What is Backseat Gaming?

what is backseat gaming

Whenever you are driving your car and you have your friends with you, has it ever happened that one of them starts commenting on your driving?

We call it backseat driving, yes? There is also something like that in gaming, too. It is called Backseat gaming.

Backseat gaming means when someone is watching you play and telling you what to do, or what you should have done instead, in a more annoying way.

In other words, anytime you are playing a game, and you have friends around you, they comment on your gaming as though it is extremely easy, even when they do not experience the actual difficulty of what you have to do.

Here is a very good example to paint a clearer picture:

Imagine John playing a video game, and having his friend, Beverly, with him.

Beverly: This is the best part of the game. When you enter that temple, you will see a treasure chest, but it is a trap.

John: Hey, will you stop backseat gaming and allow me to enjoy this?  C’mon, I wasn’t supposed to know that. 

Backseat gamers are those people around you when playing your game that keeps telling you what to do, or what you should have done instead. And just as I have cited, this goes beyond gaming.

I have noticed that whenever we see someone doing something, we feel that we can still do it better, or put them through to do it better.

Similarly, most people get quite irked when they see someone doing something inefficiently. This is the mindset of backseat gamers, backseat drivers, and even backseat parents.

Even in all its annoying nature and all, some people perceive backseat gaming to be a good thing. In the words of some, “It adds fuel to the fire of a good gaming performance.”

In this post, having explained what backseat gaming is all about, we will find out whether it is good or not, how you can handle backseat gamers, and finally, what to do if you’re the “backseat gamer.”

Is Backseat Gaming Good?

Now that you know backseat gaming means telling someone you are watching playing a game what to do and how to act, the next real question is, is it a good thing? Does it help you as the player? 

And let me quickly add that the remarks from backseat gamers do not necessarily have to be verbal or in words, they could simply sigh, gasp or yell every time you, as the player, make a move.

This is quite often than not an irksome thing to the player. Also, gamers who stream their games in front of an audience also experience backseat gaming. And the majority of backseat gaming is negative.

Although, it is a different thing when the streamer asks for help. But when people start giving hints or telling them how to play the game, it is a spoiler.

In general opinion, backseat gaming ruins the gaming experience for the streamer and can ruin it for other viewers as well. 

Backseat gaming proves useful and necessary only when the player specifically asks for advice or at the very least welcomes it. But the infuriating scenario is when remarks from the audience or friends around are unsolicited and not welcomed.

How You Can Handle Backseat Gamers?

what is backseat gaming

First off, you need to be clear about what you consider “backseat gaming”. Some advice from people watching you play can be really helpful, especially when it is solicited for.

So, when you identify what you count as backseat gaming, you can simply act accordingly.

I can’t deny that as an avid gamer, I have also had to deal with backseat gamers in the past. What I do is just block them out, because they are most likely people who do not understand the game or how difficult it is actually.

If as a gamer, you have experience backseat gamers in action, you will agree that they do not understand the mechanics of why you can’t just “kill that thing” or “dodge that bomb” or “drift that way.”

One of the ways you can handle backseat gamers, as the player, is to just stop listening to them, and even when it does start to annoy you, just take a break until they’ve left.

So, what if you are the “backseat gamer”?

I think we should also reason from the event that we happen to be the backseat gamer in a gaming situation because the interesting truth is that backseat gamers do not realize that they’re “backseat gaming” until they are told.

As mentioned earlier, there is something about us such that when we see novices play a particular game horribly, we are compelled to just yell advice to them, especially when we know what the right move is.

But it is good to always remind ourselves that we were once a beginner in that game, and it is only the tons of mistakes and lessons learned from a series of defeats that made us better.

If you ever find yourself in the position of being the backseat gamer, do something that will distract you from shouting tips or comments to the player. That unwelcomed advice and hints can be really painful to the skin.

You can play with your phone, talk to someone else in the room, or leave the room if you can not distract yourself.

Advice from the audience during gaming is only helpful when it is asked for.


The hugest problem players have with backseat gamers is that they do not appreciate different gaming styles. They believe that their playing style is the best approach, and so the player should follow it.

Personally, I often test my gaming abilities by trying out new games, and I have realized over the years that the real sense of accomplishment in gaming is when you complete a game ON YOUR OWN. It is rewarding.

However, backseat gaming can reflect the direct opposite. Backseat gamers tend to give you a solution to a problem in gaming, which would have been more interesting if you had rather figured it out on your own.

When you are playing a game, and you really want to enjoy it, avoid those that will only come around for backseat gaming. They will want to take credit when you succeed in the game but are ever ready to blame you for not following their advice when things go south.

Now that you know what backseat gaming is, chances are you have experienced it in time past, only that you never knew it was actually backseat gaming.

Feel free to share your experience in the comments. Thanks for reading! 

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