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34 Cliches of Christmas
Elemental Magic Attacks
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 10, 2007   |   Episode 19 (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!



For the last time, I already told you - you can't generate fire from your hand and throw it at an enemy!
As Seen In: Final Fantasy series, Dragon's Quest series, Wizards & Warriors, Blue Dragon, Beyond the Beyond and basically every other paint-by-numbers role-playing game released in the last thirty years.

What Is It? In every good role-playing game there's a dude with a big sword going one-on-one with every bad guy you see. Next to that heroic figure is a sidekick who has some sort of long distance weapon to as to keep him out of the action. And then there's the magic user, that person that stands back and heals our hero while summoning black magic to help with the battle. If this sounds familiar, then you probably won't be surprised that most of the magic user's attacks have something to do with the five "traditional" elements: fire, water, air, metal and earth. Don't pretend to tell me that you've never seen these in a video game, because it's easier to count the number of role-playing games to not feature magic fire

Proving yet again that Wizards & Warriors is the trashy romance novel of the video game world, Fabio turns out to be the franchise's hero!
attacks than the ones that do feature it. It's everywhere, from long-running franchises (Dragon's Quest) to adventure games we'll probably never hear from again (Blue Dragon). There are a lot of role-playing game cliches to discuss (many we've already uncovered), but this is definitely one of the biggest.

Is It Realistic? Is magic realistic? Not really. Even "illusionists" Pen & Teller say that magic is fake, then I'm going to believe them (after all, they debunked recycling). So no, elemental magic attacks are not realistic. The traditional elemental chart is also realistic, insofar as there are people who believe that there are five elements that include fire, metal, water, air and earth. The only thing keeping this cliche from being real is the fact that you can't shoot fire from your hand (we learned that back on day one).

Is It Overused? After playing dozens (if not hundreds) of role-playing games in my life, I'm starting to get a little sick of seeing the same old elements popping up time and time again. Maybe it's time we started looking for other magic attacks that would hurt our enemies, like a magic acid attack or titanium blades of fury. It's just a thought.

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