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Magnet Hands

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In most platformers, the hero can carry a readied weapon of any given size without taking any penalty to his ability to run, jump, climb, dangle by one hand or perform any other acrobatic feats. Equally, he never loses his grip on the weapon when unexpectedly flung through the air or forced to catch a ledge to avoid falling to his doom. You get the impression that the weapon is magnetically attached to his hand, and that his fingers don't have to actually hold it in order to maintain a grip.

What is actually happening is that the weapon is simply being rendered relative to the character's hand. Perfectly reasonable when doing normal things with a weapon. As with any program, so long as it is told to do something, it will continue to do it, even if it violates reality. So if the character needs to grab a ledge, the game will obediently keep drawing the weapon relative to the hand just like it was told.

Ultimately, this is an Acceptable Break From Reality. After all, you wouldn't want to miss catching that ledge because you forgot to put your weapon away. The only obvious alternatives would be for the game to temporarily stop rendering the weapon or automatically put the weapon away.

This is generally a 3-D trope, though it can equally occur in 2-D games. In 2-D cases, the weapon's sprite may simply vanish until the character climbs back up.

Of course, this trope does not prevent the hero from losing the weapon during a cutscene. For some reason, the magnets only work on the hero's assigned weapon; he or she will typically either drop carried items (such as barrels, crates, levers, or burning sticks) or will be unable to jump, climb, or catch edges while carrying them.

See also Do Not Run with a Gun, Sticks to the Back. If the character is able to climb ladders while still holding onto a weapon, it's also an example of Ladder Physics.

When the hero ends up with every object not nailed down in his hands, that's not Magnet Hands, that's Kleptomaniac Hero. Hands that can command literal magnetism can be found under Magnetism Manipulation.


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  • Because players are expected to know that the mechs in Armored Core grips the arm weapons, the first games does not have the arm weapons' grip rendered. This makes some players a little confused on why their rifles/shotguns/bazookas have a trigger, but not a grip.
  • Bomberman has round spherical hands and somehow holds onto his bombs, most noticeably in the 3D games.
  • This is the case with Drakengard. It becomes rather hilarious when you're wielding the BFS which weighs close to 100 lbs and you can still jump as high as if you were wielding some of the daggers.

    Action Adventure 
  • Alice in American McGee's Alice can climb, float, jump, swim, and be set on fire while holding any weapon, even the Jabberwock's eyestaff and the blunderbuss, which both look rather heavy. And hey, the knife will actually respawn in her hand when she throws it.
  • Gang Wars have weapons as pickups, and stages where the next area can only be accessed by climbing ladders. When players climb the ladder their items then disappears… and then reappears in their hands the moment they reach the next area. Even applies to the long and heavy guandao in the Shaolin Temple level.
  • ICO is particularly egregious: The hero cannot drop his weapon or put it away, but the climb animation causes his weapon to pass through his other arm.
  • The Legacy of Kain series has this, and if you try and pick up a weapon on a run you'll actually see it float up into the character's hand; it's explained as the characters' latent telekinesis pulling the weapon to their hands.
  • All 3-D The Legend of Zelda games.
    • Very noticeable when you cling to the edge of a cliff with one hand, which happens to be holding your sword.
    • Link also never dropped his sword even when it's the first to smash into a wall whenever he's using the pegasus boots.
  • The Little Big Adventure games. Yes, apparently, it's perfectly possible to climb ladders while holding a sword or any other weapon.
  • Shadow of the Colossus: Even while clinging to the underbelly of a giant galloping/flying/swimming beast, Wander can still hang onto his sword. Funny enough, the game has a grip meter that will slowly run down while Wander is hanging from something (be it a ledge or a colossus), and will cause him to fall when depleted. That sword never leaves his hand, though.
  • Nathan Drake in Uncharted can be reduced to an inch of his life by a near hit from a grenade or missile, but will only be blown backwards or drop his gun if it kills him. Apparently, he has magnet feet too.
  • In the Tomb Raider games Lara can't climb, push blocks, or grab ledges with her weapons drawn, and in early games in the series the player must manually draw and holster her guns, so if one were to jump towards a ledge while guns are drawn Lara will just bounce off. In the 2013 reboot she automatically holsters or shoulders her weapons after a few seconds when there's no enemies around. She can climb and grab ledges while she has her torch out, except when climbing a wall requiring the climbing axe or when using a zipline.
  • In the original God of War games Kratos' weapons were literally chained to his arms. In God of War (PS4) Kratos can now chuck his Leviathan Axe into a lake, run away, fend off enemies with his fists, and press a button to have it return to his hand, no matter how far away like Thor. You reacquire the Blades of Chaos, which are again chained to his arms.

    Fighting Games 
  • Marvel vs. Capcom:
    • Captain America simply does not ever let go of his shield. The ONLY time it could be dropped (and forcing him to pick it up again) is if he did a Shield Slash and somehow didn't catch the shield, or if you're playing Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter and he dies, where he drops the shield upon death and stays on the ground to serve as a reminder of your fallen comrade.
    • As of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 this is played fully straight. Even after throwing his shield, it'll magically return to him no matter where he is on the screen.
  • A 2-d example would be the Samurai Shodown series. Characters can drop their weapons, although they are just stuck in the ground and can be picked up quickly. however the fast paced, high-damage nature of the game means that if this happens, only a skilled player will be able to escape painful.
  • Characters in the Soul Series simply cannot let go of their weapons, no matter how hard you hit them. (Apart from the original Soul Blade, where you could actually be disarmed and had to spend the rest of the round going hand-to-hand.)
  • Street Fighter: Vega's claw can be knocked off, despite WEARING it. Same with his mask in at least one game. Cody can drop his knife, but it should be noted it also has to be picked up first.

    First Person Shooters 
  • In the Half-Life series, Gordon can not only climb ladders while holding a weapon, he can stop halfway up the ladder, face in completely the other direction, and shoot. Now that's skill.
  • The Halo games (and Halo Zero) have the amazing ability to NEVER have you drop your weapon. Justified in the same way as it does Sticks to the Back; the MJOLNIR armour is electro-magnetic so you quite literally have magnetic hands.
  • While variations on this are par for the course in FPSs (the most popular seems to be the ability to climb ladders while blasting away with two-handed weapons), Halo 3 gets special mention for the fact that the Player Character literally holds onto his weapons with magnets!
  • If you drop your lightsaber in the Jedi Knight series, a quick force pull will bring it zipping back into your hand. If you completely lose it (e.g., off a cliff or behind a wall), you grow a new one.
  • Portal:
    • Chell, the protagonist, never lets go of the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device from when she picks it up in the second level, unless she dies. This includes if you get catapulted 100 feet into the air upside down; she must have the balance of a highly evolved cat person.
    • Sorta justified with the release of Portal 2's "Long Fall Boots", which makes the wearer always land on his/her feet. Also absorbs all the shock from landing too! It also helps that Chell's hand seems to be inside the Device, Arm Cannon style.
  • In Star Wars: Republic Commando, the guns never leave your hand on screen, though occasionally the gun-holding hand will drop off the screen and come back empty. This becomes rather jarring when you take a closer look at the model fro that hand—the index finger (used for both the trigger and using computer consoles) doesn't have "straight" and "bent" positions, it's split and fills both positions at once. That's a very good reason to never show the weapon leaving the hand. Luckily, you have to play around with the camera settings a bit to see the hand from a non-scripted angle and see that.
  • In Team Fortress 2, every class has a "taunt" move for most of their weapons (the Medic uses his bonesaw as a pretend violin, the Demoman takes a drink from his bottle, etc.) but if the change weapon button is pressed immediately after the taunt button, the weapon the character is holding for their taunt changes, resulting in some strange moves (The Demoman takes a drink from his handheld cannon, the Spy pulls a cigarette out of the barrel of his pistol). This was "fixed" in a recent update, though there is a server setting to re-allow it.
  • This was one of the many FPS-trope aversions by Jurassic Park: Trespasser: you had to manually move your arm about to pick up (and aim, for weapons) objects in the game world, and you could lose your grip on them. Most players and reviewers derided it as awkward and clunky, though it is possible to achieve reasonable proficiency with practice. Said control awkwardness resulted in Fridge Brilliance once or twice, when Anne realistically dropped her gun upon falling off a wall or had it knocked out of her hand by a charging velociraptor.
  • In Zeno Clash, not only can any weapon be knocked out of your hands with a few well placed blow from an enemy, but they can pick it up and start using it on you. Luckily you can do the same.
  • Borderlands usually plays this super-straight, EXCEPT for one gun in 2: The Crit. You have a 9.5% chance of dropping it whenever you reload, giving others the opportunity to snag it. This is to balance out the ridiculous shock damage that it doles out.
  • Left 4 Dead plays the trope straight with 2 exceptions: Climbing ladders has the character put away their weapons, which leaves them open to attack from zombies above them. Being killed also has the character drop their weapons, so anyone else can pick them up for use.

    Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games 
  • World of Warcraft takes the "automatically put the weapon away" route. Any time you have to do something where it would be inappropriate to be holding a weapon (such as casting a spell or saluting), your weapons instantly teleport back to their sheaths on your hip or back.

  • Jak and Daxter: Starting with Jak II: Renegade, which outfitted Jak with a gun instead of just having him punch and use Eco powers throughout the game, holding a Morph Weapon the size of an assault rifle doesn't hinder Jak's ability to hang from ledges.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man X
      • In the 2D games Zero would quick-draw his saber at the start of a combo, and sheathe it at the end. The 3D games give him a bad case of magnet hands. Especially annoying in X8 where he gets a huge hammer and a naginata apparently glued to his hand.
      • In the same game, Axl is actually drawn holding his larger guns with both hands. This also means that he's drawn clinging to walls by his feet. However, barring these and Zero's dual harisen, the characters will only cling to walls with their free hand.
    • An actual powerup item for the original Mega Man's Rocket Punch-like Mega Arm in the 5th Game Boy game is called the MH Item (MH being Magnet Hand, of course). It allowed Mega Man to grab distant powerups with his charged Mega Arm attacks.
    • Special mention goes to Mega Man Volnutt of the Mega Man Legends series. Due to how the weapon equiping system in those games works, he'll often climb ladders and cling to edges with two guns instead of hands.
  • In Ratchet & Clank, your weapons mysteriously disappear from your hand while hanging onto a ledge, then re-equip once you pull yourself up. Hand Waved in the third game by explaining that they're quick-assembled/disassembled from a high-tech wristband Ratchet is wearing.
  • Sonic Adventure:
    • The cutscenes from the first game show this. Rather than actually holding the Chaos Emeralds, characters just hold their hands out and the Emeralds just sort of float right next to their hands.
    • Also, one can't help but wonder how Vector the Crocodile's headphones stay on. There's nothing really holding them on his head, but even when he's doing a spin-jump or spindash they somehow manage to stay on.
    • A similar case is Charmy Bee's flight helmet - he can do a backflip while wearing it and it doesn't go flying off.
  • In Yo! Joe! Beat the Ghosts, certain weapons, when wielded, would render you incapable of grabbing onto a ledge. Since changing weapons required you to stand on an even surface, forgetting to change weapons before a jumping puzzle could net you a fast-trip to the bottom of the level.
  • Happens in the NES version of FHBG, where ledge grabbing was a bug. The Python remake made holding a block make the player unable to grab ledges for balance reasons.
  • In Kid Niki: Radical Ninja, Kid Niki's sword sometimes gets knocked out of his hand in Boss Battles.

    Role Playing Games 
  • Diablo II has cows wielding halberds. With their hooves.
  • Barring having your gun shot out of your hand, it is impossible to unwillingly lose your weapon in Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas. However, it will negatively impact your running speed if you don't holster it. However, a few rendering errors can wind up in big weapons like the minigun sticking to the player's and NPCs' hands in improbable ways. For instance, when Jericho smokes, ignoring the 40 pounds of steel death strapped to his arm.
  • In NieR, one-handed swords and spears are large enough on their own, but two-handed swords (and axes) are such massive monstrosities that Nier himself (a towering, heavily-muscled beast of a man) has trouble swinging them and a slash from the heaviest ones can take him up to two or three seconds. But he has no problem leaping with them, or hanging onto them when he's kicked across the room by an enemy. He suffers no penalty even when he sticks them to his back and starts running, climbing, or even double-jumping.
    • The androids in NieR: Automata use a special technology to have their weapons float a foot or so behind them, and several of their attacks involve chucking or launching those weapons at their enemies where they will noticeably warp back into their possession immediately after.

    Rhythm Games 
  • Occurs in many of the Guitar Hero games, especially Guitar Hero 1 and 2, when activating Star Power, the player does many "magnet hand" things, including twisting the strapless guitar around their waist.
  • Occurs in Rock Band and its sequels, when checking out guitars from the Rock Shop. Your character places their hands behind their back while modeling each guitar - but none of the guitars have straps, resulting in guitars floating in front of you.

    Survival Horror 
  • Characters in Resident Evil 4 continue to clutch their weapons even in death. They even do this during death situations that would normally call for the complete loss of motor function or other preoccupation, such as having their heads chainsawed off or throats ripped out by dogs.
    • Enemies, on the other hand, can drop their weapons if you nail them in the arm or torso. They don't bother to pick them up again, either.
  • In Survivor: The Living Dead, holding items drains your stamina faster, and when your stamina runs out you risk tripping in a most spectacular manner, which sends whatever you're holding tumbling through the air away from you. Not a good thing if you're surrounded by zombies.

    Non-Video Game examples 

Live-Action Television


  • In Turning Red, Mei exhibits this when she stuffs her things back into her bag during the intro but it happens so fast it's more of a Freeze-Frame Bonus.


  • One letter to Nintendo Power magazine asked how Shy Guy and Boo were able to hold their tennis rackets in the then-recently released Mario Tennis game when neither had fingers. "A complex system of magnets" was the answer they "received" from Shy Guy, while Boo just muttered something about "sticky ectoplasm".

Multiple Media

  • BIONICLE characters do this a lot in various animations, since they are normally shown with Fingerless Hands. But this even appears in the DVD movies, where they were given true hands with fingers — case in point: Takua magnetizing a wooden staff to his palm through sheer determination. Word of God says this "power" is also what keeps their masks on their face and strapless bags on their back.

Tabletop Games

  • Though not a platformer, GURPS parodies this with the perk Guns Akimbo which lets guns function normally no matter what you're holding.

Web Original

  • In Homestar Runner, The Cheat can use objects as if he had opposable thumbs, Strong Bad can type with boxing gloves on, and Homestar Runner can interact with and move objects around him as if he had arms. Which, he doesn't. This is occasionally lampshaded.

Western Animation

  • The Powerpuff Girls exhibit this because they lack fingers. This gets a Lampshade in the Freaky Friday episode, where Buttercup-in-Professor Utonium tries to answer the Hotline by pressing "her" hand to the receiver, then pulling away. After a few failed tries, she looks off-screen and shouts "Professor! Your hands don't work!"
  • VeggieTales characters have this despite the little handicap of not actually having hands.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Zig-zagged. Sometimes, pony characters are shown carrying, pulling, holding, and manipulating objects with their hooves, despite the handicap of, well, having hooves. Other times, this is avoided in favor of their using their mouths to handle things. Unicorn characters typically just use telekinesis.
    • My Little Pony (Generation 5): When ponies handle objects, these just sort of stick to the flat of their hooves, which also have enough dexterity to do things like type into phones. This is particularly notable in light of earlier generations mostly avoiding this in favor of ponies handling objects with their mouths


Video Example(s):


Good News Week

Sammy J and Randy make fun of the trope due to the fact that Randy is a muppet.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / MagnetHands

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