Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
34 Cliches of Christmas
You Need Swimming Lessons
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 22, 2007   |   Episode 31 (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!

Do cosplay characters have to worry about the water killing them?
As Seen In: Grand Theft Auto III, Assassin's Creed, Super Mario Bros., Castlevania, Metal Slug, Ghosts 'N Goblins, Maximo, Portal, Bionic Commando, Mercenaries, Hudson's Adventure Island, Bonk's Adventure, Ninja Gaiden, Donkey Kong Country, and far too many games to list here!

What Is It? There are a lot of things that video game characters seem to be really good at. Those first-person action heroes sure do seem to be good with their guns. And what about cast of Guilty Gear, how much practice does it take to perform such acrobatic stunts while fighting an opponent? And don't even get me started on how good those skaters are in the Tony Hawk series, there's no way people can pull off a 1080 degree grab one hundred feet in the air and live to skate another day. But while the video game world is full of schools that teach skateboarding tricks, fighting styles and gun accuracy, there seems to be a serious lack of swimming lessons for our modern heroes. How many games have you played where you could kill hundreds of enemies, but getting even remotely wet was enough to make you lose a life? A lot, that's how many games you've played where getting wet meant starting the level over again. You still see this kind of thing pop up in modern games, just look at Ubisoft's game Assassin's Creed. And it's not just that one game; it's countless other new and old titles. What's even more baffling is that in some games there will be entire swimming levels, but if you're not in one of those water levels and get wet you're toast. The original Super Mario Brothers is a perfect example of that. Thankfully Super Mario Bros. 3 changed that bothersome annoyance, but not every major franchise has decided to allow its lead star to swim. Get these characters some water wings, stat!

BAD PUN ALERT: If this were a video game then Bo Derek's lives would have gone from "10" to 1!
Is It Realistic? There are people in this world that can't swim, this is just a fact. However, there's no excuse when the water only comes up to your ankles. We're not talking about just your average, ordinary person; we're talking about a strong hero-like character that so far as been able to kill dozens of people. Yet his biggest foe is water? In the real world this wouldn't happen, if you were being chased by something big and evil you wouldn't worry about swimming lessons. If there was something big and ugly trying to kill you and the only thing that stood between death and salvation was a small lake, I suspect you'll learn the finer points of swimming real quick. The truth is that there are people who just cannot get in the water, but video games treat this substance like it was some sort of dangerous toxic waste. It's water, you can walk through it without dying.

Is It Overused? Unlike most cliches, this isn't a gameplay quirk that the developers added to the game. Instead this is a sign of pure laziness. For whatever reason the developer decided to focus all of their time on the combat, graphics, voice talent and killer ending, but decided that allowing your character to wade into the water would be too much. So yes, I am sick of this stupid cliche, video game characters should be able to swim. And even if they can't swim, they should at least be able to float. Let our game characters float dammit, that's all we ask for.



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