10 Ridiculous Gaming Norms That Make No Sense In Real Life


/ by Ben

10 Ridiculous Gaming Norms That Make No Sense In Real Life

 

10. Progression of Difficulty

It is true of nearly every story told through any medium. As the story goes on, the trials for the protagonist become more and more difficult, whether he/she is a soldier fighting the good fight or a guitarist trying to rock the world. This standard of stories may be most recognizable in video games, however, since the consumer is the one experiencing the difficulty as opposed to a movie or book. Now, I’’m not knocking this norm. It would seem rather silly to get halfway through a game without any increase in difficulty. In fact, if it were to happen, gamers everywhere would cry foul at these clearly lazy game designers. Regardless, it cannot be denied that having a linear progression of difficulty is quite ridiculous and unrealistic.

This would be entirely too difficult early on in the game...

9. Time Limit/Score

In certain games, a time limit or player score may be completely appropriate, especially considering all the sports games out there. But those aren’t the only examples. In fact, a majority of video games implement these two in one way or another, whether it be the player dying due to not finishing the level in the allotted amount of time or trying to get enough apples for an additional life (the concept of which is discussed further down). Now, these may add a little to the enjoyment factor of a game via suspense and tension, but think about it. A time limit? Why? Does Mario have a stroke if he doesn’t finish in time? It just doesn’t make sense. Ditto for scores. A score is just a number, but for what reason? Collecting coins helps gain the player imaginary points in an already imaginary world to use for…….you know….. I’m not really sure what those are used for.

Congratulations on your 5000 extra points!!!! Use it for..... bragging rights?

 

8. Cars

Much like the previous Norm, there are legitimate examples of cars in video games, such as the Gran Turismo series. However, for every legit example, there are 5 ridiculous ones. Anyone who has played the GTA series can tell you how to destroy a car. Just shoot it until the hood catches on fire and it will explode in about 3 seconds without exception. In video games, cars are easier to explode than a Parkinsons patient holding a bottle of nitroglycerin. Furthermore, exploding isn’t the only thing cars can do in video games. They can also occasionally cause significant damage to the environment without taking a scratch themselves. And let’s not forget that in the realm of video games, cars never run out of gas.

 

Flip a car upside down, and it will blow up. That's just fact.

 

7. Physics

From playing Uncharted, one might assume that Nathan Drake was raised by a family of circus acrobats, what with the scaling buildings like a monkey and jumping 15 feet from ledge to ledge. One would be wrong however. He simply takes advantage of video game physics. In so many games, characters are able to perform the most ridiculous feats. Mario jumps six times his height and lands without even a bruise. Dante utilizes the classic double jump. (Jumping on air!?!?) Sonic revs up to roll through walls. And swinging on ropes will never break them…. unless it’s supposed to. While obviously not intentional parts of a game, glitches tend to produce the most ridiculous examples of physics. Walking through walls? Not a problem. Viewing the inside of a building from the outside? Even easier.

Scale a mountain with no gear? Consider it done...

 

6. Health

A crucial part of most every game, health is restored and increased in some of the strangest ways. In some games, such as most current shooters, health regenerates by itself so long as the player can refrain from taking further damage for a certain amount of time. Wait… What? A soldier can be shot multiple times and keep going so long as they take a breather?!? I call foul. Games not using this system usually go the route of food/herbs to replenish the health bar (or hearts if you’re a Zelda fan). This dates back to the oldest of games. In the Streets of Rage series, players restored their health via cakes or turkeys, moderate and complete restore respectively. That’s right, gluttony is the quickest to recover from getting your ass kicked. Resident Evil attempted to be more realistic, but still fell short with the use of herbs. Yes, herbs can be very beneficial to one’s health, but not in the case of zombie bites/disembowelments. Also, how does one use an herb? If we are to believe the Resident Evil series, one simply has to press the use button. Whether the character eats the herb or just smears it on their body, we will never know. And let’s not forget that throughout all of these, one thing remains constant; whether a simple splinter or a near death pulverization, one can quickly and efficiently reach 100% again.

I'm starting to feel terrrrible... Oh look! A turkey!!! NOM NOM NOM! All better now.

 

5. Inventory

The standard backpack holds 2 rifles, a shotgun, 5 different handguns, over 1000 bullets, an assortment of melee weapons, 24 first aid kits, a map, various tools, and even your teddy bear, right? It doesn’t? Well it can in video games. While this has become the exception with modern shooters, it still holds true in nearly every other type of game. Proof? Any RPG ever!!!! Even games that put a limit on amount of items usually would allow any amount of an item, i.e. first aid kits. This is one of the few items on this list that truly baffles me. Putting a limit on inventory has never been an issue, so why has it only been addressed these past 2 generations, and why does it still happen in various current games? And this is based on the assumption that the player has some sort of container for the items, which is not always the case. Another thing that makes the inventory system even more ridiculous is that it often pauses the game when being viewed. Evidently, even the most heinous villain will politely stand by and wait while you go through your bag. Well……. How kind of them. Good sportsmanship really adds to character, I suppose.

Where is he keeping all this? Wait. On second thought, don't tell me.

 

4. Tutorials

Just because you’re a genetically engineered super soldier who has singlehandedly saved the world multiple times doesn’t mean you escape the mandatory training. You may be the best of the best, but looking up, down, left, and right is damn near rocket science. What’s that? You already know how to aim, run, and take cover? Better go ahead and prove it, again and again. Let’s face it. This has never made sense, and it only makes the plot of the game seem stupid. I realize that a player may need to familiarize themselves with the controls, but don’t act like it’s Master Chief who just had a stroke. The same goes for telling the character (not the player) to press certain buttons. Seriously? Buttons? Thank God a plasma rifle has a left bumper and start button. Snake needs to insert the next disc, huh? Really? Where is he supposed to put it, pray tell? Basically, every time the game needs to convey information to the character, it will convey it to the character. This is great for the player’s consistent immersion in the game, but only if implemented organically (i.e. Not giving the character nonsensical directions). If a game needs to tell the player something, then it should just tell them, not the characters. Breaking the fourth wall is ok. We know it’s a game. We figured out it’s not real when we shelled out our very real money for it. Don’t patronize; Innovate

Really? The Action Button? No kidding...

 

3. Continues

Reincarnation is a spiritual concept in the real world based on cultural and religious beliefs and traditions. In video games, it is fact; immediate, undeniable fact. Extra lives have been around since the inception of video games. Everyone is familiar with Mario’s green mushroom. If Sonic gets 100 gold rings, he gets a 1up. Ditto with Crash Bandicoot and apples. A core part of gaming, number of lives is directly related to a game’s difficulty. While this works very well in that regard, it doesn’t add to a game’s coherence. I can die and then immediately start where I just was? Well that’s convenient. If only policemen had this ability. Aside from the number of lives, reincarnation is also implemented through continues. Continues, which hearken back to the days of Arcade games like Mortal Kombat, are a cornerstone of gaming. Back in the days of arcades, continues were purchased with quarters. As time has progressed, continues have become the norm more and more. This conveys to the player that death is only temporary, never permanent. So death isn’t permanent? Isn’t that exactly what death is? If not, then why are we putting these potentially revive-able dead people in locked caskets 6 feet beneath the ground, and then covering the graves with ridiculously heavy headstones? Fear of zombies, I guess.

Yesss!!! Live! Liiive!!!! LIVE AGAIN!!!!!!

 

2. If it Sparkles, it’s Important!!!

Whilst traversing through the video game world, it is always crucial to pick up the items you need along the way. Thank Goodness the video game Gods had the grace to imbue any and all such items with their godly glow. That is what happened right? I can’t think of any other explanation aside from possible radiation, in which case one should be careful when picking up anything. Only in video games does it make sense to actually search for and collect glowing items. In the real world, a glowing clip of ammo would be ample cause for concern and certainly make one hesitant to use in a gun. Now, to be fair, without the glowing, it would take forever to find items (especially in the survival horror genre where the lighting is so dim to begin with). Regardless, having the items glow doesn’t make sense. Why aren’t other people collecting these radioactive items? Furthermore, why do they stop glowing once you pick them up? Did you absorb the glow? If that happened to me in real life, I would check for super powers. There has got to be a better way to illustrate that an item is nearby without smearing it with glowsticks.

Is that a glowing missile I see. Better pick it up...

 

1. Save Points

The number 1 spot on this list is taken by the one element present in nearly every game and that makes the least amount of real world sense; save points. This is necessary unless you plan on finishing a game in one sitting (all the power to you if you do). What does a save entail, though? One can always go back to that point and start fresh from where they were. This is particularly useful if one dies or messes up a crucial part of the game. This can’t happen in real life. A prisoner can’t just yell “Redo!!!!”. Nor can a doctor, a student, or anyone who has ever messed up. Life does not afford us the same luxuries that video games do. Even so, luxurious may not be the best term to describe the save system in some games. First of all, one does not simply save one’s game, especially in the survival horror and rpg genres. One of the best examples of this incredulous norm is the Resident Evil series, the earlier entries in particular. To save one’s game, one has to find ink ribbons and then use them on the various typewriters located throughout the game. Seriously? Ink Ribbons? Is Chris Redfield coming across these and thinking “Oh thank God. I really need to improve my wpm (words per minute) for my resume.”?!?!?! That it saves the game aside, what is the purpose of this? Also, why are there all these old style ink ribbons and typewriters just lying around this old decrepit mansion? However, it still makes more sense than the save system in Silent Hill 2. Konami took the abstract route for their save points. If I ever came across a glowing red rectangle hanging on a wall in my day to day life, I would be very concerned. What the hell is that red rectangle, anyway, and what is James thinking when he comes across it? “Hey, a red mirror. Better make sure I still look good.” I suppose he doesn’t want to meet his dead wife looking too shabby.

So Red Rectangle, we meet again...

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23 comments
Mew
Mew

How does it get easier? You're a baby, and all you do is cry, eat, and poop yourself. You get older and now you're walking, crying, eating, and pooping yourself. A little older and you stop pooping yourself by learning to use the toilet, something that apparently is very hard for little kids to figure out. I don't remember my potty training days so I don't know how stubborn I was with it. A little older and you can no longer spend all day playing, you have to go to school now, and learn things people tell you to learn. You have to do well or suffer consequences. This goes on for years, until you get old enough to leave school. Now you have to get a job and all the responsibilities that go along with it. You get a house and have to pay all the bills on time and keep stocked on food. Maybe you have kids and now you're taking care of them while doing all the rest of it. No, life doesn't get easier as you get older. Nothing in life is easier than being a baby who simply has to sit there crying, eating, or pooping yourself. The older you get the harder things become, but you also learn how to handle it.

AJ
AJ

Maybe the RE chars were skin DA herbs lol

Vulpis
Vulpis

I find it amusing that MGS is used as the example for the tutorials trope--especially considering that the game series itself takes pot-shots at that very trope, when CODEC messages involve controls, and whichever Snake you're running this time basically goes 'WTH are you talking about????'--a great example being MGS4 with Otacon realizing you *don't* have to change a disc..

Gaston
Gaston

I've always thought that the most ridiculous gaming norm was the one that prays that when you touch an enemy, you receive damage (or even get killed).

jon
jon

Ya I just now think your right why do games have time limits I mean seriously and guys you have to get mortal combat komplete verison

VolVith
VolVith

Someone should make a game that doesnt listen to all these Norms... XD

Moitaznur
Moitaznur

Life does get harder. People also get better at dealing with said adversity as they get older. In the endgame they start to lose these bonuses, but that's where retirement kicks in. I suppose you could attempt to argue that 2 year olds have an innately superior ability to complete exceptionally complex tasks. Things such as coordinating the design and fabrication of a mass-production UV-Frequency storage media and reader ensemble. Would you like to make such an argument? I could use a laugh.

wiggy stardust
wiggy stardust

The reason these games are so unreal is to ensure that players don't ever start believing that the real world is like a game. Well, except for the bit about the turkeys, of course.

hemokal
hemokal

@chaosend, I really hate it when people complain about things without paying attention. This is not getting upset that games are unrealistic, just laughing at it. It's saying that while this stuff is fine and expected from games, it would be stupid to have it in the real world. Get your facts straight before bashing others who have worked hard on something, kid.

sithalo
sithalo

in mafia II if u have driving set to realistic it slowly runs out of gas. not that youll normaly be driving one car long enough and it magicly refules between missions i think but its a nice thing that thats there. but this list was rather odd. id like to see someone beat fallout with realistic damage to characters, super limited storage space, hardcore mode on, no fast travel, oh and they have to do that in one life...no respawns or save points right? lol. my biggest issues on games like fallout or the elderscrolls is if im hiding and i shoot them they take extra damage and there head exploads, but if they see me it will take 5 burst from a smg to the head to take them down...its like they dont see me they have some sorta magic shield turned off but as soon as they see me its like oh hey shields on magicly...kinda same about hiding. in borderlands 2 i learned if u just stand there in middle of battle atleast in begining thenthey just stop attacking and walk off even if a psyco is beating u in the head u just stand there and they just walk off and head back to there places nad its just liek wtf...also i hate how in stratagy games tanks cant hurt infantry and rockets or high explosives cant hurt infantry either...if i send a army of rpgs out against an army of machine guns the rpgs should win but they dont...and someone getting hit by a tank shell should atleast be killed by the force not be able to take a good number more.... and radiation last like 3 seconds and machine guns can take down buildings...

chaosend
chaosend

this is stupid on of the main reason for video games is they are not realistic. i hate it when people complian about realism or lack there of in video games.

Micah
Micah

I find #1 to be extremely funny because often times in Final Fantasy VIII, I've looked at their elaborate save points and thought to myself "what would I think if I were to come across one of those in real life? Would I really step into it?" Same thing with the save point in many other games. That one just sprung to mind because of how ornate it looks.

duddles
duddles

I'm alright with all of this except I feel its worth mentioning the health system in Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the World. Different levels of injuries, the more serious can leave you limping and bleeding to death slowly, and they dont get better with time. the game utilizes first aid kits, and they arent a simple 'click' and bam you're better, no your character will need to find a safe place to hid and upon use of a kit he will apply various mending tools to his injuries. A process that takes a few moments, and all in all add a pretty awesome aspect to the horror/survival theme of the game

harley
harley

inventory makes sense if they do it by the weight of the items being carried.

CoryCow
CoryCow

Number NINE! My GOD I've been saying that one for years! Save points are quite silly, too.

Jim
Jim

Ben, this is a great article. I'm home injured today and I have been reading stuff like this all morning. Yours is one of the best. Great with the quips and one-liners. I do have a complaint though regarding your entry on inventories. It is most obvious how the gaming engineers figured out how to answer for an overly cumbersome backpack/suit case. They watched first generation Transformers. Optimus Prime hauls a trailer around all the time and then, when he no longer needs it, it merely disappears. It's the harnessing of energon we're talking about here. I think you could have done some more research. In the end though, I am glad to say, especially using your article as source material, we'll all have a laugh when "the shit goes down" and we see all these nit wits run out from behind their XBOXs/PS3s/computers to pick up automatic weapons like they know how to use them and lead the charge to liberation. Yes, a fine day that will be.

FelixGarcia
FelixGarcia

Most of these make sense in real life, though.

AJ
AJ

Smoking

Junoh
Junoh

There are tons of games that don't listen to some of them but I think the one that makes the most sense is Demon's Souls. If you die, you become a soul and you're trapped within the Nexus. Save points have to exist so they're a necessary evil. There is no score or time limits, you can take your time (I suggest that you take your time). Items DO glow but they're probably covered in some sort of soul energy that their owner imbued them with before the person died. Continues, only if you feel like running back and finding your blood stain to retrieve your lost souls, good luck surviving what killed you in the first place but with less health. Health can be restored using magic or herbs but since there is magic in the game then it makes sense for herbs to be able to heal what with you constantly dying and being revived. The Physics act like real life. You can't climb and the more you weigh, the harder it is to roll out of the way. There are no cars so that's omitted from having to be reviewed. As for the Inventory and Tutorials, I have no excuse for those. Like I said, it doesn't have most of them but still has a few. It's a good game and if you have a PS3 then I suggest you get it off of the PS Store for 20 USD or an equivalent price in other currencies.

Franx
Franx

Not in the Elder Scrolls series, it doesn't. I mean, what the hell of a measuring unit is used in Tamriel, by which a quill weighs 0.5 but a sword 50? Kilograms, Pounds, Units?

NoItDoesn't
NoItDoesn't

Ummm no they don't. NONE of these make sense.

Ryan
Ryan

At least two of them do. Life gets harder as you progress through it. Many things in life have time limits. Unless you're the boss you have a time limit to get to work each day.

Nick
Nick

The author isn't saying there aren't time limits in life, just that some of the levels that have time limits in games are stupid. As stated in the article, why is Mario on a time limit? Does he have a heart attack if he doesn't get to the pipe before a certain time?