The Grand List of RPG Cliches

Some of you have probably seen this before, but I just found a Wikified version (on the TV Tropes Wiki, of all places!) which means, most of the selections are linked to articles that explain them and list examples. I found it a pretty fun to read, so I thought I’d share it here:

While I’m at it, I’m going to list my own least favorite Cliches. I’m not going to use the TV Tropes terms, though, in order to be more clear:

-Saving Points: Why are these still used on games in this day and age? Don’t we have the technology to save the game at any time?

-Stealing from people’s houses with no consequences: Not only is this wrong, but it’s ABSURD how you can take stuff on people’s faces and they won’t do or say anything!

-Shops NEVER give you credit, even if they know you need the stuff to save the world. Thanks a lot.

-If you sell something, it’s gone forever. VERY annoying if you sell something you later needed for a quest. > < (The only exception I’ve seen was in the Golden Sun games, where sold Magic Items (only) could be bought back.)

-In most games, characters cannot exchange equipment. What if I don’t want the main hero to wield a sword? And don’t tell me a mage cannot use anything BUT a staff in combat! I understand they want characters and classes to be unique, but at least give SOME reasons why they cannot use certain equipment, ex. Limiting weapon use by their weight (only a very strong character could use a huge sword.)

-And why cannot we see the characters wearing their new armors? Again, we have the technology already! Same thing with their weapons.

-Better conversation systems: Give us more options of thins to say, and of choices to affect the game story. (I love the negotiation system in the Persona games; too bad you can only use it with demons!)

-Too many Random Encounters: Always give us some way to avoid them, especially if we are busy doing something else at the time, like solving a puzzle.

-Status effects spells. If you provide them, LET THEM WORK, including on bosses. Maybe not instant-win effects, but dammit at least let us blind or silence them!

-Puzzles that MAKE. SENSE. I hate doing overcomplicated things for otherwise simple tasks, like moving blocks around just to open a door. On a place like a mad puzzle master’s house that would make sense, but not in some ancient ruins.

-The option to RUN AWAY from Bosses (at least, those that are not part of the storyline. Only Crono Cross had this option, that I know.)

-Minigames should never, EVER, be required to progress in an RPG. They should always be optional. See: FFX2. > <

I have more, but that’s enough for now. What are yours? :slight_smile:

I’m pretty sure that list originated on TheGIA. I don’t lke it; there are some cliches, but it’s mostly just a list of silly things that occur in RPGs, or complaints. I’m sure I’ve read some things that on that list that I’ve never seen happen more than once; how is that a cliche? :stuck_out_tongue:

These are hilarious. Thanks for posting them.

SG: I read the entire list (192 things!) and I find that most of them have indeed appeared on more than one game. A few do sound like somebody’s pet peeve, but like Trk said, it’s mostly for the funny descriptions that I posted them. Just read them and tell us what you think. (The list has certainly grown from the last time I saw it.) And remember, most have links to lists of examples.

Until today I did not know that creatures like Godzilla and Mothra were more commonly referred to as kaiju. The more you know.

A lot of those complaints are just objections to the necessary balancing in character stats, story line and abilities. RPGs are story driven, so maybe they can’t wield swords is because the character doesn’t wield one.

List ftl

Yeah, most of these are just complaints, not cliches.

The one thing that bothered me, especially with older RPGs, was that there never seemed to be bathroom anywhere some games. I remember thinking, “Where do they go pee?”

Certainly, many of these cliches started because of the limitations of the systems; others were a matter of story focus. It is rarely possible to cover everything realistically in a game; some stuff must be abstracted. Still, some things DO stand out because of their sheer absurdity, like how characters can buy and carry 99 of every item if they have the money. And many of these are still used simply out of tradition, since we have the technology now to fix them.

Btw, are you folks really following the Wiki links to the examples listed like I told you to? Maybe if you did you wouldn’t doubt them.

Lists FTW! :smiley:

Do you fear challenge? If you really believe all of these then RPGs would be really easy video games. You already buy the strategy guides, how much more help do you need?

Heheh, I just saw this and one thought entered my mind. The biggest RPG cliche I know of…

dun-dun-dun THE EVIL RELIGIOUS DUDE!!! SO many RPGs have this, and it is a cliche by now.

Oh, and Wil, Lufia II let’s you buy stuff after selling it. :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t remember if that list included the fact that you can’t destroy a simple door when you’re strong enough to wield a weapon as big as you are and can summon dragons/meteors/ got a plasma gun. Though I don’t think I’ve been seeing this one often lately.

…You DO realize I posted this mostly for the fun of it, don’t you Sorc?

I love RPGs, otherwise I wouldn’t play them. But I can snark about them just like anybody else. :wink:

(And Yes, I can beat most RPGs on my own. I just don’t want to miss anything, since I rarely replay them, thus the guides.)

And Rig: yes, that Cliche is on the list. Btw Ar Tonelico actually provides spells to break down doors. (Though it would make more sense if ALL your destructive spells did that. Also, they only work on selected doors. Ah well, it’s an improvement. :wink: )

I think it was in the original Final Fantasy (NES) manual or Nintendo Power strategy guide that the 99 item limit was explained in that the items were magical or had the the ability to shrink in size they could be carried in the proverbial “bag”.

Actually Xero, ANYTHING can be explained credibly with a little imagination. This same problem was resolved in the old D&D games with the “Bag of Holding” which was bigger on the inside than the outside. They even gave it a science fiction explanation- that the inside of the bag is actually in another dimension, which really wasn’t necessary because this is magic we’re talking about. Though the same idea was later applied elsewhere, such as with Doctor Who’s time machine (which is also larger on the inside.)

What annoys me is that most games never even BOTHER to give even the “it’s a magic bag” explanation. That’s just lazy. I have a rule for (most) fiction: EVERYTHING should work realistically except the parts explicitly meant to be fantastic. Magic in a fantasy story is OK, but don’t tell me that a character fell from a great high but didn’t get hurt at all (without using magic). That’s cartoon stuff, and it’s OK only in (wacky) cartoons. Though like I said, I won’t let such things stop me from playing a game… but I won’t stop noticing them either.

Basically, you want everything waved away with “A Wizard Did It”

-Too many Random Encounters: Always give us some way to avoid them, especially if we are busy doing something else at the time, like solving a puzzle.

I’m surprised that rpgs even still have random encounters. They should have switched over to visible enemies after Chrono Trigger. This would have greatly improved enjoyment of play IMO.

I must be one of the few people to not mind random encounters. I definitely don’t mind them on world maps.

I’m with The_984 on this one, random encounters never bugged me. They broke the monotony of wandering around the map, at least.

Only the magical parts. :stuck_out_tongue: