WITH WHAT? YOUR BARE HANDS?
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE JUST VANQUISHED A DRAGON WITH YOUR BARE HANDS! (UNBELIEVABLE, ISN'T IT?)Videogame logic is not your everyday logic. Sometimes they allow you to do something suicidally dangerous (or at least utterly pointless) and, far from forcing you to face the consequences of your actions, they reward you for this behavior. This is a Violation of Common Sense; one does not expect to be rewarded for otherwise nonsensical actions. Sometimes this is an unexpected result of Video Game Physics, but just as often it's deliberate solution to a puzzle or a way to collect useful items. As always, Tropes Are Not Bad — a Violation of Common Sense can be entertaining and amusing when well-executed, just as it can be confusing or annoying when not properly set up. Compare and contrast both Press X to Die (where an obviously stupid action has harmful results) and Stupidity Is the Only Option (where the player is forced to do something stupid in order to continue the game). Also compare Moon Logic Puzzle (where the solution to a puzzle makes absolutely no sense from a normal standpoint). Examples of things that make no sense in general (but that we accept because it's a video game) belong in the work's Headscratchers tab or in one of the Acceptable Breaks from Reality subtropes. This trope is not to be confused with Insane Troll Logic. It's also not synonymous with Too Dumb to Live, though there's considerable overlap.
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Video Game Examples:
- Lampshaded in Ōkami at certain points, usually when Amaterasu has to jump down a hole. This is done to the point of Issun claiming that their motto is "Leap before you think." This would be justified by the fact that Ammy is a god, but there are some falls that won't kill you and some that will. Sometimes Issun reciting his motto is the only indication that you won't die if you jump right there.
- At one point in Cave Story, you see Professor Booster in mortal peril, and you have the option to either go help him, or just leave him to his fate. Your decision determines whether he lives or dies from his injuries. Except the results are the opposite of what you would expect: If you go to help, he gives one last speech and then dies; but if you leave him, he recovers on his own and catches up with you later. In fact, the only way to get the best ending is to ignore him. Though it does have a degree of logic to it. There's a busted teleporter at the bottom of the hole he's stuck in, seeing as he teleports to you should you ignore him, it's implied that if you two never meet there, he clings to life and moves around a bit, discovering the teleporter and using it to get to safety and living long enough to upgrade the jetpack. However if you meet him at that time he gives you the jetpack he currently has and dies there thinking he's done all he can do for you. Of course, there's absolutely no way to know this beforehand hence the violation part.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
- There's a part where you're on an oil-covered bridge that is ignited by an archer mook. With no apparent way out, you push a conveniently located crate over to the side of the bridge and jump off into (the almost entirely dry) Lake Hylia below. It's a good thing Link doesn't have to worry about smashing into the surface of the lake.
- In general, the first time Link decides that jumping off a high cliff with a cucco over his head is a good idea.
- Tomb Raider III: During some levels, when triggering boulder traps, you must violate all instinct by sprinting towards the object about to crush Lara before ducking at a small raised step on its path, allowing the boulder to pass over Lara safely.
- Go Vacation has a Golden Key called "Big Ball of Painful Memories,'' which you get by repeatedly violating common sense. It requires you to crash your vehicle into water 50 times, flub a trick 50 times, and, most dauntingly, jump off 4 secret special cliffs. One of which is a two-hundred-foot-tall waterfall.
- An early section in Batman: Arkham Asylum requires you to save a doctor who's trapped in a room whose only exit is into a room full of Joker Toxin. You have to activate the three ventilation fans by hitting their power boxes with your Batarang. The problem? One of those boxes is itself in an enclosed room. The correct solution is to Batarang the rope that one of the Mooks is hanging from, knocking him down through the roof of the room and right into the cloud of poison gas. Even though you're Batman, and Batman never kills. The mook still survives, somehow.
- One of the early puzzles in the original text adventure Colossal Cave is shown at the top of this page. This puzzle is actually much, much harder to any modern gamer than it was at the time, since "With what? Your bare hands?" has become the default response to attempts to kill something without specifying a weapon (it was in Adventure, too, but at least it was new enough there to make players think about it — today, nobody is likely to consider treating it as a real question).
- Several actions the Monkey Island adventure games require you to take are questionable in their wisdom. Over the course of the series, Guybrush has: ridden a rope across a chasm using a rubber chicken (with a pulley in the middle), deliberately mixed medications to put himself in a coma (twice), fired himself out of a cannon (thrice), triggered a volcanic eruption at point-blank range, soaked an irritable undead pirate with root beer, and gotten himself eaten by a giant snake, only to escape in a common-sense violating manner ... Thankfully, the games make it almost impossible to lose, no matter what you do, so the player can experiment without fear. Let's face it, the Monkey Island series was one big Violation Of Common Sense. You're supposed to start the game, solve the first puzzle, realize that common sense just doesn't work in the Monkey Island world, and then gleefully throw all good judgment out the window and just try the most outlandish things you can think of. It's more fun that way.
- The Infocom The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
- To pass one obstacle you first had to remove your common sense in order to be carrying both tea and no tea at the same time (something your common sense tells you can't do).
- You are required to enter in an illegal command at a certain point in the game. As anyone who plays a text game can tell you, normally, you do not want to do that.
- Douglas Adams loves this trope. His adventure game Starship Titanic also has several examples.
- In King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow, the player must cross a boiling pond, defeat a living statue, and cut down an ever-growing hedge, all without a good reason. He ends up on the grounds of a castle. The castle's owner points out that he clearly wanted privacy, and the player character can only suppose that he breaks through traps because it's what he does. The owner's had enough adventures to know how they go, so he sighs and accepts the explanation.
- In the white chamber, you're required to collect a body's worth of loose body parts, without any motivation. Once you have the complete set and assemble them on a hospital bed, the protagonist will remark that she had no idea why she did all that.
- Obsidian mostly takes place in artificial worlds based upon the dreams of the protagonist and her boyfriend. As the game's tagline lampshades: Your rules do not apply here.
- There's also a Christian text adventure called "Keys to the Kingdom" where you have to deliberately try to walk across a river that is trying to block you. At first the game will tell you that you can't go that way, but if you try again, you'll make it across because you had faith (ala Peter walking on water for a bit when Jesus told him he could). Just don't look down!
- The Updated Re-release of Sango Fighter adds the Soldier as a Breakout Mook Character. He has a unique damage table that makes him take no damage from a handful of attacks from other characters. In addition, the game mechanics dictate that he will always take 1 point of damage when he blocks an attack. Hence, on some occasions, he can No Sell the opponent's attack by not blocking the attack and letting it hit him instead.
- Super Smash Bros.:
- Ness and Lucas' PK Thunder attack have them launch a steerable ball of lightning. It can be guided toward opponents and destructible items, or it can be steered into the user, turning them into a human missile that can damage opponents and be used to recover.
- In Melee, Link can use an advanced technique called the "bomb jump." Each character has a recovery move that lets them rise in midair. Link can throw a bomb, then use his recovery move to rise up into it. Why would he do this? Because when the bomb explodes, he takes damage, letting him use the recovery move again.
- Same goes for Snake, if uses his Set-Charges.
- Fighting the Cruel Melee or Brawl? Not good enough at playing hit-and-run (or other defensive) tactics to defeat even one foe fair? Abuse the hyper-aggressive AI by jumping off the stage - the drones will follow, and your character will have a recovery move that will get you back to the platform, but the drones don't unless you're good enough at the mode in Brawl, where you have to fight another character instead of a Fighting Alloy for the 25th opponent.
- Charizard's tail flame is well-known for being the source of its life. If it goes out, Charizard dies. So for some reason, Charizard can swim, his tail flame still drenched.note
- From Blazblue, Amane's Drive attack is all about chip damage from blocking. As in, 'a quarter of your health bar at Level 3 on block' chip damage. Once his Drive reaches Level 3, you can actually take less damage by just letting it hit you.
First Person Shooter
- Unsheathing a knife to run faster. Instead of slicing yourself up, carrying an unshielded blade in your hand while you sprint around lets you go even faster!
- In Counter Strike: Source, at least, if you run around with the less powerful of the two snipers (The "Scout"), you actually move slightly faster (though not by much) than the knife... despite the fact that the 100 rounds of ammo alone should weigh more than the knife. The rifle is obviously much less maneuverable.
- This is parodied in Magicka with the "Knife of Counter-Striking." Carrying it makes you run at double-speed, for no particular reason; but if you run down a flight of stairs with it, you'll trip and injure yourself.
- Left 4 Dead:
- Is a survivor in black and white and will die within the next hit or two, but you don't want to waste a health kit on them because the safe room is right there? Kill them, and they'll come back in the next level with 50 health! Left 4 Dead 2 makes it even dumber by adding the defibrillator, meaning that the best thing to do when one survivor is in black and white, and you find a defibrillator, is to kill the survivor, and then revive him/her with the defibrillator, allowing the survivor to return to 50% health and not lose any of their equipment.
- Mobbed by a swarm of zombies and no place to escape? Get that Molotov out and set yourself on fire! It'll do way less damage to you than they were. Likewise, using the Grenade Launcher if you get swarmed will do some damage to you and clear out the zombies, which can be far better than trying to melee them off and suffer more damage from the attackers.
- The Witch will instantly kill players on Expert and/or Realism mode. However, if someone startles the Witch and they go down before she attacks them, she will then attack the downed survivor for damage and not kill them in one shot. Some people will shoot a player who disturbed the Witch until they are incapacitated so that they won't die instantly from her and the rest of the team can bring her down.
- A player that disturbs the Witch can force themselves to hang from a ledge, which counts as being immobile by the game. Due to this, the Witch will still damage the player, but they won't count as having being knocked down once they're taken off.
- This is standard for the most of the gameplay in Team Fortress 2.
- Apart from Rocket Jumping (available to four of the nine playable classes), you can set allies on fire if you suspect them of being a disguised Spy (which, if they really are teammates after all, doesn't hurt them), hit enemies in melee combat with a handheld grenade and stand still in the middle of battle to regain health by eating a sandwich.
- The grenade one is even lampshaded, saying a sober person would just throw it. Ironically, it's an even bigger Violation of Common Sense than the flamethrower: It's the perfect spy-checker since it will definitely kill the interloper, but who goes around smacking his friends with a pressure-trigger grenade?
- Spy-Checking is also lampshaded in the Meet The Spy video. The BLU Soldier blows the head off of a BLU Spy with a shotgun. When his teammates react with visible shock, he defends himself with "What?! It was obvious! He's the RED Spy!" He then acts confused when the BLU Spy does not turn red after a few seconds. Valve is aware of how shooting at your teammates to find Spies is completely insane - appropriate that they used the most psychotic member of the cast to show us this.
- Several of the cosmetic items of the game would be extremely impractical and/or dangerous to wear in real life, and this is often lampshaded in their descriptions, such as the description for the Head Warmer pointing out that since the Pyro wears it in combination with his gas mask, the combined heat would cause hallucinations and eventual brain death, and the Googol Glass Eyes pointing out that unclean pieces of metal in his eyes would cause serious infection. Then there's the Bunsen Brave which is basically a feather hat made out of a set of flame throwers a bit too close to the wearer's forehead! Logically this should be excruciating to wear due to the metal frame getting too hot.
- In the Half-Life mod They Hunger, there is ammunition for the revolver. In a fire. Jump in and out to collect those six rounds!
- Battlefield 2 has some questionable airplane mechanics:
- Besides ejecting from a jet fighter, you can also get back into the same plane in midair.
- An enemy airplane chasing you can you can't get them off your tail? Simple. Pull your plane into a loop, jump out of a plane at the top of the loop, take out an RPG, shoot the enemy plane, then get back into your plane as the aircraft comes out of the loop.
- Or jump out of your airplane, aim your sniper rifle at his air intake between your legs, shoot him out of his cockpit and steal his airplane as it catches up to you.
- And then if you need to fill an empty seat in a two seater, tell a buddy you are coming to pick him up, dive at him, fly five feet above the ground and zoom at him at 300 MPH. He will either get ready and hit the enter button, comfortably ready to help you destroy your enemies or you get docked for fratricide. If it is the latter, oh well, just tell him to try it again when he respawns. Note that this was an accepted tactic in Battlefield 1942.
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3:
- One of the Face Off downloadable maps, "Vortex", has Delta Force and Spetsnaz fighting over a ranch house while a tornado rages on within viewing distance.
- It gets better for Black Ops II on "Magma", where you fight in Japanese village being ravaged by lava. One would think that this is insane.
- Killing Floor:
- Buddy of yours swarmed by zombies? Eh, toss a grenade in there, it won't even ruffle his lapels as it reduces the zombies to a fine mist. Or, if you're a Firebug, just hose him down with your flamethrower. He'll be fine.
- If he's taken damage from the zombies? Jab him with your Healing Shiv. You'll get money for healing him.
- Best way to deal with those Chainsaw Good Scrakes? Charge at him with a sword, it stunlocks him.
- Borderlands 2:
- Near the end of the main campaign, there's an optional quest where Handsome Jack asks you to off yourself by jumping off a cliff. You can choose to decline by getting counseling from a hotline located on a shack near the cliff and save on the thousand or so dollars you'll be charged to respawn in exchange for more XP, or you can go through with it and get paid 12 Eridium. Jack lampshades this, calling you a sellout if you go through with it.
- Jumping from a ludicrous height, as in contrast to more realistic shooters you take absolutely no damage from the fall. This is lampshaded late-game when Brick suggests you simply jump off the tallest structure in Sawtooth Cauldron to get out of the area faster, and he'll be impressed if you comply. This may well be because in Brick's native game, there was fall damage. He may be genuinely impressed that you landed from that absurd height without issue, while he'd be short a few thousand on respawn fees if he attempted it.
- The gameplay of the Breakout Mook Character Krieg the Psycho is all about playing in ways that are contrary to common sense even for video games. Run headlong into enemies! Set yourself on fire! Don't have your lifesaving energy shields up! Go into melee range against hordes of heavily armed Mecha-Mooks! Carry a gigantic bundle of lit dynamite around with you at all times just in case you want to blow up yourself and everyone around you! His skills and abilities actually encourage this sort of reckless insanity, as he gains more strength the more vulnerable he becomes. Being shot recharges his action skill, shoving a buzzsaw-axe into an enemy's head refills his health, having an empty magazine in his gun causes him to deal more melee damage... the list goes on. Word of God is that they wanted to make him one of the initial four Vault Hunters, but thought his playstyle would turn away more risk-averse players.
- Similar to Krieg, the Love Thumper Shield (which is often paired with him) is this. Having an above average shield capacity for a Rare-level shield, it also boasts an extremely long recharge rate, so high that if it goes down you might as well stay naked. However, it's a Maylay shield, meaning it boosts melee damage when the shields are down. The idea is you tank damage with the shield until you get into face-beating distance, then beat face until everyone is dead.
- The Love Thumper's style is mirrored by the "Flame of the Firehawk" legendary shield, only instead of boosting melee damage, it sets off constant waves of fiery death while it's down. It is also paired with Krieg frequently, especially since Krieg has a skill tree entirely about fire.
- Subverted early in the game where Claptrap suggests that you can get through an electrical barrier if you sprint face-first into it. You quickly learn that colliding into the barrier will stop you cold, but Claptrap suggests you run into it again, leading to Hammerlock telling you not to trust any of Claptrap's ideas.
- Gaige's Ordered Chaos skills follow the same philosophy as Krieg, with vastly different and more mind-shattering execution. Don't ever manually reload! Kill-streaks reduce your accuracy! Keep it going and your gun will literally shoot sideways and/or backwards! Yes this is desirable!
- In one sidequest in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, a reporter asks you to jump with a jump pad and use your slam ability on a basketball hoop. You also get extra credit for doing it while on fire, and there are incendiary barrels around the area provided specifically for this purpose.
- The secret level exit in Doom level Mt. Erebus is contained within an enclosed space that can only be accessed from above - namely, by standing at close range to a particular wall (with a reasonable amount of health left), firing the rocket launcher and propelling your burnt self backwards into the enclosure. There are two Invincibility spheres in the level, mind you.
- In World of Warcraft, a number of quests depend on this.
- One example is that quest in Howling Fjord where you shoot a harpoon off a cliff and over a very cold lake, and ride it like a surfboard into the town below. While it's on fire. The NPC at the bottom lampshades this, pointing out that you're absolutely out of your mind.
- The fast exits from the boss rooms of several dungeons also require leaping off intimidating cliffs or into shafts dropping straight down. Later dungeons add water pits at the bottom to soften the blow. Earlier ones require considerable faith that the fall will merely be massively damaging instead of instantly fatal.
- Blackrock Spire does this best, it has a pitfall that you can jump into and exit the instance. There's one ledge from Upper Blackrock Spire (connected to the Rookery), where the fall would normally kill you, but the loading screen for exiting the instance cancels the fall damage.
- The quest chain before you meet Matthias Lehner has you helping the Argent Crusade infiltrate Icecrown Citadel and ends with you activating highly volatile explosives. When you realize you need to get away from the ensuing explosion (they don't actually go off after you activate them of course) you're encouraged to jump down the shaft in front of you and hope the fall doesn't kill you... not that it does because there's water below.
- Some dubious achievements are awarded for mistakes and other stupid things, which leads to players trying to do these intentionally. These achievements include falling a huge distance without dying, falling a huge distance without dying while drunk, and getting killed by Deathwing.
- There's also a quest in Darkshore which you can only acquire by jumping into a giant whirlpool. And there's nothing in particular about anything in the zone that indicates there might be anything down there except a painful watery death.
- A fair number of boss fights require players to "soak" otherwise avoidable attacks, generally to prevent raid-wide damage. For example, in the fight against Malkorok, after the boss does an Arcing Smash, several swirls will appear, doing damage to any players within them and doing raid-wide damage if they do not have any players within them.
- In Darkshore, leaping into the Maw of the Void from the thousand-foot cliffs above won't cause the gruesome death it should. It will actually lead to a small cave system where a Bonus Boss is. Kill him, and you'll gain a special achievement. And there's even an NPC there who will teleport you to the surface, free of charge.
- In the fight against the Lich King, the best way to deal with the adds was to have the player with Necrotic Plague run over to the Drudge Ghouls, and have it pass between each of the ghouls, killing them in turn, before passing to the Shambling Horror with enough stacks to kill it. Of course, this largely became unnecessary in future expansions, when players had more than enough DPS to kill the adds.
- Player characters in Kingdom of Loathing are insane.
- How would you react if told to "use" a bottle of bubble bath? Easy. Drink it. The game is actually inconsistent about it; when you try this with certain items, the game will in fact call you an idiot for trying to eat them.
- There actually is one drink (the world's most unappetizing beverage) whose intended purpose is to make you 'Literally Insane' ... since only someone literally insane would deliberately drink their own hair dissolved in depilatory cream.
- The game does have the advantage of being consistent. If it's bubbly - or fizzy, or the like, then it'll let you recover MP. This does become rather insane, though, when one's snorting beer-soaked teddy bears.
- City of Heroes has a rather interesting instance of this- in one game event, Rikti (evil alien) ships fly over the city, bombing the hell out of it. It's brutally difficult, but just barely possible to kill the bombers. Only thing is, that doesn't give you anything (other than a fairly spectacular lightshow), and what you're actually supposed to do for the event is to hunt down bombs that failed to detonate on impact. And then beat them to death with your bare hands (or whatever weapon your hero favours).
- In Mabinogi you can mine sulfur ore and fossils from the sulfur pits in Zardine. If you stay too long you'll get sulfur poisoning which will take your health down past "Deadly". Common sense would tell you to leave before this happens, but if you stay long enough for it to happen you'll get a title for it.
- In The Lord of the Rings Online you receive the "Unwise" title for eating barrow-brie, which poisons your character so severely you'd need to use healing skills like crazy in order to stay alive.
- In Elsword one title requires you to drown just to discover it.
- In Dragon Nest you can get titles for accomplishing certain achievements which can provide you with some extra stats. One title requires you to collect 8 other seemingly pathetic titles that provide no stats whatsoever. To get them, you'll have to kill a goblin you're supposed to protect, get killed by a hound, get run over by a minotaur, get killed by a stone thrown by a blue goblin (whose aim is so bad you actually have to run into the little pebble yourself, get killed by an ogre boss, get killed by hounds again and lastly, get killed by an orc challenger who is afraid to even actually hit you, especially if you're a little higher levelled. And after all this, what do you get? One of the best -if not the best- titles you can get in the game; providing you with 20-25 stats and 40 damage and magic attack!
- Star Wars: The Old Republic:
- In the boss battle against Project Sav-Rak, the players face him on a platform suspended high above lava. Bad enough, but he also utilizes a Shockwave Stomp that sends players flying, possibly over the edge. So the only safe place? Right where he lands! How far you go flying is based on how far away you are from his impact point. Letting a two-story tall fifty-ton mutant land on you will result in 94% less being dead than staying as far away as humanly possible.
- On Tatooine, you can obtain the title "Worm Food" for offing yourself in the sarlacc pit.
- PlanetSide 2:
- The socially accepted way to ask for a lift in a friendly vehicle is to shoot it. In a game where Friendly Fireproof is most certainly not in effect. The reasoning behind this is small arms do Scratch Damage to vehicles (Sunderers and Galaxies, which are the most common targets, are outright immune), and it lets the driver know that it's him specifically you're trying to catch, whereas the "I need a ride!" voice command could be address to anybody in the general area, so most people ignore it.
- The best way to take out enemy vehicles for most classes is to run or jetpack (as Light Assault) right next to it, toss C4 explosives and often get yourself killed in the process (you have to be quick about using the detonator before you get gunned down or run over).
- In Mafia games, such as Town of Salem, the sheer level of I Know You Know I Know Metagame leads to behaviors that look ridiculous at first glance:
- Almost all roles would try their best to not act suspicious so as to not get lynched in the day. The Jester however, should try to act as suspicious as possible so that he will be lynched- for getting lynched is his win condition.
- If your role is a useful one for the town, you might want to deliberately act a little bit suspicious, not enough to actually get lynched, but enough that the Mafia decide they can easily turn the town against you, and so use their night kill on someone else.
- Ordinary townies with no special power want to do their best to get the Mafia to kill them at night, because this is effectively Taking the Bullet for power roles.
- The Waluigi Island board in Mario Party 3has a loop area in one of the corners where every space is the same and the effect of that space (Game Guy, Item game, Chance Time etc.) changes every turn. As demonstrated by Brainscratch Commentaries, with a decent bit of luck it is possible to win by looping constantly around this area and using effects like Bowser, Chance Time and Duels to constantly screw with other players (although it helps if you have the Bonus Stars turned on).
- The Super Mario Bros. series has quite a few examples of ridiculous things being necessary to grab coins or other goodies, ranging from jumping off the top of a mountain to leaping into a volcano or allowing yourself to sink into quicksand.
- One particularly excellent example occurs in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. After Luigi obtains the power to create electricity from his hands, you open a warp pipe leading to the bottom of the ocean. In order to proceed, you have to give power to a conductive object. Underwater. The game doesn't seem to have any problem with this. Nor with Mario setting things on fire while underwater.
- In Super Mario Galaxy, what do you have to do to get the last two purple coins in the Freezeflame Galaxy Purple Coin mission? Apparently, you have to do a long jump off the summit of a mountain to some conveniently placed columns a good hundred meters below. Considering the sheer amount of black holes and instant death pits around the rest of the mountain, this is more than a little suspect, even when the Toad at the summit actually encourages you to jump.
- In Super Mario Galaxy 2, several hidden stars require you to make suicidal leaps of faith. For example, one hidden star in the last stage of World 1 has you jumping into lava, causing Mario to bounce high enough to reach it.
- In 3D Mario games, the best way to avoid falling damage is to do a Ground Pound, which makes you fall even faster. It happens because the Ground Pound pauses your momentum but still.
- Super Mario Sunshine takes this a step further - Fall far enough while in Ground Pound stance and Mario will catch fire, similar to a spacecraft undergoing atmosphere re-entry. Some buttons have a flame symbol on them, and are activated by being hit by on-fire Ground Pounding Mario.
- Super Mario 64 has Mario slowly lose life while underwater for long periods of time, then have it restored to its full level when he surfaces. This causes a rather fun loophole where the best cure to being beaten to a pulp is to dive underwater for about a second, then surface, where Mario will gain all his health back from said beating. (Future games in the series fixed this loophole by adding a separate 'air' meter.)
- In Super Mario Bros. 2, Toad moves faster when carrying enemies, even ones as big as he is.
- In Super Mario World, it's possible to beat Big Boos (towering ghosts that are at least 5 times bigger than Mario and normally immune to most things he can do) by making Mario slide down a set of stairs into them (never mind the physical impossibility of sliding down steps).
- In the otherwise somewhat-kinda realistic alien shooter Contra III, what's the best way to destroy a giant flying alien ship? Chase it with motorcycles, and then cling to a cruise missile that's heading for the ship! And then leap from missile to missile in the salvo as they impact uselessly on the alien's shield. Considering that you've mostly been running along the ground, climbing walls, and riding tanks so far, it's an unusually... brazen choice of attack.
- In the Treasure game Mischief Makers, you fight the wolf-man Lunar twice. The first time is very normal, but for the second one he's riding his transformable cerberus bike. Your solution: ride a cat. This is further improved by the fact that said cat can jump on Lunar's missiles, riding them like flying surfboards. Go Reality! In that game, you're generally encouraged to grab things which are fired at you... bullets, missiles, even huge sustained blasts from laser cannons... and throw them back.
- Wario makes Guybrush look sane in his absolutely hilarious violations of common sense. These range from setting himself on fire to destroy obstacles in his path, getting crushed to the point of being flattened to go through tiny spaces, being stung by bees to float to higher places... Though it helps in two of the games that Wario is invincible throughout both games.
- Ristar has to do the following in the first stage of Planet Sonata - carry large blue metronomes through elaborate puzzles, in order to then throw them at the giant sleeping bird found after each puzzle, waking it up and causing it to fly out of his way and sing part of the stage's theme. Wait what?
- Many of the levels in N force you to do this to pass a deadly trap by running full-tilt into another, or using a deadly trap as a lift.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Wacky Workbench contains some large gray blocks in narrow corridors that slowly descend, then quickly slam against the ceiling. These do not crush you, as similar objects in other Sonic games (and later in the same game) do, and are not only completely harmless, but useful: Letting them push against the ceiling will drop you into an area below. It's even necessary to use one to reach the Robotizer in Zone 1.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog 1, pressing forward while running faster than usual (usually after being launched by a spring) will reduce your speed. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic CD fixed this for the most part, but the air speed cap meant that it still happened on air. It wasn't until Sonic 3 & Knuckles that the problem was corrected.
- In Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, one of the parts you can attach to your vehicle is a sail that lets you move around (slowly) without fuel (or wind, for that matter). The nonsensical part is that the sails work like jets, providing drive force no matter what direction they're facing. So when you point the sails face-up like wings so that the drive force pushes you up, you can turn your slow-as-molasses car into a cheap, perpetual flying machine.
- The Donkey Kong Country games have a lot of this - you often find secret areas by jumping into bottomless pits or other improbable places.
- The second stage of Pepsiman has the titular hero being told about a bunch of people trapped on the roof of a burning building. His mission is now to deliver them Pepsi. Instead of, you know, rescuing them.
- In Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, some of the gems require you to fall down what appear to be the usual bottomless pits...with no indication which pits to fall into or that you even should in the first place.
- In Cactus McCoy holding a chicken over your head somehow makes you magically capable of performing formerly-impossible jumps. Of course, this happens to be a game where enemies are just as likely to attack you with banjos or tumbleweeds as they are to use something sensible like a pistol or a crowbar, so...
- Mondo Medicals, full stop. As Madam Luna pointed out, this is a game that doesn't so much encourage you to think outside the box as encourage you to do the exact opposite of what it tells you to do. The very first level involves turning around and going the opposite direction that the arrows on the floor are pointing.
- Tetris traditionally awards a substantial amount of points on a Tetris and levels you up every 10 lines, and additionally making Tetrises gives you substantially more points per line than lesser line clears, so the obvious strategy is to make tons of Tetrises, or at least multi-line clears. However, modern Tetris games in Marathon mode, most likely by poor design, flip this entire concept on its head. Marathon mode uses a "goal" system where instead of a level up every 10 lines, you gain "Goal" points by clearing lines, leveling up when you drain the remaining Goal point counter to 0, with the proportion of Goal points to lines cleared increasing the more lines you clear at once (a Single is worth 1 Goal point, while a Tetris is worth eight), and additionally the game offers bonuses for consecutive pieces that clear out lines. This results in an environment where the best way to score is to make combos of single-line clears most of the time, because if you make Tetrises regularly, that will actually hurt your score.
Real Time Strategy
- Denying, the killing of your own troops to reduce the gold and experience available to your enemies, is a vital gameplay element in Defense of the Ancients. Never mind that even for Neidermeyers or General Rippers par excellence, We Have Reserves is one thing, outright killing your own troops yourself is another.
- In The Battle for Middle-Earth, as production buildings leveled up from experience (earned from making units), had to be high level to make top tier units, and had a very low headcount limit. It was required to send waves upon waves of your lower level units repeatedly to their deaths. Ironically, this was especially necessary for Gondor, which relied heavily on its high level units, and less so for the forces of evil, which functioned on a We Have Reserves basis. Some missions had secondary tasks that involved giving several of your units a certain upgrade. The problem stems if you happen to be far too successful in keeping your units alive and carry them over from the previous mission. If they all happen to already have that upgrade, and you can't train any more units due to the Arbitrary Headcount Limit, then you have to send your experienced, upgraded units to die just to complete that secondary task.
- Starcraft II: Units now have individual responses when attacked if they're not on-camera. Egon's is a particularly hilarious and panicky "Game over man, game over! Done, I don't wanna play anymore!", since he has no attack whatsoever. SCVs, if told to attack, get lines like "This is your plan?", "This is crazy!" and "What, you run out of Marines?".
- Warcraft III's peasant is quite realistic about his chances in combat, with lines like "No-one else available..." and "That's it, I'm dead." Amusingly, he still uses those lines when ordered to take up arms as Militia. Said militiamen are while still low-hp, well armored and have a fair attack.
- In League of Legends, Karthus' passive ability causes him to enter a state upon dying for seven seconds where he is untargetable, his (wide) Area of Effect ability is constantly on and all his other spells can be cast with no mana cost or cast times. Sometimes running straight into a crowd of enemies and dying is the best way for Karthus to contribute to a teamfight.
- One of the more prominent Metagame tactics in Rock Band and Guitar Hero (as well as earlier Harmonix games like Frequency and Amplitude) is called "Squeezing", where hitting notes just before they're supposed to be played, but still within the timing window, allows you to "squeeze" more notes into a bonus multiplier. Yes, playing slightly off-rhythm in a rhythm game gives you a better score.
- In the arcade versions of Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA and its Playstation 4 port, some notes are marked as "hold notes", where holding down the button after hitting it will earn you points continuously until it reaches a certain value, which will then award you with lots of bonus points. Of course, you can't hit notes with that button while you're holding it down, so if the same button is needed before reaching the maximum hold score, you'll have to choose between keeping the hold and breaking your combo, or dropping the hold to hit the note. Surprisingly, the best choice may sometimes be to let your combo break and keep the hold, as the bonus points from maxing out the hold may be worth more than the notes you'll miss. This means that getting the highest possible score on a song is mutually exclusive with getting a perfect combo.
- Dwarf Fortress:
- Dwarves can survive having their skin and fat boiled off. Once they recover, they become mostly immune to fire.
- At least one Let's Play, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Zombie Troll, made a Running Gag out of bizarre contradictions of reality like this; apparently, things like being able to transport magma with wooden pumps, create perpetual motion machines, and store an infinite amount of stuff on one tile are all innovations developed by their slightly unhinged leader because it doesn't even occur to her that it's a bad idea.
- Elona, being what seems to be a kitbash of Ancient Domains of Mystery and The Elder Scrolls with anachronistic tech, has many occurrences, from randomly generated quests to the 'solutions' to many seemingly mundane problems and enemies.
- Dyes have so many uses... Also, if impregnated by an alien, you drink poison/dye to kill the child in your belly. Considering they attack with acid there's no indication something that simple will work.
- The best non-cheating way to clear out respawning monsters in a city? Nuke it. If something is vulnerable to fire, one may also bring their pet next to hit then feed it molotovs, as a thrown molotov's fire will count as an 'attack' if any friendlies step on it. Having your pet burst into flames which consume the entire city, however, doesn't affect your karma in the least.
- Nuking a city whose population is infected with chestbursting aliens makes (horrible) sense.
- Increasing your karma decreases your taxes. Want to double your maximum karma? Repeatedly murder the little girl named "Gwen the Innocent", and she'll eventually drop the necessary rare item. Don't worry, murdering an innocent little girl has no impact on your karma.
- Reading certain scrolls while confused actually has a good effect. Similarly, certain scrolls and potions have useful effects if used while they're cursed.
- If you want to get rid of a metal ball which has been chained to your leg, it used to be a good idea to bury the metal ball. Instead of chaining you to the spot where it was buried, the chain would come loose. However, a new version (3.6.0) was released where this no longer works; you really do end up chained to the spot.
- Slash Em Extended has wooden getas that can be swung at monsters, dealing more damage than a freaking heavy hammer. Also, it's possible to bash open a locked chest or door with a soft leather sneaker, and the player character can throw torpedoes at monsters for a great amount of damage.
Role Playing Game
- In Fallout 3, just about every single thing Moira Brown asks you to do, from relatively minor things like collecting books from a library that happens to be crawling with raiders to insane things like intentionally breaking your bones and poisoning yourself with radiation! Especially as the stated reward is...a copy of a book explaining how to survive in the Wasteland without doing any of those things. Seems like it would be simpler to just write 'Don't do anything Moira asks' on a piece of paper and follow that advice. (You do get some [potentially quite good] bonuses, at the end, though, but you don't know that in advance.)
Ultimately though, her book, The Wasteland Survival Guide, becomes a Survival skill book in Fallout: New Vegas. It's not only very helpful, it was popular enough to be mass-published and make it to the west coast. Ultimately, the trope is played out but to benefit of all mankind, ghouls and super mutants.
In fact, if you go the extra mile and get Moira the comprehensive data by really putting yourself in harm's way (e.g. severe radiation sickness), you not only stand to get the most rewards from that very fun questline, but a thankful wanderer practically worships at your feet for your part in writing what he considers a sacred scripture that led to him learning how to find adequate food, water, shelter, etc. to not only survive in the wasteland, but to really have a chance at living. Moments like this make you feel like you really earned that Messiah status on your Karma meter.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, all melee attacks are completely silent, making for excellent stealth kills. This includes the Chainsaw, the Ripper (a chainsaw-knife) and the Ballistic Fist, basically a shotgun strapped to your wrist you activate by punching people.
- Numerous Final Fantasy games have an ability that makes your characters' attacks heal their target. While this would hurt undead, for what reason would you do this? Free heals as you club your own party members over the head and hit them, of course! The main reason for this, though, is the "Reflect" magic. If an ally or enemy has Reflect cast on them, any magic will bounce off them and attack the opponents instead. Reflect only works once, though, so a popular strategy is to cast reflect on party members and enemies as well, then use healing magic on enemies and attack magic on allies, which will respectively bounce off to heal/attack the proper target.
- In Final Fantasy II, what is the most efficient way to level up your party members' stats? Why, beating up your own party members. Of course!
- In Final Fantasy VI, after your party splits up into 3 groups, the only way to advance in Sabin's part of the story is to jump down a waterfall. The game even Lampshades this, since the menu option if you're not ready to advance is "You crazy!?" (Which is also likely a Shout-Out to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)
- Final Fantasy VIII:
- At the D-District Prison, when Squall is being tortured for information he does not actually have, the player is given the choice between "I'll lie... I must live..." and "Just let me die...". Choosing the latter causes some friendly monsters to help you out later on, while you get nothing for lying.
- The chances of being able to perform a Limit Break, as well as the strength of these Limit Breaks, is dependent on how much danger your characters are in. The more danger, the better. Clever players will realize this and invoke the hidden power of Squall and Co. by having them be beaten to within an inch of their life; as long as they never stop to heal their life-threatening wounds, they can easily use these god-tier attacks once per turn. Even casting the Aura spell, which allows players to use Limit Breaks just as frequently without being put in mortal peril, is not enough to dissuade this tactic. In fact, characters with Aura and low health will be able to unleash their most powerful Limit Break variations every time. Goodbye difficulty, goodbye common sense!
- Don't get any XP at all. Don't kill those monsters! What are you doing? The higher your level goes, the harder the game gets! You can just turn all your enemies into cards and spend all your time playing the card minigame. You don't even get money from fighting anymore. You're on a salary! Breeze through the whole game!
- In order to advance the Queen of Cards quest for Triple Triad, it is necessary to lose specific rare cards to the Queen.
- Final Fantasy X:
- The game's summons have their stats almost directly proportional to Yuna's stats, making it completely logical to raise the party's white mage strength stat.
- Dodging lightning strikes on the Thunder Plains. At first, it seems like it's just a way to avoid being annoyingly inconvenienced from being knocked back while traveling through there. In reality, the game expects you to dodge 200 consecutive lightning strikes in a row in order to fully unlock Lulu's Ultimate Weapon.
- Final Fantasy XIII:
- There are certain bosses and hunt marks with obvious long wind-ups to extremely powerful attacks. Seems like the obvious answer then, is to activate a defensive paradigm so your party can defend and heal up. Right? Sure, in some cases, and it is indeed a safer bet. However, if you want a 5-Star rating from the battle, and thus better chances of getting better quality items, this is instead the point in which you throw caution to the wind, and go all out, filling the Stagger gauge to full and increasing the bonus damage to maximum. In a few of these cases, this also stuns the enemy, stopping their attack.
- A specific example of this trope in XIII is the first fight with Barthandelus when he uses his strongest attack, Destrudo which can easily KO characters, a player will likely instinctively switch to a defensive paradigm to mitigate the damage, however if you quickly raise his stagger gauge enough by using an offensive paradigm first, Barthandelus will clearly groan and Destrudo will inflict much less damage. It doesn't just easily kill characters, it WILL kill a maxed out party of three sentinels(read: Tanks), all using protect with any defense buffs and the best possible equipment, because that's just what it does.
- In Jeanne d'Arc, Marcel or Bellatrix can learn an ability that heals someone...by shooting them with an arrow. What makes this a violation of common sense is that normally, you'd expect to want to avoid any arrow coming at you, not standing in the path of an arrow from your own ally and hope it's going to be a healing arrow.
- In the second Golden Sun, acquiring one of the Djinn requires jumping off the edge of the world. Thankfully, you can only jump off where there is a ledge below.
- In the first game, in order to progress through the Altin Mines, you have to hit a wall with the Force Psynergy for no reason other than a nearby sign telling you not to. The result is a giant boulder falling out of nowhere and chasing Isaac down the passageway. If you managed to get to the Altin Mines without Force through Sequence Breaking, one of your party members will actually kick the wall down in frustration, with the same effect.
- Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. After reclaiming one of the seven pieces of Star Road, you are met by the "townspeople", who turn out to be agents of Smithy in disguise and demand you give the Star Road piece to them. Saying "Get serious!" to their demands results in them tortur—okay, tickling, the town's elder, who's holed up in a shack with the rest of the real townsfolk. You then have to fight a second boss battle to get it back. It ends up being a case of But Thou Must!, and the real townsfolk share their unhappiness with you later should you continue answering negatively. However, the reason it counts as a Violation of Common Sense? If you willingly give up the star you are rewarded handsomely by the elder; allow the people to be "tortured" five or more times, and the elder shows his displeasure by "rewarding" you with a single coin.
- Ein has the opportunity to do many stupid things in Riviera. One of the more notable? Stick your hand in a blazing (blue) torch! Multiple times! What do you get for being an idiot? Why, increased stats of course.
- The Elder Scrolls
- Morrowind has a Tribunal Temple quest which requires that you drown yourself. (You'll be just fine, however, as it was a test of faith.)
- Oblivion has Molag Bal's Daedric quest. In it, he tells you to corrupt a man by provoking him into killing you with a cursed weapon, and he'll reward you by giving you his legendary mace. As an added bonus, he states that he'll probably stop you from actually dying in the process. You can choose to actually do this, which might not be all that bright, or to mess it up, and thus irritate what is essentially the God of Domination and Rape, which could invoke any number of horrible fates. (Given the reputation he has, you have probably invoked this trope from the moment you put yourself in a position to be asked...)
- Learning the properties of alchemy ingredients consists of you eating said ingredients you gather from the wild. While a few are strange but doable such as wildflowers and raw birds eggs, some are flat out dangerous such as Nightshade and others are just absurd. The Dragonborn can apparently chow down on deer antlers, bear claws, saber cat teeth and the parts of ghosts/ethereal beings whole and raw with the only possible consequence being the loss of an atom of health/magic/stamina.
- There's a particular waterfall by the name of Bard's Leap, and if you take a dive off the ledge and survive, a ghost will pop up and commend you for pulling it off, rewarding you with a free boost in Speech.
- In the quest "Blood On The Ice", you might think it's a bad idea to sell the Strange Amulet to Calixto, considering it's evidence in a murder investigation. However, this is the only way to turn the amulet into the more useful Necromancer Amulet.
- It makes some kind of sense, in the game universe, that you can increase your Restoration-magic skill by doing something that hurts you, like jumping up and down in a blacksmiths' forge, and casting healing spells to keep yourself alive. Jumping up and down in a red-hot forge also, however, slowly increases your skill in Destruction magic. Figure that one out. (Well, you're gaining intimate familiarity with fire and how it causes damage.)
- One of the quests in Neverwinter Nights presents you with an altar that supposedly leads you to the spirit world. How do you get across? Stab yourself in the heart! Also, there's a skeleton on the altar. Also, there's no clue on how you get back.
- Persona 4 rewards you with stat bonuses for eating some rather... suspect things from the fridge. For what it's worth, the stat it boosts is courage. Not that this explains why it would even occur to the main character to eat Nanako's science project, which was a container of dirt with grass growing on it. Fortunately, the worst it does to you is send you to bed early for the day.
- In order to unlock the choice of whether to romance Naoto, you must say "I'm glad you're a girl," a choice that doesn't improve your Relationship Values with her (by contrast, "Your gender doesn't matter" does), which initially gives the impression that Naoto didn't like to hear this.
- Digital Devil Saga has a bonus boss with an attack that will always hit and is impossible to survive the attack. Unless you use Cielo, you have Null Sleep (which makes him invincible so long as he is asleep and is put to sleep.) and put him to sleep. This is the only way to survive a Gaea's Rage attack.
- Tales of Graces: In order to use Blue Earth? You have to make the Fodra Queen chain seven of the Maxwell extensions on you, typically something for overkill when you use it. If you do it right, you'll have several hundred thousand points of damage accumulated on your characters, so if you mess up, you get a game over. Then you counter with Blue Earth and end the battle. Now why on earth would you want to goad the boss into chaining SEVEN mystic artes on you when only one deals enough damage as is? To be fair, this is an Easter Egg rather than something required.
- In Final Fantasy IV, the first fight against Rubicante. His title is the Fiend of Fire, he's red and wears all red, and his special attacks are all fire-based. Sounds like he'd be healed by fire attacks, right? Well, they do... but since he believes in a fair fight, he'll turn around and heal you if you cast even the weakest Fire spell on him. Common sense goes right out the window, however, when he puts his Cloak of Flame up - because rather than give him immunity to ice in addition to absorbing fire, it flips his elemental affinities, and the Fiend of Fire somehow becomes weak to his own element.
- And in yet another, even more blatant schmuck bait example, if you give in to attacking the Tricker goblin with lightning, what with it constantly telling you how it's weak against lightning, it will then respond by casting Haste on itself, and then repeatedly fry your party with Lit 3 over and over and over until either you or it is dead.
- Fable III: The Sunset House quest begins when you walk into the mansion, see a skeleton hanging by a chain from the ceiling, and find a note warning the reader that if they are, in fact, reading this note, then the house came back from being burnt to the ground and that it's possessed by a purely evil and malicious entity. The note implores: "Whatever you do, do not sleep here. You've been warned." Well then. Clearly the only sane course of action here is to render yourself defenseless by taking a nap on the bed that's surrounded by flames and giant, creepy dolls while an eerie music box plays in the background. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
- OFF has you climbing a huge smokestack at least three screens tall, then jumping inside. While it's still spouting smoke, mind you. Luckily, the Batter seems to be immune to sudden stops.
- When your house is completely on fire in TheMirrorLied, what are you supposed to do? Go upstairs and sleep in your bed!
- Getting to Three Sage Summit in Xenoblade. Run down a huge ice slide, up a ramp of ice and jump to fling yourself across a gigantic chasm at tremendous speed, straight into a wall. Surely you go splat? Nope, the wall is climbable, so if you got the timing down, you latch on with no problem and can slowly climb upwards.
- Some of the achievements require this too, such as "Terminal Velocity", which requires you to fall to your death. You might quickly learn how much Death Is a Slap on the Wrist in this game. Another requires you to win in battle without doing anything, and yet another requires you to die 50 times.
- Recruiting Glenn in Chrono Cross compounds this and Guide Dang It. He's probably one of the best characters in the game and has plot significance if you recruit him. To get him, you have to choose not to save Kid in what looks like a But Thou Must moment. (Fortunately, she recovers either way, but you still might feel like a jerk.)
- Undertale relishes in this trope so much you have to wonder if the creator was a Cactus fan (among other reasons). For starters, it's an RPG where you can win every battle without attacking anyone, but they spelled that out in the marketing text and it's the game's major selling point. Beyond that, though...
- The fight with Toriel: You have to keep hitting Spare until she takes pity on you and gives up; this will invariably whittle you down to your last HP, at which point her attacks deliberately evade you even if you try to steer into them.
- The fight with Papyrus: You can get him to spare you by surviving all his attacks, but he will decide to no longer try to fight you if you lose to him a few times.
- Multiple lesser enemies expect you to persist in doing something that didn't seem to help the first time, like having a flex-off against Aaron.
- Undyne cannot be defeated nonlethally at all; you have to run away once the option opens up. This despite the game treating the "Flee" option as "give up" in every other case. Though Undyne is the only Boss Battle that has a "Flee" option.
- If you try to spare Sans, his response to this display of last-second mercy is to hit you with a completely unavoidable attack that instantly kills you. Then again, if you're fighting Sans, you're deep into the Genocide path and you totally deserve to get dunked on.
- In order to get a happy ending, the player has to get through the entire game without killing anyone - and they do have be very careful, as some enemies can die when attacked at certain stages of their battles, and a single death ( except for Asgore and Flowey) is enough to miss out on the happy ending. Naturally, many players decide not to attack anyone. This strategy works fine for most of the game, but both Asgore and Omega Flowey require being fought in order to be defeated.
- At the end of a Neutral run in which you've spared everyone thus far, you are presented with a choice - kill or spare Flowey. After his intitial attempt to kill the protagonist, [[spoiler: destroying Asgore's soul and planning to use his universal reset powers in order to painfully kill the player again and again. He says that killing him is the only way, that he didn't learn anything and if the player spares him, he would kill them and everyone that they love.]] Choice seems pretty obvious, right? Wrong! Flowey will tell you how to get the best ending, and unless you know how to do so yourself, killing him is a bad move.
- At first, wasting a ton of money to send a random monster to college doesn't seem to be a sensible decision. However, this allows said monster to sell you one of the best armor items available in the game. On top of that, the cost of said armor decreases with every death, which means that dying a bunch of times can make the game significantly easier.
- In Torment: Tides of Numenera, every companion who isn't a total Cloudcuckoolander will point out that taking Rhin, a child no older than twelve with no combat abilities and only a slight magical edge in stealth, on your adventures through the most vile and terrifying Eldritch Locations in the Ninth World is an awful idea, both practically and morally. Even otherwise back-stabbing or sociopathic ones are incredulous and a bit appalled by the irresponsibility. Eventually, you'll find a way to return her to her beautiful, peaceful homeland... but only after dragging her through a legion of horrific wretched hives and cursed lands, possibly even literally To Hell and Back.
- For most RPG players, common sense dictates that one shouldn't bother using instant death inflicting skills on most bosses, let alone the Final Boss, thanks to Contractual Boss Immunity. In Nocturne: Rebirth, casting the strongest instant death skill on the Final Boss certainly won't kill either of them in one hit, but it will get rid of their really annoying Illusory Barrier, stun their caster for a turn, and make the rest of the battle much easier to win.
- In Dark Souls II, there in an optional New Game+ fight against two Pursuers at once. This obviously very difficult battle can be made much more manageable by simply... letting one of the Pursuers get you with his powerful Curse-inflicting grab attack. Assuming you have enough health to survive it, the animation for this attack is long enough to make the other Pursuer think you've left the room, so he will disappear. You can then fight the remaining Pursuer one-on-one, then rest at a bonfire and come back to fight the other one.
Shoot Em Up
- How do you beat Battle Garegga on one credit? By refusing to pick up Power Ups on occasion and worse, dying on purpose. A lot. To elaborate, the game has a rank system that continously increases with actions such as firing and collecting powerups, and the only way to lower the rank is to die. Fortunately, the game hands out extra lives every 1 million points (by default); learning the various scoring tricks is the key to having enough extra lives to sacrifice in order to keep the rank from reaching Unwinnable by Design levels. To put it simply: you die regularly in order to avoid dying too much later.
- Ace Combat is either in love with Airstrike Impossible missions or owes the trope money. There's at least one a game, and nearly always compounded by things other than the dam/ravine/tunnel walls to crash into trying to splash you.
- The hunt for aces and parts in Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception uses this too. Rush through an area filled with Instant Death Radius radar coverage circles on full afterburner? Ignore Xbox-huge Frickin' Laser Beams to go dogfight with enemy pilots? Why the hell not?!
- Ace Combat: Assault Horizon: In Dubai, it's possible to engage an enemy plane in Dog Fight Mode, which will lead you through the arch of the Atlantis The Palm hotel. We're talking about an archway that is only a few feet wider than the wingspan of your average fighter jet. This rewards you with the appropriately titled "Checking In" achievement, but your wingman Guts will call you out on it. It would have easier and safer to just fly right above the hotel to continue the chase instead.
- Also, one of the best ways to force a pursuer to shoot past you is to intentionally stall your own aircraft; this relies on aircraft being much easier to recover from a stall than real life.
- Air Force Delta takes it above and beyond, due to taking the basic Ace Combat mechanic and injecting it full of Nintendo Hard situations. The most notorious seems to be a Shout-Out to UN Area 88 as it is a dogfight both inside and outside a CAVERN buried deep in a mountain. All the mission targets are inside the mountain, but at least there's no instant-SAM-locks outside. However, you will run out of time attempting to draw everyone out one at a time. Thank goodness the unfinished weapon hanging from the ceiling doesn't move, at least.
- In Pharaoh you are tasked with designing towns in ancient Egypt. The basics involve marking certain areas for housing (which causes immigrants to appear and settle automatically) and providing amenities such as food, pottery, entertainment and so on to increase the happiness of your population. Most levels have objectives to build a sufficiently impressive monument or pyramid and to stockpile/trade certain resources along with targets for either population or happiness. If the game gives you a target for population but not happiness then once the other objectives are complete you can simply create massive, infrastructure-free slums that contribute nothing to your city but that automatically fill up with bodies to push you over the population limit. The inhabitants will be living wretched, pointless lives but at least they push your numbers up. The flip side is when the game asks for a high average happiness level. You could provide much-needed infrastructure to help your population... or you could start demolishing, starting from the poorest houses and working your way up, effectively kicking the sad people out of your city and therefore raising the average level of satisfaction.
- Ditto stunts in the SSX series of snowboarding games, many of which require detaching the board and reattaching it in midair.
- The king of implausible stunts is the Guillotine. You not only take the board off, you make it spin around your neck.
- In EA Sports' NHL Hockey series, online games use an accelerated clock. However, to emphasize penalties, the clock winds slower when a team is on the power play. So, for a team that is losing in the final minutes, it is to their advantage to have a less offensively-inclined player commit an intentional foul. This not only gives you more time to even the score but it allows the shorthanded team to leave a cherry picking forward up ice without fear of accidentally icing the puck.
- In Blood Bowl, if you get the "blitz" kick off event, it is entirely possible for the person who kick the ball to run over where the ball will land, and catch it.
Stealth Based Game
- Assassin's Creed has leaps of faith as part of its overall Le Parkour aspects. What this means is to get up somewhere really high and jump off into an inexplicably lifesaving pile of hay. And yes, you're rewarded for this nigh-suicidal behavior.
- As Brotherhood shows us, performing a leap of faith is part of becoming an Assassin. Ezio even makes his sister do it, who has never been trained to do this.
- In the second game in the series your 'health' does not regenerate. The sane solution is to go out of your way to find a doctor and pay him to patch you up. However, if your character dies at any point then you will respawn in more or less the same place with full health and suffer no penalties whatsoever. Therefore the quickest and cheapest method of getting your health back is to get yourself killed.
- In Black Flag, you have the option of battling legendary ships, which are ships that spawn in each corner of the world and are much tougher than the other ships you can battle. One of these fights, in the northeast corner, pits you up against two ships, so naturally, on their own they are much easier. Well, if you kill one, you get 10,000 Reales. If you die, you just start the fight over... with all that money. Which means the best method to grind for money and supplies is to get yourself killed by the same ship over and over.
- In Hitman: Codename 47, the tutorial level required the player to take down a guard and use his uniform as a disguise. It seemed reasonable to assume that shooting him would spill blood on said uniform and render it useless as a disguise, plus one still had a garrote in the inventory. It seemed that it was best to attempt to sneak up on the guard and kill him without spilling blood, but he would always discover the player character and disable him with a taser. Turned out, you were just supposed to shoot him, and wear the mysteriously spotless uniform as a disguise.
- Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. You are a martial arts expert. How do you avoid being choked to death by a wrinkled old doctor? If you guessed "getting out your Remote-Controlled Missiles and shooting them around yourself so that they hit the person choking you" or "Step on a mine because that scientist on your back is a wuss", or "throw gas grenades upwind so that they blow back into your face" you've just won the boss fight. Congratulations, you're as completely insane as Hideo Kojima.
- There is a level in Syphon Filter 2 where a drugged Lian has to escape from a hospital, with all her equipment having been stolen. The main objective is to reach an escape chopper whilst the secondary objective is to find a silenced weapon to aid your escape. It is actually possible to reach the extraction point without first recovering the weapon, whereupon the game will show the helicopter whisking the player off to safety... followed by a Game Over screen because you failed the objective to collect a weapon that you no longer need!
- In Silent Hill 2, there's James' famous "I'll just stick my hand into this filthy toilet and fish around for a bit" decision.
- Lampshaded for laughs in Silent Hill 3 if you have a Silent Hill 2 save file on your memory card. If forced to interact with a toilet, Heather would reach towards it but change her mind in the last second and mutter while staring at the player "who would do something like that anyway?"
- In Silent Hill, getting the Good+ ending can only be achieved by using a certain object on a certain person at a certain time. It happens to be during one of the game's most dangerous boss fights. You are given absolutely no indication that there is an alternative outcome to the obvious solution of beating the boss with force. The item needed is found hours before, and the game only makes an effort to hint to the player what that item's purpose is in the game after it's too late to matter to the player. That is mostly done as a way to make the player go through the game at least 2 times. However, since both best and second best endings are equally canon and lead to the same place, it is not that big of a deal.
- In Rule of Rose, the only way to get the good ending is to deal with the final boss in the most counter-intuitive manner possible (though it fits the game's theme very well): hand over a gun, the only firearm in the whole game, to an Ax-Crazy murderer who just slaughtered an orphanage full of children. He is overcome by guilt and shoots himself on the spot.
- In the small indie horror game Intruder, after dealing with the titular antagonist, you go to check on your friend and find her in panicked hysteria and armed with a gun. You are given three choices: A) Shoot her first, B) Tackle her, or C) Let her shoot you. The correct answer is Option C: if you were paying attention, you'd have noticed that the empty bullet box in the office drawer were simple blanks. The other two options leave your friend dead and you in trouble with the law.
- In Five Nights at Freddy's, the enigmatic Golden Freddy will instantly Non Standard Game Over you unless you immediately ignore it. Just go back to your security cameras, and it'll despawn. The same thing applies to it when it reappears in the sequel, as the Freddy head won't fool it like the other animatronics (excluding Foxy and the Puppet).
- In Haunting Ground, One of your hiding places during the second portion of the game is a fully functioning iron maiden. However, this is a subversion of the Trope, because it is not a safe place to hide. If Daniella finds you - and she likely will if you try this option - she will activate it.
- In Fatal Frame, Kirie appears at the end of the night and leaves Miku locked in a small room, with no apparent way of escape. She's not just an unbeatable ghost at this point, but she has a One-Hit Kill. The player is supposed to go against the basic concept of the game - avoiding and fighting ghosts - by letting her touch Miku, which causes the game to proceed to the next night.
Turn Based Strategy
- Fire Emblem:
- In the Updated Re-release of the first game, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, simply called Shadow Dragon in the west, all but one of the secret missions are blocked to you if you have too many units in your standing army, forcing you to get some of them killed in order to access them. The last one requires you to do yet more self-destructive acts like losing the Falchion and getting Tiki killed. However, previous games in the series emphasized protecting your units from death at all costs, so most players wouldn't want to let so many characters die. Not only that, the requirements for how many units is "too many" remains consistently at "more than 15" for all secret chapters but the last; in a game with over 50 unique characters and technically-infinite "replacement" characters, even players who were OK with losing units would probably never see the secret chapters without intentionally killing almost every unit in the game (including, most likely, the very units you could recruit in the secret missions).
- One story example that's lampshaded in-game in Fire Emblem Awakening: The Tactician has the bright idea to march all of their valuable troops straight into the middle of an active volcano. One side chapter also gives you the choice of allying with one mercenary group to fight another and quickly resolve a dispute, but you get the most reward out of choosing to fight against both of them, despite the fact that they not only severely outnumber you, but they also start off with a terrain advantage. Chrom is understandably concerned if you choose this course of action.
- In Master of Orion II, you can, eventually, be able to terraform any planet all the way from a barren (Moon-like) or irradiated (Moon-like plus heavy radiation) rock to a paradise world. With one exception - toxic worlds. Apparently, clearing a world of toxins is infinitely more difficult than building a planet out of asteroid chunks like a giant jigsaw puzzle. So, some savvy players have figured out that, if you want to capture an alien colony but don't want to have a toxic un-upgradable planet, just blow it up with a Stellar Converter, colonize a planet in the same system, and rebuild the destroyed planet as a barren world. Easy, right?
- The best part is that no matter the original size of the planet (Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, or Huge), the one reconstructed from the resulting asteroid belt will always be Large.
- In Super Robot Wars games, there are pilots who can pilot repair units to help gain levels. And then there are units who are equipped with MAP weapons, which target the field rather than just one unit. Normally, players would never fire MAP weapons near friendly allies as this will injure them and/or kill these units. However, intersect the two and the repair units will be able to gain a lot of levels just by hitting themselves with a MAP attack over and over again. This is slightly nerfed in Third Super Robot Wars Z Heaven's Chapter where the MAP attack will not show up unless there's an enemy in range of the MAP attack.
- More of an in-universe thing but in Project X Zone 2: Brave New World, the Singing Symphony ship is burning in space. Segata Sanshiro's advice for putting out the fire? Walk towards the fire and take the damage that would put a unit with only 1 HP left.
- XCOM Ufo Defense, the player can only restore health by treating a soldier's bleeding wounds with a medkit. The means that to restore more health, the player must hope that the soldier in question has multiple bleeding wounds.
- The Tiger Dojos in Fate/stay night, actually encourage the player to act like this. Frequently after you get a Bad End, they advise you to go back and choose the more reckless, immature option.
- Except when they don't, which can make a player that has received a bunch of "take risks and go for it!" try to do that such as attacking the shrine and they get punished and die for it, then try to play it safe like not venturing into the basement of the church and get punished and die for it, rather irritated because it seems like the game can't make up its mind if it wants you to play cautious or reckless.
- During the first chapter of Hakuouki, Hijikata informs Chizuru on more than one occasion and in no uncertain terms that if she tries to escape the Shinsengumi, he will kill her without hesitation. Trying to run away at the first possible opportunity not only does not lead to any negative consequences, it earns Chizuru affection points with Hijikata, who admires that kind of defiant conviction.
- In the Ace Attorney series, you hang on to items long after they've seemingly lost their usefulness, only to have them turn out to be useful evidence later. For some items it's just minorly odd, for items like Trucy and Little Plum's panties it seems outright bizarre that you wouldn't give them back immediately.
- Nameless has one last CG and extra route to unlock, after completing the five regular and one Secret route. In order to unlock it, the player needs to delete their save file, which also has the effect of forgetting the titular character's actual name, which was the whole point of playing through those routes. Then a new game must be started, using the same name as before.
Wide Open Sandbox
- In Grand Theft Auto IV, jumping up/down stairs is actually a quicker and more efficient way to navigate stairs compared to just walking up and down them. In real life, you'll either just tire yourself out faster (going up), and potentially sprain/fracture/break something (going down).
- Just Cause 2. If you're falling from a great height, you don't need your parachute! Simply fire your hookshot at the ground, and it will pull you down to safety, even though all it should do is make you hit the ground faster. In fact, it's better than the parachute, since you're easier to shoot when you're slowly drifting through the air.
- In order to progress through a tutorial, you have to take a ride with a guy to get to your destination. Oh no! The police are here! Do you think Rico Rodriguez would jump into the passenger seat and shoot from there? Hell no; he hops onto the car's roof and begins shooting, disregarding such minor things as inertia, and making himself a larger target.
- When trying to land an airplane, you're likely to end up roasted to death in a flaming fuselage due to an error in judgement or just outright impatience. The safest, and fastest, way to exit a plane is to leap out of it in midair and parachute or grapple to the ground - even if the plane is only a few meters up and moving horizontally at top speed (again, ignoring inertia). Plus, it makes for an epic view watching the explosion on the way down.
- Several of the buildings where John Marston can safely sleep in Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare are actually on fire while he's inside.
- In Need for Speed: Underground 2, There are drift races that takes place on a mountain side. You gain more points by drifting near pedestrian cars, and mountain barriers.
- In Dead Rising 2, Chuck Greene is depicted as a loving, responsible single father of a young daughter. What loving, responsible single father gives his young daughter a fully grown Bengal Tiger as a gift - especially one that has been surviving on a diet of human flesh?
- In Minecraft, you have to punch trees with your bare hands in order to get the tools you need to survive. That's just the start.
- Bonus points are given to the mechanism by which you garner magma for various purposes: you carry it around in metal buckets.
- Remember that lava that you just collected? You can redirect its flow using wooden signs and ladders, with no repercussions. The hilarious part? Lava causes trees, wooden planks/stairs/slabs, and wood doors to burn.
- You can make an infinite source of water. The requirements being a measly two buckets' worth of the stuff.
- Bonus points are given to the mechanism by which you garner magma for various purposes: you carry it around in metal buckets.
- Starbound: You think you can build a processor board outright? Nope. You gotta build a robot with a Brain in a Jar and various parts, activate it, have it go apeshit on you, beat the tar out of it, pry the board from his corpse and only then can you have your board.
Non-Video Game Examples:
- The Queen song '39. Write your letters on the sand for the day I'll take your hand in the land that our grandchildren knew. At first glance the lyrics make no sense. But the song actually is about a space voyage on relativistic speeds, and describes the effects of time dilation at velocities near c. The song has been described as the most painless introduction to Einstein's theory of relativity ever made.
- The "Special" is a major award found on most pinball machines made available either by being very skilled or very lucky, and most often, they are located in an outlane, which leads to the drain. That is, you have to lose a ball to earn the Special. (The Special is a free game by default, but the operator can change it in the settings to award an extra ball, a fixed points value, or absolutely nothing.)
- Gobble holes are holes that consume your ball, ending it instantly, but are not located at the bottom like the drain. Rather, you're supposed to deliberately bring the ball there, as they are always worth a very large points award that easily dwarfs anything else on the table, and sometimes with extra balls or free games on top of that. They were common during an era when games were short and unpredictable, so the gobble hole was a low-risk guaranteed award.
- The objective of Whirlwind is to guide a tornado to your area. No explanation is given as to why this is a good idea.
- In Avatar, the "Final Battle" Wizard Mode requires the player to hit enough targets on the playfield, then shoot the Unobtanium target for the Jackpot. If the player chooses instead to let the ball drain down an outlane with a lit Unobtanium light, the Jackpot is increased and the ball is automatically returned to play.
- A Skill Shot in Congo has you launch the ball into play so it lands...in the outlane drain on the other side. Doing so gets you an instant 40 million points. Granted, there is a big arrow-shaped light pointing towards it when you begin, but it isn't clear if you've never seen the game before that there's a solenoid that will shove the ball back out again.
- Nudging the machine isn't just a way to gain an advantage, it's a tournament-standard technique. Yet to non-players, rocking the table looks completely unnecessary and violent, especially if you tried to nudge a redemption machine, for example, you'd probably set off alarms and get kicked out of the arcade; on a pinball table, as long as you aren't straight up lifting the machine or otherwise being extremely brutal, the worst that happens is that the game quietly disables the playfield and voids your current ball.
- The orca is the only whale on earth that deliberately beaches itself, and it does so to hunt seals.
- A lot of knowledge humanity has accumulated is due to people violating common sense. Look, someone's eating those plants/animals that don't look appetizing. Did they die or live? Either way, we've learned something that acting in a "safe or sensible fashion" wasn't teaching us.