Player of Games: THE LIST

  • Sleepyhead Rule
    The teenaged male lead will begin the first day of the game by oversleeping, being woken up by his mother, and being reminded that he’s slept in so late he missed meeting his girlfriend.
  • “No! My beloved peasant village!”
    The hero’s home town, city, slum, or planet will usually be annihilated in a spectacular fashion before the end of the game, and often before the end of the opening scene.
  • Thinking With The Wrong Head (Hiro Rule)
    No matter what she’s accused of doing or how mysterious her origins are, the hero will always be ready to fight to the death for any girl he met three seconds ago.
  • Cubic Zirconium Corollary
    The aforementioned mysterious girl will be wearing a pendant that will ultimately prove to be the key to either saving the world or destroying it.
  • Logan’s Run Rule
    RPG characters are young. Very young. The average age seems to be 15, unless the character is a decorated and battle-hardened soldier, in which case he might even be as old as 18. Such teenagers often have skills with multiple weapons and magic, years of experience, and never ever worry about their parents telling them to come home from adventuring before bedtime. By contrast, characters more than twenty-two years old will cheerfully refer to themselves as washed-up old fogies and be eager to make room for the younger generation.
  • Single Parent Rule
    RPG characters with two living parents are almost unheard of. As a general rule, male characters will only have a mother, and female characters will only have a father. The missing parent either vanished mysteriously and traumatically several years ago or is never referred to at all. Frequently the main character’s surviving parent will also meet an awkward end just after the story begins, thus freeing him of inconvenient filial obligations.
  • Some Call Me… Tim?
    Good guys will only have first names, and bad guys will only have last names. Any bad guy who only has a first name will become a good guy at some point in the game. Good guys’ last names may be mentioned in the manual but they will never be referred to in the story.
  • Nominal Rule
    Any character who actually has a name is important in some way and must be sought out. However, if you are referred to as a part of a posessive noun (“Crono’s Mom”) then you are superfluous.
  • The Compulsories
    There’s always a fire dungeon, an ice dungeon, a sewer maze, a misty forest, a derelict ghost ship, a mine, a glowing crystal maze, an ancient temple full of traps, a magic floating castle, and a technological dungeon.
  • Luddite Rule (or, George Lucas Rule)
    Speaking of which, technology is inherently evil and is the exclusive province of the Bad Guys. They’re the ones with the robots, factories, cyberpunk megalopolises and floating battle stations, while the Good Guys live in small villages in peaceful harmony with nature. (Although somehow your guns and/or heavily armed airships are exempted from this.) The rest of The List can be found here.
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    1. Scary stuff.

    2. I know! But old-school scifi is even worse! 😛

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