Artificial Handicap YKTTW Discussion

Artificial Handicap
When a video game character can't do something they should be able to do.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-06-13 17:43:37 sponsor: Triterope edited by: Blubble (last reply: 2014-12-31 04:14:32)

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Gamers are used to Acceptable Breaks from Reality: superhuman jumping abilities, unlimited ammunition, no encumbrance, and so on. This trope is the opposite: when video game characters 'can't' do something they 'should' be able to do, given the nature of the character and the game environment.

A Super Trope to:

See also Commonplace Rare. For the non-video game version, see Forgot About His Powers. When the character can learn the skill they already should know, it's You Have Researched Breathing.


  • The Trope Namer is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game on the NES, in which That One Level is about the turtles having to swim through a series of non-deadly obstacles.
  • In the classic arcade game Kangaroo, the titular character could be killed by walking off one stair step. And it's a 'kangaroo'; they're supposed to be adept at jumping.
  • God of War takes this trope to new levels. Kratos can battle enemies the sizes of mountains, but can't climb fences.
  • In Jungle Hunt, one of the hazards of the swimming level is bubbles... which can't be popped with your knife.
  • In Real-Time Strategy games, it's frequent to see strange discrepancies between what kinds of groups transport units can carry, usually due to the way the loading mechanic works. For example, in Age of Empires II, a ship can hold 10 elephants but not 11 longbowmen, or in StarCraft II, the medivac dropship can move 5 siege tanks across the map but not 6 marines.
  • The slot based inventory system in Minecraft is notorious for creating paradoxical situations since all items occupy the same space (with the exception of a small number of items that cannot be grouped into stacks, such as tools). For example, you can carry up to 36 stacks of 64 solid gold blocks while wearing a full set of golden armor, which weighs an estimated 44,518.667 tonnes and takes up about 2304m of space. But you can't hold 2305 (36*64 + 1) feathers or pieces of string.
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