The 8 biggest gaming cliches
20th Oct 2011 | 16:30
There's no doubt that the experiences we're having right now on PS3 are more creative, interesting and experimental than ever.
But there are some things that will never change. Conventions that are so hardwired into gaming, that to lose them would require rethinking the world as we know it.
Whether it's the mute hero that everyone gets on with, or the fact that once you get past the 21st century, the entire heroic spectrum sports the same stern hair cut - these are the things so commonplace, so inescapable, that they form the foundations of games as we know them.
THE DEAD MEAT
Most overused in: Infamous, Call Of Duty, Brutal Legend, Killzone 2, Resident Evil series.
Are you the only man on the team that can't perform a mission-vital role such as explosives or medical care? Has no one mentioned your second name? Have you, at any point, said something like "this is my last mission" or spoken of a loving fiancé/family/pet iguana?
If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, then stop whatever you're doing and get the hell out of there. You couldn't be any deader than if you were wearing a red shirt in Star Trek and next on the list for an away mission. It's nothing personal but a sudden senseless loss of life always spices up a flagging second act. If you've made no real impact by that point, don't worry about how you're getting home.
Most overused in: Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, Borderlands, Red Faction: Guerrilla, Killzone 2.
This is an easy one: no matter where you go, no matter what war you fight in, there'll always be barrels. Barrels apparently filled to the brim with highly unstable explosives that react to just having the word 'bullet' whispered at them to send a mushroom cloud of death skywards and enemy flesh-chunks bouncing across the floor.
The only thing more certain is the fact that guards never realise the danger. Instead, their first (and last) thought when you burst out shooting will always be, "I'll be fine behind this 60 gallon drum of aviation fuel."
Most overused in: Assassin's Creed, Prince of Persia: Sands Of Time, Mirror's Edge, Brutal Legend.
It's usually the guy with the beard. Not always, admittedly. But the chances are, whether you're a secret sect of assassins or a crack team of soldiers, there'll always be one person on your team with a dagger who's just waiting for a vulnerable back. Thing is, they're usually obvious - if your average hero paid a bit more attention, he'd probably save the world a hell of a lot sooner.
Things to look out for: do they look evil? Even a little bit? If it's a girl, is there a hint of vampy make up? Do they turn to the camera after talking to you and mutter things like "Sooner than you think" or "More than you'll ever know." If they do, take aim, and shoot them now.
GIRLS CAUSE TROUBLE
Most overused in: Prince Of Persia, Resident Evil 4, Dead Space.
Whether it's because they get kidnapped, hold some lost secret, or just happen to be really pretty; if there's a women involved, then all the
bloodshed and carnage will be over them.
This isn't sexist, it's just basic game design. Who would you rather risk life and limb for: a beautiful girl (who's likely to be, you know, grateful once you've rescued her) or a big hairy man? Exactly.
Most overused in: Infamous, Fracture, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Haze, Gears of War
Most games feature a wealth of futuristic technology. Incredible robots, amazing weapons, fantastic spaceships, incredible robots firing amazing weapons from fantastic spaceships. So why is it that, in a world filled with gravity guns, time travel and wristwatch radios, has no one ever come up with styling wax or a bit of gel. Or a comb, even.
Instead, the future is full of military grade-one buzz cuts. Could it be that there's no future for men's grooming in an age of post-apocalyptic space war? Does mankind evolve beyond petty vanity? Or, maybe - just maybe - it's easier to render...
Most overused in: Infamous, Dark Sector, Prototype.
Normal procedure when catching an exotic virus is to writhe in agony for several hours. Explosions, on the other hand, should leave you experiencing a new found perspective on life as a series of liberally scattered chunks.
Not in video games, though. No, on PS3 you're far more likely to find your disease-riddled body suddenly developing wild and exotic powers, or you'll emerge from a smoking crater with the ability to hover and shoot lighting at people.
Most overused in: Resistance 2, Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time, Killzone 2, Resident Evil 5
"Hi, is that R&D? It's Grand Overlord Zang here, supreme ruler of the Theta dimension and ruin of man. I had a question about the attack droids. No, no, I'm fine with the measurements; 600 feet is a good size for fusion-powered, robot locust. Yes, 17 plasma cannons will be enough; you know I love plasma. No, I just wanted to check about the exposed reactor core you've got hanging out the ass of the thing.
Yeah the one that glows orange. You don't think that will be a problem? I can't help but wonder if one man with, say, a machine gun would be able to blow the whole thing up if he hit that bit? What's that you say? He'd have to get behind it fi rst? And you're sure that won't happen? Okay, well, that's fine then, sorry to bother you."
PEOPLE ARE FINE IF YOU NEVER SPEAK
Most overused in: BioShock, Half-Life 2, Call Of Duty series, Far Cry 2.
You just try going an hour without speaking to anyone and see what happens. Chances are, it will probably end with being shouted at, or a visit from social services.
Either way people get uneasy around the mute. Especially silent people carrying guns. But in your average FPS, it's possible to make lifelong friends, discover important information and co-ordinate complex attacks on enemy installations - all through the medium of insistent staring.