Wrong Genre Savvy / Video Games

  • Final Fantasy:
    • Seifer of Final Fantasy VIII declares his and Squall's roles to be, respectively, the heroic Knight and the evil mercenary. Later, having finally realized that the Big Bad has been using his aspirations toward knighthood to manipulate him, Seifer declares himself a "young revolutionary" instead. Although by that point, it's less being Wrong Genre Savvy and more just plain being in denial.
    • Tidus spends the first half of Final Fantasy X thinking he's in a Fish out of Water comedy action-adventure, and he'll find his way back home sooner or later. He's actually stuck in a Crapsack World that he's not coming back from.
    • Balthier of Final Fantasy XII constantly refers to himself as "the leading man." Though he never admits it, he's "actually more of a supporting role" which is similarly mentioned in his appearance in the Final Fantasy Tactics remake. Despite that, his Genre Savviness does not fail him when he needs it most when doing stupidly dangerous and heroic at the game's climax, having previously predicted that, as the leading man, he might have to do just that. "You know what they say about the leading man? He never dies." When confronted with the fact that he's actually a supporting character, Balthier rejects such pessimism out of hand. He doesn't die.
    • It's ultimately subverted by Snow in Final Fantasy XIII: his conviction that he is The Hero in an idealistic setting where determination and a just cause will see him through any setbacks seems woefully out of place throughout the first two thirds of the game, and causes more cynical characters like Lightning and Hope no end of frustration. By the final battle, however, he proves to have been entirely right about everything except his own role in the party (he's The Big Guy).
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness: Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth! who appears to be entirely unaware that he's not the main character until Laharl teaches him otherwise. Hard.

    Flonne makes the same mistake about once a chapter. Apparently magical girl and tokusatsu shows are the only thing on in Celestia. However, she is right when assuming that demons aren't evil, and that her being around Laharl will cause him to turn good.

    Meanwhile, Laharl is under the impression that he's Villain Protagonist. He's WAY wrong, with even his worst (canon at least) actions putting him as Anti-Hero.
    • Adell in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories assumes that he's a hero saving the world from the Evil Overlord Zenon, since he's wasn't affected by Zenon's curse that turns everyone in his world into monsters. He's mostly right, but the real reason Zenon's curse didn't affect him is because he was born a demon.
    • Disgaea 3: Despite how it may seem to some, Mao is right on the money. In the good ending he does win, it's just that he fails to realize that he's at the beginning of his story, and needs to go through The Hero's Journey before he can beat the Big Bad. In the same game, Aurum actually invokes the trope upon realizing that he's become the Big Bad.
    • Fuka in Disgaea 4 assumes that all the outlandish things she sees are a sign that she's just dreaming. In truth, she's dead and was sent to the Netherworld, and is only not a Prinny because there weren't enough materials to manufacture her a full costume. Desco when she appears at the end of Episode 3 assumes that she's the Final Boss, and while she's the last boss of the episode, the game isn't even half over by the time she appears.
    • Asagi does this throughout the franchise, as an ever escalating in-joke. She started as test character for a canceled game, and developed into an unlockable character whose shtick is to believe she's the main character and try to take over. Though at this point she appears to just be insane.
    • The Prism Rangers, a recurring group of gag characters, who show up believing that they are the heroes of the story, ready to defeat those nasty demons and save the day with The Power of Friendship. The real heroes of the story inevitably kick their asses with no difficulty. Etna even shot them before they could do their Transformation Sequence.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion does this to the player. One of the early contracts for the Fighter's Guild has you going to a batty old woman's house to take care of a "rat problem" in her basement. However, unlike beginner rat-based missions from other RPGs, your job is to save the rats from mountain lions that have gotten into the old woman's basement. It Makes Sense in Context, trust me. note 
  • You can trigger this in the Simian Flu scenario of Plague Inc by picking certain symptoms which makes infected bleed profusely before becoming braindead: this makes researchers believe they're dealing with a Zombie Apocalypse scenario and trying to stop it, wasting time and resources that could have gone into countering the swarms of hyper-intelligent apes ravaging the world.
  • Midori of Devil Survivor convinces herself that she's some sort of hero of justice once she gets her hands on a COMP that lets her summon demons, and that the power of love always prevails over evil. How wrong is she? So wrong that she will get herself killed by an angry mob looking for a scapegoat if you don't make the right decisions.
    • What's really funny is that she gets a Jack Frost convinced it's a Magical Girl Warrior show too! And play your cards right, the same monster reappears as the Badass Black Frost — doing the hero of justice shtick for the other demons.
  • BlazBlue has a few folks who think they know what they're doing, only for the story to prove them wrong.
    • Bang Shishigami, HAMMER OF JUSTICE, thinks he's in a shonen anime. It shows. Seriously, one of his win quotes is "Tune in next week!" Another big point in his Wrong Genre Savvy, in conjunction with the above, is that he thinks his love interest, Litchi Faye-Ling, is a flawless, perfect Mary Sue that will definitely fall for him with his sheer manliness. He is dead wrong, as in the climax of Chronophantasma he's hit with the big hammer of truth that Litchi is far too flawed from his fantasies, unable to refuse the offer of a Mad Scientist to gain what she truly wished and sided against Bang.
      • In the same time, Bang also believed himself to be the perfect teacher of every good, behaving kids out there. So, when he declared Carl Clover as 'Apprentice #2', he'd think that he's this perfect apprentice (as the others are just a little too wild and idiot). He's also dead wrong in this, failing to realize that Carl has his own big issues that he also sided with said Mad Scientist who is his father that he utterly hated, even if Litchi disapproves. Although Bang subverts it that his Wrong Genre Savvy about 'being in a shonen series' saves the day by giving him enough fortitude to realize that manipulation is at hand and he uses all his 'shonen' spirit and coincidentally available The Power of Friendship to persevere without any betrayed feelings and enables him to participate big time in bringing down the Mad Scientist and saving the day... if only for a short time.
    • Tsubaki Yayoi loves old-fashioned, romantic, heroic stories where there's love, destiny and Black and White Morality. She believes she resides in a story like that. She's dead wrong too, and Hazama exploits this like it's going out of style. It's what causes her to pull a Face–Heel Turn and try to murder Noel.
    • Likewise, the aforementioned Litchi exemplifies a non-shonen example of an idealistic individual getting slammed with the facts that the current world is extremely cynical and she's paying for it. She thinks that The Power of Love and sheer Determination will enable her to save her friend Lotte from the fate of being the Blob Monster. Unfortunately, it seems that she's also dead wrong, as she has currently made zero decisive progresses in this matter and ended up Forced into Evil or do things that would look like Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, regardless of how much she disliked it. A LOT.
      • Speaking of Litchi, everyone dealing with her like Kokonoe (or Rachel) seemed to be a little Wrong Genre Savvy about her: They think that the best way to solve her problem is to constantly drill her with blunt facts that her quest is impossible, she'll just have to deal with the loss of her friend and move on, they think they've given all the sufficient help with that. What they fail to realize is that Litchi is in complete grief on losing Lotte, and one of the things you don't say to help a grieving person is somewhere along the line of "DEAL WITH IT", so they were inadvertently making Litchi's griefs and problems even worse instead of helping (Though seeing that the world is in big danger and these heroes needed to put efforts in saving it, it's understandable that they don't focus much on her psychological problems).
      • On the subject of Hazama, he's of the mindset that he knows more about everyone than they do about themselves, can play them like puppets, and has his "game of destiny" under complete control despite exploiting entities of godlike power as part of said game. He also believes that good, charitable people are all either suckers waiting to happen or people of absolutely no consequence, and that any actual threat is bitter, jaded, and hateful towards him. He couldn't be more wrong if he tried; on the former front, his five biggest tactical threats include both of his partners in crime (who are playing him just as much as he's playing them), the "shitty vampire", the bitter scientist whose mother he killed, and his own lieutenant, and on the latter front, said lieutenant is the perfect counterpoint, and never trusted him for any reason at all. No points for guessing who gets bumped off the board first. Hazama believed that he was the Big Bad. He was dead wrong.
      • Makoto Nanaya simultaneously downplays and reconstructs this trope. She believes that her friends are in direct need of support and that she can only rely on herself to give it to them, and that she can handle any high-ranking criminal or subversive authority who would endanger them. The first downplay is that she's entirely right on the first point, given that all her friends stand to be mindfucked by Hazama (if they aren't already), and that this is being perpetuated for Hazama's benefit, with none of them in any shape to rectify the situation on their own (at first). On the other hand, she's dealing with invincible villains who are out of her league combat-wise, and at least one of them has functional omniscience and can twist fate to her disadvantage because of it. The trope is further downplayed in Chronophantasma because neither Kagura nor Kokonoe go out of their way to explain this to her in detail before she goes off with Noel to save Tsubaki. The reconstruction comes into play in that, when said functional omniscience is not an issue, she (and by extension everyone she makes an effort to help) is far better off as a result of her help. Hazama learns this the hard way in Slight Hope, almost repeats the lesson in Friendship, and winds up dead from forgetting this in Chronophantasma; with Kokonoe's Eclipse Field in play, Izanami ultimately loses Tsubaki and the Izayoi thanks to a combined effort by Makoto, Noel and Jin; and Makoto and the newly-released Tsubaki stall Litchi and Carl so Ragna and Noel can stop Take-Mikazuchi from obliterating Master Unit: Amaterasu, and hold out at Bang's side long enough for Valkenhayn to relieve the latter from facing Relius so he can activate the Lynchpin on Lord Tenjou's terms, denying the Mad Puppeteer his prize. Destroying Takamagahara suddenly doesn't seem like a bright idea after all...
  • Eversion manages to pull this off on the player. The game goes from a Sugar Bowl to horror surprisingly quickly. And then manages to end cute (if in a way a Nightmare Fetishist would enjoy) in the secret ending anyway.
  • In Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis, Flaya thinks he's in a Masked Superhero show instead of the Alchemy School Ontological Mystery RPG that it is. It allowed him to do some Crazy Awesome things up to convincing a Tournament Referee to replace his partner!
  • In the Professor Layton games, Inspector Chelmey acts like he's the main character and that Layton is the arrogant rival that tries to stop him from solving the crime by looking after an answer is found. In reality, Layton is the main character and Chelmey is the arrogant rival who instantly follows the first instinct he has.
  • Touhou: Subterranean Animism, despite being a Shoot 'em Up, has one scenario which player character Marisa discussed in terms of RPG tropes, eventually getting her Mission Control Alice in on it too. Topics include whether a cave would have numbered floors (it apparently does), justification for ransacking houses (which Marisa would probably do anyway), and the necessity of talking to townspeople for hints (in a game where everything that isn't your character is an enemy), just for starters. Surprisingly, it doesn't slow them down for a second.
    • The Universe Compendium Symposium of Post-Mysticism reveals that all three of the new powers in Gensoukyou (Kanako, Byakuren and Miko) have no idea of how the region works, nor of how everyone likes the current situation of restrained belligerence and that the changes they want to implement would only create confusion and unrest. Indeed, the very fact of them meeting to calmly discuss their goals was Wrong Genre Savvy, as it ends with Reimu arriving and threatening to beat them up if they don't leave, which is exactly what happens in the games.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, King Cailan establishes himself as a great admirer of the Grey Wardens, and expresses his eagerness to fight alongside them to defeat the darkspawn like in all the stories he has read. Unfortunately for Cailan, Dragon Age is not that kind of fantasy. Anybody who has read A Song of Ice and Fire and is aware that it was a great influence in this game will dub King Cailan "King Redshirt III" after hearing him speak for about 10 seconds.
  • In Dragon Age II, Cassandra Pentaghast adamantly tries between narrations to pin the blame of all the events of the game on a Big Bad. There is none. Varric even says that Meredith, corrupted by the Artifact of Doom, was irrelevant.
  • Eddie Riggs of Brütal Legend approaches the game from the perspective of a Heavy Metal roadie. This sometimes works — as he ends up in a place and time that runs on The Power of Rock — but other times, it falls squarely into this trope; for instance, he's the lead character and The Chosen One, but his immediate inclination is to assume he's supposed to play Hypercompetent Sidekick. Which is understandable, because even in a world like that, Eddie believes that he's the best roadie, and nothing more. In the end, he makes that work, because "I'm a roadie! I keep the trash off the stage!" Cue DECAPITATIOOOOOOOOOONN!
  • Homestar Runner: Strong Bad constantly hopes that Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People is an action game, instead of a point-and-clicker.
  • Zoey from Left 4 Dead becomes a bit frustrated that the "zombies" aren't shamblers, but are instead violently insane people who can run, climb ladders, scale fences, etc.
    "I can't get over how fast they all are, it's not even fair. I'm calling zombie bull—— on that, you know? [Giggles nervously] They're not...allowed to be so fast."
    • Worse than that, the The Sacrifice comic reveals that her wrong-genre-savvy-ness led her to mistakenly Mercy Kill her father after he was bitten. She has something of a Heroic B.S.O.D. when she finds out he was actually immune to infection like her.
    • Most of the Survivors believe themselves to be people who are immune to the "outbreak", which they are. Unfortunately whatever agent that causes the outbreak is still within them, making them asymptomatic carriers (aka "Typhoid Marys") who can still unintentionally spread the disease to everyone they came in contact with.
  • Played for Laughs in Mass Effect 3 when Shepard plays chess with Samantha Traynor. Shepard has been a marine for so long that he/she attempts to play with real-game-world tactics in mind.
  • To make a long story short, in Megaman Legends, humanity assumed AI Is A Crap Shoot, and prepared accordingly. Turns out, no, the AI was perfectly fine, but the preparations ended up making humanity look like Abusive Precursors.
  • Most of the cast of Tales of Symphonia initially believe themselves to be escorting Colette on her journey to revive their dying world and seal off an evil army called the Desians. Fairly soon they find a girl from a parallel world Sheena, and that both worlds are vying for each others mana and they most likely can't save both of them, but they keep their hopes up and try anyways. Then comes the Wham Episode moment that is tradition for the series, they find the angels that were setting up the whole thing are evil and are in league with the Desians, and they actually can save both worlds.
  • In Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Pierre runs off with a piece of the Scion with Lara in hot pursuit. The statues outside of the tomb come to life and focus their attention on Pierre. Pierre then throws the Scion to Lara, thinking the monsters will go after her instead of him since she has the Scion. He gets attacked and killed by the monsters anyway.
  • From The Legend of Zelda:
    • Groose from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword initially believes that he's The Hero who's going to save Zelda (and possibly get the Standard Hero Reward) while Link is his sidekick. He is most displeased to hear from the old woman at the Sealed Grounds that the opposite is the case. However, unlike most examples, Groose figures this out (after a short Heroic B.S.O.D.) and redefines himself as the The Lancer, becoming more useful and more likable by the end of the game.
    • Ralph from Oracle of Ages had a very similar storyline, initially believing that Link was The Load for his tendency to run errands for others instead of only trying to rescue Nayru. Link's "errands" ultimately equip him with the means to actually save Nayru, while Ralph accomplishes nothing. Again, he eventually does realize he's in over his head, and by the end credits he's taking swordsmanship lessons from Link.
    • Osfala from A Link Between Worlds also believes that he is the hero who will defeat the Big Bad and protect Zelda. It takes him getting kidnapped by Yuga and rescued by Link to come to terms with his role as a Sage and a helper for the real hero.
    • Linkle from the handheld version of the spin-off, Hyrule Warriors, thinks that she's the hero incarnate because of what her grandmother said when she was younger, and goes off to battle the evil forces. She's unaware of the real hero incarnate, Link, is off dealing with the main threat while she's in her own little side adventure, though most of her actions do end up patching things up in the various eras after Link and his allies have won the major battle.
  • In Pokémon Black and White, N believes that he is destined to recreate the story of the hero who founded Unova by befriending the legendary dragon. This was deliberate by his father Ghetsis to mask N's true nature as a Tyke Bomb, to take control of Unova and ban Pokemon husbandry so Ghetsis could rule the region unopposed. When N picks the player character to play the role of the hero's rival twin in his story, giving them the resources and motivation to summon the other legendary dragon and oppose him, he unwittingly enables them to befriend him, disprove his cause, and thwart Ghetsis's plans. Is it possible to be dangerously Wrong Genre Savvy?
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines has a few cases where characters new to the supernatural side of things think the world they are in works by common horror tropes. Most notable would be one of the thin-bloods, who thinks a full blood transfusion or killing the head vampire can cure him from vampirism. The player can milk his gullibility for all it is worth. Another example would be when you get a mission to keep the zombie population at a local graveyard under control for a bit.
    Romero: Whatever you do, don't let them bite you.
    Player: Why? Will I turn into a zombie then?
    Romero: Nope. It just hurts like a bitch.
  • Spec Ops: The Line is a very interesting game because it serves as a deconstruction of typical shooter games like Call of Duty. The story revolves around Captain Martin Walker, a Delta Force operator who seems like your typical Action Hero, who thinks that he is an American war hero who will sweep in and save the day. However things get progressively worse despite — and even BECAUSE of — his actions. The game goes to great lengths to show that simply being well-intentioned and fighting as hard as you can to save everyone doesn't always make everything alright in the end, and that the action hero doesn't always succeed. Walker realizes the negative consequences of his actions completely too late to correct his mistakes.
  • God of War II: After being locked in a room with the former War God Kratos, Greek hero Perseus has a minor breakdown when its clear that Kratos will not help him escape. Perseus reasons that the Sisters of Fate have sent Kratos (who is vilified throughout Greece) to him as a test of strength. Donning his Cap of Invisibility, he resolves to kill the Ghost of Sparta to get in favor with the Sisters. Kratos impales Perseus on a huge hook, letting him know that it's not that kind of video game. To further drive this in, Perseus is voiced by none other than Harry Hamlin, which gives the impression that Perseus believes he's still in his own movie. He isn't.
  • The Matter of the Monster, a fairy-tale-inspired game by Andrew Plotkin, has a scene in which the current player character has to decide whether to help a mysterious old man in a forest; if the player chooses not to help, the character turns out to be just the wrong amount of Genre Savvy:
    "Don't be ridiculous," she said. "Everyone knows that it's helpless old women in the forest that turn out to be disguised fairies. Not madmen with ice cream on their hats."
  • In Dangan Ronpa, the player can sometimes be this at one crucial moment. If one's played similar murder mystery games like the Ace Attorney series or Persona 4, then they know how the pursuit of the truth no matter what the cost is the most important thing. There's one point, though, where going through with this mindset sets the player on the fast track to the Bad Ending.
  • In Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Harry Flynn basically tells Elena that she is this. This ends badly for Elena.
    Flynn: Sorry love, but this isn't a movie. And you're not the plucky girl who reforms the villain and saves the day.
  • In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Phoenix Wright seems to have no idea that he's in a fighting game, and thinks that his objective is to gather evidence of the defendant's (his opponent) crimes and then convict them in court. He gets confused when his opponent attacks him, but compares it to the numerous times the defendants in his previous trials get violent. Fortunately, he's perfectly capable of defending himself, even against beings as powerful as the Hulk. And when he manages to gather his evidence and convict them, it does somehow defeat them.
  • The fans themselves of Resident Evil. The series very firmly established in the heads of fans that male characters suck compared to the female characters since Jillnote  completely trumped Chrisnote  in the first game. So when the sequel came out, people instantly picked the lock-picking Claire, even though there are only two locks to pick in the entire game and Leon takes less damage, gets better weapons, and even starts with a far superior (and upgradable) handgun. Even to this day you'll be hard-pressed to find a fan who doesn't recommend new players start with Claire, even though Leon's game is easier. Although in this case, it probably helps, too, that Claire A/Leon B is a much more satisfying storyline than the inverse.
  • Until Dawn: Upon learning about the wendigos infesting the mountain, Mike and Ash immediately jump to the possibility of Emily being a Zombie Infectee due to a bite she received earlier. Not five minutes later, the group finds out it doesn't work that way, but that's potentially too late for Em.
  • Fallout 4: The Overseer of Vault 111 only had food supplies for the staff up to 180 days after the bombs fell, at which point they were supposed to have heard back from Vault-Tec. When they didn't, the guards and scientists demanded to be let out, but he knew that radiation levels were still so high that you'd die instantly just setting foot outside, leading to a riot that killed every single staff member. What he didn't know was that, while he'd be correct in real life, the Fallout universe runs on Hollywood Science, and radiation levels were normal within two days.