6 Hilarious Video Game Flaws Only Contractors Would Notice

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Most games that make it onto shelves nowadays are stylistic and technical marvels. The user interface is concrete, the storytelling is immersive, and the art style is unique and evocative. And while all those things are greatly appreciated, sometimes that incredible creative direction comes at the cost of realism.  

I’m not talking about the double jump in mid-air kind of realism. I'm talking about the type of in-game design errors that only built environment professionals would notice. And, for those of us in the know, some of these gaming errors will absolutely make your sides split.

1. Recessed lighting disaster design – Starfield

 

 

Not sure what the person who installed these can lights was thinking but I would venture a guess that they weren’t. First of all, the pattern looks like a constellation. (We’ll call it “The Big Dumber”.) But let’s really consider the design choice here. You’ve got 12 disk lights installed sporadically in approximately a 6sqft section of ceiling. From a brightness standpoint, this is far too many lights for such a small space.

And from an electrical standpoint, this is a fire hazard waiting to happen. No two can lights should ever be as close together as some of these duos are. Not only would there not be enough room for both electrical components, but the heat produced between the two of them in such a close proximity would be dangerous.  

“I just read the prints man I don’t make these decisions.” - The installer of these lights probably.  

I mean, how is this not absolutely blinding? That poor woman on the couch is just existing in this weird liminal space of the most uselessly designed recessed lighting I've ever seen. 

 2. One pull string on a ceiling fan and no light switch – Phasmophobia  

Take a look at this room’s set up. On the surface it looks like any other living room with a television, a couch, and an overhead ceiling fan. But if you look closer, you’ll notice that the den in The Tanglewood House in Phasmophobia is kind of a lighting design disaster. Let's ignore the fact that this room is usually haunted and instead focus on that ceiling fan.  

There is only one pull chain connected to the fixture, but there are two operations that need to be addressed: the light and the fan. I would consider letting this slide if I could find a light switch on the wall that operated the light while the pull chain works the fan, but there aren’t any.  

Also, why aren’t there any other light sources in this room? You’re telling me that the haunted television and the ceiling fan are the only two things illuminating this space? No lamps? No recessed track lighting? Not even a candle?  Speaking of Phasmophobia’s horrific lighting, maybe this isn’t an inaccuracy more than it is a crime against lamps, but seriously what is this? 

Not only are we subjected to two of the dimmest kitchen lamps in history, but we are robbed of track lighting? Completely devoid of under-the-cabinet task lighting? Forget the fact that the house is haunted. This lighting design is the real horror here.  

Aside from the lamp crimes, do you see that void of a stairwell?  There should be at least one light at the bottom of those steps for safety reasons alone. Sure, from this angle, there’s no way I could know if there are lights lining the ceiling of the steps. But I don’t see a light switch on the wall which means that there either aren’t lights in the stairwell, or the only light switch is at the top of the stairs. Either way, not a very good set up.

3. Broken doors that you still need a key to unlock – Fallout

 

This one really gets my goat, which isn’t easy for a video game to do. Surprisingly, I’m not focused on the fact that the dilapidated house has strip lights that still work even after nuclear fallout. The truest issue here is this “locked door” (very hard) that you need to pick the lock to get it open. Why? This door isn't even a door anymore. It's just half of a hole in the wall! What’s stopping me from just reaching through the shattered wood to unlock the thing from the other side?

This isn’t the only game where locked doors don't make any sense. Take a look at this example below of what might be the most useless door in history.

“Oh no! The door’s locked!” Gee Max Payne, what a pickle you’ve found yourself in. I guess there is no other foreseeable way to get into that next room. Better go find a key! Nothing ruins the immersion of a game like restricted access to an obviously accessible room.

4. Giant ceilings for regular people— Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord 

I don't know who designed this tavern in the citadel, but I assume they were 6 meads deep while sketching out the blueprints. The ceilings are nearly three times as tall as the people. From this perceptive, you can also see how the staircase in the back corner is basically a staircase for giants.

Here’s the math: Let’s say that the woman we’ve measured in red is average height: 5’5. Proportionally, that means the first three steps are over 5 feet high. On average, a standard step should be between 7 and 8 inches. This staircase has individual steps that are a foot tall at minimum! Sorry, but that’s insane.

But maybe you’re saying, “what if Giants use this tavern?” I hope they don’t because they’re going to have a hard time sitting on those teeny-tiny stools.

5. The house is a design nightmare –Harvestella

Harvestella is a relatively new farm simulator and RPG that came out late 2022. The cozy soundtrack, hack-and-slash play style, and party building system are all well done and charming aspects of the game. I do, however, have a bone to pick with the home that they give you as the main character.

The plumbing in this game is a menace. The devs took one look at the kitchen and thought “you know what this needs? Absolutely nothing.” There’s no furnace. There’s no faucet or water source. There is no well water system. In fact, the only well on MC’s farm isn’t even filled with water. Instead, it’s filled with a never-ending dungeon of monsters.

This isn’t the only issue I have with the developers' design choices in this game, which leads me to my next issue with this ridiculous house: The unholy number of sconces in the bedroom.

 

There are nine sconces in this one screen capture alone, which only shows half of the room. The other side is identical, meaning there are 18 wall sconces in one room. Plus, a lamp on the bedside table, and a lamp in the corner. Aesthetically, this looks cozy and cute, but I don’t think the designers understand just how bright that room would be.  

In addition to the sheer number of lamps, there isn’t a switch on the wall to operate these units. It’s possible that they’re lit by oil and flame, as the lamp on the bedside table doesn’t seem to have any wires or cords attached to it. But then that would mean that the main character would need to light all 18+ lamps individually. You couldn't pay me to light this many sconces, especially ones so high up. 

6. Doors that open both ways—Grand Theft Auto (And a million other games) 

GTA was the first game that came to mind when I considered the sheer number of inaccuracies. In real life, doors are either push or pull. The only doors that open both ways are swinging doors, which are most commonly found in commercial locations like restaurant kitchens and saloons.  

In everyday life, residential doors only open one way, mostly for safety reasons. The threshold of a door frame typically keeps the door from swinging past its lock/closing mechanism and this makes it more difficult for someone to break into a home. Perhaps less people would be burglarized in Grand Theft Auto if they just fixed their door issues.  

Here’s an example from PUBG, a battle royale style shooter. 

These screen captures are of the same house, just at different times of day. The top picture shows the door opening inside, and the bottom picture shows the door opening outwardly.

The frustrating part is that the door frame is set up in a way that wouldn’t allow for the door to swing both ways. You can see the frame’s stopping block on the left side of the threshold. So, what gives? Are the solid wood doors phasing through the frames like Danny Phantom?

This door mechanic is common in almost every arena or multiplayer game out there and, as someone with a working knowledge of a door hinge, it makes me want to saw my controller in half.

 

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