Genre Savvy: Video Games

  • The protagonist's genre savviness is what jump-starts the plot in the FMV game Brain Dead 13. Teen computer and video game ace Lance Galahad is sent to fix a computer at the home of Mad Scientist and brain-in-a-tank Nero Neurosis, and quickly identifies it as a typical mad scientist's lair. Dr. Neurosis flies into a rage after Lance refers to him as an "average villain", and he sics his homicidal toady Fritz on our hero.
    • Frankomatic points this out during the final battle between Lance and Fritz. You'd have to be REALLY genre savvy to know that the whole "rug whip" thing would actually work!
  • Almost all the characters in the Disgaea series, particularly Etna. Mao from the third game is dangerously so, concluding that the quickest method of kicking his dad off the throne and rule with his own iron fist is to actually become the hero of the game.
    • One example from Disgaea 2 that particularly stands out: Etna figured out that the Overlord Zenon she just defeated was a fake. How? The title of Overlord is transferred by Klingon Promotion, and she points out that her title on her status screen doesn't read "Overlord".
    • Also from Disgaea 3, after you have defeated Super-Hero Aurum he says "Wait! In these games the final boss always has to take his final form before you can truly defeat him!", to which Mao replies "Ah! Curse you, using that convenient Game Mechanic!"
  • In the Grand Theft Auto series, a pedestrian having a conversation about a nearby dead body will occasionally mutter "Don't worry, he'll respawn!" or something similar.
  • Saints Row: "No one stays dead in Stilwater''.
  • City of Heroes has one involving the Trolls and the Tsoo: while interfering with a meeting between the two gangs, heroes will come across Mr. Ting, a Tsoo, complaining to the Troll leader, "Haven't you learned anything? When you kidnap people, capes show up."
  • I Wanna Be the Guy forces the player of all people to be Genre Savvy as a requirement to progress past...well, to pretty much progress period. Unfortunately, this isn't the only thing needed to progress.
    • It also invokes Death by Genre Savviness several times — primarily in the famous 'You jumped into a sword! You retard!' scene.
    • Meanwhile, the game itself is very Player Savvy. "OK, so I know now that these apples will fall on me, and that the third one will fall up. Ah, but there's a gaping hole between trees there. I can use it to just jump between the two trees and avoid any apples! Alright here I- A SIDEWAYS APPLE?!". Or how about sequences with one insanely hard bunch of obstacles. Once you finally pass the apples/spikepit/enemies and you think you're home free once you reach the platform on the other side... the ground falls away, or a spike lands on that exact spot that you thought was safe, and you die just so that the game can teach you not to get complacent.
  • Dawn of War 2 starts with the Blood Ravens realizing all they need to win the war is one player character.
  • The developers for Spore knew that when given artistic freedom, people will naturally deviate towards pornographic material, and put in measures so people would not be forced to run into peoples' penis-monsters when exploring the player-made content.
  • Arthas, aka the Lich King, of World of Warcraft, as of the newest expansion, has displayed some unexpected genre-savviness, going so far in one early encounter as to deliberately murder your character, simply to prove a point about his own power, knowing full well you'll get right back up shortly and keep coming after him anyway. Now that is Dangerously Genre Savvy.
    • Even more so when you finally do manage to face him; he reveals that he's been letting you kill all his best monsters specifically so that you will 'get stronger' — as in, get their loot — so that you, the player, will be a better, stronger minion when he turns you.
  • Henry of No More Heroes is made of this trope. He correctly identifies himself as main character Travis' mysterious foil and just goes on from there.
    • Travis picks up some of it once Desperate Struggle starts, but the king of the trope is the final boss. When Travis can't figure out his motives, the boss snaps, pointing out that You Killed My Father is a staple of every genre known to man — "Shakespeare, for God's sake!"
  • Guillo of Baten Kaitos Origins displays genre-savviness throughout the game, questioning good guys who turn out to be villains, realizing when something has come "too easily," and knowing to run away before the inevitable "doomed to lose" boss fights.
  • A critical plot point in Metal Gear Solid 3: when you meet an American soldier in the Russian wilderness during the Cold War, who is asking about Adam and says his code name is Snake, just give it a shot and tell him you're Eva. Chances are very good this Adam guy has a partner by that name.
  • Zoey of Left 4 Dead is a prime example — as a college student, she's seen a lot of zombie movies, and often spouts out lines relating to their current situation.
    • "I can't get over how fast they all are! It's not even fair, I'm calling zombie bullshit on that, you know? They're not... allowed to be so fast!"
    • Unfortunately she's also Wrong Genre Savvy in the comic The Sacrifice she finds out that Her father was actually a carrier so when she shot him in a mercy killing after he was bitten, it was a pointless sacrifice
    • Bill: "You know who's going to survive this? It ain't the fella making jokes."
  • Monkey Island: Guybrush Threepwood occasionally points out a trope during his adventures and tries to take advantage (generally by refusing to do something stupid).
  • The title character of Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard is not only savvy about every genre he's ever been in, but he's savvy about every other game genre, too. He also has Medium Awareness, and these are half of what he uses to get through his situation. The other half, of course, is lots of guns.
  • Apart from the whole "evil unkillable vampires" part and stuff of which she is by necessity very genre savvy, Arcueid of Tsukihime also surprisingly displays some genre savviness in regards to relationships. Arcueid notes that Shiki sure is acting nice to everyone else, he says that he is nice to everyone... except her. You idiot! She's thrilled (but can't quite grasp why), because she recognizes him as being a tsundere — and therefore making her the love interest!
  • Refreshingly, the main character in Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor can be played this way. Often, the main character can explain the plot to the other characters in the party. There's usually two dialogue options: Genre Savvy and Panicking/Has no idea what's going on. In most RPGs, the main character is prevented from being genre savvy in favor of having an Exposition Fairy explain everything for them. As a result, there's not really any scenes in the game where the main character says things like "That demonic cult member said he wanted to destroy the world with demons! I wonder what that could mean? Please explain it to me, party members."note 
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: Sam & Max gradually grow into this throughout the Telltale series, eventually reaching a point in
  • The girls in the Touhou games occasionally show that they are very aware of the tropes of Bullet Hell games. Not the least of which is the fact that they explicitly call their attacks Danmaku. One amusing example appears in Perfect Cherry Blossom, whose Stage 4 has an unusually long wait between reaching the boss's area, and the boss showing up. When she gets there, Reimu spends a few moments muttering to herself about what's going on, and when no boss shows up, she demands "Doesn't someone usually pop in with a response right about now?"
    • The English translations also have a Running Gag of taunting early-game bosses. Taken to an extreme with Kogasa Tatara in Unidentified Fantastic Object, who shows up to be mocked this way in Stage 2... only to show up as the midboss of the Extra Stage, on purpose, to surprise the player!
      Kogasa's Boss Subtitle: Surprise!
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum, When the player is getting close to completing all of the Riddler's Challenges, the Riddler accuses Batman of cheating, and that he is looking up the hidden locations on the internet.
  • In Brütal Legend, Eddie shows a degree of genre savvy right off the bat when he sees a Twisted Coil Battle Nun from behind. "All right. I'm supposed to think you're a nun, but I know you're really some big ugly demon, so let's have it! (she turns and roars in his face) HAH! I knew it! Big, ugly demon."
    • Eddie is definitely among the best examples of this trope in any video game story, quite fittingly as he is sort of Trapped in TV Land, except it's Heavy Metal Land and he likes it there far better than his original world.
    • Eddie's whole personality through most of the game is built around this trope, since he interacts with all the other characters acting as if his supposed inside knowledge of the world is enough of an advantage for him to overcome anything. He turns out to be correct... most of the time.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Varric repeatedly demonstrates in dialogue that he has a keen understanding of how stories work and lampshades a number of different parts of the game through this.
    • If you side with the mages and confront Alexius, at one point Alexius' son asks Alexius if he knows what he sounds like. Cue Dorian: "he sounds exactly like the sort of villainous cliche everyone expects us to be"
  • In King's Quest, an Adventure Game series, Graham recalls his father's sage advice, "Take anything that isn't nailed down."
  • In Zettai Hero Project, pretty much everyone is aware of what cliches to keep track of, apparently because Henshin Hero shows are based on real life for them. But their Crowning Moment of Awesome comes when Darkdeath Evilman unleashes a series of energy blasts that land in countless cities across the world, causing mass destruction. Each and every one of those locations was evacuated, because they were all the buildings and landmarks that are always destroyed in movies. There were no casualties at all.
  • Both Ben and Dan in Ben There, Dan That! and its sequel are aware at all times that they're in a point-and-click, and specifically that it's one of the LucasArts school which doesn't punish the player with deaths or Unwinnable situations. This is frequently used to justify their more dangerous antics and their lack of any fear of death, as well as Ben's kleptomania and deliberately trying to come up with convoluted ways of doing simple things. The aliens, however, are Dangerously Genre Savvy, and reveal at the end of Ben There, Dan That! that their abduction of Ben and Dan and forcing them to go through a point-and-click adventure game was just there to keep them clicking about long enough for the aliens to enact their real evil plan.
  • Kouin in Eien no Aselia realizes that being perfectly willing to kill to save his girlfriend makes him less sympathetic than the angsty Yuuto, which means he can't be The Hero. Yuuto himself edges close on occasion.
  • In Saints Row: The Third, The Saints often Lampshade and discuss tropes such as help arriving after two waves of SWAT teams and mentioning how they think Loren wouldn't be so cliche as to hide on the top floor of the tallest building of the city "like a criminal mastermind".
  • Blizzard showed themselves to be almost Dangerously Genre Savvy when it came to developing Diablo III - they knew that in the multiplayer option, just about every characters' stats would be the exact same as one another with little if any deviation at all. So they knew that since Munchkins would eventually force everyone to follow the "best" build, to simply make all the stats determined at level-up anyways.
    • They also knew that there would be shady gold selling and item selling websites out there to steal people's accounts, so they made their own version - the Real Money Auction House (RMAH) - to counter them, both undercutting shady "services" and allowing legit players to make a pretty penny.
  • Geralt of The Witcher. He's well aware of traditional fantasy stories, and of course being the kind of person he is, sarcastically brings them up from time to time. He's also aware of the villain's excuses and lectures and tends to brush them aside in favour of cutting to the chase. That said, Geralt's knowledge of fantasy tropes aren't always Played for Laughs, sometimes they are very true: in one quest to cure a man of lycanthropy, he comes across a variety of cures ranging from the folk (Wolf's aloe sewn into a shirt) to the scientific (a potion brewed from alchemy) and the corny fairy-tale classic, true love. Rather shockingly, it's the corny fairy-tale one that works. Even better, Geralt, being a professional monster-slayer, has been specially trained to see through the schemes of intelligent monsters such as devourers and bruxa who are Genre Savvy enough to play on misconceptions of the common folk regarding their exact nature. So, he's double Genre Savvy.