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What's better: giving items to other players or throwing grenades back?

Vote now as we continue deciding the single best thing in games

An illustration of Father Christmas sitting on a giant snowball, surrounded by little children.
Image credit: The Coming of Father Christmas

Last time, in celebration of Doom's 30th birthday, you decided that Doom 2's super shotgun is better than Doom's shotgun (57% vs 43%, statheads). An intellectual brawl between two absolute titans. Whoever won, we'd lose. But whoever won, we won. This week, the calendar also dictates our subject. This being Christmastime, I need to know: what's better, giving items to other players or throwing grenades back?

Giving items to other players

"It is better to give than receive," they say. It is, at least, very nice.

I like games where you pals can request ammo, and you can hit a key to toss 'em a mag. That always feels cool. I like MMOs where you can send items in the post, and your pal at some later point will log in, receive it, and send you a surprised/delighted/horrified thank you (did you not want a broken wine glass, dear friend?). I like games where you can jab pals with syringes and stims to juice them up, especially if they're not expecting it. Hey, gifts can be fun for everyone, and sometimes that involves jamming your Ogryn full of spacehormones. I like the extremely rare occasion of being flush in Counter-Strike and buying a nice gun for my mate. I even like when someone else intercepts the hurled gun and decides to keep it, which I feel demonstrates how truly kind and generous and selfless I am. I just like giving people stuff.

I freely admit that this thing is broader than many things in this grand contest, broader than I perhaps should (I may return to some component parts later), but hey, it's Christmas.

Throwing grenades back

"It is better to give than receive," chirps a smug git who just gave you something they know you'll hate. Now, it is considered rude to simply hand a gift back and say "No, no thank you, I don't want this," even when the gift is given in malice. However, after watching over 140 Christmas movies in the past two years, I can tell you that sometimes, someone absolutely needs their compeuppance before they can learn the true meaning of Christmas. Especially when their gift is a grenade lobbied into your hidey hole. Throw it back.

I'm always delighted with a freebie, and especially when it's something as powerful and precious as a grenade. It's more than free, it's taking a resource off them. What a bargain! But it does cost you other resources: time, attention, and vulnerability. Two seconds spent grabbing and throwing the grenade are two seconds that could be spent shooting faces. You might expose yourself to other attacks as you go to scoop it, and this surprise new task means you'll be losing focus on the rest of the battlefield. And, you know, it is a grenade, and could go off in your hand. Or, most embarrassing of all, you might fumble the hitbox for the pickup and stand over the grenade flailing as it explodes.

The only thing better than a powerful freebie is a powerful freebie with the opportunity for spectacular hubris.

But which is better?

I cannot resist decisions which lead to either showboating triumph or self-humiliation, and must choose throwing grenades back. But what do you think, reader dear?

Pick your winner, vote in the poll below, and make your case in the comments to convince others. We'll reconvene next week to see which thing stands triumphant—and continue the great contest.

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About the Author
Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.