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Failed A Spot Check / Video Games

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Missing the bleeding obvious in video games.

  • Armageddon MUD has massive, dinosaur-sized lizards called Mekillots, creatures that happen to live in a vast stretch of land called the salt flats, which contains no hills or mountains at all. Despite that, the game's engine only allows people to look in the four primary wind directions, which means that despite clear weather, broad daylight and not an obstruction in sight, your character will not notice the gargantuan murderous monster to the southeast.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • In Assassin's Creed II and Brotherhood, Ezio's default appearance involves wearing bright white clothes, visible weapons and armour. He can still blend into any crowd, as long as he has 3 or more people around him. Even if he killed a dozen guards seconds ago and the guards just lost sight of him for a moment.
    • At least Ezio has a half-cloak that partially covers some of his weapons. Altaïr in the first game blatantly walks around with visible weapons. All he has to do to hide is bow his head slightly and hold his hands in prayer form. Apparently, it's not uncommon for the guards to see a heavily-armed monk. (Templars were warrior monks, so it isn't exactly unheard of.)
  • Baten Kaitos Origins has Sagi leading a small squad of soldiers and machina into a room, where they find two people: the Emperor they are trying to assassinate, and someone who has been having a conversation with the Emperor. Sagi tells his men to let the bystander go, apparently missing the slightly significant detail that the Emperor is dead. Way to let the killer loose there, Sagi...
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  • BlazBlue pulls this one. During Slight Hope, Makoto is trying to help Jin to a local clinic when Hazama comes along and talks up a storm with the wounded Major... before trying to kill him. Given a squirrel beastkin, even in black cloak and hat, would be easy as hell to spot by her huge fluffy tail, and she was likely carrying Jin shoulder to shoulder to minimize the bleeding, Hazama only notices her when she directly interferes.
  • Borderlands marks the objectives for the missions on the map with a large target. However, once you go into Old Haven you have a mission to shut down signal fires that are spewing columns of smoke up into the air and drawing unwanted company from miles around. For the first time in the game, the map doesn't show you the locations of the fires, the map instead displaying a ping dead in the middle of the map, which will be obviously useless for anyone who has spent the game using the map markers as gospel. Or you could just look up at the sky and see whereabouts in the level the massive columns of smoke are coming from.
    • The "Scavenger" missions are also notorious for this, where you are looking for the parts of a weapon in one particular area of each map. The marker is centered on the general area you are supposed to look, not the location of each part. And some of the part locations are maddening to say the least.
  • In Bravely Default, Qada manages to brew a concoction that allows him to fake death and takes it before the wind vestal and her companions paste him to the wall. However, he goes on about his plans to leave Eisenberg so that he could recover and brew up an even more toxic mist - this despite Kamiizumi's clear warning that he will die should he disobey an order for selfish gain again. This trope comes in when a voice asks him if he truly wishes to run away midway through his monologue. No points for guessing what happens next.
  • Used and Mocked in Brütal Legend.
    • The roadie unit is a large musclebound guy carrying an 8-foot stack of speakers on his back, yet he is a stealth unit... because no-one ever notices the roadies.
    • At the end of the single-player campaign, after the heroes have spent half the story divided over the revelation that one of them either is or is connected to the demon agent Succoria, the big bad incredulously asks how nobody, including Eddie, noticed that the name is written on Eddie's shirt.
  • In the Carmen Sandiego game "Great Chase Through Time", a lot of the thieves are Hidden in Plain Sight. It's easy to assume that the Good Guide spotted them right off the bat and just wanted you to figure out where they were hiding yourselves, with you failing the spot check. However, everyone in the past apparently does this too, as Julius Caesar never looks to his left to see Doctor Belljar hiding behind a pillar right next to him, The servant never looks behind him because the camel Buggs Zapper is hiding to find that the camel is a cardboard cutout, Isabella doesn't notice a chart with mysterious lands in her room, Beethoven doesn't spot the foreign instrument in the orchestra that Jacquelyn Hyde is playing, and Thomas Edison simply stands there staring at the wall without realizing that Dee Cryption is RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM hiding behind a battery.
  • In Disco Elysium, you can repeatedly run into this repeatedly your Perception skill isn't up to snuff. Most prominently, when trying to bum a smoke off of the lorry-driver Tommy, Tommy will excuse himself by saying that he doesn't smoke, while openly standing around with a cigarette in his hand. It is still possible to miss this blatantly obvious detail and accept his excuse without any questions asked. Even your Perception skill will snark quite viciously at you for that one, sarcastically telling you that you doesn't notice anything wrong with that statement at all.
  • In Dark Souls III, Recurring Element and full-time scoundrel Patches attempts to lure you onto a divider in the Cathedral of the Deep, then lower it, allowing the Mini-Boss giants on the floor there to kill you. If you already took out the giants, who don't respawn, he still tries to pull this trick, but his gloating about how the giants will kill you trails off rather quickly as he suddenly notices that they aren't even there.
  • In the extended trailer for Dead Island 2, a jogger is so absorbed in the music pumping through his earbuds that he completely fails to notice a Zombie Apocalypse happening around him, even as pandemonium unfurls behind him. This stops in a hurry when he changes into a zombie himself, losing his toupee and muscle implants in the process.
  • Guards in Dishonored, particularly the lower ranks, will usually fail to spot Corvo behind objects when he is in stealth mode. They also won't notice the absence of a comrade unless they find the body.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia
    • Steiner insists that Faris not be allowed to join the team because he has no intention of fighting alongside pirate scum like him (her). This causes Vaan to pipe up saying that he's a pirate, and in fact, there are several other party members who fit the Loveable Rogue mold. Steiner is aghast and says they should all leave.
    • Numerous characters, upon first entering into the world of respite, are shocked when they are attacked by manikins in the form of their friends and are subsequently on their guard when reuniting with the real deal. With few exceptions, however, the manikins are all silver (or gold, or green) and obviously crystalline in nature. This is lampshaded in one scene where Bartz boasts he could tell the difference because "the real Galuf isn't all sparkly."
  • ENIGMA: An Illusion Named Family has this for the murderer. The locked down mansion is suffering from a blackout, so everything is really dark and the murderer could walk by Minhyuk hiding in shadowy areas without noticing, because it's so dark.
  • Evil Genius: Anyone with a low Attention becomes more vulnerable to pressure pads and motion detectors, and in the case of hostile agents, may well blunder past a pile of body bags without noticing them, especially at lower competence levels. People in the process of having their stats lowered by social minions may well completely ignore gun battles taking place around them.
  • Both games in the Fairune series feature hidden pathways difficult to see for the player due to the top-down view, which should be readily visible for Hope Girl. Especially egregious and silly when you realize these paths in the Grasslands of Fairune 1 and the Green Fields and Snowy Fields and the Ashen World of 2 take the form of floating trunkless tree foliage.
  • Fallout:
    • In Fallout 3, enemies take about 1/10 of a second or so to see you when you pop out in front of them, and about 1/2 a second to react. Thus, if you are creeping around an office building or underground tunnels, you can just peer around corners in third-person, and then pop out while mashing the VATS button, and get a sneak attack critical without actually sneaking. Furthermore, all enemies are apparently deaf, and cannot hear your gunshots. They will not notice you are in the building, killing their comrades, unless they actually see you, no matter how much noise you are making. They will also ignore their fallen buddies' corpses.
    • Fallout 4 has the Fortune Finder and Scrounger perks, which respectively make bottle caps and ammo appear more often in containers. At their higher levels, it will make you wonder how a survivor without these perks would be able to miss so much on a regular basis. One explanation: since many of the perks are supernatural or follow game logic, it's possible that the bonuses don't exist in the containers at all unless someone with the perks opens them.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's consists of you checking all possible paths of attack the antagonistic animatronics may take against you. The problem is there are many of these and while you may get caught up checking out one of them that is giving you plenty of grief, you'll fail to notice another coming after you. They know this and take full advantage of it. The Five Nights at Freddy's 2 takes this Up to Eleven with even more paths of attack and animatronics.
  • God of War III: During the Final Boss, Kratos and Zeus are so busy fighting each other they don't notice a very pissed off Gaia showing up until she's right on top of them.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn:
    • During the Grave Eclipse event, you can wake up an old man who will go and attempt to make tea, knock over all his furniture, and go back to bed muttering about spilling his tea. No comment on the invasion of shadow monsters from the netherworld horribly killing the screaming and panicked townspeople right outside his house.
    • All of Weyard seems to fail a spot check when Eoleo, an internationally-renowned violent criminal under a death sentence, joins your party and goes cruising the Eastern Sea with a bunch of teenagers.
  • Played with in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which has many RPG elements. Characters will notice if you are out of shape or if you are not wearing the appropriate gang colors. You can pick and choose clothes and whatever you are wearing shows up in the cut scenes. However, characters will not notice if you attend, for example, a serious business meeting in a gimp suit. Said meeting includes the character's sister. Ew.
  • Played for laughs in one cutscene of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Tommy goes to see Ricardo Diaz, who's yelling at his VCR and shoots it just as Tommy comes in. Diaz complains that the VCR ate his favorite El Burro movie, while Tommy remarks that it may not be plugged in. Diaz finds out that the VCR is indeed unplugged and brushes it off, saying that he could "buy a hundred more".
  • Hitman:
    • You would think that by now, somebody would have noticed that Agent 47 has a barcode tattooed on the back of his head. That would make identifying him rather easy. This is lampshaded in Absolution; the first thing he does when he goes into hiding is cut the barcode off.
    • The series overall zig-zags with this due to how the effectiveness of disguises doesn't always make sense. Twenty guards mill about a mansion, all wearing identical suits with sunglasses and some of them even have shaved heads. You'd think 47 would blend right in, but other guards actually see through the disguise easily. On the other hand, nobody notices when the only cook in the house suddenly loses all his hair and grows half a foot taller.
  • Hometown Story has an incident during which the special pumpkin planted by one of the farmers turns out to be a plant monster of sorts. Sue, the local witch, berates the farmer responsible the incident's trigger, except that the trigger of the event was a very long process, the later part of which had consequences visible to anyone who walked by the farmer's yard. One would think it would have given Sue plenty of time to notice or find out what was happening before things got serious.
  • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days: Lumiere and Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast are found in some missions at Beast's Castle on patrol, and the player must stay out of their line-of-sight since the Organization wants to lay low. Their sight range is very limited and they move in a fixed pattern, so it's entirely possible to be fighting Heartless from across the room without them noticing.
  • The Legend of Dragoon: Martel wants the player's help to find all fifty stardust hidden throughout the world. While several of them are very well hidden, in Deningrad there's two directly behind her and the fiftieth one is in the room right next to hers in her home village.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker:
    • An important part of the game revolves around dumb guards in the Forsaken Fortress. Link must hide inside barrels to avoid being caught by the Moblin guards roaming the grounds. Apparently, the guards do notice that barrels seem to have moved suspiciously, but they merely sniff the barrel and continue on the way. Word of God says that Moblins are actually very dumb.
    • This trope is also averted in the game with Link, the player character. He turns his head and looks at important objects within the area, even if that object has already been found, activated, etc.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Geth aren't liked at all in the Mass Effect universe. So, in the second game, when you bring along Legion, your geth party member, to the Citadel — where security has been heightened since the events of the first game to prevent "geth infiltration" — someone would notice, right? WRONG.
      Shepard: It's been a couple of years since I passed through here. Security seems to have tightened a bit.
      C-Sec Customs: After the geth attack, there was a review of security protocol. A few minor changes were made to reduce the risk of geth infiltration. We apologize for the inconvenience.
      Legion: Geth do not infiltrate.
      C-Sec Customs: You should leave your personal synthetic assistant at home. They aren't allowed on public shuttles anymore.
      Legion: Geth do not intentionally infiltrate.
    • Then again, this is the same idiot who mistakes two Asari as Geth Infiltrators.
    • In the first game, Shepard can try to comfort Ashley Williams, who is the last survivor of her squad which was ambushed by the geth. She brushes him/her off, pointing out that you'd have to be pretty blind not to notice a bunch of robots with flashlights instead of heads sneaking up on you.
    • Even better is Tali's loyalty quest in the second game. If you bring Legion onto the quarian fleet, the guards are understandably edgy about it — the geth drove their species off their homeworld, after all. The leader of the welcoming committee even threatens to shoot you both if you don't send him back to the Normandy (or you convince him otherwise). However, there is really no excuse for the court audience's horrified gasps of surprise when Admiral Koris loudly points out that there's a geth in the courtroom and accuses Shepard of psychological warfare to manipulate the proceedings. Not to mention the quarian civilians' prior chatter about a geth on the ship... with said geth standing right next to them, drawing no reaction whatsoever.
    • Played for laughs in the Citadel DLC, when Shepard fails to notice a wrecked, burning C-Sec car all of twenty feet away until Grunt points it out. Of course, Grunt knew it was there because he crashed it. Also in the Citadel DLC, in one potential party event, James Vega manages to fail a touch check by not noticing, during a push-ups contest, that Kasumi — who, while slightly built, is still a grown woman — is sitting on his back until she decloaks.
  • MechCommander: The first cinematic in the first game features a Raven scout mech whose pilot manages to fail his core competency of being the team's sensor operator, leading directly to the loss of the team's Glass Cannon. He is promptly demoted to "Bait".
    Cdr. Harrison: Hit him, get his attention.
    Panther, Raven Pilot: Uh... I... uhh...
    Cdr. Harrison: DO IT!
    [Panther launches two missiles, which hardly scratch the paint on the 75 ton Mad Cat; Mad Cat turns to face him, Arm Cannons first, giant shoulder missile racks towering above, even close enough to make out the underbelly autocannons]
    Panther: I've got his attention, Sir...
    Cdr. Harrison: Now move out.
    Panther: ROGER THAT!
  • Because people tend to rely on the radar for detection alerts in MechWarrior Online, a viable tactic for ambushing is to shut your 'Mech down in some isolated corner or blind alley and just wait. A surprising number of people don't actually notice when they walk right by a 'Mech because it doesn't show up on their radar until it's too late. Even the 100-ton Atlas can go unnoticed this way. Players who over-rely on the Seismic Sensor equipment also tend to miss obvious enemies because their 'Mechs were holding still, which naturally does not trigger the Seismic Sensor.
  • Metal Gear Solid's guards weren't particularly bright in the original, upgraded in The Twin Snakes and its other entries.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, the guards would never think to check human-sized lockers while actively searching for the player during an alert mode. This made lockers a great place for hiding dead bodies and yourself during the alert (so long as you didn't make any noise while in the locker)
  • A Space Pirate Log in the first Metroid Prime notes that the Pirates have been looking for Samus' gunship, but haven't been able to find it due to what they suspect to be advanced cloaking technology. Said gunship is actually parked completely in the open, two small rooms away from a small Space Pirate force (complete with aerial troops) and even with cloaking the perpetual rain in the area should alert the Pirates to its presence (due to the rain bouncing off it). Apparently it's not only the science team that has vapor for brains.
  • In both Neverwinter Nights games, your Hide checks are not affected by the (sometime dazzling) light effects of buff spells (though they are affected by torches and the Light spell). And in this D&D-based game, you tend to use tons of buffs all the time. Therefore, you can frequently see a rogue who looks more like a Christmas tree sneaking unnoticed past an enemy.
  • The guards of Ninth Rock will fail to see you behind a waist-high cubicle partition.
  • This is one reason for many of the most infamous chokes in osu! and other rhythm games, especially when exploited by mappers hiding what needs to be hit next on an animated/bright background or after/under something that's drawn the player's focus/muscle memory elsewhere. For Osu! specifically, it's also a problem with marathon maps or particularly difficult sequences, especially when nearing the end of a map.
  • Peret em Heru: For the Prisoners:
    • Rin sneakily joins the tour group by exploiting the guide's inattention. When Sae later admits that she's not entirely certain the kid was always with them, Ayuto is taken aback.
    • This also factors into several of the potential deaths. Failing to notice significant details, such as Mitsuru being left behind when passing through a trapped room, contributes directly to their tragic demise.
  • Pokémon:
    • From Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, at the beginning of secret episode 4 ("Here Comes Team Charm"), sure Graveler it's an empty room with a treasure chest and three statues.
    • In Pokémon X and Y, during the penultimate chapter of the Looker Bureau storyline before you engage in a Boss Rush, you enter a room filled with stolen Poké Balls and records on Xerosic's Powered Armor, when Xerosic walks into the room and doesn't notice you until after he moves to the back.
    • In Pokémon Sword and Shield, it never seems to occur to the scientist who revives fossilized Pokémon that she isn't so much reviving ancient creatures as she is stitching together barely functional abominations from mismatched parts and inventing their back stories as she goes. Unless she does it on purpose, but she's hiding it well. If the Pokédex is of any indication, nobody else seems to notice this neither.
  • In Police Quest, if you don't check your tires before driving off, you WILL end up with a flat tire. In Open Season, if you don't check the door with a stick mirror, you WILL get your throat ripped out by the guard dog. In SWAT, failing to slice the pie while entering a room = death.
  • Portal 2:
    • Wheatley, being himself, tries to figure out a way to open a door and finds himself totally dumbfounded. He fails to notice the glaringly obvious button right in front of the door. Possibly justified, as his initial panicked reaction between when you press it and when he noticed the door's open implies he probably thought that Big Red Button did something more dangerous.
    • In the opening sequence, he deduces that a solid concrete wall is a docking bay and attempts a "manual override" on it — smashing your hotel-room sized pod into it until one breaks. Written on said wall is an arrow with the caption "Docking Bay 500M below." Could be justified/subverted with the hints later on that he's afraid of heights, so it might have been less him failing the spot check and more him being reluctant to make the vertical trek. He's also a blithering idiot and most likely can't even read, his internal schematic just tells him there's a docking station at those x/y coordinates.
  • In the demo for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, you can watch a video tape. After it's over, there will be a note sitting front of the TV that wasn't there before. How on earth the character missed a note appearing right in front of the TV he's watching is a mystery for the ages.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, if he is not taken down already, Metal Sonic will fail to notice that his attack carrier is about to crash into a massive fuel tank of the Sky Fortress Zone.
  • Despite her tentacles, facial markings, and occasional Verbal Backspaces, Inklings in Splatoon 2 don't notice that Marina is an Octoling, assuming these differences to be fashion statements or odd misspeaks. Only the members of the Squidbeak Splatoon notice, and even her best friend Pearl doesn't bother confirming her own suspicions until the events of the Octo Expansion, after which she continues to obfuscate stupidity about it in public. Somewhat justified, as Octarians live underground and haven't had regular contact with the Inkling race in over a century.
  • Star Wars Legends: In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the Czerka Corporation is on the lookout for an old employee of theirs who could rat them for their corrupt activities. They've apparently got all manner of mercenaries and bounty hunters after this guy. As it happens, he's hiding in an apartment right up the hall from their headquarters.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic takes this to a comical extreme. The aggro range on most mobs tends to be very small, so you can slaughter mooks left and right, and other mooks mere yards away will have no reaction whatsoever until you get right up in their faces.
  • Toward the end of Chapter 7 in Super Paper Mario, the heroes rush into the final room, to find Grambi (who is a little taller than Luigi) injured and Luvbi (who is the shortest person in the room) trying to see if he's OK. They apparently didn't notice the 30-foot demonic skeleton dragon standing just off-screen until he announces his presence.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • To his teammates, a disguised Spy looks like he's wearing a paper mask. The enemies must be rolling a lot of ones.
    • The players themselves often fail them, too. Just go around Sawmill for a while and look at the killfeed, see how many sawblades you spot there. Of course, they often fail Listen checks as well, as any map with trains announces by way of ringing bells when a train's gonna arrive, and yet there's someone getting run over every minute.
    • Sentry guns. Particularly on Attack/Defense maps, there are some areas that are almost always guarded by sentries, and yet people run into the open and get shot to pieces.
    • Everybody gets tunnel vision in the heat of the moment, but the king of missing spot checks definitely go to a scoped Sniper, since he is robbed of his peripheral vision while zoomed in on a target.
    • While everyone berated Metal Gear for being unrealistic that you could just hide in a box and no one would spot you, with the recently added taunt, The Box Trot, it has been proven multiple times that a Spy hidden by nothing but a cardboard box in the right place could fool many unaware players. This is hilariously displayed in these three videos.
  • A mass failed spot check that is both humorous and gratifying comes in the middle of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. A defeated and captured Optimus Prime is dragged before a triumphantly gloating, ranting Megatron, and is to be executed before his enemies, though Prime remains Defiant to the End. Before Megatron can kill him, Metroplex, a even more Humongous Mecha compared to the already large Transformers appears outside a giant viewing window. Right behind Megatron. The massive Autobot is the size of an entire city block, hence his name, and yet no one notices him until he tears the roof off the Decepticon chamber. Megatron attacks the giant and is squished like a bug. Four times.
  • In Tsioque, the titular princess can put on an Invisibility Cloak right in front of a group of Imp guards coming straight at her... And they will run right passed her, even if they were facing her general direction when she put it on.
  • In World of Tanks has Hero tanks, uniquely painted versions of other units like the Motherland, a Tier VIII Soviet medium tank that sports an eye-searing group of red and white splotches (looking rather like a mime expoded) or the Freedom, a repaint of the T26E4 Super Pershing with a red-white-and-blue Stars and Stripes paint scheme that could only conceivably provide camouflage in the parking lot of a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert. Despite sticking out like a sore thumb on most maps in the game, because said paint schemes count as permanent camouflage, they make the tanks stealthier than the default variants' generic brown and green.
    • World of Warships has special camouflages given with some reward and premium ships, or special events, that similarly have garish paint jobs that are typically equal to or exceeding the best "normal" low-visibility camouflages. It's entirely possible to have HMCS Haida, painted red and white to look like the Canadian flag, be completely invisible while a Haida sitting right next to it in low-visibility gray is being shot at.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • One quest in Hellfire Peninsula has you search for a special corpse in a marsh filled with green bubbling liquid. Many people have searched and searched, looking in every pool, checking every corner, before giving up and asking in general where the corpse is. Soon after that, they generally find out it's the 10-story-high ribcage and skull that you can see before you even ENTER THE AREA. Granted, people are expecting and looking for an average-sized corpse, but it's still kinda funny.
    • The distance from which a player can get noticed and attacked by monsters varies based on level; if players try to enter a zone clearly too high-level for them, they will get swarmed and overpowered by monsters from far away. But if they are much higher level than the monsters, it's possible for them to walk very close to and in front of a monster without getting attacked. Then again, not attacking a player 10+ levels stronger than them could be considered smart behavior, as opposed to the alternative.


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