79 Things Games Developers Need to Stop Doing
Tropes are over-used conventions or plot devices. Analysis of them is common in TV and movies, but in fact tropes are even more prevalent (and damaging) in games than they are in other mediums. Tropes can be a crutch for developers; a cliched element of design that is both lazy and unoriginal. Here are the 79 worst, most commonly occurring tropes in games. If you’re a developer, why not try to avoid these? The result will be a better, more original game!
This list wasn’t just my work. It was the whole CDT community that helped with this. Thanks everyone!
2. Recording devices capturing NPC’s last moments.
3. Turrets that spawn enemies when you get near them (“Get on that turret soldier!”)
4. Defending someone while they hack a door.
5. An unusually large room? Here comes a boss fight!
6. A large cache of weapons and healing items before you go into a new area? Here comes a boss fight!
8. The main antagonist taunts you from behind the only bulletproof piece of glass in the entire game
9. The last boss character in a fighting game is ludicrously overpowered and requires ridiculous gameplay exploits to defeat.
10. A conveniently placed weapon that’s perfect for the actions you are about to perform. “There’s a tank. Here, take this anti-tank thingy!”. Distant enemies on a tower. “Ohh, a sniper rifle and ammo is just sitting here!”.
12. An opening that starts with a helicopter ride.
13. Eating food out of bins.
14. Attacking armoured enemies from behind, hitting their “weak spot”.
15. Powerful enemy weapons you can’t pick up.
16. Elastic racing game AI.
17. End of game indestructible boss – here take this orbital laser!
19. Mad scientists documenting their work. “Subject B12 shows some worrying signs, such as a predeliction to murder scientists when experimented on. More research required”.
20. Enemies dropping ammo when they don’t have guns. Or reasons to carry ammo. For example, zombies.
21. Killing X number of somethings for reasons.
22. A proliferation of waist-height items in cover based shooters.
24. Female characters clothing offering insufficient material to protect that character from hypothermia in cold environemnts.
25. Female clothing conistsing of an excess amount of leather, PVC, rubber and straps.
26. Female clothing being too tight and restrictive to allow natural movement or respiration.
27. Female footwear being ill-suited to the tasks of running, jumping or stealthy, silent movement.
28. Enemies beating your dead corpse, wherein you are treated to the ‘YOU ARE DEAD’ message as enemies continue attacking your unmoving cadaver.
30. A third person camera view that allows you to peer behind corners even though your character can’t.
31. Brightly coloured weak points.
32. A mute protagonist, with NPC’s who respond to things they haven’t said.
33. Whole worlds without children.
34. Ankle-high barriers that make whole mysterious lands of wonder inaccessible to the player.
35. Invisible barriers that make whole mysterious lands of wonder inaccessible to the player.
36. Shallow inclined planes that make whole mysterious lands of wonder inaccessible to the player.
38. Tiny piles of debris which NPC’s declare to be “impassable”, when clearly two minutes of work would clear the path.
39. Flying through rings.
40. A tutorial which asks you to crouch under a collapsed beam, then jump over another collapsed beam.
41. You wake up in a research station. Oh no, its being attacked!
43. NPC’s who are shot millions of times in gameplay to no effect, but then get hit once in a cut scene and die. Heroically.
44. When a character says, “You guys go, I’ll hold them off.” Then you think they died. Then it turns out they survived and everyone is happy.
45. The credits play at the end of the game, then the screen fades to black, then there’s an extra scene that completely negates the original ending.
47. All bad guys are Russian or Korean.
48. The Scottish character is grizzled, violent, short-lived.
49. The black character is the main characters best friend. The black character has no other defining traits.
50. There are two choices. Rescue the villager’s son from the dragon, or tell the woman to fuck herself. There’s no option to make a polite excuse then cough, look at your watch, make some small talk then head off for lunch.
52. Completing those favors results in them giving you “what small money they have”.
53. But your charm/threats allow you to get 20% more than they offer at first.
54. A journal which freezes time (including attacking enemies) as you read it.
55. Animals attacking you triggers QTE events. You press a button rapidly to punch their face as they affectionately chew your arm.
56. Firing an RPG into a building has no effect on the structure of the building, and causes no damage to enemies if it explodes on the wrong side of the wall.
58. Killing civilians does not induce years of guilt, shame and self recrimination on the protagonist. They continue on with life in a manner which means they are as sociopathic as the worst murderers from throughout history.
59. The hero makes a funny joke or observation as they murder their 650th henchman. No consideration is made of the henchman’s family, or how they will pay for little Jimmy’s education now that daddy has been killed while working his perfectly respectable security job for Dr Diabolicus.
61. You find a dead body and walk past it. The dead enemy comes back to life to attack you. Shooting the enemy in the head before it reanimates to “make sure” is ineffective.
62. Monsters/aliens/zombies/the infected come out of the air vents
63. Monsters/aliens/zombies/the infected come out of a locker.
65. Monsters/aliens/zombies/the infected grab your foot at the last minute as you climb a ladder. You kick them off and push the ladder down so they can’t follow.
66. Monsters/aliens/zombies/the infected chase you down a dead end. You look around. No options available! You look around again. Quick, down this hatch!
67. Little monsters burst out of disgusting parts of big boss monsters
69. You can carry the sword, axe, bow, arrows, belt of speed and pantaloons of power as well as 6000 gold pieces. You don’t have any space left to carry the small piece of cloth though.
70. A missile launcher takes up eight inventory slots. A key card takes up one. By this reasoning, eight key cards are as hard to carry as a missile launcher. Despite this, I seem to be unable to fit a missile launcher in my wallet.
71. The villagers never go to the dark woods because it is too dangerous. The dark woods are less than 200 meters away from the village. You can see the dark woods from the village. You can even see the monsters that will murder the villagers. This would be a very unsettling village to live in.
73. Ridiculous puzzles are required to open doors that are in no way time effective for the person originally residing in the vicinity of that door. If the occupant wants a sandwich, they need to find the red gem in the study in a drawer and the blue gem under a floorboard to get into the kitchen.
74. Enemies who attack one at a time.
76. Smash through the the lampost, smash through the news stand, smash through the people, smash through the fence… HIT THE INVINCIBLE TREE AND COME TO A DEAD STOP!
77. Your guns become useless when your enemy has a sword. Bullets are easily deflected by the whirling blade!
78. Reloading a clip when you’ve only fired one bullet magically doesn’t waste the rest of the clip.
79. Exotic, original alien weapons that work just like regular shotguns, sniper rifles, pistols and assault rifles.
So that’s all I could think of. What did I miss? Tell us below!