Video games have been so pervasive for such a length of time that they have formed their own expansive canon. There are entire franchises with years-long storylines that richly encompass entire worlds and lifetimes. Other releases are extensively developed to provide their specific setting with an expository history, complete with maps, customs, economy, traditions; an entirely self-sustaining culture of its characters, it would seem.However, even electronic entertainment cannot escape vulnerability to cliches. Despite the boundless creativity and innovation of their creators, these games do inherently hold certain limits on select aspects they offer. There are definitely a few examples, in no particular order, that stand out as being broadly overplayed.
1. The Sword
Whether it is an epic role-playing adventure game, or certain examples from the fighting genre, there seems to always be that One Sword that you want to possess; the one that, by far, is more powerful than the rest. Even in certain first-person shooters and mech-fight titles, there is some form of awesome blade that is highly sought-after. The prominence of this selection though, of course, is most visible in RPGs, where from Final Fantasy (Glass Sword) to Legend of Zelda (Master Sword), you will be seeking some sort of legendary Sword weapon.
2. The Shotgun
There have been some very creative weapons found in games, from the fly-by-wire missile launcher in Perfect Dark to the gravity hammer in Halo 3. But if a game has guns, then there is always a shotgun, and it is always among the stronger weapons. Especially in close-quarters combat, whether in Doom or Resident Evil, the shotgun is the firearm of choice.
3. The Fast Girl
In the fighting genre, there exists a classic categorization of characters, each category having common traits. You have your hulking bruiser type, which always has a large body, slow movements, and powerful strikes. This is your Bowser in Smash Bros, or E. Honda in Street Fighter. Then, among other types, you always have your “fast girl,” a female character who has a modest frame, quick movements, rapid blows, at a slightly weaker strength. Even among obscure titles such as Eternal Champions or Bloody Roar, but more obviously in mainstream fighters such as Tekken or Virtua Fighter, you will almost always find the fast girl.
4. The Ice World
Platform games seem most prone to this cliche, although it definitely appears in many other kinds as well, such as role-playing or third-person adventures. Whatever the case may be, there always seems to be a level or entire map that is frozen over. Often, you will find ground that is slippery to walk on, or new sets of enemies with various freezing attacks. All the big-name classics have to repeatedly encounter icy realms, from Mario and Sonic to Kirby and Pokemon, while the little-name rookies must summon the courage to face these daunting chilly challenges for the first time as well.5. Speed
If there is a universal list of video game laws or de facto principles, one of them is that it is always better to be fast than to be slow. The only exception is in covert operations, whether in a Splinter Cell or Rainbow Six title, where being fast often blows your cover. However, even in these titles, you are given rewards and offered other incentives for finishing the mission as soon as possible! This concept works across the board, from more inherently necessary brands like sports or racing titles, to even fighting, first-person shooters, and role-playing adventures, where each incorporates the importance of time differently. You will also see strict time limits per level or task in many games, and will experience great difficulty trying to find a title that encourages slowness of any sort.
These, then, are among the most common and overworked cliches in the realm of video gaming. Perhaps the fun remaining task is to ask yourself, or a fellow gamer: Can you think of any titles that sport all five of these traits?