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  • Cliches in games

    Ok, what are the most agonisingly unoriginal features in games? Post them here!

    Exploding Barrels.

    To me, these just sum up the contrived naffness of supposedly realistic level design. Games designers spinkle them liberally about levels, purely for the purpose of them exploding. It's like the enemy wants to make it easy for you. I can accept exploding barrels in the context of some sort of fuel storage area, where it makes sense for them to be, but when they're lying about in every corridor, every street, everywhere, it destroys any sense of immersion. Only in a game would barrels be so strategically placed, just waiting to be shot.

    Culprits: Doom, and almost every FPS since. Red Alert had an insane number of barrels just 'lying about'.

    Goblins.

    The fantasy genre is composed almost entirely of cliches, however, I'm selecting goblins as a case in point. These guys seem to exist for the sole purpose of you killing them. Invariably weak and stupid, they present no challenge at all, and are no fun to kill. At least other fantasy staples are a challenge to defeat. Give me a game where the goblins are hard as nails, now that would be something.

  • #2
    Characters that go up levels.
    Does every RPG have this feature?

    Hit points (who invented this rubbish)
    You can hit me at least 9 times with your sword, even though I'm unarmoured because I have 97 HPs.

    Mana.
    Need I say more? Isn't this "food from heaven" anyway?

    The bad guys want to take over the world. Ok, this is in films too, but who has the millitary power to take over the world?

    That's enough to be getting on with.

    -Jam
    1) The crappy metaspam is an affront to the true manner of the artform. - Dauphin
    That's like trying to overninja a ninja when you aren't a mammal. CAN'T BE DONE. - Kassi on doublecrossing Ljube-ljcvetko
    Check out the ALL NEW Galactic Overlord Website for v2.0 and the Napoleonic Overlord Website or even the Galactic Captians Website Thanks Geocities!
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    • #3
      Originally posted by War of Art
      Mana.
      Ooh, ooh, look! There is a lump of mana right in that corner. You can get some good spells with that much!

      Seriously, mana gets funny sometimes.

      Another thing is: the bad guys always talk too much. This is especially true for movies, but it takes place in games also.

      See this link for more cliches about bad guys.

      http://minievil.eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html

      When I capture my adversary and he says, "Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?" I'll say, "No." and shoot him. No, on second thought I'll shoot him then say "No."


      Another thing is, after a fight with the big boss, the building you were fighting in usually collapses, or explodes, or some such thing that could kill the hero after the fight...
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      • #4
        Going along with the RPG theme (although i dont play any RPGs), from what i can tell there always seems to be a group consisting of small dwarf/elf type thing with an axe bigger than he is and a huge beard, then the tall long haired woman with large breasts, the guy with a big sword huge muscles and no brain, and some other one. This might be adventure/action games too.

        Id go along with the "box/crate" thing in FPS's too, half-life and quake being particularly bad offenders. Even if it is to reduce clipping or that thing with the z-axis, theres no excuse for the extreme repitition.
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        • #5
          The last level, when you should have the enemy near the brink of defeat, after all those heroic successes so far in the game, and for some reason your side can only give you a tooth pick and a disposable poodle to help you take over the ridiculously well defended enemy fortress.
          John Brown did nothing wrong.

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          • #6
            I remember vividly the PnP module where goblins got their own back. It was so well crafted that a medium levelparty was in serious trouble. The goblins were essentially using guerrilla war tactics. Tunnels. Ambushes. Traps. Suicide bombers. It was excellent fun.

            The basic problem with Goblins in RPG's is that you never get to see their strengths. They should stay hidden in their wilderness lairs until breeding pressure and a good leader drives them out on the rampage. Then there is 50 goblins for every defender. Shoot 50 arrows a round at a warrior and even with a stupid armour class he's going to get hit by an average of 2.5 arrows just on natural 20 rolls. Instead you get goblins popping up in small numbers as a light workout for the newbie adventuring party to deal with.
            To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.
            H.Poincaré

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Felch X
              The last level, when you should have the enemy near the brink of defeat, after all those heroic successes so far in the game, and for some reason your side can only give you a tooth pick and a disposable poodle to help you take over the ridiculously well defended enemy fortress.
              That annoys me too. I'm playing Knights and Merchants at the moment (yes, its and oldie). I'm near the end of the game and have soundly defeated the enemy round after round. Now I attack their fortress guarded by knights and crossbowmen, and I only have a handful of pitiful soldiers to combat them with. Sheesh!
              I'm building a wagon! On some other part of the internets, obviously (but not that other site).

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              • #8
                Mana.
                Physical characters never get tired, even if they're wearing full plate armour and carrying two maces. Magic users, on the other hand, get knackered after just a few spells.

                Id go along with the "box/crate" thing in FPS's too, half-life and quake being particularly bad offenders. Even if it is to reduce clipping or that thing with the z-axis, theres no excuse for the extreme repitition.
                How often, in a FPS, have you come across a pile of crates that just 'happen' to make a nice staircase? The back route into the statue in Deus Ex was an example of this.

                And, related to this is the whole block-moving puzzle thing.

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                • #9
                  Many of these things are not really cliches; they necessarily exist for gameplay purposes. Sure if I shoot you you should be severely hurt regardless of your hitpoints........but does reality make for a good game? No, it doesn't. The same applies to mana, and several of the other non-cliches mentioned here.

                  The barrels point I empathise with, since it is overused now. But making a reality based objection to this or similar features is stupid IMO.

                  The real cliches like the disintegrating house after you win the fight are annoying.......but hopefully the trend in game writing is in the right direction.

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                  • #10
                    Damn you double-post.
                    Last edited by Skanky Burns; April 27, 2003, 10:13.
                    I'm building a wagon! On some other part of the internets, obviously (but not that other site).

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                    • #11
                      I hate stupid AI. I hate games that start you at a massive disadvantage just so there is some challenge in defeating the stupid AI. I hate games that don't give you the necessary information to effectively control your empire (for example, it will tell you that your coal mine is out of coal, but not mention anything about your only group of knights being defeated by the enemy).
                      I'm building a wagon! On some other part of the internets, obviously (but not that other site).

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                      • #12
                        i agree with dr spike. the concept of hitpoints is one way (maybe not necessarily the best way) to represent learning how to survive an attack - maybe its the last second dodge to cushion the blow or deflect it somehow so it doesn't strike with the same force - yes, you could have weapons do less damage as you get advance in level, but allowing you to take more hits does do a decent job of represening the intent as well. Some games do also allow for the D&D concept of killing 1 held or sleeping creature per round (why only one per round? in D&D, a round represented 1 minute, and was the defined time for the game to kill a sleeping creature without awakening the creatures around it)

                        D&D also did a decent job of explaining the concept of saving throws in a related and similar concept.

                        Just curious, for those who complain about increasing HP, do you also get turned off by extra lives? (just another way of representing the same concept of being able to take more damage as you get more experienced)

                        Also, on the concept of tiredness, Baldur's Gate has the characters needing sleep every 2 game days, and then their ability to respond and fight is reduced, so is being added into those genre of games, without greatly reducing gameplay. And gameplay is ultimately what keeps most people playing, not realism.
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                        • #13
                          I just hate this game mechanic of kill lots of things, get experience, get more hit points. There has to be a more original way of doing things than that. Its just lazy game design - and that's how we get cliches.

                          -Jam
                          1) The crappy metaspam is an affront to the true manner of the artform. - Dauphin
                          That's like trying to overninja a ninja when you aren't a mammal. CAN'T BE DONE. - Kassi on doublecrossing Ljube-ljcvetko
                          Check out the ALL NEW Galactic Overlord Website for v2.0 and the Napoleonic Overlord Website or even the Galactic Captians Website Thanks Geocities!
                          Taht 'ventisular link be woo to clyck.

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                          • #14
                            Scripted "Try to stop the bad guy before he/she becomes uber-powerful, but inevitably fail" stories. Final Fantasy games are prime culprits, but they're by no means the only culprit.

                            Related to this is the "Hey, you're not allowed to kill this person, at least not yet!" game mechanic. Morrowind and Fallout are the only RPG-style games that come to mind that do not include this game mechanic -- in the rest you're not allowed to kill the bad guys until they're sufficiently powerful, and you're not allowed to kill the good guys until you discover that they're really bad guys in disguise, no matter how blatantly obvious their latent evil may be.

                            Then there's the bane of almost all RTS games, the "Yeah, all that work you put into the previous level was for naught, because you're starting from square one again" game mechanic. Myth and Homeworld are the few games in my experience that do not follow this frustrating game mechanic, as well as, to a lesser extent, HOMM.

                            The "Psychotic Loner" cliche employed in most RPG's gets old after awhile. Just this once, I want to play a hero whose family and loved ones have not been destroyed and/or who has not forgotten his past. Maybe my hero can have a nagging wife, and she occasionally tracks me down just to ***** at me and make me mow the lawn.

                            The "Ever-Present Love Interest" cliche employed in most RPG's also gets kind of old after awhile. I don't understand why my psychotic loner hero is content to be a psychotic loner up until he gets a female in his adventuring party, at which point his gonads apparently kick into overdrive. It's even more frustrating when my hero's love interest is obviously going to end up dead.
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                            • #15
                              One way you could avoid the hit point cliche would be to base damage on where you're hit, and to penalize you accordingly, a leg shot slowing you down, an arm shot disabling that arm, and a head shot killing you. Likewise, harder enemies wouldn't have to deal more damage and have more life, they could be quicker and more accurate than the disposable ninjas.
                              John Brown did nothing wrong.

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