Spiteful AI


(permanent link) added: 2009-06-30 06:06:49 sponsor: Durazno (last reply: 2009-06-30 06:06:49)

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(My attempt to aid in the effort to clean up The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard).

Often, AI characters don't seem to care if they win so long as you lose. AI racers will ruin their standing just to screw with you, Mascot Fighter combatants will ignore weakened enemies and zero in on the you and RTS opponents will hit you with everything they have even if your AI ally running rampant in their base.

While Spiteful AIs are more obvious in free-for-all situations, you'll see them in other places, too. It could be as simple as that annoying enemy in a Platform Game who leaps to its doom to interrupt your crucial leap over a Bottomless Pit. Perhaps, in an FPS, those terrified guards become reckless, suicidal berserkers as soon as the cutscene ends. In a Tactical RPG, enemy units might insist on certain death meandering around in the poison swamp instead of giving themselves a chance against your men, just to deny you the experience.

In short, this trope applies whenever it looks like the AI puts thwarting (or challenging) the player ahead of its own "well-being," whether in terms of the NP Cs' survival or the objectives of the game. This is often the case.

Note that whatever it may feel like, the AI doesn't actually have it in for you. Right?

Notes:

  • This can be a supertrope of Gang Up on the Human, but examples that fit there shouldn't be put here. We'll link it.
  • Same deal for video game examples of Super-Persistent Predator. Why would a T-Rex bother with a morsel like you? Because the AI wants to kill you!
  • Enemy mooks that were trained, born or built to blow up on you don't count, but when otherwise normal enemies do suicidal things to screw you over, it might. Especially when you're supposed to capture said mook alive.
    • This should probably also be the rule for the idiots who stay to fight you in a Collapsing Lair, with the additional caveat that you could reasonably expect animals not to know to flee as well.
  • What do you say about AI allies being Too Dumb to Live? Should that count?

Examples:

  • In the Pokémon game, wild pokemon such as Geodude and Voltorb will often blow up on you for no good reason. Why sacrifice their life--I mean, consciousness just to damage you? Aren't these wild animals? How bizarre.
    • This comes up in other JRP Gs as well.
  • Darth Bob, from Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 2, a Tie Fighter that kills you by crashing his ship into you. It is generally accepted that this wasn't what the programmers intended, and that it's a flaw in the programming the AI taking things into its own hands to kill you.
  • Enemies in Disgaea will sometimes kill their allies with area attacks, depriving you of experience and items.
    • This rarely happens in Final Fantasy Tactics, but given that you don't get EXP for killing blows, it's less of an inconvenience. Now, when your allies do it...
  • The AI in Civilization IV sometimes do this, sending all of their armies to pillage your country while they themselves are being crippled. This can sometimes be explained with the 'personalities' of the civilization rulers, and other times it's just the AI taking leave of its senses.
  • The pirates will fight you to the bitter end in Metroid, even by attacking you as you flee after killing the Load-Bearing Boss. They might have an excuse, though, since it's often a whole freaking planet that's exploding. Where would they escape to?
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