Dave Perry, ex God Of War-er ex Shiny Person and all round industry hero has written a book on game design and GameCareerGuide have posted an extract in which Dave lists his hated gaming clichés. There are pages of them so here are my pick of his observations:
- Whenever a monster is big enough and powerful enough to level a city by itself, it is also stupid, brutal, violent, and bestial. It is invulnerable to weapons until a) an accumulation of attacks wears it down, b) just the “right” weapon is discovered, c) it can be lured into some deathtrap, d) it can be driven back where it came from, or e) it falls in love with a human woman, which is its downfall.
- Enemies don’t seem to react when one of their group is dropped by a high-powered sniper shot. They just stand around as if nothing happened.
- Most criminal or enemy organizations are building a secret weapon of immense power.
Objects and the Environment Clichés
- Walls that can be destroyed have special cracks or other distinct textures in them. Likewise, secret passages are generally discernible by walls with special markings. And walls that can be climbed must have a different texture from ordinary walls, which cannot be climbed.
- Some environments can contain a lot of doors, but most of them won’t open.
Non Player Chracter Clichés
- Children cannot be killed or even injured, but they can succumb to various conditions or diseases that must be cured.
- Dwarves in games always have long, shaggy beards and heavy eyebrows, and they carry axes.
- Aliens always want to destroy the Earth or at least enslave the human population. They never want to run for Congress or open an alien fast-food chain.
Martial Arts Clichés
- Female characters generally wear tight or sexy outfits — often short skirts
- A well-timed (and properly positioned) block will stop almost any type of attack.
- Male characters are often absurdly buffed and muscular.
- The main character is usually a kid. The kid’s parents are usually dead or are killed at the beginning of the story. The kid was raised by an aunt and uncle, grandparent, or some other “guardian” (who often knows the kid’s destiny). Usually there is only one guardian figure, though occasionally there can be two.
- Even if the main character is a soldier in the king’s army, he’s still a kid.
- Party members will invariably include some combination of: An old wizard or mage , A spunky girl, A runaway princess, A tough-talking female warrior or a rogue, A mysterious but adorable girl with locked powers who is the last of her kind anywhere and who has a tragic story, A guy with a tragic past, Someone who will turn out to be a spy or will betray the hero, A “cute” character who is more annoying than helpful, A surface-tough character who is really a sweetheart underneath
- People don’t seem too concerned that you walk around their towns and even inside their houses carrying nasty weapons in your hands.
- Villains often have the uncanny ability to materialize and dematerialize at will, but only when it suits the plot. Their teleportation abilities are inconsistent and only apply when the designers want you to have an encounter with the villain without having any opportunity to fight, or, if there is a fight, without having an opportunity to win.
- Legends, predictions, and prophecies are always true.
- Walking causes an exaggerated bobbing effect.
- There’s a single melee mode (such as your fists).
- You can’t see your feet.
- Female characters have overly endowed, jiggle-prone, ultra-mobile breasts.
- There are stereotypical representations of race/class/ethnicity.
Fore more words of wisdom why not grab a copy of Dave.s book from Amazon.