10. Evil Territory Names
If you name your city Ravenholm, chances are you'll eventually become taken over by an evil overlord. Same goes for Darkspire, Felpool, or anything with the word Empire or Imperial in it. Also, villages that sound like quiet mountain towns will inevitably wind up controlled by some sort of awful cult. Silent Hill? Bright Falls? Colorado? You guys are boned.
9. Extreme Difficulties
Back in the days of the NES, video games were hard just by the virtue of them being video games. No one really knew how to program a proper control scheme, so shoddy inputs and excessively hard stages made many games nearly impossible. Then there were the arcade games, which were designed to be hard so that you kept sinking more quarters into each machine. Now, games have been largely dumbed down to appeal to a broader audience, but that doesn't mean there aren't people who want to be challenged and frustrated until they bite off their own tongue. This is why many games come with difficulties that kill you in one hit and swarm you with enemies. Only the hardcore need apply.
DLC itself is not a cliché per se, but its effect on the games that we play certainly is. It seems as if pages from the chronicle of history have been torn away, but you can still see them as long as you pay 1200 Microsoft points. In Dragon Age, I found some of my conversation options to be cut off as a function of DLC. Even Assassin's Creed simply abandons you to a fate of excessive amnesia if you don't unlock the extra missions. In the end, the history of any fantasy world can be compromised by— To read the final part of this paragraph, please spend 200 Cheat Code Central points.
7. Press Start
Nearly every video game out there asks you to press start. Do you ever press start? Of course not. You press the X button or A button or whatever confirm button your console has. Menu screens are liars!
6. Item Drops
Item drops are a common way to reward players for overcoming enemies. But have you ever considered how absurd they are? For some reason that wolf you just killed was holding thirty-five dollars plus change, an encyclopedia, a fire sword, and a pair of pants. What the heck are the wolves eating these days?
Achievements are not clichés in and of themselves, but achievements that you get for doing what you would do in the game anyway are. Play any action or adventure game and you are likely to get an achievement for any boss you beat or any chapter you complete. What's the point of this, anyway? To prove to your friends that you beat the game? Can't you just show them your completed save file? Do people really stop playing games before even completing the first boss?
4. The Load-Bearing Boss
Speaking of bosses, it's strange how bosses always seem to be tied directly into the structural integrity of the castle they are in. Kill a boss and you can be sure that the whole place will come down shortly thereafter. My theory: All evil overlords wire explosive detonators right to their heart. Once you kill them, bombs go off in the basement as a final "screw you" to the heroes. It's too bad the heroes always escape anyway though.
3. Jumping Puzzles
The final brother in the annoying puzzle trio is a doozy. The jumping puzzle is easily the lowest form of video game entertainment, especially when included in a game that wasn't designed for jumping puzzles in the first place. Sure, games like Prince of Persia are great, but then we have RPGs like Zelda that have jumping sections, and they simply aren't equipped for it. Be prepared to jump, fall, jump, fall, jump, fall, over and over and over again until you throw away the controller in disgust. In the end, jumping puzzles aren't really even puzzles, they're just series of button presses with obtuse timing that provide little more than brief and frustrating roadblocks.
2. Spikey Hair
Spikey-haired protagonists are everywhere around the video game world. As time has gone on, hair has become wilder and more gravity-defying. And it doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon. By this time fifty years from now, protagonists' hairdos will reach high enough to pierce the cloud line. (Get it? Cloud line? Like from Final Fantasy VII?)
1. Big Breasts
Finally, we have the single most overused video game cliché of all time: breast size. If there's anything that proves that gamers are primarily male, it's this. Not only are women in video games routinely objectified, sometimes they are given proportions that are flat out impossible. Just look at Ivy from Soul Calibur. How does she even move with all that weight on her chest? The default model for any female video game character is always somewhere between C and DD in breast size, and only the "innocent" girl-type characters ever get smaller. Heck, Ninja Gaiden was low enough to include motion-controlled breast jiggle physics. I will give a cookie to the first person who finds a screenshot of a leading female character in a videogame that has a relatively flat chest and that doesn't look like a girl who hasn't hit puberty yet.
And that wraps up our top 100 video game clichés. Are these 100 the only clichés in video game-dom? Probably not. In fact, you probably have your own ideas about the most overused clichés in video games. So that's your homework. What clichés do you think we missed? Tell us in the comments.
By Angelo M. D'Argenio
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*