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34 Cliches of Christmas
A Case of Amnesia
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 21, 2007   |   Episode 30 (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!



To get around dealing with real characters, the Lost game will feature you as a no-name survivor who has (wait for it) amnesia!
As Seen In: Deja Vu, Flashback: The Quest for Identity, Shadow the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy, XIII, Lost: The Video Game, Amnesia, Snatcher and a lot of mysterious adventure games!

What Is It? Amnesia is a mental condition caused when a coconut falls and hits you on the head, which suddenly makes it impossible for you to remember who you were. Not only do you not know who you are, but you don't know your friends, family and home town. You're basically just starting your life all over again. Well, that's what the TV shows would have you believe, but in truth amnesia is a much more complex medical condition than what you see here. But in the world of entertainment amnesia is a convenient way to set up some big story. It's no surprise that the video game developers have taken this cliche storytelling device and employed

Another example of a game cover being better than the actual game!
it in a lot of major titles. It's easy to connect with an amnesia-stricken hero; as the two of you go through your adventure you're both seeing everything for the first time. Despite the fact that this storytelling device is used liberally in the games industry, it is an effective way of getting you to engage with the fictional character on screen.

Is It Realistic? While it's true that there are a lot of people who suffer from (or have suffered from) amnesia, most of the time it doesn't involve you running around like a mad man shooting people, uncovering conspiracies and ultimately killing your best friend (because he's the one that caused your amnesia, killed your wife, stole your money, blah blah blah). That just doesn't happen in the real world. Instead when you get hit by that coconut you stumble around trying to figure out who you are, and then you go on a very personal journey that nobody else cares about. I'm serious, so don't write more books about how you lost yourself and then found yourself again. I'm serious, we get it.

Is It Overused? Definitely, it would be nice to see another plotline introduced in modern gaming. It's bad enough when you see the same overworked cliche in the movies, but there's no excuse for it in gaming. So game developers, it's time to turn off the auto-pilot and start coming up with some original and compelling story lines.

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