"It's a shock, you know? I mean, I knew the Sith were evil and all, but the reality of it kind of slaps you in the face.
There's some times when playing a Video Game
can be a little dehumanizing. After all, if your character is The Faceless
, then there's no cinematic depiction of his grief that his Doomed Hometown
was wiped off the map. And to the player who doesn't see it except if they possibly
read the instruction manual, it's not that motivating.
Enter the Player Punch
. The script gives our hero a sidekick
or supporting character
who is given a good degree of characterization
or is just plain adorable. Over time, the player begins to take a liking to them
when suddenly BAM! The villain displays a startling And Your Little Dog Too
action in killing them off
(usually in a non-resurrectable Plotline Death
), or worse, forcing the player
to kill them by kidnapping them and turning them into a Tragic Monster
. It isn't just personal
now for the character. The player
has been drawn into the situation because they liked
Skippy the Adorable Airedale
, and now that villain is going down
Alternatively, the developer can do this via a very sympathetic Anti-Villain
(usually a type 4 such as a Noble Top Enforcer
) by forcing the player to kill them, causing the player to question why did it have to end like this?
Can also be utilized by making the villain into such a smug jerk
that the player wants to rearrange his face, or by suddenly having a former ally commit a Face Heel Turn
See also Death by Newbery Medal
, Dropped a Bridge on Him
, Gut Punch
, Stuffed into the Fridge
. Macguffin Delivery Service
is one way of doing this. Contrast Moral Myopia
. Related to The Computer Shall Taunt You
Naturally, as a death trope
, UNMARKED SPOILERS
Non-video game examples:
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Anime and Manga
- During the virtual reality filler arc in Yu-Gi-Oh!, the heroes are fighting their way through a horde of Duel Monsters when the Fairy Companion throws herself into the path of an oncoming attack on Yugi. He can only hold her and watch as she smiles weakly and dies, driving him to tears and a frustrated cry of "I've had enough!" before Yami steps in and starts getting dangerous.
- For Issei in High School D×D, it's losing Asia in Volume 6 when she got teleported to the void though Ise didn't know it at that time. He then ate Shalba with the use of his Juggernaut Drive and was howling in despair at the sky.
- Rei Ayanami's death. Made all the more horrible by the fact that she finally realized she cared about someone about three seconds before it happened.
- The scene where Shinji is forced to kill Kaworu.
- Asuka's Mind Rape really shows what kind of person she wanted to be, and why she carried out a Jerkass Façade. It's one of the most effective moments in the series. Too bad some of the audience still thinks she's a one-dimensional bitch.
- In Mockingjay, Prim's death most likely qualifies as the saddest moment in the series.
- The entire series, that book especially, is basically written to make you feel bad about enjoying violence and drama in the media.
- Played for laughs in this Penny Arcade strip
- Captain SNES: In a flashback to the 8-bit days, Mother Brain has taken almost all of Captain N's power, called Omega Energy, and used it to make a pit which can defy the inherent innocence of Videoland and kill someone permanently. She initially planned to drop Lana into it, but Captain N uses the last of his power to pause time and save her. He explains that his power can't be taken so simply, as it comes from his friendship with the other characters, including his best friend Duke(a dog)...
Mother Brain: Omega energy is greater than your idiotic friendships! And I'll prove it!
Captain N: Um, we already won, Mother Brain.
Lana: Yeah, I think it's already been-
[Mother Brain knocks Duke into the pit]
- Non-game example (albeit in a series about video games): In Life In A Game, it's bad enough that the various Jackals have been harassing and attacking Guy since he came to the Game, but when one of them murders Subplott, that's when he finally loses it.
- In Kickassia, when The Nostalgia Critic kills Santa Christ. Santa Christ, he who reads to sick orphans, fights monsters for fun, will mend your curtains for free, and makes really good fondue. And even though the Clap Your Hands If You Believe sequence is played for laughs, Critic's broken look as he realizes what he just did will stay with you for a while.
- Suburban Knights does it again with the death of Ma-Ti. He was little more than a living Running Gag, appearing throughout multiple videos to shout "Heart!", got his butt kicked by everyone in the Brawl, and his first appearance established that he wasn't even the real Ma-Ti. But SK portrays him as The Woobie who just wants to be involved with the rest of the group, but is treated like dirt. His Heroic Sacrifice is genuinely tragic, and the Critic is crushed.
- And then in To Boldly Flee Ma-Ti has become bitter and jaded, manipulating events so that the Critic will escape the Plot Hole and leave his friends. When he wakes up in his house, he finds out that he's just a character and meets up with Doug Walker, his creator. This is when things get bad.
- Ben Croshaw calls this "The Token Shocking Moment" and complains about its overuse in modern military-themed shooters (most especially Modern Warfare) in several Zero Punctuation episodes.
- He later dedicated an entire Extra Punctuation column to examining the Player Punch in Spec Ops The Line and what made it so effective and shocking.
- When Lets Player Nate From the Sunshine State gets to point in his playthrough of Halo3 where Amanda Keyes is killed from behind by the Brutes, you can hear him loudly inhale in shock... and then he growls in authentic rage, "I don't care what I have to do, I will exterminate your entire f*cking species! I swear to f*cking God!" And for the rest of the Let's Play, every Brute he kills gets a "F*ck you! That's for Amanda!" send-off.