Wallbonking

In which one gets up close and personal with a wall for an extended period of time.

For whatever reason, a character will find themselves either running aimlessly with their face against the bricks or slamming into said bricks, over and over and over again.

In most media, it's a Comedy Trope where the affliction's caused by the character is being incompetent, misled, etc. and steered into a dead end. And staying in that dead end.

In video games, however, it most often shows up as a common glitch. Collision data is complicated — No matter how smart the AI is, there's bound to be some problems where they forget the location of a wall or a building and just try to run through it, sometimes for hours if the player doesn't intervene somehow. Another, more common variation is that they strangely slide sideways while running until they find a path that they can run through. This is often caused by The All-Seeing A.I. when the player's location is always detected, but in exchange for everything else. As minor instances are pretty common, generally only examples that either affect gameplay or are interesting to look at should be added for this type.

The video game variant is a subtrope of Artificial Stupidity. Not to be confused with Wall Banger, and definitely not with Wall Bang Her.


Examples:

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    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • During the parade scene at the end of Animal House, one of the Delta Fraternity members mugs the drum major of a marching band, steals his baton and leads the band into an alley. The band marches up to a wall and tries to go through it.
  • The hospital floor in Idiocracy is much dirtier than any floor in a hospital should rightfully be. The Roomba responsible for cleaning the floor is stuck in a loop, ramming itself against a chair and proudly announcing that the floor is now clean, except the floor is only clean in the spot where the Roomba is stuck.
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats opens with a strait-laced military general getting up from his desk and running straight into a wall. It's revealed later that he was trying to use his psychic powers to run through it. This is followed up by a disclaimer reading: More of this film is true than you would believe.
  • The SAINT units from Short Circuit all have pre-programmed paths to take within the Nova Robotics compound, and all of them follow this path normally, except Number Five, who is not functioning properly. When the other SAINT units complete a corner turn, Number Five continues forward into the wall, much to his frustration.
  • In World War Z, one of the zombies at the WHO Facility is seen bumping up against a wall ad nauseum.

    Jokes 
  • Two men walk into a building. You'd think one of them would've seen it.

    Literature 
  • In the Discworld novel Mort, the hapless Mortimer of the title becomes apprentice to Death. An attribute of Death is that he can walk through walls as if they were not there. In theory, any authorized subordinate, carrying out the Duty on behalf of the anthropomorphic personification of Death, should inherit this ability. But it's all a bit hit-and-miss for Mort, who sometimes attempts to walk through walls only to be brought back to Disc with a dull thump and a few bruises...

    Live-Action TV 
  • Reese joins the army in Malcolm in the Middle. To become a better recruit, he turns off his mind and decides he is a perfect order-taking machine. Reese's commanding officer tests this by ordering him to face a wall and forward march, causing Reese to endlessly walk into the wall. The officers then debate how long they'll let him continue doing that.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Magnificent Ferengi", Gaila accidentally shoots Keevan and kills him, so they have to use technobabble to pull an Of Corpse He's Alive. They end up steering his animated corpse into a support beam, and for all we know he's still there, trying to walk through it.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6 premiere Buffy is dead and the Buffy-bot is used to fill in for her on patrol and at parent-teacher conferences (Buffy being her little sister's guardian). The buffy-bot never does work quite right and can be seen bonking into walls in the background of several shots.

     Video Games 
  • In Assassin's Creed, some characters appear to become... a little more than obsessed with walls out of nowhere, due to the "pushing" animation appearing on loop. Read about it in Cracked here.
  • The NPCs in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, of the "sliding until a path is found" variety.
  • in the Core era Tomb Raider, collision detection works fine on walls for Lara, but enemies still run when in contact to one. Doors are right out though, as Lara will run/walk in front of them until she slides to the wall beside the door.
  • In the Super Smash Bros. series:
    • Because of the way custom stages are handled in Super Smash Bros. Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the AI would occasionally get confused and do this, but more commonly and more infamously, if a stage had a spike hazard, the computer opponents seemed to do absolutely everything that they could to stay above them and keep getting hit, racking up hundreds of damage to the point where even a weak attack would cause Critical Existence Failure.
    • A similar problem occurs in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, where, depending on how a stage is put together, an Amiibo, which attempts to be like a human opponent, may be repeatedly stuck in lava, like in Brawl, or if there's a miniscule gap between two stage pieces, which is not up to you, the Amiibo will attempt to continually charge through it as if they thought they could fit.
  • Early on in Super Smash Flash 2's development, the Hidden Leaf Village stage was impossible to play a solo match on, as the wall of the building on the right proved to be stupidly irresistable. The computer players would do nothing but keep trying to run into it, even under vicious attack by the player.
  • The monsters in id Software's DOOM series routinely take the shortest path toward the Space Marine, even when walls and obstacles impede them. Savvy players can exploit this mechanic by leading a mob of monsters into a cul de sac, then moving toward the access point; the monsters will usually emerge in ones and twos rather than all at once.
  • This is one of the many Video Game Cliché Moments you can collect in The Simpsons Game, uncovered when you find Ralph Wiggum running in a corner like this.
  • The Trope Namer is the Creatures series; the fandom coined the term when, in Creatures 2, the eponymous creatures would become so obsessed with the walls that they would forget to eat or sleep, becoming a literal case of Too Dumb to Live. This was also present in Creatures 1, although the results weren't as fatal.
    • Unlike most examples, this wasn't caused by failing to detect a collision, but rather a flaw in the Artificial Intelligence — the "reward-and-punishment" systems in the norns' brains were flawed, causing them to see innocuous actions such as turning around when crashing into something as amazing. This specific instance caused the poor norn to turn around twice instead of just once when running into something because its own brain tricked it into thinking it was just that euphoric. This was fixed in The Albian Years.
  • One of the symptoms of the "auto-pillock" in the X-Universe series is that ships have trouble maneuvering around large objects. They fly straight towards their destination, detect something in their path, turn and fly away from it for a bit, turn back towards their destination, and repeat until they either get around it or crash into something. This is (sort of) fixed in X Rebirth with a rewritten pathfinding algorithm, though it's not uncommon to find a Space Fighter wedged between some storage tanks on a space station, bouncing back and forth endlessly, though collision damage is far less deadly than it was in previous games.
  • Team Fortress 2: Bot pathfinding is still a work in progress, and sometimes they can be seen stuck running endlessly against walls.
    • Sniper bots exhibit a slight variation where, instead of constantly running into a wall, they spend ages zoomed in staring at a wall, even at point blank range, due to their AI prioritizing aiming rather than movement.
  • In the Mansion Of Hidden Souls foyer, you're welcome to invoke this, either against a wall or a locked door. In actual rooms, you're limited to searching predefined locations.
  • Dynasty Warriors
    • The series is infamous for its Artificial Stupidity, CPU!Officers(both generic and playable) and Mooks had always had trouble on not running into walls to go from point A to point B. They also do things like constantly "change their mind" on whether they should do something or not, like if you swim to the middle of a lake, officers who are supposed to follow you are divided on whether they should swim towards you or "follow you to where you are going" on land, meaning they repeatedly "test the waters" until you actually move back on dry land elsewhere where they will finally follow you. The officers can be so stupid at times they delay important Scripted Events by insisting on jumping on a fence with an Invisible Wall instead of going around it. here's that and a couple more in Dynasty Warriors 8 (Player!Officers getting stuck on objects and obstacles, the mentioned jumping glitch, stupid horse, etc).
    • summoned horsesnote  who "autopilot" towards you by teleporting nearby and running to you are also pretty stupid, often getting stuck running through obstacles by going straight towards them as if they can't see.
    • There's also the lack of collision detection for walls and gates in general, which you can exploit in Dynasty Warriors 6 at "The Battle of He Fei Castle", Where there's this gate which you have to open which has a Conveyor Belt-O-Doom that pushes people to a moat below it, where you can use your True Speed character's infinite dash attack to wail at the gate without worry of falling until it breaks.
    • Obstacles in general will make your running characters/horses stuck running in front of them until you jump.
  • A possible bug in almost any Lego Adaptation Game is for characters you're not controlling at the time to constantly run into a wall or other obstacle. Sometimes it's because they can't follow the active character, other times it seems to be for no reason at all.
  • Most of the main games in the Shin Megami Tensei series have grid-based movement,so you will end up being very good friends with the walls,especially if you're running.
  • In Battle Zone 1998's original release, Scavengers were particularly infamous for plowing over anything in their path (or attempting to), be it squishy little you or an immovable Base on Wheels. The 2013 update rectifies this behavior, though it can result in dogpiles of units that are incapable of moving because it would result in them smashing into each other or buildings. The bug returns with a vengeance in the sequel, where units will often get stuck in the far more densely built bases, and can result in oddities like building-sized Assault Tanks somehow wedging themselves through a 6 foot tall doorway and subsequently getting stuck inside a room that the tank physically cannot fit in.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • This is a common occurrence in Twitch Plays Pokémon, due to the frequent inability of the viewers to cooperate with each other.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Simpsons, Marge joins an online game and gets stuck walking into a wall. She comments "how incredibly annoying!" only for Grandpa, who is stuck like this in real life, to respond "tell me about it."

    Real Life 
  • Happens pretty often with GPSes, which are frequently based on outdated map systems and can often lead a driver who reacts to its directions at a moment's notice to drive through a spot where something has since been built or turning down a road which no longer exists.
  • Bump N' Go toys are basically this in toy form. They work by having a set of driving wheels on a freely spinning axle that is held still only by the forward movement of the toy, which means that when the toy bumps into a wall and stops, the spinning axle turns the toy in a new direction, hopefully away from a wall, and keeps going. However, sometimes, if the toy bumps the wall at just the wrong angle, or the axle is too close to the wall, the toy will keep bumping and trying to spin around, causing it to bump the wall again and again until picked up and put back on its way.
  • In a more sinister example, cats and dogs occasionally display similar behaviour, where they'll stand/sit with their faces pressed against a wall. It can be a sign of damage to the nervous system or some other severe illness, so if you see your pet doing this, get them to a vet ASAP.