And you support this endeavor by buying his book?!
"But I guess calling it 'Hunter/Gatherer of Innocent Young Dinosaurs Pathetically Mewling Their Last as the Memory of Their Mother's Warmth Drifts Away to Be Replaced by the Unforgiving Coldness of...' oh, fuck it; let's just call it 'You Bastard.'"
So there you are, reading a book or playing a game. Within the media, whatever it may be, is some rather illegal and immoral action. Violence, murder, mayhem, general chaos. It's all very enjoyable
and so much fun
. Then suddenly
something happens to make you question how right you are to enjoy this socially unacceptable behavior. Perhaps the characters start musing about what kind of warped mindset would possibly enjoy this
. Or maybe they just outright smash through the fourth wall
and tell you exactly what they think of you.
Or alternatively, maybe what you're watching/reading/playing has some kind of political message
— perhaps it deals with famine or suffering in impoverished nations, or the rise of fascism, or some other example of how Humans Are Bastards
. And then the same thing happens — the characters basically turn around and tell you that this is all your fault
: "You Bastard, why the hell are you enjoying this?!
And you're left to wonder in shame. Or, more likely
This works especially well in video games, in which murder
is the generally accepted way to advance, without thought to moral consequences. If done well, it can be thought-provoking and unsettling, giving the reader/viewer/player pause to consider the moral implications
of what they may have previously considered just a bit of fun. It may prompt them to examine both their motivations in reading this and the motivations of the hero - who, if they engage in numerous acts that would be condemned if done by anyone else, may look less and less heroic
If done not-so-well, however, it can be quite Narmy
... and also somewhat hypocritical. After all, if the viewer
is a bastard for passively enjoying this great evil, then what does that say about the producers
, who ultimately are actively exploiting
said evil for profit
? What does that say about the creators
who claim moral superiority by artificially creating a scenario, then getting offended that player did exactly what was expected, when, really, all the violence, pain, death, and suffering is on the part of the creator? And aren't other
games really to blame for drilling the "everything is a target" and "your orders are absolute
" messages into players' heads for 30 years?
No less a luminary than Aristotle
disagreed with this trope, proposing that tragedy
exists in order to cleanse
the reader of negative emotions in a healthy way. Arguments against the censoring and removal of violence
in video games also argue a similar point, their position being that it is ultimately healthier to perform hideously violent acts upon computer pixels within the fictional realm of a video game
rather than fulfill the same urges in Real Life
This trope is when the work
calls out the audience. See You Monster!
for when this line is used on a character.
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Anime & Manga
- Battle Royale did this in the manga. In the final volume, the main character writes a letter telling the reader that the evil things in the volume exist only because the reader, and those like him, are evil enough to be interested in it.
- Death Note seems to do this in two ways. First, there's Light's ignominious end (coupled with the Shut Up, Hannibal! he receives during it). Also, Fridge Brilliance indicates that Ryuk is the Audience Surrogate, and he's consistently shown enormously amused by Light's clever scheming and various acts of treachery and mass murder. This suggests some condemnation of the audience for enjoying Light's Evil Plan (s) and not thinking at all of his victims.
- In Nononono, the treatment of nice guy Yuusuke by every single person in Japan outside his family after he fails to get a gold medal can definitely be seen this way.
- Lady Snowblood: there's a bit of exposition on the scientific theories of the late 18th century, where one guy suggests that the Japanese should start having children with Europeans and generally open up to the Western world. The narration goes on to ponder on if this had happened, maybe Japan wouldn't have become the jingoistic nation uit was, avoiding its expansionist policies and involvement in WWII... and you, the reader, wouldn't be holding this book right now.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket is a Deconstruction that seems to question why people love Gundam shows in the first place, when they tend to have such a staunch anti-war message. The final scene uses a group of children as Audience Surrogates, and has them talking about how cool all the recent bloodshed was and how they can't wait for the next war to start, so they can look at all the awesome new mobile suits.
- The Joker, of all people, pulls a "You Bastards" on Gotham City (and by extension the reader) by showing up during a game show and threatening Japanese-game-show levels (and beyond) of sadism on the participants. The entire time this is happening, we keep cutting away to the production crew, whose reactions run the gamut between "oh my God, this is horrible" to "keep rolling, the ratings will be awesome." Joker dicks with his terrified victims, but he does little worse than a pie to the face. After he's done he lectures his unseen audience about their expectations - and broadcasts the producer's money-grubbing reaction.
- He even declares it "the most fun he ever had without killing anyone" becuase of all the sheer terror he got to laugh at with the contestants thinking they were going to die and screwing people over through his actions.
- The reason the Joker keeps pulling this off is because, while he's undeniably crazy and cruel, he is also a consummate showman and his exploits are just so entertaining that they're hard to resist - especially if there's some way to make a profit from his antics. In another story arc heavy on Refuge in Audacity, the Joker actually succeeds at selling his own life story to a low-budget movie studio in Gotham and has himself cast as the star, even getting up-and-coming young actors to appear in the film alongside him, cast as his victims (who somehow never consider the almost certain possibility that he really will try to kill them). Even worse are the filmmakers themselves, especially when the Joker threatens to bump off members of the crew if he doesn't get his way and the producer counters that there are plenty more lackeys where they came from. When the Joker finally lashes the filmmakers to a Death Trap (that he hopes Batman will inadvertently set off by trying to stop him) for the movie's big climax, the producer's only reaction is to announce that the Joker has gone too far and that the movie will now have to shut down production.
- Joker-fun again in The Devil's Advocate. This one-shot comic depicts the Joker supposedly coating postage stamps with his "Joker venom" because the post office won't put his face on one of their commemorative stamps honoring the greatest comedians of all time (explaining that only dead comedians qualify); as usual, innocent Gothamites lick the stamps and die grinning. But this time the viewer is given a jolt by, for once, being forced to witness the reactions of the loved ones of the people who died...including one sobbing man holding a grinning female corpse. You realize that all the Joker-murders you've spent your whole life laughing at were really not funny at all. In fact, in the story itself, these killings are considered so heinous that the Joker is not automatically returned to Arkham Asylum but deemed fit to stand trial and is found guilty on all counts - and sentenced to die in the electric chair, which would indeed have been his fate if not for Batman's intervention.
- Done beautifully several times in The Invisibles, most memorably in a Whole Issue Flashback that gives A Day in the Limelight to a helmeted Mook who died in the first issue or two, showing a rather sad life that ran down to that conclusion. It's less Anvilicious than it sounds, largely because the series makes a point of showing the Grey and Gray Morality behind a seemingly black-and-white conflict.
- Done indirectly late in Paradise X, as Loki berates Odin for making him (and a large portion of the other Asgardians) evil. "We fought and died and were brought back to life over and over again for your damned comic book need for excitement!"
- Mark Millar likes this trope almost as much as he hates his readers, whom he's argued use comic-book violence as a substitute for the emptiness and meaninglessness of their lives. Wanted is particularly explicit about this.
- In Animal Man, Grant Morrison essentially apologizes to the eponymous character for kowtowing to the Bastards. Towards whom he gets a few good swipes.
- In Empowered, about once a volume, she will let the reader know how much she hates that someone is enjoying her bondage scenes.
- The Wanderer features a story arc where the hero gets raped by bandits. The rape is presented in such a way to appeal to the target audience, rather than be horrified by it. During the second act, the comic pulls a 180 and the hero's rape is presented as a horrible thing, which would no doubt leave whomever was previously enjoying it feeling more than a little dirty.
- Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe employs this, with uncertain effectiveness. Deadpool, having been tortured to the point of further insanity, directs his fourth wall-breaking gaze on the reader at several points, questioning why their idea of gory good fun would necessitate him brutally murdering other characters whose own characterization would never allow them to fight back enough to hold him off. Even the blurb for the series employs this ("What if he actually pulled it off? Would that be FUN for you?")
- Prior to this in Deadpool #900 Deadpool laments that he'll never be able to die, the one thing he really wants, because he's too popular to kill-off. He then sets off on a quest to murder each and every one of his fans.
- An issue of Batman, Inc. ended with Catwoman and a young woman named Misaki being wrapped up by an octopus. Earlier in the same issue, Catwoman had been disgusted by a hentai book she'd discovered, and asked what men found so appealing about women being tied up and groped by tentacles.
Films — Live-Action
- The Devils Chair has a weird moment of Breaking the Fourth Wall where the protagonist tells the audience that the movie's just gotten silly and that they're horrible people for enjoying it.
As you can see it all got a bit silly right here. A girl with her puppies out, a demon, old banana over there in his pajamas. Is this what I promised you? Are we prick teasing you enough? Is this what you came here to see, all my brothers? Look at this poorly written, badly acted bullshit! Is there any truth in this b-movie banality? No! No, there is no truth. Believe no one. Believe nothing. You freaks and geeks. You bloodthirsty morons, fuck you! Bring on the red parade. So are there any pulses in the house? You deadbeat, midnight, freak-geek witted torture-porn gore whores! I know what you're looking for, so have it! Take it! and fuck you all very much!
- In Fridaythe13th Part VI, as drunken groundskeeper Martin hurries to restore Jason's grave before anyone discovers it was desecrated; he wonders who could possibly want to disturb the grave of someone like Jason Voorhees as he turns to the audience and comments on how, "Some folks have a strange idea of entertainment."
- This is the point of Funny Games. The villains constantly address the audience while torturing their victims, commenting on the audience's role in taking entertainment from their suffering.
- The 2000 Russell Crowe movie Gladiator has the title character pulling this on his audience, and perhaps the viewers by extension.
- Also discussed by Proximo:
Proximo: Thrust this into another man's flesh, and they will applaud and love you for that. You may even begin to love them for that.
- The Belgian movie Man Bites Dog is based around this trope. It's a satire of the media's glorification of violence and criminals done as mockumentary about a film maker who follows a Serial Killer around and films his crimes. The killer himself is charming and likable and the violence is played as Black Comedy, but then it throws in a couple of scenes so disturbing that it makes viewers feel queasy for enjoying the rest of it.
- WWE-sponsored Battle Royale ripoff The Condemned tries to have this as its Aesop with the infamous line, "Those of us who watch... are we the Condemned?" which horribly backfires considering the fact that this was sponsored by WWE, as well as made by the company known for creating one of the most famous gorn franchises. The marketing was made around the concept of watching a movie where prisoners fight to the death.
- Parodied in Wayne's World, in which (during a fourth wall break), Wayne blames the audience for his problems. For once, the "audience" reacts appropriately, with the camera's viewpoint turning away and looking for something else to watch until Wayne apologizes and changes his mind.
- This is one reading of Straw Dogs. Some critics argue that the The So-Called Coward fantasy is deconstructed by the final rampage rather than supported.
- The Last Horror Movie, a British mockumentary which, like Man Bites Dog, follows the day to day life and crimes of a darkly comical, Affably Evil Serial Killer who spends the movie talking to the viewer about his POV. In the end, once he's made the viewer confront the fact that they could've stopped watching at any time, he reveals that he recorded this movie over a tape from a video store. The tape that you have rented. He has followed you home. If you've gotten far enough into the movie to see this, that means he is about to kill you.
- In Crank: High Voltage, Chev Chelios himself ends the movie by flipping off the audience while on fire.
- There's a genre of porn in which a woman continuously berates the viewer for having A Date with Rosie Palms, allegedly having no social life and tiny genitals, all while doing a striptease. It can be a bit jarring if you're not familiar with it.
- Subtly done in Psycho. In a movie about a sexually-repressed voyeur, the opening scene is a semi-dressed couple just after having sex. The camera moves into and through the window so we can watch. We are voyeurs, just as the main character is.
- Voyeurism is a huge theme in Rear Window. Jimmy Stewart is a bored invalid who spends his days looking in his neighbors windows with a telescopic camera lens. His friends and girlfriend all express concern about this new hobby. Toward the end of the movie, when the murderer he's been watching finally realizes he's there and looks straight across to meet his eyes, he's also looking straight into the camera, at the audience. Guess what, you're a little sick for watching and enjoying this, too.
- Peeping Tom takes the voyeurism theme and runs with it to a degree even Psycho was unwilling to touch (part of the reason it killed director Michael Powell's career).
- In The Wizard of Gore, during Montag's last onstage speech, he starts talking about bloody violence and how it fascinates us. He then turns to the camera, smiles and says, "You want it." And yes, this is a Gorn movie to a high degree.
- In Blue Velvet, after Jeffrey (and the audience) has covertly watched Frank Booth rape Dorothy, Frank and his mooks make Jeffrey go on a drive with them. Frank then turns to Jeffrey (and the camera) and says, "You're like me."
- In Last Action Hero, the title action hero Jack Slater doesn't particulary like being sucked into a new highly dangerous adventure each time the audience in the real world demands it. When he meets Arnold Schwarzenegger (the actor who plays him in the "in-universe" real world as well as in the real real world) at the premiere of the newest Slater flick, the character accuses his actor of being responsible for his suffering.
- Mocked in Danny Boyle's film adaptation of The Beach. When Richard turns against his friends and retreats to the jungle, he envisions himself as the character in a video game — a vision shown through a first-person POV so that the audience realizes their connection to Richard's violent fantasies — and their own complacency in his dementia.
- Subtely done in Scarface. When you take Tony Montana's words from the scene when he yells at the people in restaurant out of context, they turn into this.
- A less mean version in The Truman Show, with 'audience' characters watching the show-within-the-show clearly also representing the film's viewers, who will be caught up in the events of someone else's life, claim to be deeply moved, then flip channels to see what else is on.
- Inglourious Basterds does this in a similarly oblique way. At the climax, an audience of German soldiers delight in a propaganda film that consists of Allied troops getting repeatedly killed by a sniper. Throughout the entire film, especially in the very next scene, the real audience is invited to do the same when Germans are slaughtered.
- The Cabin in the Woods: The Ancient Ones are like horror movie viewers. They watch for people to die in horrific, troperiffic ways, and, when their world does not go as they wanted it to, want to make it go away. And it's hard to not see the scientists/puppeteers as a metaphor for Hollywood's current horror output, repeating the same formula ad infinitum to appease its target audience's appetite for sex and gore as religiously as any ancient ritual. And you can see the two main scientists as a metaphor for a writer and a director, forced to keep putting out the same dross and lamenting their inability to try anything creative. 'I'll never see a merman,' indeed.
- This was the intended point of Sucker Punch, criticizing its viewers (and, more broadly, male geek culture in general) for indulging in the fetishization and objectification of women. We, the viewers, see the girls' dances as action-packed war/sci-fi/fantasy spectacles designed to push all of our geek buttons — steampunk, cyberpunk, Humongous Mecha, fire-breathing dragons, an abundance of Japanese-inspired imagery, and of course, scantily-clad action girls at the center of it all... and then we see the men watching the dances within the film, who are portrayed as lecherous slobs and assholes who are then taken advantage of. Whether or not the film succeeded in this respect is up for the viewer to decide.
- Invoked (subtly) in The House Bunny when the heroine tries to perform a Marilyn Maneuver over a manhole - only to get scalded by the jets of steam. In the next scene, we see her legs heavily bandaged - and the parts that aren't bandaged are covered with second-degree burns. In other words, because you got to see underneath this girl's dress, she got temporarily disfigured.
- In Heroes Die the main character (a kind of sci-fi gladiator who kills fantasy creatures to entertain the downtrodden masses of Earth) uses this on his audience, who collectively share his body for the duration of his adventures. Due to the character narrating to his own audience, it also ends up directed at the reader by extension.
- Clive Barker's Mr. B. Gone starts from the premise that the book itself is possessed by a demon who frequently implores the reader to burn the book and set him free. The eponymous demon goes so far as to repeatedly threaten the reader, bribe them and appeal to their better (and worse) natures as the book goes on.
- Geoffrey Chaucer does it in Troilus and Criseyde: the character Pandarus contrives various tricks and deceptions in order to bring the two lovers together, which is what the readers (with whom he's conflated - he sits around reading a romance during one scene) want to see happen.
- Almost everybody in Maggie by Stephen Crane is a Jerkass, and what's more, most are convinced they're virtuous and everyone else is a jerkass. Naturally, most readers look down upon the characters, a fact that some critics think Crane anticipated and subtly mocked. Then again, others just think Crane was being holier-than-thou.
- The Norman Spinrad novel The Iron Dream is essentially a giant sword and sorcery tale, ostensibly written by sci-fi novelist Adolf Hitler. From the other wiki:" Spinrad seems intent on demonstrating just how close Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces — and much science fiction and fantasy literature — can be to the racist fantasies of Nazi Germany."
- Hook & Jill — a revisionist take on Peter Pan written by Andrea Jones — features a Captain Hook who reveals to story-telling Wendy that she — not Peter — is his true antagonist. Because Hook is a creation of Wendy's imagination, she — and by extension, the meta-audience — is responsible for his mutilation and suffering at the blade of Peter Pan.
- Played for laughs in the Sesame Street children's book The Monster at the End of This Book, in which the entire plot is Grover berating you for continuing to turn pages when the title makes it perfectly clear that there's a monster at the end of the book, and he's terrified of monsters. The monster turns out to be Grover.
- Swordspoint does this, possibly by accident, in that many of the characters spend a significant amount of time pointing out how despicable they are.
- In Terry Pratchett's novel Only You Can Save Mankind, young Johnny Maxwell plays a computer game of the Shoot'em up" type. He duly shoots up the alien fleet he sees on screen. Then he gets a new problem. The aliens turn to him and broadcast "We Surrender! Stop shooting at us!" The aliens are bloody annoyed that they only exist to provide vicarious entetainment to adolescent Earthlings...
- In Harry Potter, when telling the story of the rape of Tom Riddle Sr., Dumbledore gives one to Harry, and by extension, the readers, who thought that using a Love Potion was entirely harmless.
- The Hunger Games essentially turns you into an audience member, getting you swept away in the cool costumes and the love triangles before all your favorite characters start biting the dust and the ones left alive can never be the same again.
- Older Than Feudalism: In the New Testament a very nice guy named Jesus with holy, life-saving powers is tortured and executed in the most brutal way possible. And whose fault is it? Not the Jews, not the Romans, it's all YOUR fault!
- "The Most Unwanted Song" (the result of simply doing what a poll said people hated in music) has a fairly lengthy section where a singer directly blames the listener for different atrocities. ("You. YOU. YOOOOUUUU!")
- This trope is the cornerstone of Marilyn Manson's career.
- Manic Street Preachers' "Of Walking Abortion": "Who's responsible/You fucking are."
- Doug Anthony All Stars, "You're clapping and cheering for what is essentially a racist joke!"
- Jay-Z uses the majority of "Ignorant Shit" to mock his Unpleasable Fanbase for liking his superficial hits (like "Big Pimpin'" or "Give it to Me"), mostly because he's dismayed that his listeners don't embrace his more thought provoking material. The chorus paints the picture pretty clearly, N-bombs and all:
C'mon, I got that ignorant shit you need
Nigga, fuck, shit, ass, bitch, trick plus weed
I'm only trying to give you what you want
Nigga, fuck, shit, ass, bitch, you like it don't front
- Lampshaded by Bob Luman in his 1965 hit "Let's Think About Living" in which he decries the number of popular songs in which the singers apparently get killed (i.e. Marty Robbins' "El Paso") or feeling so depressed they may as well die, to which Luman observes that if this trend continues "I'll be the only one you can buy."
- Carly Simon: "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you!"
- G.K. Chesterton's poetry 'The Ballad of the Battle of Gibeon' is mostly about the heroic Israelites smiting the villainous heathen who seeks to destroy their innocent allies - effective, epic poetry cheering on righteous war. Up until the final stanza.
"This is the story of Gibeon fight—
Where we smote the lords of the Amorite;
Where the banners of princes with slaughter were sodden.
And the beards of seers in the rank grass trodden;
Where the trees were wrecked by the wreck of cars,
And the reek of the red field blotted the stars;
Where the dead heads dropped from the swords that sever,
Because His mercy endureth for ever."
- One of the oldest tricks a Heel has to get Cheap Heat is to tell the audience what bastards they are. Chris Jericho spent months playing the You Bastard card, lambasting the audience for cheering Shawn Michaels, who he saw as a hypocrite, a cheat, and a coward.
- CM Punk, as a heel, has also been employing this trope. See, he's Straight Edge and Jeff Hardy (as a face), his rival, was a reformed drug addict, so this naturally led Punk to despise us fans for liking Hardy so much, and very, very... VERY long narc speeches. To those familiar with his pre-WWE, he's done this act as a heel before and is apparently very, very good at it.
- Mankind in this promo, which also highlights Vince McMahon's Manipulative Bastard skills.
- Mick Foley in general has become famous for doing this. Take, for example, his Enemy Mine teamup with Edge against the revived ECW promotion in the spring of 2006. Foley declared that he hated ECW because it had forced him to shed blood for the company. Although he was technically lambasting Paul Heyman and not the fans, it was hard not to feel a little soiled if you were an ECW aficionado.
- Mick actually suggested the Mankind name expressly so he could ambiguously do You Bastard material, talking about the evil and ugliness of Mankind in a way in which he may be referring to himself, or to all humans in general.
- Vince would give such a speech on the June 3, 2013 episode of RAW, calling the audience out for wanting an injured Triple H to wrestle and put himself at risk, as well as chanting 'one more time' as Ryback put Kofi Kingston through three tables, an act even all the commentators, including JBL, considered going too far.
- McMahon dressed down the audience in a similar fashion several years earlier. On the October 3, 2005 episode of RAW, Steve Austin gave Stone Cold Stunners to all four members of the McMahon family while the crowd ate it up. Vince came out the following week with both guns blazing, telling the audience in no uncertain terms that although he was angry with Austin, he was even angrier at everyone in the stands who was cheering for Austin and egging him on while he delivered these (mostly) unprovoked ambushes and assaults on Vince's family.
- There are times when the heel commentators will attempt to shame the audience by proxy by condemning Vince McMahon - or whichever of his subordinates happens to be in charge at a particular time and place - for putting their employees through sadistic matches just to satisfy the fans. JBL made such an argument when, in late 2006, SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long booked Montel Vontavious Porter in an Inferno Match against Kane, causing MVP to become so horrifically burned that he couldn't compete at the top of his game for several weeks afterward. Of course, nobody listened.
- Parodied/subverted in Ricky Gervais' stand-up act Animals, in which at one point he announces that he's going to spend a few moments "talking about the most dangerous animal of them all" with an accusing finger pointed at the audience... before suddenly pointing at a picture of King Kong and yelling "The giant gorilla!" He then incredulously notes that some people say the most dangerous animal in the world is "Man", before pointing at King Kong once again.
- Jo Brand had a routine where she would talk about the film Boxing Helena and say "A woman has her arms and legs cut off and put in a box. What if she has her period?" When audiences groaned in disgust at this point she would say "Oh you're fine with a woman being dismembered then, but mention periods..."
- Steve Martin did this in one of his routines.
I guess I'm kinda thinking about my old girlfriend. We were together about three years, and uh... sometimes when I get on stage I think about her, because she'd travel with me, and I'd be performing, and I'd hear her laugh... I guess I kind of miss her. And, uh... she's not living anymore, so... [laughter] You think that's funny?
- Robin Williams had this happen during his 2002 special "Live on Broadway" during a joke about Osama Bin Laden's death:
Robin: "I must talk to Jesus Christ! Where is Jesus Christ?!", and St. Peter goes "Hey, Jesus, did you call a cab? C'mon!" (the audience groans) A-ha! Yes! I heard it! Finally, the P.C.s! (hisses) We've crossed the politically correct line! It was okay to beat the shit out of him, but don't do the ethnic joke! (hisses) How Buddhist of you. Yes...
- Stephen Fry, in the stand-up section of his sketch show with Hugh Laurie, did a scene where he picked out empty seats in the audience, sat in them and told the audience member next to him some tragic fact about, say, cancer, or his mother's death. Inevitably the situation made them struggle not to laugh which he then berated them about, making it even harder for them not to laugh out loud.
- Louis C.K. has a bit "Of course ... but maybe" where he says that "of course" something is bad, "but maybe" it's not entirely bad, starting with fairly mild things. About the time he gets to "of course it's terrible that all these kids have peanut allergies and we should do everything we can to protect them, but maybe..." the audience usually audibly reacts with gasps of horror, whereupon he says "No no no, you were laughing a second ago, you don't get to redeem yourself now, you're just as horrible as I am." Because we know you were wondering: "But maybe if we just ignored the problem for a couple years it would go away." You're welcome.
- Richard Herring pulled this on the audience at a Collings And Herrin recording after baiting them with a Black Comedy Rape:
Richard: I'm gonna bum Andrew Collins onstage. Who'd like to see it?
Audience: (cheering and applauding)
Richard: Wouldn't you be appalled? How would you feel if I actually anally raped Andrew Collins?
- The John Tynes roleplaying metagame Power Kill. It's intended to point out to fantasy Tabletop RPG players that many or most of the actions their characters perform (entering other creature's homes, killing them and taking their belongings) would be considered heinous crimes if they occurred in the real world.
- The Urban Fantasy RPG Unknown Armies, which John Tyne co-created, also features similar applications of this trope. Many times in the corebook and the supplements, there is a subtle (or not so subtle) hint that Game Masters should punish the PCs in some manner for the kind of immoral or bizarre behavior described above, usually in the form of legal consequences or Madness checks (most likely in the Self meter). "You did it" are the Arc Words of the game.
- Violence: the Roleplaying Game of Egregious and Repulsive Bloodshed by Greg Costikyan, which explicitly states that it was designed to be a D&D-style hack and slay game set in the modern world... and is a jokingly condescending condemnation of how violent the player is. See for yourself!
- Some Paranoia missions are designed to set this up, where for once the PCs did have the knowledge and skills to do the right thing, but instead chose to screw things up for their own personal gain. In particular, two of the missions in WMD turn it Up to Eleven, giving the PCs the opportunity to be promoted multiple clearance levels while most of the population starves to death or gets memory-wiped every few days.
- In the Dragon Age tabletop RPG adventure pack, Blood in Ferelden, there is an adventure where if the characters slay a monster guardian they learn that if they then take the object of their quest, they doom an intelligent species to extinction. "Should the players complain about this horrible choice," the text reads, "you might remind them that they entered the [monster's] lair with the intention of robbing it, and killed it while it tried to protect its home. Slaying the [monster] wasn't necessary; Dragon Age provides rules for knocking out a creature rather than killing it. The heroes face this horrible choice in part because of their own actions." Given the actual setup, the point is rather anvilicious, but well taken nonetheless.
- Done backhandedly in "Nowadays" from the musical Chicago: the protagonists, having been declared innocent of the murders they committed, give glowing compliments (including floral tributes) to the audience "who made it all possible by believing in our innocence."
- In The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Jimmy is about to be executed for having committed the most heinous crime in the world: not having any money to pay his debts. The execution scene is introduced with a caption which asks the audience members who are offended by this turn of events if they would have paid his debts. "Would you? Are you sure?"
- William Shakespeare does this fairly often, with characters like Iago, who implicate the audience in his evil schemes while constantly winking at them, or the Duke of Measure for Measure who does questionable things to bring the story to a happy, generically-correct conclusion (while advancing his own power).
- God of War's Kratos.
- The series he is in is based on Greek Mythology, which means you end up with Protagonist Centred Morality a lot of the time. The player has to do completely heartless things like smash a person's head on an altar, which the player drags him to while he is screaming "No! No! Get away from me!" (this is from the second game). There is no way he could have resisted.
- In the first game, Kratos is a champion of the Gods, in the second, he is a champion of the Titans, who eventually kills the fates, which gives him the ability of time travel. This may sound fine, but the level of bloody violence is so much so it was mentioned on the back cover. Then again, at that time morality was different, and they are not afraid to show some of it. Also, Kratos commits an act of treachery at the beginning of the second game. The plot revolves around being evil. Just look at the page mentioned above for more examples.
- However, in the third game several characters (most notably Hermes) tell him how much of a bastard he is, as well as him gaining a Morality Pet in Pandora. It actually affects him enough that he makes a slight Heel-Face Turn towards the end.
- Mocked in Borderlands 2 with the Morningstar sniper rifle, a gun awarded to you by the Mega Corp. Hyperion. A gun for "murderers... like you!" It's basically Spec Ops: The Line: The Gun, as a high-pitched, shrill voice whines at you for killing psychopaths, robbers, pirates, and vicious creatures by saying that they could have had a bad day or that they just wanted to feed their family, and that serial killers thought THEY were good people, too!
- In Ninja Gaiden 3 this happens quite often, though mileage varies very wildly on whether they are effective Player Punches or just Narm. For example, after slaughtering the very first group of enemies in the game, a single mook decides that it'd be a better idea to surrender rather than get slaughtered by Ryu Hayabusa, and begs Ryu not to kill him, pleading that he was just trying to feed his family. However, you have to kill him anyway to proceed. Most enemies also tend to crawl in pain screaming "I don't wanna die!" if you don't Mercy Kill them.
- In a lot of H-Games where your character is not evil from the get go (and is shown to have some shred of human decency or morality), you -the player- are given the option (at least once, and there is always a more moral option as well) at some point to pick an amoral choice and cross the Moral Event Horizon at worst, or just become a total Jerkass at best. The You Bastard comes from the fact the game makes it quite obvious your character is not acting like himself (a subtly implied What the Hell, Player?), and you get a Downer Ending for being a total bastard, especially if a more noble alternative was available. Some HGames go as far as to invoke this trope by name on your character as you choose the "total asshole" choice.
- Itazura Gokuaku is about a serial train molester and a handful of his victims. The themes Loving Force and "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization are present, so it's possible for him to form actual intimate relationships with any or all of the girls. To get a good ending, the player must choose for the protagonist to turn himself in and reform. But if you take the provided options to exploit the girl any further, the protagonist will be shoved before an incoming train by a vengeful girl, to reflect on what a prick he is in his final moments before being mangled to death.
- Perhaps more bizarre is Saya no Uta where agreeing to part ways with Saya, the route that causes the least amount of death and insanity, comes across as more of a Bad End.
- In BioShock, the Story Arc with the NPC "Atlas" adapts this to game play itself. From the game characters' point of view if not yours, you go around killing children just because some NPC contact asked you to. Where is your sense of agency? If you will not exert free will, maybe it should be taken from you...
- BioShock 2 seemingly goes out of its way to make you feel like the biggest bastard ever if you choose the evil path. Yes, you can harvest every Little Sister in Rapture, but Eleanor's watching your every move and if you solve all your problems through slaughter the game ends with her deciding to follow in your footsteps... by starting with the entire world.
- Conkers Bad Fur Day stars an Anti-Hero squirrel, the point of whose whole quest is an attempt to collect money. (Actually, the original cause was he took a wrong-turn walking home, but it quickly turned into the money thing.) Though he occasionally acts heroic, he also kills whoever happens to get in his way, advertently or inadvertently, and much of the game is set in a comical world with bright visuals and happy jazz music that seem straight out of an old Mickey Mouse cartoon. Then at the end, Conker becomes rich by robbing a bank and is crowned king, but his girlfriend dies in the process, and he laments about how greedy and foolish he was.
- Harvester revealed in the end that the whole game was a game-within-a-game to make the player character (and, by extension, the player) into a serial killer. You've been having Steve do steadily eviler acts all game (from minor vandalism to arson to murder), and the whole point is to make the 'real' Steve into the kind of person that does those things for fun. However, the game is something of a subversion, as it's a mockery of the notion that video games make you violent. Choosing the bad end spells it out the best:
"Don't you know that people who watch violence become violent themselves?"
"THAT'S BULLSHIT, MOM."
- This may have been part of what Hideo Kojima was going for in Metal Gear Solid 2. Then again, we can't be sure...
- Every boss in the series tends to pull the Tear Jerker card after they've been beaten.
- The tranquilizer gun probably became the favorite weapon for many people after the fight with The Sorrow, whose boss battle sends the ghosts of people you've slain. There's just something about passing by each and every soldier you killed as they scream in horror that gets to you.
- Liquid accuses Snake of 'enjoying all the killing' at the end of Metal Gear Solid. The game gives you opportunities to, among other things, strangle and break the neck of a guard while peeing in a urinal. It's your own fault if it rings true.
- This is then called back to in MGS4. If you kill fifty mooks in one area, a soundbite of Liquid saying "You enjoy all the killing" will play, and Snake will vomit in self-disgust, taking a hit to his Psyche meter (which affects stamina and aiming). It happens with every fiftieth mook dispatched thereafter, too.
- More subtle example from the sequel — there's a pretty young hostage named Jennifer in the Shell 1 core, who you can address by name, guess the measurements of, or knock her out to look up her skirt (you get special Codecs if you call Mission Control while looking up there or after having taken a photograph of it). When the Ninja descends in the following cut scene, one of the bullets she deflects hits the female hostage in the head, killing her. It's your fault if her last memory is of you molesting her.
- At the end of Contact, the main character inflicts this on the player, in a truly magnificent example of the Player Punch.
- The Witcher, thanks to having the consequences of your choices come back an hour later to bite you in the ass, ends up doing this in a sort of way. For instance, you end up as a sort of surrogate father for an orphan, and he occasionally asks you questions regarding your own moral compass and various views on destiny and the world in general. He later turns out to be the Big Bad, thanks to some accidental time travel, and he spits back your own philosophy as a justification for genocide and the creation of twisted mutants.
- However, Geralt makes it very clear that Jacques De Aldersberg never truly understood the lessons he learned from Geralt (assuming Jacques de Aldersberg is indeed Alvin as an adult). Best demonstrated in the following exchange:
Jacques De Aldersberg: You always believed man makes his own destiny. I seek to change all humanity's fate.
Geralt: You robbed humanity of its right to decide. You understand nothing.
- Done well earlier on too. If you give equipment to the terrorists, which they insist they need for the medical supplies included, they will later use weapons also included to kill one of your friends. Definitely a Player Punch.
- Done with subtlety and elegance in Shadow of the Colossus: arguably the whole idea behind the game's minimalistic structure and almost complete lack of dialogue is to silently stress the fact that you are slaying mostly docile creatures that are unique, majestic and beautiful. You Bastard indeed.
- During the credits you get shown the remains of every single colossus, which have returned to earth and rocks, still lying in the same position as they collapsed.
- Fallout 3 pulls one of these, very nearly breaking the fourth wall to do so: If you choose to put a dying man out of his misery, a message pops up to tell you that you're a bastard for killing him.
- Justified in that it's incredibly easy to save him, and murdering him means losing one of the best items in the game for no reward.
- Fallout: New Vegas pulls one too when, after killing Mr. House you receive a message chastising you for your action. Fridge Brilliance in that it is actually his eulogy to whomever kills him, which would be certain since he is essentially immortal.
- Lonesome Road, the final story add-on for Fallout: New Vegas, manages to give the player one from all the way back in Fallout 3 and it's add-on, Broken Steel. Throughout Lonesome Road, you hear logs from a Dr. Whitely, a kindly Enclave scientist. It turns out he was at Adams Air Force Base, which the Lone Wanderer canonically seems to have destroyed.
- Lonesome Road could be described as an extended case of this trope. Ulysses constantly lambasts the Player Character for causing immense damage in the world through careless actions...something that not only happened in the backstory of the DLC, but throughout the entire series! He even goes so far as to accuse you of "carrying death wherever you go." He's...not entirely wrong about that.
- World of Warcraft pulls one of these with the Death Knight starting chain in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Working for the Scourge involves many screaming civilians getting slaughtered by you and your compatriots. Then, you reach the race specific execution quest...
- Perhaps done even earlier in The Burning Crusade expansion: one mission requires you to sneak into an enemy camp to investigate certain people. During which you can talk to most of the neutral-via-your-disguise enemy NPCs and hear them talk about going into a nearby town and having drinks or starting a 'leatherball' game. Upon completing this quest, the quest giver orders for you to go back into the camp and kill X number of the enemy characters. Yes, they ARE an evil cult...but still...
- Deus Ex starts you off as a government agent going after terrorists. It looks like a classic FPS at first, but going on a killing spree on your first mission will earn you the disapproval of several characters. Not only that, but you later find out that you're working for the Bad Guys and join up with the "terrorists" you may have been killing off previously.
- One part of the game has you talk to the parents of a MJ12 trooper. The father has resigned himself that his son is no longer a boy, will give you his son's user name and password for a console, and is accepting that he may be killed by the player (somewhat, he'll curtly say to the player, "I have helped you kill my son, isn't that enough?" if you attempt to talk to him again) The mother on the other hand, will beg you to spare him, and berate her husband for "letting politics get in front of his duties as a father." Continue to kill MJ12 troopers if you like, but you can't help but wonder if you just killed the couple's son.
- It's easy to get a NPC innkeeper killed in the second missions and not even realize it; then you meet his grieving daughter being forced to prostitute herself a few missions later. Hope you saved.
- Inadvertently evil, JC himself can kill the innkeeper himself, in front of his daughter, and respond to her mourning with the now-memetic phrase, (and, in this context, sarcastic) "What a shame."
- At least, unlike a lot of these examples, Deus Ex does give you the option of not killing everyone, even if it makes the game much harder.
- In The Nameless Mod, playing the World Corp storyline will give you this trope a lot from the PDX gang, who were your friends before the events of the game.
- In a lesser-known dialogue: Although the group "The Rooks" is responsible for the oppression of other, more peaceful citizens, if JC slaughters them all, confronts their leader, and orders him to give him what he wants (a bomb), if the main character's inventory is full, JC will let out an uncharacteristic, sinister-sounding laugh.
- And then there's Deus Ex: Human Revolution where the Achievement for accepting O'Malley's bribe and letting the dirty cop skip town flat-out calls you a "greedy bastard".
- On the other hand, there's also an achievement for doing a total Pacifist Run (except for the bosses, who you have to kill).
- This was the premise of Crusader of Centy: the main character comes of age and sets out on a quest to kill monsters in true adventure game style. But over a series of bizarre circumstances, it is revealed that the monsters are intelligent and (initially) innocent, and you've spent the whole game committing genocide because you assumed they deserved to die. An interesting premise, but its presentation leaves much to be desired.
- The Mind Screw last act of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time reveals that the entire world was created as a giant virtual reality MMO for a more advanced dimension's amusement. This was depicted as plainly sick and disturbing leading the heroes to Rage Against the Heavens when they'd become obsolete. Then there's that line about no controlling with a joy-stick.
- Grand Theft Auto (a game series that's downright deliciously wanton), particularly Grand Theft Auto IV, is prone to this though in-game content that's easy to miss in a regular play through (such as in radio messages or TV shows).
- Speaking of GTA IV, Niko Bellic is an incredibly self-aware avatar. He mourns his loneliness when he sleeps with prostitutes, apologizes if he almost runs over a pedestrian, and then spends much of the cutscenes talking about the horrible things he is responsible for and his regret. And then there's the climax: Roman already holds you responsible for destroying his comfortable life and demands you choose money over revenge. If you choose Money, he dies in a drive-by meant for you. If you ignore him and choose Revenge, he lives but your friend, and possible love interest, Kate Mccreary dies in his place. Either way, after you kill The Big Bad, you receive a phone call asking if it was all worth it. Niko seems unconvinced, hangs up, and in a bit of unexpected Fridge Brilliance the post-game plays out with Niko exactly where he was before even making the decision — minus one relationship.
- In short, the only way to win at Grand Theft Auto IV is not to beat it.
- Still becomes quite unavoidable when you play the game's first episode. In the main game, Niko kills a nameless biker on the subway line as part of a contract. In The Lost And Damned, Johnny Klebitz and his friend Jim Fitzgerald decide to split up to evade a hit put out on them by The Mafia. Jim decides to try and lose the heat on the subway...
- Grand Theft Auto V provides a nominal, subtle use of the trope, in conjunction with Leaning on the Fourth Wall: there's a billboard right outside the Bolingbroke Penitentiary (Senora Freeway, going through the northern desert) that reads "HELL AWAITS (in huge, red block letters) if you're having fun."
- Saints Row 2 carries out this trope to the letter in a secret mission: When you find out that Julius Little was the one attempted to kill you at the end of the first game, you go hunting for him. At the end of the mission, you shoot him in cold blood. Before he dies, he explains that he did it because the Saints, who were originally meant to save the city from violence, had become, in essence, worse than the Vice Kings. While this is true, and certainly made the player have second thoughts about their behavior in the game, the situation was punctuated by the main character exclaiming how he didn't care, and shot him in the forehead. Worse is that if there had not been a speech like that, the player probably would have done that in the first place, adding even more punch to his words.
- The game also does this with the newspaper articles after some of the mandatory missions, noting the massive human suffering caused by such actions as shooting down helicopters over populated areas, carrying on running gun battles on busy freeways, and burning down an entire housing project to get at the drug labs in some of the apartments. Bystanders on the street will also make comments about some particularly cruel things the protagonist does to individual members of the rival gangs, like arranging for Jessica to be locked in a car trunk and crushed to death, crippling the lead guitarist of the Feed Dogs, and burying Shogo Akuji alive.
- At the end of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Ganondorf opens the final battle with an explanation that he was just jealous of Hyrule's wind, which has resulted in plenty of fans feeling sorry for him.
- Dhaos of Tales of Phantasia attempts to pull your heartstrings with the reveal that he's only fighting to save his planet, which loses momentum when you consider that a few minutes earlier he told the player that he didn't care one whit about what happened to Earth.
- Dhaos is kind of an interesting case. In the actual game, he's a colossal jerk that decided that humanity was going to kill the tree with their prototype manatechnology, and thus attacked, killing everyone who had any connection at all to it. This naturally freaked out humanity, forcing them to speed up production and fire a Mana Cannon based on the prototype technology in order to even have a chance of winning the war Dhaos starts. This kills the World Tree. This makes Dhaos even more angry. That's not all that happened, but the main thing is that in the game, the blame for all of the events is distributed among several parties equally.
- Meanwhile, in the OVA, Dhaos is made to be more of a Noble Demon. Unfortunately, this had the effect of making the humans of the past war crazy morons. See, while the Mana Cannon was built in-game to stop Dhaos, this time around humanity decided to just build one for no real reason. Dhaos hears about this, and goes on to stop the construction to save the World Tree.
- In Iji, a game about a civilian forced to become a supersoldier to fight off an alien invasion, if you play the game like any other shoot-em-up, which is what seems to be expected of you, your enemies at various points call you out for the vast amounts of deaths you've caused (not that this isn't hypocritical on their part, as you get mocked by a genocidal maniac and a egotistical assassin). It is possible to play through without killing anyone, in which case you gain a certain amount of admiration instead.
- Oddly averted with Dan, who will always stand by whatever decision you make be it pacifism or genocide.
- In ICO, you find the body of Yorda frozen as stone with shadow creatures standing around her that run as you approach. The shadow creatures do not attack you, some approach you curiously, others run while still others fly or run around in circles as if they're confused. To proceed you have to kill them, and as you kill them you realize that they are the souls/spirits/essence/etc of the other horned boys, innocent victims who were sacrificed like you were intended to be.
- Call of Duty: World at War does this. At two points in the game, in the Russian missions, you have the option to spare or execute a group of helpless German soldiers. Also, one of your squadmates keeps a diary. Before the last mission, Sgt. Reznov will read an entry from said diary. If you spared the soldiers both times, your character is described as a true hero. If you killed both groups, you're called a brutal, merciless savage and if you killed one and spared the other he puts you as morally ambiguous individual.
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 does this as well when you not only play on the side of Makarov, the new Ultranationalist leader, you get to also gun down an airport full of civilians and shoot them as they pitifully try to crawl away to safety. And to top it all off, you get shot by Makarov himself because you were a CIA agent working on the inside. So not only were you doing horrible things, but you were also on the side of good the entire time. Wow Infinity Ward, wow. You'll also get shot if you don't do anything as well
- And Makarov uses the incident as an excuse to declare war on the United States.
- Not only that, but the same scenario ( you being shot and killed by Makarov) plays out whether you fire your weapon or not. And the mission tells you to follow Makarov, not kill the civilians. If you killed a single person, it was your choice to do so.
- A Marathon Infinity level-design finalist plays this for laughs. Upon starting, there is nothing you can do but press a button. You do, a bunch of screams let out, and the window next to you fills with lava. You can then go over to a terminal where a stereotypical middle-management type person congratulates you for putting down that miners' strike so quickly.
- In Portal: "You euthanized your faithful companion cube more quickly than any test subject on record. Congratulations."
- "There was even going to be a party for you. A big party, that all of your friends were invited to. I invited your best friend, the Companion Cube. Of course, he couldn't come because you murdered him."
- GLaDOS implies it with the subtly angry line "You're not a good person, you know that right? Good people don't end up here."
- The song at the end of Portal, Still Alive. 'I'm not even angry. I'm being so sincere right now. Even though you broke my heart. And killed me. And tore me to pieces. And threw every piece into a fire. As they burned it hurt because / I was so happy for you!' That she sings all of this in a cheerful voice makes the whole thing a You Bastard moment. She also calls you a monster a few times in the sequel. She really does know how to make you feel guilty for stopping her trying to experiment on you to death.
- Also this quote from the sequel's trailer: "But I'm sure we can put our differences behind us. For science. You monster."
- In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, a soldier says in a base conversation that some of the soldiers are not looking forward to the end of the war, because it means the end of their soldiering career, with all its promotion possibilities and great pay. To this Ike says that the men should be ashamed of finding pleasure in the war and should instead concentrate on the great sorrow the war has caused for all sides. That can really hit home at players who don't want the game to end because they want to level their soldiers higher and get everyone to 20/20.
- The point of the song Ai no Uta for Pikmin seems to condemn the player for enslaving the Pikmin and using them in an expendable manner, describing the Pikmin as willing to do anything for Olimar and never asking anything in return.
- Except there is another song by the same band from Olimar's point of view that shows he does care about the Pikmin Namida Ga Afureta.
- Olimar might, but the former appears to be directed at the player.
- Jesse Venbrux's ultra-short (seriously, it takes a few seconds to play) Execution combines this with a Deconstruction of how death normally works in video games: Shooting the prisoner leads to a "You lose" message. Restarting the game leads you to a message that it's already too late, followed by a view of the prisoner's corpse. This is accomplished by adding a bit of data to your computer's registry, so simply deleting the game and re-downloading it will still give you the corpse. On the other hand, attempting to quit without shooting the prisoner leads to a "You win" message.
- Knights of the Old Republic II did this to the classic RPG mechanic of killing things for XP, by revealing that you're growing more powerful not because you're learning things, but because you're in a way draining your opponents' lives as you kill them.
- A lesson made even more jarring given it's effectively hand-waved by your party members and by the final outcomes in that if you're good you lead to the resurrection of the Jedi Order and if you're bad your actions significantly weaken the already fractured Republic potentially leading to it's destruction. Values dissonance?
- Chrono Cross throws this at you after you kill the Hydra - not only is it revealed that it was the last of its kind, but it was pregnant.
- In EarthBound, when Ness reaches Magicant, he can recruit one of the five Flying Men to accompany him through the rest of the dungeon. If one dies, he can go back to their house to recruit another, but the remaining Flying Men get increasingly angrier at you for letting them die, and the graves of the deceased Flying Men have decreasingly detailed inscription until finally, all the Flying Man are dead and the last grave is unmarked.
- 3DO pseudo-porn Visual Novel game Plumbers Dont Wear Ties has a surprising instance of this, where the heroine is pleading for a job. You get the option of turning the situation into a classic "I'd do ANYTHING to get this job!" porn movie scenario, but if you do the decision blows up in your face as the scene quickly turns dark and wrong, the boss turning evil and the heroine turning sad and pitiful. Then the narrator chimes in with "What kind of sick, perverted monster are you!?" and slaps you with a penalty that turns your score negative. Because really, what were you thinking choosing the porn option IN A PORN GAME!? Worse, still, you have to do it to continue with the game.
- The Escape Ending in Devil Survivor goes out of its way to ensure you feel terrible for the decisions you made.
- In Mass Effect, some characters react strongly if the player chooses a more morally ambiguous option, or just one that character disagrees with ("Do you enjoy committing genocide, Commander?!"). The Turian Councillor is especially notable for having You Bastard dialogue options no matter what option the player chooses. Though, it's implied the reason for this is due to him bearing Fantastic Racism against humans.
- Mass Effect 3 has it's fair share, but probably the worst case is if Wrex is still alive and you faked the genophage cure, leading to a confrontation on the Citadel. Wrex will even go as far as to call Shepard a hypocrite, and the encounter inevitably ends with Wrex's death. If you killed the Virmire survivor during the Citadel invasion, Wrex will call you out on that too.
- Dragon Age: Origins has plenty of this, too. After killing a wounded soldier, Alistair asks: "Does the word "insane" mean anything to you?"
- You can also overhear two characters, by lake Calenhad, having a very fourth-wall-breaking conversation about how they might just be "characters in a play" and how their world might be all a game for somebody else's enjoyment. They follow up by wondering what kind of sick freak would enjoy seeing them suffer so much, and one of them wonders why on Thedas these "superior beings" would enjoy giving him such painful warts.
- EVE Online's chronicles and the Burning Life novel go a long way to fleshing out how the world of New Eden views capsuleers like you. In the course of being your average MMORPG character, you are an immortal directed by a moral compass completely alien to the average denizens of the world you inhabit. Thousands die at your bidding for loot or sometimes for fun, and your kind wage endless wars that up that amount by orders of magnitude. Many capsuleers are so far removed from the sphere of the ordinary person's world that they don't even realise they're carrying a crew aboard most of the ships they control. Good luck not feeling guilty on those rare occasions when those poor saps are given a voice.
- Mildly occurs in World in Conflict, towards the end. Having been under Soviet rule for months, Seattle has many Soviet propaganda posters and images painted around the city, most of them giving idealistic messages about the ending of the Cold War, a new, united world and attacking US and NATO forces for being warmongers. Now listen to the Colonel Sawyer himself admitting that the US airstrikes did more damage to the city than the Soviets themselves, consider that you are trying to save the city from a nuke by the US government and the final US assault on the city levels the whole place. A small pang of guilt is unavoidable even knowing that the Soviets are the aggressors.
- Also occurs in the expansion where you learn Malashenko's wife and child was killed during a NATO assault in Soviet territory. Didn't you blow up some apartment buildings during the assault in Murmansk in the original game with no comments whatsoever on the implications? Or didn't Bannon shell a group of surrendering Soviet civilians in the same mission?
- The point, done with beautiful subtlety, of Far Cry 2. Enemies attack you on sight. Patrols try to kill you before even checking to see if you're an enemy or a friend. The entire world is hostile. The result? The player learns to attack first. To kill everything in sight. To blow up jeeps the moment they see a patrol. In short: To become exactly the same as all the people you're murdering. Reinforced by a reputation system that sees (at high levels) enemies scream and run when they see you and the Underground, the only decent group of people in the game, to refuse to do business with you.
- Some of the more compassionate behaviours exhibited by enemies had a similar effect. Shooting a guy who is shooting at you? No problem. After all, that's just self defence, at least to some degree. But shooting a guy who is trying to drag his wounded mate to safety? Not fun. The effect is magnified when you can hear him constantly reassuring the wounded fellow that everything will be alright.
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni does this in a side story: Bernkastel: "Expanding a happy dream into infinity? Effort that brings success no matter what...? It's so sickeningly sweet that my tongue will fall off. ..... Aah, how revolting. It's the same to you, right? Therefore. I will show you a true, witch-like, granting of a wish. Because you're obviously looking forward to that." She then proceeds to convince a character to defy her aunt because if she doesn't she'll never get to be with her true family again. And then for her troubles her aunt makes her life a living hell. Then Bernkastel says this: "These kinds of kakera exist, ......but what do you think? All of you who love this kind of ill-natured story...like this level of pain more, don't you?" This is the first time you realise just who the monster of Umineko no Naku Koro ni is.
- Could also be considered a Take That, Audience! with the mixed reactions to Higurashi's happy ending.
- In the game Evil Genius, you perform one of these in a game that otherwise tries to allow you to revel in being a Diabolical Mastermind. Each global anti-Evil-Genius group has a Super Agent, an practically-unkillable Super Agent that can only be killed in a certain way. Mariana Mamba? You strap her down in a sugery booth and make her morbidly obese. Not that bad, she can recover. Jet Chan? You challenge him to a karate duel, win, and he flees to contemplate his loss. Thats okay, he's not injured except for his pride. Dirk Masters? You dunk him in a biological tank filled with a chemicals obtained from his own steroid-riddled gym rag. Kinda fitting and justified. But defeating Katarina Frostonova, the emotionally-dead assassin who lived in a Soviet-run Orphanage of Fear after the KGB accidentally killed her parents? You find the only thing she ever cared about as a child - a big teddy bear - cut it to pieces in front of her.
- In Command & Conquer Red Alert, in the first mission under the Soviet campaign, your goal is to kill everyone in a village. You have three planes and some soldiers. Alright, everything's fine, just killing some low-graphics sprites for the level. Then the level ends, and you're treated to a (for its time) high graphics CG cutscene of the same planes that you commanded gunning down a family, you see a little girl drop her stuffed bunny, and the camera zooms in on it. Nice job finishing the first mission, You Bastard.
- Oh, but it gets even WORSE when you think about it. The opposing forces: about a half-dozen Polish Partisans trying to protect dozens of unarmed civilians (ALL of whom you have to kill). Your forces: about 60+ men and air support. The reason you are destroying this village: a handful of survivors from one of the USSR's less-than-ethical experiments involving Sarin Gas managed to escape, and the village made the fatal mistake of taking these poor, near-dead souls in and reporting the matter to the Western Allies. You Bastard indeed.
- If you use the Liquid Tiberium Bomb in the last GDI mission of Tiberium Wars (despite being warned that using it will set off a chain reaction) you end up killing your entire army and twenty five million civilians AND set a precedent for GDI using Tiberium weaponry in the future. General Granger immediately resigns in disgust but not before calling the player a war criminal while looking directly at the camera.
- In FMV-driven adventure game Quantum Gate and its sequel Vortex, the 'bugs' you wind up shooting in the 'tween-act minigame were actually fairy people, and the barren planet is actually a lush paradise. Has slight Unfortunate Implications running along the What Measure Is A Noncute line because, even if they WERE giant bugs, you were still invading their home on behalf of an evil corporation, albeit one with a noble endgoal.
- In Heavenly Sword they get into to this right off the bat as the extremely realistic looking main character turns to the screen and yells at you for letting her die when the fate of her people hung in the balance and she was the only one who could save them.
- The final case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All takes this trope Up to Eleven. First, Phoenix has to essentially accuse the innocent Adrian Andrews of murdering the victim...and then it gets worse. Phoenix is then forced to make the Sadistic Choice between getting Matt Engarde acquitted, or having Maya's kidnapper, the assassin Shelley de Killer make good on his threat to kill her. It hits hard on both sides of the fourth wall. That's part of the reason why it is such a Crowning Moment of Awesome when Phoenix is able to turn de Killer against Engarde.
- Independence Port in City of Heroes is one of the largest zones in the game, over two miles from end to end, but with most important spots within a few hundred yards of the tram line. Therefore, it's rare for anyone to wander outside that radius unless a mission specifically directs them to go further. A newer exploration badge in the far corner of the map reflects that tendency... by pointing out that the area sees a lot of mob-related deaths because no heroes patrol that far.
- Final Fantasy VI Advance has the Bonus Boss Kaiser Dragon condemn the heroes for slaughtering its fellow dragons simply for the sake of fighting in its introduction speech.
- Breath of Fire III's first boss qualifies. It is a giant monkey-like creature called a Nue that has been terrorizing the town and stealing their crops, so you and your little adopted family go to take it out - only to find out that the only reason it was stealing food was to give it to its deceased offspring, whom it didn't understand were dead. Rei, Teepo and Ryu are quite shaken by this.
- The protagonist of Manhunt is forced to kill by a mysterious and malevolent figure, who's watching it all on a TV screen for a sadistic thrill. The more gruesome murders you commit, the more obvious the parallel is between the villain and the player.
- NieR gets a lot of comparisons to Shadow of the Colossus, and for good reason. By the end of the game, you'll have the unpleasant suspicion that your desperate, well-meaning main character is kind of an asshole. By the end of your New Game+, you'll learn that he's much, much worse.
- Prototype has this in spades. You can tap into enemy communications - and hear their cries of agony as you, or the infected, go on murderous rampages. Helicopter pilots in particular give out hellish, despairing screams as they plummet towards the ground.
- Travis in No More Heroes actually calls out the player for enjoying watching him and his fellow assassins fight to the death towards the end of the second game. Well, technically he calls out Sylvia and the UAA, but the way he does it certainly causes the player to pause and say, "Wait, is he talking to me?"
- The whole game is a subtle You Bastard to everyone that enjoys Gotta Kill Them All plots. It gets less subtle in the second game with the above example.
- The Hell Lord Arc of Legend of Mana. It's made abundantly clear that Draconis is evil, and though he blackmails you into doing his bidding saying no to him has no permanent effect on the plot or gameplay, so going along with his quest to kill the other dragons and steal their Mana Crystals means you get What the Hell, Hero? thrown at you quite a bit.
- The cliffhanger ending of the second Simon the Sorcerer game has Simon criticize the player for enjoying the situation he's ended up in (stuck in Sordid's body and at the receiving end of much humiliation by the citizens while Sordid romps around in his body in the real world), and throws in a bit of Paranoia Fuel to drive the point home.
- The ending of Arc Rise Fantasia. You aren't called one, but boy do you feel like a bastard after hearing Eesa's backstory and why she had to fight you. The fact that she gracefully offers to let her body be used in your plan after losing just makes it even sadder.
- In Uncharted 2, you make affable "treasure hunter" Nathan Drake run around snapping necks, crushing tracheas, throwing men off moving trains, and shooting, shooting, shooting. So when Lazarevic says, at the climax, "How many men did you kill... today?", it's probably supposed to be a boilerplate Not So Different speech... but it's hard not to admit he has a point.
- In Rift, killing harmless animals will give the player the "critter killer" status for one minute; mousing over the effect's icon will display the message "you should be ashamed."
- School Days does this as a deconstruction of hentai games. If you treat any of the girls right you do get a good end and if you mess around with them, you do not go unpunished.
- Hilariously parodied in EYE Divine Cybermancy. Behold.◊
- In Alpha Protocol, there are very few enemies you have to kill. A bit of mercy can not only drastically change several points in the plot but provide you with perks, stat bonuses, and recognition from your peers (both allies and opposition). For instance, sparing the head of a terrorist organization gives you an ally and a bit of a political upper hand.
- In DC Universe Online if you're playing a villain you'll find yourself dishing out punishment (and based on your weapon selection possibly shooting) to everything from iconic superheroes to run of the mill cops, to university students. It all sort of blends together pretty quickly, right up until the point were you reach one of the late game missions where you end up attacking firefighters. Ouch.
- Mortal Kombat has this in the first and second installments. So you beat the game and saved the world, right? Wrong. You just condemned the Earth to destruction. "Have a nice day" indeed.
- The Elder Scrolls games typically have a menu listing how many of certain accomplishments the player has done (for example, "people killed", "quests completed", "locations discovered".) Skyrim lists how many rabbits the player has killed in this menu - under the heading "bunnies slaughtered".
- Averted in Panzer Dragoon Saga. At the end of the game, you find out that the being that resurrected you at the very beginning of the game was the Dragon itself. The protagonist Edge then asks if the dragon is not the "divine one" the game world's religious prophecy spoke of, then who is? The dragon then makes the revelation that the divine one is the being that has been guiding Edge throughout the game and then talks directly to the player, calling them by their real name they entered at the beginning (This is the only time that your entered name is referenced in game, and the one reason why the game urges you to enter your real name). The dragon asks you to "press the button" and end their world's struggle (it's implied he wants you to turn the game off). Since we don't want to do that, the game then continues and the dragon takes Edge away through a portal. Right before Edge goes through it the camera does a close-up and he looks directly at the player, saying "It was you all along. Thank You" as though in prayer. In short, rather than instigating pain, death and suffering, the player is the god of the world's religion, the divine watcher that guides the protagonist through difficulty, provides him with the resolve to continue and delivers him from evil.
- In the "Kobold Chaos" challenge in Dungeons & Dragons Online, there is a lantern archon that randomly spawns and drops dragonshards in its wake. If you kill it (and it doesn't fight back) you'll get even more dragonshards, an increased score...and a scolding from the dungeon master.
- In Katawa Shoujo, part of Hanako's fanbase and, on her route, Hisao, are attracted to her because she is The Woobie, even more than the other girls. But in her worst ending, she snaps at Hisao, telling him that she believes he, Lilly and everyone else see her as a "broken" individual and pity her, declaring that she hates him and Lilly. These comments can just as easily apply to some of her fans.
- While Hanako's path was intended from the very beginning to drop this trope on the player (according to Word of God), Rin's can also be interpreted similarly. If you really give it some thought, you will realize very quickly that from the very moment you first meet her, it's incredibly obvious that something is off about Rin's behavior. But she's just so charming, isn't she? Her quirkiness is just so adorable, it's probably just a sign of true intelligence!. And then you go, and, as Hisao, push her further and further into insanity despite her constant (in the beginning) objections and the fact that she obviously isn't interested, because she's so smart and cute, right? One of the endings implies that she'll kill herself because of the "lessons" you taught her.
- In a meta sense this flash game calls out people for things they do in other Role Playing Games. Just play it, and you'll understand, it shouldn't take more than a few minutes.
- Spec Ops: The Line is made of this trope. The player character walks into a sandstorm-wracked Dubai with every appearance and intention of playing out the heroic story of most military-themed shooters: saving civilians and shooting the bad guys before defeating the final boss, a former colonel (and hero) who went rogue. That certainty lasts right up until he finds himself firing on American soldiers in self-defence, and the preconception shatters and falls through his (and the players') fingers like sand. Innocents die, atrocities are witnessed (and committed), and the protagonist and his team come closer and closer to breaking compounded by the accidental use of white phosphorous mortars on a civilian camp. The game goes from fairly standard loading tips to openly mocking and asking the player if they still believe they can call themselves a good person, if they're getting entertained by this nightmarish situation, if everything they've done will be justified in the end, that this is all their fault, and that, in no certain terms, the player is a nasty, brutish sadist. It's finally revealed that the rogue commander died months ago, and the protagonist has built himself a hallucinatory bad guy on which to blame all wrongdoing. So in a sense, he created fiction that made him feel like a hero no matter what horrors he perpetrated. Say, that sounds familiar.
- Balance of Power, a geopolitical strategy game from 1985, gives the following Game Over if you let everything go to hell (and the context of the quote means they knew people would do this deliberately):
"You have ignited a nuclear war. And no, there is no animated display of a mushroom cloud with parts of bodies flying through the air. We do not reward failure."
- Go try to sell an animal in Harvest Moon: A New Beginning. The expression on Neil's face when he tells you to tell him which animal you're selling is depressing.
- Remember how in Persona 4 you would take advantage of the protagonist's way with the ladies and have up to six girlfriends at once? Well, you won't anymore as of Golden, because if you attempt to do so, come Valentine's Day, you'll have to make a choice of a single girl you want to make happy, leaving the rest of them in tears. Ouch.
- The Updated Re-release adds a Worst Ending, wherein you befriend the Big Bad and help him get away with his crimes that is nothing but this from start to finish, largely because unlike the other bad endings, which can conceivably be gotten by mistake, you actually have to go out of your way to get this one.
- Used in the final episode of The Walking Dead depending on what choices you make. The Stranger will list various things you've done and tell you how horrible you are, such as if you save Carley over Doug (saving a pretty girl with a gun) or not letting Lilly back into the van (she was grieving, alone, etc.). Even if you did the most moral actions in the world, he'll still find faults - it's impossible to get through that game "clean".
- As noted on the Fridge Brilliance page for the game, the use of the Jurist System in Apollo Justice seems to be a Take That to the many Japanese citizens were unhappy with the idea of the system being implemented in the country in real life. The game holds the Jurist System up as the way of progress and just another way to polish and perfect justice. All of the heroic characters laud the system as a great new thing to try. Meanwhile, the one who launches an argument against the effectiveness of the system is a coldblooded killer who was relying on the previous court system to get the defendant he was framing found guilty. And in the end, the Jurist System lets the obviously innocent defendant go free, while making it clear that under the previous system, it would have been impossible to get her a Not Guilty verdict.
- OFF, to a ridiculous degree. At the end of the game, the Judge calls you, the player out for helping the Batter turn the world into a barren wasteland, then kill his wife and infant son. One of the endings then lets you play The Atoner by switching sides and taking control of the Judge to fight the Batter.
- In Rockman 4 Minus Infinity, sucking up Eddie leaves Proto Man lamenting his demise in the End Game Results Screen, then noticing something:
"I see... as I heard that his signal disappeared near you, you saw his last moment... didn't you?"
- Shin Megami Tensei IV contains, in addition to the franchise's standard Law, Chaos, and Neutral endings, a fourth, "Bad" ending, involving Flynn completely giving up his quest and siding with the Omnicidal Maniac white to Mercy Kill the multiverse. The game pulls no punches in telling you this is a terrible decision, from Flynn's undyingly-loyal projected woman Burroughs practically begging him not to go through with it (in a still-undyingly-loyal way) to a complete joke of a final boss that denies you even the ability to have any fun with this ending.
- Mocked in Video Game Morality Play, which was largely a response to Spec Ops: The Line and video games that indulge in this trope. Eventually, the "game" forces you to kill innocents, and you have to go through with it to proceed. After the deed, the game calls you a monster and asks if you enjoy this. If you respond that you don't enjoy shooting civilians in real life, the game forces you to either say you're a souless person for trying to escape your droll, boring, worthless life (as declared by the game makers) by wasting your time via saccharine "fun" that just forced you to shoot civilians in the face (which is completely your fault, the game tries to convince you so), or say you're an evil materialistic shit for buying corporate entertainment that lines the pockets of evil fat cats. You have to "admit" you are a evil bastard, and you're awarded with "We deserve every bullet we make". Picking FUCK YEAH OBVIOUSLY has you go on about your life after rating the game a 7/10 or 6/10 (it's an okay shooter), and you go do some volunteer work, where you decidedly don't appreciate killing civilians.
CONGRADULATIONS [sic] YOU CONTINUE TO BE A PERSON
YOU ARE A MONSTROUS HUMAN BEING. WHY DO YOU KEEP PLAYING... FOR ENTERTAINMENT?!?!?! YOU SICK BASTARD. YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU'VE DONE.
- Shitty Fucking Art Game has a segment that parodies Spec Ops' brand of player guilttripping by taking a page from the XKCD webcomic about making an FPS mod that randomly assigns pseudo-poigant snippets of life that get more and more ridiculous to the squares you kill, as well as indie games about war with a segment where you lazily sign documents on behalf of the Illuminati.
- In Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, there's a mission where Earth forces are "defending" a city from exploding BAHRAM drones (but, true to form, have no regard for Martian civilian casualties whatsoever). Dingo's intention is to defend the civilians while killing the drones, and the game will rate you on the number of lives preserved at the end of the mission, but getting a good rating is quite difficult. Since Jehuty is a Super Robot it is entirely possible to raze the entire city to the ground yourself, leaving no survivors. If you do, ADA asks you sincerely in the deadpan that only an Artificial Intelligence can manage: "Are you proud of yourself?"
- This chainsawsuit comic plays it straight for laughs.
- Similarly, after loads of literal metaphors in Terminal Lance, we get our protagonist apparently attempting to shit out a battery, on orders of an NCO. Then...
- Brawl in the Family: No one ever thinks about the minions!
- You don't even need the cast to help you along in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.
- Thog's fanbase get a Take That in this strip of The Order of the Stick. As Roy compiles a list of all the people Thog has slaughtered, Tarquin comments:
Tarquin: It's weird, no matter how many people he kills, the audience still thinks he's lovable.
- Given that Rich Burlew has done everything in his power to make Thog popular, this is very much tongue-in-cheek.
- It was probably a reference to fan-favorite Belkar too.
- Tarquin may be the first villain in history to actually use this Trope as part of his Evil Plan:
Tarquin: My name will be immortalized forever.
Elan: As a villain!
- There's a pregnancy fetish comic, Olympic Dames, that introduced a caricature of a nerd who creeps over the pregnant main characters, shares pictures of them online and is deeply immersed in his fetish's subculture. It culminates in him getting the stuffing pounded out of him by the upright, sensitive Love Interest that he tries to 'befriend' because he saw they shared the same fetish - which the LI was trying to hide. It's pretty clear what we're supposed to think. (And yet, the artist does commissions. Disingenuous, much?)
- Nerf NOW!! evidently is in love with this trope. Such as Engineer building one turret just for art and naming it only to have a passing spy casually crush it (this didn't end well). And little Moe Zerglings, either expendable cannon fodder or saved by a Defiler only to be cannibalized. Or the creepiest looking example: did you just hunt little cute fairies, grab and cram them in bottles, Link?
- Head Trip description of Pokémon:
Mal: But anyway... Pokemon is totally like a gladiator battle but with cute little animals. It's messed up, man.
- Exiern has a seer at the top of the world warning Tiffany about creatures called watchers and dreamers. They make people come to life, put them through all sorts of hell for their amusement, and then kill them when they are no longer of use. And all for some inscrutable plan.
- In ReBoot, after being put into a horror game and seeing the Player maniacally blast away enemies:
And the next level has zombies
! They got flesh on their bones! Dot:
What kind of sick person would enjoy this game?! (both characters glares at the viewer accusingly)
- In South Park, in the episode "Tonsil Trouble" (the AIDS episode), an HIV-infected Kyle, fed up with Cartman's jokes, launches into an emotional rant: "This isn't funny, AIDS isn't funny, dying isn't funny, so shut the fuck up!" It's a bit of a mindfuck for a viewer who just spent 20 minutes laughing, perhaps somewhat nervously, at AIDS jokes.
- It counts for Hypocritical Humor on Kyle's part considering he couldn't stop laughing at Cartman for contracting AIDS in the first place (though that was mostly due to him seeing it as payback for what Cartman's done through the years). However, he still has no excuse for laughing at a few of Kenny's deaths.
- Ever notice that, nearly every time Kenny died, when Stan and Kyle did the "Oh my god, they killed Kenny, You Bastards!" bit, they were usually looking right into the camera and pointing at you? YOU are the reason Kenny kept dying, and you were a bastard for laughing about a small child dying horrible deaths!
- Actually, Trey and Matt are the bastards.
- Parker and Stone often subvert audience expectations in this manner, and later episodes make it increasingly clear they've seemed to stumble upon Misaimed Fandom with certain arcs and characters. Go ahead and ask your friends what With Apologies to Jesse Jackson and Go God Go were really about.
- There was also an in-universe example in the episode in which Cartman and a few of his friends decided to go to Somalia and become pirates after hearing about the heavily publicized exploits of Somalian pirates. Cartman leads his "crew" to Somalia dressed as a Long John Silver knockoff and spouting all the pirate cliches - but is disappointed to find that the actual Somalian pirates are A Disgrace To Blackbeard (wielding assault rifles instead of swords, and drinking water instead of grog). He forces the Somalians to alter their behavior to fit the pirate stereotype, even making them sing sea chanteys about how much they love being pirates. But one of the Somalians refuses to go along, explaining that he didn't become a pirate because he thought it was fun, but because he was so poor that he felt crime was the only career option open to him. Butters (who is one of Cartman's crew) instantly feels guilty for having interpreted another person's sufferings through the prisms of myth and entertainment.
- In-universe example from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In the episode "Ponyville Confidential," the Cutie Mark Crusaders become very popular writing a confidential gossip column that reveals secrets about people in town. However, eventually they are outed, and by that point they've embarrassed nearly everyone in town, so the whole town turns on them. In their final column, they apologize for hurting people's feelings, but explain that the only reason they did so in the first place was because people enjoyed reading the gossip so much.
- In The Simpsons, Bart daydreamed about being an aging rocker introducing his new song "Me Fans Are Stupid Pigs".
- In the "Treehouse of Horror IX" segment "The Terror of Tiny Toon", when Bart and Lisa are accidentally transported into the world of "Itchy and Scratchy", Itchy and Scratchy are horrified by how much they're amused by their gory antics, and team up to kill them.
So you've read the whole thing, haven't you? By wasting your time reading this page made up of zeros and ones that only matter to evil nerds, instead of donating to charity or reading a book, you have killed THOUSANDS
of starving Somali children by reading trivia for fun. You Monster!
I HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY!