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Reward from Nowhere

Video games often reward the player with seemingly arbitrary prizes for various in-game actions, with no explanation as to who gives out the prizes or why. Given that there are no NPCs queuing for the chance to earn the same reward, these apparently can only earned by the player character. These rewards seldom have any justification other than encouraging the player to explore the gameworld and play with the toys provided therein.

Compare Money Spider. Often involves a Collection Sidequest.


Examples:

  • Counter-Strike. You get money from killing other players. This would make sense as bounties paid between rounds except you get the money the instant you kill them and can even buy more stuff right there if the round's buy period hasn't ended yet.
  • Killing Floor, similarly, gives you dosh for killing Specimens, healing teammates, and surviving waves, though it's a little less blatant about it since periods when you can buy things and when you're killing Specimens are wholly separated.
  • The GTA games are rife with these. In San Andreas, you can earn money from merely performing tricks with a BMX bicycle or jumping around on a motorbike. Collecting all items in a city will earn you weapons which constantly respawn at your hideout, with no explanation as to where they come from.
    • Bully has similar occurrences: beat a nerd's top video game score and a powerful weapon will periodically spawn into your room.
  • Mass Effect 1 has something like this: killing enemies will often earn you an immediate cash reward. While this can be justified as looting the corpses or collecting bounties, there is no justification for receiving money for killing Rachni the outside world does not even know exist. Killing the entirely robotic Geth will sometimes yield medi-gel despite the fact that they obviously have no use for it.
    • Also, in a side-quest, you learn the location of a rogue black ops organization's main base by studying the body of a man they killed in one of their lesser facilities. Why it should bear any clues, rather than the base computer, for example, is left utterly unexplained.
  • Most quest rewards in World of Warcraft are given to you by the person who gave you the quest, or give a useless object with a new quest to take an object to someone who will give you a reward. Occasionally though, they seem to just show up when you collect an object. The simple explanation would the reward is next to the item, but it tends to be completely at odds with other things lying around in the area.
    • The Cataclysm expansion ups the ante on this by implementing "remote turn-in" quests, which you can complete (and often pick up the next quest in the series) without physically traveling back to the questgiver, if there even was one. However, these quests offer the same gold and item rewards as others do. So, basically, you do the thing and your reward literally materializes out of thin air. Only in some cases is it justified by you finding the reward in the world as a result of your actions, and even then fails to explain why you have to choose from among different rewards rather than just taking them all.
      • Parodied with the quest "Once More, With Eeling", where you give yourself a quest to go kill eight more eels, just for the hell of it. After somehow turning in the quest (do you turn it in to yourself, or what?), the monetary reward just appears in your pocket. Did you just give yourself 7 gold? It wasn't there before.
      • In situations where you have a choice among several quest rewards lying on the ground, you can only take one because that's the only one that's actually there.
  • Anarchy Online has mission rewards appearing literally out of nowhere as soon as the mission is complete, even if you are far away from town. This is at least somewhat plausible due to something known as the grid, which can apparently transfer matter around the world in data form. And, of course, you receive credits from every kill, and various wildlife, monsters, and robots can drop armour, weapons, and even precious stones.
    • You receive credits from corpses on Rubi-Ka because ICC, the organisation that governs the planet is paying you bounty for them (tracking you by surveillance satellites or whatever). You don't get credits from corpses in Shadowlands.
  • The Legend of Zelda. If those treasure chests don't count, then nothing does. Though in this case it's also often treasure chests from nowhere.
    • If the treasure chests don't count, then how about the keys that fall out of the sky when you solve a puzzle?
    • Averted in several boss fights where the obligatory Heart Container reward comes out of the skull/stinger/eyeball/insert-body-part-here of the boss's corpse as it explodes, implying that you're taking power FROM your defeated foe.
  • Puzzle Quest largely averts this, though it does sometimes hand you gold from nowhere. Most of the time, however, you are specifically told that you are paid by the mission-giver or search the monster's lair for treasure.
  • In Mega Man Legends, there was a shopping center with a can on the floor and a bakery nearby. You could get free money by kicking the can so it landed behind the bakery's counter. The logical explanation (implied by the text message that appears) is that you're being paid for recycling the can, but this works even when no one is around.
  • Kingdom Hearts II. You get a new keychain and spell for clearing an episode. Though the keychains seem to be made out of memories, and that each keyblade symbolizes the episode. Compare the upgrades from KH2 that all have motifs based on a Disney movie, Final Fantasy character or Kingdom Hearts character to the ones you buy in 358/2 Days which are just generic designs. The spells have no excuse, though.
    • Although Fridge Logic sets in when you realize that, somehow, the Gullwings gave you what is effectively a memory not only physically, but consciously! (When was the last time you said "Here, take this memory, beat up bad guys with it"), especially considering very few people know ANYTHING about how the Keyblade works.
      • Though considering their entire mission in life was collecting memory spheres and they got their powers by 'equipping' the memories of other fighters (while dressing up of course) it does sort of make sense that if *anyone* would know how to hand over memories it would be them
    • Most of the Secret Ansem Reports have no excuse, though.
  • The Disgaea series: Clearing a level gets you prizes from nowhere, based on enemies killed, geoblocks destroyed, and so on.
  • Atlantica Online does this with guild quests, random tasks that reward the guild with points and the one doing it with the usual things. Some quest rewards are also given out of nowhere when you talk to another NPC as the objective (with the NPC in question having no reason at all to reward the player).
  • In Evil Genius you mostly get cash reasonably, by sending henchmen to go steal in the world map. However, if an agent trips a trap that then blasts him into another trap, then into another, etc, money appears out of thin air rewarding you for the combo. Americas Funniest Home Videos? Flattr micro-donations when you share the CCTV footage on your blog? We shall probably never know.
  • The Professor Layton series. How exactly does solving that match-stick puzzle mean to find a piece of a mechanical dog or new tea ingredient?
    • Sometimes the duo quiz each other with riddles, but they still get picarats for solving it.
  • The Randomly Dropped Wargear in the Dawn of War II campaign. This is justified once, when Tarkus discovers a vault containing Terminator armour and the other Space Marines are understandably pissed at the Governor hoarding such rare and powerful Powered Armor, but nothing is mentioned when even stronger versions of said armour can be acquired in subsequent missions.
  • In Neosteam you receive experience points and gold (complete with bouncing coins animation) when your party makes a kill - even if you are not in the same area.
  • A rare non-video game example. In Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor, the currency of Leopards (people with magical powers) is chittim, which falls from the sky when one learns something.
  • In the Fire Emblem games, certain items are collected from foes upon defeat, even if the foe was on the other side of a wall, or on the other side of the whole battlefield.
  • Some activities in Saints Row: The Third, such as power-sliding, give you Respect up until you reach a certain threshold (300 seconds' worth in this case), at which point you are given a larger respect and money bonus for reaching it, and after that point doing it any more results in just cash instead.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas you can find snowglobes to sell Dr. House's robot Jane for considerable amount of caps. However, if you kill House or pick up a snowglobe in an DLC area (most of which you can't leave until you complete) picking the globe up rewards you immediately.

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