Backseat Gaming: What does it mean to be a backseat gamer?

Even if you don’t know what it means, you’ve probably experienced “Backseat gaming” if you play video games.

What is backseat gaming?

Backseat gaming is when one person is playing a video game, and somebody else tells them what they should be doing.

In this article, I want to discuss what it is, why it’s annoying, how to do it properly, and where it comes from. Even if you’re not a gamer, you might be a Backseat cooker, a backseat cleaner, or even a backseat gym user.

Backseat gaming can be one of the most frustrating things for gamers, but I’m afraid it’s something we have to live with.

Why is backseat gaming annoying?

When you’re playing a video game, you want 100% of your attention to be on the game you’re playing. This is hard to do when there is someone else in the room who is telling you “No not that way”, “Don’t kill him”.

Most of the time, backseat gamers are not professional gamers, they know as much about the game as you do. They think they’re helping, but they’d be more helpful if they were to shut up and watch.

Something backseat gamers don’t realise is that we want to make mistakes. When we make mistakes, we learn about the game, and we get better at it.

When can backseat gaming be helpful?

There are a few times when backseat gamers aren’t that bad and can actually help us.

When somebody is genuinely very good at the game and can give you helpful advice. If you’re going to be a backseat gamer, you better be able to win the game with your eyes closed.

But most importantly, backseat gamers can be useful when you actually ask for it. There is a vast difference between asking for advice and getting it, and just being given it. Most gamers will be happy to help if you just ask.

Backseat driving

Backseat gaming relates to another backseat activity that many find to be annoying. Backseat driving.

This is where someone in the back seat keeps on telling you how to drive, they critique what you’re doing, and they always think they know better.

Unlike backseat gaming, backseat driving isn’t just annoying, it can also be very dangerous. With a backseat gamer, you may have to just grin and bear it. But with backseat drivers, safety must come first, and a stern “shut up” isn’t something I would critique you for using.

Of course, if it can be some, it can be backseat done.

Backseat or Back seat?

There is some debate about whether the correct term is “backseat gaming” or “back seat gaming”. The correct answer is “backseat gaming”.

When you’re describing a literal seat, it’s two words, an adjective and a noun.

“I sat in the back seat of my dad’s car”.

But when we say “backseat gaming”, “backseat” is just one word, and it’s an adjective. If you want, you can use a hyphen to say “back-seat”.

A backseat gamer doesn’t have to be sitting behind you, they can be next to you, standing up, or even in a different room.

How to cope with a backseat gamer

If you ever find that you’re with a backseat gamer, there will be times when you have no options but to just let it happen. I know it’s annoying, but it’s not going to do you any damage, you’ll get through it.

But if it’s getting too much, there will be times when you can just ask them to stop. This will be okay to do if it’s a friend of yours. For other times, you could just get “bored” of gaming, and decide to do something else.

Nobody likes a backseat gamer, but just like colds and dog muck, it’s a part of life we need to deal with.

Why do people backseat game?

But now, I want to try and get into the mind of a backseat gamer, and try to understand why they’re choosing to do this.

99% of the time, backseat gamers do not have bad intentions. All they want to do is help you with the game, and give you advice which they think will be useful.

They do it because they want to show off how good they are at the game, no matter how unfounded their assumption.

And of course, a minority know they’re being a nuisance and continue to do it anyway. Well, not anyway, because.

How to be a GOOD backseat gamer

There is such a thing as a good backseat gamer.

Here’s how to be one.

1. Make sure the person you’re backseat gaming for wants it. How can you be sure of this? They will ask you. It really is that simple. If they don’t ask, you don’t give.

2. Know what you’re doing. If you’re going to be a teacher, make sure you’re a master. Nobody wants to be taught by a novice.

3. Give good advice. Give them advice that will help them, and don’t just keep talking to fill the empty time.

How to not be a bad backseat gamer

Are you someone who keeps on backseat gaming when people don’t want you to? Here’s how to avoid it.

The first thing you need to do is shut up. This is when your mouth doesn’t move, but no noise comes out of it. It’s actually quite simple to do.

Remember, whatever you have to say, the gamer doesn’t want to hear it. Unless it’s “fancy a cup of tea”, it doesn’t need to be said.

Try putting yourself into their shoes and imagine how you would feel if you were trying to concentrate, and somebody kept talking to distract you. Try distracting yourself using Twitter or something.


A backseat gamer is somebody who keeps on telling you what to do when you’re trying to play a video game. Whilst they almost always have the best of intentions, they actually just disturb you and prevent you from playing the game at the best of your ability.

If you come across a backseat gamer, you could tell them to stop, grin and bear it, or just stop playing video games until they leave.

I hope now you know everything you’ve ever wanted to about backseat gaming.