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Enjoying the Simple Things: 25 of My Favorite Gaming Tropes

Life is full of simple pleasures; those little fleeting moments that make you happy to be alive. Waking up to the smell of coffee in the morning, the thrill hitting all green lights when you’re running late, or the pleasant surprise when you find ten bucks in a pair of old pants. As gamers, we have dedicated a large portion of our real lives living virtual ones. These lives artificial as they may be, are full of countless micro-thrills that make our pastime all the more worthwhile. Below is a list of my twenty-five favorite.

And due to my inability to count thanks to public schooling:

26. The achievementBOO-KAP! Even if I’m not the one playing, I get a little Pavlovian thrill every time I hear it.

25. The double jump - because fuck you, Issac Newton.

24. The fireball – QCF + P simple enough to do on reflex, but engaging enough to still occasionally fuck up and take the other guy’s fireball to your face.

23. The trampoline – don’t ask me why, but the act of jumping on one of these IRL or in a game is flat out fun.

22. The spin dash – tapping B to make your hedgehog (or echidna, or fox) rev up like a muscle car with a big block engine, and then obliterating everything in his path.

21. Active reloading – the ingenious mini-game that makes one of gaming’s most mindless actions fun and vital for your success.

20. The throw – nothing says FU to your turtling asshole of a friend like calmly walking into their face and sending their punk-ass to the canvas.

19. Getting mail in Animal Crossing – Getting a letter from one of my furry buddies is like a mini-Christmas.

18. Web slinging – somehow better than flying, I’ve played some bad games to get my fill of one of the most liberating feelings in all of video games.

17. Ending credits – Yogi said it best. It ain’t over til it’s over.

16. The Melee Kill – It may be the easiest kill there is, but there’s nothing quite like sneaking up and sticking 6 inches of steel into some poor bastard’s Medulla oblongata.

15. The charge shot – The press. The hold. The payoff. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

14. Setting ANYTHING on fire – Whether you’re a flame eating yoga master or a grunt with 50lbs of napalm strapped to your back, burning shit rules!

13. Clearing a line in Tetris – here comes the I block….BAM. gamergasm.

12. The shotgun - the meaty kick of double-barreled goodness can make you forget all of your problems. Shotgun, take me away.

11. The power pill – I can’t think of a game changer more significant than the power pill. Omgomgomg Im gonna diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiee! *CHOMP* Get. In. My. Belly!

10. Stomping a Goomba – whether it’s the first goomba or the 1000th, the satisfying squish of one of these little guys under your feet is the greatest thing ever.

9. Leveling Up – DING! If it didn’t feel so great designers wouldn’t be trying to shoehorn it into everything.

8. The strike out – I can’t think of a better way to make your opponent feel like dirt, and you feel like The Man.

7. The perfect powerslide – Hitting a corner way too fast, easing off the gas, and whipping the tail around before flooring it again. Every turn is a new adventure.

6. The grenade multi-kill – the confluence of perfect planning, timing, and luck.

5. Snake’s neck snap – One of the most brutally subtle and satisfying moves in all of gaming—tap tap tap SCRUNCH.

4. Taking health – let’s be honest: even if you’re at 99%, you’re walking across the room to pick up that health pack.

3. The headshot – a single well placed shot sending your foe to the ground in a bloody heap. Bonus points if their cranial cavity pops like an overripe grapefruit. <3

2. Picking up a teammate – yeah headshots are a blast, but I’d give up ten to save my bro.

1. Pressing start – all of the anticipation, the build-up, the hype, comes to reality with one press of a button. A crescendo of sound confirms what you already know: The game starts now.

Honorable Mentions:
The super combo finish – insult? Meet injury. Lots and lots of injury.
The rocket jump – what’s not to love? It’s like the trampoline, but with explosives!
Hitting a streak with the entire band – for a few brief moments you and your friends are a well-oiled machine of awesome.
Picking up game currency - rings, coins, fruit...who cares if having 77 Wampum Fruits instead of 76 means nothing. I’ve gotta pick it up BECAUSE ITS THERE. *pops a zoloft*
Breaking bricks with Mario – if Nintendo made a game that was just Mario in a dark room with infinitely regenerating bricks...I’d probably preorder it.

Feel free to chime in with some of your favs too, I'd love to hear em!
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About konaone of us since 10:16 PM on 10.21.2011

Ever since my dad held me up to a Pole Position cabinet to steer as he worked the pedals, I've been absolutely hooked on games. It just took me 25 years to figure out that I loved writing about them too. I don't have any particular genre biases, I'll play just about anything that involves pressing buttons (that's probably why I shouldn't visit hospitals...). This blog is just the thoughts of a guy who loves games, but is occasionally frustrated when they squander their potential.