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10 Video Game Tropes That Need to Die

10 Video Game Tropes That Need to Die

While my love of video games has no limits, my patience does. A while ago, I mused about 10 Things I Hate in Video Games. Today, I’m going to expand on that line of thinking. However while that article was more about mechanical issues in games, today were are going to look at some tired video game tropes.

So what is a trope? For those unfamiliar, a trope is an overused plot device. Something we’ve seen so much, that you’ll want to gouge your eyes out before hiving to experience it again. It’s been done to death, it’s lazy writing, and we’d be happy to never have to deal with it again.

10 Video Game Tropes That Need to Die


1. Unrealistic Impassible Barriers

Random objects have been used to keep gamers corralled for the longest time. However it has gotten a little ridiculous over time. You may be playing a solider with a rocket launcher who can explode enemies to bits, yet will be trapped by a wooden door or an immovable table. It makes not logical sense. I understand the need to gate players off, but at least try and use a touch a realism. Two wooden boxes in a hallway shouldn’t stop me when I’ve been exploding things for the past hour.

2. FedEX Missions

One of the laziest missions in RPGs are FedEX quests. They usually involve go here and fetch me X of these. Just about every RPG has them and nobody finds these missions interesting. They can also get worse when you have to fetch items that have a random drop rate. “Get me 10 wolf hearts”. Unfortunately, only one in every 7 wolves has a heart for you to collect.


Stealth Missions

3. Stealth Quests

These may have been original at some point, but now they mostly just suck. Sneak around, follow someone, and be careful not to be seen. While it sounds easy, often they are an experience in frustration. Half of the time you don’t even know the detection radius of the person you are following, so it’s blind luck if you get spotted or not. Every now and then we’ll get treated to a stealth mission that’s actually fun, but that’s usually only when the game is centered around stealthy game play in general, such as with Hitman. Things usually get bad when they try to force this trope into an action/combat game.


Obvious Shooter Arenas

4. Obvious Shooter Arenas

There is nothing like exploring around an adventure game and then wandering into an area full of waste high walls. Gee, I wonder what’s going to happen next. Sure enough, loads of enemies show up and you switch from daring explorer to mass murderer. It wouldn’t be so bad if the transition wasn’t so glaringly obvious. Gears of War and Uncharted are particularly guilty of this one.

5. Enemies that Level with the Players

When you first start out an RPG, chances are you will encounter a few random bandits or wolves that give you a run for you money. It makes sense, you are a low level newbie who barely knows how to swing a sword. Yet 70 hours later when I wander back through that starting area, these same wolves and bandits should not have any chance of murdering me. I’ve found the master sword and holy armor of righteousness, they shouldn’t even be worthy of my notice. But apparently they’ve been on a strict training regiment and are still just a bit more powerful than me. It’s lazy coding and it breaks the immersion of the game. If i’m now a powerful, high level warrior, I should be mopping the floor with these early guys.


Collection Quests

6. Collection “Quests”

Only slightly lazier than the FedEX quests are the collection quests. Any Ubisoft game is guilty of this one, especially Assassin’s Creed. Go find 50 feathers randomly scattered throughout the kingdom. It’s pointless busy work there to make it seem like the gameplay is deeper than it actually is. Only once have I found every single collectible in a game, and thats because I pulled up a guide online. The last thing I want to do is hunt through ever nook and cranny of the world in an exercise of tedium.

7. Cutscene Wounds

I get it, cutscenes are there to advance the game play. And I enjoy a good cutscene. But it really breaks the immersion in the game when I get beat up by a bad guy I would have easily pasted had I been allowed to control my character. The end of Red Dead Redemption. comes to mind *spoiler alert*: John Marsten gets shot and killed by about 6 or so outlaws. That would make sense if I hadn’t survived and taken on worse odds throughout the entire game. There are tons of examples like this where the hero is on the brink of death in a battle he could have easily won in the hands of the player.


Breakable Weapons

8. Breakable Weapons

Screw weapon durability. If you are swinging around a stick, I guess it makes sense that it will eventually break. But if I have a steel sword or shotgun, come on. Those things aren’t made of brittle plastic, yet many games treat them as such. The reason is that their game is a bit of a loot piñata and the want you to keep hunting for more weapons. Again, pointless busy work. Some games are actually centered around being a loot piñata (Diablo, The Division), so that can at least make sense. But in Breath of the Wild, there is no reason my knights sword needs to break after killing 20 enemies.

9 Unlimited Enemies

Ah yes, the endless trove of enemies that spawn constantly. I don’t know where their HR recruiter is posting ads, but it drives me nuts when bad guys keep coming at me in a steady stream. At that point, it doesn’t matter you strategy, until you check the right box off on the list, they will keep coming. Got a great idea to get past a location? Too bad, you’ll fight these same guys over and over until you destroy their spawn point.


Press X Not to Die

10. Press X Not to Die

The other bad side of cutscenes is when they drop a quick time event on you. During a cutscene, I usually take that opportunity to throw down my controller and relax my fingers for a bit. At that point there is nothing worse than seeing a button icon flash on the screen for you to press. Miss that tiny window and you die, usually then having to repeat the cutscene. It’s entirely pointless and, at best, annoying. Just play the cutscene, my one button press isn’t really drawing me back into the game. I’ll do that when I can start playing it again.


How about you, which video game trope do you hate the most? Let us know in the comments below.


About The Author


  1. Alex

    I feel like a more accurate title would have been “I personally wanted Breath of The Wild to be easier.”

    • Tony

      Not at all. If you read the article, you’ll notice that only a small handful of these are even in Breath of the Wild. I personally want better video games in general.


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