1Up has a pretty funny article up on gaming cliches, and before I head off to bed I wanted to address a few of them.
10) Big Heads Cheat. It seems with just about every game developed by anyone with even a slight sense of humor (or a bigger sense of irony), we have the cheat option to make everyone's heads... bigger. This is a fun side-game in UT2K4 where the bigger the head swells, the easier it is to shoot it and where the trick is to stay alive the longest. That's some fun times. Otherwise, what's the point?
8) Unnecessary Stealth. If I wanted a stealth game, I'd have bought Splinter Cell not God of War. I buy a game called God of War where the main character is a brute who tears harpies apart with his bare hands, and I expect, nay demand, some high-octane violence with a Grecian flair. What I do not expect is to sneak around and hope something that I'll wind up fighting in 20 minutes anyway doesn't hear me. Do not give me a game, 98% of which is pure combat, and tell me that for one mission only I can't use a weapon, regardless of the fact that I'm armed to the teeth. This = teh stupid.
4) Ridiculous portrayals of women in games. I agree with the statement at 1Up - "Women have breasts. Get over it." When I see games like Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, I genuinely become embarrassed for the females who enjoy gaming and work in the industry. When I was at E3 in 2003, I saw Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, arguably one of the greatest games of all time, and was lead through an elaborate demo by one of the artists. She was a very cute French-Canadian lass who seemed passionate about her job, and loved seeing the result in a game that shows off the developers' love of it in every frame. When I played the sequel, I imagined this same artist gritting her teeth while putting the textures on any of the female bodies in the game. When you consider that gaming stands on the precipice of becoming truly mainstream or finding itself beaten back by ignorance (thank you, RockStar), attracting women to the industry can only lead to bigger and better things. I know of no woman who isn't insulted when she sees a game like Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and who doesn't immediately think that the developers are all 15-years-old and have just discovered women.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - the games industry is poised on the edge of a knife. Stray but a little one way and it will fall into darkness. With the monumental stupidity of RockStar Games giving rise to further Washington idiocy, the industry and hobby which I love so much might soon find itself with a big bootmark on its backside. With so many billions at stake, I don't think gaming is going away anytime soon. But the industry desperately needs to pull its head out of its ass and recognize the need to move forward, not just rely on "what worked on the Super NES." That won't cut it any more, kids. It's time to take steps forward and think outside the (x)box.