Sci-fi cliches that need to DIE

Before the flaming begins, allow me to clarify, I love Mass Effect 2. The purpose of this post is to point out some Sci-fi cliches that need to be leaned upon less often. Please don’t take this post too seriously, and be open minded to my light-hearted critiques.

with no further ado…..

SPACE MARINES

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Ethnic Buddies

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Behind every great man, an effeminate A.I.

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An inter-species space government that resents humanity (more or less)

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Beings bent on wiping out all sentient life….every few millenia

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Anthropomorphic, warlike aliens

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Anthropomorphic, warlike alien A.I

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Hulking, aggressive aliens

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Small, methane-breathing, exosuit-wearing aliens

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Bad-ass all terrain vehicles. ( do we still use wheels in the future) (yes, this changed in ME2).

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Human military alliance (Americans and Australians?)

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Ancient race that left behind advanced technology and disappeared for reasons that you will uncover in-game

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Abandoned Custodians

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Super advanced technology that is at the center of the story

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50 cent / Kanye West clones. aka Jacob

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About Alphabet1

always already is
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2 Responses to Sci-fi cliches that need to DIE

  1. Bryant says:

    Haha! Miguel, this is hilarious. I haven’t played Mass Effect, but I have played Halo and a few other sci-fi games as well as watched plenty of sci-fi movies. It’s true; there are a lot of archetypes that storytellers seem to lean on. However, I think there are reasons for this.

    In every creative writing class I’ve taken, I have been advised or instructed to stay away from sci-fi/ fantasy writing. One reason for that is because sci-fi and fantasy are really hard to write because you can’t rely on people’s understanding of the world as we know it in order to understand the rules (Granted, a lot of that is solved when you are talking about games or film because you have visuals to help support you). The other part of that argument is that fans of sci-fi and fantasy aren’t necessarily “in it” for the story, but rather the journey or aesthetic that comes along with it. Whatever story is there can often just be a vehicle to the main objective: experiencing strange, new worlds and meeting odd, alien creatures/ beings. So, relying on familiar archetypes could just be a way for storytellers to keep things moving.

    I’m halfway there with you on the issue. I’d like to see sci-fi writers get a little more creative and stop relying so much on archetypes, but at the same time, both writers and their audiences are very comfortable and familiar with these archetypes and honestly, the geek in me ends up forgiving the use of archetypes more often than I probably should. I think sometimes it just comes along with the genre. However, you bring up an interesting issue. I have been using the word “archetype” throughout this whole post, but maybe I should replace it with the word “stereotype.” Are they interchangeable in this instance? Maybe.

    • Alphabet1 says:

      I couldn’t have said it better. There is something inherent to Sci-fi that makes writers more likely to use archetypes, and I too forgive this habit more often than I should. Heck, I don’t even hold it against mass effect that much. The story is great, and it’s even better than Halo’s story, but it’s kind of disheartening when you put these similarities side to side. Also, just because some of these elements have been used before, doesn’t mean that they can’t be used again, and effectively at that, but I also think that we should encourage innovation as much as possible, and that’s kind of my goal with this post. I’m basically saying, “Yeah, I loved your game, Bioware, but come on. Isn’t this a little ridiculous? Can’t we come up with something new?”

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