Despite the fact that there are such a wide variety of video game genres, its seems that the process of being a video games development wizard means finding Clichés irresistible. Seriously, Clichés must be like, video game dev catnip…
Think we’re exaggerating? Fine! Say that after you read our Top Ten Video Game Clichés Listicle – and just so you know, when we started we had a list of well over 100 — which we narrowed down to offer you some quality Clichés!
And here they are – numbered from 10 to 01 with 01 being the best of the worse…
10: Killing Gods
While this generally doesn’t tend to crop up in puzzle games or sims, when it comes to a good old JRPG and most RPGs you can almost bet that if there ARE Gods in the game, you are going to need to kill them!
But wait – aren’t Gods omnipotent? Aren’t Gods omnipresent? So doesn’t that mean that he not only KNOWS you are coming to kill him, but knows HOW you will do it, WHEN you will do it, and the best way to prevent it?
Let’s take that logic a little deeper – they’re Gods – so how come they didn’t just kill you when you were an infant?
09: Miracle Food that Heals
No we did not include StimPacks or magic bandages, health elixirs, or potions in this one because, well, everyone knows those are real and they work! What we are talking about here is food. You know, 200-year-old wingdings and canned chili you find on the shelf in that totally abandoned Red Rocket?
Say, how is it that the nuclear apocalypse has come and gone and you can still find Salisbury Steak and Spam on the grocery store shelves?
More important than that though – how is it that EATING a 200-year-old can of Spam will magically heal you? Is it magic Spam?
08: An Army of One?
In the world of video games – and especially the action-adventure and RPG sorts – the individual is often very likely to be a docile victim unless… Unless someone kidnapped their kid from cold storage and killed their wife in the process! Or killed their father! Or kicked them out of their village/castle/fortress/shelter triggering the all-important need for revenge.
Suddenly one man/boy/girl/woman who finds themselves in such a situation and somehow manages to obtain armor and a wepon turns into an instant hero capable of feats of prowess, of dragon-killing army-of-one badassery!
So if all of that pent-up rage was already inside you anyway, why did you have to suffer at the hands of your tormentors BEFORE seeking your revenge? Why not open up that can of martial arts whoop-ass on them WHEN they were trying to kick you out of your home and/or kill you in the first place?! We’re just saying…
07: Stealth Sequences
It really doesn’t matter if you are Solid Snake or Geralt of Rivia, or even a Pirate Assassin, eventually you are going to need to follow someone without being detected. Because why?
Well, because you cannot make a game these days without some sort of Stealth Sequence.
Following a target on crowded streets is one thing but when you charge your protagonist to ninja thier way through a swamp in a massive pirate ship? That’s just sick. That’s clearly sadism!
06: The Secret Sewer Entrance / Exit
When they filmed the Shawshank Redemption they filled an ancient sewer pipe with a mixture of sawdust and chocolate syrup to make the scene where the protagonist crawls through the pipe, puking as he goes because yeah, that would happen. There would be lots of puking!
You know how you catch a prisoner who escaped from prison by way of a ewer pipe? How about an enemy agent who has infiltrated your base? I’ll tell you how – you use your nose!
No matter how well they scrub or how many fresh changes of clothing they have in that sealed bag, the stench will literally cling to them. And then of course that only matters if they did not die in the pipe by breathing in the methane gas – or die AFTER they got through because the bad gases they breathed in finally built up toxicity in their brain. That takes time!
Here’s a clue to the devs: College Students die from diving into pools that have a layer of smoke from blocks of dry ice being thrown in – your hero is going to die from breathing the toxic gases from human sewage. Really!
Oh and that sewer pipe filled with chocolate syrup and sawdust? We were in Ohio last summer and we stopped there to do the tourist thing – you can STILL smell the chocolate when you get close to the opening of that pipe and its been what? 20 years since they filmed there? Just saying…
05: One-Topic Conversations
From Pallet Town to Raccoon City, when you run up to a person in the town chances are no matter what question you wanted to ask them you don’t get to – instead you get to hear them repeat the same thing every time you talk to them: “Hmm. Something nasty is afoot in the Frost Cavern… It could be true, right?”
04: The In-And-Out of Armor
Yes, armor is a critical tool to prevent enemy arrows and swords from prematurely ending your life. And yes, armor does wear out, get broken, and need repair – that’s only fair, after all it is usually constructed from heavy pieces of steel with lots of buckles holding it onto your body through complex arrangements of leather straps and… But wait a second.
Just exactly how is it that you can so easily get in and out of that armor? Hey! Did you find a new piece of armor in the field? That might be better than what you have on now – you should swap out your existing kit for that one. Like now. Instantly.
Forget for the moment that making the armor you are currently wearing properly fit you probably required hours of adjusting its straps and moving the buckles so that they don’t chafe, it’s all good! Because Armor!
03: Press Start
Almost every start screen in practically every video game prompts you to Press Start… But happily accepts it when you press “A” or “X” (depending on the game pad). Just once I would love it if the game screamed: “I said PRESS START! Does that LOOK like START?!”
02: Quick Time Events
Sure you invented a new twist on the QTE… Yeah, really fun and challenging – NOT!
Nobody actually likes these – and having one pop up when you are trying to disarm a bomb? Yeah then we REALLY don’t like them.
01: Regenerating Health
Even in worlds where there are healing items the Golden Rule is when you are near death, all you really need is about 10 minutes of peace and quiet and maybe a glass of water and you’ll be right as rain!
That’s right – as long as you can escape damage for a set amount of time, your health will refill – even if you have been punctured by sword or spear, or stitched by a bunch of bullets! And how cool is that?! It’s even more cool when you are playing in an uber realistic combat environment!
Bonus points for Regenerating Health during World War II.
Well there you have it – my Top Ten Video Game Clichés. Can you really say that these don’t bother you? No! I’m willing to bet that what you can REALLY say is that my list doesn’t have one you think should be on there – because you secretly have your OWN list of Video Game Clichés! Yeah, go on and deny it – you can’t kid a kidder!