5Thou shalt not force repetition on the player.
Resident Evil 4, the God of War series, Heavenly Sword, No More Heroes, Dead Rising and every game with save checkpoints.
Here's a very simple rule:
Humans only find repetition enjoyable when they choose it.
Let's say you sit on your bed one afternoon and, out of boredom, fling playing cards at a hat for two hours straight, just to pass the time. You amuse yourself trying to hit 10 in a row.
Now imagine it's later in the evening and you're about to have sex with your girl. Suddenly she sits up, her boobies hanging out, and says, "Wait! We can't do it until you fling 10 cards into that hat over there! It's a rule in the obscure religion I practice!"
Will you enjoy the card flinging this time? No, and in fact the repetition you found enjoyable before will become maddening, as you flip cards around your frustrated, wilting manhood.
Well some video games are like tossing cards: sports games, fighting games, racing games. The fun is in repeating and practicing them. But other mission-based games are like having sex. There's a specific progression and goal in mind, and repetitive interruption only ruins the mood.
Such as ...
Having to replay levels due to limited save points.
This is a throwback to the arcade/NES days when physical limitations in the system wouldn't allow you to save your progress just anywhere. There is no reason for this now. None. We're busy. We've got work, appointments, phone calls. We shouldn't tolerate an inability to save our progress in any piece of software.
DAMMIT I JUST WANT TO FIND A SAVE POINT SO I CAN GET TO BED
Half Life 2 did this perfectly--it auto-saved every few minutes, behind the scenes. You didn't have to worry about it and you didn't have to re-fight enemies you had already defeated.
There are people who say that preventing saves adds to the "tension" of the game. Sure, in the sense that the fact that your 360 could catch on fire at any moment also adds to the tension. Face it, if the only way you can think of to add suspense to your game is to disable a feature of the hardware, then you suck at making games.
This is almost as bad as when you ...
Force us to watch cutscenes repeatedly.
This should be the law: If you've programmed your cutscene so that we can't skip it, then you should have your game programming license revoked. If you have placed your cutscene right before a spot where we're likely to die, and given us no ability to save after it, then you deserve a beating.
God of War: Chains of Olympus does this. And you'd better hope you don't die during the long-ass Bowser fight at the end of Mario Galaxy, because you've got to listen to his fucking monologue every fucking time you start over. Unskippable cutscenes killed Nights: Journey of Dreams, as sure as a bullet to the back of the skull.
Oh, shut the fuck up.
Seriously, what could be worse than this? Oh, wait ...
Instant failure quicktime events.
This has got to be one of the most diabolical inventions in the history of gaming. If you're not familiar with the term, this is when in the middle of a cutscene, suddenly the words "HIT THE A BUTTON OR DIE!" flash across the screen.
If you fail to hit the right button in that split second, the consequence isn't that you lose damage points. No, the consequence is that you have to watch the fucking cutscene again.
Until we turn off the game, get in our car, and drive to your office to deliver your beating.
4Thou shalt make killing fun.
Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, the Half Life games, almost any game where you fight with sword.
There is a reason why almost every game on the market allows us to kill many, many living things. We humans have a primal urge to kill because, thanks to natural selection, all the homo sapiens who didn't have a primal urge to kill, were themselves killed.
Thus, we find killing very satisfying and video games allow us to go through the motions of killing without actually endangering ourselves or others. Why then do you do things that rob us of this joy? Such as:
Starting us with a bullshit weapon.
Yes, we get that earning bigger, fancier weapons is a reward to keep us playing. But don't make us start with a weapon we probably have in our real-life garage (hey, thanks for the wrench, Bioshock).
"Gordon, the whole world has been taken over by a race of malevolent aliens. All of humanity is depending on you. Here's a goddamned crowbar."
And once you give us the cool weapons, don't keep forcing us to go back to the shitty handgun due to lack of bullets for the non-shitty napalm-tipped shotgun. We're talking to you, Resident Evil series.
How the hell did this trend survive past Wolfenstein? We hate using the handgun. You specifically put it in the game because we hate it. You know you did. We paid money for the game; so why are you making us do things we hate? Ever?
Things like ...
Filling the game with tiny rodent enemies.
Every first-person game seems to have these tiny little enemies that hop at your face, are hard to hit and, worse of all, are unsatisfying to kill.
How many of us were enthralled with Elder Scrolls: Oblivion during the opening prison escape, only to find ourselves in a cave with a rusty sword, trying to kill freaking rats? Seriously? Rats? In the game that was supposed to change gaming forever?
How many of us still actually enjoy shooting head crabs in the Half Life games, having slain half a million of them? How many Wii owners were thrilled to have a frenzied shooter like Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles only to find themselves shooting those pathetic leech things off the floor in room after room?
The only thing less satisfying is ...
Bullets that have no visible effect.
If we shoot a zombie in the arm, we want his arm to blow off. If we shoot him in the knee, we want him to limp. And if we shoot him in the head, we want his head to explode. We want our bullets to create wounds. Now let's watch a bit of Umbrella Chronicles, and watch the zombies go down undamaged, as if beaned with a baseball:
Oh, hey, there's some of those leech things, too. Yay.
Sword-fighting games like Oblivion are worse. You can slash the bad guy in the face with your blade and it does nothing. The enemy looks perfectly normal until he finally falls over dead, as if he had a heart attack from the excitement. Why give us a sword if we can't decapitate people? Don't tell us the system can't handle it, we were blowing off zombie limbs in House of the Dead a decade ago.
It's not about our blood thirst (well, not just about that), it's about making us feel like we're accomplishing something as we work our way through hordes of cookie-cutter bad guys. Oh, hey, you know what else we hate?
Filling the game with hordes of cookie-cutter bad guys.
This is another one of those problems that are exacerbated by new-gen graphics. Now that we can do photo-realistic faces, it's suddenly very weird that we're killing hundreds of identical clones.
How hard would it be to randomize facial features and skin tones? That's what we want, to feel like we're killing hundreds of different people. Not a bunch of clones or twins. We want to know, deep down, that there are hundreds of grieving mothers out there, lamenting the terror of our dreaded blade.