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34 Cliches of Christmas
World War II
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on November 28, 2007   |   Episode 7 (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!



This kind of hammy overacting can only be the product of Midway's latest attempt at World War II, Hour of Victory!
As Seen In: Call of Duty 1 - 3, Medal of Honor, Battlefield 1942, Brothers in Arms, Day of Defeat, Company of Heroes, and too many other games to mention here.

What Is It? While a lot of the cliches in this feature are small things that find their way into multiple games, this specific cliche has turned into something of a sub-genre at this point. Unless you've been living under a rock you should already know that there are way too many World War II games currently invading our home consoles, handhelds and PCs. Every year it seems like the video game companies try hard to overload the retail channel with as many World War II games as they can box and ship. Some of these games are good (Call of Duty 2), while others are a complete mess that should be avoided at all cost (Hour of Victory). The nice thing about this cliche is that it's so prevalent that I barely have to describe what it is, the moment I say that it's a "World War II game" you should know exactly what I'm talking about. And that, in a nutshell, is why World War II is such a huge cliche.

Is It Realistic? Is World War II realistic? I guess so, insofar as it's a real war where real people died. But since none of the game developers actually fought in this particular war (for good reason, since World War II took place between 1939 and 1945) the games aren't exactly as realistic as they probably could be. But it's not for a lack of trying, for the last decade game developers have been trying as hard as they can to mimic the epic battles of World

Call of Duty 2 is such a good game, but part of me doesn't want to go back and play it again because of the World War II themes!
War II. And while some games probably come close to the chaos, you just can't convey the feeling of losing friends and being put in a situation where you could die at any moment. In short, World War II may be a realistic cliche, but it's never as realistic as it probably could be.

Is It Overused? Of all the cliches I would like to see tossed out the window, it's the World War II theme that is at the top of my list. Ever since Saving Private Ryan, video gamers' everywhere have been excited about reenacting all of the biggest battles in World War II. And yes, there are some great World War II-themed games, including the Call of Duty series, Medal of Honor, Company of Heroes and even Brothers in Arms. But at the end of the day there's only so much you can do with the World War II setting, and as far as I'm concerned these developers have pretty much done all there is to do. I'm not opposed to revisiting this war in a few years, but in order for me to get to that point these various game companies are going to have to stop making World War II-based games for awhile. Perhaps it's time to mine some other war, like the Civil War or the Korean War. Either way, it's time to stop the World War II madness.

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