Here we run down the Top 10 Video Game Cliches, and beg the industry to cast them out.
The Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau echoed the sentiment, saying: "The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying 'This is mine,' and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody."
Which is all well and good, even though you probably didn't bother reading all of that quote (we didn't either - we just cut-and-pasted it to make us look well intellectual and that), but do games - particularly RPGs - always have to adhere to this philosophy quite so slavishly? In The Witcher 3, sickly villagers loll around on the floor of their shacks while you root through their chests and sideboards, apparently too weak and self-absorbed in the misery to muster the energy for so much as a groan of protest.
Does anybody really go back to try and find every last thing? And if they do, does it not just leave them with a gnawing hollowness, that they've wasted such a significant chunk of the wretched lives on so pointless a task?
And another thing: story, when it comes to an interactive medium, doesn't mean having to read an entire novel every time you find a book or piece of paper. That's like assaulting the player with footnotes, or handing out pamphlets during a movie, then asking the audience to browse them for some vital backstory while you pause the film.
So please, if you're going to include doors in a game at least give us some way of getting through them, and stop using them as set dressing. It makes you wonder what they're trying to keep hidden. A disfigured twin of the main character, sporting a vestigial nub on their chin, perhaps?
From Sonic the Hedgehog to Tomb Raider 2 to Destiny, we must have played through 40-plus variations of this dull and esoteric ceremony. Far Cry 3 tried to shake things up a bit by skipping the service, and going straight to Bronk's wake, but the funeral came back with a vengeance in Far Cry 4 - not even a nude mariachi band could enliven proceedings. Not once have these sequences added to a game, or given us the barest insight into who or what Bronk might've been.
It's a trope that doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon. Worryingly, the Oculus Rift demo that's getting the most buzz seems to revolve around a self-destructing Parisian patisserie.
Does Gears of War 2 really benefit from a diversion in which you attempt to stop a cherubic 11 year-old up-ending a bucket of yabbies into a supermarket chest freezer, or post flattened lemons through a neighbour's letterbox?
"Oh sure - break into another enemy base, rather than go for your six monthly check-up..."; "Don't worry about dragging me into battle - I'm a dentist and well equipped for these sorts of situations"; "Why don't you let yourself get punched in the mouth again - that's the number one way to care for your teeth?" and so on and so forth.