Video games are the newest forms of art for a new generation. They can be bold, beautiful and even thought-provoking with deep and thrilling ideas. However, the video game industry is also plagued with awful gaming cliches and problems that continue to make video games look like nothing more than toys for kids and teenagers to play. Well, here are five gaming cliches that need to be put to stop as soon as possible. Let's start with:
5. The Plague of DLC
This was a no-brainer to put on the list. Games like Call of Duty, PayDay, Fallout 3 and so many more are guilty of this cliche. I wouldn't mind the idea of DLC so much, which was meant to be sort of an added bonus to the rest of the game, but now a lot of games require DLC to feel complete. Fallout 3, for example, had you suddenly die at the end of your game and would not let you continue your unfinished quests unless you paid $15 for additional DLC.
Some of these DLCs also include something as stupid and useless as different color skins and prettier armor. That's just unacceptable because it shows that the industry thinks we're that stupid to spend money on something so pointless to the rest of the game. Downloadable content was meant to give gamers something more that the original game could not, let's try to keep it that way.
If there is anything that the Call of Duty franchise as taught us, it's that America really fears anyone that resembles a Middle-Eastern or Russian person. Modern war shooters constantly portray foreigners as faceless enemies that are nothing more than cannon fodder for the barrel of your assault weapon. We never even dive into their emotions, their motivations and or even their character. If they have an accent, then they are meant to die by your hands.
Sometimes, you'll literally be portrayed as the villain without even knowing it. Seriously, go back and play Medal of Honor: Warfighter, there's a part where you actually go through an "enemy" village with a remote controlled mech to gun down "enemies" who are armed with rocks to smash the mech's camera. There was even a game called Spec Ops: The Line that actually parodied the whole idea behind modern war shooters and actually made America the villain for once. It's being considered as one of the best modern war shooter games in years
Can we just stop the war games about America fighting off the evil foreigners that plague our world? They just continue to show America's constant fear of the rest of the world and just makes them look worse as well. Maybe we haven't evolved much from the days of the "Red Scare" after all.
3. The silent protagonist
Now, I guess I could sort of see the likability for a silent protagonist. Sort of a strong, silent type badass that constantly gets the job no matter how dangerous or difficult. It was also an old, decent way of putting the player in their character's shoes and make them feel like they are the ones living the game as their player character. But let's be honest, its gone from a gimmick to a way for game developers to save money on a voice actor.
Earlier games like Portal and Half-Life could get away with that gimmick because they offered such new and inventive ideas that you never noticed that Gordon Freeman and Chell never talked. However, being in a new generation of gaming, the silent protagonist not only shows that the developers are being cheap and lazy but also shows that how boring your character can be.
An example of this would be Dishonored, where you play as Corvo, the Queen's personal bodyguard. Corvo does not say a word throughout the entire game but he's given such an important role in the game and the game's environment that it makes him more of a boring and forgettable character then a cool, interesting one. The Dead Space games actually learned from one of their mistakes and took Isaac Clarke, a once silent protagonist, and gave him a voice actor for the second installment of the series. I think it's safe to say that this is a gaming cliche that really shows its age.
2. The use of gender stereotyping
There is no gender that is safe from the stereotyping of the video game industry. Whether it be the busty, hourglass figured women from Soul Caliber, the muscular Space Marines from Gears of War or just all the poorly represented stereotypes in Grand Theft Auto, or Postal 2 or Custer's Revenge from the early years of gaming. Video games are not just for 13 year old boys anymore, they have evolved into something more thought-provoking and entertaining. So, why are they making all the protagonists strong, muscular soldiers that they want to be and making the supporting characters women with big boobs and butts that they want to be with?
Oversexualizing women degrades the worth and respect of the game your playing. It also shows that the developers didn't have to put much work into the project because all the boys will be too busy looking at the sexy ladies jumping around on the screen. The same can be said about the tough, grizzled soldier characters. They are boring character cut-outs that the developers can put little to no effort into. They're only there to look tough and do tough guy things.
It is possible to create an interesting three-dimensional character without oversexualizing them, just look at Alyx Vance from Half-Life 2, Elizabeth Comstock from Bioshock: Infinite, Bonnie MacFarlane from Red Dead Redemption, and even Lara Croft from the rebooted Tomb Raider series. The same can be said about male characters as well but there are way too many to reference in this article. The video game industry needs to stop treating the characters in video games like action figures and barbies and start portraying them as actual real people.
1. Gratuitous gore and violence = great gameplay and story
Just because you can rip a guy in half or impale him on a spike or cut his head off does not mean the rest of the game is good. We have seen this in a bunch of games and it's a cliche that is way over used. God of War actually has a very detailed story of betrayal, vengeance and family but that is usually forgotten as most people seem to remember the brutality of the gameplay more. This shows as the games got more and more gory and violent as the series went on and less story-driven.
How about Mortal Kombat, a game that made itself popular with it's gratuitous violence and gore. The recent entry into the franchise really pushed the limits on what a video game could get away with in the matters of violence, gore and brutality. They did this so much that it took away from the actual gameplay and story of the game and Mortal Kombat actually has an array of interesting characters and lore. There are even some games where it is completely unnecessary for it to have heavy violence or gore. Sniper Elite V2 was advertised so that you can see a bullet cam shoot and destroy an enemy's testicles.
Is that really necessary? Do the advertisers and developers think no one over the age of 13 play video games? The use of gratuitous violence and gore is fine if there is a purpose to it, but a lot of games like the Manhunt series, Postal, NeverDead, Splatterhouse, Rage and many others have decided to put the shock value of their violent gameplay rather than a good memorable story or compelling characters. If we want to keep video games as this new form of art, we need less games like these.