10 Ridiculous Gaming Norms That Make No Sense In Real Life
10. Progression of Difficulty
It is true of nearly every story told through any medium. As the story goes on, the trials for the protagonist become more and more difficult, whether he/she is a soldier fighting the good fight or a guitarist trying to rock the world. This standard of stories may be most recognizable in video games, however, since the consumer is the one experiencing the difficulty as opposed to a movie or book. Now, I’’m not knocking this norm. It would seem rather silly to get halfway through a game without any increase in difficulty. In fact, if it were to happen, gamers everywhere would cry foul at these clearly lazy game designers. Regardless, it cannot be denied that having a linear progression of difficulty is quite ridiculous and unrealistic.
9. Time Limit/Score
In certain games, a time limit or player score may be completely appropriate, especially considering all the sports games out there. But those aren’t the only examples. In fact, a majority of video games implement these two in one way or another, whether it be the player dying due to not finishing the level in the allotted amount of time or trying to get enough apples for an additional life (the concept of which is discussed further down). Now, these may add a little to the enjoyment factor of a game via suspense and tension, but think about it. A time limit? Why? Does Mario have a stroke if he doesn’t finish in time? It just doesn’t make sense. Ditto for scores. A score is just a number, but for what reason? Collecting coins helps gain the player imaginary points in an already imaginary world to use for…….you know….. I’m not really sure what those are used for.
Much like the previous Norm, there are legitimate examples of cars in video games, such as the Gran Turismo series. However, for every legit example, there are 5 ridiculous ones. Anyone who has played the GTA series can tell you how to destroy a car. Just shoot it until the hood catches on fire and it will explode in about 3 seconds without exception. In video games, cars are easier to explode than a Parkinsons patient holding a bottle of nitroglycerin. Furthermore, exploding isn’t the only thing cars can do in video games. They can also occasionally cause significant damage to the environment without taking a scratch themselves. And let’s not forget that in the realm of video games, cars never run out of gas.
From playing Uncharted, one might assume that Nathan Drake was raised by a family of circus acrobats, what with the scaling buildings like a monkey and jumping 15 feet from ledge to ledge. One would be wrong however. He simply takes advantage of video game physics. In so many games, characters are able to perform the most ridiculous feats. Mario jumps six times his height and lands without even a bruise. Dante utilizes the classic double jump. (Jumping on air!?!?) Sonic revs up to roll through walls. And swinging on ropes will never break them…. unless it’s supposed to. While obviously not intentional parts of a game, glitches tend to produce the most ridiculous examples of physics. Walking through walls? Not a problem. Viewing the inside of a building from the outside? Even easier.
A crucial part of most every game, health is restored and increased in some of the strangest ways. In some games, such as most current shooters, health regenerates by itself so long as the player can refrain from taking further damage for a certain amount of time. Wait… What? A soldier can be shot multiple times and keep going so long as they take a breather?!? I call foul. Games not using this system usually go the route of food/herbs to replenish the health bar (or hearts if you’re a Zelda fan). This dates back to the oldest of games. In the Streets of Rage series, players restored their health via cakes or turkeys, moderate and complete restore respectively. That’s right, gluttony is the quickest to recover from getting your ass kicked. Resident Evil attempted to be more realistic, but still fell short with the use of herbs. Yes, herbs can be very beneficial to one’s health, but not in the case of zombie bites/disembowelments. Also, how does one use an herb? If we are to believe the Resident Evil series, one simply has to press the use button. Whether the character eats the herb or just smears it on their body, we will never know. And let’s not forget that throughout all of these, one thing remains constant; whether a simple splinter or a near death pulverization, one can quickly and efficiently reach 100% again.
The standard backpack holds 2 rifles, a shotgun, 5 different handguns, over 1000 bullets, an assortment of melee weapons, 24 first aid kits, a map, various tools, and even your teddy bear, right? It doesn’t? Well it can in video games. While this has become the exception with modern shooters, it still holds true in nearly every other type of game. Proof? Any RPG ever!!!! Even games that put a limit on amount of items usually would allow any amount of an item, i.e. first aid kits. This is one of the few items on this list that truly baffles me. Putting a limit on inventory has never been an issue, so why has it only been addressed these past 2 generations, and why does it still happen in various current games? And this is based on the assumption that the player has some sort of container for the items, which is not always the case. Another thing that makes the inventory system even more ridiculous is that it often pauses the game when being viewed. Evidently, even the most heinous villain will politely stand by and wait while you go through your bag. Well……. How kind of them. Good sportsmanship really adds to character, I suppose.
Just because you’re a genetically engineered super soldier who has singlehandedly saved the world multiple times doesn’t mean you escape the mandatory training. You may be the best of the best, but looking up, down, left, and right is damn near rocket science. What’s that? You already know how to aim, run, and take cover? Better go ahead and prove it, again and again. Let’s face it. This has never made sense, and it only makes the plot of the game seem stupid. I realize that a player may need to familiarize themselves with the controls, but don’t act like it’s Master Chief who just had a stroke. The same goes for telling the character (not the player) to press certain buttons. Seriously? Buttons? Thank God a plasma rifle has a left bumper and start button. Snake needs to insert the next disc, huh? Really? Where is he supposed to put it, pray tell? Basically, every time the game needs to convey information to the character, it will convey it to the character. This is great for the player’s consistent immersion in the game, but only if implemented organically (i.e. Not giving the character nonsensical directions). If a game needs to tell the player something, then it should just tell them, not the characters. Breaking the fourth wall is ok. We know it’s a game. We figured out it’s not real when we shelled out our very real money for it. Don’t patronize; Innovate
Reincarnation is a spiritual concept in the real world based on cultural and religious beliefs and traditions. In video games, it is fact; immediate, undeniable fact. Extra lives have been around since the inception of video games. Everyone is familiar with Mario’s green mushroom. If Sonic gets 100 gold rings, he gets a 1up. Ditto with Crash Bandicoot and apples. A core part of gaming, number of lives is directly related to a game’s difficulty. While this works very well in that regard, it doesn’t add to a game’s coherence. I can die and then immediately start where I just was? Well that’s convenient. If only policemen had this ability. Aside from the number of lives, reincarnation is also implemented through continues. Continues, which hearken back to the days of Arcade games like Mortal Kombat, are a cornerstone of gaming. Back in the days of arcades, continues were purchased with quarters. As time has progressed, continues have become the norm more and more. This conveys to the player that death is only temporary, never permanent. So death isn’t permanent? Isn’t that exactly what death is? If not, then why are we putting these potentially revive-able dead people in locked caskets 6 feet beneath the ground, and then covering the graves with ridiculously heavy headstones? Fear of zombies, I guess.
2. If it Sparkles, it’s Important!!!
Whilst traversing through the video game world, it is always crucial to pick up the items you need along the way. Thank Goodness the video game Gods had the grace to imbue any and all such items with their godly glow. That is what happened right? I can’t think of any other explanation aside from possible radiation, in which case one should be careful when picking up anything. Only in video games does it make sense to actually search for and collect glowing items. In the real world, a glowing clip of ammo would be ample cause for concern and certainly make one hesitant to use in a gun. Now, to be fair, without the glowing, it would take forever to find items (especially in the survival horror genre where the lighting is so dim to begin with). Regardless, having the items glow doesn’t make sense. Why aren’t other people collecting these radioactive items? Furthermore, why do they stop glowing once you pick them up? Did you absorb the glow? If that happened to me in real life, I would check for super powers. There has got to be a better way to illustrate that an item is nearby without smearing it with glowsticks.
1. Save Points
The number 1 spot on this list is taken by the one element present in nearly every game and that makes the least amount of real world sense; save points. This is necessary unless you plan on finishing a game in one sitting (all the power to you if you do). What does a save entail, though? One can always go back to that point and start fresh from where they were. This is particularly useful if one dies or messes up a crucial part of the game. This can’t happen in real life. A prisoner can’t just yell “Redo!!!!”. Nor can a doctor, a student, or anyone who has ever messed up. Life does not afford us the same luxuries that video games do. Even so, luxurious may not be the best term to describe the save system in some games. First of all, one does not simply save one’s game, especially in the survival horror and rpg genres. One of the best examples of this incredulous norm is the Resident Evil series, the earlier entries in particular. To save one’s game, one has to find ink ribbons and then use them on the various typewriters located throughout the game. Seriously? Ink Ribbons? Is Chris Redfield coming across these and thinking “Oh thank God. I really need to improve my wpm (words per minute) for my resume.”?!?!?! That it saves the game aside, what is the purpose of this? Also, why are there all these old style ink ribbons and typewriters just lying around this old decrepit mansion? However, it still makes more sense than the save system in Silent Hill 2. Konami took the abstract route for their save points. If I ever came across a glowing red rectangle hanging on a wall in my day to day life, I would be very concerned. What the hell is that red rectangle, anyway, and what is James thinking when he comes across it? “Hey, a red mirror. Better make sure I still look good.” I suppose he doesn’t want to meet his dead wife looking too shabby.
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.