Friday Favorites #7: Favorite Video Game Tropes

In no particular order:

1. Relationship Values

I like it when video games give you chances to deepen your bonds with other characters. Getting to know your party members better is often the best way to learn things about them that you otherwise would not.  

Favorite Examples: BioWare games, recent Persona and Fire Emblem games, and in Harvest Moon. 

2. Dialog Trees

Related to the above, dialog trees can be a lot of fun. I always like opportunities to impress my personality upon a game (those poor games). Dialog trees can impact a game’s story, characters, and endings. They can also affect what items you get and which areas you will go to. A nice addition to dialog trees is the integration of quick time events as seen in the Mass Effect series from 2 onward. These force you to make instinctual choices.

Favorite Examples: BioWare games, the Fallout series, Telltale’s games

3. Multiple Endings

I like these for similar reasons to the above tropes. What could be better than your decisions shaping your ultimate fate in a game? Of course, you run the risk of it not being the fate you want…

Favorite Examples: Shin Megami Tensei, Silent Hill

4. On-Rails Shooting Sections

(Possible?) Hot take: I like these when they pop up in third-person shooters and action games.

Favorite Examples: Metal Gear, Resident Evil, Uncharted

5. Training Modes That Teach You All of the Moves

These modes in fighting games seem to be unpopular with some, but I rather like them… until I get about halfway through a character’s move list. Then the combos start to make me crosseyed. 

Favorite Examples: Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Street Fighter X Tekken

6. Create-a-Character

These can be fun to mess with for a while, especially to recreate characters from other sources, or to see what kind of twisted creations you can make…

Favorite Examples: Soulcalibur, WWE games

7. Randomized Dungeons

I like these in action-RPGs and roguelikes because they add some variety to the game.

Favorite Examples: Dark Cloud, Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon

8. Skill Trees

The Sphere Grid

Skill trees may only offer an illusion of freedom, but I’ve loved them ever since I played Final Fantasy X. The more freedom, the better.

Favorite Examples: FFX, Tales of Xillia 1 and 2, Xenosaga III: Also sprach Zarathustra

What are your favorite game design tropes?

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VGJ Commemorative Drawing

I drew this to commemorate some of the characters featured in early VGJs. 

Bottom row, left to right (foreground): Danette, Izabela, and Gig (Soul Nomad and the World Eaters); Taro and Hanako (Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days); Travis Grady and Alessa Gillespie (Silent Hill Origins)

Middle row: Welch (Star Ocean: The Last Hope); Chris Redfield (Resident Evil 5): Tink (D2: DHD); Amy (Soulcalibur IV)

Top row: Flemeth (Dragon Age); Meracle Chamlotte and Faize Sheifa Baleth (SO: TLH); Raphael Sorel (SCIV)

If the first several VGJs were collected into a book, this would be the cover.