Some of us are controller throwers around here

Rage against the machine

We’ve all been there before — a maddeningly difficult part of a videogame; you’ve been trying for hours to best it. You just can’t. Maybe you never will. This might be impossible, actually. The developers must’ve been complete sadists to even include this. Bastards.

Then, like magic, the stars align for what looks to be one glorious run to put an end to this tedium. This is it! This is the one!

No, it’s not. You’ve come up short yet again. There are two ways to deal with abject failure of this magnitude — calmly deal with it in a rational manner like an adult, or smash the closest thing to you. Some of us resort to the latter.

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I’ve gotten a lot better at this. When I was younger and playing Bloody Roar 2, I got quite angry at the AI and literally smashed the glass on a table. My current wired “hardcore platformer” controller I use for games like Super Meat Boy, Spelunky, and 1001 Spikes currently rattles with broken bits in it because of Super Meat Boy. I got 100%, though!

I never throw controllers anymore, but in college during particularly heated Mario Party sessions, you better believe I did. You know that feeling — when you’re up three stars due to pure skill and one player steals a star by way of a Boo, then another teleports to one from a random lamp they found in a “secret spot.” Finally, someone gets the “wacky space” star at the end and suddenly you’re in last place.

At one point this all happened almost simultaneously and I threw the controller into the air. The problem was N64 controllers were wired, so it bungied back into the console, hit the cartridge, and froze the game.

We all went out for beers and never played Mario Party again.

I don’t intentionally break controllers, but my Atari 5200 controller broke on me due to natural causes. After owning it for a few months, it wouldn’t go up or left anymore. The same thing happened with all the replacement controllers we got. It was apparently a common problem — sort of the Red Ring of Death for its time — except that Atari 5200 controllers were much more rare than Xbox 360s are now, and you couldn’t have them replaced for free. 

I wouldn’t give up on it, though. I’d get as far as I could in every game I owned, only going down and right. I was a desperate child.

Throwing a controller is like the physical manifestation of all the rage I feel inside when I just can’t conquer a game. And growing up, I was a sore loser. I’ve since mellowed out much more, but in those days, it was like my only worth as a gamer was how good I was at a certain title or how many times I could best my dad in a game of Mario Tennis.

And, when that stupid tennis ball sailed past my head during a rousing session on the Nintendo 64 and I found myself down 30-love, I’d press my nails into the hard plastic and get poised to send the controller sailing — especially if my father saw fit to taunt me. That really sent me over the edge.

I’m not a controller thrower. I make a point to abstain, actually. Anytime I feel myself getting worked up, I inhale sharply and lift the controller almost to my face, then calmly set it down on my lap while exhaling slowly. It’s very zen-like, and it centers me.

I broke that routine once that I can remember. Playing Spelunky, I had been trying for the longest time to carry the key all the way from the mines through the ice caves, because that opens the shortcut to the temple that I would need to beat the game. I had a great run going, and was on the last level. Right at the exit, I foolishly and inexplicably went out of my way to kill an enemy, and was sent careening off the ledge to my death.

I spiked the controller on the floor. I spiked it so hard. Then, I just walked away. Now, I’m left with a controller that doesn’t detect it has batteries in it if it’s jostled even the slightest bit while being used. My fault, really.

I’ve never thrown a controller, but I was a very manipulative child. I would often bet my hot-tempered friends money that they wouldn’t throw theirs during a heated match of Mortal Kombat or after dying in TMNT III: The Manhattan Project. Let’s just say I had to chase down a few parents for bet money.

I’ve never been a controller thrower, but I punched my original DS because of Elite Beat Agents and it was enough to crack the top screen.

During the NES era, I managed to break several controllers. I also attempted to break my NES by throwing it across my room against the wall. Luckily for me, Nintendo made solid products, so the NES remained functional

The only controller I’ve been angry enough to break recently happened a few years ago. I was playing Shadows of the Damned. Now, the game itself was reasonable enough, but there was one section that had me completely frustrated — the boss fight in the library with Giltine Grim. I honestly cannot tell you how many times I tried to beat that damn boss.

It got to the point where I couldn’t take it any more and lost it, breaking my Xbox 360 controller. First, I tried to break my controller by hand. Since I wasn’t able to actually rip the controller in two, I stood up and threw it as hard as I could at the floor. That did the trick. I haven’t been that angry at a game since. Now, when I find myself getting heated at a game, I just walk away.

I don’t break or throw controllers. You guys are hella cray.

Brett Makedonski
While you laughing, we're passing, passing away. So y'all go rest y'all souls, 'Cause I know I'ma meet you up at the crossroads. Y'all know y'all forever got love from them Bone Thugs baby...