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

OVERSTAYING THEIR WELCOME
The Incredible Item Shop Guy

Who Made it Famous: Kid Icarus, Secret of Mana, Lunar, Final Fantasy, Deus Ex, Diablo, The Legend of Zelda

Who's Still Doing it: Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, Psychonauts

Screw the guy who blasts through the undead scourge and penetrates the deepest levels of the sewers to save the president' daughter. We want to know about the guy who' so badass he beat us there and set up an item shop and shooting gallery. And hey, if he' so good at getting around, why doesn't he save the president' goddamn daughter, huh? And, couldn't he find an area with a wider customer base?

Remember, video-game merchants, just because you sell medical herbs, guns, ammo, ether, bows and arrows, helms and/or "phoenix down" doesn't mean you can forget the first rule of business: location, location, location. Screw the dungeons, sewers and back alleys; take out a loan and lease a little corner place at your local Westfield. Take some advice, you'll get a lot more foot traffic.


Invisible Walls and Unusable Doors

Who Made it Famous: Ridge Racer, The Legend of Zelda, Bomberman, Castle Wolfenstein, Duke Nukem

Who's Still Doing it: Ninja Gaiden, Silent Hill, Half-Life 2, Call of Duty, Gears of War, Metal Gear Solid, Kingdom Hearts, Elder Scrolls

At a time when games like Spore promise infinite universes created with procedural programming, it' getting harder and harder not to be annoyed by doors that don't open, hills you can't quite climb, or fallen logs that no amount of C4 will remove from your path. And while an indestructible log at least represents a scientific curiosity, the painted-on door and un-climbable hills are starting to feel a little patronizing. You may be an intergalactic warlord stocked with a hand-held nuclear device and laser eyes, but if you think you can just step over a waist-high picket fence, you've got another thing coming, mister.


The Multiple Jump

Who Made it Famous: Dragon Buster, Kirby, Mega Man, Unreal, Mario 64

Who's Still Doing it: Jak and Daxter, Super Smash Bros., Psychonauts, Devil May Cry, God of War

Yet another spit in the face of Isaac Newton, the double jump shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon. There' nothing a game developer seems to enjoy more than allowing their players to flail like idiots in midair, which somehow allows them to impossibly propel themselves a few inches higher. This move was extremely useful when lava pits were around, because it allowed you to change direction in the middle of a parabolic arc (another assertion your high school physics teacher would take issue with). Now that lava pits are largely a thing of the past, it' hard to justify all of this multiple jumping. Plus, if Kratos can propel himself upwards while in midair, we have to wonder why he doesn't just fly to Mt. Olympus and skip all this walking-around bullshit.


Unlimited Carrying Capacity

Who Made it Famous: The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Doom, GoldenEye, Unreal, Thief

Who's Still Doing it: Half-Life, God of War, Final Fantasy, Jak and Daxter, Kingdom Hearts, Elder Scrolls

Yes, Duke Nukem is strong. Doom guy? He' a beefcake. Link, not so much, but he' got moxie. But even with all the moxie in Hyrule, it' hard to imagine an elf dragging hundreds of rupees, dozens of masks, a quiver of arrows, potions, a sword and shield, and his toiletries all around without serious medical repercussions. Maybe Link never talks because he' in unbelievable pain from his massive hernia. And, the speed with which FPS characters switch between their giant automatic shotguns, their giant chainguns, and their giant rocket launchers has to make you wonder if they shouldn't just be stunning baddies into submission by flexing their massive, massive biceps.



The Inability to Swim

Who Made it Famous: Frogger, Fantasia, Busby, Contra, Castlevania, Wonder Boy, The Legend of Zelda

Who's Still Doing it: Grand Theft Auto, Jak and Daxter, Psychonauts, Spider-Man, Sly Cooper, Metal Gear Solid, The Hulk

All video-game characters are in fact made of cotton candy. This theory, and only this theory, can explain the cat-like hydrophobia shared universally by their kind. How else are we to believe that Frogger, a frog, is killed instantly on contact with water?

Nowadays the game hero can usually take to the water, but more often than not his enemies have late-stage Wicked-Witch-of-the-West syndrome. And, stop trying to scam us, developers-piranhas lurking just offshore, beaches patrolled by gun ships, electrified oceans, uncomfortably high levels of bromine-it' all just a nice way of saying if you ain't Ecco, you ain't shit underwater.


Platforms That Float for No Discernable Reason

Who Made it Famous: Ice Climber, Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Contra, Ristar, Dynamite Headdy, Busby, Donkey Kong Country

Who's Still Doing it: Jak and Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, Psychonauts, Tomb Raider, Rayman

Platformers were long the dominant genre of the video game world. Back in the late '80s, riding high on coke and boning starlets, no one dared question platformers' "unique proclivities."

But now that the platformer' star has faded, one feels compelled to ask: What the fuck is going on with the platforms, man? Who builds floating platforms in the middle of the fucking jungle? Do you not understand basic physics? This technology could be used to aid transportation and improve the lives of the tragically crippled, and you're squandering it on keeping a woman from raiding your tomb!?

Michael writes the incredibly important humor blog, The Specious.

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