I am really surprised how many people read this blog and think it is just Chris condemning each and every practice, saying they should NEVER be used and outlawed like some kind of contraband.
The gyst I am getting is to say that when using these mechanics in the same way they have always been used, for the same reasons, at the same times, with the same intentions, doesn't do anything but to perpetuate the cliche and so adds little to nothing new to the gaming experience.
He doesn't say the old games that STARTED the cliche are wrong for it, because at the time of their release they were the innovators and the ideas were not yet played out.
And when you think about it, finding a new way to do it is just using your critical thinking and creative muscles, something that is already being flexed with game creation.
I also want to point out that "finding a new way" doesn't equate to just innovation. When altering a known cliche, as has been described by Chris and some others on these comments, it is possible to change it and create something "new" by changing the context and layering other concepts alongside them to make it feel fresh and not the same dry old stuff. We've seen game design do this, where the base gameplay is actually fairly straightforward and almost bland but because of added aspects from other games outside of the genre, it becomes something almost entirely new. RPG elements are bleeding into FPS's and adventure game concepts moving into platformer games.
I think the big point Chris is making is not to just take a cliche and use it the way it was always used. Bend it, twist it, make it both appropriate in your game, but also seamless within that game's world. If the world has the equivalent of a block puzzle or keys or something, that's ok, so long as it's not 100% cheese. Like running through a modern house and suddenly you need to find a red key, a blue key and a green key in what look like traditional wooden chests.
Or walking into the garage to see a stack of wooden crates. Cause.. who keeps stacks of wooden crates in their garage nowadays, ya know" Who color codes keys like that?
Cliche ideas can be refreshed with a little consideration. In horror movies you always see that no car wants to start when you are trying to get away from the monster, you always have to scream and try 5x to get it to turn over. At this point, doing that in a film doesn't HELP as the audience already expects it to happen, and so there is little to no building of suspense. Have the car start, then stall as it goes into gear. have the person trying to get away realize it doesn't start because she's in someone's else's car, one that looks like theirs and is nearby. I'd be a lot more riveted to the screen if they start with the cliche and bend it on it's ear by saying " there's a good reason it won't start, and now you need to run like hell to get to the RIGHT car".