Favorite Movie and Game Tropes, Part 1

In movies, TV, and games alike there are some recognizable and often humorous tropes. These are creative motifs and clichés that we often see repeated, and along the way I’ve picked up a few that seem so common they’re practically part of the movie/game making playbook.

The Poker Hand Bias

In order to portray how cool and clever our protagonist is, quite often we see him or her in a poker game. There’s always one other player really making them work for it, while everybody else sits silently as observers to this game of wits. The other guy bets until the end, proudly laying down his hand in the certainty of his win. But then our hero lays down the flush of flushes and steals it with gusto.

Who needs card playing skills when you have the supernatural luck to always be dealt the ultimate hand? Sure you have a good poker face, but confidence is easy when you’re always bringing a rocket launcher to a gun fight.

Bullet Deflection Shield

Our hero fights bad guys, and sometimes that means he runs from bad guys. That’s a lot of bullets flying at him or her, but we’re in luck. Every protagonist comes preloaded with a deflection shield that repels enemy bullets, making for the perfect escape.

Shoot at our hero from ten feet away, from a high speed car, from a helicopter, it doesn’t matter. All you’ll do is make dramatic smoke around his feet. Our hero seems unaware of their skills, however, and will flinch, duck, and leap to avoid them. What a good sport.

Camera Angle Getaway

When our hero is running away from something, sometimes it’s slowly gaining on him at a rate that if they kept running much longer, escape would be unlikely. Each time the camera angle changes, though, the monster or bad guy is a little further away than they just were. This keeps the threat just close enough to be suspenseful and allows it to continuously gain on our hero without actually becoming an endgame moment.

This allows for a longer and more dramatic escape, using close calls as a way for our hero to escape danger in a way in which they’re still “vulnerable”.

Crouching Means Silent Movement

A lot of games have a stealth component, and when our hero walks in a crouched fashion he becomes naught but a passing breeze. Nevermind that in reality you have less control over your foot pressure walking this way. Our hero’s personal noise obeys a physical height rule; upright equals loud, staying low means quiet.

Anything our hero does in this state, be it grabbing things, climbing over things, or attacking an enemy from behind, is considered close enough to silent that no one else in the area is aware unless they’re looking directly at the hero. This leads us to a sub-trope of this one, which is…

Hits From Behind Are Insta-Knockouts

When the hero sneaks about in perfect silence, it’s easy to get right behind someone and perform the perfect blow to put the recipient out cold.

Dialogue Sound Shield

Even if the hero is in a windstorm, a blizzard, a helicopter, or other such circumstance that would be too loud to carry on a reasonable conversation with someone, if it’s important a sound barrier will appear. It encompasses the hero and whomever they’re talking to in a field that attenuates the ambient noise. It’ll be just loud enough to remind us they’re still within the condition, but quiet enough for a regular speaking volume exchange. Haaaaandy.

What are some tropes and clichés that amuse you on shows and games?

This is part one of what I intend to be a mini series on tropes posts.

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