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Wallbonking (Launched)
Bonking into a wall repeatedly.
Better Name Motion To Discard Up For Grabs
(permanent link) added: 2014-01-30 10:43:29 sponsor: BaffleBlend (last reply: 2014-02-14 20:24:19)

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There's a door, you know...

In which one gets up close and personal with a wall for an extended period of time.

For whatever reason, a character will find themselves either running aimlessly with their face against the bricks or slamming into said bricks, over and over and over again.

In most media, it's a Comedy Trope where the affliction's caused by the character is being incompetent, misled, etc. and steered into a dead end. And staying in that dead end.

In video games, however, it most often shows up as a common glitch. Collision data is complicated — No matter how smart the AI is, there's bound to be some problems where they forget the location of a wall or a building and just try to run through it, sometimes for hours if the player doesn't intervene somehow. Another, more common variation is that they strangely slide sideways while running until they find a path that they can run through. This is often caused by The All-Seeing A.I. when the player's location is always detected, but in exchange for everything else. As minor instances are pretty common, generally only examples that either affect gameplay or are interesting to look at should be added for this type.

A subtrope of Artificial Stupidity. Not to be confused with Wall Banger, and definitely not with Wall Bang Her.


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    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live Action 
  • During the parade scene at the end of Animal House, one of the Delta Fraternity members mugs the drum major of a marching band, steals his baton and leads the band into an alley. The band marches up to a wall and tries to go through it.
  • The hospital floor in Idiocracy is much dirtier than any floor in a hospital should rightfully be. The Roomba responsible for cleaning the floor is stuck in a loop, ramming itself against a chair and proudly announcing that the floor is now clean, except the floor is only clean in the spot where the Roomba is stuck.
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats opens with a strait-laced military general getting up from his desk and running straight into a wall. It's revealed later that he was trying to use his psychic powers to run through it. This is followed up by a disclaimer reading: More of this film is true than you would believe.
  • The SAINT units from Short Circuit all have pre-programmed paths to take within the Nova Robotics compound, and all of them follow this path normally, except Number Five, who is not functioning properly. When the other SAINT units complete a corner turn, Number Five continues forward into the wall, much to his frustration.

  • Two men walk into a building. You'd think one of them would've seen it.

  • In the Discworld novel Mort, the hapless Mortimer of the title becomes apprentice to DEATH. An attribute of DEATH is that he can walk through walls as if they were not there. In theory, any authorised subordinate, carrying out the Duty on behalf of the anthropomorphic personification of Death, should inherit this ability. But it's all a bit hit-and-miss for Mort, who sometimes attempts to walk through walls only to be brought back to Disc with a dull thump and a few bruises...

    Live-Action TV 
  • Reese joins the army in Malcolm in the Middle. To become a better recruit, he turns off his mind and decides he is a perfect order-taking machine. Reese's commanding officer tests this by ordering him to face a wall and forward march, causing Reese to endlessly walk into the wall. The officers then debate how long they'll let him continue doing that.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Magnificent Ferengi", Gaila accidentally shoots Keevan and kills him, so they have to use technobabble to pull an Of Corpse He's Alive. They end up steering his animated corpse into a support beam, and for all we know he's still there, trying to walk through it.

     Video Games 
  • In Assassin's Creed, some characters appear to become... a little more than obsessed with walls out of nowhere, due to the "pushing" animation appearing on loop. Read about it in Cracked here.
  • The NPCs in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, of the "sliding until a path is found" variety.
  • in the Core era Tomb Raider, collision detection works fine on walls for Lara, but enemies still run when in contact to one. Doors are right out though, as Lara will run/walk in front of them until she slides to the wall beside the door.
  • Because of the way custom stages are handled in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the AI would occasionally get confused and do this, but more commonly and more infamously, if a stage had a spike hazard, the computer opponents seemed to do absolutely everything that they could to stay above them and keep getting hit, racking up hundreds of damage to the point where even a weak attack would cause Critical Existence Failure.
    • Early on in Super Smash Flash 2's development, the Hidden Leaf Village stage was impossible to play a solo match on, as the wall of the building on the right proved to be stupidly irresistable. The computer players would do nothing but keep trying to run into it, even under vicious attack by the player.
  • The monsters in id Software's DOOM series routinely take the shortest path toward the Space Marine, even when walls and obstacles impede them. Savvy players can exploit this mechanic by leading a mob of monsters into a cul de sac, then moving toward the access point; the monsters will usually emerge in ones and twos rather than all at once.
  • This is one of the many Video Game Cliché Moments you can collect in The Simpsons Game, uncovered when you find Ralph Wiggum running in a corner like this.
  • In the Creatures series, the fandom coined the term "Wallbonking" (the ex-Trope Namer) when, in Creatures 2, the eponymous creatures would become so obsessed with the walls that they would forget to eat or sleep, becoming a literal case of Too Dumb to Live. This was also present in Creatures 1, although the results weren't as fatal.
    • Unlike most examples, this wasn't caused by failing to detect a collision, but rather a flaw in the Artificial Intelligence — the "reward-and-punishment" systems in the norns' brains were flawed, causing them to see innocuous actions such as turning around when crashing into something as amazing. This specific instance caused the poor norn to turn around twice instead of just once when running into something because its own brain tricked it into thinking it was just that euphoric. This was fixed in The Albian Years.
  • One of the symptoms of the "auto-pillock" in the X-Universe series is that ships have trouble maneuvering around large objects. They fly straight towards their destination, detect something in their path, turn and fly away from it for a bit, turn back towards their destination, and repeat until they either get around it or crash into something. This is fixed in X Rebirth with a rewritten pathfinding algorithm.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • In The Simpsons, Marge joins an online game and gets stuck walking into a wall. She comments "how incredibly annoying!" only for Grandpa, who is stuck like this in real life, to respond "tell me about it."

    Real Life 
  • Happens pretty often with GPSes, which are frequently based on outdated map systems and can often lead a driver who reacts to its directions at a moment's notice to drive through a spot where something has since been built or turning down a road which no longer exists.

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