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34 Cliches of Christmas
Ack!! The Hero's Village Was Destroyed!!
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 04, 2007   |   Episode 13 (Show Archive)  

   

It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're taking a look at the video game cliche, the type of thing we've seen time and time again in all generations of gaming. Is this cliche realistic? Does it need to go away? These are the types of questions Defunct Games will be asking over the next month. Join us as we celebrate this joyous season with the 34 Cliches of Christmas!



No matter how good they are, even Final Fantasy uses this overused cliche!
As Seen In: Blue Dragon, Final Fantasy, Jeanne D'Arc, Ninja Gaiden, Wild Arms, Secret of Mana, Dark Cloud, Zone of the Enders, Jade Empire, Legend of Dragoon and Barbie's Horse Adventure (just kidding about the last one).

What Is It? Talk about lazy writing, you know you've hit the bottom of the barrel if the game uses the tired old cliche that the hero's village was destroyed. This is one of those storytelling cliches that seem to pop up from time to time in generic role-playing games. Perhaps that's why it's not at all shocking to see Microsoft's boring-as-hell adventure game, Blue Dragon, employing this cliche within the first minute of gameplay. Without even giving us a chance to get to know anybody, a giant sand shark swims into Shu's village and starts to tear the place down. Who is Shu and why did a giant sand shark destroy his village? It really doesn't matter, what's important here is that Microsoft's first big RPG from Japan started with the most generic storyline imaginable. This doesn't bode well for the rest of Blue Dragon. The truth is that there are plenty of games that use this cliche (including a few good games), but that doesn't change the fact that this is a crummy way to start an adventure game.

Is It Realistic? How do I even answer a question like that? Okay, so here's what I think: If I came home one day to find out that my

You know something's wrong when the best thing you can say about a game is that it has a cool scene where the village gets destroyed!
village had been destroyed by some crazy creature or massive event, I would probably be pretty pissed off. I would yell and scream while pounding my fist in the air cursing the kind of god that would allow something like this to happen. I would be inconsolable, feeling the kind of pain nobody should ever have to go through. I would want review. Sweet, bloody revenge. But you know what? I wouldn't actually go on a killing spree trying to find whatever it was that did this to my poor village. Oh no. I would know better than that. Because at the end of the day I'm just a man, and whatever it was that destroyed my village has at least one thing on me. In case you didn't notice, HE DESTROYED MY ENTIRE VILLAGE!!! The last thing I want to do is get involved with something that can destroy an entire village. Like I said, I'm just a man; I couldn't destroy a whole village even if I wanted to. So you can count me out on the revenge train, because I think I'm just going to let this guy get away with it. Roll credits now.

Is It Overused? It's never fun to see such a generic plotline thrown into a game, it's usually the sign of lazy scriptwriters. I'm not asking the game writers to give me a Mamet play, but the least they can do is be original once and awhile. I say it's time to get rid of the concept of a village being destroyed, from here on out we should all try a little harder to give us more compelling reasons to go out on an adventure. If Puzzle Quest can do it, so can you.

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