Tell Us Dammit: Most Annoying Video Game Tropes

Tropes are everywhere in media and video games are no exception. What are some of the video game tropes that annoy the hell out of you?

I'm talking about breaking crates to find guns and ammo, or food magically being able to heal bullet damage. Fruit for points. I'm also talking about the damsel in distress thing, or the silent protagonist.

What are some of the tropes that completely annoy you? Let us know in the comments below.


    insurmountable waist high fences and chest high walls

    Walks around corner.
    Chest high walls line the corridor, with boxes just jutting out to provide standing cover.
    Pulls out gun.

    (Edit: I mean, at least make an effort to hide possible cover, or make it blend in, or even to make it make sense! Mass Effect was terrible for this. No explanation, bam, chest high walls in a research facility. Not a desk that you overturn. Not a desk that's already been overturned. Just...chest high walls.)

    Last edited 27/02/14 11:21 am

      By that same token, seeing a big pile of ammo, health and armor. Never a clearer indication that a boss battle is around the next corner. :P

      Ehh, Mass Effect wasn't that terrible.

        Overall, no. But it was the quickest thing I grabbed from my memory to illustrate this point.
        Essentially anything that doesn't just flag, but shoves into your face "OI OI OI ENEMIES HERE OI OI".

          Yeah, Mass Effect was pretty notable for running through picturesque settings and then all of a sudden you'd see an empty killing field, populated by strategically-placed 'random' bits of cover. "NOTHING TO SEE HERE. TOTALLY ORDINARY PIECE OF TERRAIN, THIS. NOT A BATTLE ARENA."
          "OK, game. I will wander into this area and pretend to be surprised when you ambush me."
          "THIS IS HOW GAME."

            At least in Uncharted they subverted that once or twice by making you walk through that kind of area expecting the inevitable ambush, not get one and be a bit confused until you realise that you come back the same way and it all makes sense

              Ohhh, that's very similar to the one that annoys me... the mounted gun placement facing the wrong way. "You'll be coming back here, and there'll be a horde of enemies to mow down."
              "Thanks for the heads-up, level design!"

                Interestingly, there were a few of those mounted gun parts in the recent Tomb Raider game where you have to get past it but there was no opportunity to turn it on your enemies. You could use it, but by the time you got up there there was nothing for you to shoot at. I automatically assumed I would have to backtrack and use it on some dudes, but I didn't.

                I wonder which one we'd objectively consider the more "thoughtful" design. The one where the turret is just an obstacle, or the one that is shown to you as a "remember this later" moment?

                  Or the Halo version, Option three! Where you just rip the mounted turret off its tripod and cart it around as a walking weapons platform.

          Gears of War was more guilty of it. One point where you get into a fight and a chest-high catapillar with stone skin starts moving through for you to use.

          Granted it was a clever way to do it though.

            Hahaha, I loved that caterpillar part, and how you had to shoot down the fruit for it to eat. Gears of War gets excused from a lot of these because it is such a shameless "game". It's really not trying to be anything else.

      I remember Red Dead Redemption getting a bad case of this when I rode into a new area at one point.

      Grey concrete pillars in the original Gears of War

    silent protagonists, friggin annoying, crates in places where there is no way to put them into that room (doors to small) but the biggest...QUICK TIME EVENTS.

    Ai being able to see through cover, when I watch my death through kill cam and theres like a giant palm leaf clearly blocking there view :|

      This. I hate this the most.

      AI and general gameplay for future games needs to be greatly improved. How about devs stop focusing on the looks and make it PLAY better hmmm?

        Xbox was claiming it would have some type of adaptive AI that would impersonate other real players....if this is the case field of vision and cover needs to play a role.




      Which is funny because I usually get into arguments about invisible walls and return to battlefield warnings. Even getting into arguments over Halo: Reach with people saying that invisible walls should always be used despite the fact that making zones allow more creative freedom of map creations.

        I always wanted to see a battlefield game with no invisible walls, or a sort of 'anti invisible wall' situation, where you get say 3 seconds to return, then suddenly your guy has 'gone awol', you see him running off screaming 'NOPE! FUCK THIS! IM OUTTA HERE!'

          In the first Call of Duty, if you're Russian you get shot by your comrades.

        I like the invisible walls in Splinter Cell - the camera just swings 180 degrees and Sam Fisher is forced to turn around because he's on a mission dammit!

      Codemasters were the pioneers and innovators in the field of invisible walls, starting in the 90s but they seem to have lost their edge in the last handful of years.

    I don't know if this is a "trope", but scripted chase sequences where you can't catch up with the target until a set point. These feel quite intrusive on the gameplay experience when the NPC is just clearly outpacing you for no reason other than they have to beat you to the showdown location. I feel like there are better ways to design around this.

      Trying to kill Trevelyan in Goldeneye before the end of the level! The bane of my life.

      Last edited 27/02/14 11:31 am

        Golden gun :) I can't remember if his lines still play if you do that.

      *remembers Assassins Creed III*


      Last edited 27/02/14 11:28 am

        My favourite gaming moment of 2014 so far was in AC4. It's a chase, it's rainy, there's explosions and fire everywhere. I try it six or seven times, just can't catch the guy. I'm not good enough at the racing, or I'm missing something.

        Then it hits me. I have a gun.

        Immediately after the chase begins, aim, shoot. Guy collapses. Chase over.

          Seriously, the
          Charles Lee

          chase at the end of three would be over in 2 seconds if they let you actually use the tools at your disposal.

          This was totally an example of Doing It Right.

          I watched the Penny Arcade guys stream an AC4 session where they have to chase a guy through all kinds of shit, but I personally had never seen ANY of that chase scene because I was right up on the guy when it came time to kill him and simply put a bullet in the back of his skull before anyone knew I was there.

          GOOD JOB, GAME. I know they probably are disappointed that I didn't get to see their carefully-crafted chase scene with slow-mo sequences and shit, but being impressed with how clever they are would've come at the cost of being pissed off that they wouldn't let me be clever.

        When I wrote this I was actually thinking of a chase in GTAIV where I managed to get a shot off on a guy as he was supposed to go through a doorway and it caused him to get stuck against the door frame. I proceeded to switch to an SMG and empty a clip into him before he continued running Of course, he took no damage because I was supposed to follow him onto the roof and shoot down his chopper with an RPG.

      Oh I hate that, Rockstar Games have been doing that for a while with GTAs, including not being able to damage the target/vehicle. However I enjoyed using a trainer to forcefully blow up that damn Super GT (The first time you see one) you have to chase in GTA IV.

      And when you fall behind a bit so the target just decides to take a break, or get too close and he goes super-speed.

    That you can walk for hours with your gun hand and arm held out far in front of you.
    Try it for 15 minutes!

      Maybe that's why a professional soldier can only run for a few seconds at a time?

        All that ammo and grenades weighs a man down. Makes even less sense in the old school shooters like Doom where you carry armor, a pistol, a chaingun, two shotguns, a plasma rifle and a BFG.

        Relevant video.

          I was thinking about rooster teeth in my head reading this and lo and behold thats the relevant video lol.

    Music starts playing it means enemies are coming.
    Music stops, youve killed all the enemies.

      Too many games do this bs. Some try change the music, but it's noticeable.

      yeh I find games much more immersive when I turn the music down.

      In a similar vein… “Damn, I’m lost in this map, I have no idea which way I’m going. OH GOOD! Enemies I haven’t killed yet! I’m back on track.”

      Enemies means you're in the right part of the map.

    I'm getting a little tired of "knowing" which way to go in games, yeah it's great game design, but if I can walk into a room on outlast, and say to myself 'Those 4 doors are locked, downstairs is probably blocked off if I go down there, and upstairs leads to the one straight line through the rest of the game, how do i know? The lighting of the room screams at me which way to go.' Then the only challenge left is hiding from enemies.

    Shitty AI. Nothing bugs me more and makes me rage than fuckin' AI.

    * AI doesn't follow game mechanics.
    * AI cheats, e.g. in chase scenes as mentioned above.
    * AI can see you no matter what.
    * AI always aims for you no matter what.
    * Just general shitty excuse for AI where that implementation wasn't needed.

      Have you played deus ex GOTYE? That has the worst AI ever, but its still my favorite game.

        Only 1-2 hour, I need to play again.

          Yeah, despite the AI its a brilliant game.
          took me about 30 hours to complete it.

      Even GTA Vs new 'hiding from the police' system is bulls***, they may not come right to you, but they follow you to the general area because they know you're there, they never go off in the other f* direction...

      I busted Company Of Heroes' AI cheating too by the way, I could see into the AI shroud a bit at my front line (as everyone knows we can) and their units moved away and back again in direct response to the ones I moved around near my base. I noticed their stuff moving so I moved mine back and became disappointed.
      I'm not going to play a strategy game where the opposing force will always be waiting for me due to cheating.

    Using arcade style design for a story driven experience, example: Metro 2033. Don't put in discrete levels with 'exit doors' and level scores when there's a continuous story.
    First generation 3D console level design. Here is a rectangular area. Fight the enemies. Progress to the next rectangular area. Fight more enemies. Slow sweeping camera shot to show area blocking off / opening up on enemy arrival / defeat. Example: Dante's Inferno. So goddamn lazy. There are better design choices established now.

    Remember Old Man Murray's 'Time to crate' scale...

    Such a good site...

    I'm going with unscaleable chest high walls...
    Also, when did climbing over cover start being called mantling... instead of just climbing?

      Mantling is a stupid term for climbing over cover... especially as mantling already had a perfectly good meaning of "to become covered or concealed", the exact opposite of leaving said cover. Someone at Epic misplaced their dictionary that day...

      I thought it was usually called 'vaulting' which is kind of more descriptive than 'climbing'...

    Exploding red barrels.

      Hey, they removed that trope in Bulltstorm and everybody was too dumb to shoot them.

        I thought that was just because everybody was trying to get nutshots rather than blowing up barrels.

    Health regen.
    Let's hide behind this crate whilst my health regens like I'm Wolverine.
    It removes the sense of caution and panic of thinking "where the hell is the next health pack?!"

      That's why Halo: CE, ODST and Reach are the best Halo games!

        AbsoFREAKINlutely. REACH is my favorite for this very reason. I was so happy to have a return to health packs.

          Also the fact that even when you win you lose and if you were familiar with the halo story you knew it from the minute they announced the title

            Yep exactly. There was that overriding fear of 'I might just.... I may just.... I MIGHT JUST....fuck.'

          I noticed how much of a difference it really made when Halo anniversary came out. In that game I was running and jumping out in the open against several Grunts and Elites and dodging their shots, knowing that I can tell when I'm about to die. But with Halo 2 and 3 I spent most of my time poking my head out of cover and then ducking back in like it's Call of Duty. Where a couple of Grunts can kill you in seconds with no shields due to the lower health.

            Yep indeed, they're two *totally* different styles of play. One calls for skill, finesse and a level of actual grace to complete. The other calls for hiding behind shit.

              It also limits your weapon loadout, basically forcing you to always and forever use the BR. A couple of years ago I tried playing through Halo 3 again on Heroic without using the BR or Carbine and it's was too hard. You can barely get close enough to use the AR without your shields dropping and against Brutes they're bullet sponges. Whereas in Halo 1 I can chuck the Magnum and complete the entire game only using the Plasma Pistol (Hunters are a real threat without the Magnum).

              Hell, last week me and Batguy completeled half of ODST and I haven't been using the pistol and instead been sniping Covenant with my AR or Spiker.

      Because a small pack magically heals you instantly, that's realistic.

      In Halo, you're playing in the future and Master Chief is wearing an advanced suit, so regen makes sense.

        No, shield gen might make sense, but even then, would your power not run out at some point? Why should you not have to pick up batteries to ensure your suit keeps regenerating at some point? The excuse 'you're in the future, you're the master chief', I'm sorry, is just a lazy copout. They chose regen because it made the games somewhat easier. Halo and Halo Reach are infamous for being the hardest games in the series for a good reason.

          Actually, the "reason" is because Chief swapped out to a new suit in Halo 2 that uses Nanomachines (Yes, this copout was done before Metal Gear Solid 4).

          Although that still doesn't explain why he can now only take 1/3 the damage or why they can't revive him.

      I totally get why you think this, but I wouldn't be able to play most games as this is exact thing is great compensation for my lack of skill.

        This is a more than fair point, I think it'd be cool to see a shooter that gave you the choice to play with regen health or with medpacs personally.

          I actually thought that would have made Deus Ex 3 a whole lot better. Make your health regenerate up to 20% of your max and give the players the ability to increase this rate by 20% per upgrade. So some people might be comfortable with a Dudebro shooter where their inventory is just a big weapon while other people might be happy using that inventory for health packs.

    I'm getting really bothered by regenerative health as of late. It really limits the game and forces you to play a specific way.

    1. Take Cover.
    2. Been damaged? Stay in cover.
    3. Poke out and shoot everybody.
    4. When shot duck behind cover.
    5. GOTO 2.

    I'm also getting really annoyed of explosive hallways. Where you're running down a corridoor and everything is exploding for no reason. If you attach yourself to a zip wire then there will be even bigger explosions.

    I also hate the "cutscene badass" where they've scripted someone being a total badass even though it's unbelievable. Captain Price was awesome in CoD 4. After that he started defying the laws to be badass. The worst moment was when in MW3 he simply knocks on a door while sneaking through an enemy bass, and without looking through the eyepiece in the door let him in and you watch him instantly kill 3 guys with perfect accuracy.

      Sounds like you just hate call of duty.

        I liked CoD up until CoD 4. After that I had trouble enjoying the franchise until Black Ops 2 came out.

      I know a US Police Department that could use Captain Price's services

    Zombies. Seriously. I've been a horror fan for over half my life, but just stop. Please.

      Completely agree. It's too much now cause thetes just too much.

      Yeah gotta admit, I'm a huge zombie fan and it's had its day(z) already. Seriously. There's enough games out already and it's been done to (un)death. Please, time to move on for a few years...

        Still waiting for the perfect zombie game to followup the gems like L4D and Typing of the Dead. Too many promising contenders of late turned into DayZ clones, with the whole, "The deadliest foe is MAN!" PVP arena bullshit with zombies only being used as mildly-inconvenient environmental hazards.

      The Walking Dead (Telltale) is the only good zombie game I have ever played.

      Zombies are the new modern shooter, which was the new WWII shooter, etc.

      Next big idea to come out, we'll grow sick of that theme as well.

    Underwater levels.

    Escort quests - my patience doesn't stretch that far
    Chest high walls - because yeh
    Angsty teen - jrpg designers need to get over this
    Palette swap - new colour on same skin = new enemy
    Controllable helplessness - think cloud during that memory scene or drake during the desert
    Plot gating - your character based on his/her exploits should easily be able to pass a locked door or obstacle (because I can summon a fire demon or am capable of lifting 2 tanks etc) but the game says no
    But I know this already - preventing you from passing a point (more prevalent in new game + situations) until you "learn about it" in game when you already know about it in detail
    Brown and Bloom - because this clearly means something is more realistic right guys? the real world does not have beautiful things nor a varied colour palette.
    Gravelmouth - gravelly voiced main characters just because, not that it doesn't work but hell, some variety would be nice.

    Among others but those come to mind

    Blocked staircases. Such a dumb thing to whinge about but it just irks me.

    Impassable iron gates get right on my nerves, especially when - more often than not - they are wide enough to just slip through. The God of War series is beyond guilty of this. Also, just recently when playing Outlast I was frustrated that I couldn't scale a wall to gain access to a locked area of the asylum. Instead I had to search for the conveniently located 'hole in the fence.'

    Last edited 27/02/14 11:53 am

    Games like Skyrim where:

    "You cannot unlock this door because you are not a high enough level"

    But can I smash the fucking door in because I'm the goddamn Dovahkin and ruining DRAGONS is all in a days work, why should a *door* stop me?

    Can I smash the window in because it's just goddamn GLASS?


    Those push a block on ice puzzles (Pokemon/Zelda)

    I hate them with a passion...

    Russian, middle eastern and chinese bad guys in AAA FPS. Mix it up a bit. Homefront was a dodgy game, and its premise was a bit far fetched, but it was nice to have North Korea as the badguy and the USA as the setting. And while we are at it, the USA as the good guys all the time. Surely even people from the US might get a kick out of playing a different nation? Not saying the USA has to be the badguys, but they don't have to be the good guys either - they don't have to even feature.
    There was a spate of movies over the last decade that were cool in some small part because they used britain instead of the US as the nation of focus (Children of Men, V for Vendetta, 28 days later), and its hardly like focusing on Britain instead of the US is that big a leap. I didn't get into the game (not my thing) but I really liked that Far Cry 2 was set in Africa and its climate/landscape seemed a bit more novel for a video game as a result. And part of STALKER and Metro's success were their post apocalyptic russia/ukraine setting - so cool until it itself started becoming a bit of a trope (with Arma and DayZ contributing as well).

    Would US gamers really be that turned off by greater exploration of settings that didn't involve American landscapes or Americans? Maybe they'd like the change too.

      Possibly why I enjoyed Metro so much, playing as the Russians was rather cool :D

      By the same token, easily the weakest part of 28 weeks later was the infection of US actors/characters.

      Forget simply 'not being US-centric'... I really want to see something that might expose the US as the international assholes they are. Spec Ops was decent for that.

        Farm Simulator 2014: Afghanistan DLC

        "I was just planting my crops and now you come and blow it up, kill most of my family and send me a note saying 'Turns out your daughter's boyfriend had the same surname as a guy we reckon might have been a terrorist because he said he wasn't entirely happy about us bombing his relatives last week so we thought we'd better bomb him to be sure, have a nice day' What the fuck, Obama?"

      You know what I'd love to see lose its american setting? Fallout. I know its a very specific pastiche of american culture and paranoia but how cool would it be to see how western europe fared after the war?

        Definitely. I'd love to see a European setting. Infact, I'd LOVE to have it that you're a survivor in Europe, who's descended maybe from one of Europes version of the Vaults, called something else, and the Brotherhood of Steel is trying to now cross into Europe and stake a claim there too via old ships they've repurposed.

          And being treated as invaders because everyone there still blames both America and China for the war & destroying the planet. Brewing war between an American & Chinese faction and you're some random French person stuck in the middle of it

            So let me get this straight... we play as cheese eating surrender monkeys!? SACRE BLEU!!!!!

              It'd be ideal for destroying that imbecilic trope if a Frenchman turned out to be the biggest badass in Europe.

              It'd be even better if you were given a choice of major european nationalities when making your character and the game adapted by bombarding you with the usual national stereotypes to subvert

              Last edited 27/02/14 8:32 pm

                Imagine if you were a german and had to fight against the invading american hordes of the flag waving BROTHERHOOD OF STEEL while allied with the European variant, who incidentally were... German...

                Imagine that shit...


                Last edited 27/02/14 8:56 pm

    waist high fences/rocks/bushes etc that your otherwise super hero-esque character can't climb over...

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