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34 Cliches of Christmas
Dimensional Portal
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 15, 2007   |   Episode 24 (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!



A hint to the wise: Make sure you set up pillows under the portal to cushion your fall!
As Seen In: Mortal Kombat, Shaq Fu, Portal, Stargate, WarCraft III, Doom 3, Metroid Prime 3: Echoes, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Jak & Daxter, Soul Reaver 2, and many more science fiction and fantasy games!

What Is It? It's this big, huge circular gate that seems to warp people from one place to another. You typically find these dimensional portals in either fantasy games or adventures set in the distant future. You rarely see a Tom Clancy game set in modern day get swept away by a dimensional portal ... which is kind of a bummer, if you ask me. Regardless, the dimensional portal is one of those video game cliches that pops up when the story teller needs a convenient way of going to a different location to advance the plot. In modern games you will see this cliche pop up as part of the story (those gates in Oblivion were essentially the portal to the boss stage), but in the past we've seen game characters pass through these gates without any worry whatsoever. Regardless of how they are used, the dimensional portal is definitely one of those reoccurring themes you see brought up a little too often.

Is It Realistic? There are a lot of people out there who seem to believe that dimensional portals are real. And

When I look at this WarCraft III April Fool's joke I'm reminded of one thing: Forest Whitaker!
if they aren't real, the science behind them makes enough sense to convince otherwise smart people into believing that Star Trek is fact. I'm no scientist, so I'll be the first to admit that I have absolutely no idea whether or not a dimensional portal could exist. What I do know is that you don't see them being employed in the same way video games seem to use them. When was the last time you jumped into a big warp hole after running from the police? I'm sure there are people who could email me all sorts of information on the reality of this cliche, but part of me would die inside if I knew that any part of Shaq Fu could be realistic. I think I'm better off believing that Shaq Fu could never happen in real life.

Is It Overused? While it's not as used as some of the things on this list, it would be nice to see the game developers come up with something more original than a dimensional portal. Science fiction writers have been talking about these portals for decades, so why cover the same old cliches as everybody else? You shouldn't, and that's why it's time to get rid of the dimensional portals. You heard me developers, from now on you're going to have to figure out something a little more original than some crummy warp hole. I suggest a ray gun that shoots you 400 feet in a random direction.

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