TV Tropes is a fun site to waste time on if you’re so inclined. It’s a database packed with classic tropes used in movies and TV. Tropes aren’t exactly clichés, but they’re close. They’re used a lot, some would argue too often, but they’re not always unwelcome. Sometimes a classic trope is thrown in as a call back to previous episodes, or as a nod to long-time fans. Video games have quite a few tropes of their own, and if you’ve been gaming as long as I have, they’re easy to pick out. Here are a few that I’ve seen recently that could probably use a break.
The Unlock Wave
You’re traveling with an AI companion through a dangerous enemy-infested territory and you come across a locked door. Your companion has the skill/tech to unlock said door, but it’s going to take at least five minutes to open it. While you wait for the unlock, waves of enemies will pour from every dark corner and it’s up to you to stop them from blasting your companion. Amazingly, your companion will usually finish the laborious task of unlocking the door at the exact same moment the last enemy dies.
“Whoa! Jim, what happened to you?”
“The med bay, it’s flooded with monsters! One of them stabbed me in the stomach!”
“Really? Man, that’s not good. We should tell someone.”
“Good idea. My stomach is bleeding pretty bad, we could use my blood as ink and write a message on the wall.”
“Hmmm, I was thinking something more like an email, or maybe a text blast.”
“Nah, let’s just use my blood. The dark red will show up great on these bright silver industrial walls.”
You’re storming the battlefield with your fellow commandos and you hit a bottleneck. There’s an enemy in a turret ahead and he’s mowing everyone down. Get ready for your commanding officer to order you to procure that turret and give the baddies some of their own medicine.
Push X to Win
How about instead of actually using skill and strategy to beat this boss, you just push arbitrary button prompts while your character does something cool?
I don’t know about you, but if I was stuck on a derelict spaceship or caught in an undersea utopia gone wrong, the last thing I would do is write a diary or record an audio log. I’d be more concerned with getting the heck out of there. Apparently in the future, and not-too-distant past, diaries were all the rage.
Do game developers know real women? Have they ever been with one on a hiking trip? What about to do something athletic like paintball or basketball? I have, and never once have I seen one wearing tiny shorts and unsupportive low-cut tank tops.
I could do this for days. Like I said, tropes aren’t always bad, but they can get tiresome. I wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of these go away for a while. Got any game tropes that you’ve noticed popping up a lot?