Small Reference Pools / Video Games

  • The only IPs Konami had going into The New Tens were Silent Hill and Metal Gear, and now Konami has no games left. While justified in that a lot of their other modern, still-active IPs are Asia-only arcade games, it can still be jarring to be a fan of the aforementioned BEMANI series, Quiz Magical Academy, or the like and hear your American and PAL-region friends complain about how "Konami doesn't make games anymore".
  • Any arcade game that was wildly popular in the 1980s. Specificaly, the ones you see the most often are Pac-Man, Space Invaders (which was actually introduced in 1976), and Frogger.
  • If the subject is censorship, expect Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat to show up.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog, known among non-gamers only for the classic Mega Drive/Genesis titles, and maybe the Dreamcast games, and chances are if a classic Sega game is brought up, you can always expect Sonic the Hedgehog to be mentioned, and a few other significant Sega classics like Golden Axe or Columns if they're really, really on the ball.
  • SimCity, The Sims, and their spinoffs are the only simulation games. Occasionally Animal Crossing gets referenced.
  • Tomb Raider. The only thing that non-gamers know about the game series is that it features a certain very busty heroine.
  • Doom; in fact, people used to call the First-Person Shooter genre "Doom clones". Mostly because there was a short period after its release where almost every FPS was a Doom clone.note 
  • Pokémon: Anything after Gen 1 will rarely be featured, also the anime's characters are better known than those from the games, so parodies are MUCH more likely to have "Ash and Pikachu" than "Red", and will have Pokémon Speak and be blatantly Merchandise-Driven. If not to the anime or to some nonexistent hybrid of the anime and games (Super Smash Bros. says hi), then references will inevitably be to "Pokémon cards". Pokémon Go is now included in the pool.
  • Call of Duty and Modern Warfare. Remember the aforementioned "Doom clones" example? If you're a first-person shooter, let alone a 'modern' or 'near future' shooter, expect to be called out as a Call of Duty clone.
    • On the topic of Call of Duty itself, there weren't any installments before the fourth game.
  • Dungeons & Dragons or a Brand X version thereof—Sometimes this is assumed to be the title of a video game, by people who have heard the name and have no idea that tabletop roleplaying games exist.
  • World of Warcraft—The preceding Real-Time Strategy games do not exist.
    • Real-time strategy games in general probably don't exist, but if one does, it is almost certain to be Warcraft, especially since its MMO spinoff became such a huge success.
  • Pitfall. Few non-gamers might know the game's name, but the basic image of a stick figure-like man swinging on vines over lakes and pits seems to be rather familiar to people in general.
  • If you're lucky enough to find a work that references a fighting game, it's Street Fighter or Tekken. Otherwise it's a generic anime-styled combo-fest. Mortal Kombat, too, if people remember that it's a fighting game and not a gore simulator.
    • As for the Street Fighter, all characters from Street Fighter II. Of the original eight, five have penetrated mainstream pop culture (Ryu, Ken, Chun-li, Guile, and Zangief). Blanka, Dhalsim, and E. Honda aren't so lucky. While all the original bosses are well-known, only Cammy of The New Challengers is widely recognized. And last but not least, Akuma of Turbo. Of the Alpha sub-series, only Sakura and Dan are known by all.
    • As for Tekken, it's a little better since Tekken 3 is widely considered to be the best of the series and introduced a plethora of new characters including series protagonist Jin Kazama, so there's more characters that can be referenced. Also, the Updated Re-release of Tekken 5 introduced Lili, who quickly became one of the most popular characters in the series. Anything else however will go over most people's heads.
    • Fighting games with fanservice? Obviously Dead or Alive. That is, assuming people remember that it is indeed a fighting game and not a Jiggle Physics simulator. Also, there are no males characters in the series (except for Ryu Hayabusa, by virtue of being the star of the well-known Ninja Gaiden series). The Soul Series is also starting to head in this direction for its increasingly infamous fanservice. Other than that, it's best known for its many guest characters.
  • If you're lucky enough to spot a JRPG reference, it's going to be either Dragon Questnote  or Final Fantasynote . Any reference to the latter will almost invariably be to the seventh game. Pokémon pops up on both sides but more rarely because many remember the anime first.
  • In the West, if you're lucky, you might find people who can name Shin Megami Tensei games that aren't Persona 3, 4, or their spinoff works.
  • For landmark puzzle video games, Tetris will always be the go-to reference point, and sometimes Dr. Mario or Puzzle League will be mentioned.
  • Within the Tetris series, only the Game Boy version or current versions will be known.
  • If a western Role-Playing Game is at all referenced by a non-gamer, expect it to be either The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or more recently, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Also, it's not rare for non-gamers to be familiar with the names Oblivion and Skyrim, but to have never heard of The Elder Scrolls in their lives.
  • As aforementioned, the common connotation of video games is that of eight-bit Atari/NES games or gory M-rated shooters.
  • When you ask a random gamer what are So Bad, It's Horrible video games, people will usually think about E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 (yes, there are multiple games called like that), Custers Revenge, Superman 64, Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, the Nintendo-licensed CD-i games, the two infamous Sonic disasters ('06 and Rise of Lyric) and occasionally Pac-Man for the Atari 2600, but do not expect them to know about any other terrible video game ever made... unless, of course, they're a fan of The Angry Video Game Nerd. (Plumbers Don't Wear Ties, anyone?)
  • When Grand Theft Auto III launched and became a success, any non-GTA open-world game released afterwards was instantly labeled a "GTA Clone" until about the late 2000s.
  • The only two video game glitches are Missingno and The Minus World.
  • Super Smash Bros.: All characters are from the first two games, with the exception of a few hyped characters from the later games such as Sonic and Mega Man.
  • Video games with female protagonists? Tomb Raider or Metroid.
  • Simulation racers? Gran Turismo. Forza Motorsport might get a mention, due to being on the rival platform.
  • Nintendo's only franchises are Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Pokémon, and maybe Kirby. Also Super Smash Bros., which is the only reason people know about their other franchises.
  • Similarly, Sony's only franchises are Gran Turismo, Ratchet & Clank, God of War, Uncharted, and The Last of Us (which is, as of 2015, just one game). Strangely, Metal Gear (often referred to as Metal Gear Solid) and Final Fantasy will often get a mention, despite being third-party and having long abandoned exclusivity.
  • The Sega Dreamcast is widely seen as one of the greatest consoles of all time, despite having failed and ultimately killed Sega as a console manufacturer. Despite this, the only games people are likely to name are Sonic Adventure (and its sequel) and Shenmue. Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, and SoulCalibur might get a mention if the person in question is trying to be different.
  • Games with extreme graphics? Crysis.
  • Licensed games that are good? GoldenEye (1997), numerous of Star Wars games, or the Batman: Arkham Series.
  • There weren't any Grand Theft Auto games before Grand Theft Auto III.
  • Ace Attorney. Phoenix Wright is the only protagonist of the series, in fact they're often called the "Phoenix Wright games". Also, don't expect a non-fan to be able to tell you anything else about the series besides the Objection! meme. If another character will be referenced, it'll be Edgeworth and nobody else.
  • World of Warcraft is the only MMO in existence. Maybe Guild Wars or Runescape will be referenced if someone is trying to be different.
  • Darkstalkers. The only thing people can remember about that game is the Morrigan Aensland, the sexy succubus who has appeared in more Capcom vs. Whatever games than her own. The only other characters people might remember are Lilith (by virtue of being Morrigan's moe sister) and Felicia (who is a near-naked cute monster cat girl). Good luck finding a non-fan who can name another character, or can remember that the actual protagonist of the series is Demitri Maximoff. As you can tell, Darkstalkers is Best Known for the Fanservice, and almost nothing else.
  • "All video games are violent/inappropriate and are therefore a bad influence. Therefore, they must be subject to more regulation than movies/TV/music/books/the internet." Unfortunately, because politics are involved with this one (and because it's a long story anyway), we'll need to leave it at that. And remember kids, if a game promotes religion it should get an immediate E-rating. Violent video games promoting Judaism/Christianity/Islam/Buddhism... don't exist.
  • Space Invaders, Raiden, and Touhou are the only Vertical Scrolling Shooters. Gradius is the only Horizontal Scrolling Shooter. Touhou is additionally the only Bullet Hell game series (and for many within the fandom, the only shoot-em-up period) and even then it's described as "Space Invaders (or Raiden) on steroids." If you're lucky, you might run into someone who is familiar with CAVE.
    • Darius Twin is the only Darius game in existence. Though with the worldwide multi-platform release of Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours, this might get a little bit better.
    • There are only four Gradius games in existence: Gradius (NES), Life Force (SNES), Gradius III (SNES), and Gradius V (PS2). Note that the first three examples are ports of arcade games.
  • Shooters that don't scroll: Defender.
  • The only reputable PC game distribution platform is Steam. DLsite? Playism? GOG.com? What are those? If a PC game has been released, but it's not on Steam (yet), as far as the general public is concerned it doesn't have a release at all.
  • Because of the female Wii Fit trainer's memorable reveal for Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, many people forget that the game also had a male trainer. Despite the fact that he was an alternate costume for her in the series, it has still yet to fully reverse these perceptions.
  • Minecraft was the only game Mojang ever made.
  • Rovio only makes Angry Birds games and nothing else.
  • Looking for a modern Nintendo Hard game? Dark Souls is the go-to example, to the point where many players will call other challenging games "The Dark Souls of <series or genre>".
  • Any time Harvest Moon gets referenced it'll always be a Harvest Moon Friends Of Mineral Town or Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life reference. The protagonist is always male and is always Pete (better known by his Fan Nickname, "Jack").
  • Newgrounds is the only website that hosts online flash games.
  • 3D platformers rarely get referenced compared to 2D sidescrollers (and even then most references are of the original Super Mario Bros. 1 or Green Hill Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 1). When they do it's almost always Super Mario 64. Crash Bandicoot (1996) or Banjo-Kazooie might get referenced if you're lucky.

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