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The Rank Seven fight apparently straps six or seven extra idiot balls to Travis. That's probably as a Kick the Dog thing for the bad guy, though it does get a little ridiculous.
Perhaps the best use of this, though, is during the Rank Two fight, in which leaves the Idiot Ball out for the player to grab. Periodically, the boss will just collapse on the ground and start weeping. If the player decides that this is a perfect opportunity to take her out, the boss immediately parries the blow, and proceeds to beat Travis to death, regardless of his current health.
There is a catch to this though. There are two different animations, one is her Playing Possum and the other animation is the real deal. She is open for attack should the latter occur.
Many characters from Starcraft II have a white-knuckle grip on the idiot ball.
Also, Raynor finds out that Tychus has a killswitch transponder, but instead of ditching him as a liability or somehow neutralizing the transponder, he displays his impressive knack for leadership by just passively wondering what has Tychus gotten himself into.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe gives essentially the whole cast bar a few the Idiot Ball for essentially the whole plot. Even when they weren't hopped up on interdimensional Unstoppable Rage, the characters did a bang up job of not trusting each other and, at times, straight up not noticing clues that maybe the other fighters from the other universes are possibly going through the same thing they are. As a result, massive Let's You and Him Fight. It doesn't help that whenever anyone starts to wonder whether they weren't fighting enemies, someone would suddenly appear going through said Rage and attack, though even then the symptoms of the rage are obvious (they recognize it when it affects each other, for instance). This mainly just hinders them from doing anything relatively productive, and, ironically, the only person doing anything towards fixing things is Lex Luthor. Meanwhile, the only other people who aren't held back either use it to go on a spree of destruction (Joker being Joker, really), or loses opportunities to figure things out once they arrive ( Batman). Superman, being Superman, is the only other one who remains optimistic and friendly despite aggression from everyone.
Granted, this is absurdly common in most Fighting Games, just this is one of the more recent big offenders.
A glaring one in Mortal Kombat 9 has Raiden standing back and doing nothing as Lin Kuei cyber-ninjas attack Sub-Zero and take him away, even going as far as to stop Smoke from helping out. This is despite the fact that, in a nearly identical situation involving Smoke, Raiden didn't hesitate to blast all of the cyber-ninjas with lightning, taking them out and saving Smoke. He stated that if he got involved that it would make the situation worse, but even then that was a weak excuse...especially considering his attempts to not intervene in the game's events were only making things worse.
Also, if Raiden had sent his past-self a more specific message, the amount of casualties suffered on the heroes' side would have most likely been avoided. Though to be fair, he was about to be killed when he sent the message which might've left him little time to clarify and the guy he was talking about was right in front of him and would definitely have noticed something off had Raiden shouted "Shao Kahn must win!"
While this game doesn't have rage, it has characters fighting for stupid reasons on several occasions. Why does Cage fight Sonya? The latter is angered by being hit on. Why does Jax fight Cage? Cage was saying that Sonya was hot. Why does Smoke fight Jade? He couldn't tell that Mileena (whom Jade had just knocked out) wasn't Kitana despite Raiden telling him so. Does anybody but Jade stop him? No.
In God of War II, Kratos happily drains all of his power into the Sword of Olympus and is promptly betrayed at his weakest, even though he was doing perfectly well in the fight without the blade.
Similarly, in ''God of War III," Helios seemed to have Kratos legitimately interested in sparing his life. So what does Helios do? He insults Kratos and tells him he'll never defeat Zeus. Kratos promptly replies in kind.
Although not exactly under the scope of this article, the overly stupidCirno from the Touhou games is known as "⑨" or "Nineball". Thus, she's an idiot and she's a ball.
However, Marisa does get ahold of the Idiot Ball in the Ex Stage of Cirno's own game, Fairy Wars. Cirno states that while she can freeze danmaku, she can't freeze lasers, prompting Marisa to break out non-lethal lasers. Whether she was bored and wanted to play with Cirno or not, this ends up with Marisa getting her butt handed to her by a fairy. Somewhat justified in that we later learn, in Symposium of Post Mysticism, that Marisa was most certainly drunk (she was returning from a flower viewing party, after all), and that no one takes faries seriously.
In The Elder Scrolls IV, you'd think that one of the two Blades who accompany you through the tutorial/opening quest would think twice about leaving the Emperor in a side passage alone with a barely-armed and unskilled prisoner, rather than sending the PC out to be assassin fodder while one of them protects the Emperor.
Or, even just break down the gate which prevents you from getting to the sewers in the first place. It's barred from the other side sure, but the PC has access to a flame spell at the very start of the game, and considering the Blades are higher in rank than the Imperial Legion guards, their swords may be able to break or force a heat-weakened lock.
There is a Mage Guild quest where you must retrieve the Ring of Burden for a recommendation. In reality, he is really trying to kill you via drowning. One would imagine he knows that Argonians can swim and breath underwater. If you are an Argonian, he fails to recognize this point and will still try to kill you with the same method.
The real idiot in this quest is the guy who was sent to retrieve the ring the first time around: he goes down the well, grabs the ring, finds himself stuck at the bottom because of the ring's weight...and stays there and drowns. He never considered simply dropping the damn ring and getting out of there.
In Sonic Adventure 2, when Tails brought the fake Chaos emerald AND the real one to the Space Colony ARK, when he could have left it back on Earth and Eggman would probably had never known.
In consequence, when Sonic is handing over the fake emerald in exchange for Amy, Eggman captures him into a capsule to send him out in space, exclaiming that he couldn't be fooled by that fake emerald. To which Tails asks. "How did you know it wasn't the real one?" On to which Eggman responds "Because You Just Told Me, Foxboy!"
In Final Fantasy VIII, Quistis tells off Rinoa at General Caraway's (Rinoa's father) residence, then leads her group away to perform its mission (pulling a switch that will imprison Sorceress Edea and provide a clear shot for Irvine.) Once Quistis and the others have arrived, she feels guilty for hurting Rinoa's feelings and takes everyone back to the mansion to apologize, despite the severe importance of the mission and the extremely limited time they have to pull it off...only to end up locking herself and her group in the mansion when Rinoa (who never even saw her) accidentally springs a trap. It's nothing short of a miracle that Quistis' group found a way out of the mansion in time to perform its mission. Rinoa, meanwhile, came up with a "brilliant" plan to neutralise Edea by asking her to wear a magic-suppressing bangle (though its not like she could force her to wear it) and gets captured in the process.
If the player pays attention in the beginning of Half-Life, he will likely wonder how Dr. Freeman even made it to the testing chamber for all the Idiot Balls the science team is juggling. Disregarding safety protocols because Breen says so? Going ahead with the experiment after a power outage toasts half the data in the computers? Ignoring an EXPLODING CIRCUIT after safety protocols are overridden? Using a super-pure crystal sample at super-high intensity? It's a wonder Gordon survived the tram ride.
It clearly affected him too. As noted in the Headscratchers page for Half-Life 2, he climbs into inescapable Stalker pods not once but twice in the citadel and is only saved by two lucky breaks.
In Advance Wars at one point, in order to give the player tutorial information on airports, Andy (who's supposed to be a whizzkid when it comes to machines) infamously asks "What's an airport?".
Also done to Will in Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict. Despite being one of the above average students in the military academy, and having just gone through a continent and a half, STILL had to consult a textbook to figure out how to check the range of a Talon Gun.
Valkyria Chronicles is really an Idiot Plot for everyone but the main villain; the Gallian Army repeatedly does truly stupid things when you consider how awesome but unrealistic everything is. Admittedly this is mostly so that player-controlled Squad 7 can remain the central force of the game, but you can watch every scene and find somebody doing something stupid that's preventing their side from winning the war until the romance plot is over.
Faldio shoots Alicia to awaken Valkyria powers in her. If he had just asked and let her make the decision herself, the second half of the game could have been avoided.
It's made pretty clear based on their personalities (and the Aesop at work) that she couldn't have said yes, and his other friend would have gone off on him for even suggesting it (which he did, after the deed was done). Rather than waste time explaining the situation, Faldio acted entirely on his own initiative. The fact that she awakened just in time to fight the other Valkyria, Selvaria, as she was decimating the Gallian soldiers, was rather convenient. But if he HADN'T shot her, she probably would have died in the slaughter instituted by Selvaria anyway.
Here's a hint, guys out there: if your girlfriend is on the verge of an emotional breakdown in front of you, the proper course of action does not involve you standing there doing nothing while she runs away, nearly in tears and telling herself (and you) she'll be okay.
Also if they'd just made sure to secure the area before just sitting down to relax Isara would still be alive today.
General Damon gets a turn just after making the only sound judgment call he ever manages: when Selvaria is captured, one of Damon's soldiers knocks her unconscious. Welkin and Alicia are appalled that he could do that to an unarmed prisoner like her, but Damon firmly reminds them that she's a Valkyria with dangerous magic powers, and the only way to safely capture her is to do it while she's out cold. He was absolutely right; Selvaria's sole objective was to obliterate the Gallian army in a Suicide Attack, and she does. He then proceeds to cram the Idiot Ball into his jowls and leave it in there like a jawbreaker, by taking a fully-conscious Selvaria to his private office just to gloat. (It might actually be an inversion of this trope, with Damon's insistence on Selvaria being unconscious representing his one clumsy bounce of the Genius Ball.)
Selvaria spares the only dangerous unit in the Gallian military by asking that they be the ones to lead her own soldiers out of Ghirlandaio, and makes a waste of her SuicideAttack in doing so. Did she think they'd get lost without an entire squad of escorts?
The entire playable cast grabs the idiot ball at one point in Final Fantasy VII. They're trying to stop Sephiroth from getting the Black Materia, and they know that Cloud is vulnerable to being brainwashed by Sephiroth. So what do they do once they've reached the Black Materia first? They give it to Cloud.
This is made even worse by the fact that Cloud told them not to give it to him, under any circumstances. The character holding the Black Materia is left behind before the big confrontation, and told to stay put. Then, Sephiroth uses an illusion to trick them into thinking Cloud is in trouble, they rush forward to help, and when they see Cloud surrounded by a group of Shinra, they calmly hand it over.
Even worse, for some reason the party decides to actually BRING the Black Materia with them to the Crater, despite having no use for it themselves whatsoever, when they could have easily tossed it into an ocean or left it in the middle of nowhere, left it with a party member at some town, etc. if not simply destroyed it.
James is a different case entirely - his suicidal actions are supposed to instead be a demonstration of how completely uncaring he is about his own life. At first, this seems Idiot Ball, but once you find out what he did to his wife you realize that in reality James' willingness to jump possibly to his death and stick his arms into dangerous holes with no apparent regard for his own safety is actually a show of his own guilt. The fact that he'll do it before he even truly remembers what he's done actually ends up being like Fridge Brilliance.
Midori of Devil Survivor loves playing with this. Once she gets her own COMP, she promptly goes Leeroy Jenkins on the demons and simply will. Not. Listen to anyone's warnings. Even running into an invincible demon doesn't shake her grip on it.
The only reason she listens is when she was nearly Lynched because she never considered the idea that people would be afraid of a weirdly-dressed girl summoning demons.
Eirika of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones has a case of Idiot Ball when she hands the stone of Renais over to the Demon King just because Lyon appears to be asking her to. Somewhat justified considering Eirika wasn't there to hear the whole, true story from Knoll about Lyon and the Dark Stone, and the Demon King appears to her in the guise of the Lyon she knows and loves. Eirika still made a grave mistake, but given that she was blatantly manipulated it's not 100% pure stupidity on her part.
Ephraim catches it to a lesser extent, running after a possessed Lyon alone with the stone on his person, only to end up frozen in place and overpowered while Lyon forcibly took the stone and destroyed it.
The Amiga game Nemac IV takes places in a facility of the same name, housing a supercomputer designed to oversee defence and with complete control of non-human military assets. Fortunately, the people who created the computer decided to test it with a simulated invasion to see how it would respond, feeding it almost all the information it needed to act. Unfortunately, the one piece of information they left out was the fact that the invasion was simulated.
In terms of player vs. player combat, World of Warcraft forces this on you. The storyline makes it abundantly clear that the war between the Horde and the Alliance is counterproductive at best, and yet it only rewards you if you take on the role of a rabid patriot.
This is especially evident in Wintergrasp, which enables the faction controlling it to raid the Vault of Archavon, enabling the player to get 4 extra Frost Emblems per week (currency to buy tier 10 gear, and a considerable bonus for players who can't go to Icecrown Citadel or do the weekly raid quest), and pick up tier 9 and tier 10 gear. As such, there's a fair amount of pressure to win the battle. This happens again in Tol Barad, with the added bonus of several daily quests that give money and emblems that allow you to purchase things such as raid-quality gear and mounts (although, with one exception, the quests themselves are against various groups on the island rather than the opposing factions).
Sylvanas Windrunner get the ball at the beginning of the new expansion Cataclysm. She has new Warchief Garrosh Hellscream summoned to Silverpine Forest in order to show him she's found a way to create new Forsaken (an undead race, of which she's the queen) by simply raising people from the dead. When Garrosh points out that this makes her no better than the Lich King (Big Bad of the previous expansion/episode), she replies "Well, the difference is that I do it for the Horde", hitting Garrosh's Berserk Button.
One would wonder why Sylvanas didn't simply tell him that she gives the raised dead FREE CHOICE between joining her or leaving! As opposed to the Lich King, who would simply enslave his fallen enemies.
A point of contention among fans, and the cause of many a flame war. The free choice thing mostly comes up in Deathknell, where all of the "Rotbrain" rebels that leave are turned into insane anti-Forsaken strawmen by their condition. Lilian Voss is allowed to remain independent, but she is too powerful to do much about. In Silverpine, it gets a little more confusing, and no immediate defections are seen. Vincent Godfrey and co join the Forsaken willingly, though they become even more twisted, but later betray Sylvanas Windrunner and go off on their own. Archmage Ataeric and his army, after losing a battle to the Forsaken and dying, are raised and switch sides without a word. In the beta, mind control was used, but currently it is stressed that no mind control is involved. Please draw your own conclusions.
Garrosh himself has been carrying the Idiot Ball since his creation in the Burning Crusade:
What's that you have there, plans for an attack on my home by the enemy? I have no time to study these, an attack could come at any minute!
There's a group of undead getting ready to attack my base? You go alone, Saurfang don't help them.
The worst instance came in the Twilight Highlands opening quests, where Garrosh enters enemy Black/Twilight Dragon skies and as soon as he hears two words about Alliance ships orders every member of his escort party to attack them leaving his own Zepplin defenseless against said dragons just so that he could have a Large Ham moment...
And now, in Mists of Pandaria, he seems determined to get on the bad side of every single racial leader in the Horde, starting with Vol'jin, who had already made it clear in Cataclysm that he's just waiting for a reason to murder Garrosh, and Lor'themar Theron, whose people were driven out of the Alliance by similar treatment. It was stated even before Mo P launch that the expansion would culminate in Garrosh being overthrown, so we already know how well that's going to work out for him.
In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption the main villain, Dark Samus, is able to kill you with a non-standard game over if you are ever fully saturated by phazon radiation. The Idiot Ball goes to the Galactic Federation for making this possible in the first place. When Samus, and a group of fellow bounty hunters, is zapped by Dark Samus's phazon beam at the beginning of the game, they find that all the bounty hunters have been genetically altered by the beam to allow their bodies to generate phazon energy. Rather than trying to fix the problem, they install a device to draw on this deadly, unpredictable energy directly into your power suit. This is justified in that every major boss in the game can ONLY be defeated using this device.
Well, no, at the time the Federation didn't know what they'd find inside the Leviathans so it wasn't clear that Samus would definitely be using her Hyper Mode self to combat the problem. The actual justification is that the Federation has already been equipping their soldiers with this technology but are limited by the amount of Phazon they can use. If Samus can produce Phazon naturally, then she in turn becomes a living battery and thus can make the best use of Hyper Mode. Add on to that, considering some enemies try to overload you with Phazon and force the corruption, the ability to vent Phazon out of her system becomes an extremely vital feature.
Also, the very reason they installed the Phazon devices is because they couldn't remove the Phazon infection, nothing can. The Phazon venting only delays the inevitable and it's only through the destruction of the source planet Phaaze that all Phazon in the galaxy ceases to exist.
Metroid: Fusion has a similar example to Prime. Samus encounters an organism that she has never seen or heard of before, and it attacks by flying at her and seeping into her body. She "thinks little of it" according to the prologue.
The heroes of Persona 4 miss many a glaring contradiction in their investigation of the kidnappings and subsequent murders taking place in their hometown. One particularly explicit use of the idiot ball is when the entire team leaves a known potential victim completely unprotected so that they can apprehend a balding, overweight voyeur climbing up a telephone pole in broad daylight, believing him to be the true culprit. It seems highly unlikely that a group of high school students would mistake such a character for a villain who up to that point had been so discreet and efficient that even the police didn't have the slightest idea regarding his identity. They were encouraged by inept policeman Adachi, who wanted to clear the team out for the real kidnapper, but this is hardly an excuse.
A similar and possibly worse example is the team's conviction that Mitsuo was the murderer even after he made statements that outright contradicted things they knew about the case and had no idea who several of the former kidnap victims were.
Even worse is the scene leading up to Nanako's kidnapping. Neither Dojima nor his nephew Yu think that Yu might be able to demonstrate his claims of being able to enter TVs by sticking his hand in the one not ten feet away. Trained policeman Dojima then proceeds to leave his daughter alone and unprotected, immediately after Yu receives a letter threatening someone close to him with death.
Let's be honest. Taro Namatame had this going on too. All the while he was "saving" people and he never once considered that the TV world and the Midnight Channel might be connected to each other. If he had thought of that, he might have considered that the TV world had caused the deaths of Mayumi Yamano and Saki Konishi. To his credit, he later admits he was being really dumb.
Namatame: I didn't think for myself at all. That's why I couldn't save them.
Dear god, Luna's Disney Death in Star Force 3 could have been completely avoided if she didn't casually walk up to Megaman, stick around long enough to point out two of the characters hanging around are people she knows, and not notice Joker until he was in front of her and not just threatening, but outright saying he was going to destroy her. And Megaman/Geo is no better, chasing after Joker when he TELEPORTS AWAY, leaving Luna a sitting duck to his attack from behind. This wouldn't be so stupid if he didn't just witnessed him teleporting in front of Luna in the first place.
In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, this kind of thing fuels the plot, from Bowser getting stepped on by everything too big to fight normally and eating dangerous shrooms from lunatics. But the defining moment? Bowser EATS the DARK STAR. Keep in mind that the Dark Star is an Artifact of Doom... and an Eldritch Abomination. In turn, it copies him by absorbing his DNA, mutates bacteria type creatures inside him, proceeds to eat whole the remains of the last villain he fought after Mario and Luigi battle it in a Boss Battle, capture Peach and nearly cause the end of the world.
Still, Bowser didn't so much as actually eat it as the Dark Star just teleported it inside of him. Nonetheless while Bowser is guilty of this trope it's fitting for him and he usually manages to turn it into a Crowning Moment of Awesome or a Crowning Moment of Funny either through the Mario Brothers helping him out or just through being a Badass.
Bowser holds the Idiot Ball in general in the RPG games, with the exception of the first Paper Mario (and even then he had his moments).
It's a running gag that a villain will ask one of the protagonists what things Mario fears most, and then accept their answer even if it's something they logically should know Mario is not only not afraid of, but actually likes or is empowered by.
In Grandia II, Elena. Once it is revealed that she and Action GirlMillennia are one and the same person, with the latter being a superpowered, "inner demon" alter ego of the former, Elena decides to have herself exorcised—this despite the fact that Millennia has done nothing more evil than testify quite blatantly to her sexual attraction to Ryudo, wreck an empty building and display a love of fighting and killing...but only of monsters and villains. The pope then proceeds to tell her, quite explicitly, that if he exorcises her, he will use the shard of Valmar within her to reconstruct the demon and with him, destroy the world. He could not have been any more explicit. What does she do? Ignore what he said, and still agree to the exorcism just because, in her Incorruptible Pure Pureness, Purity Sue nature, she cannot stand to have anything demonic within her. So just to recap, what is being weighed here is: Millennia versus the release of the Big Bad and The End of the World as We Know It. What does she choose? To top it off, this stupidity of Elena's gets one of your party members killed—the Proud Warrior Race Guy, Gentle Giant Mareg who was also the strongest and arguably most useful in a fight, right after he received his ultimate weapon — leaving you with the Joke Character, Spoony Bard Prince Roan. So, you lose an utterly awesome, superlative fighter for one 40 levels weaker whose best move is throwing rocks at the enemies, AND doom the world... all to get rid of a pair of wings and a slightly oversexed action junkie? And even before she learned of what the Big Bad was really going to do with all the shards of Valmar, she appeared to be perfectly willing to commit ritual suicide (What she originally believed the plan was) in order to get rid of a pair of wings and a slightly oversexed action junkie.
In Luigi's Mansion, this is lampshaded in game by King Boo, with the plot itself relying on insane amounts of idiotic decisions by the characters. Luigi actually believes he won a free mansion in a contest he didn't even enter (already the setup for your standard scam)? Then Mario explores the place early... and gets captured. And Luigi finds out the mansion looks nothing like the picture and is haunted. Later, Luigi presses the switch that says 'do not press', unleashes the fifty odd Boos trapped under the grate, and approaches various suspicious events without hesitation.
Mother 3 has Lucas and company hit with one wrecking-ball-sized Idiot Ball after beating Tanetane Island's boss. Just as they're about to pull the needle, the Pig Mask Army theme starts playing, they land, pull out the red carpet, and has the Masked Man pull the needle out right in front of them.The whole scene plays out for about five minutes.
An Idiot Ball about as big also propels the first half of Chapter 5. By that point it has already been established that Claymen can be revitalized with electricity. And where does Duster hide the ever-so-precious Hummingbird Egg? Inside a Clayman. That happens to be revitalized by a lightning bolt and runs away with the egg. Therefore, much time and energy is wasted by the main characters chasing after that Clayman to retrieve the egg, involving many enemies and other shenanigans along the way.
Batman: Arkham Asylum is really, really good, but holy mother of god, are there some truly blatant idiot ball sightings. The best is in the beginning of the game. The Joker is apprehended by Batman, who even ADMITS that the situation seems fishy. Who is assigned to take the Joker, the most dangerous criminal in all of Gotham to his cell? 2 guards who have their backs turned the entire time as they wheel him in and one, high-strung, widely disliked guard. Arkham may be easy to break out of but it could've been done in a less moronic manner.
In addition to the genius idea of temporarily relocating lots of Joker's gang members from the prison to an insane asylum due to a fire. Albeit one that, due to recent Waynetech upgrades, is probably more "secure" than most prisons. Plus there's the fact that the highly-strung guard is being paid to help him escape.
In the sequel, Batman: Arkham City, near the end, the Joker, thinking that Batman has refused to cure him of the Titan disease (when in fact the hero is pondering on what to do before he is to deliver the cure), tries to take the cure by force by stabbing him in the arm that holds it, and ends up accidentally destroying the cure! This is made even worse by the fact that if the Joker had gotten very patient while Batman is considering delivering the cure to him instead of just going in an attack and stabbing the hero in the arm for it, the villain would have made it out okay.
The Prophet in Warcraft III isn't really trying to convince anyone that Lordaeron has to be evacuated. He refuses to tell anyone who he is, how he supposedly knows about the future, or even why the people should flee their homeland and travel to a mythical continent, and just claims they should trust him, without providing any evidence that he's not just some mad old man. Telling them his name might not have helped his cause, but there was really no reason to keep all the other things hidden from the nobles.
In Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, this is sadly a fairly accurate way to describe Terra during his story. For the entire story he goes around trusting the very first person he ever meets in a given world. Most of the time, that person is a villain (except possibly Jumba). To his credit, he ultimately does wise up each time, but sometimes this happens too late to halt the villain's evil plan, as was the case for Maleficent (who possessed him into stealing Aurora's heart, kickstarting her plot in the original game) and Master Xehanort (who pulled a Grand Theft Me on Terra and came very close to reigneting the Keyblade War had Aqua not intervened).
Ventus and Aqua, although ultimately faring much better, still made some major blunders. Ventus is told multiple times that he absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, fight Vanitas, but does so anyway (granted, it was only because Vanitas was threatening to kill an incapacitated Aqua). Aqua, meanwhile, had Maleficent completely at her mercy, but allowed her time to escape, thus leading to her plot in the first game.
A less serious moment happens briefly during Aqua's storyline. During her visit to Castle of Dreams, Aqua has to protect Jaq while he carries the key to Cinderella's room across a room infested with Unversed, conveniently forgetting for a moment that her keyblade can open any lock on its own.
Freelancer does a great job in having an elaborate background of the universe. Even the puniest pirate gangs have solid reasons for their actions, effectively averting Always Chaotic Evil except one or two factions. When you read some of their backstories, you will eventually find that many outlaws have actually quite good or at least justified reasons for their struggles. Freedom Fighters, Ecologists, Dissidents... However, what is their way to manifest their beliefs and achieve their goals? Shoot at everyone who passes nearby, no matter if s/he is completely innocent, while stealing and smuggling? That's definitely a way how to make people support your cause...
Mentioned in a news article: 500 years ago, the Emperor of Rheinland at the time commissioned a project to install gigantic mirrors on the great space-station orbiting the planet, with the intent to use these mirrors to reflect sunlight onto the dark side of the capitol, New Berlin. The mirrors ended up focusing the sunlight into a gigantic laser beam and burning a city to the ground. The Rheinlanders now commemorate the anniversary of this event — and the chief custom is to go out and do something stupid.
Most of the characters on Rokkenjima in Umineko no Naku Koro ni are pretty intelligent in their actions, at least most of the time. Then we get to the end of EP 7. "Hey everyone, we've found a pile of gold and we'll never have to work again! Let's kill the only one who has the connections to make the gold useful, then continue to kill each other and then blow up the island!"
Genevieve Aristide has the Idiot Ball permanently glued to her hands in both F.E.A.R. games. In the first game, as a multitude of phone messages reveal, multiple experts dealing with Alma Wade and Paxton Fettel advised Aristide not to reopen the Vault in a hope of restarting Project: Origin, and they were ignored. Subsequently, the team sent in disappeared and Alma began reaching out to Paxton again. Then, multiple people noticed certain unexplained indicators in Paxton Fettel that he was building towards another synchronicity event, and that the results of such would be exponentially more catastrophic than the original one. Aristide and possibly others in charge completely ignore their warnings, and Fettel is psychically directed by Alma to send his army of telepathically linked clone soldiers to start conducting mass murders. In the second game, Snakefist, another expert, repeatedly tells Aristide that Alma cannot be contained and that the only option is to try to kill her. Aristide again disregards advice from people who know a lot more than her and tries to continue doing things her way. Everything is her fault, and she still has yet to pay for her crimes.
Disgaea 3 has a great example of this. A second version of Baal in his tyrant overlord form shows up at the school. Naturally, being the greatest most deadly most evil villain in the entire Nippon Ichi Multiverse ever everyone is intimidated by him. Shortly, they realize why he's there, for a teaching position, and Mao, with his stunningly high intellect, figures it might be a good idea to test a battle with Baal to see if he can handle the school when less than five minutes ago Mao nearly died of panic at the fact that Baal can destroy their entire planet.
In Portal 2, Wheatley is literally an Idiot Ball. In a desperate attempt to keep GLaDOS under control, Aperture Science engineers created an "Intelligence Dampening Sphere", Wheatley, for the sole purpose of making him the best moron in existence. When attached to GLaDOS he dampened her intelligence by supplying a constant stream of bad ideas. Most of the points in the game where Stupidity Is the Only Option to advance the plot take place when — again, literally — the player is holding him.
He does manage to come up with a good idea or two now and then, but even when he does (GLaDOS comments on the success of the trap in "The Part Where He Kills You) he still manages to hold the idiot ball (if he just wanted to kill you, why bother with such an elaborate death trap? His plan would have worked much better if he'd simply made the spike-plates move quicker and killed you as soon as you landed, or at least plugged up the Conversion Gel.)
Or just had nothing for you to land on, letting the last Aerial Faith Plate catapult you into a bottomless pit (albeit one full of ponies and boy bands).
He could have also turned the excursion funnel off and let you fall to your death after tricking you with the faith plate.
The Allied powers in Command & Conquer: Red Alert can be handed one for their actions between the first and the second game. In Red Alert 1 the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin has caused a massive war that embraced all of Europe and is responsible for millions of deaths, numerous war crimes, and the development of atomic weapons, and is only barely defeated by the European allies. You'd think that after a war this horrific they would completely dismantle the Soviet communist state structure, but unstead they leave it completely intact albeit under a nominal puppet ruler, and allow it to form a new ComIntern of sorts (called the "World Socialist Alliance" in the game manual). The US even barely bats an eye when the Soviets stage a military intervention in Mexico (a member of said alliance), providing them with a staging ground for their invasion of the continental US. In that case there wouldn't be any sequels at all, so this is more than justified.
In Metal Gear Solid, Snake and Meryl are walking down a corridor, when a red dot begins to shine on Meryl. Instead of automatically deducting that it's from a sniper and taking cover, both Snake and Meryl proceed to stare at the beam and make confused noises for several seconds until she is shot.
In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn all of Daein is handed a massive idiot ball, instead of going after Begnion's senate who hold the blood contract that they're using to black mail them with, they decide to fight Sanaki's army who are trying get rid of the corrupted senate. The massive idiot ball comes in into play when its apparent that the one they should kill to destroy the blood contract is Lekain the instantiated the contract instead of having Pellas pull a senseless sacrifice.
In The Reconstruction, after the Watchers are killed and the party decides to wait for someone to show up and tell them what to do, the only attempt Tezkhra (if you have him in your party) makes to stop them from trancing out is saying that they should tell him if they "feel anything unusual". Even though he knows that emitter radiation, which they're currently being exposed to, causes trancing if people sit around and do nothing, which is exactly what they said they would do. He should at least have done something to keep himself from trancing... But despite all this, he just goes along with them and sits there like an idiot.
In Saint's Row The Third, Senator Monica Hughes seems to be almost completely encased in an idiot ball, given that she handed over her constituents to the trigger-happy morons at STAG in order to stop a gang war, and didn't even consider the possibility that introducing a large military organization armed with incendiary and explosive weapons into the already-violent city might make things worse. And if the Daedelus is unleashed at the end, the "Butcher of Steelport' ends up becoming the de facto Mayor of Steelport. Then again, since both Killbane and Temple are both dead by that point, thus leaving the Saints in power, one could argue that the Daedalus does, in fact, play a role in ending Steelport's gang problem.
In Kingdom Hearts II the villains need The Hero (and specifically The Hero, mind you) to take out The Heartless to restore the titular MacGuffin. Thing is, he was already doing that. They completely shot themselves in the foot by even exposing their existence to him, let alone pushing his Berserk Button to try and blackmail him. If they'd just quietly let him do his hero thing, or even asked for his help (since their grand goal wasn't all that villainous to begin with), they probably could have gotten out of the game with at least half of the members still alive. (The ones in Kingdom Hearts Chainof Memories, not so much). This is especially annoying, because them showing up and taunting him convinces him right away that they're evil, and considers specifically not killing The Heartless to prevent them from getting what they want.
Dragon Age II ends up with several scenes where characters pick up an Idiot Ball. An especially sad case is with Keeper Marethari, who suposedly is one of the sanest and wisest characters of the series, which is not especially known for its level headed cast. Her apprentice Merrill wants to restore a broken magic mirror, to learn about ancient elven magic, but she only warns her that it is dangerous and will end badly if she doesn't stop, trying repeatedly to persuade her for ten years. While Merrill was very set on her goal and accepted exile from her clan, there was no need not to tell her that the imprisoned demon who gave Merrill advice on restoring the Mirror would use it to escape. While she thought she could handle the demons influence and was willing to risk her own life, she would never willingly let it escape and slaughter countless innocents. In the end, Marethari sacrifices herself to destroy the demon before Merrill can release it, which causes the rest of her clan to blame her for the keepers death, and she's either forced to kill the clan in self defense or be permanently exiled.
Carmen Sandiego has plenty of these. ACME apparently has a battery powered translator. Seems reasonable, except they never learned to provide you with backups or a charger considering you're traveling around the world.
"Great Chase through time" has some almost hilarious ones. Carmen orders her Mook to steal something and then gives them hints to hide some place. Some of these places make a bit of sense (Baron hiding over the edge of a ship, Jacquelyn Hyde hiding inside a cave), others are soemtimes a bit funny (General Mayhem managing to hide inside a tapestry) but other times, they're hilariously obvious and they're hiding in plain sight. Adventure-Fetch Quest aside, some cases could ahve been over in a few minutes if people simply looked around a bit. (Julius Caesar apparently never thought to look behind the column that was right next to him, the servant holding the camel that Bugg Zapper was hiding behind never noticed it was a cardboard cutout, Isabella somehow didn't notice a chart in her room that detailed landmasses that at the time were unknown to her, Beethoven doesn't immediately identify the foreign instrument in his orchestra, and Thomas Edison doesn't even think to look at the battery that is right in front of him.)
While Shadowgate usually allows the player to force the ball on the hero by actively doing stupid things, there are a few cases where the hero is downright stupid. One example is the player can command the hero to go down a well. The in-game text states the hero leaps in head-first into what ends up being a dry well and the hero dies. This is a castle of an evil wizard filled with deadly traps and monsters. Why would the guy dive into a well without checking if there's water in it first?!
In "The Longest Journey" you, as the player, are forced to pick up the idiot ball in order to move the plot. At one point you meet a thinly disguised monster pretending to be an old lady who needs help to get home. If you don't voluntarily walk into the monster's home then you can't move on. It's made all the more ridiculous when the "old lady" keeps saying things like "Oh, I'm nobody, nobody at all, just a frail old woman picking bonesss— Berries! Picking berries for her stew so she can feed her pris— Guests! Feed her guestsss, and fatten them up for the...long winter."
Use axe on the chest. Okay to be fair, this isn't quite stupid - it's more "Use axe on chest, then miss epically.
Mass Effect 3 with the Leviathan DLC reveals the origin of the Reapers to be a galactic-scale Idiot Ball. The Leviathans ruled the galaxy. They had a problem: Lesser species kept creating AIs, which kept rebelling and wiping out their creators. The Leviathans didn't want their thralls being wiped out. Their solution? Create an AI to solve the problem for them... Shepard even points this out to them, and they respond by telling him/her that their dominion over the galaxy caused them to believe that they were above the problems of the "lesser races" and that from their POV the Catalyst/AI was no different than the thrall races they controlled. Whoops...
In the Star Trek Online mission "Divide et Impera," the PC is assigned to go with one Admiral Zelle, a top Federation expert on the Romulans, to a Romulan research station that is supposedly developing illegal weaponry. Now, even this early in the game, you and everyone else knows that every major faction is heavily infiltrated by the shapeshifting Species 8472, aka the Undine. Your PC has even had a run in with an Undine infiltrator posing as a Vulcan ambassador, who you ended up having to kill along with its battleship. Yet, despite numerous, numerous obvious giveaways during the mission, including one Romulan researcher begging to know why they're being attacked, given that they're doing medical research on how to identify Undines in humanoid form, and your own crew protesting that something smells fishy, you continue your path of devastation through the station, killing positively everyone, until at last the admiral reveals herself to be an Undine and attacks you, then gets away and infiltrates the Romulan Empire. All while making the Federation look downright murderous for tearing through a medical research station. This has provoked a lot of player outcry; any thinking player realizes what's really going on straight off the bat, yet is forced to go through the whole mission anyway instead of just shooting "Zelle" within the first five minutes. The only explanation is that the PC has been carrying the ball from the moment they left the starbase.
At the start of the penultimate level of Sleeping Dogs Wei gets a message from 'Jackie' asking him to go to an isolated alley to talk about something. This after Jackie was kidnapped in the previous chapter and his kidnappers used his phone to lure Wei into a trap. And Jackie can testify at the triad election which would at least ruin Big Smile Lee and Big Smile Lee is fully aware of this. So what does Wei do? Naturally he goes there alone and is shocked to find Jackie's corpse and a trap waiting for him.
In Brink of Consciousness 2: The Lonely Heart Murders the main character and his detective friend, while snooping around the home of a suspect named Leonard Bain, opened up a cabinet and released a flood of yellow lotus flowers, the killer's trademark. The detective announced that this proved Bain was the killer and that they should rush right off to arrest him, despite the fact that this troper was screaming "Obvious setup!" in her head the entire time.
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light: Brandt grabs it by leaving Yunita at an inn, concluding it was time to "set off on his own" for no reason other than plot says so; it gets passed to Aire when she goes hunting for treasure that everyone around will happily tell you is cursed; after she's treated to a Baleful Polymorph, it gets thrown to Jusqua, who grabs the wrong cat, hands over ten thousand gil to a sorcerer for a cure, and then when that sorcerer runs away, leaves Yunita in a different inn rather than tell her the truth.
In Nancy Drew Warnings At Waverly Academy, several instances stand out, especially since the school requires quite a bit of professionalism out of its students.
First off, several girls actually ask Nancy to complete a homework assignment for them because of just how busy they are. In real life, if they did this, they'd be lucky if they weren't dropped from the Valedictorian race if not expelled outright.
One student's term paper is erased... and she doesn't have a hard copy. High school or not, anyone can tell you this is a very VERY stupid thing to do.
Dead Island's Jin shakes the ball in a way that makes you want to shake her. Throughout Morseby the gangs broadcast on the radio they have taken over the police station and prisons, and despite other gang members warning not to go there she's determined to help the people there, to the point she forces the issue in a way that makes the characters think she set them up and she gets gang raped by the prisoners for her trouble.
That's not the worst of it. At the end she had lost her mind. Yerema was hinting at it and Jin confirms this by first angering Colonel White then releasing his infected wife. It's like she is trying to get herself killed. And to be fair in all likelihood she most possibly was.
In Haunted Halls 4: Nightmare Dwellers a supposed robbery victim held up a crystal skull that trapped people in their nightmares and the Secret Service agent the player character was supposed to be helping looked right at it, not even trying to turn his head or close his eyes or something.
Jeremiah from Clive Barker's Undying. Let's go over his plans again: You are the weakest of the five undead siblings that no mortal weapon can kill for real. You trick the hero into finding a supernatural weapon that actually can and into using said weapon for killing your stronger siblings, their armies of demonic mooks and extremely powerful evil wizard. So far so good. Very smart of and good for you. Revealing everything to and mocking/threatening said hero while you have no demonic armies or powers to hurt him in any way? Not so much.
The entire backstory that would later form the plot of the original X: Beyond the Frontier (as well as the X3 trilogy and X: Rebirth) would have never happened in the first place if the Terrans had the common sense to take their time to meticulously and thoroughly fix that one buggy software update meant for the Terraformers and not have led to the later creation of the Xenon, as well as the indirect birth of the offshoot Terran faction known as the Argons. It's not like there was some sort of deadline to test it out on the Terraformers or something (although we may never know if there was a something like that). However, since the virtue of patience isn't found on the Terrans, we all knew what happened next...
Viewtiful Joe 2 has a Spot the Imposter scenario where shapeshifting Killer Robot Miss Bloody Rachel poses as Sylvia and tries to get Joe to hand over the Rainbow Oscars to her. After the obligatory 'test your knowledge' question, where the real Sylvia obviously gets the question right, Joe just goes with Rachel because she's the most flirtatious. What's even worse is that Joe didn't have to give the Oscars to either of them. He could've foiled Rachel's plan by just holding onto them himself.