Every industry has its inherent flaws they can't seem to shake. Film has its annual surplus of rom-coms and Eddy Murphy comeback disasters. Television has Hollyoaks and that really boring News show. Video-games are the new kids on the block, quickly establishing themselves as a financial force, but not without their own list of cringe-worthy problems. Here are the Top Ten Worst Trends in Video-Games!
Apparently a premature balding disease has swept across the gaming pantheon, turning its cast of heroes and villains into domed egg-heads. Nathan Hale, Hitman, Cole McGrath and even Max Payne now sport gleaming or stubbly scalps.
It’s no surprise most of those names mentioned are stern-faced and homicidal. They’ve seen Link, with his flowing golden locks and the carefully pressed fringes of the Final Fantasy cast, and they’re angry. Forget conquering the Chimera or assassinating your next target, these guys want their hair back! Cue the inevitable, Max Payne 4: The Quest for the Perfect Toupee.
9. Casual Games
When Steven Spielberg declared he’d be partnering with EA Games to build a new project, jaws dropped.
But when the famed director eventually announced his project was Boom Blocx, a family-friendly Jenga rip off, a collective “What the Fuck?” echoed around the globe.
With the Wii ushering in a new era of cheap, profitable casual games, it’s only a matter of time before Epic announces Gears of War 3: Picnic Party.
8. World War 2
Seriously, are there anymore WW2 moments to pluck from the historical archives and develop a game around? Medal of Honour, Call of Duty, most avid gamers could probably receive a diploma in 1940s history, considering the surfeit of WW2 games that parachute in each year.
Why not try a different decade? A 60s hippy game? Or a 21st Century Duck Hunt with George Bush and Tony Blair as the eponymous targets?
7. Downloadable Content
Fans of Elder Scrolls: Oblivion may remember the Horse Armour fiasco a few years ago, when Bethesda charged several dollars for a bunch of frilly-looking costumes for your much embarrassed steed.
This trend has continued, with companies desperate to squeeze every penny from their product. Want a multiplayer mode in Resident Evil 5? Oh, sorry, you’ll have to pay for it, because it wasn’t ready for the game’s release, but will be a few weeks later. Right…
6. Zombie-Alien Invasions
Poor zombies and aliens. Maybe they’re just misunderstood, underneath their rotting skin and exotic armour, and enjoy rescuing wayward kittens and donating to charity, instead of feasting on countless human brains and invading foreign planets.
They should be given a well-deserved vacation, and in their absence, rampaging pandas and gun-toting, cigar-munching koala bears should fly the banner. Left 4 Dead proved it’s much more fun being the zombie, than beheading one!
5. Lethal Water
Video-game characters have obviously never had swimming-lessons. In Grand Theft Auto 3, the protagonist could brave gunfights with mobs and gangs, survive a head-on collision with another car, but drop him in water, and he’d writhe about and eventually drown like an insect.
His successors finally learned how to swim, but the trend has continued, most recently with Infamous, where electrically-charged hero Cole McGrath will be fried alive if he comes into contact with water. I wonder what he does when he’s thirsty?
Not so much a problem exclusive to video-games, amnesia is a lazy storytelling device most gamers wish they could forget. I’ll set the scene; a man or woman wakes up, they rub their eyes, stare in consternation at the strange room they’ve found themselves in, and then proclaim to know nothing of their past or present.
Prototype is the most recent example of an amnesiac character, blessed with superhero powers and yet more interested in his lost memories. Alex Mercer, you can run up buildings, surf dead bodies and swat helicopters aside like flies, and yet you want to know what colour your first bicycle was? Please…
3. Men of Few Words
As well as being bald and amnesiac, most video-game heroes seem to have misplaced their collective tongues. Some speak very little, such as Master Chief or Ryu Hayabusa, while others, like Link or Gordon Freeman, say nothing whatsoever.
A lot of these guys deal with end-of-the-world, apocalyptic scenarios, so you’d think they’d have more to say than banal military jargon or action-hero clichés.
Mario and Sonic heralded the arrival of video-games as a new force in the media, with the daring plumber and anthropomorphic hedgehog unlikely poster boys for the industry.
However, in recent years their respective owners, or ‘pimps’ I suppose, have been forcing their mascots to participate in some unseemly productions. Mario Party, Sonic Riders… the embarrassed duo even made a joint-appearance in Mario and Sonic Olympics. If this trend continues, Halo Kart and God of Gardening are inevitable!
Video-games have suddenly become very… well, emo! Cold stares, dark pasts, and voices more gravelly than Christian Bale in the morning, the likes of Marcus Fenix and Sam Fisher seem to have had very traumatic childhoods.
Think of Mario, who for years now, despite his arthritic limbs, has been hopping from place to place, struggling to cope with a dangerous addiction to hallucinogenic mushrooms that have convinced him a giant turtle has stolen his girlfriend!
Phew, glad that’s over! There’s a lot to love about video-games, but there sure is plenty to hate, too! Imagine a game combining all ten Trends, with bald, amnesiac anti-heroes, afraid of the mere sight of water, running from zombies and aliens against a World War 2 backdrop drawn in colourful, casual strokes, with extortionate DLC and spin-offs lurking just around the corner…