Updated: May 25, 2022
As you may have guessed by now, I greatly enjoy immersive games which suck the player into their game world. This is often assisted by introducing real-world elements which make the game feel less ‘artificial’ and ‘gamey’. Many of these elements have been covered in the ‘Eight Gameplay Mechanics Every Immersive FPS Should Have’ article, and its follow up ‘Ten MORE Gameplay Mechanics Every Immersive FPS Should Have – as Suggested by The Community.’
Unfortunately, there are several video game tropes which can wreck this immersion, simply because they are 'artificial' and ‘gamey’ or due to being outright nonsensical.
Some of these tropes are both pretty stupid and pretty funny if you stop to think about them. Which I did. Below I have listed eight of the most hilarious examples I could think of, along with an explanation of how they might work.
1) Impassable Waist High Barriers
Hands up if you have ever stepped over a knee-high-fence, or clambered over its bigger brother, the waist-high-wall? Congratulations, you have successfully completed a feat with your MK1 human body that many digital FPS heroes cannot. It makes no sense – your unstoppable digital avatar is now stopped by something you can easily see over, shoot over, and should be able to step over. What is this, Flat Land? This is made worse if the game also prevents you from jumping even the tiniest amount, thus making that knee-high picket fence truly impassable.
F.E.A.R. 2 had an effective ‘scramble over low barriers’ mechanic. If F.E.A.R. 2 can do it - and remember, F.E.A.R. 2 is a game which ditched much of the mechanics that made its predecessor superior - then all games should be able to do this as well.
2) Magic Ammo Teleporting Boots
Have you ever noticed that many FPS protagonists never stop to pick anything up? Their hands remain firmly attached to their weapon whilst they pick up that ammo pack seemingly by running over it? How do they do this? I have often wondered if they have been taking lessons from this guy…
Ape with a lot of oranges
When you max out your dexterity stats…
Video by LAFFTRIP VIDEOS
...Or are they wearing some extremely fancy footwear? I suspect the latter, specifically Magic Ammo Teleporting Boots (MATB™) which teleport items underfoot straight into the protagonist’s weapons inventory. Speaking of which…
3) Invisible Bag of Holding
How do some FPS protagonists carry so many weapons? Especially the early pre-Halo FPS games, where your avatar appears to carry a one-man arsenal, like our friend Ivan here.
At least Ivan is using slings and straps to carry his AK collection, and all his shooters are proudly on display.
Some FPS protagonists also carry similar arsenals, but with no visible means of doing so. What’s more, the weapons themselves cannot be seen. Where do they go?
I’m assuming that these FPS characters must all have ‘Invisible Bags of Holding’ (IBoH™), that due to using ‘Dr Who’ tech can store an unfeasibly large array of weaponry hidden from view. The bag is, of course, invisible as well, since no self-respecting FPS hero would be seen dead wearing a backpack, ‘that is so last season.’
4) Self-Filling Magazines
In early FPS games, your protagonist would often draw ammo continuously from your ammo pool - which presumably was also stored in your ‘Invisible Bag of Holding’™. I can only assume it did this via a ‘Magic Ammo Transferring Oojamaflip’ (MATO™) teleporting rounds directly into your gun.
Later FPS games tried to make things a little more realistic by introducing a reloading system with magazines. However, MATO™ was working its magic here as well. Upon reloading, ammo is seemingly teleported from your IBoH™ straight into your magazine, which is then inserted into your gun.
Therefore, you never have to worry about inserting a partially empty magazine - you know, the one you swapped after firing about three rounds during your last firefight.
5) The Sprinting Wounded
Most FPS protagonists and NPCs react rather strangely to bullets. They can tank damage that would kill… well… a tank, and they are every bit as combat effective at 1% health as when they are at 100%. But when they are at 1% health even the tiniest little scratch will kill them stone dead. Speaking of which…
6) Biology Denying Non-Exploding Bodies
I have concluded that many FPS NPCs possess adamantium skeletons. Why?
Because when they take an RPG to the chest, they stay in one piece! They still keel over and die of course, but their bodies have nary a scratch on them afterwards.
Clearly, the makers of F.E.A.R. and Soldier of Fortune didn’t give their NPCs these adamantium skeletons, because in those games an RPG to the chest (or a point-blank shotgun blast) will cover the walls with a liberal coating of insta-gibbed henchmen’s claret and entrails. Beautiful 😉 Obligatory warning – the following two videos are a tad gory and NFSC
F.E.A.R. Series - Gore Demonstration
The result of RPG vs Man is at 02:48
Video by Goretasticdotcom
Soldier of Fortune Series Gore Demonstration
Skip to 02:45 to see what happens when the human body meets the business end of a grenade launcher.
Video by Goretasticdotcom
7) Iron-Sight Zoom
According to many video games, aiming down the sights of a gun will cause your vision to zoom in, regardless of whether you are using a magnified scope or a simple iron-sight. Having used both I can confidently confirm that iron-sights do not grant you ‘zoom-o-vision’ in real life.
I suspect that most FPS protagonists are secretly cyborgs, whose eyes have built-in variable magnification, or they possess ‘Go Go Gadget’ style ‘Extend-O-Necks™’.
8) Everything Proof Windows
Most objects in Video Game Land are impervious to bullets. Sometimes this makes sense - your 9 mm pea-shooter isn’t going to do much to a tank - but sometimes it gets a little ridiculous. How many times have we seen windows in Video Game Land being completely impervious to bullets, tank guns, and even the occasional nuke? I can only assume they are all made out of Star Trek’s ‘transparent aluminium’, or perhaps even ‘Transparent Impervious Material’ (TIM™)
Perhaps they should start making everything out of TIM™. “Total protection from everything, whilst maintaining near-perfect visibility”. Superb – except for when you need to visit the bathroom - that would constitute Too Much Information.
Well, that is my Top Eight FPS Tropes that Hilariously Make no Sense. I imagine there are plenty of other FPS mechanics that you find equally baffling. If so, please share them with Gamers everywhere in the comments section below.
Iain is a 40+ author and gamer from England, who started his gaming journey on the Atari 2600 36 years ago. His specialities include obscure cult classics, retro games, mods and fan remakes. He hates all sports games and is allergic to online multiplayer. Since he is British, his body is about 60% tea. He can be reached via Twitter at https://twitter.com/IainBaker17, and contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Memes from Cheezeburger.com and Reddit
'Get shot' by peoplewhoplay
'Reloading with 99% bullets' by ElvishisnotTengwar
'CS Logic' from Reddit - original creator unknown
'Ivan' from Reddit - original creator unknown