Stupid tropes in games that make no sense and need to go
By: Jeff Rivera
Nobody expects video games to be a bastion of realism or consistent storytelling. In fact, I love that video games provide a nice escape from reality and let you do ridiculous and silly things all in the name of fun. It just happens that there are a few lazy crutches that game developers rely on a bit too much, and many times they're completely rooted in ridiculous premises. Here are a few of the tropes that I deem to be ripe for retirement or refinement. Every time I see one of these, it's like hearing the Wilhelm Scream in a movie or TV show. It immediately yanks me out of the experience and breaks the game world's immersion factor. So, without further delay, here are the stupid tropes in games that make no sense and need to go.
Getting knocked out to change scenes
This is practically a staple in FPS games these days. At the end of an intense segment your character will take a blow to the head and as everything begins to go dark, the antagonist will inch into view, or a pair of boots will appear at the edges of your vision. Your character will wake up, shake off the cobwebs, and typically find themselves tied up or chained. This is problematic, however. Unless you've been given some sort of sedative to keep you out, you'd probably be dead if you passed out for that long as a result from a blow to the head.
When someone is knocked out, it's typically something that only lasts for a few seconds, not hours, unless there's a serious problem. If you get hit hard enough in the head to black out for more than a minute or two, it's always paired with major head trauma, such as your brain bleeding or swelling up. Without urgent medical intervention, you're dead. And upon coming to, you're certainly not about to break out of a prison and kill 100 enemy soldiers on your way out the door.
Turret sequences to lengthen a section
It happens all the time, especially in 3rd and 1st person shooters. You'll go into a room full of enemies, including a rather pesky turret that's placed upon high ground. After taking everybody out, a squad mate will yell at you to take the turret to cover for reinforcements. Sure enough, enemies will pour into the room, usually through a choke point, as soon as you hop onto the turret and you'll mow them down before you're allowed to progress.
It's kind of annoying how these sequences tend to always play out the same exact way. All they do is keep you in a room for an extra few minutes to bloat the game's overall length and they're almost never challenging. Furthermore, if you have control of the turret, shouldn't your enemies be smart enough to regroup and attack in a better tactical position once you've left the room? They put the turret there in the first place because they knew how hard it would be to attack into. Madness.
Amnesia as a plot device
So many games have a protagonist who is out on a quest to find out who they really are. They'll travel the world, face enemies of unspeakable danger, and force their way into situations where they end being the linchpin in an epic struggle between good and evil.
Despite the fact that the trope is overused, it's also hideously contrived. If you're confused about who you are, why would you leave any sort of familiarity behind to embark on a quest into the unknown? Why would defeating some ancient evil suddenly awaken your memories? It's silly, and it needs to stop.
Helicopter crash to intro a scene
Does a helicopter ever land safely in a video game? Whenever I'm on a helicopter in a game, I assume it's going down in flames. Imagine if helicopters were this unreliable in real life. They'd be terrifying to be around. Every time the local news chopper was overhead to make a check on traffic, I'd be running for cover.
Also, most helicopter crashes are fatal to everybody on board unless they manage a very lucky and soft landing. In video games, the helicopter is usually spinning out of control and dropping fast. No matter how well you brace yourself, if you're on a crashing helicopter that hits the ground at that velocity, your brain will impact hard enough against the inside of your skull to kill you. Sorry to be gruesome, but that's how it is.
Rooftop Race Events
These seem to plague every single open world game and a good share of platformers. They're not so bad in platformers, but in open world games they're a ridiculous notion. So you're just battling bad guys and all of a sudden you come across a curious fellow. What to do with this man? Well, race him of course!
These race events are usually tied to some sort of reward. So who is this guy? Is he just some lunatic that stands on rooftops waiting for the day when another traveler who hates the ground will come his way? Does he then hope that this rare passerby will be up for some rooftop jumping to an area he's already predefined as a finish line? And if you lose, is he really planning on holding onto that reward for the next racer who might take another lifetime to come by? Oh, but the biggest reason these suck is that they're not any fun.
Far off switches to activate something nearby
Don't you hate when you're standing in front of a mission-critical computer console or elevator that won't power up? Don't you hate it more when your mission leader tells you that there's a series of switches you need to flip to get it working? Don't you hate it even more than that when the switches are scattered like that time when you let your 2-year old nephew open his own bag of Skittles?
I'm not opposed to flipping a power switch to turn something on in a game. What I am opposed to is the idea that a power switch would be located half a mile from the object that you need to power on. No facility on earth would ever be built in this manner. Furthermore, since when did things start requiring several power switches to turn on? Engineers and architects in the future have to be stupid.
There are plenty more of these tropes that creep up often, especially in the RPG genre. If you want to discuss the ones I've mentioned or you want to name your own, feel free to leave a comment below or visit our forums.