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GameSided Roundtable: Overdone Gaming Conventions

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Red Foxx (Twitter)

The gaming convention done to death, one I’m not sure will ever be gone, is beginning a game all powerful and then losing those powers after the first opening scene. This happens in games like God of War II where you start out a psychotic killing machine and then you have your powers ripped from you in some accident or planned attack on you and you must find not only weapons but health and magic talismans to get back all of your power.

This is one of those conventions that works well in some games where the incident propels your guy forward to revenge but also a necessary component of the story. However, in many games this process exists as a Macguffin that gives you an excuse to go on this journey, but isn’t altogether necessary to do so as the story is told.

Eric Chrisman (Twitter)


How many times must we deal with this lazy gaming crutch? It’s most common in RPGs, but has been used to death in just about every genre that exists. Usually, it’s to cover up some glaringly obvious “twist” (like the hero or one of the heroes is actually a bad guy or THE bad guy), or worse; make up for some really obvious plot holes.

It’s also sometimes an incredibly lazy excuse to start a powerful character back a square one, rather than bother to adjust the game around the fact that you are or are at least in a party with someone who’s pretty powerful. Also, finally THIS ISN’T HOW AMNESIA WORKS MOST OF THE TIME. Generally, Amnesia keeps you from forming new memories so it’s much closer to movies like Memento or (ugh) 50 First Dates. It’s a massively overused & lazy trope that permeates the entire medium and I really hope with video games writing really evolving the last several years that we will see it pretty much vanish soon.

Erik Sugay

I take issue with cutscene incompetence. Your character has these inherently amazing abilities that are tied to gameplay, but somehow during cutscenes, those abilities just don’t matter. You have the ability to revive a comrade incapacitated in battle by vicious monsters or deadly magic spells like fire and lightning? Sorry, Aerith, that Phoenix Down won’t save you after being impaled.

And it’s not just relegated to older games or RPGs, either. Batman has his Detective Vision that allows him to see through walls, but manages to get ambushed by the Joker in an early Arkham City cutscene because…the story demands it! These moments are especially jarring in any game where your character is practically a one-man army. It would be fantastic if developers could move narrative along without making characters incompetent when the player has no control.