In the modern Prince of Persia trilogy, for example, the items are most often urns of various shapes and sizes. They hold the Sands of Time (easily recognized as glowing, golden Good Stuff) which allows the Prince to change the flow of Time. Just to switch things up, you can occasionally declare war on sacks of grain and crates.
In the God of War games the War on Pottery continues as Kratos crushes countless clay jugs with his blades. The war even expands a bit to include stray wooden boards and some statues. Instead of golden Good Stuff, the debris yields red orbs which are good in much the same way that the Sands of Time are good for the Prince.
It is possible, I suppose, that this nonsense all started in the original Devil May Cry, which I recall having random junk you could destroy to extract red orbs of varied sizes. (These orbs are quite different from the ones in God of War. They have a nearly different texture! Other than that, they're the same.) The tradition continues in Devil May Cry 3 where I've already destroyed crates, bottles, and even a few pieces of what might have been pottery. Regardless, I smashed it good!
Once I'm done with DMC3 does anyone know any other Extreme Combat games which will help me keep my anti-pottery skills honed? I'd hate to get called up to serve in the GWOP and be completely out of shape...
Not a combat game, but wouldn't Zelda be the original pottery smashing game?
Zelda was conceived prior to the global war on pottery. It is part of the Hyrulian regional war on pottery.
Remember when Lara resorted to breaking pottery in TR:TLR? Quite the scandal to those who thought Lara was a "real" archaeologist. :P