GameSided Roundtable: Overdone Gaming Conventions

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Greetings! This is our weekly GameSided Roundtable feature, where our writers converge to provide their opinions, wishes, statements or critical thought on one general topic centered around video games. Sometimes it can be funny, sometimes it can be serious. Contemporary, classic; we hope to cover a wide variety of things in this segment as a group. If you wish to submit an idea for a GameSided Roundtable discussion topic, you can leave me an email at: We’ll totally give you (and your Twitter account, if applicable) a shoutout!

Editor’s Note: We’re not one year into the life cycles for the majority of the 8th generation consoles (PS4, Wii U, Xbox One), yet already we’re starting to see new experiences in gaming, time and time again, that we just couldn’t encounter before. Streaming Twitch content natively through a console, using a gamepad as a controller and a second screen, plugging microphones into controllers, applying NFC technology, for figurines, built into the device; there are great new attractions that certainly provide excitement so early in each consoles’ first or second years.

However, when it comes to software, there are still cases of “been there, done that;” both creatively and structurally built into our gaming content. It’s still early, so there’s a chance that we can see advanced in gameplay meet advances in technology. But, until we get to that point, I’ve asked our writers about this week’s topic question: Which gaming convention has been done to death?

(One of the entries on page 2 includes a 17 year-old story spoiler for Final Fantasy VII involving the dramatic conclusion for Disc 1. Even if you haven’t played the game, you should know what it is. If somehow you don’t, skip to page 3.)

Image courtesy of Kotaku.

Barrett Womack (Twitter)

In games, clarity of control is everything. Everybody knows how frustrating it is getting thrust into an epic battle with no idea what to do. However, the solution to this problem has become almost as bad as the cure. In-game tutorials that hold your hand and trod on at the pace of a sloth on Ambien are frustrating, mind-numbing endeavors that test the patience of even the least experienced gamer, and they are everywhere. Even otherwise excellent games regularly interrupt the flow of an enemy encounter or the acquisition of a new item (I’m looking at you, Legend of Zelda), with decidedly unsubtle pieces of advice.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the learn-as-you-go idea, but let’s tone it down a little bit. Give players a safe place to understand their abilities and experiment with the tools they have, then set them loose. Unless it’s incredibly complex and unusual, people can and will figure it out for themselves. Shackling players in place with a minute-long explanation that culminates in ‘press X’ is not fun for anybody.