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34 Cliches of Christmas
Crate Pushing Puzzles
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on November 26, 2007   |   Episode 5 (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!



I don't know what this picture is doing here, this article is about crate pushing ... not zombie pushing!
As Seen In: Resident Evil, Dino Crisis, Half-Life 2, Tomb Raider, Beyond Good & Evil, The Hulk, ICO, God of War and a lot of other games with crates that need to be pushed.

What Is It? When it comes to adventure games it seems like there are only a few kinds of puzzles that you will need to accomplish. In some games the puzzle is to find all of the special key cards and open up all the doors. In other games you will have to find some sort of special weapon that will destroy a force field and allow you to go on your merry way. But in a majority of adventure games you will be asked to do the most basic puzzle of them all: Push crates! The way this cliche works is that you will often have to move a large crate from one side of the room to the other, that way you'll be able to jump up and reach higher ledges. Believe it or not, that's not even close to being the only kind of crate pushing puzzle. Other puzzles include you pushing multiple crates in order to build a bridge or, in the case of Half-Life 2, actually stacking multiple crates up so that you create steps. But no matter what you do with the crates, the concept of crate pushing is a classic that will probably be with us long after I'm dead and buried.

Is It Realistic? If you're asking me if the idea of pushing a crate around in order to reach a higher ledge is realistic, then I have to say yes it is. Let's face it; pushing a crate around is a great way of climbing stuff, both in games and in real life. But who exactly is leaving all of

See, this is how you solve a crate pushing puzzle!
these crates lying around? Judging by the amount of times I see crate pushing found in games you would think that there would be crates everywhere you go, but that certainly hasn't been my experience. I've seen crates in storage rooms before, but I never found a reason to push them around and stack them. I suppose this cliche is realistic, but it just seems kind of ridiculous to see all of these empty crates lying around in convenient locations.

Is It Overused? After pushing crates in God of War, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider and Dino Crisis, I think I'm pretty much done pushing crates around. I suppose it's fine to push some crates in Boxxle (a puzzle game where pushing crates is the only thing you do), but I can do without lazy game developers giving me boring crate puzzles that are neither challenging nor interesting. By now we've seen the crate pushing puzzle so many times that we can complete it in our sleep. It's time for the developers to overuse some other puzzle, perhaps the one where you have to turn light switches on and off for no apparent reason.

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