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Reality Ensues: Video Games
  • In the Ace Attorney series, characters who commit crimes not related to the murder being investigated (altering crime scenes, forging evidence, wiretapping, interfering with investigations, attacking police officers, etc) will be shown in the detention center later, showing that they do serve time for what they did. On the other hand, it seems darned near impossible to actually get anyone in trouble for perjury. Dual Destinies plays with this, the judge using threats of conviction for perjury to motivate witnesses to start telling the truth.
  • Ace Combat
    • The agility and tenacity of the Game Breaker QAAMs' may be what happens when you put a real-world nigh-unbeatable heater, a la Python 4/5 or AA-11/R-73 or AIM-9X, against planes that usually encounter missiles sloppy enough to be outflown without needing countermeasures.
    • Likewise, when Captain Bartlett in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War draws a missile away from Nagase, and then again when Nagase is targeted by a hidden AA position a few missions later, in both cases the missile stays right on them despite them pulling maneuvers that would have shaken off a standard missile in gameplay - must have been QAAMs.
    • The Xbox 360 game Over G Fighters. Did you know that afterburner in the presence of heat-seeking missiles is a bad thing? On the other hand, unlike Ace Combat, the player (though also enemies) can sometimes break missile locks by turning enough to reduce their plane's radar cross-section.
  • AI War Fleet Command: What happens when you make the AI with far more resources than you ever can have and no compunction against holding back sit up and decide you're a threat? You get flattened, that's what.
  • In Alice: Madness Returns, any time Alice falls out of Wonderland into reality tends to strike a nerve, as Alice is a helpless teenager wandering the streets of London and the game really drives that home; the second time you return, for example, Alice gets slapped unconscious by a pimp for trying to come to her friend's aid. Everyone is also aware Alice isn't entirely right in the head, a fact the Big Bad tries to use to pull a Karma Houdini; who would believe that a highly respected child pyschologist raped and killed someone's sister with only the word of a known mental patient? Alice also admits he's right, then takes it into her own hands.
  • In Assassin's Creed games, pickpocket victims who realise you're the culprit will try to punch you out. Problem is, the culprit is a battle-hardened warrior who goes through trained soldiers like a lawnmower. It doesn't end well for the civilian.
  • Baldur's Gate
    • In the first game, you finally get the chance to confront the supposed Big Bad, Rieltar, as he holds a meeting with his subordinates. Attacking and killing him results in being thrown in jail, because the only tangible evidence to his guilt are a few torn letters that may or may not even have been written by him.
    • Likewise, when you confront the real Big Bad, a Villain with Good Publicity, if you don't have any evidence against him, he points this out, calls you criminals out to start a war and frame him, and successfully turns every noble in the city against you. Come on, you're a Hero with Bad Publicity with a heavy bounty on your head, he's a respected soldier and duke of the city, who did you think they'd believe?
    • Walking around during a storm wearing plate armor? Get struck by lightning. What did you think was going to happen?
    • In the second game, Ellesime decides to exile her former lover, who has become a crazed megalomaniac Mad Scientist with a god complex, instead of killing him, hoping this act of mercy will cause him to seek redemption. However, when she does so, she also strips him of his soul, but not his magical powers. Long story short, he gets even stronger and comes back seeking revenge. Love Makes You Stupid at its finest.
  • The Bard's Tale
    • The "good" ending ends with the Bard saving the world from an ancient and terrifying evil. However, as nobody aside from a small cult who don't really like him know this, he's soon back to hustling inns for free booze and sex.
    • The various "Chosen Ones" encountered during the game are victims of this. Bright, bold lads setting out to meet their destiny, they're quickly murdered by everything from wolves to trow to zombies. One sheriff took to locking them up for their own safety.
  • Batman: Arkham Origins has several:
    • Promotional materials for Origins mention "unconfirmed rumors" that Batman has personalized aircraft. When Batman discovers Bane's computer console and realizes Bane knows his Secret Identity, one of the monitors has a radar display. Bane figured it out by merely tracking the Batwing, and putting two and two together.
    • Letting Joker ramble on too long while he has Batman at gunpoint will result in Joker killing Batman with a single bullet at point blank range.
    • During the credits, Jack Ryder is having a live conversation with Quincy Sharp and various political experts over the game's events, debating over how effective the cops are, the state of the country if such criminals can actually exist, and the failure of Gotham's prison system. The only one to escape criticism is Batman.
  • Batman Arkham Series
    • Batman can take out dozens of prisoners with delicate uses of flips, jumps, punches, and Batarangs. But try to take on a group of gun wielding goons head on, and Batman will quickly be turned into Bat-paste. Especially when he fights mooks with high-powered sniper rifles.
    • It turns out that the formula that turns men into giant monsters developed in a prison by a bunch of lunatics and a corrupt doctor with nothing even vaguely resembling proper testing had unforeseen long term side effects.
    • The series' approach to super-villains. Yes, they are dangerous but the problem lies in finding them or dealing with their gimmicks. Once that's all done, things go how you'd expect when Batman, an Olympic level athlete/expert combatant in full body armor and specialized weapons, fights people who aren't all this.
    • Batman can Offhand Backhand individual mooks easily. But when faced with multiple mooks, he has to pull his punches so he can be sure he won't kill them. As his combos get longer, he starts leaping across entire rooms to strike foes, since they're hesitating - and giving him breathing room to think - after seeing him smash their pals into the pavement.
    • While for the most part the games have no true time limits, there is one point in Arkham Asylum where Zsasz takes a hostage, knowing full well that he has no hope in a fight against Batman. However, Zsasz is also a compulsive, insane murderer with a penchant for killing women and his hostage is someone who has made his life hell for a long time. Players who linger for a while or let themselves be seen by him results in him killing the hostage instantly. It's Lampshaded by Joker. It's particularly jarring for experienced players, who usually assume that there is no time limit and want to listen to all of Zsasz's dialogue.
    • When you call him in City, he says he has three hostages. When you get to him, he has two hostages and a there's a corpse elsewhere. And he said Batman would regret pissing him off.
    • For most of City, there are an abundance of henchmen. After many of the inmates are killed in Protocol 10, there are a lot less heads to knock around.
    • Batman can pull metal grates off of walls. So can Joker, Nightwing, Robin, and Deathstroke since all of them are some degree of Bad Ass Normal. Catwoman is not able to do this, to the point of asking just how Batman does it at all.
  • The Final Boss of The Darkness, Uncle Paulie, is built up as the catalyst for all of the misery in Jackie's life, from the death of Jackie's girlfriend to getting blown out of a window by a bomb. Jackie finally makes it to Paulie, and Paulie goes down just as easy as the Mooks Jackie had been slaughtering to reach him. After all, Paulie's a normal human being, and a rather overweight one, at that. Jackie has the personification of all evil living inside of him. If anything, it's more of a Curbstomp Battle Cutscene Boss than a final boss fight.
  • Dawn of War has several occasions when important characters get swiftly killed with little fanfare. Bale is easily killed by Angelos after the former's backup deserts him. In Winter Assault Sturnn is killed by Gorgutz in seconds by beating him into bloody pulp, because Gorgutz is a hulking green monstrosity and Sturnn is a normal human. Retribution has Merrick go up against a Tyranid Hive Tyrant, and get killed even faster.
  • Dawn of War II and it's first expansion Chaos Rising have the player achieving glorious victory over the enemies that threaten to engulf the subsector and destroy the Chapter, both ending in a triumphant speech by Gabriel Angelos about how heroic you are. The second expansion, Retribution, is set ten years later and shows that "defeated" is not the same as "gone"; Orks, cultists, Chaos marine warbands and even small pockets of Tyranids are still making a mess of the subsector. All sides keep funneling in reinforcements to the point that all the planets are engulfed in constant fighting, and the situation has deteriorated so much the Imperial higher ups consider Exterminatus to be the best option.
  • Dead Rising 2:
    • People are strangely resistant to gunfire. Chuck, while not an invincible steel wall, can take a .50 caliber rifle bullet to the face and negate the effects with a bottle of whiskey. Psychopaths are even more bullet resistant, with some taking it to ridiculous degrees (Antoine, a celebrity chef with presumably no combat experience can take 200 rounds of LMG fire by blocking it with a frying pan). So when Sullivan pulls out his handgun and puts a hole in Rebecca Chang's forehead and kills her, it can be a bit stunning to a player to witness.
    • Chuck can recover health by consuming food or drink, but if he does this with alcohol several times in a row or with spoiled food, he'll get sick and throw up.
  • Deus Ex, a minor patron saint of deconstruction, lets reality happen quite a few times. At one point, The Dragon decides that it's much, much smarter to just order his troops to kill you, rather than actually having to go through the complicated business of waiting for the Explosive Leash to kick in. (Notably, he also activates said leash - which for newer models like you is a relatively slow and seemingly natural death rather than instant death by explosion.) At another point, you confront an enemy Obstructive Bureaucrat who realizes that trying to shoot the Super Soldier might not be such a good idea, so he waits until you turn around and leave, whereupon he shoots you in the back. At the "Realistic" difficulty level, there's a quite high chance that this will kill the player character in one shot. You can silently pick off the guards before he decides to sic them on you, resulting in a "You win this round, Denton."
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution keeps the trend going:
    • If you're cocky enough to act like Rambo or the Terminator even basic mooks will make you regret it fast.
    • If you Take Your Time in getting to the Sarif factory the terrorists occupying it will have killed off all the hostages.
    • A major named ally will die if you take too long to kill her attackers.
    • In The Missing Link DLC, a commander of Belltower mooks makes mention that a number of their people Jensen "peacefully" knocked unconscious by bashing them in the face with a metal fist are in comas. If you do a non-lethal and/or stealth run through the mission then the commander will point out that even though Jensen hasn't killed anyone, all that means is that the character is extremely resourceful and more dangerous than someone just shooting people, and that the soldiers under his command should be even more vigilant in the event Jensen decides to start taking lethal options.
  • Dishonored:
    • Corvo may have a vast array of powers, but when it comes down to it, he's still physically an ordinary human, getting in a scrap with guards and getting shot, or falling a long distance without breaking it via blink will do substantial if not fatal damage to you. The same applies to every normal human too, any fight you get in tends to be dangerous because of the numbers, a single target will die quickly regardless of if you cut him with your sword or just shoot him dead. This includes all of the major targets; most are no better than mooks when you fight, and even the tougher ones you can simply kill at range before they even know you're there.
    • The last assassination targets don't even try to fight Corvo; by this stage, whichever way you have played, they know all too well they can't win.
  • Dragon Age II, with the Amell Family Shield being virtually worthless (At least, by the time you find it). Unlike the other examples, it doesn't appear in any quest, and seems to just be an excuse to let the player actually equip one of the numerous Amell family crests they will have seen hanging up all over the city.
  • Dragon Age: Origins, the Dwarf Noble origin notes that the old Aeducan family shield they find is crude by their current standards and only of symbolic value.
  • Dwarf Fortress
    • The huge material properties overhaul resulted in a few of these, as a simple damage multiplier for each metal was replaced with actual stats for tensile strength, shear and compressive yields and so forth. Adamantine turned out to be incredibly strong and lightweight, making for excellent edged weapons, but when players forged warhammers and maces from it the results were disappointing.
    • You planning on subverting that river into your base for a fresh water supply? Water carries motion still, so without proper planning you might just flood your base. See that awesome battle on a mountaintop, with people fighting and dodging? Well, one combatant just dodged off a cliff, and is now plummeting to his death. Despite the odd, and often fun, physics of the game, sometimes it will start behaving realistically enough to realize that you've just screwed up.
    • The mechanics behind that most insidious of threats, the Catsplosion note  seems pretty ridiculous. But think about it for a second; how would you feel if someone killed your pet, even for "the greater good"?
  • Many of the cutscenes in Dynasty Warriors 7 invoke this with Annoying Arrows—In one scene, Pang Tong succumbs to a wound that resulted from taking an arrow intended for Liu Bei, Zhou Yu dies in a similar fashion, and another cutscene has the famous Eye Scream scene with Xiahou Dun (at least as much as can be shown in a T-rated game). To say nothing of Wu.
  • In Fable II you can shoot the villain as he is doing his Motive Rant. If you hesitate, one of your companions (Karma Houdini Reaver) will pull the trigger.
  • Racing game Fatal Inertia has the Time Dilator power-up, that slows time around you while leaving your craft immune, adding up to a few seconds of enemies stuck the wrong side of Bullet Time while you surge ahead at normal speed. However, the way the powerup in-universe means outside observers see everything still moving at normal speed, and the device's user suddenly going at several times their previous velocity. One of these outside observers is physics. So much as glance off a solid obstacle and one suddenly finds out where the title comes from.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening, what exactly happens when you marry the mage Tharja, a Jerkass Punch Clock Hero, off with one of your army's males? Does she overcome her vitriol to learn to love her family? Become a nicer person in general? Nope! According to her Kid from the Future, Noire, she winds up becoming an abusive spouse and mother.
  • Say what you will about the actual gameplay of Five Nights at Freddy's, the titular Freddy Fazbear's Pizza is going under from a combination of highly violent events, including a man, or machine, murdering five children, the blatant blood and mucus mess on the animatrons, and the bite incident of 1987, and is set to close a few months after the game is set.
  • Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
    • Weapons that degrade and break when used, with no means of repairing them. The end result of this is that you can end up wielding a broken stick against the Final Boss. On the other hand, it's entirely possible to win under these circumstances.
    • The robot character PF dies when her batteries run out (as does Crow), since there's no way to recharge or replace them, and nobody who knows how to do so.
  • In Ghost Trick, making a hard hat hit a guy in the face with the force of a moving bullet leads to exactly what you think will happen happening. Also, if you trick an item in front of Yomiel, he will notice and respond.
  • In Grand Theft Auto IV, the game's Final Bosses are hardly any tougher than any of the other random Mooks you've been killing. They have slightly more health thanks to body armor, but other than that, they're no tougher, and will likely go down quickly.
  • In Grand Theft Auto V, after spending five years being a meth addict, Johnny from The Lost And The Damned was killed easily by Trevor.
  • Half-Life
    • Half-Life has Gordon Freeman kill a chunk of an alien invasion and almost a whole battalion of soldiers, fight through a warzone, and go to the aliens' homeworld and kill their leader, all by himself. Unlike nearly every video game before, stories of his exploits spread to make him a living legend Shrouded in Myth, and by Half-Life 2 La Résistance instantly rallies around him, the Vortigaunts practically worship him, and the new alien invaders target him on sight and relentlessly try to kill him.
    • Half-Life 2 is all about fighting back against an oppressive regime, taking the fight to them, killing their Big Brother-like figure and destroying their main stronghold. Episode One is all about how severely damaging a colossal alien structure powered by an exotic, dangerous substance has destructively explosive consequences. Episode Two is all about how losing one leader and one stronghold is a mere inconvenience to an interdimensional empire, and that a counterattack would be swift and terrible.
      • The back-story for Half-Life 2 also showed what would really happen if an advanced alien empire actually decided to invade Earth. It resulted in a Curb-Stomp Battle that lasted only seven hours before humanity surrendered. The only reason humanity survived at all was because Dr. Breen convinced the Combine that they were worth more as soldiers & slaves rather than corpses.
  • In Halo: Reach most of the deaths of Noble Team count as this. Jorge blows up a Covenant super-carrier, and Carter crashing a dropship into a Scarab. Both of these have little effect on the overall Covenant war machine, they still keep coming. Emile takes down one Elite, and is then quickly killed by one behind him. Kat is a genius Super Soldier in high-powered armor, but if her shields are down and she's not paying attention to her surroundings she can be shot in the head and killed like anybody else. Noble 6 is finally overwhelmed by the endless Covenant forces, and makes a Last Stand taking as many Covenant with him/her as (s)he can.
  • Iji is all about this trope. Going One Woman Army and slaughtering everyone in your path, then asking the enemy leaders to leave peacefully goes about as well as expected, and does serious psychological damage to Iji. Even in a Pacifist Run the Tasen aren't just about to leave because they're running for their lives, and the Komato aren't going to leave because they're Just Following Orders. And despite Iji's efforts she's still one person in a war, most people dying no matter what she does.
  • Kerbal Space Program, as an extremely accurate simulation of space flight, has plenty. Parachutes are realistically portrayed. They aren't foolproof. Parachutes won't deploy properly if you are traveling too fast (i.e: still firing off a rocket), aren't oriented properly and for reasons that should be obvious, don't work in a zero-atmosphere environment like space. It's recommended you don't try building your favorite Sci-fi show's iconic spaceships at first. Disappointment, and plenty of explodiness, will probably ensue.
  • Drive around like a maniac like you do in that other open-world crime game while playing Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven and the police will chase after you. They won't just blow your head off for a traffic violation, though. Pull over and pay for a ticket and you can go on your merry way. Don't, and they'll start chasing you to arrest you. Pull out a gun or act too violent on the road, and they will use lethal force, just like cops in real life.
  • Mass Effect 1:
    • Wrex's family armor, instead of being equippable and possibly the best piece of armor for Wrex, is obsolete by the time he retrieves it three centuries after his father's death. It turns out that he only wants it for sentimental reasons. In a setting where new advances in weapons and armor are constantly being developed, old pieces of technology don't hold up very well.
    • At the beginning of the game, Ambassador Udina attempts to expose Saren's operations and crimes to the council. However the only evidence to his argument is Shepard's "vision" and possibly one unreliable eyewitness. This goes about as well as you'd expect. Saren even points out the audacity of such a claim, since even if Shepard was their top spec-ops soldier, no civilized court can accept a dream as hard evidence. One dialog option can even have Shepard point this out.
  • Mass Effect 2
    • You can ignore the loyalty sidequests, but what do you think will happen when you take a team of people who aren't properly motivated to fight millennia-old Eldritch Abomination servants?
    • Or if you ignore the upgrades, what do you think will happen when a mere frigate with little in the way of weapons and armor is going to do against a race of aliens that cleaved your ship in half at the beginning of the game? Or, if you're feeling extra stupid, make dumb choices about the roles each of your teammates have during the final mission?
    • Ashley and Kaidan show what happens when a close ally is left in the dark when there are people who want them out of the picture. After two years of mourning, they are not even remotely happy when everything available to them says that Shepard faked their death to join a known terrorist group and they're not inclined to believe that Shepard was the first proven resurrection in recorded history or that Cerberus really wouldn't do anything to alter Shepard even if it was true.
    • Ever wonder why real spacesuits have as much of their life-support system stored inside the suit as they can? The destruction of the Normandy and Shepards subsequent suffocation before re-entry shows you just how dangerous external air hoses would be in the off chance that they got snagged on something.
  • Mass Effect 3
    • In the Eva Core fight, if you fail to gun her down before she gets to Shepard, you catch a Hot Blade through the face... and die. No medigel, no Heroic Resolve, no barriers biotic or kinetic, nothing will save you.
    • The Extended Cut adds the Refusal ending, in which Shepard refuses to accept the options that the Catalyst provides. This promptly leads to the armada fighting for the Crucible to be completely wiped out, heralding the fall of galactic civilization once again at the hands of the Reapers. What else would you have expected from rallying the galaxy into devoting their resources into constructing and protecting a superweapon regarded as the last hope against the Reapers… and then deciding not to use it?
    • While Take Your Time is in full effect for most of the series, there are two notable exceptions in the third game, which drive home the fact that when you receive word that the enemy is besieging a school full of biotic students or searching for a bomb that can destroy much of a planet, you cannot afford to wait around.
      • The second game also had this for your kidnapped crew.
    • Similar to the second game's suicide mission, you should not assume that Ashley or Kaidan will simply take your word that you aren't being controlled by Cerberus, especially not when Cerberus troops are being turned into Husks, or that they will simply accept you cheating on them in the second game. How much effort you put into regaining their trust determines whether they survive the standoff at the Citadel.
    • The finale of the game brought us the long-awaited confrontation between Shepard and Harbinger. Feeling pumped up and ready to take on the leader of the Reapers? Harbinger utterly massacres the entire assault team with little effort from miles away, Shepard included (though they survive, barely). What exactly did you think was going to happen when foot soldiers go up against a 2-km tall Reaper dreadnought?
      • The entire final battle is like this. No matter how many War Assets you've amassed, you're still facing an entire fleet of reapers. Even ground battles against their (expendable) husks go rather poorly, and the heavy weaponry intended to destroy the one(!) Destroyer in the way of the Conduit into the Citadel is mostly wiped out before it can even get into place, and interference prevents the few shots actually fired from landing on target until EDI finds a way around that. And then when you finally seem to be home free, guess who shows up?
  • Max Payne
    • Reality ensued all over poor Vinnie, a mob lieutenant with more enemies than friends and such an incurable fanboy for a cartoon Kid Hero that he'll cosplay without hesitation. Doing so straps him into explosives, and since that puts him in an Enemy Mine situation with Max, you figure The Hero should be able to save his life. And he did. Temporarily.
    • In the third game, the favela Gang Bangers can threaten Max because of their numbers and Max's Cutscene Incompetence. They are still an untrained rabble, however, and are utterly dominated by trained, better-equipped paramilitaries or military police special forces.
    • You could say that reality ensues every time you exit bullet time in the middle of a jump in 3 and land with an audible thud. Or when you don't consider your trajectory properly and, thanks to Euphoria, collapse over an inconvenient couch or slam roughly into a wall and drop straight out of bullet time, struggling to stand up while continuing to take pot shots. Max's experience in this game is much more tactile than the previous games.
    • At one point, a character suicide bombs some mooks. Rather than leave a few burnt corpses, it results in the victims going from mooks to messes.
    • Max spends most of the first two games popping painkillers in his mouth like M&Ms in order to restore his health. Sure enough, come 3, he's addicted.
  • In the opening cutscene of MechWarrior 4, a lone pilot, the last remaining defence unit left, tries to pull a You Shall Not Pass on the enemy. Against their entire might, he alone lasts about twenty seconds.
  • Mega Man Battle Network hammers in repeatedly the need for proper computer security, as every almost single incident in the game is caused by black-hat terrorists hacking every element of the heavily networked and computerized world.
  • The Mental Series has the three protagonists kill their way through four games to get to where they need to be. This is all glossed over until the fifth and final game (befittingly entitled Murder Most Foul), where the three are now the most wanted criminals in the country after all the murders that they have committed.
  • Metal Gear:
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3 there's a point where you see one of The Cobra Unit out in the open and defenseless. If you're quick you can shoot him in the head, averting a boss battle with him later. Or since he's old, you can just wait a week (according to the PS2 internal clock) and he'll die of natural causes. On the other hand, the area is then manned by twenty guards instead of one boss character.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4, even though one of the game's "features" was an expanded arsenal of firearms and associated controls, only on Liquid Easy (lowest difficulty) can Snake take enough damage to get away with anything approaching a stand-up or run-and-gun fight, as he's still one operator against however many enemies, whether human or Gekko.
      • Mention also goes to the game's Final Boss, which goes from a two-part nostalgia trip, to a romanticist revisit of Snake Eater, to a sad scene of two ragged, tired old men slowly slugging their fists at each other.
    • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance showed that just because Snake and allies shut down the Patriots and their System, the war economy couldn't stop cold. It just went on to the next leg of the arms race, cybernization.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2 had Solidus Snake point out that, while the huge Metal Gear/sea craft Arsenal Gear was an impressive weapons platform complete with an army of Metal Gear RAY's and a full complement of high-yield nuclear weapons in addition to its information control capabilities, without a proper naval and air escort it was completely useless. "A floating coffin", as he put it.
    • And of course there's the whole stealth aspect of the series. Super Soldier or not, and no matter how badass the previous cutscene made you look, you're still just one guy against a heavily-armed compound. You're not going last very long without some sneaking, trickery and guerrilla tactics.
  • Minecraft. Swords can be made of (in order of ascending rarity) wood, stone, iron, gold, and diamond. For the most part, the rarer starting materials result in stronger weapons, except golden swords are functional identical to wooden swords. It came as quite a surprise when the players realized the second-rarest material made the weakest weapon, and a lot of people thought it was a bug... until they remembered gold is one of the softest metals in the world; just like in real-life, gold weapons are only good for decorative purposes. However, gold is also used in conjunction with redstone in a number of craftable items that are considerably more useful, such as powered track. This is because while gold is a terrible material to make armor, weapons or blunt instruments out of, it is well known as an integral component in precision electronic devices.
  • Monster Hunter 3/Tri/TriG/3U has a quest that pits you against the colossal Elder Dragon Jhen Mohran, chasing it down with a Sandship. Contrary to environmental damage not normally appearing in the game, Jhen actually can and will destroy the Sandship if you don't learn how to use its armaments to hold it off, resulting in a quest failure.
  • The entire plot of No More Heroes Desperate Struggle kicks off because Travis killed most of Jasper Batt's relatives. This was something that happened in the first game in a bunch of copy-pasted side missions with almost no fanfare, and neither Travis nor the player expected it to come up again or have any real consequences.
  • In Peasant's Quest, the humble peasant hero Rather Dashing goes through a bunch of trials to prepare himself to fight Trogdor the Burninator. When he finally reaches Trogdor's cave he's immediately flash-fried, because he's one ordinary guy trying to fight a giant fire-breathing monster.
  • Desert Bus from Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors is Reality Ensues incarnate, made as a response to the violent video game controversy and meant to be the most realistic video game ever made. The entire game is about driving a bus from Tuscon to Las Vegas. For eight hours. Of real time. There's no pausing the game ("Does real life have pause control?",) and you can't just hold down the gas button with something while you do something else because the bus constantly veers to the right, and if you crash, you have to get towed back to Tuscon. Also in real time.
  • Persona 4 has, as mentioned under Anime, a scene where the player characters gather weapons to defend themselves in the TV-world... and are arrested by mall security.
  • Police Quest
    • As police lieutenant Sonny Bonds, you have to follow police procedure by the book to avoid the myriad of ways you can get a game over. While some decisions are obvious (such as not shooting someone who has a gun drawn at you), some are not. Shoot someone who only might be reaching for a gun in his glove box? Turns out he was an unarmed FBI agent, and you're fired. Forget to frisk the raving lunatic? He'll draw a knife and kill you. Need to open a door with a battering ram? You have to get permission from a judge to use it first.
    • There are also non-fatal ways this shows up, too. In the third Police Quest, you can miss points if you fail to follow proper procedure when writing someone up for a ticket. You can question witnesses, some of whom lie or are uncooperative. Sonny's wife is also getting improper care in the hospital, but Sonny brings it to the attention of a trained doctor instead of fiddling with the machines himself like any other game of the genre would likely expect you to do.
  • In the backstory of Portal 2, Cave Johnson is the Crazy Awesome Pointy-Haired Boss of Aperture Science, who has no qualms whatsoever about working with hazardous experimental substances, and wildly misapplies potentially revolutionary scientific breakthroughs because he doesn't realize what they could do. Unfortunately, it's not a cartoon, and these practices have the same result they would in real life, i.e., he dies slowly and agonizingly from exposure to dangerous chemicals while his company collapses into financial ruin.
  • Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, while the final villain of the game is delivering his Motive Rant, he pulls his gun on you, you pull yours on him in return... and then he continues ranting at you for a few more minutes before shooting, at any point during which you can shoot him in the face.
  • Red Dead Redemption
    • No matter how much of a Badass you are, taking on the army in a standup fight won't end well. And that's how John Marston dies, when Edgar Ross decides that You Have Outlived Your Usefulness.
    • The game's epilogue. So you faced your father's killer and killed him in a duel? Hooray! After all these years, you finally got your revenge! Too bad your father is still dead and remembered as a brutal criminal even if he was a good guy, and no-one but you knows what Ross did so he goes down as a retired cop who was brutally gunned down while fishing. Oh, and also too bad that the days of the old west and vigilante justice have come and gone so you'll spend the rest of your life as a depressed loner on the run from the authorities. What? You thought you could get revenge and everything would be awesome? Nah, what do you think this is? An old western movie?
  • What happens when you put structure designed with mostly Rule of Cool in mind under real-world physics? According to Red Faction Guerrilla and its extremely robust destruction engine, they collapse. The game designers had to take a crash course in real-world architecture to create buildings that would stay up long enough for the player to destroy them.
  • Resident Evil 4.
    • Used amusingly at the beginning. How is the evil Umbrella corporation finally destroyed? Through a daring black-ops raid with soldiers fighting its myriad monsters in one final battle? Nah. The U.S. government freezes its assets in retaliation for the destruction of Raccoon City, and the highly publicized disasters plaguing the company cause its stock prices to drop, sending it into bankruptcy! One statement from the developers in a Nintendo Power article says that there was no way the US government would have allowed Umbrella to continue operating after being responsible for a disaster that forced them to nuke one of their own cities.
    • And that too gets a dose of Reality Ensues. Simply removing Umbrella from business does not magically evaporate all the data, personnel and equipment. B.O.W.s and viruses are then sold to the highest bidder, the highest level researchers are able to continue their viral weaponry without a traceable line and the BSAA are formed to counteract the outbreaks that follow.
  • In most video games, a weapon with a Laser Sight will always be steady as a rock so the player can see where the laser is pointing at. In Resident Evil 6, like in real life, attaching a laser sight doesn't magically remove the hand sway. The powerful impact of a bullet can knock the player down, which again is based on reality. Even if a person wears a bullet-proof vest, the impact alone can still knock the person down.
  • Used wonderfully in Rudra No Hihou. A few days after the other protagonists have already received their magical Power Crystal, Surlent is still lacking his. Being a scholar, he finds it inside an ancient artifact he's set out to research. It promptly flies towards him to merge with his body... and the impact kills him. Instantly.
  • In The Saboteur the final boss is just an average human that has gone insane due to your actions up to this point. He is left broken, drunk and just accepting death as even if you don't shoot him, he will just jump to his death on his own.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog, with the addition of the Sonic Boost in recent games we see a more realistic take on what happens when an object gets hit by another object moving at the speed of sound.
  • Saints Row IV: The Boss may have beaten countless numbers of gangsters, policemen, even a State Sec with futuristic weapons, but nothing prepares them for a massive alien overlord with superpowers. The Boss tries, oh do they put up a fight, but once Zinyak decides to stop playing around and use his powers the first fight quickly becomes a Curb-Stomp Battle in the villain's favour.
  • In Seiken Densetsu 3, Angela's prologue has her trekking through the aptly named Sub Zero Snowfield... in a highly Stripperiffic leotard. She doesn't get ten minutes in before she starts coming down with hypothermia.
  • Shadow Complex
    • The writers go through the trouble of fleshing out a personality for the evil quasi-Nazi Mad Scientist who has kidnapped your girlfriend... and instead of an epic boss fight or the scientist pulling out ninja moves or something to get away, he is Killed Mid-Sentence in one shot by the hero, right in the middle of saying that the hero "doesn't look like a killer".
    • At the end of the game, the Big Bad is not killed by the hero, whose family and loved ones he was threatening, but by the girlfriend, who is—surprise!—an NSA operative. Which explains what they were doing in the woods right by the enemy base, but she really should've captured the guy alive.
  • Shadow Warrior (2013): After spending a big part of the game chasing after Zilla, Wang duels him for about five seconds before simply cutting off his sword hand since, despite gaining Super Strength from his deal with Enra, Zilla is still just an old man who appears to never have held a sword in his life while Wang is a trained assassin.
  • Of all things, South Park: The Stick of Truth does this for its Infinity+1 Sword. As the game is a LARP, everyone uses weapons hodgepodged out of normal supplies. The Sweet Katana? It's an actual sword, purchased from a shop.
  • A key part of Spec Ops: The Line's project as Deconstructor Fleet is its use of this trope. At one point Capt. Martin Walker and his squad use a mortar to kill a large group of soldiers in a base barring Walker's way to an objective. The game cuts to an overhead camera depicting each soldier as a white blob, as the player gleefully rains down death from above upon the helpless foes. Then, you get to walk through the carnage you just caused, seeing and hearing your soon-to-be-dead enemies crawling around on their hands and knees, screaming in agony and begging to be put out of their misery. And that group of stationary enemies huddling in the back of the base? They were civilians.
  • Splinter Cell
    • In Chaos Theory, Sam is facing down Shetland on the rooftop, with their guns drawn. Shetland goes on a Motive Rant, ending it by saying that Sam "wouldn't shoot an old friend" and putting his gun away. Sam can, at this point, opt to put his gun away, triggering an I Surrender, Suckers moment where Shetland draws his gun and catches a bad case of knife in the heart for his trouble. The other option is to just shoot him in the face the moment he puts his gun away.
    • Conviction. Normally, EMP devices in media are depicted as being rather benign, temporary things. Even a large EMP bomb only takes about a minute or so to recover from. The game even includes a small EMP device that only temporarily disables electronics. But when two of three EMP bombs go off in Washington DC, the results are horrifyingly realistic. The traffic grid immediately breaks down, all the lights go out and in general, anything electronic including cell phones and defibrillators go out and stay out.
  • The later games in the S.W.A.T. series are realistic shooters, much like Police Quest above is realistic to police procedure. You play a member of a SWAT team, who realistically must break down doors with specialized ammo, not fire on civilians, and must secure a scene, including all evidence in it such as dropped weapons, before moving on. The game is even set in the same universe as Police Quest, with Sonny Bonds being a SWAT captain in the fourth game. That said, the game does go a little too far in its portrayal of what SWAT officers are expected to do; for instance, in SWAT 4 you're penalized for "unlawful use of deadly force" if you shoot a bad guy with a regular firearm at any point before he shoots (at) you - in a game in which you can barely survive taking five bullets across a mission.
  • In the Thief series Garret is, well, a thief, and not equipped or trained for a stand-up fight, something the player will painfully learn if they try going One-Man Army like in so many other games.
  • Tomb Raider (2013) depicts Lara's transformation from an optimistic university student to a Shell-Shocked Veteran after besting the horrors of Yamatai. The trailers for the sequel Rise of the Tomb Raider show Lara in therapy to treat her PTSD.
  • In Utawarerumono, the rabbit-people bring out their ultimate weapon: Humongous Mecha. The best anyone else has amounts to pointy sticks. They slaughter their enemies en masse, and are completely invulnerable to you, the player, fighting spirit be damned. Well, until you become a giant divine monster yourself.
  • In Wolf, you're perfectly capable of killing cattle - if you don't mind the rancher showing up and shooting you (and, naturally, killing you very quickly; no Almost Lethal Weapons here). You can also attack human hunters, assuming you're feeling suicidal. The smart thing to do is exactly what real wolves do: avoid humans if at all possible.
  • X-COM
    • UFO Defense has you command a hopelessly underequipped and out gunned force of humans fighting against endless hordes of alien monstrosities. Most of the soldiers die early. The most likely cause of death even for a battle-hardened Colonel is some random mook with a plasma cannon.
    • Enemy Unknown, but in the player's favor, mostly by averting With This Herring: the member nations of the XCOM project know it's their last hope, and supply it accordingly. Good-quality Earth-native equipment is free and standard issue. Your soldiers are also properly trained and very competent with said gear, they're the member nation's best of the best; since they're all that good though, they use XCOM's internal rank and specialization hierarchy.

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