There are some aspects of videogame design that are considered so fundamental to the medium that it's often hard to think of alternatives. When a game is released that somehow manages a fresh take on these fundamentals, that fresh perspective can often make you realise how broken that entire system was in the first place. For example, something like the life system: when you die you lose a life. Except Bastion introduced the idea of a story with a human narrator, and any deaths were explained as him getting confused with the tale: "no, wait, that's not how it happened..."
Other examples include stuff like the health system, which used to be: you have a health bar, which can be topped up with health kits (or whatever equivalent the game chooses to employ), but is a finite resource. Until health started regenerating, and suddenly our games became a lot less disjointed as we could progress without having to micromanage resources and attempt difficult sections of the game at a clear disadvantage.
My personal beef at the moment is with minimaps. You have a huge openworld game full of beautiful art assets, and you spend most of your time squinting at a tiny little box in the corner of the screen. Is that really the best we can come up with in order to visually represent objectives?
I know hacking minigames get a lot of flack but there's plenty of game design tropes that could do with a rethink. It's weird to me that in 2014 we haven't, collectively, managed to find solutions for what is transparently poor game design.