Basic Trope: In a video game where you can face the computer in a match, the computer seems to have advantages that you don't.
Straight: In the hit Fighting GameTroper Wars, the CPU always manages to kick your ass due to the fact that his character has projectiles. When that character is human controlled, it doesn't have a projectile attack.
The computer prioritizes wrong things. in Troper Kingdom, your goal is to defeat the army of the enemy. Bob, the A.I. commander, is seen to always prepare attacks against your camps, even if there is no reason to, and never sends any units on resource gathering trips. Because of this, the A.I. automatically gains material even when they logically shouldn't. Due to the A.I. this makes the game fair rather than unbalancing it.
Inverted: The computer cheats to give the player an advantage.
Subverted: The CPU-controlled characters are kicking your ass... but it turns out you have the difficulty on Hard. You turn the difficulty down a notch and you start to stand more of a chance.
The game flat-out tells you that it will cheat to win.
When you start a match, the CPU opens up a cheat menu during gameplay and types in "GOD" or "WIN"
Zig-zagged: The CPU cheats to varying degrees (including none) within the same game to adjust for the player's skills in order to keep him engaged. If the player is breezing through, it'll turn up the difficulty; if the player can barely get out of the starting spot, it'll ease up.
Averted: The CPU plays fair and is on an equal footing with the human characters.
Enforced: (During development) "Hey, this section is a little too easy. I think I'll turn up the accuracy of the enemy snipers juuuuuust a tad..."
Lampshaded: During the characters' single-player loss dialogue, they point out that they shouldn't have lost; not because of pride, but because the enemy was breaking the rules of the fight!
The computer blocks every one of your strikes. There is nothing, however, keeping you from using a slow moving projectile and then turning it around by attacking it from the back, leaving it open. It ALWAYS falls for this.
(During development) "Okay team, make sure the CPU fights fair. If it doesn't, well, it could hurt sales a lot."
People make cheat codes to make the game less impossible.
Discussed: "Did you ever play Troper Wars? Is there a glitch or something that lets only the CPU throw projectiles?"
Conversed: In a movie about video game characters as Animated Actors, the player character's avatar asks how the Big Bad learned to pull off some super-powerful techniques.
Implied: In the game, your goal is not to beat the equal, CPU characters but different enemies who don't play by the same rules. During one level, your "enemy" challenges you but is interrupted by said force. Even once all his gathering methods are cut off, he manages to supply you with items despite having no "fair" way to get them.
The CPU is so freaking cheap that the poor saps who bought it rally together and boycott the company that made it, who then lose millions.
The CPU cheats so blatantly that players start using exploits, glitches, and generally act like a Munchkin to gain an edge.
Reconstructed: There are large rewards for beating the cheap-ass AI, encouraging the gamers to rally together and find a way to win.
Plotted A Good Waste: There are several points where it seems that you would be able to get some of these bonus that a computer has, such as a projectile or free supplies, but they are always yanked away at the last second all the time.
Played For Laughs: The AI isn't just cheating, it's rubbing it in your face. In fact, when you lose it still counts it as a victory, as your enemy cheated and thus that battle didn't count, but if you win the character will accuse you of cheating, while your character will point out even if that were true, they were cheating as well. Said character will desperately try to justify their cheating it while "victory" flashes across your screen.
Played For Drama: There is in story justification for the cheating. Every time your character battles it gets harder and harder due to all the "bonuses" the enemies are getting that you can't even hope for. If the player only manages to win barely then the character will get even more stressed over how hard it's getting to get past that barrier.