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34 Cliches of Christmas
Food In Trash Cans
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on November 25, 2007   |   Episode 4 (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!



Just be thankful that I didn't feature a picture of some dude eating out of a garbage can (I was definitely tempted to use that picture)!
As Seen In: Final Fight, Streets of Rage, Captain Commando, Rival Turf, and pretty much every other old school brawler.

What Is It? You just got done beating up a whole gang full of similar looking thugs (all of whom seem to be dressed in laughably bad 1980s costumes for some strange reason) and you're starting to get tired and run out of health. As you stumble around the city streets you realize that your problem isn't the repeated knife cuts or the fact that you were beaten up using a baseball bat, the problem is that you are hungry. Apparently you have no problem taking repeated hits to the head, but because you're hyperglycemic if you don't get food fast you're going to pass out and die. So where do you go? The garbage can, of course. In all old school 2D brawlers (as well as a few recent 3D brawlers) you will find hamburgers, hotdogs and even a whole chicken dinner just waiting for you in the street garbage can. One bite of this taste grub and you're back on your feet ready to fight a few more punks. So remember kids, when you're out of energy because you had to take on a gang full of silly-named ruffians, it's important you kick a garbage can to find your dinner. There's a reason that "punch" rhymes with the word "lunch." Think about it.

Is It Realistic? There's two schools of thought on this specific cliche. On one hand you could probably argue that there are a lot of homeless people that dig around in the dumpster for table scraps. But clearly we aren't talking about the homeless ... unless Streets of Rage was a commentary on the state of our homeless population and how all it takes is one hobo to rid an entire city

I don't care how cute you draw the Final Fight characters, it's still gross to see them eat out of the garbage can!
of crime and gangs. The reason that this cliche isn't realistic is because there's no way you will find food that good looking by kicking a trash can. At best you're going to find half eaten food that is in the garbage for a reason. Why would somebody leave a whole chicken in the garbage can? Maybe the more pressing question should be: Why on earth would you want to eat a chicken that comes out of a garbage can? I know you just got into a street fight, but seriously dude, have some self respect and see if somebody will buy you lunch or something.

Is It Overused? This is one of those cliches that have always troubled me. While I like how this garbage can food keeps the action moving along, I actually lose a lot of respect for the fighters who feel the need to eat a hotdog out of a trash can. In what city do these fighters live where there isn't a restaurant anywhere nearby? I know from experience that you can be randomly dropped almost anywhere in the United States and only be inches away from a Starbucks location. Sure the food is overpriced, but you just took out five dozen gang members ... I'm sure at least one of them has a $5 bill you can "borrow." It sure beats the heck out of searching through the garbage for your next meal, because that's just gross. I'm fine with the developers leaving in the brutal violence and non-stop gore, but just don't make these guys eat out of the garbage!

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