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!
Again, I haven't played World of WarCraft so I'm going to just keep quiet and not make the obvious joke!
As Seen In:
Grand Theft Auto III, Half-Life 2, The Legend of Zelda, Portal, World of Warcraft, Crackdown, and many more games from every genre, generation, company and console. In other words, if you haven't run into this cliche you probably haven't played a video game.
What Is It?
It used to be that everybody was as silent as the action here. There wasn't a lot of talking in the original Pac-Man, unless you consider that "wocka" sound to be some sort of weird Pac language. But these days video games are filled with both spoken and written conversations, usually full of witty banter and cliche predictions about the end of the world. But not everybody is talking; from time to time you'll run in to a main character that never says a word. The poor thing just stands there silent taking in everybody else's conversations. A perfect example of this is Grand Theft Auto III, the influential "sandbox" game that boasted thousands of pages of spoken dialog. But for whatever reason the main character never said a word. Even when people were clearly talking to him, he never said anything. And this is common when it comes to video games, just look at The Legend of Zelda series, Crackdown or BioShock, one of this year's best games. Or what about World of Warcraft? Oh sure, WoW players can type back and forth with each other ... but so can mutes! World of Warcraft is an entire civilization of mute game characters. Everybody is just talking around typing to each other. What a wonderfully peaceful world that must be.
Is It Realistic?
It's bad enough that you're trying to save the world all by yourself, but what's the deal with not wanting to talk? There are people that could probably help you, but you refuse to say anything and just leave them to wonder why you're such a douche bag. I mean, that guy asked you a dozen questions, each of which could have probably helped you on your quest, but
When something is this cute you don't expect it to talk!
you decided to be a jerk and just look at him like you didn't speak English. But I know you speak English, I've been there when you were doing that off-key karaoke rendition of Savage Garden's "Truly Madly Deeply." Realistically a mute hero wouldn't get very far in the real world, he wouldn't be able to catch a cab, he wouldn't be able to book a room in a hotel, there would be no way for him to buy anything, and how are you going to call out for help when the slime creature has paralyzed both of your legs? Then again, if you're a mute then getting your legs paralyzed may just be the best thing to happen to you.
Is It Overused?
It depends on the game, but by and large it seems awfully weird to play a character that never says anything. People are constantly talking to Gordon Freeman, yet this Half-Life hero never even acknowledges them. How rude is that? There's a reason the Grand Theft Auto spin-offs (Vice City, San Andreas, Liberty City Stories, etc.) featured lead characters that actually talked. It gave the main guy a sense of character and didn't seem as awkward when stuck in long conversations. I'm not saying I need to hear all of my favorite game characters speak, but if somebody asks you a question make sure you can answer them.