Main The Computer Is A Cheating Bastard Discussion

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06:12:44 PM Mar 6th 2015
Removed the following:

* An odd mix of this and Artificial Stupidity is with Blue in the first-generation games. He has an Exeggutor that, in the final battle, knows only three moves. This is impossible by Generation 1 mechanics, since the Move Deleter didn't exist then. The only possible way would be for Blue to transfer his Exeggutor into a game with the Move Deleter, delete that move, and then not add anything to replace it. But considering this makes his Exeggutor far weaker, who's complaining?

Simply put, while it's an extremely bad idea to make such an Exeggutor and drag it into the Elite Four, it's really simple to do for the player as well as the computer - go to the Safari Zone, catch a level 25 Exeggcute, use a Leaf Stone immediately to evolve it to Exeggutor, and never use a TM on it. It'll have Hypnosis and Barrage from the outset, get Stomp at level 28, and that's it. It's not the computer cheating; it's the computer doing something so stupid that you'd never think to do it yourself.
03:07:41 PM Nov 6th 2014
edited by
Can someone playing Pokémon X and Y prove to me that the following is true (extract from the Main Page -under Pokemon file - below)?:

(In the Battle Maison, in the more difficult battles.) Your Vaporeon vs. an Aerodactyl? Aerodactyl will nail you with Rock Slide and get the flinch every single time. Your Bisharp vs. a Lickilicky? Lickilicky will freeze you with Ice Beam on the first try (which is supposed to have a 10% chance of freezing). Only very determined players can hope to get anywhere in the Battle Maison without tearing their hair out by the roots.

Unless if there is actually proof (through hacking/statistics), I am going to delete this passage and assume that the writer for this entry just had a really unlucky day. As the article in the main page says - never assume that the computer is cheating unless there is damning evidence.
03:24:44 AM Nov 25th 2014
No objections lodged, I shall go and delete the offending example.
09:45:51 PM Jan 1st 2015
edited by
I think all of the current battle facility entries are questionable at best. Accusations of cheating regarding the institutions generally reek extremely heavily of confirmation bias. The very system is designed to stack the odds against the player. Many, many things can go wrong - a critical hit at the wrong time, a status inflicted, a move missing, a poor Pokemon matchup - and the player has to deal with these chances in an extensive string of battles. On top of all that, players have only a limited number of Pokemon to use for dealing with a multitude of possible threats, and many battle facility Pokemon also pack luck-based items. But losing to that is a result of randomness at work, not a cheating AI. The AI doesn't need to cheat in the actual gameplay, because the system is designed so that any stretch of bad luck in any form can ruin a winning streak - and there are many situations where luck is a factor.

People have cracked open the code of the game and found no conclusive proof of any RNG rigging nor Pokemon counter-picking. The Pokemon that show up in the facilities in each generation are drawn from predetermined pools which have been fully explored on sites like Smogon, and it's not just possible, but probable that any weaknesses in a team will eventually find themselves exposed.

There is one - a single individual one - properly documented instance of the computer being a cheating bastard in Pokemon Emerald's Battle Frontier: a Shuckle with a 252/ 0 / 0 /106 / 252 / 0 EV distribution, which exceeds the maximum EV limit a Pokemon can have (510).

But aside from that, I think the current battle facility entries should be removed unless someone can dredge up a proper analysis or code examination that doesn't depend entirely on anecdotal evidence.
06:49:12 PM Oct 21st 2014
Shouldn't Gang Up on the Human be a subtrope of this?
07:39:54 PM Oct 21st 2014
Considering that nothing impedes a group of humans of gang up in a specific opponent... no.
10:57:17 PM Oct 22nd 2014
Gang Up on the Human is not just about the A.I.s ganging up on a specific opponent. It's about them ganging up on the human, specifically. I figured that since it's a form of the form of the "rules" being different that it should count. In this case the part of the "rules" that's different is the behavior of other players to oneself, which makes a big difference in terms of difficulty. Do you think that counts?
10:57:17 PM Oct 22nd 2014
Gang Up on the Human is not just about the A.I.s ganging up on a specific opponent. It's about them ganging up on the human, specifically. I figured that since it's a form of the form of the "rules" being different that it should count. In this case the part of the "rules" that's different is the behavior of other players to oneself, which makes a big difference in terms of difficulty. Do you think that counts?
05:55:06 AM Nov 25th 2014
I think it should count. It's the computer being a dick to human players in ways they can't necessarily do back.
06:22:37 PM Mar 6th 2015
" can't necessarily do back"? Nothing impedes the humans to gang up on the AI, outside possibly sheer numbers.
09:25:30 PM Sep 18th 2014
edited by
I have seen AI in Civilization V to cheat some gold for itself. 20 000 gold at third turn! In a ten turns, when AI had bought all kinds of stuff, remaining 15 000 good disappeared.
06:24:52 AM Jun 12th 2014
How come the scripting of PES - and FIFA I think , I didn't play it much - isn't mentioned here ?!
06:30:30 AM Jun 12th 2014
I don't know. I haven't played those games so I don't know if the cheating is so endemic that they warrant being mentioned on a page that tries to limit it to only the worst abuses.
10:51:32 AM Jun 23rd 2014
My friend , the cheating in PES is demonic . It may not happen every single game but God , it happens a lot ! So I play with a team - a mode where you play as a single player - and it's complete rubbish and can't do a thing without me - mostly because the AI is only stupid when it's MY team - and after a while , I leave to a better one . Guess what happens when I play a game against them later ? They turn into freaking super soldeirs with fiendish capabiliteis ! I'd spend the whole match getting to their goal only for the shot to hit one of them - RARELY happens in a normal match - , hit the post , go out , or be caught by a D rated keeper . And don't let me get started on how the laws of physics are bent in favor of the AI .

So seriously , game developers seem to be sadistic by default ! Now they don't have to put i here but I just wanted to say . (And let some steam off too)
10:54:39 AM Aug 28th 2013
Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed is an egregious example, in my opinion. Even on the /easiest setting/ (trust me, I've checked), when you play as a character with a speed rating of 5 (or even one of the up-to-11 even higher speed characters), you will be passed (or at least matched) in straight up racing (no powerups, not boosting, not turning, nothing) by a character with a speed rating of 1. If you play with 2 players, you will flagrantly outspeed them if you both use the same characters as in the above situation. However, this is also partially to do with the position the computer started in: If they were in first place before the first lap, they have the AI to stay there even with the interference of the second-and-third place computers.
08:23:38 AM Jan 19th 2013
I don't know if this belongs in this topic,but it surely looks like it to me. In C&C Generals:Zero Hour (probably in the ordinary Generals too), if you attack a building which the computer player is building, and even if you damage it to the point of it needing one more rifle attack to destroy it, if the computer finishes the building at that moment,it has it's full hit-points, as a happy "screw you,I'm the computer" message to the player. Don't expect the same treatment for your buildings. And also, some buildings can build add-ons, which is expecially added in various mods. And when a computer builds a building,it comes ready with an addon (minefield, sentry turret, howitzer),while you have to click it all yourself,wait and pay for those upgrades.
05:53:09 PM Nov 5th 2011
edited by CP44
I don't remember if there is a more fitting topic/trope, but from my experience and observations with computers and game design, computers start most simple games and tasks with an advantage over human players (because computers start with data that humans are not given access to).

A computer knows the location of its character(s) and the player(s) - it has access to the coordinates and simple math will tell it the angle to use, the distance, the time to take "bullets" to hit a target, etc. To make AI seem "fair", errors or inaccuracies have to be introduced to the behavior (giving correct code a chance to "miss" the target), or the computer is prohibited from making the calculations as quick as it really can (giving moving targets a chance).

Consider a tanks/artillery game... the computer knows how gravity is applied, what coordinates it is firing from, and where the player is. If wind is applied, it can be compensated for using the same numbers and units that the shooting will be done with. A human player is generally given a side-view screen, a concept that gravity will be applied (but not the specifics of the falling rate), a visual firing angle with limited increments (like whole degrees or 5 degrees, maybe lacking units/markers for the player to use), and normally variable firing power (maybe lacking units/markers, may also be hard to repeat the shot due to controls, like holding Space Bar - see Worms Armageddon). Games that are only mouse-controlled and don't provide friendly indicators and markers for power levels and angles are inherently less precise - and it's not the player's fault, these are design and interface issues. The fact that "AI" and the environment are mixed by a computer (even for third-party "bot" clients) means that a non-player-controlled character generally has access to the locations of other players even if they would not be visible to a human player.

Put simply: computers get to calculate (compute) their shots, humans (generally) get to approximate and try again if they're still alive.

About the only way to make AI fair is to restrict the computer to what humans get to interpret: an image on the screen and maybe some audio clues - deprive the AI of access to the game's coordinate system, gravity/mass/acceleration constants, and actual player position. This is obviously crippling for practical designs because at the time of writing, machine vision (shape/object recognition) is still an emerging science; and to have a reasonable computer-controlled opponent playing like a human, it would have to be able to interpret shapes, velocities, in-game sizes, possibly masses... all with a 2-dimensional pixel array just like humans do.
04:10:17 PM Oct 25th 2011
I'm a bit of an expert on the multiplayer aspect of an old video game, Gruntz, and I know of a few cases of the computer fudging the rules. The thing is, some of it is where the RNG is unusually generous, some of it is because the computer is overly analytical, one case is an advantage of them having no interface, and the rest is outright cheating. Should I put different examples in different sub topics?
01:32:15 PM Oct 11th 2011
Removed this:

  • Hearts on Windows 7 allows the computer players to lead with a heart before hearts have been broken even though players cannot.

It is, in fact, perfectly legal to lead with a heart when hearts have not been broken... provided that the leading player has nothing BUT hearts in his/her hand. (The alternative would prevent the leading player from playing at all!) Having played Hearts on Windows 7 before, I am nearly perfectly confident this is what happened.
12:41:43 PM Aug 13th 2011
A lot of these examples could be attributed to bad luck and observation bias. Maybe we should say that, baring actual proof the computer is cheating, examples of the computer having better luck than you shouldn't go here.
02:23:50 PM Jul 27th 2011
Many (most?) of the examples in the "RPG" section are not RP Gs.
11:34:54 AM Apr 17th 2011
Why did the trope image get removed? I thought that picture from Brawl in the Family was rather humorous and fitting. This trope's also very popular, often being linked from other sites. It deserves a nicer presentation than just a wall of text. Heck, this trope's the reason why I started browsing TV Tropes.
06:15:03 PM Mar 29th 2011
edited by antialiasis
The Pokémon example section has some legitimate examples, but also several that are simply baseless conjecture obviously sprouting from confirmation bias. Can I just remove all those and add a notice that there needs to be actual, physical evidence that it's cheating, not just subjective experience making you feel like "I always miss and the AI never does!!!!"? (Personally, being a glass-half-full kind of person, my subjective experience is that I always hit and the opponents always miss or hurt themselves in confusion when it's most convenient for me, but I know that this is not actually something programmed into the game.)
07:57:29 PM Apr 23rd 2011
Since there has been no response, I'm just going to go ahead and do it.
01:44:17 PM Aug 9th 2011
edited by deadguy
Way too many examples like that. We should probably err on the side of caution and say, unless there's actual proof that the AI has a better chance of doing something luck related than you, it's not an example. The same goes for the AI being able to pull off moves faster than you or in positions you can't do them from. People seem to be underestimating the human spirit, and listing examples which blatantly say "Humans can do this, but only if they're really good". It's not cheating to make the computer better than you are.
06:33:09 AM Mar 1st 2013
I have noticed that a lot of the time, confusion lasts longer and causes your Pokemon to hurt itself more often than when the opposing Pokemon has been confused. This same theme also seems to occur with Sleep, Paralysis, and possibly Freeze.

What's probably worse is if you have a Pokemon set up to abuse a particular move or combo - like Snore. The game will quite happily give you a single turn of the ability to actually use Snore, before your Pokemon wakes up - canceling the use of Snore. Of course, if you have a contingency plan in the shape of Tackle or the like, that sleep from Rest will usually cancel your Tackle. It's even more obvious when you're abusing Hypnosis or Spore - I have switched out a Parasect that just used Spore many-a-time to my Hypno with Dream Eater - only to have the opposing Pokemon wake up the next turn, before my Hypno got a chance to move, canceling the use of Dream Eater.
06:26:02 AM May 29th 2010
edited by Arrow just put out an article about The 13 Most Dumbass Boss Battles. This link goes to page 4, where the final paragraph of the section about Seth from Street Fighter IV would be absolutely perfect as a page quote for this trope, I think. I wish we could link Trope Namer to that quote, except it's pretty obvious that since this article just came out within the last week, it's in no shape, form, or fashion the actual trope namer.

Anyways, I figured I'd ask here before adding it because some people understandably have issues with trope pages having two quotes that are both of relatively large size.
09:07:32 AM Dec 29th 2010
edited by KendraKirai
Kendra Kirai: As the original writer of the article, I named it just because it's what I kept on saying. 'That cheating BASTARD!' 'Goddamned cheating bastard!' 'That goddamn bastard is cheating!' and so forth.

Anyway, I've got something that I think should be added, but I'll leave it to others to figure out if, and where it should be.

"The Computer is only a Cheating Bastard if it breaks it's own self-imposed rules. If a game is supposed to be fair and even, such as in a sports game, yet it's able to do things that are simply impossible for the player to do, that is Cheating Bastardry. Enemies having more health, the ability to go through walls, etc. are merely Real or Fake Difficulty."

The key there being the 'self-imposed rules'. The key difference between the Robot Masters of the Megaman series and every SNK Boss in existence.

EDIT: Aha, I see, there's subtropes, and a couple of them handle this. Good.
03:37:19 PM Jan 19th 2011
Removed from the page as I am unsure how it's an example.

  • In Tales of Symphonia, you may often find yourself using Pineapple Gels when low on TP. However, it seems that the skill that you can use for 16 TP is also usable by the enemy for a quarter of that amount. Coupled with the fact that the enemy almost alwaysu're facing 10. The spell that could blind everyone in an area? Will blind 1 or 2. The other that would paralyze half a group? Now you're lucky when it paralyzes one enemy. The best part is that NPC casters now have super reliable spells. The same spell that won't paralyze a single monster of a group after several tries will paralyze your whole party, leaving you completely defenseless, in the first try. Needless to say, the only conceivable strategy here is to power up all of your party's speed and then rain down all the most powerful damaging abilities at NPC casters the second you see them, because they'll only cast a fireball that'll kill your mage and just mostly kill the rest of your party when you're lucky.
  • To be fair, this is because you're playing on the hardest difficulty setting. Novice gives the player the advantage. Normal is completely even. Expert gives the computer the advantage.
05:51:18 AM May 15th 2010
"Aversions or subversions should probably be left out as well, since that's (hopefully) the default." I can see why leaving out aversions is sensible, since we'd then be forced to list nearly every game ever. However, a Subverted Trope is in no way the default. Any subversions that crop up definitely belong on this page. — OODavo
09:41:00 AM May 15th 2010
Strictly speaking this page isn't even supposed to have examples, subverted or no, but rather be an index. See all the mentions of "specific examples"? Those can all be their own trope, and once those have been categorized and the examples filed under the appropriate sub-categories, we can file this page as an index and another large part of the wiki will make more sense.

The main reason no one has done that is because, yeesh, look at the page. It's huge. Actually categorizing everything under appropriate subtropes would be a Herculean task for all but the most dedicated troper. The "no subverted examples" is a stop-gap designed to keep this page from becoming too large for anyone to ever actually get around to doing that.
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