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Contrived Coincidence / Video Games

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Contrived Coincidences in video games.

  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf begins with one. At the start of a new game where the town is generated, the player character gets off the train and is mistaken for the new mayor. All of this is due to arriving in town just before the actual new mayor was supposed to come.
  • In the season finale of The Darkside Detective, McQueen and Dooley are pulled off supernatural duty and sent to deal with a series of minor break-ins and disturbances because the rest of the police force is busy dealing with a citywide riot. The minor incidents all turn out to be part of a pattern that leads to McQueen discovering the supernatural cause of the rioting. Lampshaded by Dooley.
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  • Lampshaded For Laughs in ''Cyberpunk 2077 when V is hiding out in a motel outside of town after a job went sour. Johnny remarks on how utterly nonsensical it actually is for there to be conveniently placed motels like this and asks if there is any valid reason for them to exist outside of specifically for fleeing criminals to hide in.
    Johnny: Think they make these motels especially for royal fuck-ups like us? AC's busted, dirty needles under the mattress, shitter's clogged... No, for real — who fuckin' comes here to sleep? We're a couple miles outside Night City. Someone leavin' town just keeps drivin'. Someone goin' there sleeps in the damned city! What good's a motel in the middle of nowhere?!
  • EarthBound:
    • The game has a number of these, usually played tongue-in-cheek. The most flagrant example? After the Moonside segment, you receive a phone call from Apple Kid, who tells you that he is sending you his latest invention: a yogurt machine that, as of now, can only make trout-flavored yogurt. Then you are approached by a monkey who lives in a cave in the desert, whose master wants to meet you. Then a delivery man says that he brought the yogurt machine, but lost it in a cave out in the desert. (Yes, the same one.) And then one of the maids from the building you've been trying to enter all this time is revealed to love trout yogurt, to the point of being easily bribed to let you in with it. And all of this happens in immediate succession.
      • Most of the Apple Kid's role in the game is the result of contrived coincidence. Numerous times throughout the game the player will come across obstacles that immediately after running into the Apple Kid will subsequently call to the party's one way phone and tell them he's just come up with this amazing new invention which just so happens to be exactly what is needed to get past the obstacle which they can now go get, despite the player having no opportunity to actually tell the Apple Kid what the obstacle was beforehand. The yogurt machine, Pencil Eraser, and Eraser Eraser are all examples of this. He even invents a type of flypaper that only works on zombies, despite not believing that zombies even exist.
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    • The prequel's whole plot is due to a contrived coincidence: namely, that Ninten is a descendent of the humans who raised Giegue. If this were not so, then he would be unable to enter Magicant and find out that he must collect all eight melodies which are the only things that can make Giegue call off his invasion of Earth. And even with all that, the only reason he stumbles into Magicant in the first place is because his town's curfew prevents him from leaving his hometown the conventional way, requiring him to go off the beaten path.
  • Fallout 3. Almost the instant you retrieve the GECK, the Enclave somehow intercepts you despite having no way of knowing you were there in the first place.
  • Final Fantasy V. The party needs to cross the ocean. They just so happen to find a cavern used by pirates. They try to steal the ship, and it just so happens that Faris, the goofy supposedly-male pirate with pink hair, is pink-haired princess Lenna's long lost sister Sarisa. Which is great timing since Faris needs to be around to watch her father die and give her a motive to save the world.
  • Final Fantasy VI:
    • The player party needs to get across the ocean, but ships are too tightly watched by The Empire for them to go by sea. The following series of coincidences allows them to make the trip:
    • The only airship in the world is held by a Sky Pirate named Setzer, who has a thing for an opera soprano named Maria.
    • Maria is supposed to be playing in an opera just near the party's current location.
    • Maria is afraid of being kidnapped by Setzer, and therefore won't play. However, party-member Celes resembles her closely enough to take her place.
    • Celes is a proficient enough musician to convincingly pass for a world-renowned soprano after at most a few days of rehearsal, despite being an 18-year-old ex-general.
  • Final Fantasy VII:
    • Cloud, a former comrade of Sephiroth (who becomes the Big Bad), meets Aeris, who is the last survivor of her race (and just so happens to be the only one able of stopping Sephiroth) and who just happens to be Zack's ex-girlfriend, who was another comrade of Cloud and Sephiroth, and Cloud & Zack were experimented on (as adults) by Hojo in the basement of a mansion in Cloud's childhood hometown, and Hojo turns out to be Sephiroth's father...
    • Crisis Core takes it to a whole new level, with Zack Fair actually meeting many characters seen in the original game, including some of the playable characters who join Cloud's party, with the exception of Red XIII, Barret and the sleeping Vincent Valentine. Why none of them remember seeing a guy with the same haircut as Cloud carrying the exact same sword…
    • Before Crisis is even worse than Crisis Core, with the player Turk encountering virtually everyone in the original game (including Cid, Red XIII, Barret, and Vincent) as well as Zack.
  • Final Fantasy XV has an in-universe book featuring brief descriptions of the six Astrals, the elemental gods of the world of Eos. The order in which these Astrals are listed happens to be the exact order in which the player encounters them.
  • Half-Life:
    • The series is brimming with this trope, from fortuitous weapons acquired immediately before they would be most useful to people and indeed entire organisations functioning almost entirely to benefit the player. This is even used as a pervasive story element, as the almost omnipresent G-Man is shown to manipulate things both important and seemingly inconsequential for his own purposes, blurring the line between coincidence and intent and further emphasising Gordon's complete lack of control. Need to get somewhere but rubble just fell and is blocking your way? It's all good, because nearby there will happen to be a hole in the wall/an underground tunnel/junk usable as stairs/broken prison bars that lets you get to exactly where you need to go. In fact, it's more likely that what was behind the rubble that fell wasn't where you needed to go.
    • The first game revolved around the "Black Mesa incident", a catastrophic experiment gone wrong in the titular Black Mesa Research Facility in New Mexico. The second game is set twenty years later in an almost completely unrelated eastern European setting, and yet virtually every significant character the protagonist meets has some connection to Black Mesa, for no adequately explained reason.
  • Heavy Rain:
    • Ethan's son is kidnapped because he has a blackout, as a result of a car crash from years before, and he finds himself in an alleyway with an origami crane. It certainly appears to be a contrived coincidence, unless Ethan is really the Origami Killer and didn't know it. However, it's really an even bigger contrived coincidence than it seems at first. The Origami Killer just happens to be across the street to witness the car accident that started the blackouts, they all coincide with the Origami Killer's kidnappings, and always result in Ethan finding himself holding a paper crane and coming to at a specific intersection which just happens to be emotionally significant to the killer. Nobody knows this at the time so he couldn't have picked it up from the news.
    • Interestingly, most of the explanation for the above was originally going to be part of the plot where a sort of psychic bond was formed with The Origami Killer, who was present at the car accident and saw Ethan as an ideal father. This was cut a few weeks before release because the developers felt the added paranormal angle took away from the immersion and didn't really add anything to the story. What's left provides a pretty big contrived coincidence that is never explained.
    • While Shelby and Lauren go to visit Manfred's Clock Shop, the Origami Killer murders Manfred exactly when Scott is looking through filing cabinets, Lauren is in the other room entranced by a music box, and all the clocks are noisily chiming at the top of the hour, allowing the killer to sneak in, murder Manfred, and get away before anyone notices. Although when it's revealed that Scott was the murderer, it takes out some of the variables, but still leaves the coincidence of Lauren being distracted by a music box while the clocks were going off just as Scott decided it was time to murder Manfred.
  • In the second installment of the Hero of the Kingdom series, the player character's little sister gets kidnapped by pirates. The PC himself is also taken prisoner not long afterward, and he just so happens to be tied up in the same room with a beautiful girl... who turns out to be the missing princess of his home kingdom. That's convenient enough, but then he finds his sister and discovers that the leader of the pirates just so happens to be their long-lost older brother. The brother went away to sea so long ago that the PC and sister had forgotten he existed, which is why he never got mentioned in the game up to that moment. Naturally, the older brother is willing to pull a complete Heel–Face Turn once he realizes that, oops, he accidentally kidnapped his own little sister.
  • In the reboot of Hitman (2016) and its sequel, almost every level will include an opportunity to get a lone with the target because they have scheduled a private meeting with a man they've never met on that very day. In one particularly hilarious example, the target has a meeting with a world famous fashion model who just happens to be a dead ringer for 47.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, some of the Sheikah Shrines' trials are simply getting access to the shrines in the first place (these are the ones titled "[Sheikah Monk's Name]'s Blessing"). While a lot of the trials to access them are sensible enough to have been prepared during their construction (such as collecting scales from the Divine Dragons or solving an ancient riddle), some of the "trials" tied to the freebie shrines are orchestrated by people born long after the respective shrines' architects. They can range from winning the key orb in a sand seal race to preparing a drink for a lost and fatigued Gerudo blocking the access terminal on the otherwise freely-accessible shrine.
  • Mass Effect:
    • What are the chances that, as you run around the galaxy in the second game, you randomly bump into people you met in the first game? It's a small galaxy, indeed. A few of these are justified to a degree by the fact that many of the places Shepard visits happen to be among the top important and famous gathering places in the entire galaxy, but accidentally running into people is still somewhat hard to believe due to the sheer size of these planet-covering locations. The worst case of this would be bumping into Tali on your first mission after your resurrection. The odds of bumping into an old friend whilst on vacation in another country is improbable as is. The chances of bumping into someone in a different galaxy is infinitesimally small.
    • What are the odds that just as you'd find yourself needing evidence to prove that a high-ranking special agent was a traitor, someone would coincidentally arrive on the same space station who just so happened to have come across the exact information you need.
  • In Persona 5, all members of Phantom Thieves of Hearts are met and recruited by chance, but all abusers that were giving them problems are revealed later to be either members or supporters of The Conspiracy. Everything the villains did only contributed to their desctruction in the long run with a few lucky meetings:
    • The Conspiracy has murdered Wakaba Isshiki for her research and made her daugther feel guilty about it. Said daugther is the adoptive daughter of the guy who became Joker's legal guardian and lives nearby. The Conspiracy later used Medjed to attack the Phantom Thieves, only resulted in Sakura, the real Medjed, to stop them, join the Thieves and being essenital part of the villains' downfall.
    • Morgana's 10-Minute Retirement lets you meet Haru and makes Okumura your next target. At the same time the poll at the Phansite was deciding whos change of heart the public wants to see next, which ended up also be Okumura, who the Thieves wanted to take down already. Much later Okumura is revealed to be also a finical backer of the oragnization the Thieves were going against. For extra spice, the poll is actually rigged by the Conspiracy, who've thought Okumura has became a sore spot in their oprations. Even though the trap had no role in deciding the target, the timing couldn't have been better to turn the Thieves into The Scapegoat.
    • Joker's encounter with Masayoshi Shido's before the events of the game, resulted in him being falsely accused and, with no other school to go, transfered to Shujin Academy. Said academy turned out to be out of many fronts of the Conspiracy that Shido leads, even if Phantom Thieves don't learn about it until the endgame. One meeting with a certain corrupt teacher later, Joker establishes a group that would result to Shido's downfall. Shido even calls it fate.
    • In Royal the Prinicpal Kobayakawa hires Takuto Maruki as a counselor mostly to preserve self-image. Little that he knew that Maruki is a former member of the Conspiracy Kobayakawa was a part of, who, with the destruction of Yaldabaoth, takes control of the Metaverse.
    • This continues in Strikers, as Joker's brief meeting with Alice Hiiragi before their road trip resulted in Phantom Thieves learning about Jails, new villains abusing the Metaverse, as well as the remnants of the above Conspiracy.
  • Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh: Hoo, boy, does the game have a number of these! Arguably the biggest instance is when Curtis has to break into a small locked room in his workplace, where he finds a toolbox. Inside it he finds a girl's dress his mother made him wear as a child, as well as a letter from his boss Paul Allen Warner to Curtis's father. He ends up finding a letter to him from his father, saying a number of things, like hoping that WynTech is treating him well. It's weird that his father puts this letter in such a spot and hopes that Curtis will one day work at that place, get some wild hair to break into this room and find this letter and the other contents of the toolbox, while his boss is starting up his illegal and immoral science project! If that's not this trope, then we're all the rulers of Siam!
  • How Thorny Towers goes down in the climactic cutscene of Psychonauts. Let's see here. Gloria turns on the gas pipes for the asylum, having confused the crank for a sprinkler in a garden. Edgar pulls his chain out of the floor, pulling a gaping hole in a pipe just below the surface, releasing gas into the asylum grounds. Then he spills all of his turpentine and acetone. Then, Boyd, just outside the asylum, ready with a molotov-cocktail milk bottle, is coaxed by Fred to "blow this popsicle stand." He throws the bottle into the courtyard, igniting it, and finally the tower itself, thanks to the previously mentioned gas leak. Then, at the top of the tower, in the psychic showdown, Ford enters and uses Oleander's weaponized sneezing powder on him to make him sneeze up his own brain. This causes the top of the tower to explode, and the rest of the already weakened tower to collapse (upon Raz and Lili, who have to hurriedly navigate to escape). Damn. Do note that at least part of it is played for laughs, such as Edgar sound clearly unconvincing that the spill was an accident, and he does at least chest the busted pipe, a smart thing to do, it's part Played for Laughs and part building up to the climax sequence.
  • The symbolism of Rule of Rose hinges on Brown, the protagonist's pet dog. Unfortunately, the game is set in a really isolated (and we mean really isolated, like, children get murdered there and no one notices) orphanage in the English countryside, Brown is a tiny puppy when she first finds him wandering around said orphanage, there are no other dogs or humans for miles (except for the local crazed hermit), and never is the player given any indication of where Brown came from or how he survived so long in the wilderness. (And no, he's not some magical hallucinatory spirit guide. His death proves that.)
  • Secret Files:
    • In the first game, Max Gruber works at the same museum as Nina's father. In the second game, the two are on two completely unrelated missions: Nina is taking a vacation and Max is visiting a classmate in Indonesia photographing her archaeological find. Puritas Cordis happens to be in both locations.
    • In Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis in one place you need to gather several small blue stones to solve a puzzle. Those stones were removed from the cemetery to be used in constructions. For some reason, all of them were used in visible places and not buried under other stones.
  • Skies of Arcadia has a point where our trio of heroes get separated in an attack. Two happen to be found by a kind sky pirate while the other gets stranded on and island before being rescued by another sky pirate who just happened to be the love interest for the latter. Then they all head to a secret island to find a hidden treasure at the same time. This island just so happened to have mechanisms that was set up so that only two groups of people could get the treasure.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Shadow the Hedgehog's strikingly similar appearance to Sonic is noted often by the various characters, but he was created 50 years prior to the series and only looks like Sonic because Professor Gerald just happened to base his appearance off of the mural of Supersonic that he happened to see on a trip to Angel Island.
  • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty: Most campaign missions are tailored to heavily if not critically rely on the use of a new unit introduced in each mission. Usually it's not too odd, because you're supplied that unit by your technicians or allies, apparently after analysing the situation and its requirements. But at one occasion (The "Train Robbery" mission), you just happened to find the units you absolutely need to win, lying around the battlefield, somehow ignored by the enemy.
  • Super Robot Wars: It is revealed in Second Original Generation that the reason why Earth attracts Aerogaters, the Inspectors and Guests, the Ruina, the Einsts, the Shura race, the Shadow-Mirror, and Dark Brain is because of Shu Shirakawa's Granzon that without his knowledge, has attracted these beings thanks to the Guest's technology. He does forcibly cancel it, but acknowledges that it may be too late already at this point.
  • In Syberia, at one point player character Kate finds herself trapped in an abandoned Soviet factory complex because someone has stolen the automaton train conductor's hands. The thief turns out to be the unstable director of the complex who has used the hands for his automaton pianist which he plans to use for a concert he wants an opera singer he is obsessed with to have in the complex. He won't let you go unless you can somehow bring her there but neither him nor Kate know where she is. However, by glancing at some articles in the guy's Stalker Shrine to the singer, Kate finds the name of one of the singer's acquaintances... which happens to be the man her mother is dating. One call to her mother and Kate learns the singer is in a spa town in the same region. And the complex just happens to be next to an abandoned cosmodrome which contains a still functioning airship which you can take to the spa town. After that quest line is resolved, you finally leave via the train... and arrive at the exact same spa town you departed from earlier...and find the guy you were looking for the whole game sitting in a bench.
  • Tales of Symphonia: Regal keeps his true identity secret for almost half of a disc. Yes, he emphasizes his role as a criminal to hide it, but the secret would have been revealed if anyone ever mentioned him (and he's well known) using both his first and last name. It helps that he never actually says his full name (at least before The Reveal; even his status screen doesn't list his last name until then)... and that the one person who figured it out (Zelos) decided not to call attention to it.
  • Tales of Xillia:
    • It begins with a contrived coincidence to have the two protagonists, Jude and Milla, meet up. Milla happens to pick the one day to infiltrate the Laforte Research Facility, when Jude heads to the facility to find his professor. And a convenient gust just happened to pull Jude's paper out of his hands and led to him grabbing it, leaning over the banister and seeing Milla walking on top of water below and followed her out of curiosity. Had just one of those things been different, likely Milla would have gone on the game's entire journey on her own.
    • Partway through Arc 1, Milla's legs get injured and result in them being paralyzed, with no chance of healing. But it just so happens that Jude remembers that his father has a technological device that can heal paralyzed limbs! And, conveniently, the type of spirit stone they need to power the device is located in an old, abandoned mine just outside his hometown. Thank goodness for this coincidence, or the journey would likely have ended prematurely.
  • World of Warcraft: The Main Characters Do Everything. With the magical mists that kept Pandaria hidden from the rest of the world destroyed by the Cataclysm, it was only a matter of time before the continent was discovered by the Alliance and Horde. However, it's still a pretty big coincidence that out of the hundreds of ships that could have found it, the one that did happened to be carrying Anduin Wrynn, the Prince of Stormwind.


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