Created By: shoruke on December 11, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on May 20, 2017


This person or thing is different, in an out-of-universe way.

Name Space:
Page Type:
(Previously Idiosyncratic)

Things are just weird sometimes. So weird, in fact, that the people in the vicinity can't help but verbally call attention to it. But then there are some things that are so weird that only the viewer (or player) could possibly notice it's anything other than completely normal.

In video games, things like this are either very important, or a Red Herring, by virtue of seeming to be important when it isn't.

Common in media that use more than one visual style; i.e. computer-generated characters in a live action movie, or anime with CG or 3D effects.

Concerning cartoons, ever heard the sarcastic "I wonder which barrel the hero is hiding in" joke? Here's a hint, it's the one that's drawn differently or seems to be illuminated differently. Same goes for which rock is about to get crushed.


Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3.5e has lots and lots of additional rulebooks to make the game play differently, but the Tome of Magic, Tome of Battle, and Psionics Handbook get singled out here for introducing entirely new mechanics to the game. Binders in particular work so different from other classes that the GM will have to specifically tailor the campaign to allow them to be useful. There's also Incarnum, which is like wearing magical items except that it's very different.

Video Games
  • ADOM is filled with these. Lots of objects and NPCs are hardcoded in such a way as to make them behave vastly differently than everything else.
    • For instance, Filk the Quickling Bard (essential to the Ultra Ending) has a pre-determined location... in the infinite dungeon, on the level corresponding to the number of kills you have on the first kind of enemy you killed with your character.
    • The SI (Strange Item) and Potion of Uselessness are unique in that their value is not in how you can use them, but rather how you get rid of them.
    • One dungeon only exists when you have 100 entries on your high-score board.
    • The Mad Minstrel, rather than talk normally, makes the game screen cut away to a page of text of what he's singing. Everyone else chats by writing the text across the top of the screen, no matter how much they have to say.
  • Fleta, in Mabinogi. She's somewhat weird even by in-universe standards for an NPC: she walks around instead of standing still (weird for any nonhostile NPC, doubly so for a shopkeeper), is only there at certain times of day, and her only friend seems to be her pet dog. All of this is nonstandard, but not completely unique. What's odd is that the colour schemes for the goods in her shop vary across channels, a trait that no other shopkeeper's goods have. She also changes her outfit on the fly based on the weather, putting on a raincoat when it rains and putting her hood up when it's really pouring. There's also her dog, Rab, the only NPC pet to have its name labelled in-game with its owner's name first. Normally that format is reserved strictly for the Milletians' pets...
  • The very last "battle" of Final Fantasy VII has Cloud's Limit Break gauge increase on its own, and Cloud himself is drawn in more detail than usual. Compare his normal battle image with how he shows up in the final battle. There's also the Midgar Zolom, the only random encounter that is 100% non-random, and also the only encounter that involves running into something on the world map.
  • Final Fantasy VIII has those encounters with the UFOs, the only fight(s) where you line up for combat, and then the battle ends before any fighting could possibly happen.
  • Final Fantasy IX Memoria
    • Those four spots with the exclamation marks, where Zidane will only look up, confused, if you react with them. Turns out they're actually people who want to play cards, making these the only interaction points where you're supposed to use the square button instead of X.
    • As an Anti-Frustration Feature, you are allowed to "walk through" NPCs... sometimes. If you can't do this to someone, it's usually because they're guarding a doorway or something similar.
    • Quina is the only party member whose unique skill feels like playing Pokémon...
  • Final Fantasy X has Kimahri, who levels up using the sphere grid just like everyone else... what's unique about it is his starting position on the board. While everyone else is more or less forced down a linear path containing upgrades that suit their character and combat style, Kimahri gets (almost) no skills to call his own; what he does get is his choice of 3 characters (Lulu, Rikku, or Wakka) to mimic, by jacking into their portion of the grid. Essentially the player makes the Fighter, Mage, Thief choice for him.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics
    • It has three kinds of places on the world map: wilderness areas you've cleared, cities you've cleared, and places you haven't cleared, wherein you will instantly be taken to an event (or, more likely, a fight) the moment you touch it, even if you're trying to simply walk past that zone without stopping there... with exactly one exception. When you're "stuck" south of Lionel Castle in chapter 2, you can walk right past it and continue north, as long as you don't select Lionel Castle itself as your destination. There's nothing new up there, but if you want to buy from old shops again or catch up on (missable) dispatch missions, or even just do some JP grinding anywhere other than that one river, then go ahead.
    • There's also the Ultima and Zodiac skills, which only Ramza and summoners can learn (respectively), by getting hit with them, unlike other skills which are bought with JP. It makes the summoners doubly-unique, because learning every skill available to buy doesn't make you master the class.
    • Then there's the mimes, the only class that can act out of turn without charging a spell or skill. They also don't use equipment, and can't equip previously-learned skillsets.
    • Normally, when performing a long jump (more than one space horizontally), you aren't allowed to land higher than where you started. There is one place (Zaland Fort City), however, where a building's roof slopes towards the city wall, allowing you to make a long jump that lands you in a tile 0.5 spaces above where you started, because the edge of that space is level with the wall. The Dev Team Thinks of Everything.
  • Isn't it weird how many disks will give you a Dino in Monster Rancher? You'll usually get a dino for one of two reasons: 1) your console couldn't actually read the data off the disk, or 2) it would have been a rare monster, but you haven't unlocked that type yet.
  • Everyone in Legend of Dragoon has unique combos that they use when attacking... with the exception of Shana, who shoots once and is done, rather than make use of the timing-based input system. Her replacement, Miranda, is also like this, since she is mechanically the exact same.

Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • December 11, 2012
    Nonstandard Character Design is another way this occurs in animation. Speaking of which, 3-D animation can stick out just as oddly in a live action movie as it might in a 2-D animated one.
  • December 11, 2012
    • Tamashii from Oracle Of Tao. Several of the items and effects don't work on her, because her mom and dad are worried about her well-being and protect her (from everything from attacks to unhealthy food). She is immune to at least one status effect because she's too young. She has a Eevee-style pet that can evolve into different forms. She has psychic powers when the rest of the party has powers based mainly on theurgy. It works for her character, and it works for the story, but in terms of game mechanics and is terms of the other characters is extremely odd.
      • Not that it isn't true of several characters, for instance, another has their own levelling system and learns spells by typing in passwords. Again, these characters seem normal given their background in-universe, but extremely odd for those playing the game.
  • December 12, 2012
  • December 12, 2012
    Could you elaborate please? I've only seen a few episodes of that show, and yeah they're weird, but I'm not sure any of them are distinct in a meta way...

    Unless you're saying it's different from other children's shows in that it's basically for adults? Or different from other adult cartoons in that it's for children?
  • January 29, 2013
    What percentage of people visiting this site are going to know what "metaidiosyncratic" means?
  • February 1, 2013
    I'm definitely open to suggestions for a better name. Haven't thought of one myself.
  • February 1, 2013
    Another D&D 3.5E example comes out of the rulebook Magic of Incarnum, which adds a major mechanic to combine the titular substance of pure magic with soul energy and apply it to one of ten locations on the wielder's body.
  • March 8, 2013
    • Ulysses in Fallout New Vegas is unique in many ways, gameplay- and story-wise. He's a ridiculously durable, having more hp than any other human character, he's got unique weapon, one-of-a-kind armor, a custom mask that changes his whole face's model, and is one of the few characters who actually knows of the Courier before he entered the Mojave.
  • March 25, 2013
    You need to fix the example indentation on this. There should NEVER be a sub-bullet by itself -- you should only ever use two or more sub-bullets together. If there's only one, change it to a second paragraph, or a separate example.
  • April 5, 2013
    I was using them like that because it seems rather unrefined to have several examples within one game, and not separate them. But, since it bugs you, I'll change it.
  • April 24, 2013
    ^ I am not sure you quite get how example indentation is meant to work. If there are several example within one game they all get their own bullet point.

    It looks like this:

    • Game name:
      • example 1
      • example 2

    Not like this:

    • Game name: example 1
      • example 2

    FYI, This is wiki policy, you can read about it at Example Indentation In Trope Lists
  • April 24, 2013
    That last bullet point about drawing objects in cartoons needs a pothole to Conspicuously Light Patch.
  • May 20, 2017
    Supertrope to Conspicuous Cg?
  • May 20, 2017
  • May 20, 2017
    So this is like a super-trope to tropes like Nonstandard Character Design?
  • May 20, 2017
    ^ Maybe?