Top Ten Worst Video Game Cliches

We have all experienced this. You know, you are playing a game and you encounter something. Something you don't like and you hope to dear God that its not a reoccuring thing. But no it comes back not just in this game but in many games. So what better way to rant than to create a list about them, the top ten WORST video game cliches.

The Top Ten

1 Escort missions

Definitely the worst, on top of protecting yourself you have to protect someone else. There are usually no checkpoints and the person you have to "protect" is usually a complete moron. - Drbazinga

In games like "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker" or "The Walking Dead", escort missions work quite well. This is because they actually give the other person a reason to follow you, and you care about them. In games like "Resident Evil 5" and "Amy" on the other hand, escort missions are ANNOYING! This is the 95% of games, with terrible AI partners who are just there to slow your progress. - PeterG99

I hate these. Usually, the person I'm escoerting is yelling at me to hurry up, when they themselves are barely moving at all. And if I decide to stop and reload, they will suddenly sprint ahead, and get mauled by zombies, Big Daddies, or whatever I happen to be protecting them from.

The AI On most of these games are complete idiotics. "Oh you're trying to protect me? I'll just walk straight infront of you. Ouch you shot me! Its your fault! " NO. BAD. - UnlawfulMatron

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2 Water levels

Ocarina of Time, anyone?

No one remembers the water levels in Blaster Master

I'm partial to ice levels, but this is a close second. - Thifer20

Ice levels are worse - UnlawfulMatron

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3 Unoriginal villains

Any villain who wants to either take over the world or destroy it and rebuild it in their own image is unoriginal. Whats worse is of they're as boring as hell and don't seem to pose as a threat

If the villain really wanted to get the main character they would just get them instead of talking about it! - beatles5

We need more villains like The Joker.

This is one of my most hated tropes in media and exactly why I don't want Karel from Fire Emblem to be a villain. He would be nothing but a Sephiroth ripoff if he was that role, and I will tell you what: Ripoffs suck and it would be more original for Karel to be a good guy all along (which he is, in both the games he's in), no matter how psychotic and violent he is.

Also; I would like to see a variety in both villains and good guys.

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4 Unskippable cutsences

Okay game, I get it. Max Payne is an alcoholic, now let me skip the damn cut scene so I can shoot some Commando Somber or whatever guys, or SOMETHING better than making me watch this guy get wasted! And not Grand Theft Auto wasted, but wasted wasted.

This is the worst one, I believe all the top 11 are tied for second and all the ones below 11 are too stupid, I mean zombies? Zombie games are the best!

Pretty much everyone can agree.

I love video game cutsences

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5 Unskippable tutorials

This is especially bad if you already KNOW the gameplay.

Mario and luigi dream team could take a 50 year sentence for its tutorial.

ESPECIALLY in kirby super star. God that was annoying (ultra fixed this, way better game).

Pokemon and the Mario and Luigi series are the very worst offenders of this.

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6 Boring boss battles

Cliches are only done on a purpose, so unless a boss is meant to be boring, this really isn't a cliche, Just something annoying.

Yellow devil from megaman

Egg dragon for example sonic unleshed is like 1-3 minutes sonic generations is 1- 9 minutes

I'm looking at you Yiazmat!

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7 Backtracking to old areas

All I have to say Is a good game which used this cliche to death is "Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door"!

Call of Duty ghosts is one big backtrack, you leave the house and go back. If I remember right you don't leave the state!

Who remembers the Purple Comet Missions? I certainly did. I HATED them! - SmashBall

Exactly. I don't care that I have to collect 50 coins in 30 seconds, if you wanted to give me a power star Nintendo, then make a new level. - KingofHoundooms

Metro last light is basically one HUGE backtrack.

8 Main character has amnesia

Many times, there doesn't seem to a reason for the character's amnesia. It's more or less a case of "amnesia for plot convenience."

Well, sometimes it works, and if it works, it works really well. Check out Sonny and Sonny 2 for example.

9 Quick time events

Quick time events aren't bad...unless it's how you defeat the final boss at the end of the game. Then I have a problem with them (just like how you kill Damien in Watch_Dogs).

Maybe this wouldn't be too bad if you at least had some TIME to react, but nope, this isn't the case, as some games like Resident Evil 4 give you a damn NANOSECOND to react!

Two miliseconds to press a button that will save your life. Fail and you die. How unfair is that? Come on game developers!

Press A! Press B! "Okay I got this so far." Press Ctrl + A + Backspace + P + 7 + [ +? + G + 9! "Oh... Okay..." - UnlawfulMatron

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10 Luck based gameplay

Look at Mario Party 9, it just ruins the game.

To get 3 stars in Mario kart 7 you need luck. - Harri666

Okay guys. Can't we just call this for what it really is? It's RNG, not luck! - Thifer20


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The Newcomers

? Faceless protagonist
? Fake difficulty

The Contenders

11 Ability loss
12 Bosses that heal themselves

YES, I hate this so much. Sometimes it's fine, like if your in an rpg fighting a group of people with only one healer, but if it's a really hard boss with a lot of hp, it's just not fun.

Max Potion - UnlawfulMatron

Dreamy Bowser Because of his healing attack He seems like he has the exact same amount of hp as Yiazmat from Final Fantasy XII!

After you work so hard to whoop a boss ‚they destroy your hard work by healing!

13 Dying by one single hit

This is why I don't like games like Mario. Although easy, it doesn't really feel like I am growing while I am playing through the adventure. In my opinion, games like Zelda does it better because you start off with low hearts at the beginning (still not enough to die in one hit though). But after each boss, you gain an extra heart. If the game is too hard, you can find heart pieces hidden around the world and if the game is too easy, you don't have to get the heart after you beat the boss.

Too annoying, too lazy to repeat again.

A cheap way for video game opposition to win against the main character. It's annoying as all hell. - NuMetalManiak

A lot of 8-bit games do this like Transformers for the Famicom, Silver Surfer, Contra, most of Action 52, and Ugh... I wanna be the guy...

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14 Having to repeat missions over and over
15 Blatantly obvious weak spots

"There's a huge eye with fifty arrows pointing to it, and I can lock on to it. Better check my trusty little guide to see where I should hit the boss! "

It's insulting to the gamer to have a boss to have a bright glowing weak spot, but it's even more insulting if the game flat out tells you that the only way to defeat the boss is to attack the obvious weak spot.

Nintendo does this a lot especially in Mario and Zelda games.

Zelda: HIT the EYEBALL!
PS: Don't kill me. I love Zelda.

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16 Cover art that features something the game doesn't

When you see a game, what's the first thing you see? The cover. The cover should represent the game, showing what the game is about, not something to make people buy the game.

Big Rigs: over the road racing

Twilight Princess without a magic bar even though it's on the back... - TrueBlueHeroes

Megaman X7 for example...

17 Forced to lose as part of the plot

This cliche is my worst one. It forces you to lose to the boss, which is really annoying. I'm looking at you, Beatrix from Final fantasy IX. And it makes you waste items just for nothing.

So, you are thrown into an immensely difficult battle with a seemingly unbeatable boss. You give it your best, using up all of your best healing items, weapons, etc, until you inevitably die. Then, after watching a cutscene, you suddenly realize - you were intended to lose the battle. That, and you just wasted all of your best items for nothing.

So many RPGs have this one. There's not often a telltale sign that you are gonna lose some of these either. - NuMetalManiak

If you are a Call of Duty Fanboy,This is uncommon.It only happens once or twice(Call of Duty Ghosts and possibly Advanced Warfare)

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18 Getting knocked back

One of the worst! - Thifer20

19 Bad AI

This is ridiculous. You need you AI controlled companion to shoot at the enemies because you're reloading, and all they do is let themselves die by running into the wall. And enemy AI are just as bad; You run up to an enemy, and instead of trying to kill you it just runs about.

Its either the enemy AI is eagle eyed... Or your buddies never held a gun before...

20 Permanently missable items

Then I have to restart the game to get the fullexperience, and I have to go through all the boring parts again, and then at the end I find out I missed another item, and the process repeats until I'm so darn bored with the game that I just pushover it in the back of the closet and start a new one.

I'm looking at you Rhythm Thief and the Emperor's Treasure for your ridiculous "don't miss a sound" in which I had to restart to get the missed sound recording -,-

The master ball in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire was the worst. You had to get it rather than getting it given to you.

At its worst in Final Fantasy VII (with the Ribbons) - xandermartin98

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21 Final bosses that are way too easy

Bully.That's all I'll say

22 Lava levels

This is why I HATE Bowsers castle

23 Cheesy and corny dialogue
24 Button mashing

Mario party says it all.

Don't the dev's know this damages the controllers? T_T

But it's good exercise!

Jeez I wanna play an action packed game not a "Keep pressing X to not die" Game - UnlawfulMatron

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25 Everything hurts you

Silver surfer is a prime example

In the Mega Man games everything can kill you with one shot. - egnomac

In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, everyone is trying to kill you.


26 Jungle levels

This has been done to death no more jungle levels. - egnomac

27 Glitches

Pretty much EVERY game

28 Spikes

Serious Sam: Spikes? I hate spikes! - NuMetalManiak

29 Only you are competent

Because the guy who has years in training got killed by a spider... And now its up to you and ONLY YOU to save humanity

30 Sappy endings
31 Constant beeping noises

Zelda, Pokemon, Super Mario Galaxy, you name it, it has this annoying noise

I'm looking at YOU Atari Pacman.

This is the only thing I don't like about Zelda

32 No help whatsoever

Some games benefit from this. These games are ones that teach the player the controls and rules of the game through the gameplay (the Mega Man games are a great example). However, there are games that, for some reason, forget that players do not instantly know how to play the game and give them no help whatsoever. Dust 514 is one particular example, as it literally forces you into your first match without any explanation of what to do or where to go. Once again, I'm not saying that all games should have a unnecessary tutorial, it's just that a game needs to explain itself in some way, whether through the gameplay or a tutorial.

33 Save the princess

The Super Mario series has overused the "you must save Peach" "plot" so much that it decreases my enjoyment of the Mario games. I know the games aren't about the plot, but seeing her getting kidnapped in the opening just makes me think "Really? They couldn't even take ten minutes to come up with something they haven't used a million times before?! " and irritates me. The terrible plot also spoils my enjoyment of the final levels - they try to be powerful and dramatic, but it falls flat when you know the only thing at stake is the fate of an idiot who'll get back into trouble in a week anyway. Sure, sometimes there's also something else to fight for... but then why throw in "you also have to save Peach" at all? I don't care what happens to her. Let her rot in Bowser's cells. - Treacle

Yeah, like Princess Peach

Peach speaks for herself... - Lord28

Mario: Save Peach.
Zelda: Save Zelda.

34 Silent characters

I get it, you are trying to make a character who is a blank canvas, and that allows any player to step into his/her shoes. However, this usually just becomes boring, as you can't get attached to your character at all. Dialogue options in games like Telltale Games' the Walking Dead or Fallout, in my opinion, are a much better option. That, or a speaking, colorful protagonist.

It's mostly okay, but in a game like Portal or Half-Life your character should at least reply a little. Got a robot who's gonna poison you? Eh, no big deal, why say anything?

Sometimes it is okay, sometimes it is really worst, game like Half-Life series and Portal series have too silent character, make the game feel empty, but I think it is okay to make the characters silent, because Portal and Half-Life series don't have cutscenes

Silent protagonists are so bland and boring. It usually feels like the writers were just too lazy to give them proper characterization and dialogue. I don't think immersion is a good reason to have a silent protagonist. If you want any player to be able to step into the main character's shoes, give us some control over their personality (e.g. via dialogue options). If not, just give the protagonist one fixed personality - if it's well written, players will like the character anyway. Not to mention that it's jarring when the protagonist is the only character without dialogue. This kills immersion. - Treacle

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35 Extremely hard boss battles at the end of a mission

Again, Ballos comes to mind. - xandermartin98

36 Console Exclusive Content
37 Recycled bosses

You kick this one bosses' ass and then he runs away or something, but then he's back all of sudden? Worst case where you actually kill the boss, and later on he is somehow gets resurrected by some unforeseen circumstance (or cloned, perhaps). - NuMetalManiak

Are the developers really too lazy to use the same boss over and over again?

I'm looking at you, Orochi.

Whatever your name is.

If you want the absolute worst of this, try playing Xeodrifter. Trust me, you will regret it afterward. - xandermartin98

38 Protagonist says "it's over," then he/she is attacked


39 Overly cute characters
40 Minimal Save Points
41 Cliffhanger endings

Megaman Legends 2. ENOUGH SAID.

42 Overpowered bosses

God damn you, Mortal Kombat... - xandermartin98

To be honest, Ballos from Cave Story comes to mind, considering how much crap you have to go through just to get to him. - xandermartin98


43 Invisible walls

Fallout new Vegas killed it with this in places it wasn't even necessary... Places you go through if you follow the main road as example.

44 Tedious fetch quests

Dead Island is full of these. Why can't those morons take care of themselves!?

Made Bioshock that tiny bit more annoying to play.

The suck so bad

45 Oversexualized female characters

Anyone hate those low quality ads for war games or those crap slot game ads where the guys have cool armour but the females look like pronstars? I hate it. Also that armour wouldn't protect them properly. They could easily be stabbed right in the stomach with swords or arrows from literally anyone. - Lunala

46 Ice Levels/Physics
47 Mandatory minigames

Breath of Fire 3 had this, especially during the Shisu "side quest" which isn't even a side quest. - NuMetalManiak

48 Zombie outbreak
49 Jumpscares

Some people consider this not scary, I might as I'm easily startled. The cliche is still overrated though.

So overused yet it gets us every time

You know who what I mean, Freddy Fazbear

He's here he's There he's every where! who ya gonna call phychic friend fredbear!

50 Ascension levels

These are levels where you have to climb up and up and up, but WHOOPS make one mistake and you fall down down down and have to start all over again from the bottom. These levels aren't fun, they're tedious.

ARGG THESE ARE SO ANNOYING LIKE hey this is so easy BUT THEN aah I have fell for the 10000000th time now

Castelian for NES is the worst example of this. It completely ruins the game.

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List Stats

400 votes
140 listings
5 years, 278 days old

Top Remixes (10)

1. Unoriginal villains
2. Escort missions
3. Boring boss battles
1. Bosses that heal themselves
2. Cover art that features something the game doesn't
3. Escort missions
1. Escort missions
2. Permanently missable items
3. Vehicle sections

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