Haley: ... so the Boots of Speed were totally powerful, but they were, like, lime green.What happens when players equip their characters with gear solely based on stat bonuses without consideration for how it will look on them. The end results tend to be... colorful... to say the least. Many games try to circumvent the phenomenon by allowing the equipment to be dyed, allowing cosmetic alteration of equipment so it would look like another item, or keeping stat-affecting and appearance-affecting equipment completely separate. Note that A: the game must enable the viewer to actually see the full clothing combination and B: The elements of the clothing combination triggering Rummage Sale Reject must have some advantage to equipping them (or else be said to have some). If either element is absent, then this trope does not apply. A result of applying Virtual Paper Doll effects to equipment that affects gameplay. Closely related to Embarrassing but Empowering Outfit, where a single piece of clothing looks silly on its own but is worth it for the powers it grants. Compare Rummage Sale Reject, Impossibly Tacky Clothes. Contrast Set Bonus, which the developers can use to attempt to Avert or Downplay this trope by giving a set of items that form a coordinated outfit a full set bonus. Not to be confused with Pimp Duds.
Vaarsuvius: Indeed. A most grave conundrum you faced.
Vaarsuvius: Indeed. A most grave conundrum you faced.
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- Shoot Many Robots falls into this. As there aren't very many full sets of equippable gear, you'll wind up wearing all sorts of random crap just to get the stat bonuses you want.
- The Binding of Isaac delves into this, since most power-ups add cosmetic changes to your character (some of the Body Horror variety,) and the changes end up stacking (though some will occasionally overwrite others.) Thus it's not uncommon to end a run with a nun's habit, a hideous Harvey Dent-style facial scar, a fez on top of the habit, a lit fuse sticking out of your head, a dead fetus attached to the other side of your face, a dismembered cat tail wrapped around your waist and creepy protruding eyes.
- Soul Calibur 4: The Character Creation mode suffers heavily from this. While you can always play "Standard" mode, where clothing and weapon effects don't count, if you want to do well in other modes, you're pretty much forced to play with either the bastard child of Lady Gaga and a Silver Age superhero or a generic heavily-armored knight. The Random Character Generator in SoulCalibur 3 also produced pretty much exclusively this kind of character.
- Your character's good/evil and cheerful/gloomy stats in Soul Calibur III were assigned via clothing options, meaning you'd often need to hide extra garments underneath your chosen costume to get the alignment you wanted or just shrug and settle for looking stupid.
- The color slider on both games can help alleviate this problem somewhat, although sometimes it's impossible to hide the differences in clothing.
- Thankfully, your choice of outfit in SCV is now purely aesthetical, so it's up to you whether you want the game to randomize your outfit or not...
- Your character's good/evil and cheerful/gloomy stats in Soul Calibur III were assigned via clothing options, meaning you'd often need to hide extra garments underneath your chosen costume to get the alignment you wanted or just shrug and settle for looking stupid.
- Tekken 6 can end up like this in its Scenario Campaign, due to various clothes you can find giving you special boosts. Though, this does vary from character to character, as one character's clothing sets can end up mixing a lot better than anothers.
- For the longest time, Ultima Online averted this trope entirely because armor and weapons were all the same mundane metallic silver color. When colored ores were introduced, they were mostly dull in color and players tended to wear uniform suits since mixing and matching metal types conferred no significant benefit. Even so due to free for all looting and wear and tear on armor being applied semi-randomly colored ores led to players occasionally resorting to mixing mismatched pieces to create armor sets from those pieces of previously uniform sets not broken and/or looted yet.
- The trope was also occasionally inflicted on players by tailors getting creative with the leather dye tub Two Year Veteran reward (especially intentionally bugged 'neon' leather dye tubs). The resulting mismatched clown suit wasn't technically better than any other exceptionally crafted leather set, but it wasn't worse either, so not wearing it after buying it would be a waste.
- World of Warcraft when first released was particularly guilty of this due to its pseudo-cartoony style. Items were designed independent of each other, meaning it was very easy to build an efficient but stupid-looking clownsuit. However it was at its worst with the release of the first expansion, dubbed "Outland Clown Syndrome." Bright colors, tight pants, and stupid hats. The page image is, horrifically, only a slight exaggeration. Blizzard got the message, and the gear from the next expansion onwwards was designed to mesh well with each other and use more muted colors. Blizzard also later included a feature for players to change the appearance of their gear at will.
- Asheron's Call was known for having this in its earlier days, before the advent of tailoring (taking the look of one type of armor and applying it to another) and especially before dyeing armor became common. The only people who took the time to color- or type-coordinate their gear were those that were so far into the endgame segment with that particular character that they had literally nothing better to do. If you want to get technical, underneath the tailoring and dyeing everyone's gear is STILL this.
- EverQuest practically introduced the trope in the MMORPG world. Prior to introducing end-game class-specific quest armor sets (which was color-coordinated), top-tier armor rarely matched, so it wasn't unusual to see an ass-kicking, hardened warrior wearing a black breastplate, green sleeves, gold pants, blue boots, and a silver helmet, since that combination of items just happened to be the strongest ones you could get. In fact, the ability to dye armor slots whatever color the player wanted was introduced specifically to address player complaints over Technicolor gear.
- Ever Quest 2 averted this by allowing "visual" armor to be equipped, granting its appearance without its stats, so players could wear whatever armor they wanted while maintaining a uniform appearance if desired.
- The now-closed Tabula Rasa MMORPG seemed to generally avert this, as armor colors were generally of a duller shade, and dyes could be made to change the color of most armor, and so, were usually tolerable in terms of color coordination.
- Runescape is guilty of this. "Hybrid" or "tribrid" gear for players who wish to use and/or defend against multiple styles of combat (melee, projectile, and magical) without changing armour will almost always look absurd. Wearing a robe skirt, leather body armor, metal boots and gauntlets, a visored helmet and a backpack with a chicken in it - while wielding a salamander - is optimized gear for certain activities.
- Even worse, the developers try to give the player some control over the look, by having dyes... that only work when trying to dye armor that basically amounts to Vendor Trash. And basic capes. And dye doesn't work on metal or leather...
- The Helm of Neitiznot, one of the best helmets in the game, is white with gold trim and wings. It tends to go badly with one's (probably brown) armor.
- Finally subverted with the introduction of Solomon's General Store, which offers a sizable number of cosmetic ensembles, as well as Dragon Keepsake Keys that allow the player to store a single piece of each type of equipment as a cosmetic covering. In Player vs. Player areas like the Wilderness, however, cosmetic gear doesn't work, and Rainbow Pimp Gear is on full display.
- Back in the old days before dedicated mage gear was introduced, the best magical gear involved mixing and matching pieces from numerous different sources, all different appearances (pastel Gnome Hat, blue upper wizard robe, red lower cultist robe, leather gloves, etc.) This was nicknamed the Clown Suite by players.
- Averted in The Lord of the Rings Online you can make things like hats, cloaks, and even boots invisible, you can dye all of your equipment in a wide variety of colors, and you can even equip to alternative sets of equipment that replace the visuals of your actual equipment without having any effect on the stats. So nobody has to look like a clown. Except those people who want to.
- MapleStory has this, especially once you get to a level where armour is no longer purchasable, and you have to take whatever colour armour you can get. Luckily, you can fix this with cash shop equipment, which masks over whatever you're actually wearing. It's rather expensive, however. If you don't want to be wearing something in a specific equipment slot at all, there's even invisible item masks, which just hides specific equipped items.
- Subverted with like-colored equipment that has stat boosts. People who want the most out of a stat will tend to wear only one color — and if they're obsessive enough they'll just hunt down the gear... which, given the fact that the resident search engine for the Free Market, known as the Owl of Minerva, costs about 600 NX as opposed to the thousands that any given shirt or pair of pants in the Cash Shop would cost, a high-level player who bothers with NX (and getting all the different sets of equipment) could just bother with saving up their money (both kinds), buying a few, and jumping into the infamous sea of spam to find their armor or spending hours looking for it in the overpriced player stores. This was not actually too bad until Nexon constantly began to release special equipment which outshined standard equipment in stats so much that wearing standard equipment will automatically brand you as someone who isn't playing the game correctly. At least their outfits will match.
- Then you run into people who practice in Min-Maxing. Let's just say that in any other game, you would not normally be allowed to run around wearing a glowing stone relic for a helmet, a paintbrush as their weapon, green shoes... and your only real armor consisting of nothing but a Modesty Towel.
- At as low a level as 18 (out of 200), a fairly simple quest gives out a terribly tacky mascot helmet hat with defense and stat bonuses leagues ahead of any other hat. This, however, renders your head completely invisible, and the only way you can see your face again is to a) wear a less powerful hat or b) buy a NX hat. Ahhh Freemium.
- Another Nexon game, Mabinogi makes it possible to completely avert this. There are many different styles of equipment with identical stats, grouped into three categories — clothing, light armour, heavy armour — with weapons and shields being a bit more varied. Combine this with cash shop dyes (which can be used to dye pretty much anything, including weapons), and it's fairly easy to customize colour and style combinations to create any look you want. However, since all gear, whether dropped, crafted, or purchased from NPCs, comes in completely random colour combinations (some of them fairly hideous on their own), and there are many items which exist solely to look silly (such as the "bald wig" and "tree costume") it is also possible to play this trope straight to truly epic levels.
- Since shop items change colours randomly, it's also possible to create stylish and coordinated ensembles simply by waiting until the desired colours are available. However, this can take a very long time and a lot of shop-watching; and some colour combinations are only available via boss drops, special event rewards, or cash shop versions (such as pink and white shields, or bright purple longbows).
- Vindictus, prequel to Mabinogi, plays this trope very straight. All equips drop or are crafted, and come in fairly random colours. Mix-and-match outfits are discouraged by the bonuses provided when wearing a complete set; but matching colours is a lot more challenging. Unlike most other MMORPGs, especially other Nexon games, there is no provision for choosing colours. There is a function to "dye" all equips, including weapons, but it is purely random; and costs a considerable amount of in-game currency for higher-level gear. Fortunately, the colour palette for each type of armour or weapon is very small, so there are limits on how clownish you can end up looking.
- With later updates, cash shop dyes were released that allow for more control over colour; and create much brighter colours. This means that along with players creating some very coordinated and flashy sets of gear, others deliberately go for the insanely clownish look.
- Along with that, there are some armour sets, especially at high levels, that look pretty clownish all on their own.
- Star Wars: Galaxies averted this. It was unique in that nearly all equipment was fully customizable (since it ran largely on a player-run economy); but it was very difficult to find full sets of armor that were customized in the same way without buying it all at once from an individual, or even to wear every piece of a given armor set at once. (Since there was no armor certification system; the armor itself simply drained some of your other stats while equipped. It was very easy to simply be unable to equip a helmet depending on your class, which would not give you enough points for the armor to drain in order to equip it.) Many players never wore armor at all, opting for the robust clothing options instead. The game has... changed a bit over the years, to say the least.
- In The Matrix Online clothing drops were randomly colored, sometimes leaving articles in colors that should never be viewed together, much less in entire ensembles of visual offensiveness. Any player dressed like a complete clown was assured to be kicking ass in their ubergear. Some kept more fashionable but less adventure-worthy gear for clubbing and socializing, and others amped their absurdity to 11. This was somewhat mitigated by players able to weave their own clothing from the Matrix, but it involved a very expensive skillset and time-consuming farming to gather the raw materials.
- Earth Eternal can suffer from this if one doesn't take advantage of the Armor Refashioners, who can take an existing piece of gear that may be ugly or garish but have good stats, and make it look like another piece of gear that may be from ten levels ago, but looks really nice. This may result in grinding random mobs to see if they drop anything that looks interesting.
- Gunbound: Each avatar item has different stats and not all of them mesh well together appearance-wise. Players that often disregard the appearance of the equipment in favor of the stats are called "Stat Whores".
- Mobsters 2: Most high-level players wear what amounts to a uniform of Combat Pants (puffy camouflage trousers) and a Window-pane Overcoat (a long grey coat over a waistcoat, shirt, and tie). Their bottom half is in the army and their top half is attending a business meeting.
- Before the patch introduced with the PC version of the game, multiplayer in Dark Souls was long dominated by builds combining delicate rapiers and daggers, absurdly huge and heavy armor, nimble ninja backflipping, and comical-looking stat-boosting masks (one such group was the Giant Dad set, made of Giant Armor and the Mask of the Father). It was even worse when in earlier versions of the game, the most optimal equipment for the pants slot was a dress skirt.
- A common effect in Monster Hunter with new players, who forge whatever they can afford to increase defense without them knowing about skill points. More experienced players equip full sets of armor from a certain monster (which doesn't look tacky) to get the skill points that the monster set gives. Even more experienced players know that, with the right combinations of armor sets, a unique combination of skills can be attained instead of having to go with a pre-made set... at the cost of looking like a rainbow pimp again.
- To provide a mild example, a commonly seen set in Tri is to have mostly advanced magical white armor from a certain Elder Dragon, replace the waist with a lower rank form of the same armor (which looks the same but gives different skill points)... and then replace the helmet with the head of a dinosaur which boosts rewards.
- This very trope was mentioned on the Tibia forums. The game itself suffers from this kind of gear as well, just take a look at the blocking set.
- It should be mentioned that the equipped items have no bearing on a character's appearance and outfits are instead chosen in a menu.
- Dofus only has three visible pieces of equipment (with the weapon also showing, but only when it's used). Hat, cloak, and pet / mount. A character is also allowed to customize their own colors (but only at character creation or for a small real money fee). These colors, combined with armor that stands out very starkly and tends to be rather absurd (A popular early hat is basically a severed sheeps head with the tongue still hanging out), means that the odds of your character looking not stupid is very low. Of course, anyone going into Dofus intending to look badass is playing the wrong game.
- Ankama's followup game Wakfu continued the trend of embracing the silly suits but expanded the visibility slots. Now your starter character will be wearing sheep heads all over, with selection of black or white colours, even. Until he levels up a bit and crafts an eye-tearing amalgamation of variously coloured Piwi (tiny chicken/peacock like bird) sets. On the flipside, there are fashionably designed Costume items, which overwrite appearance of all your other gear and higher level complete sets of normal gear are not too bad either.
- Averted in Wizard 101 and Pirate 101. Yes, when you first get an item it may clash, but you can go to a shop in the main shopping district and dye it to match whatever else you have on, if you have the gold (by the second world, you always will). This is good because it's almost always better to use drops instead of buying shop items (except in the case of decks and sometimes wands). Though some hat and robe combos might look a bit odd regardless, you can just also use a small amount of real-world money to stitch items (stitch the appearance of one item with the stats of another). Some pets and mounts can be dyed, but only a small amount, but neither can be stitched, though you can hatch pets to transfer talents from one another.
- This tends to happen frequently in MUDs since they are entirely text based and the players don't have any graphical representation, and also because they tend to have a lot of equipment slots.
- Averted in Spiral Knights. There are two equipment slots: for equipment that affects player stats, and for equipment to override gear appearance.
- It happens in Final Fantasy XI, though not as often or as glaringly as in some MMORPGs. This is an example of a paladin in good enmity gear for the time◊ — not pretty. Of course, if you want to look good if you're just dicking around your home nation, you can always just wear event gear till it's time to fight.
- In Final Fantasy XIV, equipment can't be (re)dyed until you hit level 15 in at least one class. Be prepared to have a mismatching wardrobe for a little while, as the colour of equipment from quest rewards and vendors is random! Even after dying is unlocked, there are just some combos of clothes that aren't gonna look good together, even if the colors match. Later on, you gain the ability to cast Glamours on your equipment, changing the appearance into that of other pieces of equipment, allowing you to make any armor match. The developers had taken note of the trope since in Heavensward, all the gear you can buy from vendors have a visual theme going on and look quite good if you buy the whole set. Of course the trope rears its ugly head due to players either not keeping all their gear up to date or are mixing and matching for the sake of optimal stats.
- Averted in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Players with a subscription or who pay a fee can unlock an option to match all of their gear to the palette of their chestpiece equipment. This trope is still played straight for players who are free to play, presumably as incentive to change that.
- Unfortunately, the cutscene engine currently ignores color matching and even dye modules in many cases, so the character and/or their companions sometimes appear in their original mismatched ensembles.
- Many pieces of equipment, including end-game equipment, get their stats from removable item modifications, so if you find a piece of modifiable equipment you like the looks of, you can use it as long as you want by inserting level-appropriate item modifications into it.
- In Dynasty Warriors Online, this happens. Due to the fact that equipment can only have certain stats, you may not equip an intended set. This is downplayed, however, in that the torso slot covers both shirt and pants, so as stupid as your character may look, the damage is limited to having odd gloves/a strange hat.
- Guild Wars 2 leaves it up entirely to the player. The armor pieces you equip only changes the item model. The colors of your gear can be chosen at will by the player. You still need to put some effort into it, as most of the default colors are somewhat drab; if you want really gaudy colors, you need to unlock them with Dyes.
- Guild Wars, however, is far more restrictive, as armor pieces typically have a dye attached to them already. Dye does not unlock a palette to be applied at will, and must be purchased and applied to each and every piece. For typical colors this is no problem, as those dye colors tend to be cheap, running a little higher if you need to buy several to mix and match for a certain hue- but be prepared to pay through the nose if you intend to add black or white dye to your ensemble, as during the height of the game's popularity such dyes were rarely sold for under 9 platinum pieces.
Role Playing Game
- Dragon Age: Origins tends to avert it, encouraging you to wear full sets of armour of the a specific type as that would give stat bonuses, and armour of the same class tends to be more or less similarly coloured. However, in the Feastday Gifts and Pranks DLC, there is the Butterfly Sword and Ugly Boots (Both are more or less Exactly What It Says on the Tin), which will massively clash with pretty much everything else in the game, but are decent items on their own. (Sten and Leliana will also take a big -50 approval. Because they clearly pretty much agree those items fall under this trope)
- Dragon Age: Inquisition brings it out stronger than previous Dragon Age titles have, thanks to the crafting system. Since the color of a crafted item is based on the materials you used in its construction, it's possible to end up with a scarlet red suit of armor (which, thanks to the game's new design is a Badass Longcoat instead of plate mail) with bright blue gloves and green boots. This is especially true at high levels, once you've started collecting the best quality materials. A later patch sought to avert this trope by allowing players to recolor their armor to taste.
- Fallout 3 and New Vegas and their expansions contain a lot of gear that can be just plain goofy looking all by itself, like 3's tribal power armor with its Pittsburgh Steelers paint scheme and cattle skull pauldron, powdered wigs, Abraham Lincoln's tophat, samurai armor, cowboy hats, civil war caps, motorcycle helmets, tinted sunglasses and assorted raider bondage gear. Late game you tend to move toward a handful of proper looking unique armor sets (mostly Powered Armor), but low-level player characters are very likely to look like total jackasses.
- Lampshaded in Shadow Hearts From The New World. A Ninja actually tells you that no matter how ridiculous something looks, if it raises your stats, wear it.
- Too Human: Averted. You can buy special runes to change the color of your armor.
- Knights of the Old Republic suffered from this as well.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- Morrowind can reach ridiculous levels. Each piece of equipment is separate (with the exception of boots, which are always worn as a pair) so it's possible to wear mismatched gloves and pauldrons over a different style of cuirass with yet another different style of greaves over pants, under a skirt, under a robe... The "magical sheen" from the enchantment effect is also not very subtle, so if any of your equipment is enchant, it will vibrantly glow as well.
- In Oblivion, on completion of a major quest, the city of Bruma will erect a statue of you in your honor. Your statue will wear the "best" armor and gear that you had in your inventory at that moment, not necessarily what you're wearing. The results can be interesting. In fact, "interesting" doesn't even begin to describe the weird things that can go on with this statue. On one hand, sometimes it equips magical equipment you no longer possess, due in part to a glitch that sometimes gives you magical bonuses for items forcibly taken from your character; on the other hand, if you carry out the insane task of completing the mission while carrying one thousand torches, a one-handed weapon, and no shield, you're rewarded with the sight of your statue wielding a flaming weapon. So if you know how to manipulate the results of the statue, you can make it look like a big-headed dinosaur with a fiery sword. No matter what, though, the NPCs will comment, "You look just like your statue!" Why yes, I do have a dirty great staff implanted right through my arm, thank you for noticing. One bizarre case can have the statue wearing the hood of the Grey Fox, leader of the Thieves Guild and the most infamous criminal in the entire province... and people still don't connect you with the Fox. (Of course, the hood is a divine artifact enchanted to do exactly that.) There's also a certain dagger you get from the Dark Brotherhood called the Blade of Woe, one of the most powerful weapons in the game, but it's pretty small, and a statue heroically lifting a dagger to the sky does not have the intended effect.
- Skyrim generally avoids this trope, due to encouraging the player to wear a complete set of armor, since there is a high-level Perk in both categories of armor that gives you a bonus if you wear a full matching set — however, you can mix-and-match within the categories of heavy and light armor and still get the bonus, so the trope can still come into play. Wearing, for example, a Dragon Priest mask, the dark-grey Nightingale Armor, blood-red Shrouded Gloves, and shiny green-silver Glass Boots just looks gaudy. Luckily though, a character with high enough Enchanting skill to make it worthwhile can simply Disenchant any items whose effects they like and reapply them to whatever pieces they want to wear.
- Hellgate: London averted this with a mechanic to color shift all your gear to match. Unfortunately this translated into a lot of brown (because Real Is Brown!) and similarly dingy colors.
- Neverwinter Nights: Prismatic Dragon Boots. They give you great bonuses to DEX and AC, but they are so painful to the eye that they drain your CHA.
- Go on. Tell me it isn't hilarious to put Mass Effect's Wrex, your walking tank party member, in some powerful, bright pink Phoenix armor.
- That armor, despite its power, is a punchline on anyone except Gunnery Sergeant Ashley Williams (and maybe Liara); it serves as the former's default in the first two games.
- The armor's a punchline on Ashley, too, but for a different reason: she's always wearing it whenever she's holding the Distress Ball, and the in-game stats on her initial set are so awful that the first thing most players do when they recruit her is give her something better.
- Players in Mass Effect 3's multiplayer are allowed to color their armor as they see fit. Some players invoke this trope and paint themselves in clown colors because it's funny, but Geth players have a very good reason to do it — there are enemy units that look just like them, and in a pitched firefight they don't want their allies wasting bullets or special abilities on friendlies. So they paint themselves weird colors like hot pink or lime green, just to stand out.
- The best equipment in a 3D Might and Magic game tends to look extremely gaudy and ridiculous. The in-game descriptions of said items tended to lampshade this.
- Dragon Quest IX hits this badly due to widely varying equipment styles and occasionally counterintuitive bonuses. For instance, a leather kilt is better than cotton pants as warrior gear despite covering less, but iron armor is predictably more effective than a shirt, so a warrior may have substantial upper-body coverage and bare lower legs.
- Almost every player runs into this problem because it's really easy to obtain the "Gooey Gear" early in the game, which has great defensive stats at that point, but looks completely ridiculous. It's literally a stack of brightly colored slimes that's worn by the character.
- Dragon Quest VI has a variation: the fashion contest has a hidden style bonus for wearing some items together. Some make sense (all platinum gear), others don't (boxer shorts and a pot lid shield and ''nothing else). Thankfully, the game doesn't show armor changes (though it's pretty funny to imagine the latter getup on Carver, who already wanders around half-naked).
- The Sonny series is pretty bad about this. Game two has perhaps two or three sets of equal-level equipment meant to be used together. For the rest of the game you are stuck with pick-and-mix gear in widely varying styles trying to maximize the attributes your skills depend on.
- The Last Story averts this, allowing the player to dye the characters's clothing, item by item, as well as partially undress them and so on. The colours you are given at the start of the game include orange and hot pink. The uniforms include one with assless chaps. Hilarity Ensues.
- Half-Minute Hero, since most of the clothing items are deliberately mismatched and stupid, with only a few items that fit the usual JRPG armour tropes, and since you can't take equipment you gain in later levels with you. You will probably be wearing outfits like a long brown wig (grants good evasion), a Fundoshi (attack bonus), a utility knife (good attack and speed) and wellington boots (big speed bonus).
- In Xenoblade every piece of armor has an effect on characters appearance. They're divided into Head, Top, Bottom, Gloves and Legwear, and mixing-and-matching can cause some... odd combinations. (Combining Heavy torso armor with light bottoms is particularly jarring, especially if said bottom is a bikini) And naturally, you will have to do this to maximize stats. And the best part is characters keep their armor in cutscenes, so you can ruin dramatic scenes with ridiculous outfits for your amusement.
- Xenoblade Chronicles X is a bit better about this two ways. First, armor is nor split into Head, Torso, Left Arm, Right Arm, and Bottoms, along with being more consistently designed in general, leading to less jarring combinations when mixed and matched. Secondly, every now has "Fashion Armor" equipment slots, which take priority over anything else visually but don't affect stats at all.
- Zettai Hero Project lampshades this: fairly early on, one character suggests that you should equip tank treads because they'll let you walk across spike traps unharmed, but the other says not to because you'll look ridiculous. And indeed, you (and your enemies) can equip some fairly ridiculous combinations of gear in the game, all of which are completely visible.
- The two Rune Factory games for the Wii, Rune Factory Frontier and Rune Factory Tides Of Destiny not only allow you to wear whatever you want, but also allow you to give gifts to the townspeople who will wear it if they can. Want a town full of Cat Girls? How about turnip heads? Go ahead.
- In Shin Megami Tensei IV, you can gather various pieces of several sets of armor, which are not required to match. Perhaps in acknowledgement, there are sets of Monster Clown masks and helmets apparently inspired by Robbie the Rabbit, which (un)fortunately happens to have very good stats. There are many different complete suits of armor, but the difficulty of locating where and under which conditions the rarest sets can be found, and how some pieces can be given as quest rewards mean this trope is in full effect.
- In the second Denpa Men game, every single piece of equipment you wear is visible—and there are five different slots, for your head, arms, legs, back, and clothes. You can also paint your entire body different colors. And most of the in-game equipment is wacky to begin with, being things like baseball-patterned clothes, frilly sleeves, bunny slippers, and giant carrots. Very few pieces of equipment come in sets, as well, so matching isn't even an option. As even the official art shows the Denpas in outrageous costumes, Rainbow Pimp Gear seems to be the desired effect.
- Equipment in Opoona affects the look of your "bonbon," or the colorful ball floating above your head. Some gear simply changes the size and shininess of the bonbon, but others do things like cover it in Combat Tentacles, set it on fire (or ice, or lightning), or even outright turn it into a mace. These effects naturally stack, leading to things like cheerfully sparkly maces or fireballs orbited by UFOs.
- Downplayed in Diablo III, where for a nominal fee you can dye your gear any color you like, including invisible, or (with the expansion) even replace a piece's model with that of another. So players only fall under this if they choose to do so.
- Or if they want to use a lot of Legendary items in the console base game, as they could not be dyed until the Ultimate Evil Edition was purchased
- No such luck with Torchlight. Because equipment is randomized and stats can vary wildly even within the same class of equipment, picking the pieces that are most suited to your build can end up with a bewildering and mismatched collection of clothes and gear, as you have no less than 10 item slots and 4 weapon slots to juggle. You can gain set bonuses if you manage to put together a full outfit, but good luck accomplishing that, with drop rates and the lack of enemy respawns being what they are.
- Kingdom Hearts manages to do this with space ships, no less. While the Gummi ship editor are clearly there with creativity in mind, more often than not you won't always have matching blocks to pull off a specific design. Similarly, a Gummi's HP is directly proportional to the amount of blocks it has. As a result, most Gummi ships will end up becoming literal Flying Bricks with miss-matching blocks with tons of guns attached to the front and the best engines in the back, with actual wings being considered a Dump Stat. Similarly, if you choose to go with the A.I. Breaker tactic, replace literal Flying Brick with a giant flying donut.
- Some Keyblade designs themselves can verge on this at times, being the only thing that averts No Cutscene Inventory Inertia. Sure, Keyblades beyond the one you'll start out with will have vastly better stats, but it can occasionally make cutscenes look unintentionally narmish when Sora has something like Decisive Pumpkin◊ equipped. note The numerous Blade Lock cutscenes throughout the series have a tenancy to look weird with very short Keyblades and cause clipping issues with long or bulky ones.
- Birth by Sleep arguably has the worst case of this: one of the most powerful Keyblades you can obtain is the Sweetstack, which is basically a Lethal Joke Item made entirely out of ice cream.
- And now Kingdom Hearts X is in on the action, since stats have been added to certain accessories.
- Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2, and Dark Souls 3 allow you to mix-and-match armor parts to maximize your stats. Some of the armor combinations can look pretty goofy. Designing a mixed armor set that is actually meant to look badass, cool, or intentionally hilarious is termed "Fashion Souls" by the community, and is a popular pastime among some players. As time has gone on, Fashion Souls has evolved among some players from a practice to a playstyle, on the logic that if you're truly skilled at Souls games you can forgo stat optimization entirely and focus only on style.
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII allows you to invoke this by changing the colors on your various garbs, as well as wear adornments that range from cat-ears to an electric guitar. Under normal circumstances you're not too likely to run into anything jarring, with the exception of weapons dropped by certain Last Ones. These weapons are among the most powerful in the game...and vibrant fuchsia from pommel to point.
- Armor is generally less important in Dark Souls II, to the point that most people consider it more of an aesthetic choice (AKA Fashion Souls), but there are still some pieces of equipment used for special effects even if this clashes with everything else worn. Literal jester clothing are among these, especially the chest armor which prevents backstabs. You can also see people who wear the heavy and turtle shell-like Ironclad Armor (also prevents backstabs) and nothing else and still roll around with their immense Stamina.
Stealth Based Game
- A cause of Memetic Mutation amongst Japanese fans of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, who enjoy combining Big Boss's shirtless uniform (or occasionally his Ga-Ko uniform, which is printed with kawaii-style ducks) with his Monkey Mask and Torch. This gives him a lot of protection against dogs (they ignore him in the Monkey Mask and the smoke from the Torch irritates their sensitive noses) but looks absolutely stupid. Meanwhile, the infinite ammo face paint needs no explanation of why it's good to leave on at all times, but the pattern is redundant kanji graffiti covering Big Boss' entire face from forehead to chin, which looks rather silly.
- In Yandere Simulator's current unfinished state, the best way to play if you want to go around killing people and not be caught is to walk around butt-naked and wield a magical girl wand. The nudity part is there because there is no special penalties for being nude, and not wearing clothes means you don't have to go burn them, just wash yourself off. The magical girl wand (a joke weapon) has the unique property of being undetectable to the police, so you don't have to burn it either.
Wide Open Sandbox
- The Saints Row games have a variant - you can pick colors on just about anything, but you get the most respect from wearing purple colors, which are the primary color of the Saints. You also gain respect for wearing tattoos and piercings. In order to gain the largest respect multiplier in the first game, your character will end up looking like an overdressed piercing fanatic with ink on every square inch of his body and a serious fetish for the color purple. Thankfully, the sequels made it so that you only need to buy these items once in order to get the respect bonuses; you don't have to wear them all simultaneously.
- Spore can get quite silly in the tribal stage, with a wide variety of items available in different categories. Getting the best stats for a creature requires some unusual combinations of clothing, but the game's built-in colour-coordination and ability to move and size the items generally averts total ugliness. Still, it's tricky when you find that your badass warlike tribespeople absolutely need cowboy hats. One method for dealing with that is to make it as small as possible, and try to hide under something else. If you can't enjoy playing the rest of the game with your people wearing cowboy hats for no reason other than tradition.
- In the Creature phase, it can happen with body parts, particularly for a "social" species. It doesn't help that they're acquired randomly.
- This can happen in Minecraft, although its generally not so much based on stats as what you can afford to craft. And additionally, the various armour bits can potentially clash not only with each other but with whatever outfit your player skin was drawn wearing. Most texture packs only exaggerate this trope further by giving each armour set a unique look.
- It gets worse when you start getting into useful-ability-granting one-to-a-set armour items added by mods like the odd-looking jetpack, batpack, and solar-helmet added by IndustrialCraft or the various garishly coloured magical armour items (and capes, and gloves) found in the Aether.
- The trope is more apparent when you start dying pieces of your leather armour with random colours (however this would an invoked example as dyeing does nothing to an armour's stats).
- Terraria and Starbound both have methods to avert this, allowing players to wear gear over their actual armor for cosmetic purposes. Both also have methods to show a character's default starter outfit instead. For Terraria, since the starting clothing don't exist as actual items, you have to obtain "familiar" clothing that simply renders your armorless appearance. Starbound makes it easier via your starting clothes being actual items you can wear over your real armor, but the tradeoff is no equivalent starting headwear, forcing you to wear some other hat or helm instead of appearing bare-headed.
- Animal Crossing doesn't have equipment stats, but it does have Gracie the giraffe performing "fashion checks." The sole criteria used for judging is the rather abstract "theme" of your outfit. If everything in your outfit is Sporty, for example, and you don't have something from a clashing theme (in this case, anything Official), then you pass ... regardless of how much of an utter disaster your outfit actually is.
- In Team Fortress 2, certain players play scout and wear the most ugly cosmetics and colors. This earned them the name "lime scouts." The whole point is to distract people and get them to look at the lime scout.
- Incredibly egregious in the Facebook game It Girl, considering it's a game about fashion. Each article of clothing is awarded a certain number of "hotness" points, based on how rare and expensive it is, and players may engage in "showdowns" with NPCs to compare how hot their outfits are. Unfortunately, to max out your hotness points in any given style of clothing, you'll probably end up wearing a yellow minidress with a purple cardigan, silver tights, grey leg warmers, white socks, blue shoes, pink earrings, gold bracelets, a green necklace, and carrying an orange purse. While absolutely no one would ever even begin to think such an outfit is remotely "hot" or fashionable in any context, the game awards far more points to this than to a simple, coordinated outfit that actually looks good to a human observer.
- This can happen in Aikatsu! if attempts to make a good coord (a working combination of clothes of different types) fail or players simply use cards with higher score values without regards of compatibility. Even the good coords themselves are not◊ exempt from this.
- Averted in Destiny. Most acquired armor pieces (even the most basic of all gear) look stylish or plain cool. The trope is only ever invoked when you equip new gear with clashing color schemes. Shaders that are purchased or awarded can alleviate that... or make it far more absurd.
- Splatoon has abilities wholly tied to clothing/gear. Each piece of clothing can have a maximum of four ability slots: one main ability at purchase and up to three sub slots that have their abilities decided at random as the item is leveled up during matches. The main ability of your gear can never be changed, and though the sub slots can be "re-rolled" for different abilities, this is still completely random.note The sequel averts this completely by allowing abilities to be chosen completely separate from gear.
- In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, various outfits gave specific boosts to certain stats and could either not touch others or even nerf those stats. This would lead to players wearing a mix-match collection of costumes just to get the best stats. This was changed in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, which introduced the QQ Bang Souls, which allowed players to have a set stat boost without mixing and matching pieces.
Non-video game examples:
Anime & Manga
- Noob has a short story involving Gaea and Omega Zell helping Sparadrap choose new equipment with the stats they considered to be important. The end result fits the trope, with the irony of some of Omega Zell's choices being attemps to give Sparadrap better charisma.
- In one Spider-Man story, third-rate villain the Looter steals the equipment of several other villains from a government impound vault, and commits crimes using a mishmash of their costumes — Unicorn's helmet, the Shocker's left gauntlet, the Mauler's right one, the Trapster's vest (with paste gun), and Stilt-Man's telescoping legs (with the rest of his costume his own). He's able to accumulate a great deal of loot robbing banks this way, but he looks ridiculous, and Spidey still trounces him.
- The Legend of Drizzt: Jarlaxle is this trope exactly, possibly due to living in a world that is also a Dungeons & Dragons setting. Everything he wears is highly magical and very unique. He almost fits this trope literally, as he wears a color-changing rainbow cloak (it also cycles through ultraviolet!) and a large be-plumed hat that could best be described as pimptastic. Of course, he's probably doing this on purpose, as he's quite flamboyant and is happy with his look. It also makes him quite memorable, which is what he's going for. Jarlaxle's reputation is "He dresses like a goofball, but don't screw with him." It also helps that everything he wears has a perfectly practical use. Even the ridiculous plume on his hat can be used to summon a monster in a pinch.
- Gogo Sentai Boukenger and Power Rangers Operation Overdrive each had an episode where the Red Ranger was afflicted with bad luck, so his teammates each loan him a lucky charm — and he wears all of them into battle, over his powersuit, causing the bad guys to stop in their tracks and burst out laughing. And each show uses a different assortment of charms, so that's two sets of ridiculous outfits. Then to add insult to injury, Boukenger has the series' gratuitous explosions set the charms on fire.
- Dungeons & Dragons includes many different types of wearable magical items that give you bonuses or special abilities, leading characters to don headbands, cloaks, gloves, boots, eyeglasses, amulets, rings, earrings, necklaces, brooches and all manner of other accessories to become more powerful, even if this would make them look garish or ridiculous. For this reason, players often conveniently forget to include some of their sillier magic items when sketching out their characters.
- In the Legend System, one example given of Gnomish technology is a nice suit of armor... that also happens to be this. Also subverted when you add on a very small piece and it becomes considerably more practical.
- In Munchkin, since it's a parody of Dungeons & Dragons, you're going to end up with ridiculous combinations of weapons and gear if you're playing reasonably well and aren't too unlucky. How about a Magnificent Hat, Short Wide Armor, Kneepads of Allure, Boots of Only Having to Run Faster Than YOU, and Extra Feet? Thankfully, card illustrations rarely go to the extreme of picturing multiple items.
- In BattleTech, Clan Nova Cat's Xi Galaxy paints its mechs up in eye-searing neon colors rather than camouflage them. This provides an in-game benefit when unit special abilities are activated: enemies take a penalty to attack rolls against them because the paint jobs are so ugly nobody wants to look directly at them.
- When doing freehand LEGO creations, there's often a strong tendency to settle on bricks that are the right shape and structure but totally the wrong color, in hopes of coming across the correctly-colored brick later on. When that doesn't happen, it results in models that function perfectly fine (and could even be a masterwork of engineering), but look like a 3-year-old came up with it.
- Sir Bob in The Noob is an example of this, wearing a violet tunic with poofy sleeves, bright yellow-and-green striped trousers, and a "King of the Trolls" hat that's bright yellow with a blue ribbon.
- Parodied by Stolen Pixels in regards to Dragon Age: Origins. Dragon Age actually tends to avert this by giving stat bonuses to characters who wear a full set of armor (e.g. chainmail breastplate + gloves + boots.) At that point in the game, though... yeah, most characters fit the trope.
- In 8-Bit Theater, Red Mage states he would wear his underwear over his armour if it granted +3 Endurance. An obvious jab at this trope and super hero suits that really look like they wear briefs on top of spandex.
- Peganone's adventuring outfit in Our Little Adventure. Randi even makes the comment that her outfit makes her look like one of the Holograms. She explains that her outfit gives her a lot of combat and stat bonuses.
- Also parodied in By Way of Booty Bay◊ (a sub-comic to Supermegatopia).
Melissica: I want quest reward designer names and I want them NOW...
- In Homestuck the Zilly weapons play this trope perfectly. Trickster mode in general.
- For clarification: trickster mode is the most crapsaccharine example possible of With Great Power Comes Great Insanity. In contrast to practically everything else, characters, items, and lcoations in Trickster Mode are drawn with a variety of bright colors... and they look absolutely terrible. And horrifying.
- In Blood Stain, the main characters play in an in-universe MMORPG named Moonstone Gate. Elliot asks what Dr. Stein's gear looks like under his cosmetic armor. The answer is a mishmash of armor sets optimized for his build.
- This problem in Tera Online is called out in a strip of Nerf NOW!!: One character's gear involves a School Swimsuit, a bright yellow flotation device, kitty ears and tail (a part of the character's regular looks by the way), a small crown, and a giant candy cane used as bludgeon.
- The trope image comes from this Penny Arcade strip, which parodies the phenomenon.
- One image from a Cracked slideshow titled "If Real Life Worked Like a Role-Playing Game".
- Duncan from the Yogscast in his "Blast Off" series, finds himself a set of Indiana Jones-inspired adventure gear, and also crafts a very useful backpack. Unfortunately, the modelling in the mod leaves something to be desired - they don't follow his actual character correctly, so he winds up with sleeves at right angles to his character's arms, and so forth. And to make matters worse, he then continues on after being decapitated.
- SunWon Cho (aka prozd) explores how people would react to this in-universe in this clip.
King: So you finally...arrived. What the hell are you wearing?Hero: It's my ass-kicking outfit bitch!