Cliches. They're those story elements that have been done to death. Bowser just kidnapped the princess? Yeah, it's been done before. A lot. So why does Nintendo stick to it?
Cliches can be a powerful tool for game designers writing a story. The audience is familiar with the princess getting kidnapped. Less time needs to be wasted setting up motivation and plot, and can instead be spent jumping right into the game.
In my personal game, Jack the Mage (you can download it for free on this blog), the story is as simple and cliche as they get. But this allows the player to get started without having to sit through lots of cutscenes.
The first hour of a game or story should generally show the user what to expect from then on. Otherwise, the story will seem convoluted and uninteresting. When used correctly, cliches can cut down on the non-essentials and launch the player straight into the action.
Keep checking back for more story writing advice. Just don't go overboard on the cliches, alright? Make sure you follow us for more game design tips!