Clichés to avoid in game reviews

  • cinematic (means "relating to motion pictures," not "good direction, animation, set design, camera scripting, effects, dialogue, acting") 

  • deep (intricate, complex, elaborate… describe specific examples)

  • deserves a place in your collection / a worthy addition to the franchise

  • for some players...

  • gaming goodness (seriously, never)

  • if x had a baby with y / x meets y

  • I found myself... / you’ll find yourself... (it’s not a self-help book)

  • if you liked X, you’ll like Y 

  • I literally fell out of my chair (did you really?)

  • in the end / at the end of the day / when it comes down to it / all in all

  • immersive (high-fidelity, engrossing)

  • innovative (new, original, creative, inventive, different, unusual, uncommon, weird, singular, modern, unconventional, extraordinary, exceptional, radical)

  • IP / triple-a / franchise (industry speak)

  • I think I broke my finger (on your "sweaty mitts," I'm sure)

  • it has its flaws, but...

  • lacks polish (why are games always pottery?)

  • living, breathing world

  • no, really, I drank a pint of Jack, OK? you know what? go to hell.

  • production values (I don't care how much money they spent—is it good?)

  • robust gameplay (what?)

  • roller coaster ride (unless you’re talking about a real roller coaster)

  • rough around the edges (why are games always pottery?)

  • shit, maybe I should just sleep under my desk, fuck it (comma splice)

  • solid (unless you’re talking about matter)

  • surprisingly fun (you're surprised when a game meant to be fun is fun?)

  • take on the role of… / step into the shoes of… 

  • the downside of all this…

  • uninspired (this means "I don't like it but I don't really know why")

  • visceral (usually used incorrectly)

  • whatever. why do you even care? I peed. I peed on the floor. (rhetorical questions alienate the reader)

  • woo! guess what though? the combat is's fucking deep and visceral. crafting. I live in a closet. customization. fucking. combo system. you're scum.

  • worth the price of admission… (cliché conclusion analogies)

I’m pretty big in the Garf fanfic community

Garfield revealed his claws and clasped Jon’s mug. It was half-empty, sloshing with oily, lukewarm coffee. “Blech,” thought Garfield. “How does Arsebuckle drink this?”

Garfield had been half-awake when Jon hurriedly swiped his coat and shouted from the door about a big date with Liz. The newspaper on the table was open to the film section. “Big date,” thought Garfield.

Jon was at one of those big suburban cineplexes, the kind with a fountain out front for children to wet their filthy fingers in before a showing of Did I Do That? (the Family Matters reunion movie) or whatever animated garbage was playing. Jon would be alone in an aisle seat—in case he needed to “piddle”—watching some pathetic romcom, glancing to the empty seat next to him and smiling at “Liz” during the mushy parts. He’d invented her years ago.

“Every Sunday,” thought Garfield. "It never ends." He turned the paper over to the comics section—the only section worth reading—and scanned the page. The crossword had been started, two conflicting words scrawled in, both wrong. “For Christ’s sake.”

Garfield leaped from the table. His rotund midsection flattened at first, then bounced off his hind quarters and rippled into his chest—a midair spurt of momentum which landed him on the kitchen counter. He pawed open the junk drawer and pierced a cardboard matchbox with his index claw.

Odie, his faithful companion, watched from the beige linoleum floor. He rolled back his tongue and clamped his usually slack, drool bucket of a jaw. “Look Odie,” thought Garfield. Odie tilted his head. “Jon is in a rut.”

“Not just any rut, Odie. He’s at the bottom of a fucking fracking pipe. He’s contaminating our water.”

Garfield struck the match and took a whiff of sulfur smoke. “Smell that, Odie?” Odie tilted his head to the other side. “Smells like change. Smells like fucking life, doesn't it?"

Odie barked as Garfield held the match to an edge of the kitchen's peeling flower wallpaper. “Get out now, Odie.” Odie barked again, louder. “This isn’t just for Jon, old friend.”

“I’m done.”

Odie leaped to the edge of the counter, paddling at the cabinets with his hind legs. He caught the top of a drawer and pushed his oversized head onto the tiles. Garfield faced the burning wall, hypnotized by the crackling, bubbling wallpaper. “Just go, Odie. Shoo.”

Odie bit down on Garfield’s scruff, but as he yanked at the overweight cat, his paws only slipped and slid over the smooth counter. Garfield sat, immovable, as the flames now licked at the upper cabinets. “Go.”

Then, with all the saliva he could squeeze from his glands, Odie unfurled his tongue.


The impressive pink muscle seared and blistered like a pan steak as Odie ran it up the wall to where it met the sooty cabinets. Black smoke engulfed them.

“Boys!” yelled Jon as he unlocked the front door. “What’s that smell?”

As the smoke rose and glowing particulates dimmed and settled, Garfield turned his head. Odie was sprawled over the counter, twitching and whimpering, his hind legs draped over the lip of the sink. “Oh my God!” said Jon. 

Garfield turned to his owner. "Good thing I found the fire ex-tongue-guisher!"