The 7 Commandments All Video Games Should Obey

#3. Thou shalt admit when enough is enough.

Turok, Gears of War, Medal of Honor, Call of Duty, Call of Honor, Metal of Duty: Honor Call

There are two times in a creative field when you know you have to move on: When something just isn't working, and when something has worked for too long. Some conventions that have never worked include:

Escort missions.

So you've spent the first half of the game accumulating weapons and hit points and turning yourself into a zombie-killing machine. How does the game reward you? By forcing you to escort a completely helpless and unarmed dumbass through the war zone, and making so that you instantly lose if they get a scratch on them.

No one has ever liked an escort mission, ever, in the history of gaming. So why do they still exist?

CPU-controlled squad teammates.

This is supposed to be the flip side of the above, here the computer gives you a half dozen or so teammates to "help" you fight the Nazis or commies or zombies or whoever the enemy is that day. It doesn't work. It has never worked.

Either the AI is too stupid, or it's so sophisticated that it has become sentient and aware of the futility of living. Either way, as recently as Call of Duty 4 we've got teammates walking in front of our machine gun, eager to feel the sweet, sweet embrace of death. And then we get penalized for it.

First-person jumping puzzles.

There is no possible freaking way to jump accurately from a first person perspective. All of the things that would let you do it in real life (sense of balance and momentum, awareness of your body) are gone. Also, you can't see your fucking feet.

Yet, here we are in Half Life 2, entering the spooky, atmospheric zombie town of Ravenholm, ready for the fight of our lives. How do we defeat the undead hordes? Why, by jumping across rooftops, on wooden platforms and suspended cars, like freaking Mario.

This brings us to our second category of "enough is enough" gaming elements, which are ones that sold truckloads of games, but that need to be retired. Such as ...

World War II games.

The average gamer has killed more Nazis than the entire Russian army. Where the hell are the World War I games?

The grizzled space marine.

Doom introduced the grizzled space marine to the gaming world 15 years ago, dreamed into existence by someone at id Software, probably just minutes after watching Aliens. The grizzled space marine character so captivated the imagination of first-person shooter fans that they decided to have him star in every single FPS game since.

Doom 3

Gears of War

Haze (left) and Turok

Killzone 2

Oh, look. We've come full circle.

Aliens: Colonial Marine

Will the gaming world ever get enough of the grizzled space marine?

Yes. Yes, we will.

Move on.

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