The world of video games is rife with mechanics and conventions that seem normal to everyday players. However, to newcomers these traditions may seem somewhat odd. Why am I being told to fetch wood when there’s already a fire burning? Why does the bad guy have an obvious glowing red spot? Where am I keeping all of these guns? These and other gaming conventions may confuse the n00bs.
We all know about shooting the red barrel or attacking the obvious flashing weakspot, but what other conventions that we take for granted would seem odd to gaming newcomers?
NPC Allies that Refuse to Join your Quest
Bob wants a burger. He asks you to get it for him, and tells you where to get it from. Then? He waits. He doesn’t go with you. In fact, he doesn’t move from this exact spot. It could take hours, days, weeks or even longer to return with his burger. But whenever you choose to return, Bob will be grateful.
On modern times games are coming up with more and more interesting ways to showcase inventory. This may be weight limitations or having to shuffle items around like a puzzle. Or it could be actually displaying a couple of weapons on your avatar. However, where are all those medkits kept? Keys? Keycards? Boxes of ammunition? Pictures? Audio recordings? Files? Maps? We often take it for granted, but for some the illusion could be broken simply by the need to carry too much, as with Minecraft Dungeons.
I’m sure I’m not alone in being the guy that always waits until the last possible moment to use a health recharge power-up. Whatever game I may be playing, I’m always looking for maximum efficiency from my health packs. So I spent the last four hours flashing red and then suddenly I’m back to full green – and yet looking at my guy on-screen you wouldn’t have noticed the difference.
Villains Attacking the Hero’s Village
“I’m going to conquer the world! But first, I’ll attack this small village with only three houses.”
Why would the bad guy bother? Obviously a cue for the hero beginning his or her journey, it’s a lazy plot device that was all-too-common in the mid-90s. Thankfully gaming writing has become more in-depth in recent years. The modern industry relies less on the basic structure of a young hero stepping out into the wide world. It does, however, still frequently rely on…
This journey will include battles against enemies armed with swords and chains and whips and massive hammers. Hold up, let me just put on my g-string. Ivy Valentine of Soul Calibur fame is arguably the epitome of this misguided attempt at sex appeal. She kicks ass, has a super cool sword/whip weapon and is a fan favourite character in every instalment. But boy, is it going to hurt when she gets hit…
What’s the difference between a checkpoint and a save point? Why is there an invisible line which means I’m now starting here rather than there? Why does it matter? Well, for those of us who play on hard mode, checkpoints are a blessing!
Yeah, that’s right. Levelling up is an intrinsic part of many games, and to gamers it’s a widely accepted norm. But to a newcomer a seemingly random number increasing is supposed to signify what, exactly? It’s that you’ve grown as a person and become more capable, of course! Yeah, sure. That checks out.