From a business perspective, it's never a smart idea for a video game to actively antagonise the very people paying hard-earned money to play it, but sometimes developers just can't help themselves but openly display their outward judgment of players. Some players, at least.
These 10 games, most of them popular and well-received as they were - bar one or two exceptions - all made scarce little attempt to mask what they really thought of their player-base.
Whether shamelessly mocking players who wasted hundreds of hours collecting pointless digital tat, ribbing horny players craving sexy fan service, shaming pirates or straight-up showing contempt "just because", these games all dared to poke fun at the very people playing them.
It's a bold strategy, and in some cases resulted in a mild backlash, yet because most of these games were generally so damn good - or because the devs were undeservedly correct in their assumptions - players tended to let the thinly-veiled judgment slide for the most part...
10. The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
While pretty much every AAA open-world game in existence inundates the player with collectathon tasks intended to keep them hooked, few have the gall to actually draw attention to this fact.
Furthermore, few actively chastise the player for it by underlining how much time they just wasted hoovering up collectibles in the service of, well, a whole lotta nothing.
But The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is no regular open-world game, and Nintendo decided to have some cruel, sneering fun at the expense of those few players who slogged their way through collecting all 900 Korok seeds in the game. The feat, which will take players hundreds of hours, has been dubbed "a journey into madness."
And Nintendo provided the crazy capper themselves by giving players a most pointless reward after cashing in the seeds - Link's Korok pal Hestu hands over a "gift" which resembles, uh, a golden poo.
The golden poo - or "kin no unko" - is a Japanese good luck charm that naturally proved totally baffling to any westerner who actually bothered to collect all 900 Korok seeds.
And even if you were somehow aware of the Japanese cultural artefact, the golden poo has no in-game utility beyond serving as a trophy and, per its description, smelling "pretty bad."
Players were quite understandably expecting a "worthwhile" reward for their absurd time investment, but Nintendo instead proudly flipped them the bird and passed a cheeky comment on their obsessive tendencies in the process. Ouch.
9. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3 is an amazing game for many reasons, not least the mind-boggling amount of freedom it offers the player to explore the land and, yes, the female of the species.
Though the game sadly doesn't have any gay romance options for Geralt, it does allow him to womanise him way across the Continent, though horny players who try their luck a little too eagerly will end up being firmly judged for it.
Players who attempt to romance Triss and Yennefer at the same time will get invited for a ménage à trois, resulting in an hilarious cutscene where an underwear-clad Triss and Yennefer handcuff Geralt to the bed and leave him to it, having learned of his man-whoring ways.
Geralt has to wait until the next morning to be freed by Dandelion, who can't resist the urge to rib him about it. And the next time you return to Triss and Yennefer, the're completely dismissive of you.
CD Projekt Red just couldn't resist throwing some shade at over-sexed players who tried to have their cake and eat it too. For shame.
8. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
1997's mostly forgotten adaptation of The Lost World: Jurassic Park endures for just one reason: an incredible secret ending filmed for the game by star Jeff Goldblum.
If the player collects all of the DNA bonuses hidden throughout the game, they'll be greeted with a video message from Dr. Ian Malcolm (Goldblum).
Malcolm offers the player a scarcely-enthusiastic congratulations, before urging them to "turn the thing off, for Heaven's sakes, go outside, breathe the air, take a walk, call a member of the opposite sex."
The message ends with Malcolm running away as the loud boom of a dinosaur's footsteps can be heard in the distance.
Though this thankfully wasn't quite the aggressive "f**k you" that Zelda's golden poo debacle was, it nevertheless gently chastised the player for taking the time to carry out a totally mundane collectathon task.
Considering the game isn't even particularly good, they're not wrong to judge you for wasting so much time on it - even if they actually made the damn thing.
7. Dark Souls
Those who still get their games shipped physically might be lucky enough to occasionally receive them a day or two early, but if you dared to play Dark Souls before its official release date, FromSoftware weren't much happy about it.
Rather than simply stewing about it, the developer besieged premature players by invading their game with enormously powerful level 145 Black Phantoms, who could easily make mincemeat out of anyone playing a few days early.
Because Dark Souls wasn't hard enough already, right?
Granted, you could just play the game offline and avoid FromSoft's top-notch trolling, but to experience the game unharassed as it was fully intended, multiplayer and all, players had to wait until the official street date.
6. The Witness
Getting to even the "soft" ending of Jonathan Blow's mind-melting puzzle game The Witness is a gargantuan task, but the most dedicated players will push ahead to tackle its ultimate challenge, aptly called The Challenge.
The Challenge requires players to complete 14 line-drawing puzzles in just 6.5 minutes, and to make matters worse, pausing the game resets the puzzle, and its content is procedurally generated, meaning there are no guides available online.
The only way to beat it is to harbour an extremely deep understanding of the game's intricate and expansive puzzle logic.
Though successful players would understandably be expecting something pretty epic at the end, Blow decided to casually mock players for their time investment instead.
The "reward" for completing The Challenge is...a 58-minute lecture from 2002, where video game developer Brian Moriarty explains the history of Easter eggs throughout art (such as in Shakespeare's plays and even the Bible).
Throughout the lecture Moriarty makes not-so-subtle references to the pointless pursuit of hidden goodies in art, and as a player, it's tough not to feel like Blow is laughing at you - over 58 excruciatingly boring minutes, no less.
The recording was so baffling that many players still believe it contains the game's final, definitely final secret...somewhere. To date, however, nobody has uncovered it.
Given the absurd difficulty of The Challenge and being "forced" to listen to a dry-as-sawdust lecture afterwards, believing that there has to be something else is perhaps the sanest option.
Otherwise, the more likely truth is enough to make you wonder why you even bothered.
5. Game Dev Tycoon
If Dark Souls punished those who got the game early through (possibly) legal means, Greenheart Games, the developers of Game Dev Tycoon, devised a similarly creative means of shaming players who dared to pirate their new game.
Well aware that the game would be pirated extensively, as any game is, they made the bold move of uploading a cracked version of Game Dev Tycoon to torrent sites themselves - but packed with a special surprise.
Those who played the dev's own pirated version would be periodically met with messages about how piracy can bankrupt studios, and to really hammer the point home in gloriously meta fashion, the player then starts hemorrhaging money until their firm goes bankrupt.
Other games have similarly implemented creative anti-piracy measures, such as Batman: Arkham Asylum disabling Batman's glide in illegal copies, but the fact that a freaking game about developing games had to resort to such methods makes it the most deliciously poetic example.
4. Wolfenstein: The New Order
It's not exactly a new trick for video games to judge players for playing on a lower difficulty setting: they've been doing it for decades, with some titles even gating off the full game on easier difficulties to incentivise tougher ones.
The Wolfenstein franchise is perhaps the most infamous example of devs outwardly thumbing their nose at players for opting to play on less aggressive difficulties, with the very easiest difficulty being labelled "Can I Play, Daddy?".
With the release of 2014's The New Order, MachineGames decided to take things further by even including a picture of B.J. Blazkowicz dressed up as a baby, dummy and all, on the game's menu.
It might only seem like gentle ribbing to many, but the sentiment is present enough to feel like the devs really mean it, and some have even dubbed it a subtle form of peer pressure.
Granted, most games are indeed designed to be played on a medium or Normal difficulty setting, but given that most people playing on easier settings just want to relax or keep their anxiety levels low, it's probably a teensy bit mean to tease them for it, no?
3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Metal Gear Solid V may be one of the most technically sublime third-person action games ever made, but it certainly came with its fair share of baggage all the same.
Before the game was even released, there was much hand-wringing online from fans who took a sceptical view of new female lead Quiet, given her scantily clad design and the dubious lack of necessity for it.
Kojima defensively fired back on Twitter, "once you recognize the secret reason for her exposure, you will feel ashamed of your words & deeds", prompting fans to speculate on what could satisfactorily explain away what appeared to be nothing more than shameless fan service.
Once the game was released, it became clear that Kojima was talking a load of old nonsense, as Quiet's lack of clothing was explained as necessary for her to "breathe" through her skin. Right.
Kojima tried to turn it around on players and shame them for even taking notice of the amount of flesh Quiet was displaying, despite the fact that the game features shameless cutscenes lingering on Quiet writhing around in her underwear.
Kojima, you're a perv - just admit it already and stop trying to make us feel bad for calling you out on it.
2. Spec Ops: The Line
Pretty much everybody expected Spec Ops: The Line to be another generic military shooter, but the end result was something far more surprising and cerebral.
As the war game drags on, it increasingly judges the player for deciding to keep meting out violence, given that they are "just following orders" (aka objectives) in much the same way that protagonist Captain Walker is.
This is most horrifically realised during the game's nauseating sequence where Walker and co. use white phosphorus to decimate an entire village of innocents.
The game's loading screens later on literally ask the player, "Do you feel like a hero yet?" while also blaming you for the senseless violence that has transpired.
While it's arguably a failing of Spec Ops that it doesn't allow players to avoid the white phosphorus incident altogether - because that would be true choice - developers Yager deserve credit for actually trying to say something socially conscious and responsible about the military shooter genre.
1. Drawn To Death
If the latest game from God of War creator David Jaffe passed you by when it quietly released back in 2017, don't feel bad about it. Drawn to Death is a garish mish-mash of awkward combat and try-hard style, but at least Jaffe had the good sense to let players know right away.
The game's tutorial alone perfectly encompasses its hateful, petulant attitude towards the player, presumably trying to be charmingly obnoxious in the way that Deadpool is, but failing cataclysmically.
The tutorial, conducted by a foul-mouthed frog, sees the player called a "f**king idiot" numerous times and sarcastically dubbed a "bloody genius" as the creature explains the controls. He then goes on to comment how even a baby can get through the platforming tutorial.
This antagonistic tone is obviously all part of the game's intended shtick, presumably aimed primarily at teenage boys, but as an adult, it wears you down incredibly quickly, to say nothing of how thoroughly cack the actual core gameplay is.
Surprising no-one, Drawn to Death died fast and has largely been forgotten by pretty much anyone who actually bothered to play it.