Myopic Architecture YKTTW Discussion

Myopic Architecture
(permanent link) added: 2010-04-15 19:05:25 sponsor: Generality (last reply: 2010-04-16 00:51:33)

Add Tag:
((Now with Rolling Updates, etc. I'd like some more examples to pad out the different genres, but I'm betting the Wiki Magic will work on this pretty fast once it's launched so I'm not waiting too long. Also accepting title suggestions.))

This door is absolutely impenetrable. It's made of 100% Indestructium, guarded by robot monkeys with crossbows, and opens only to authorised personnel who pass the DNA test, retina scan, and present a valid birth certificate. Yes, no one will ever force their way into -- did you just break the door off its hinges?

Crippling Overspecialization applied to architecture. A designer puts immense effort and resources into a structure, most often a defensive point such as a wall, door, or window, but fails to notice a large weakness in the design that makes all of this easy to circumvent. The most common flaw being that for all that the door itself is indestructible, the wall it's attached to is less so. This is especially so in Chinese and Japanese media where many walls are made out of paper. A lot of times the floor will also be vulnerable to burrowing. The door itself may not be that hard to open, especially if We Have the Keys. Often played for laughs if the way through the apparently impenetrable defense is particularly obvious or easy.

Compare Dungeon Bypass, Cutting the Knot. Contrast There Was a Door.


  • Inverted in a TV ad for a French reinforced door company: Our local equivalent of a SWAT team is raiding an apartment building and hits a particular door with a battering ram: This only makes a huge hole in the wall around it, with the door and its frame still standing.

  • There is a Hägar the Horrible strip where he returns from a-plundering, handing his wife a large, well-crafted castle-style lock, noting that she's been worried about people breaking into their house. She's initially overjoyed, untill she asks where he got it. "Oh, it wasn't too hard - it only took me five seconds to rip it out."
  • In a Gnasher and Gnipper strip, after the dogs knock over Dad one two many times, he buys a pair of special gnash-proof chains to keep them restrained. Fortunately for the dogs, while the chains were completely gnash-proof, the wall wasn't.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean presents a lesson: don't build a jail door using half-pin hinges.
  • The Death Star. Surely no one would shoot missiles into an open chute that leads directly to the main reactor. And it wouldn't hurt to place said chute at the end of a long valley that puts any attacking fighters out of shot from the defensive guns.
  • Justified with Helms Deep in The Lord of the Rings, as the designers could not have anticipated that Saruman would use explosives, mostly because he apparently invented them just for this battle.

  • Used in The Last Continent. Iron door to the jail cell, solid stone walls... but the door actually lifts off the hinges, allowing one to simply lift the entire thing up and into the cell itself.
  • In The Bellmaker, the heroes are able to escape their prison cell by hacking the hinges (which are on the inside) off.

Live Action TV
  • On The Mentalist the Victim of the Week was killed via exposure to a deadly virus kept in a high sceurity vault accessed by retina scan - which didn't work right and would let in anybody who presented their eye for scanning.

Real Life
  • After a long and bloody siege that they had pretty well held off up to that point, Constantinople finally fell when someone left a small supply gate open, allowing the invading army to come in. Not only a fuckup on the dude who left it open's part, but the designer's as well.

Video Games
  • Often taken advantage of by Revan in Knights of the Old Republic.
  • The Big Bad of Second Sight eventually hides himself in a room behind a large pane of glass which, apparently, is immune to not only bullets but all of your various psychic powers. Too bad for him the frame is ordinary metal.
  • In the first Monkey Island game, if you let Guybrush be recaptured by the cannibals, they'll progressively beef up the security of their prison hut, eventually installing an all-steel door with a motion detector, never thinking that there might be a large hole in the hut floor.
  • Similarly, in Leisure Suit Larry 7, the door to the staff room is heavy steel and, if you get too close, about a hundred weapons emerge from the walls to point directly at your head. Security measures include testers for DNA, fingerprints, retinal scans, tongue prints, and urine analysis. But, it turns out, the latch doesn't work properly and you can get in by just pushing on it.
  • Similarly to the Pirates example above is the cell door on the pirate island in Shadow Hearts: To The New World. Natan just lifts it up and walks out.
  • One of the in-game books in ''Oblivion lampshades this as it applies to locks, saying that expensive, high-quality locks don't do a whole lot of good unless you build the entire door/chest out of similarly sturdy materials, cause otherwise, the intruder can just smash it.

Western Animation
  • Played for laughs in The Simpsons- one scene in the nuke plant involved going through several layers of increasing security to reach a control room, which was seen to also feature an ill-fitting, flapping screen door leading directly to the parking lot.
Replies: 16