A tribute to tropes

Despite the painstaking efforts developers employ to ensure their latest release appears as ‘realistic’ as possible, it’s always the little things – or sometimes painfully obvious things – that let them down. If, like me, you have a friend that compares almost every aspect of a particular game to the rules and expectations attached to reality, then there’s little doubt that you’ll understand this article. And please, don’t take this article too seriously.

Regenerative Health

It seems that every protagonist, from Marcus Fenix to Master Chief, has the uncanny ability to heal to almost no end. While the latter has an excuse – regenerative shielding – the former doesn’t quite get away with it. Sure, he’s a big guy and could probably take a blow to the head, or three, but a bullet to the chest? I’m not so sure. Bullets and bombs be damned, nothing’s going to stop generic hero #15 from saving the universe single-handedly. It’s difficult to fathom why developers seemingly jumped the ‘instant recovery med pack’ boat, in favor of the obviously more tangible regenerative health mechanic.

Exploding Barrel

Last time we checked, ‘exploding barrel’ wasn’t available at the local furniture store. Understandably, it puzzled us as to why so many master villains-in-the-making seemingly use them as décor in their surroundings. After all, they aren’t particularly attractive, and can often be a serious health hazard should generic video game hero #15 come knocking to save the universe (and the princess) single-handedly, again. It’s also unfortunate that of all the barrels to choose from, they just so happened to pick the exploding ones.

Love at First Fight

Everybody has a preference when it comes to displays of affection. Some hug, some kiss and some just cuddle. Others, however, have a tendency to shoot at the ones they love. All-too-often enemies are so stricken by the heroes extravagant beauty, that – for a lack of a better way to express themselves – they point their weapons, and their limitless ammo supplies, at the breathtaking hero. They even go to such lengths as to ignore you’re equally well armed allies. Or maybe, just maybe, we missed the ‘generic hero #16’ (his predecessor died, taken out by an exploding barrel, apparently) sign hanging around our heroes’ neck. Because if there was one, that would explain a lot.

Automatic Elevators

Just when I thought we’d hit the peak of automated opening technology, the automatic lift was born. It’s the invention that left the button behind; it doesn’t even require a voice command or a quick snap of the fingers, it simply requires generic hero #16 to step into its plainly decorated interior. Even when your comrades venture forth onto said lift, ahead of you, it still waits. Yes, it’s that good. If you’re a developer thinking about incorporating the ‘press a button to go up’ mechanic in the name of nostalgia, then don’t. A button press to operate a lift is a button press that could have been dedicated to blowing stuff up. However, if this button happened to operate a lift and blow stuff up, then, I’m sold.

Indestructible Crates

It’s wood. There’s a reason why we use it for boats, tables, and not tanks. It’s not exactly indestructible, at least, in reality. In nonsensical video-game land, however, this stuff is the Chuck Norris of ubiquitous materials. If Spielberg and Lucas introduce a lead-lined, wooden walking battle tank in the next adventure of a certain archaeologist, it would undoubtedly be the ultimate power in the universe – especially with its exceptional ability to resist nuclear explosions. And to the crates that sacrifice themselves in the name of storing conveniently placed health packs, ammo and cash only one-hundredth the size of the actual container, we pay tribute.

‘Impassable’ Obstacles

When compared to jumping over a small gate, fence or obstacle, fending off the evil dead with little more than a pistol is a walk in the park. Well, it would be, if you could actually climb over the knee-high gate that grants you access to said park. For all the out-of-this-world abilities generic hero #17 has (the other guy fell victim to lead-lined walking wooden battle tank, mentioned earlier), traversing environments a toddler could master isn’t one of them. When that hero appears in court charged with the destruction of the universe (the court was wooden, so, naturally, survived that destruction) it’d be funny to see him explain the predicament of losing the key to the knee-high gate.

So, what video game tropes can you think of?

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