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Even though opponents are commonly described as being "killed", monsters usually [[EverythingFades inexplicably disappear after being defeated rather than leave corpses]]. Similarly, no one in your party really dies except if the [[GameplayAndStorySegregation plot calls for it]]. When your HP runs to zero, you're just knocked out, provided there's other party members still conscious to carry you away or heal you. (The monsters will eat you at their leisure if you are all knocked out.) Some games may even bump such characters back up to 1 HP once the battle is over. This only comes to play when a supposed permanently lethal attack/beat down/curb stomp/smack down/bullet storm/[[OverlyLongGag application of lethal force]] only causes someone to get KO'd or otherwise easily revived.

This might be to soften the idea you're basically going around killing wildlife, which could get morally sketchy in [[MonsterTown some places]]. It could also be so that when one of the characters [[PlotlineDeath dies because of the plot]], one isn't distracted by questions like "Why don't they just use a Phoenix Down?"

This game mechanic is often complemented with following mechanics:

* "Revive": The ability to bring a fallen teammate back into the action before the encounter is over.
* Execute: The enemy ability to "execute" a knocked-out party member so that "revive" won't work on them anymore. Some particularly nasty enemies will have a kill-and-execute move.
* Bleed out: A [[TimedMission time limit]] on "revive" usage, after which the party member can no longer participate in the current encounter.

See also TapOnTheHead, OnlyMostlyDead, and FinalDeath. Compare SetSwordsToStun.



[[folder:Action Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI'', Altaďr never actually dies in-game; instead, Desmond's actions while controlling Altaďr become so "de-synched" from the "real" memories that the Animus has to restart the simulation.
* ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum'' and ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'': You'd think that detonating a bomb next to a person and then bashing their head against cement would at least have a ''chance'' of killing them, especially after going hours without medical attention. But no, [[ThouShaltNotKill Batman doesn't kill]], so they're just unconscious.

[[folder:Fighting Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/KillerInstinct'', characters were only considered "dead" if you used your finisher on them. In fact, killing (or not killing) certain characters altered your character's ending.
* Quite often in MeltyBlood. [[{{Tsukihime}} Shiki's]] power is [[OneHitKill killing something,]] [[NighInvulnerable no matter what.]] [[DeaderThanDead Period.]] Yet after being explicitly told he won the fight because of his eyes, his opponent is more along the lines of 'exhausted' than 'a cooling corpse' a few minutes later. Doesn't even seem to seem to leave normal knife wounds.
* ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' was one of the most notorious fighting games of its day because of its subversion of this trope. Not only was the fighting bloody as hell, but when the game called for someone to "FINISH HIM!" a player could do just that, pulling off a [[FinishingMove Fatality]] that could kill a character in all sorts of bloody ways.
** As such, the "Heroic Brutalities" for the superheroes in ''VideoGame/MortalKombatVsDCUniverse'' were a necessity, considering their ThouShaltNotKill rule.
*** Because [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToOv1yNU1h8 smashing someone into the ground from forty feet up or crushing them with giant hammers]] is non-lethal, as long as the opponent is still twitching afterwards. Luckily, the rule is '''not''' [[GoodIsNotSoft "thou shalt not render someone quadraplegic"]].
*** Except for SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker, who just shoots them (It zooms in so you don't see where the bullet hits, but the original versions had him either just shooting them in the head, or popping out a "bang" flag, causing their opponent to sigh in relief, before shooting the flagpole into the opponent's heart).
* For a non-gory fighting game example, in ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom'', VideoGame/MegaMan, [[VideoGame/MegaManX Zero]], and Roll die as they would in the ''Mega Man'' games when knocked out.
** On a similair note, Strider Hiryu also dies at the end of a round like he would in his native game.
* In ''OneMustFall: 2097'' you can blow up your opponent real good without actually killing them. How? Everyone is, effectively, remotely-controlled robots. And then the game has a DoubleSubversion [[spoiler:at the end of the single player story mode, where Kreissack is revealed to have actually had his brain transplanted into his robot's body]].
* [[SoulSeries Soul Calibur]] maintains the conceit that battles are decided by a KO, even if that KO is achieved by ramming a metal spike through a 16 year old girl's spine, tossing her into the air and bashing her head repeatedly with a gigantic axe.
* Generally played straight in ''VideoGame/StreetFighter''. However, if [[BloodKnight Akuma]], [[MadeOfEvil Oni]], or [[SuperpoweredEvilSide Evil Ryu]] finish off their opponents with their {{Dangerous Forbidden Technique}}s, the screen's background will go black instead of the usual orange for finishing off a player with a Super or Ultra, and the words "KO" will be noticeably absent...
* {{Weaponlord}} would let you chain special moves at the point of knocking out an opponent, causing a series of [[BloodyHilarious increasingly gory and over the top mutilations of your beaten enemy]]. Apparently hitting someone repeatedly with a six foot long polearm or a stone hammer the size of an engine block will only cause a non-lethal KO unless they're ''really tired''. As with some of the other examples, killing an enemy will change the storyline, such as [[spoiler:Korr having accidentally killed his long lost brother at the end of their fight]].

[[folder:First Person Shooters]]
* ''VideoGame/BatmanDoom''. Well, you're Batman, and he doesn't kill. The enemies presumably just pass out from being struck with your batarangs, or from inhaling the smoke from your smokebombs, or from being... burnt to a crisp with your ''flamethrower''?... yeah, it doesn't completely hold up.
* The player in ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' can Non Lethal KO opponents with riot batons, cattle prods, and crossbow-fired tranquilizer darts. Although the tranquilizer crossbow averts the trope a bit, as while shooting someone in the body will render them unconscious, a shot to the head will [[RealityEnsues kill them]]. Your character's brother encourages the use of these non-lethal weapons [[spoiler:because he's working with the 'enemy'.]], while two of your co-workers encourage you to KillEmAll. [[spoiler: Surprisingly enough, they turn out to be the real bad guys.]]
** The game also hints you along that you should be doing this. The quartermaster will scold the character (read: you, the person controlling the character) for killing too many people in mission one if, in fact, you do go on a shooting spree. Incidentally, you won't get any ammo from him if you do.
* ''VideoGame/{{Nightfire}}'' for the PC uses this. Due to ExecutiveMeddling on the part of MGM Interactive (who owned the James Bond license at the time), blood and death were no-nos. Thus, our intrepid hero only knocks people out. From a long distance. With a sniper rifle or rocket launcher. (Fair enough in the case of the game's default one-hit-'kill' weapon: it was tranquilizer pen-dart.) This whole situation becomes a little bit silly when playing multiplayer and you shoot someone in the head with your Walther P99. More than once. No blood, no death.
* Your teammates in ''VideoGame/RainbowSix: Vegas'' can be revived with a shot, but you can't unfortunately.
* ''VideoGame/StarWarsRepublicCommando'' uses a similar system, in which downed squad members go into a coma-like state, from which they must be revived (with 50% health) with a defibrillator-shaped [[GreenRocks bacta dispenser]]. If all 4 of you are KO-ed or if your health reaches zero while you're cut off from your squad, it's game over.
* ''WaterWarfare'' goes the opposite direction in terms of absurdity--you will inexplicably faint from ''getting too wet.'' It's nonlethal because it's only water, but we're still not sure why it suddenly makes you drop unconscious.
** Being drenched in extremely cold water, enough to make you pass out
* In the reboot of ''VideoGame/{{Syndicate}}'', your co-op characters will only be disabled. You can still hobble about, but cannot breach or fight. A teammate has to "reboot" you. If your teammates take too long, you'll fall to your knees in one place and be stuck there, but still don't outright die.

[[folder:Hack and Slashers]]
* In the ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors'' franchise most, if not all, characters carry lethal weapons (swords, spears, all manner of bladed weapon really) and ruthlessly hack away at lesser opponents, sending them flying. Nonetheless, your counter at the bottom of the screen is called a "KO counter", and whenever you beat an important character, they always say he was "defeated" or the like and not that you killed him, although there are [[PlotlineDeath exceptions]] to the "no death" aspect. (In some games, as well as the ''VideoGame/SamuraiWarriors'' series, there are different cutscenes for a defeated-but-non-generic character depending on whether they're defeated but retreat, or die here. In ''WarriorsOrochi'', this is replaced by separate quotes for the generic officers.)
** Notably, while the ''Empires'' side series of games still uses a KO counter, and defeated generals may get captured, a game option allows players to execute captured officers, and they may die of old age, leaving them really dead.
** Also, in the ''VideoGame/RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'' games, both options exist along with the option or whether or not officers can die in battle; in turn, Historical or Fictional gameplay options determine whether or not PlotlineDeath intrudes.
** The ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors: Franchise/{{Gundam}}'' games replaces the KO counter with a "Shot Down" counter. Which can be interpreted to include retreats from battle, mobile suits being disabled without pilot death, and killing blows. In game there are various Gundam universe based storylines where canon deaths appear, and main original storylines - who dies and who survives in these varies greatly.

* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' links this to ThouShaltNotKill; heroes "apprehend", "arrest" or "stop" criminals, even if the hero does so with a broadsword, katana or high-powered rifle. Also, Paragon City has a municipal teleporter system which, among other things, is used to [[EverythingFades transport unconscious criminals]] directly to an unspecified law-enforcement facility, possibly the Zigursky prison in Brickstown, and unconscious heroes to the [[TraumaInn hospital]].
** Interestingly, the ExpansionPack ''City Of Villains'' lacks this explanation; while official heroes are presumably linked up to the aforementioned teleport system, the random thugs you meet on the streets of Mercy Island may well ''really'' die from your attacks. This idea is supported by the fact that while the police drones in ''City of Heroes'' are stated in their description as being tied to the teleporter system, their equivalent Arachnos drones in ''City of Villains'' are stated in their description as "vaporizing" targets.
* In ''VideoGame/EveOnline'', a destroyed ship will always spit the pilot out in an escape pod. However, a player who doesn't mind being universally hated can take out the escape pod too, reducing the pilot to however they were when they last updated their clone.
* No one dies in ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing''; they just get "Beaten Up".
** This goes for at least certain enemies too, if the integral article is any indication (that is, while in the [[Franchise/FinalFantasy Penultimate Fantasy Airship]], it always says "You're fighting The Protagonist" indicating there is only one that you beat up repeatedly).
* In ''[[GaiaOnline zOMG!]]'', players who lose all of their HP are considered "dazed". They can still slowly shuffle around the screen they're on or send chat messages, but can't change screens or interact with anything. Oh, and the ability that lets a player revive another player on the field is called [[MagicalDefibrillator "Defibrillate"]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Mabinogi}}'' Once the players Health is down to zero, they are knocked out and could be revived by a passer-by. Justified they cant die, due to the 'Milletians' (the player) being from another world.
* ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' refers to zero-HP players and bridge officers as "unconcious" and allows you to revive them with "Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation" (=waving a tricorder at the guy). Even if the "unconciousness" was caused by the ''complete disintegration of the body'' by energy weapons.\\
Even more absurdly, the game will list destroyed teammates in space battles as "unconcious," too. As if the ships didn't explode to tiny little pieces every time they reach CriticalExistenceFailure.
* ''VideoGame/{{Firefall}}'' plays with this concept. Your [[PoweredArmor battleframe]] has a non-lethal setting, which makes your weapons target specific VIPs and deal non-lethal damage specifically to them, which means that at the cost of your enemies being stronger, you can capture them or leave them alive. Even if you hit their heads with a full-charge plasma burst. Or a toxic grenade. Or even a giant melding tornado. Seriously, the concept is ridiculous, but important for preventing the game from becoming annoying; you think people want to restart a mission every time your capture target is squished by a random terrorclaw? On your side, your character will usually bleed out instead of dying from regular wounds, but can be killed if enemies/melding finish them off. No matter what happens to them, they can always respawn at a safe zone.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'' has players labeled as "KO'd" if their HP reaches zero, even if they took an explosion to the face. When a revive spell is used on a downed player and thy have yet to accept the revive, the status buff describes it as "teetering on the brink of consciousness". Enemies whose HP is depleted are identified as being slain/killed unless the plot says otherwise.

[[folder:Platform Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog'' the enemies are robotic, but when destroyed a woodland critter of some kind is released, which merrily dashes away. So, not only are you not killing your enemies when you roll into them (potentially in a fireball), but you are actually doing a kindness.

* Party members are only knocked unconscious in ''VideoGame/{{Avernum}} 4'' and ''5'', though averted in the first three games, where party members die and have to be resurrected.
* BioWare games since ''[=KotOR=]'' often have this:
** In the ''Franchise/StarWars: VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' series, as well as ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'', party members reduced to zero HP are knocked out until all enemies are defeated, after which they struggle to their feet with one HP. However, if the entire party is reduced to zero HP, the game is over.
*** But subverted in ''Storm of Zehir'', the second expansion to ''[=NWN2=]''. As in pen-and-paper D&D, party members who are reduced to zero HP will bleed out and die if left untreated, at which point a ''raise dead'' or ''resurrection'' spell is required.
** ''Franchise/MassEffect'' has this, but only for squadmates. If [[WeCannotGoOnWithoutYou Shepard goes down, it's game over]]. ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' multiplayer mode additionally features bleed-out and execute mechanics: if a player isn't revived within a short time, they stay down until the end of the current wave; most enemies have the ability to execute a fallen player with the same effect; and some particularly nasty mobs can kill you good in one strike.
** ''Franchise/DragonAge'' likewise has this, but with a twist:
*** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', everyone gets back on their feet as long as at least one party member is still standing after the engagement is over, but each "death" leaves the character with an injury, i.e. a penalty on the stats, which can only be cured with specialized consumed items or high-level spells.
*** ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' replaces stat penalties with a penalty on your total health (you also get it from triggering traps, even if you are not killed), but otherwise plays it the same way.
* Throughout the ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'' series, monsters overcome in battle are described as "defeated". This rule does ''not'' apply to your own party, however - when a character is reduced to zero HP, the game announces, "(Character) [[OnlyMostlyDead dies]]". In addition, monsters dispatched by the instant-death Whack and Thwack spells are explicitly described as "killed".
* In ''DungeonSiege'', characters losing all of their hit points will be rendered unconscious. If they continue taking damage, they'll get killed. If your entire party gets killed, the game is over. Of course, you can always revive your party members.
* In ''VideoGame/EarthBound'', the "defeated" message depends on the type of enemy you fight. Animals become tame, zombies and ghosts dissolve away, possessed plants or objects stop moving, and some enemies explode upon dying to deal massive damage to your party.
** And human enemies come to their senses. All of these are justified in ''Mother'' and ''Mother 2'', since all these things are under the influence of an alien with ultimate evil power on its side. When you defeat an enemy, you are usually just freeing it from the alien's mind control. Objects that stop moving are otherwise inanimate objects that simply revert back to their normal state. Party members will become unconscious instead of dying, ''but'' follow you as ghosts/angels until resurrected.
* The ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games moved from describing characters who lose all their HP as "killed" to "[=KOed=]" or "wounded" once they hit 16-bit. This may have been done in part to HandWave the ''"Why don't they use a Phoenix Down?"'' problem when characters [[PlotlineDeath die as a result of the plot]]. The spell which restores one from this state, though, remains "Life", "Raise", or "Rise".
** In the [=PS1's=] ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'', though, if someone stays knocked out long enough, they [[FinalDeath die permanently]], resulting in a GameOver if it's the main character. In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' for the GBA, there are special areas called "Jagds" where the laws of the world are on hold and [[FinalDeath death is permanent.]]
*** However, sometimes an auto-controlled "[[GuestStarPartyMember Guest]]" character will join you in battle. If their HP drops to zero, they'll simply pass out and "dizzy stars" appear above their heads without a death countdown timer.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsA2'', it is confirmed ingame that characters can die. But as long as there is a soul trying to come back alive, and a fitting container (preferably the person's own body), the person can be brought back to life with magick (Raise spells, Phoenix Downs). All battle-kills are recorded as [=KOs=] however. It goes even farther when an Alchemist transmute a weakened enemy into a Potion or a Phoenix Down and they're still treated as not dead. Even if you [[ImAHumanitarian use the item.]]
*** Your own party gains special protection in the form of the Judge, as well. When Luso takes the oath from the Judge, it's explained to him that the Judge's power ensures that those under his protection cannot be slain in combat.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' it's shown that monsters don't ''always'' die when they run out of HP. One mission has you hunting someone's pet turtle that has become giant due to being in a [[GreenRocks Magicite Mine]]. After you defeat him he is explicitly shown to have survived and shrunk back to normal size when you talk to his owner.
*** Also averted with some Hume bosses, who can be defeated by knocking their HP down to 25%, rather than all of it.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'', party members who get [=KOed=] are knocked to the ground, but don't even appear to be knocked out. This doesn't change the fact that [[WeCannotGoOnWithoutYou you get an instant Game Over if the party leader dies, even if your other party members have revive spells.]]
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2'' follows suit, except that once the party leader falls, the control automatically switches to the second party member (out of two available in total). If the second party member falls, however, the game's over, even if the summoned monster knows the Raise spell.
* In ''VideoGame/FreedomForce'', everyone is only knocked out (even {{Mooks}}). It's not too out of place for people like Minuteman, who hits people over the head, but considering other people have powers like shooting fire from their fingertips, throw bombs filled with acid, or shoot energy out their chest, and they can do things like push people off buildings, hit them with lamp-posts, and throw cars at them, it gets kind of sketchy that no one dies except for {{Plotline Death}}s.
* In the ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' series, both monsters, characters, and bosses are described as being 'downed' when their HP runs out.
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'': your party members and some bosses.
* In ''Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos'', it is not clear whether party characters with 0 HP are supposed to be incapacitated or dead. One one hand, characters with 0 HP can still talk and manipulate items, suggesting that they are just too wounded to fight. On the other hand, they can only be healed with magic and special items, are unable to perform most actions, and any poison effects they have are removed, suggesting they are dead.
* ''VideoGame/LegendOfMana'' plays it straight: KO party members automatically revive after a set amount of time provided the other party member (or even your pet monster or golem) is still standing. Surprisingly, though, this rule applies to the boss battle against [[spoiler: Sierra and Vadise]], who ''also'' revive from KO after a set time.
* ''VideoGame/{{MARDEK}}'' has the KO'd/revive with one HP version. Monsters always go poof, even the mirror-image [[FiveManBand four-man-band]] who call themselves the [[QuirkyMinibossSquad World's]] [[GoldfishPoopGang Saviors]], who [[FridgeLogic should]] be able to revive each other the way your own guys can.
* Despite doing battle with massive untamed wyverns, the hero in ''VideoGame/MonsterHunter'' never dies. Should he or she run out of life, a pair of cats wheel him or her back to camp and unceremoniously dump out the body with full health. However, running out of life cuts your reward by one-third, and after three [=KOs=] (resulting in a reward of nothing) you immediately fail the mission.
* This is most explicit in the ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' games, where every defeat is a KO, and when you're defeated you black/white out temporarily. You are also forced to give a portion of your money to the person who beat you. Oddly enough, in ''[=FireRed=], [=LeafGreen=], Diamond'', and ''Pearl'' versions, after being defeated your character is described as running to the Pokémon Center, so the fact that your character blacks out is now utterly pointless. Also note that in Generation I, being beaten by a wild Pokémon ''also'' cost you half of your money (which later games have explained as being lost in the confusion).
** It's been noted by [[WordOfGod the creator himself]] that he preferred a nonlethal KO system because of the abundance of pointless violence in many video games.
*** {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d by the Rival in the Pokémon Tower, where he notes that while your Pokémon don't look dead, he can settle for making them faint.
** It [[FridgeLogic becomes a bit odd]] when you take into account moves like Selfdestruct or Explosion, which cause the user to "faint". What exactly has exploded? ''VideoGame/PokemonSnap'' shows the user creates an explosion that blow it and the attacker away from each other but leaves the user spent. Supposedly the original idea was to say "unable to battle" but fainted took less text.
*** Some fans avert this for a SelfImposedChallenge. Also averted in ''Manga/PokemonSpecial''. Sure, battles aren't ''inherently'' dangerous... but some people are just evil enough to tell their Pokémon to actually hurt others.
*** Also averted straight to hell by [[VideoGame/PokemonColosseum Cipher]], whose idea of dealing with interlopers involves taking down their Pokemon, then ''beating the offender black and blue''! You can see it happen best when Dakim nails Vander in the solar plexus - a rare case of human-on-human violence in the franchise.
* ''RaidouKuzunohaVsTheSoullessArmy'' subverts the trope. At first, it seems to play it straight with the message "Raidou fainted from his injuries...". [[ItsAWonderfulFailure Then you get the game over sequence...]] Poor Raidou.
* Played with and justified in ''VideoGame/TheReconstruction''. Every character has three {{Life Meter}}s: Body, Mind, and Soul. Reducing any of them to 0 will defeat them. It makes sense that wearing down an opponent's willpower or cognition would merely cause unconsciousness, Body damage ''is'' usually described as being lethal. [[GameplayAndStoryIntegration There's even one quest where this comes into play]].
** Your party members will always go into a NonLethalKO, though, even if they took Body damage. There are plenty of enemies that are still alive in cutscenes after you battle them, as well, regardless of what method you used to defeat them.
* The eariler games in the ''VideoGame/RuneFactory'' you would have to restart from a save point if killed in one of the dungeons. Running out of HP outside of a dungeon resulted in fainting and waking up in the town hospital (or equivalent). Starting with ''VideoGame/RuneFactory3'', getting taken down would result in waking up in Marjorie's clinic, short some gold.
* Both played straight and averted in VideoGame/SaGaFrontier2 - your characters, if they are taken to 0 HP in battle, will simply collapse and get up with a small number of HP and one less LP after the battle. However, there are attacks that do LP damage, and if a character's LP hit 0, they're dead. Permanently. FOR THE REST OF THE GAME.
* Unless otherwise mentioned in dialogue, no one seems to die in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars''. Unless its a special mission, whenever your soldiers are shot down, they simply eject and you have to pay to repair their unit. The same courtesy is also given to your enemies, as a large amount of their Reduced To 0 HP dialogue involves them trying to eject.
** Taking this into consideration, it seems really strange how so much of your characters' dialogue upon being shot down refers to being killed.
* In ''VideoGame/XMenLegends II'', enemies are only KO-ed when disposed of, no matter how (say, by Wolverine's "Eviscerate" attack, or by hurling them off of a roof or into a flaming pit, or ''turning a {{Mook|s}} into [[CrateExpectations a box and breaking it for goodies]].'') Presumably because of the X-Men's long-established ThouShaltNotKill rule.
* Games using the Gamebryo engine (e.g. VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion and VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}) have an NPC flag called "Essential." Since some [=NPCs=] are vital to the main quest, they are set to essential so they can't die; when their HP is reduced to zero, they fall down and a message displays "(NPC) is unconscious." The NPC will wake up after a short time.
** ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' has no essential [=NPCs=] except Yes Man and your current companions (and if you play in Hardcore mode, just Yes Man). It also incorporate non-lethal damage with a few weapons (boxing glove variants, cattle prods, and beanbag shotgun rounds), but unconscious enemies can't be looted and always get up after thirty seconds, which rather defeats the point; you may as well just sneak by them entirely. As these weapons all apply the same amount of fatigue regardless of enemy DT, they're really more useful for stunning your opponent [[CoupDeGrace to kill them while they're unconscious.]]
* The original ''VideoGame/{{Gothic}}'' put an interesting spin on this trope: if you fight monsters, they always [[GameOver kill you good]], and you return the favor. However, when fighting humans, both sides deal a NonLethalKO first, with an option to [[KickThemWhileTheyAreDown execute the downed enemy]] later. The point is that a downed enemy can be looted like a dead body without incurring any penalties for murdering them--however, that also applies to the downed PlayerCharacter, so the enemies who don't immediately execute you will search your pockets and strip you of any valuables they find.
* In the MarioAndLuigi series, the Mario bros and any named characters merely get knocked out or hurt if they run out of health in battle, with the Elite Trio in Dream Team even mentioning it by name (saying that all three have to be KOed at once for Mario to win). Possibly averted for anyone not quite that important to the storyline, who simply explodes and is never seen again after the battle.

* In ''VideoGame/StarFox64'', your wingmates will be "downed", I.E., say a small line with the "crossed wrenches" sign over their picture, then leave the mission. They sit out the next one, then reappear. You, however, clearly explode when your shields fail.
** Also played straight in Assault. Averted in the SNES game, where your wingmen can [[FinalDeath die for real]].
* Spellcard System rules in ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' exist for this explicit purpose. Otherwise, the OneHitKill abilities of most high-level {{youkai}} would instantly end BarrierMaiden Reimu's career. (She even fights a ghost capable of killing with nothing but thinking about it. ''Imperishable Night'' proves she can do it without other people even noticing she's trying.)
* The first ''VideoGame/BangaiO'' game plays this for laughs, since recurring bosses tend to survive their mechs exploding (to Riki and Mami's confusion). Bangai-O's pilots aren't as lucky.

[[folder:Simulation Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/ARecklessDisregardForGravity'', when you hit something, even if you're falling from a height equivalent to several skyscrapers, you'll survive, but with most of your bones broken. Sometimes the game is rather specific in telling you which bones are broken, e.g. "You broke ten of your fingers".
* In ''VideoGame/AnimalCrossing'', If the player is attacked by a scorpion or a tarantula, they will pass out and awaken in front of their house.
* If your patient's vital levels reach zero during an operation in ''VideoGame/TraumaCenter: Under The Knife'', he or she ostensibly doesn't die; another doctor simply takes over and the player character is said to have quit in shame. Near the end game, however, this happens less and when it does it is implied that the other doctor will fail. These scenes also occasionally imply that the main character ''killed himself'' from the shame, instead of just quitting.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Spore}}'', if your creature's ship explodes in the Space stage, you don't die, but is revived through cloning.
* Speaking of immortal wingmates, in ''Franchise/StarWars: VideoGame/RogueSquadron'' wingmates who are downed will land on the surface but never will die. This even occurs during the ''Death Star'' level.

[[folder:Strategy Games]]
* In the campaigns of ''VideoGame/AgeOfMythology'' and its expansion Age of Mythology: The Titans, when the heroes are "killed" they are unconscious until one of your units gets close to them, at which point they revive with low health.
* Even in ''Franchise/FireEmblem'', a game where characters who run out of HP permanently [[FinalDeath are dead for the rest of the game's campaign]] (That is - can never be deployed in combat again for that save file. Ever.) in later games, plot relevant characters who lose all HitPoints are depicted as simply being too heavily wounded to continue fighting. This is presumably so that plot-important [=PCs=] can still take part in conversations outside of battle. On the other hand, if any of your Lords lose all their HitPoints, they ''will'' die and the game is over.
** Non-plot important characters however, often die complete with death speech.
** Exception: the tutorial campaign in ''Blazing Sword''. Any characters used here return in the main campaign whether they were injured or not.
*** There are endings for these characters that explain what happened after the campaign. A character's story changes slightly if you lost him or her during one of the battles.
** Noticeable is that in ''Path of Radiance'' and ''Radiant Dawn'' characters injured this way don't [[EverythingFades fade away]] like dead ones do.
** ''Awakening'' allows the player to follow this trope with their own units. "Casual" mode lets [=KO=]'d characters fight again in the next battle, while "Classic" mode utilizes FinalDeath. The exceptions are Chrom, your created character, and a second Lord who shows up later on.
* Even when their Angel Wings ''blow up in the middle of space'', the Angels under your command in the ''VideoGame/GalaxyAngel'' gameverse are simply [=KOed=], brought back to base after the battle, and only get a little ticked off at you for giving them sucky battle plans. The third game actually used this shot-down-but-not-killed device as a plot point. Your Angels probably have better defences than you do; if the Elsior, Luxiole or Brave Heart goes down, it's over.
* In ''[[VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders Zone of the Enders: the Fist of Mars]]'', your mechs explode when their HP is reduced to 0. When that happens, they're out for the rest of the stage, but the characters piloting them are still alive, and they do come back next stage.
** Everyone who you fight are either MechaMooks (unmanned) or shows enough mercy to allow the pilot to escape. Even Pharsti calls Edge out on being a technical pacifist and he supposedly follows it until his MidseasonUpgrade where he supposedly kills [[spoiler: Ned after he threatened to kill several children with explosive collars and done so already with one pilot]].
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'': each member of your squad has a unique voice, personality, appearance and story, and if they die on the battlefield because you suck as a commander, they stay dead forever. What makes this so shocking is the game's cartoonish graphics style and (otherwise) relatively lighthearted and cheerful storyline. The [[VideoGame/ValkyriaChroniclesII second game in the series]] follows this trope, though: the worst that can happen to your characters (outside of cutscenes, of course) is being "hospitalized", which means they can't join your next three battles.
* In ''VideoGame/MountAndBlade'' your character can't be killed in battle; instead, you will be knocked unconscious and either captured by the enemy, or rescued by your allies.
** While normal and elite characters often get killed off for real, Lords and Kings always fall unconscious when beaten, Then they may be taken as prisoners or flee the battle and appear in a nearby city several weeks later.
* In ''LeagueOfLegends'', when you kill an enemy champion, they are revived by the magical energy of the battlefield. Then again, [[EldritchAbomination Cho'Gath]] ''eats'' his opponent, Fizz has a [[LandShark shark]] eat them (small opponents are swallowed whole) and [[GrimReaper Thresh]] claims their soul.
* In the ''[[VideoGame/NintendoWars Advance Wars]]'' series, Commanding Officers are apparently off-limits for either side's troops to shoot at. At first you might think this is because the [=COs=] are far behind the front lines coordinating the battle by radio, but multiple "mission failed" cutscenes in story mode make it clear this was ''NOT'' the case. Hell, many story mode scenes have named characters storming into each other's offices, guns drawn, yet the loser almost always escapes without a shot being fired by either side.

[[folder:Survival Horror]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Siren}}'', this trope applies to the enemies, the shibito. Instead of being killed, a defeated shibito will only stay down just long enough for the player to escape before getting back up.
* ''VideoGame/HauntingGround'': No matter how many times they stab, shoot, stomp or KickTheDog, Hewie will only make a sad noise then collapse for a few minutes. [[KilledOffForReal Unless you're in Hard Mode...]] The same goes for all of Fiona's stalkers.
* ''VideoGame/ClockTower'': Bobby being a supernaturally empowered demon child, anything Jennifer does to him (poison gas, using a murder of crows to attack him, tricking him into falling down a hole) will only have him down for a minute or so, or until she leaves the map (whichever comes first).

* ''[[VideoGame/OneHundredPercentOrangeJuice 100% Orange Juice]]'': If the character's HP hits 0, s/he cannot move, but can roll the die to get back up (roll equal to/higher to revive).

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Toon}}: The Cartoon RPG'', the player characters are cartoon characters, who as everyone knows can take massive amounts of abuse without getting killed. So instead of dying when they run out of hit points, they Fall Down, and are taken out of action temporarily.
* In ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' 3rd Edition, a character reduced to zero hit points is disabled and falls unconscious. After that, you have ten turns to stop their decline with a healing spell -- they gain a negative hit point each turn, and when they hit -10, they die. Note that a powerful blow which reduces a character below -10 HP in one strike will kill them instantly.
** As illustrated in [[http://www.goblinscomic.com/11152005/ this webcomic]].
** There's also subdual/nonlethal damage inflicted by saps or fists, which cannot kill but when the subdual damage inflicted equals current hit points they fall unconscious.
** Oddly, most poisons, which reduce AbilityScores instead of HP, can't kill no matter how many doses are sustained. But when strength or dexterity are reduced to zero the character can't move.
** 4th Edition changes the death threshold from -10 to negative your Bloodied value[[note]]That is, 1/2 of your Maximum HP[[/note]].
** 2nd Edition had the -10HP rule as an option at least as well. ''Baldur's Gate'' used this with spectacular effect, where foes...or characters, including sometimes the hero...got "[[ChunkySalsaRule chunked]]" if they fell below -10HP in a single strike.
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'' has had a rule similar to 4e D&D since its 2nd edition: characters are weakened at low HP, lose consciousness at 0 HP (but they can make a roll to keep standing), and at -HP equal to their standard healthy HP, they start rolling to resist death (at -5x HP, they die even if they withstood all rolls). Again, ChunkySalsaRule applies; a character whose corpse is damaged to -10x HP has nothing left to revive, he's just turned into hamburger.
* The ''TabletopGame/TeenagersFromOuterSpace'' RPG is based on slapstick anime, and characters who run out of "Bonk" points will recover in a few turns.
* ''TabletopGame/MutantsAndMasterminds'' defaults to the conceit that the player characters are dealing non-lethal damage unless otherwise specified to reflect the Silver/Bronze Age setting where heroes didn't kill.
* Invoked as a way to justify how named characters can be "killed" in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' as well as the player's own self-made characters. This way players don't have to find ways to justify how [[SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute a commander with a survival deficiency somehow appearing in multiple battles]], but gets kind of ridiculous when the character can take a planet-vaporizing blast and was only "knocked unconscious". Also comically used in various one-hit KO spells, where the combatant can be rendered as either a deformed blob of flesh, a gibbering idiot, locked in a box, or a squig[[note]]goblinoid pig, for those unfamiliar with the franchise[[/note]].
* In the fan-made ''PokemonTabletopAdventures'' Pokemon can die in battle, but they have to take twice their max HP in damage. When their HP is zeroed they simply get knocked out.

* ''Webcomic/{{Adventurers}}'' makes fun of the phenomenon of [[{{Bowdlerise}} death becoming "fainting"]] in translation from Japanese [[http://www.adventurers-comic.com/d/0220.html in this strip]].
* ''Webcomic/BrawlInTheFamily'' gives a parody/humorous deconstruction of how this is in the ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' games by taking it to its logical conclusion. Can be seen in full [[http://brawlinthefamily.keenspot.com/2010/09/27/275-hyper-beam/ here.]]

* ''VideoGame/{{Bully}}'', which is often described as a LighterAndSofter version of ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'', has this. Since HideYourChildren won't work in a game where most characters ''are'' children, [=NPCs=] (as well as the player) can only be knocked out instead of killed. The gameplay mechanics are pretty much the same. They even [[EverythingFades fade away]] after a while and will later respawn alive and well.