Serious game cliches (Topic)

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Serious game cliches


Cliches are everywhere: in books, movies, comics, anime and of course in games. And like most cliches, in games from year to year, despite significant leaps in the evolution of graphics, mechanics, scripts and game design, we observe all the same techniques that we met 5, 10, and 20 years ago. Inspired by PC Gamer material, we decided to recall the worn-out gaming cliches. It is noteworthy that, despite their hackneyedness, we still love and accept them.

To hell for loved ones

The classic path for any horror from time immemorial is to go in search of a lost dear person in hell to save. It doesn't matter who it is: wife / husband, brother, child. Often in horror movies, this is what motivates the main character or heroine to travel to a creepy place that they would not have stuck into before. Ever since the first and second Silent Hill, where in the first part you were looking for a daughter, and in the second for a wife, nothing has changed. And even in Resident Evil 7 or Outlast 2, we still save people close to us.


Probably a rat

As in Star Wars, all stormtroopers undergo a special shooting curve school, and all the guards in the games are trained in special patrol techniques. They are taught to shout "who is here?" .


Yours on the left

You are sneaking into enemy territory with a companion, and what do you meet on your way? Two guards or just an enemy, standing alone and chatting about something of their own. And you immediately understand what will happen now. Your partner will say: "yours on the left" and you must kill two poor fellows in sync so as not to make a fuss.


This gaming cliche has been going on since the days of Call of Duty, and is not going to go anywhere. I recently saw him in Red Dead Redemption 2 on a mission to save Sean, and much earlier. Ghost Recon: Wildlands also had something similar. In any case, this situation is variable and a silent kill can be failed, but if you do it right, you will surely receive some kind of bonus for it.

Red barrels

Some things are iconic, because at the time they were ideally formed conceptually, loved and remain so good that they are unlikely to ever stop being so.

ImageMany people call red barrels a lazy game design trick, but they have become an icon, something the same stable, like the laws of physics. The red barrels should explode, and if they don't, you feel as uncomfortable as if you lost gravity under your feet.


And no matter how they look: like strange gas cylinders, alien containers, demonic concentrations of souls for the systems of hell - they are essentially red barrels. Two of the biggest games of the year, Resident Evil 3 Remake and Doom: Eternal, have them as well. Doom even had a separate leveling branch for them.

Grass makes you invisible

The second of the most hackneyed things, along with red barrels: bend down, climb into the grass and you are invisible to the enemy [until you are insolently breathing into his groin]. And there is even a logical explanation. Designing enemies in such moments is difficult and they literally often have an area that they can see, and outside this area you are a ghost to them. Designing the AI so that it can distinguish your silhouette with already imperfect vision through the grass is even more difficult.


Although it's hard not to admit how stupid it looks, when, for example, the divine warriors of Isu in AC Odyssey cannot notice a huge Spartan / Spartan woman in the sparse grass, who are preparing to attack.

Gathering the team

Many games have a cliche that I call Ocean's 11. You need to assemble a team before you go into business. It is worth saying that collecting it is always interesting, because despite the cliched situation, the process itself is rarely similar. In GTA Vice City, you assemble a team of freaks to rob a bank, and this is completely different from how it is shown in Mass Effect 2, where you become with your team a family.


Similarly, you see a completely different approach to team building in Saints Row The Third and in Red Dead Redemption 2 after the Blackwater incident.

Weapon Traps

Another game cliche that does not age, but at the same time does not change, the situation is when you pick up a weapon [it is also highlighted], and after that a horde immediately appears, and it is best to destroy it with this barrel.

On the one hand, this is a common design decision to let you play with a new cannon, but when instead of a cannon, for example, an important key for a door appears, then this is a cliche in its purest form. Instinctively, you understand that this is a trap, and so it turns out. You can think of it as a stone that rolls on Indiana Jones after he picks up an artifact from the pedestal.

Invincible boss at the start of the game

Often, in order to reveal to us the motivation of the antagonist, he must be introduced into the plot from the very beginning, so that he is something more than a simple strong bad guy, except for whom there are no other enemies. As a rule, bosses appear at the beginning of the game in order to pile on you well and leave. Relatively old examples include Alduin in Skyrim, Rodriguez in Metal Gear Rising, and more recently fighting the Second Sister in Fallen Order. The second time we will meet only when we are already super strong, capable of pounding the boss with one left. (Boss)

Though there are times when games try to make this cliche interesting. For example, in DMC 5, you can defeat Urizen right away and end the game. You can wait for Pagan Meen in Far Cry 4 and not start a revolution at all, and try to defeat Ganon in the first stage of the game in Breath of the Wild. It's not a fact that you will succeed, and it's better to pump up. This approach, by the way, causes another cliche situation.

The world is on the brink of a crisis, but can wait until I complete all quests

- Link, why didn't you go to kill Ganon, and wandered around for weeks in an unknown place?

This is exactly what Zelda should have asked Link in Breath of the Wild, after our hero spent a long time hanging out in the open world and exploring it while evil raged in his side-altars.


All life is on the verge of extinction, you are the only one who can stop the impending doom. But, you know, she will wait until you are fully prepared to deal with her. If you have other things you want to do, such as delivering 10 carrots to the market, or helping some cute village with rats in its basements, or improving your crafting skills by making 2000 daggers, then go ahead! Evil is in no hurry.


More than once you have become a witness of a situation when a hero close to a character is held by an enemy like a shield, and you must aimfully shoot him in the head, but not get into a prisoner. It's such an overused cliche in games that I don't always listen to the end of what the one who needs to kill says. I just aim for the head and kill. Apparently the bad guys in games don't know that if you take a hostage as a shield, they need to hide, and not gently put their face on his shoulder. For comicality, there is not enough arrow with the inscription: "aim here".


Dramatic exit in the discovery of the world

Fallout loves to dramatically bring us to the surface from the shelter, showing a panorama of a destroyed world. Many other games follow this path. You wade through a narrow tunnel, fighting claustrophobia, until you reach an open area, and you realize how small you are in this endless world. I love this cliche and will probably never stop enjoying it.


The Topic of Article: Serious game cliches.
Author: Jake Pinkman