We love the creative worlds video games offer us but can’t help but recognize certain things that seem to happen over and over again. Even the best games have overused mechanics and story elements which we don’t mind because we love them anyway. However sometimes it’s good to realize just how much developers rely on these tried and tested techniques. Here are 10 incredibly overused cliches in gaming!
How many times did you play a game in which the protagonist doesn’t remember anything about his past? The Amnesia cliche is widely used in gaming but also in movies and books. It’s convenient to have the main character forget everything when the game begins. That way the other characters will have to explain everything so that the main character discovers more about the plot along with the player. It can be a very exciting storytelling technique that adds a lot of mystery to the story but it can also come across as lazy scriptwriting when used improperly.
2. Losing your powers
We’ve all been there. You start the game as a incredibly strong badass shooting up the place while using a wide variety of powers. But after the first level your powers are suddenly stripped away. The back to basics cliché became popular in the Metroid and Castlevania series and many games have used it since.
Developers love throwing zombies at us. The zombie enemy type is completely overused in gaming and for good reasons. They are fun to kill and are expected to be dumb which makes life a lot easier for programmers. There are a lot of games that star zombies exclusively and build a whole story around them.
4. Running errands
It’s pretty ridiculous when you think about it but so many games ask the hero to run errands while they are on their epic quest to save the world. Especially RPGs are guilty of this as they overflow the player with side-missions and all sorts of meaningless tasks. This is of course a great way to stretch out the length of the game but it directly sabotages any sense of urgency that’s part of the story.
5. The unlikely hero
You’re just a normal kid in a small town that one day discovers he’s actually the chosen one and needs to go on an epic journey to defeat some evil force. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The unlikely hero is a cliché that’s especially popular in Japanese role playing games. These young boys are usually armed with nothing more than big hearts, open minds and huge swords. They usually pick up a few friends along the way so they can fight as a party. This is the blueprint of the traditional Japanese RPG that will probably live on forever.
6. Quick-Time events
Quick-Time events have become a cliché in gaming since Shenmue introduced them back in 1999. While they were innovative at the time they have become quite annoying as quick-time-events have crept into more games over the years. We have become so used to following simple button prompts on screen to make the main character do something awesome.
7. Explosive barrels
While it may be one of the oldest cliches in gaming, the “explosive barrel” isn’t going away anytime soon and that’s fine by us. The explosive barrel or crate is a simple and effective tool that can make environments more enjoyable to shoot in. Regardless of the shape, size, or color of these explosive devices, they all serve the same purpose. That purpose is to explode in a manner that pleases the eye and kills a lot of enemies. It’s a gaming cliché we honest can’t get enough of.
8. Boss weak points
“Attack its weak point for massive damage.” has become a legendary quote from the famous E3 demo featuring a giant enemy crab. But this is not the first time we’ve seen this cliché. Gigantic bosses in video games often have weak points which allow them to be defeated. While this makes sense for gameplay, practically speaking it is comical to see bright glowing weak spots that scream attack me at gamers.
9. Audio logs
We loved listening to audio logs in the original Bioshock but developers have completely overused this plot device ever since. Especially story driven shooters are guilty of scattering conveniently placed pieces of plot as audio recordings throughout the game world.
10. Damsel in distress
The damsel in distress is a cliche that is as old as video games themselves. It all started with Princess Peach in the Mario series and of course the Zelda franchise has a princess that needs saving too. You needed to rescue the president’s daughter in Resident Evil 4. There’s Princess Elise in Sonic the Hedgehog… Paula in Shadow of The Damned… And Kairi in Kingdom Hearts.
What other video game cliches are you sick of? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel!
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Music provided by Epidemic Sound.