Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
34 Cliches of Christmas
Hidden Key Cards
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on November 29, 2007   |   Episode 8 (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!

Had StarCraft Ghost actually come out I bet you money it would have had Hidden Key Cards!
As Seen In: Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Jaws, Doom, Dino Crisis, Splinter Cell, Devil May Cry, Run Like Hell, Castlevania series, and a whole bunch of other games!

What Is It? You've been running and strafing like crazy to avoid those blood-thirsty aliens and zombies, you see a door up ahead and you know that you're just moments away from being safe from those pesky attackers. But what's this? Oh no, you need a specific key card to get into this normal looking door. Now what are you going to do? If you're smart then you'll run back and look around for a keycard of some sort that will magically unlock the door and deliver you to safety. Of you can just stand there and get mauled by whatever that thing was that was chasing you. The choice is yours. If you do decide to double back then you'll probably notice that the key card is hidden in the last place you would think of looking. That's just how it goes when you're looking for a key card.

Is It Realistic? Is using a key card a realistic way of opening a door? Well, I'm more used to using keys ... but that's not to say that I can't buy into the idea of using a key card to get around. My problem isn't the specific method used when opening the doors, but rather where you find these cards. If this was real life and you had to find a key card where would you look? If you were smart then you would likely rummage through the office desk or try and find a dead

Yes, even Jaws used key cards. Oh the humanity!
guy who used to work in that building. Surely the personnel section of the building/scary mansion will have what you're looking for. But according to game logic you would just be wasting time by snooping around the employee's clothing. Instead the key card is hidden in the deepest, darkest part of the building. It's generally on the ground behind a few boxes, where nobody would ever think of looking. Why would leave their key card there? And if somebody was to accidentally leave that there, why would this multi-billion dollar company (who clearly has something to hide from you) hire somebody as stupid as that? And while I'm at it, why is there only one key card? Can't there be a few lying around? Does only one person work in this building? Face it, this cliche isn't very realistic.

Is It Overused? I think it's officially time we retire the key card. It's not that Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid are using this cliche, it's that everybody else is, too. Heck, even Jaws is getting in on the action. In his recent game, Jaws Unleashed, our favorite misunderstood shark had to find a key card to escape the facility he was being locked in. That's right, Jaws (the large shark with no arms or legs) had to not only fine, but use a key card. As far as I'm concerned that's about as low as you can go, I think that the hidden key card has officially jumped the ... oh, wait. This cliche has got to go!



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