6 Video Game Gimmicks That Went Away Too Soon (And 6 More That Need to Die)

Since its birth, video gaming has undergone an incredible evolution, from simple sprites and a ghost-eating Pac-Man to today' domination of home consoles. After all that time, any gamer who' worth their weight in rupees will remember (fondly, or otherwise) some once-common sights that went the way of the Virtual GameBoy, never to be seen or heard from again. CRACKED recalls some video-game staples of yesteryear, and admits that, in the end, there are still more of them kicking around than we'd like.


Acid, Spike and/or Lava Pits

Who Made it Famous: Joust, Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Kid Chameleon, Doom, Quake

In a world where you basically move in two directions-left or, if you're feeling really adventurous, right-there' not a lot that can fuck up your day more than a pit full of pointy and/or bubbling, white-hot hazards. From spikes to acid to a simple abyss (lazy programmers), pits have often plagued the weary gamer and forced too many long jumps.

Of all these random pit-based death traps, the king of deathly hollows has to be the lava pit-especially when made complete with fireballs that pop up so precisely on rhythm, they make Old Faithful look sloppy. Of course, in actuality even being near a pit of lava would cook you alive. But, in a universe where men mounted on giant birds joust one another for golden eggs, being near a lava pit-even one that cooks you alive-is the least of your worries.

Enemies and Power-Ups That Make No Fucking Sense Whatsoever

Who Made it Famous: Q*Bert, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, Kirby

Whether they're collecting mushrooms and feathers to kill turtles or rings and emeralds to kill a fat doctor, classic video-game characters have always been subjected to tracking down and collecting the most useless, random objects to defeat the most existentially absurd foes imaginable.

Let' put it this way: We have ready access to both fruit and pills. Does this protect us from ghosts? Recent experience suggests otherwise. Thanks a lot, Pac-Man-you omnivorous yellow disc.

Although, to be fair, our turtle, Boxy, did get pretty sick when he got into our mushrooms.

Long, Unintelligible Passwords

Who Made it Famous: Kid Icarus, Paperboy, Castlevania, Prince of Persia, King' Bounty, Starflight

Although now a standard feature, the "Save Point" was once a luxury, not a right. In the Dark Ages of NES, gamers were forced to break out chisels and tablets in order to etch long, complex passwords just to avoid starting their games over when their moms invariably unplugged the system to use the vacuum cleaner. A note to developers of the Sega Genesis game King' Bounty, which featured a 64-character password input screen: Kids play games to avoid reading and writing, not practice.

Villains Who Follow a Predictable Pattern

Who Made it Famous: Mega Man, Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, StarFox, Bomberman, The Legend of Zelda, Super Metroid, Castlevania

You're walking down a dark alley when suddenly a masked man jumps out from behind a dumpster, scowling with a knife drawn. He shouts something unnecessarily dramatic, like, "You're dead meat!" He then proceeds to take two steps toward you, swing his knife, take two steps back, charge and repeat this pattern to infinity.

Not that frightening, is it? Especially once you recognize the weak spot flashing in red on his chest. Hit that three times-no more, no less-and he' guaranteed to collapse in a heap before exploding or flash red and white while fading out of existence.

Spinning Blades/Falling Blocks

Who Made it Famous: Super Mario Bros., Duke Nukem, Pitfall!, Gauntlet, Tomb Raider, Mega Man, Double Dragon

Game villains must have no interest in ever leaving their various lairs and/or hideouts, because the sheer number of spinning blades, falling blocks and other torture devices crammed into every conceivable corner renders them all horrible deathtraps. It' a wonder Bowser can find his way past the Whomps and rotary knives to go to the bathroom, let alone oversee his military operations outside the castle (not to mention having to deal with the multitudes of work-related injury claims from his Koopa staff).


Who Made it Famous: Pac-Man, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Asteroids, 1942, Road Rash, Mortal Kombat

Admittedly, the high score had some theoretical relevance when the arcade still ruled supreme. How else could you prove that "POO" was better at Street Fighter than "ASS?" That meaningless string of numbers represented your opportunity to engage in condoned public vulgarity, and for an 11-year-old strung out on PixyStix and Sunkist, there' not much sweeter.

Fast forward to GTA 3, and the number of points you've accumulated by yourself in your living room is a lot less satisfying than keeping track of how many hookers you've paid, had sex with, run over and gotten your money back from.

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