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6 Played-Out Cliches in Games That Every Developer Should Avoid Using

by Ben Sim on 06/16/17 09:42:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


As the gaming industry evolves, game elements that stemmed from classic game mechanics become more innovative and creative. Despite the development in gaming mechanics that we’ve seen today, there are still video game tropes that find their way into modern day games. These stereotypes were once effective game mechanics, now they’re just elements that can cause a drop in the quality and meaning of games. Here is a short list of video game clichés that developers should avoid using if possible.



When playing RPGs, at level 1, you often fight slimes or furry creatures that are easy to beat. As you progress further to higher levels, the enemies become tougher and beefier. Once you reach the highest level, which is usually level 100, you start facing hordes of powerful enemies and bosses.

This game mechanic is already far too common. If you want to offer more challenges to the players, you can perhaps scale the enemy level in a subtle way like in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. In this game, enemy levels are not displayed, which makes it challenging for players to determine the difficulty of the enemy. Also, each area in the game world has a specific range of enemy difficulty associated with it. This forces new players to avoid areas with tougher enemies while high-level players waltz through those areas.



In many RPG games and 2D side-scrollers, gulping down a bottle of potion or eating a loaf of bread can significantly recover the character’s health. Just wait a short while after and you will see your character fully healed from its wounds. Although there’s nothing wrong with this game mechanic, it is best to put some twist if you want your game to be original. For instance, in Riviera: The Promised Land, a character that is KO-ed in battle will get a penalty to its max HP.  


Indestructible objects

Whether it is a racing game or an open world one, most video games host environments and objects that are indestructible. For instance, in Grand Theft Auto games, desks and windows won’t budge from fatal blows of a sword or any melee weapons. No matter what kind of weaponry you wield, such objects could withstand anything even an endless barrage of bullets from machine guns.

This game design element is not that much of a big deal unless you are making a realistic open world game.  With the gaming engines that we have today, it’s about time that developers pay attention to every bit of detail in a game to make them as immersive as possible.


One outfit rule

Although clothing is a minor element in games and is often overlooked, it is important to enable the character to change wardrobes if you want your game to be realistic as possible. In some games, it’s funny to see the characters wearing revealing outfits while being just fine in frigid or extremely hot weather condition. The reason why many developers use this mechanic is that they want the character to don the best outfit possible (which often happens to be the default outfit) when overcoming obstacles or saving the world.


Post-apocalyptic setting

In this kind of setting, you would often see mutated people like zombies, people wearing leather outfits while riding their bikes, a desolate wasteland, run-down buildings, mutant wildlife, and a group of bandits that will steal all your belongings. Due to the unforgiving environment, players often need to secure food for the character(s) to survive either by hunting, farming or gathering. If you want to make this kind of game stand out, make sure you put more creative elements into it.

For instance, when you’re a creating a post-nuclear war setting adding an ice age would be a fascinating twist as polar caps melt, which triggers a domino effect in all the biomes in the game world. This not only makes the game original but also challenges the player more.



This is one of the most overused video game tropes. The game progresses as the player digs up the character’s past while overcoming obstacles along the way. While being an overused tool in games, it is also a shamefully basic way to present the game’s story. Another expected scenario where players will encounter is characters helping the main character discover his or her past. When you are thinking of a narrative and are running out of ideas, avoid using this theme. Take time to think of a better and unique story that will hook players.   

Despite being overused, some players don’t have issues with video game clichés. They wouldn’t mind the commonplace gaming mechanics as long as the gameplay is fun and engaging. But as a game developer, don’t let this make you complacent. Do know that innovative and original game ideas will always make a game stand out more.


This post was written by Reymart Sarigumba from iPrice group.

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