Never change.

Civilization V

Tyler Wilde

When I was a kid, a friend mercilessly pummeled me at Street Fighter 2 and then said I was a gaylord, so I threw the controller at him and power-walked out of his house. They called me sensitive back then. I don t really get too mad in competitive games anymore, though. I ve spit angry half-words at Rocket League teammates here and there, because what are they even doing, but I do it with my mic off, because I m not a jerk. I ve never left in the middle of a match, except once when my roommate started uploading a YouTube video and my ping went to hell and so I had to go throw the controller at him.

What really gets to me is Civilization V. When I ve got a sweet little empire going, and I m just about to realize my master blueprint of roads and port towns and cozy, defensible foothill settlements, some bastard like Alexander the Great rolls up to my capital with a bunch of siege engines. I ve been tinkering with trade routes and figuring a military can come later, trying to make a pretty civilization before a toothy one, and Alexander just has to pop in and kick over my sandcastle. I play this way almost every time, even though I know better. I probably Alt-F4 half the time I play Civ these days. I wonder if I wouldn t prefer to play without any other civilizations. Just me, alone, slowly covering the world with little buildings.

Dark Souls

Tom Senior

Ragequit moments are deliberately built into Dark Souls. As you push into a new location you steal souls from hollowed corpses that Alt-F4 d out of existence long ago. With each new difficulty spike Dark Souls dares you join them. It's clever, but it doesn't make me feel any better when things go wrong.

In fact, knowing this only makes me angry about my own anger. I'm playing right into their hands. When the Four Kings' homing purple missiles of hot bullshit one-shot me, a noise like a strangled moped emerges from my throat. I throttle my pad and grimace like a Sith lord on the bog. Sometimes I say "whyyyyyy" out loud. It is very undignified.

The burning fury in my soul can only be resolved by blaming things. I blame my ageing Xbox 360 controller, with its stunted insensitive shoulder bumpers. I blame FromSoft, for everything. I blame the laws of chance, for some reason, even though damage in Dark Souls is metered out through blows and counter-blows without need for dice rolls. I blame the bus-wide butt-cheeks of the Demon Firesage for blocking the camera during a deadly area-of-effect attack. Screw it all. Turn it off.

I ve had a stuttering relationship with Dark Souls, then. I was left so exhausted by the descent through Blight Town that I stopped playing for a few months. I put it down after attempting the opening section of Anor Londo, which has you running up and down buttresses under heavy arrow fire that knocks you to your death. But looking back, it was a broadly positive experience. Dark Souls infuriating moments are matched by euphoric highs. Even in the throes of agonising frustration, at least Dark Souls made me feel something. Few games put me through the emotional wringer in such a way.

Fuck the Bed of Chaos forever, though.


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