We've got to the stage in which excessive violence, blatant misogyny and willful wrongdoing no longer raises an eyebrow in gaming. Decapitation, massacre, breasts that you could secure scaffolding in... We've seen a lot. An awful lot. So it takes a special sort of game to make you place your head in your hands and weep bitter tears of embarrassment. But you can't bite your lip forever. Here are ten moments from recent PC gaming that made us chew our keyboards with their terrible, terrible banality...
1) Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within
Gratuitous early-game presence of buttock
As if to underline, firmly and in red biro, that Warrior Within was an entirely different kettle of (now sexy!) fish from The Sands Of Time, this is what we were presented with as the game booted up. An arse, a leather-garotted arse, of a sexy pirate sauntering like an Eastern European callgirl into the fray. "You bitch!" shouted the Prince. "You dreamdestroying tosspots Ubisoft!" we shouted back. Before playing the rest of the game and quite enjoying it.
2 ) Max Payne
We let old Max get away with a lot; all that, "you'd find that Lady Luck was really a hooker, and you were fresh out of cash" may have had its tongue in the right side of its cheek, but was still pretty silly. Nowhere near, however, as mind deadeningly crass as the section that sees Max sky-high on Valkyr and convinced that he's trapped inside a graphic novel, and then a computer game. Because he is! He is! Do you see? Do you see? ARGH! Remedy we love you, but... But... Argh!
3) Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Fisher can kiss girls with no qualms
When you're a highly-trained secret operative protecting the world from global terrorism, utilising expensive secret military gadgets and stretching your legs very far apart, you need to make sure your nasal cavities are clear at all times. That's why Sam Fisher uses Airwaves, to ensure he can breathe easy no matter what situation he's in. This is such an important fact about Sam that we're reminded of it in almost every cut-scene in Chaos Theory, sometimes with full-screen establishing shots of the menthol-chewing gum, and sometimes with subtle appearances of it, well, everywhere. After all, there's nothing like a misplaced sniffle to alert a bored sentry.
4) Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
Random boob movement
"What are you doing darling?" "I'm just playing the unfinished, yet highly acclaimed Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines sweetie." "And who's this?" "This is Jeanette, she's a really, really dirty minx!" "Right. Why is her right breast twitching uncontrollably?" "I don't know sweetie. Maybe it's because of the physics." "You're not doing it then?" "Nope, not me." "Are you going to watch Coronation Street with me? It's on in a sec." "Yes dear."
5) The Curse Of Monkey Island
Hang on, he's an American?
You waited with baited breath. Another Monkey Island game! What could possibly go wrong? Well, they could take the funniest icon in PC gaming and go and give him an American accent. And not even a good American accent. One of those smug, know-it-all ones that you'd normally find selling exercise bikes to fat women on cable TV. Fact: only Brit voices can be snide and nice at the same time. LucasArts, we liked the game, but we'll never quite forgive you. Although obviously, that's a bit easier these days.
6) Black Hawk Down
Rewriting history with Uncle Sam
If it's crassness on an international politics scale you're after, then look no further than Delta Force: Black Hawk Down from NovaLogic. Not only content with reducing one of the most brutal and violent civil wars of the modern age to a sub- par arcade shooter with US marines scything down generic wave after generic wave of blackskinned clone soldiers, it then added further insult to injury with a truly cringe-worthy 'bonus' mission. In real life, the tyrant warlord General Aidid was killed during a series of inter-clan fighting. In the BHD version (a game mostly on sale to a US audience remember), Aidid was the target of a covert ops US Ranger mission to ensure that the good old stars and stripes always wins out in the end. Two words: Viet Nam.