video game cliches


I’ve recently gone back to a very old (2001) video game on my PS2 called Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. It’s fun for a while but gets pretty repetitive in only a short while.

So what cliche’s are there?

  • You start off with nothing but a rusty dagger and no money, like some transient drifter.
  • The cellar of the tavern in which you start is a huge labyrinth.
  • You break open every crate, jar, and barrel in sight to find money and healing potions, which you take of course, even though it’s technically stealing from the people you’re trying to help.
  • You start by killing rats. God help me, it’s always rats.
  • You kill whole armies of identical monsters by yourself, because even though the city is depending on you, they sit back on their collective asses while you do all the work.
  • The armies of identical monsters drop treasure when they die, like magic weapons occasionally, which they totally failed to use while attacking you.
  • The city has tasked you with saving it, but the merchants still stiff you for every weapon, potion or piece of armor you need for the task. Thanks guys.
  • Said merchants, even in the crappiest part of the city, have an armoury’s worth of epic weapons, kegs of potions, and shiny magic armour and protective trinkets.
  • You have to go on a multitude of fetch and carry missions, like bringing a bottle of wine back from the cellar for a wino that the busty tavern wench (oh yeah) cut off. Way to go, Mr. Enabler.
  • Monsters let you attack one of their number and fail to notice the commotion that combat causes. Which means you don’t have everything in the dungeon converging on your location, like you’d figure they would if they were smart.
  • You have to jump. There are jumping puzzles. Jump, jump, jump–oh, mis-timed that last one and fell to your death. Reload and attempt again, and again. Damn, they’re annoying.
  • Fight all the way to the end and get rewarded for all your hard work with a quick closing cut scene that leads into…the coming sequel, in which you’ll of course start over with nothing and have to work all the way back up the ladder. Chump.

1 thought on “video game cliches”

  1. I like this post and would like to post an addendum, as I have just fought my way through MegaMan 9 on the Wii. Since about version 7, this series has been updated with a shop system which can give you, the main hero, anything you want once you give them enough giant screws. The effect is a kind of shop, but I find it hard to believe that a robot-designing master like Dr. Light won’t have a ton of screws available anyway. It’s the same sort of cliche your describing, with the shop-keeping robot Auto making demands for currency and leaving you to do all the hard work. Which involves you facing the treacherous pits without the bird robot that can save your from pits (as if that needs more screws), and you’ll need to conserve extra lives, but I can see how that would require a lot of extra lives. In the end, the game ends and they challenge you to do the whole thing over again, facing more monsters that irregularly drop screws for more bartering fun between the levels, but there is something that is just plain satisfying about watching those hapless robot monsters blow up. Or walk into pits.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s