Thursday, September 9, 2010

20 of gaming's biggest cliches

20 Gaming Cliches

Oil Barrels

Surely the most obvious gaming cliche of them all, but with good reason as even in this day and age developers resort to the old tried and trusted explodable oil barrels to help the gamer negotiate their way through a particularly enemy laden area. What's in these barrels is anybodies guess but I can only assume it's oil, and given the price of that these days it really is setting a bad example to any future entrepeneur by treating such a valuable commodity with this level of disdain.

Air Vents

I can honestly say that I don't know one person that has ever attempted something as downright reckless as travelling through a building via it's air ventilation system, and I know some fairly shady characters by the way. Surely if it's such an easy way to get to your destination undetected and unhindered then companies should be looking at making them narrower so that humans can no longer fit in them and thus render the likes of Solid Snake, and various others, useless.

JRPG casts

Moody lead with a dark secret, check. Wisecracking sidekick with a penchant for the ladies, check. Wistful female lead with a heart of gold, check. Sassy female with heaving bosoms and tattoos aplenty, check. Gentle giant more loyal than a labrador, check. Whiny, annoying, nauseating, teeth clenchingly irritating kid that you hope and pray gets killed off but never does, check.

Short term memory loss

You've commited a crime, quick run for the hills, steal a car, hide behind a bush...just do whatever it takes to get the law enforcement officers off your back and do it fast. Phew, panic over I seem to have lost them, oh no there's one over there! But wait, despite the fact that I just ran over a granny and toppled a school bus over a bridge killing all in sundry, this friendly policeman doesn't seem to be paying me any attention whatsoever, sure I may aswell steal this car from the parking lot and go on another rampage.

Buxom Babes

Let's face it lads, we all like to leer at the awesome cleavage and ever so tight buns of the female forms represented in games today and we've always been that way. Anyway that says otherwise is a liar simple as that. Yes we all know they're not real, and that we're incredibly sad for even admiring what is essentially a few pixallated images, but nontheless when Lara Croft is shimmying her way across a dangerous ravine, or Chun Li is pulling off yet another perfect Lightning Kick, we can't help but sit and stare and wish real women were like this.

He's dead.......oh wait

So you've battled your way through score of enemies and traversed terrain in various inclement weathers to face the big bad boss and the pinnacle of the game. But just two minutes later he's face down on the floor and you're left thinking 'Is this it? Surely this ca....' Don't be so stupid!!! Now the real battle commences and the slight tinge of disappointment you felt in ending the game so easily is replaced by sheer terror as you realise just how unprepared you are for the terror about to be reigned upon you. This style of ending works well first time around but when you're attempting it for the umpteenth time the effect tends to be lessened somewhat.

Back of the grid

Maybe more of a bug bear than a cliche but why must we always start at the back of the grid in every racing title ever?!? Are we to automatically assume that because the AI of the other drivers is so poor we'll have no problem charging through the field anyway and therefore that will be the only enjoyment we will garner from the race? As far as I'm concerned pre race qualifying should be introduced for all but the most arcadey of racers so that I don't have to suffer the indignity of viewing nothing but other car's exhaust pipes at the start of every race.

Main characters with crap names

If the world was ending today and someone told you that a fellow by the name of Gordon Freeman was coming to save the day would you be sufficiently placated? Obviously seeing as we're gamers we would rest easy as we know that Gordon Freeman is amazing and would get us out of any pickle but what of the rest of humanity? It's hardly a name that conjures up images of an alpha male riding in on horseback with an army of tanks behind him is it, the same goes for Marcus Fenix or Isaac Clarke or even Chris Redfield for that matter. Now Sam Fisher on the other hand, that's a president's name in my opinion.

Unquestioning grunts

In a world where freedom of choice is everything and the anti war machine is in full swing on a constant basis is it not odd that there hasn't been at least one occasion during a big budger shooter where some of the enemy soldiers have just paused for a second and thought 'Y'know what lads, what are we actually doing here? I ain't got no quarrel with no US of A', and with that just down tools, leaving you with a free and easy route to the next level. This needs to happen to maintain a level of authenticity in gaming.

Guns never weigh you down

Now I'm no military expert, but I do know enough about weaponry to know that's it not light and that coupled with extensive armour, not to mention rations and ammo, it's gonna be quite heavy and weigh down even the most war hardened soldier. These rules don't apply in the gaming world however as guns are exchanged and equipped without a care in the world and even rocket launchers have been known to pop out of pockets, decimating a enemy stronghold before being placed carefully into a lunchbox for later use.

Weak points in boss fights

When you've finally gotten over the shock of the boss reviving from the dead and becoming more powerful than you could ever have imagined it's time to figure out how to take him down. Hmmm perhaps I should aim for that shiny yellow part which is protuding from his undercarriage, ah yes that seems to be doing the job, how nice of him to earmark it in such a fashion for me. If real people were to be built like this then we'd all have our genitalia permanently on display with a big red marker proclaiming 'Hit Me' daubed across that general area.


I have never, ever, ever........ever pulled a lever in my whole life. And if I did do so I doubt very much that a drawbridge would lower itself down when I did so.

Everyone can swim/drive/pilot

Before being considered for a role as the lead character in an action adventure type game do all potential candidates go on a crash course wherby they learn how to drive cars, lorries, tanks, speedboats and fire engines and then how to pilot helicopters and aeroplanes before being tasked with swimming the Hudson River in approximately 20 minutes? Some of they may claim to have a background in the Navy/Army/Marines or whatever but what of the average Joe Smoke who becomes thrust into the role of unlikely hero? They must all be ex Krypten Factor Champions or something.


Okay so I've worked in a few factories in my time and I have seen crates in various store rooms, but I've never attempted to try and manouevre one around the room with my bare hands because that'd be just silly. Sure there's a pallet truck right over there isn't there.

Friendly npc's are never ever anything other than a hindrance

After you. Ok I'll go first. I'll just squeeze through here. Sorry don't mind me. Now I'm starting to get a teeny bit annoyed. Get out of my way......Get out of my f**kin way. What is your problem you stupid w****r can you not understand that when I hold RT and press B it means that you go on ahead, are you f**kin retarded? Ok now I'm just gonna shoot ya............Grrrr I can't even kill you..........My name is Simon Bourke and I hate friendly NPC's.

God's animals have just been put on this earth as target practice for you

Aw will you look at the deer isn't he lovely. BANG. Nice bit of deer meat that'll come in handy later. Whether it's rats in sewers or strangely aggressive birds it appears that each and everyone of God's creatures is fair game in the gaming world, this maybe isn't so much of a cliche given man's total lack of regard for the animal kingdom but just once in my life I'd like to play a game where I get to befriend a bear and no, Kung Fu Panda doesn't count.

Fumbling keepers

One of the first things any aspiring goalkeeper will be taught is to make sure that when parrying the ball, he gets it as far away from his goal area as possible to prevent any onrushing strikers from capatilising on his error. This is not applicable to football simulators however as even the most solid and experienced keepers will happily shovel the most tame of shots right into the path of the greedy strikers allowing them to gobble up the chance and you to cry bitter tears of frustration.

*Please note that this observation is one obtained from playing PES and only PES as I refuse to countenance the possibility of ever playing a FIFA game.*

Well behaved football audiences

I know in the sanitised age of Premier League football that football hooliganism has almost become obselete but you'd still expect the odd chant of 'Does she take it up the a**e' or failing that a drunken interloper bravely venturing onto the pitch to tell Ashley Cole exactly what he thinks about him. But no, they all just file quietly into their seats perhaps stopping to buy a hot dog, before singing a few tired old songs completely out of tune and cheering at the most inopportune of times.

Movie tie ins are dreadful

They just are and they probably always will be. The developers can't be completely blamed when they're usually not given nearly enough time to create these abhorrent monstrosities so all we can do is try and warn children about the dangers of these games. The fact that your child may start to cause a scene in your local games store because he wants the new Toy Story game and not Mass Effect 2 which you've been heartily recommending to him for the last half an hour is besides the point, the kids are just gonna have to learn and we've got to be the ones to teach them.

Everyone speaks English but in a foreign accent

Wouldn't it be great if you went on your holidays to Russia or France or Egypt or Mexico or anywhere for that matter and everyone spoke fluent English. But not only that, they all spoke it in the most generic local accent possible, you'd point and laugh at them as they struggled with words such as insouciant or salubrious before politely tapping them on the shoulder and asking them where the nearest bar was. Ahh bliss.

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