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Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay

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"There are also a few obscure objects mechanics that the game doesn't explain properly but bases its puzzles around regardless. It's possible, for example, to place boxes on top of the roving proximity mines. It's not fair if you don't make all the rules clear!"

Imagine playing a First-Person Shooter and finding that you don't HAVE to shoot the bloodthirsty enemies, and merely pointing your gun at them or firing some warning shots will scare them away with no body count. Since every shooter is designed to let you shoot enemies, why would you think this time would be different?

Didn't know you could do that? How could you not? It's common sense!

As always, Tropes Are Not Bad. There are a number of games in which part of the game is figuring out the rules, or in which changing the rules is necessary to win. This type of gameplay is simply not very common, which is why it tends to bamboozle and frustrate some players.

This can also be the result if a Physics Engine or gameplay effect is made to simulate reality (or what people generally accept as "real"note ) without the player knowing, and is suddenly called upon to solve a problem.

Subtrope of Hidden in Plain Sight, sometimes overlaps with Cutting the Knot. Contrast Moon Logic Puzzle, in which the logic which solves the puzzle is so out there that there's no way it was obvious, as well as Misaimed "Realism", where an element intended to be realistic only ends up highlighting unrealism. Compare Surprisingly Realistic Outcome, which is also about reality rearing its ugly head in unexpected places, but in relation to narrative, rather than gameplay. See also Paradiegetic Gameplay and Wrong Genre Savvy.

As this is a solutions trope, there are unmarked spoilers ahead.

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Gaming examples:

    Action Adventure 
  • Far Cry 4 opens with a long cutscene depicting Ajay Ghale, the main character, being captured by the Obviously Evil Pagan Min. Pagan invites Ajay to join him for dinner, but then needs to run off to attend to an emergency before politely asking Ajay to sit tight and wait for him to get back. Normally, as in any other action game, this would be the point where you escape from the madman's palace and join the resistance, and the game expects you (and, given Pagan Min's obvious mental instability and violent tendencies, is actively prompting you) to do just that. However, to get the secret ending, you can do what any sane non-combatant would do in real life: do what Min told you to do and wait patiently. After about 10 minutes, he'll come back, apologize for the delay, and then happily tell Ajay everything about his mother, even taking him via helicopter to where his mother wanted her ashes to be buried, allowing Ajay to fulfill his objective without any problems at all. Not only is this the most realistic course of action, but it is also arguably the best ending of the game (and easily the most optimistic one.) The game does hint at the possibility of this option with the song lyric "Should I stay or should I go?" right after the bus scene. Of course, it does pretty much entirely skip the actual gameplay of the game, and the whole story ends in about 15 minutes.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Every dungeon has two maps: one that Link makes and one that he finds. Unlike later games, the latter will not fill in the former or show where he has been, so the player has to actually compare the two maps on their own.
    • Twilight Princess:
      • In the City in the Sky, at one point Link enters a bottomless room guarded by two lizalfos. Simply take two steps forward into the room (after the door locks behind you) and both leap to their doom while trying to come after you.
      • Another Twilight Princess example is the second jousting match with King Bulblin. The first time, you rode Epona past his boar and swung your sword to knock him off, a la a proper joust. The second time you face him, he's wearing armor on his sides that protects him from sword swings. How do you properly joust him this time? Who said anything about jousting? Just pull out your bow and shoot him a few times in the chest.
      • At one point you run into a snow drift that blocks your way while following a scent. There's nowhere to climb over it and none of your items seem to help. Just dash into it and the snow collapses.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, you have to press two maps together—one on the top and one on the bottom screen. To do so, you have to close and open the Nintendo DS.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild thrives on this trope, applying real-life rules to the game that must be taken into consideration in order to survive. For instance:
      • You're free to ignore the story quests and make a beeline for the final boss at the first opportunity. You won't learn anything about the story by ignoring the main quests, and you will likely die horribly (those story quests lower the difficulty of the final Boss Rush), but you have the option.
      • Hearts, rupees, and other supplies no longer drop from cutting down grass or breaking pots. You will need to gather food and cook meals to recover health, barter items to earn rupees (although they can still be found in some treasure chests), and use whatever weapons enemies drop to fight.
      • If you're carrying any metallic equipment in a thunderstorm, they will conduct electricity and make you into a lightning rod. To avoid possible death by thunderstrike, you'll need to either drop said equipment, or find shelter. This trait can also be used to your advantage for problem solving: yes you could actually push the metallic blocks onto the open circuits, or you could just drop an iron sword on it for the same outcome. This also affects enemies’s weapons! When they start sparking, stand well back if you don’t want to die alongside them.
      • Rain will make most surfaces (except Towers) too slippery to climb. It will also put out torches and any fires you try to light without cover (meaning that in many situations, you won't be able to use a fire to wait the rain out). Zig-zagged, however (perhaps because rain is already annoying as it is), in that immediately after rain stops surfaces become climbable again, when realistically they would take hours to dry. You can also walk around in the rain wearing pretty much any kind of clothing (or in your underwear) without it lowering your temperature meter. This is despite the fact that, as anyone who's been caught under heavy rain without cover will tell you, that getting drenched out in the open can get you very cold, and it's even a risk for hypothermia in actual survival situations.
      • Your armor is important when travelling into areas with harsh temperatures: if you don't equip properly insulated armor when going into an area with frigid cold temperatures, you'll take continuous damage from the cold; while not having properly light clothing will cause damage in deserts. The game also correctly recognises that deserts are very cold at night - you'll likely need both outfits to cross the desert.
      • If you fall from a high place, rolling won't save you: you will hit the ground and hurt yourself, or even die.
      • Bomb arrows are rendered useless in rainy weather, due to their fuses getting wet. It's also ill-advised to use them in volcanic areas: the extreme heat will cause them to detonate prematurely and hurt you.
      • Electric arrows are worse than useless in wet areas, like puddles. Water conducts electricity, you know.
      • Fire arrows are not advised in long grass. They can ignite the grass and burn you.
      • In any other Zelda game where they appear, Boomerangs sometimes fly in a straight line, and sometimes they can magically home in on multiple targets, but they always come back. This is not really the case in this game. Like a real boomerang, it will fly in an arch back at where you threw it from, and you actually have to catch it with the right timing, or else it will fall to the ground. And if it hits a wall or other solid object (but not monsters or animals, thankfully), it will drop there, and you'll have to go get it.
  • In God of War II, there is a segment where the player has to climb up to a ledge to continue. There is a pushable block nearby, but standing on the block still leaves the ledge just out of reach. There is a switch the player can hit that causes a square part of the floor to raise up on a thin, round pillar, but it falls back down too quickly for the player to use it. The solution is to kick the block UNDER the raised floor (touching the pillar, and letting the floor-section rest atop it) before it falls. Like many examples here, in real life this solution would be obvious, but since this is a video game, most players would expect the entire floor-pillar object to act as a solid rectangle.
  • In Landstalker, one of the optional late-game puzzles requires you to hold 4 buttons on top of the blocks at the same time without using any additional items. Solution? Since the blocks themselves aren't nailed to the ground, you can just stack them to let the physics do the thing, and then jump on top of the last button yourself. An obvious solution for some physics-based first-person shooters in vein of Half-Life 2, not so for a Zelda-esque action adventure.
  • The Sinking City is an open world detective game set in the Cthulhu Mythos popularized by H. P. Lovecraft. While you have a couple supernatural abilities which are Cast from Sanity to help you, the game's primary hook is that depending on the difficulty, there's little to zero handholding when it comes to figuring out where to go. Destinations and mission objectives are not automatically added to your map. Instead, you have to manually put markers down using clues and evidence obtained from investigating areas, questioning people, and combing through archives and records. In other words, the game makes you think like the detective you're playing as.
  • The third person shooter Spec Ops: The Line has many examples of this. In one instance, the player is confronted with a riotous mob of civilians threatening to kill the player after having already lynched one of your squadmates. Naturally being a shooter, the expected response would be to gun them down, especially since the scene begins with the players weapons drawn and aimed at the mob along with your surviving squadmate begging to shoot them. However, if the player simply fires warning shots into the air or ground, or even melee attacks one of them, the civilians all run away, allowing the player to pass without killing anyone.

    Adventure Games 
  • In Another Code, you have to press two maps together, one on the top screen and one on the bottom screen. To do so, you have to close and open the DS.
  • Hotel Dusk: Room 215
    • You need to close and open the DS to flip over a completed puzzle for to see some important text written on the back of it.
    • At one point, you need to flip two switches at the same time. You flip a switch by touching it with the stylus on the touch screen. In real life, you'd just use both of your hands, but it's a DS game, and the DS touch screen can only register one touch at a time. So how do you flip both switches? Just ignore the system's technical limitations and touch both switches at the same time! Somehow, it will work.
    • The game in general treats exploration with surprising realism. Getting caught snooping around prohibited areas will not earn you a mild scolding and a do-over like in most games: most times you will get kicked out of the premises, resulting in a game over.
  • One late game puzzle in Last Window involves retrieving a key from a music box. The DS essentially acts as the lid and the interior of the box, which turns off when the two halves are sufficiently closed. The trick is using this at just the right time in order to pop out a key when the internal mechanisms are aligned in such a way as to let it out, which is assigned to one of the shoulder buttons.
  • The Myst series is known for its Moon Logic Puzzles. However, Uru: Ages Beyond Myst at times simply requires you to jump up and down on stuck bridges or run over things to continue. (Granted, Uru has a different interface from other Myst games.)
  • In Riven (the first Myst sequel), you come across a locked gate that looks like there should be enough clearance for a person to simply crawl under it if it existed in the real world. Because of the game's tendency toward everything being a Moon Logic Puzzle and the point-and-click interface significantly circumscribing the paths you can take, it can be a bit surprising when you realize that the solution actually is to just go under it.
  • At the end of Simon the Sorcerer 3D you find a computer where you are supposed to insert a CD. However, within the game you cannot interact with the computer to open its CD drive. The solution is to open this on your own physical computer. Unfortunately, some computer setups do not send the signal the game looks for when opening the CD drive, thus making the game Unintentionally Unwinnable.
  • The PC version of Shadowgate has a bridge that collapses because you have too much weight.note  So how do you cross? By lowering your weight: leave ALL your possessions behind, except for a torch and one item needed for the puzzle on the other side.
  • Déjà Vu (1985): So you thought you found the true killer, have evidence of what they done, and cleared your name? Think again. You have several pieces of incriminating evidence against you that will have you and not the true killer thrown into the slammer. You will have to destroy all that false evidence somewhere where the cops cannot find it.
  • At the start of Deja Vu II, you begin in the bathroom with NOTHING in your inventory. And we mean literally nothing; you start as a nudie. You might want to get your clothes off the bathroom door and wear them before leaving and talking to people.
  • In The Secret of Monkey Island, the only known connection to the reclusive Sword Master is an old storekeeper who may be asked to pass along that you want to meet her, leaving his place empty; if he is summoned back by the all-reaching bell, he will inevitably note that the Sword Master told you to "go jump in a lake". The puzzle's solution is to follow him out.
  • Police Quest relies a lot on you following proper police procedure rather than adventure game tropes. Spoilers ahead!: Try breaking down a suspect's door without getting a warrant first? Game over, your key evidence is inadmissible in court. Forget to check your pistol before going into the lock-up? Game over, a gangbanger steals it and shoots you with it. Try fiddling with the life-support machines in the hospital instead of calling a doctor? Game over, your star witness is now dead.
  • Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge:
    • In the middle of the swamp is an underwater passage Roger must swim through to reach an item needed to progress. Choosing to "dive" in the passage will result in Roger drowning soon after, because the player actually needs to "hold breath" first.
    • At one point, Roger will be in a village of pink pygmies in which the leader will not let you leave until you "say the word". You can talk to the pygmies or ask them to move the rock blocking the exit, but they will do nothing. So what do you do? Type "say the word".
  • In the final episode of Dreamfall Chapters, Kian has the evil wizard Klacks at his mercy. Suddenly, Klacks apparently sees and adresses someone coming to his rescue over your shoulder. If you actually turn the camera around to have a look you'll find out too late that there's nobody there, right before Klacks takes the oppurtunity to stab you in the gut. Should have seen that one coming...

    Fighting Games 
  • In Virtua Fighter, Taka-Arashi's size and weight as a sumo wrestler is accounted for in a way most other fighting games downplay or ignore:
    • Many combos that are otherwise universal against the cast do not work on him as his juggle gravity is unique within the cast. On the other hand, this adjusted gravity can open up unique routes that wouldn't work on lighter opponents. In other games... 
    • Throws that otherwise work perfectly fine against heavyweights like Wolf and Jeffry animate differently on Taka as his weight causes the opponent to visibly struggle. This also means that the result of the throw can change; Lau Chan and Pai Chan, for example, can't even do their overhead flip throw properly against Taka and lose a wall combo opportunity because he doesn't wallsplat like everyone else. In other games... 

    Full Motion Video 
  • Periodically in Night Trap, you need to change your trap access code to continue using traps, overhearing the new code being discussed by the Martins. The very first change, however, is suggested under circumstances where the family isn't very quick to get to the control room and make the change, so you need to remain on Blue to trap one more auger, and then switch to the new color.

    Pinball Games 

  • Metroid:
    • Super Metroid:
      • One section of the game has you trying to find a way into Maridia, an area that you can see through a glass tube, but can't get to. The solution is to simply destroy the glass tube with one of your vast array of explosive weaponry—but because your weapons normally only affect enemies and doors, not scenery, it's not obvious. (Unless you've seen the clue in another part of the game, where a similar tube has already been destroyed, or watched the demo that plays after idling on the 'press start' screen, where Samus demonstrates how to access the area.)
      • Shortly after defeating Crocomire, the player runs into a platform which ramps upward, a long pit and blocks that can only be broken by the speed booster. Did you know you could use Super Speed to create a long jump? Well, you do now! The game never told you beforehand that combining Super Speed and long jumping was possible, so the only way you could know about it is to just take a (literal) leap of faith.
      • The "secret" method to beat Draygon is basically the only place that you can grapple onto live wires, with no real indication that you can other than the block the turret sits on being similar in appearance to a standard grapple block.
    • Metroid remake Metroid: Zero Mission repeats this in the Space Pirate Mothership, where shattering a glass tube with a power bomb is the only way to backtrack to the rest of Zebes and grab power-ups you missed or couldn't get before gaining the new powers of the Legendary/Fully Powered Power Suit, and much like in Super, nowhere else in the game does Samus's arsenal alter the environment beyond breaking certain blocks and revealing certain power-ups.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES, there's a gap between two platforms that is about as wide as your character and impossible to jump across, as the ceiling is too low and you end up hitting it and falling. The solution is to simply walk over it.
  • Super Mario Sunshine confounded many players with the physics for moving around on a boat. Getting on the boat and shooting FLUDD made the boat move as if shooting the water was applying thrust. For example, shooting behind the boat made the boat move forward. In that sense, it follows cartoony physics that are easy to understand. However, when it comes to turning, things are a little trickier. Sometimes shooting left would turn the boat right, as expected, but sometimes it didn't work out so cleanly. The explanation comes from where Mario is standing on the boat; if he's standing near the back of the boat, shooting left shifts the back of the boat to the right, therefore the front of the boat turns left.
  • Tribal Hunter has a scene where Lord Darkdread has to take a phonecall before his first battle and asks Munch to wait. If he does, Darkdread will actually come back after a minute or so and thank him for waiting, netting an achievement.

    Puzzle Games 
  • The Portal 2 developer commentary mentions that due to having the thought that portals appear instantly when you press the button rammed into players brains, play-testers were confused when they fired a portal at the moon and it, realistically, didn't appear instantly, due to the vast distance. Play-testers would not see a portal appear and look away. They made it so that the camera fixes once you've fired the portal, to stop confused players looking away. The vast distance and the speed at which the portal travels is actually calculated to the exact second, so players won't be waiting for long.
    • The developers assumed that the portal gun operates at the speed of light. It takes light 1.28 (approximately) seconds to travel between the earth and the moon. The flash of the portal opening on the moon appears at exactly double this time (since first the portal has to travel there, then the light from it opening has to travel back). They really did their homework.note 

    Real Time Strategy Games 
  • Age of Empires IV: The Delhi Sultanate and the Abbasid Dynasty cannot harvest boars to gain food. Which makes sense, as these civilizations were Muslim and consumption of pork is forbidden in Islam. As a trade-off, these civs' villagers gather from berry bushes at +25% faster speed.
  • Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars introduced the concept of vehicles with directional armor and gave vehicles the ability to engage a reverse gear to help with keeping the more heavily armored front side facing enemies. This can makes situation such as tank tactics have surprisingly greater depth as players try to out flank each other to hit the weaker sides of each other's vehicles.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Absented Age: Squarebound: While many games allow the player to use any combination of equipment, this game considers the consequences of upper and lower body armor combinations. Karen can equip boots with one-piece body armor, but not body armor that only covers her upper body, since this would leave certain areas exposed.
  • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey: If the Eagle Bearer hides in a bush and tries to aim a bow armed with flaming arrows, they will catch both the bush and themselves on fire, revealing their location to the enemies they wanted to shoot (this also happens if they equipped flaming arrows and the Eagle Bearer lowers the arrowhead to the ground). The same happens if the Eagle Bearer starts a fire near them. This also occurs sometimes when the Eagle Bearer stealth kills an enemy and the torch they were carrying falls into the bushes, landing them in all sorts of trouble. This is made especially irritating since the Stealth Master ability means their Assassination damage is increased at night, which is when half the guards will be carrying torches.
  • Chrono Trigger: In the game save points make a chiming noise when the player enters them. In the future ruined world there is a sewer you must travel through where enemies will attack if you make noise. The sewer is a long twisty path filled with all sorts of garbage and other things to step on. Finally when you reach the end the game is kind enough to give you a save point.
  • The Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne meta-franchise in general is all about making melee combat more complex than a lot of games where you maybe have a light and a heavy attack and a block/parry button and the only difference specific weapons have is their damage stats. Each weapon has different attack animations, and it's not just a cosmetic difference; successfully landing a hit requires the hitbox of your weapon to collide with a vulnerable spot on the enemy. (The difference between slashing and stabbing weapons is the most obvious example.) There are even sub-hitboxes within the weapon that deal varying damage—hitting with the broadest part of a sword hurts more than nicking them with the tip. If you're fighting in close quarters, the weapon can also clang off a nearby wall and miss the target. Also, weapon durability is a thing, but letting it go down to 0 doesn't cause the entire weapon to vanish into thin air; it just becomes unusable until you repair it.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Morrowind and Oblivion, speaking to an NPC with your weapon drawn will decrease that NPC's disposition, essentially averting Guns in Church. In order to avoid the disposition drop, you literally have to Sheathe Your Sword. This comes as a surprise to many gamers, who are quite used to the video game idea of being able to walk around holding a sword of pure evil and a small armory strapped across your back without NPCs even batting an eye.
    • Oblivion:
      • Swinging back to Misaimed "Realism", it is possible to exploit the above example in order to get higher NPC dispositions than would normally be possible. When using the persuasion mini-game to raise an NPC's disposition, there is a maximum value that each NPC has. However, if you raise them to this disposition max with your weapon drawn, then back out of the conversation, sheathe your weapon, and re-enter conversation, the penalty will be removed. This results in an instant jump in their disposition beyond what would normally be possible.
      • In order to get the Daedric quest of Namira, Daedric Prince of the Grotesque and Decay, you actually have to be grotesque. You can brew a potion that will low your Personality stat for that, or just consume a lot of alcoholic drinks which will have the same effect.
  • Fallout: New Vegas:
    • You can spend most of the game with your gun out and ready to fire without consequences. Places where you shouldn't have a gun out will remove all but holdout weapons, and you can still draw holdouts without causing alarm. But a couple of very tense quests to resolve conflicts between factions that are either about to shoot or are already shooting will only end in violence unless you holster your weapon. Because approaching a hostile situation with a plasma rifle up and ready to fire is naturally going to lead to some assumptions from both sides...
    • Some characters, both major and minor, will react completely differently depending on several factors, such as: what type of clothing you're wearing, what followers you have with you, what your reputation with specific factions is, among other variables. For example, if you want to talk to someone who'd normally be hostile to you because you've killed their allies in the past, you can throw on their ally's armor beforehand, and leave that Follower they hate somewhere out sight. Not realizing this beforehand can lead to situations where you're just minding your own business and someone you've never met opens fire on you for reasons you don't even understand.
  • Genshin Impact:
    • While a subtle detail, a character's height will affect their overall speed in-game and how they interact with the world. For instance Klee and Qiqi are among the slowest at running, climbing and swimming and will not be able to fight in most shallow waters due to being the shortest characters in-game; whereas characters like Kaeya or Jean end up being the fastest overall with no difficulty in shallow waters due to being among the tallest characters in-game.
    • If you can somehow manage to get onboard one of the ships sailing near Liyue just because you can, you'll be greeted with a cutscene where the crew demands you to show your invitation for the cruise... or worse. Thankfully it's just an optional sidequest, and you can talk your way out of it.
    • The same goes for the Alcor, a pirate ship. Board it, and the crew's first instinct is to bind you, throw you off the ship, and let you drown. Thankfully, you are spared.
  • In Hunter: The Reckoning, the final boss is a Lasombra Vampire. The Lasombra are a clan who specialize in turning darkness and shadows into physically controlled weapons and tendrils, but take extra damage from sunlight. The Boss is in the top floor of its hideout, a boarded up abandoned building that, three levels earlier, you entered during the day. The quick and easy way to defeat the vampire? Don't aim at him, instead aim at the boarded up windows behind him. Shatter the boards, the sun streams in, and he's toast.
  • Some NPCs in Neverwinter Nights would refuse to talk to you if you had a weapon drawn or weren't wearing any clothes. This was dropped by Hordes Of The Underdark and not picked up for Neverwinter Nights 2.
  • In Octopath Traveler there's a sidequest involving a bar bouncer who's constantly drunk on the job. You need to teach him a lesson by challenging him to a fight, which is then played out in the usual turn-based manner of the game. While the guy is a relatively tough opponent, with every turn there's a chance he'll fail to hit you because of his drunken state, a mechanic that's not seen elsewhere in the game.
  • In Paper Mario Jr. Troopa swims to Lavalava Island and back in order to challenge Mario. As a result of exerting himself so much, he starts off the battle with reduced HP.
  • Given that Ultima is an Unbuilt Trope of Role-Playing Games,note  many of the conventions modern gamers take for granted have startling ramifications, as well as a few oddities they wouldn't expect:
  • Pokémon Legends: Arceus: Instead of battles being initiated automatically as per the norm for the series, you'll need to manually send out Pokémon in order to defend yourself. There's also the fact that wild Pokémon will act in a way you'd expect wild animals to act and attack the player character directly.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: Some opponents will challenge Geralt to a bare-knuckle fight to make a point or win a bet, and Geralt will automatically unequip his weapons. If either loses, they won’t die and bargains are usually upheld. However, your weapons and abilities are still there’s usually nothing stopping the player from attacking the opponent with them. However, from this point onward, they will assume Geralt is now trying to kill them, and the fight now becomes like any other battle where Geralt and his enemies can die, and any rules or agreements are now moot. If the opponent is also armed or has abilities, they will use them.
  • In most role playing games, one constant is that the run command works on Random Encounters but can't be used on boss battles. But Undertale requires you to run away from Undyne to get the Golden Ending.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: In the vast majority of RPG games, even shallow water is treated as an Insurmountable Waist-High Fence, which forces you to either go around it or look for a means of transport across it. Xenoblade doesn't restrict you. If water is all that stands between you and your intended destination, your party can simply hop in and swim across (though you'll still take unavoidable damage and eventually die if you stray out too far).

    Simulation Games 
  • Project Zomboid: In a game of this detail, it's hard to say what realism would be unexpected, but try these:
    • With hundreds of buildings to loot, some will be locked, so you can usually smash a window instead. The "expected" result (assuming you didn't try to use your bare hands) is that the noise will draw zombies; "unexpected" is that climbing through it will injure those hands severely if you didn't take a moment to clear the glass shards, and you might need a tweezers item to deal with the trauma effectively.
    • A leg can be broken from a fall. "Expected" is that anyone can fashion a splint from sticks and rags. "Unexpected" may be that you will actually have to keep that splint on for in-game weeks (already better than the real-life months!) before your zombie-competitive mobility is restored.
    • There is a setting for the realism of reloading firearms. Given that there are three choices, it might be "expected" that at the highest setting you would need to pay attention to individual rounds in individual magazines, and this it true. It might, however, be "unexpected" that if you misuse the "rack-the-action" button when there is already a round in the chamber, an unfired round will be ejected to the ground for you to pick up—or not.
  • While it's fairly easy to build and launch a simple rocket in Kerbal Space Program, actually getting that rocket into orbit or to places other than Kerbin is fairly difficult if you're more used to less realistic space simulators or you're expecting the gameplay to fit the cartoony graphics.
  • Patch 1.5 of Stardew Valley introduced the Putrid Ghost enemy, which inflicts the "nauseated" effect on the player making them unable to heal by eating food; it doesn't mention it on the in-game descriptions but one way to remove the status is to consume ginger or ginger-made products. In Real Life, ginger is a natural remedy for nausea and motion sickness.
  • In the Animal Crossing series, Sable — the seamstress at the Able Sisters — will act cold and dismissive to you when you speak to her, since she's busy with work. In other games, this would be a sign that she doesn't have much to say. But if you keep speaking to her every day, she'll gradually warm up to you and even address you by name. Eventually, she'll open up and share intimate details about her life, as you've become close friends.

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • Metal Gear:
    • In Metal Gear Solid, the fight against Psycho Mantis. He starts controlling Meryl and making her try to blow her brains out. The easiest way to stop her? Just put her in a choke hold to knock her out.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has a mad, passionate love affair with this trope.
      • You have to open a locked door. How do you do it? Disguise yourself as a scientist who has business in the building past that door, and knock.
      • The Fear constantly uses up all of his stamina to turn invisible and jump around. He replenishes it by finding food on the battlefield. Thus, Snake can leave his rotten or spoiled food around for The Fear to find and actually poison him with it!
      • The Pain attacks with a swarm of bees in water-filled caverns. And since everyone knows bees hate water, you can actually toss grenades into the water to splash him.
      • You can defeat The End by sniping him the first time he appears in a cutscene, thus skipping his entire boss fight. Barring that, you can also skip the fight entirely by just saving the game and leaving it alone for a few days. Since The End is over 100 years old, he'll actually die waiting for Snake to show up again!
      • You just ingested rotten food and don't have digestive medicine to counteract it, so what do you do? Well, just go to the Medical screen and start spinning Snake around until he gets dizzy and pukes it out!
      • The fake cyanide pill has several uses. Many enemies will reveal their positions, expose vulnerabilities or unlock doors to see what the hell happened if Snake just suddenly "dies" right in front of them.

    Survival Horror 
  • In Clock Tower, you can access the house's garage, climb into the car that's parked inside, and simply drive away from the murderous pursuer. But, doing so (and abandoning your friends) gives you the game's worst ending.
  • In a break from survival horror tradition, many locked doors and blocked passageways in Condemned: Criminal Origins are overcome not by hunting around for keys or solving puzzles but simply smashing through them using the game's melee weapons: using a fire axe to chop down a wooden door, for example. Irritatingly, however, only certain melee weapons will work on certain kinds of doors.
  • Dead Rising 2:
    • One group of survivors Chuck can rescue are a pair of stranded US Army soldiers. Having had the rest of their unit just taken out right before their eyes, they're understandably a little nervous... So approaching them with a drawn weapon might not be the best idea.
    • Some psychopaths can disarm Chuck by knocking the weapon out of his hands. However, glove-type weapons can't be disarmed, because Chuck is wearing them, not holding them. This is just one reason why the Knife Gloves are the only weapon anyone ever uses.
  • In The Forest, it's quite difficult but possible to earn the respect of most of the cannibal tribes in the area. Basically, if you don't do anything to antagonize them or show weakness, they'll eventually come to tolerate your presence.
  • Twice in Illbleed, the player character comes across a boss that's literally invulnerable, then remembers that he or she is in a theme park, defeating them by going into the control room and disabling them from there.
  • One locked door in ObsCure is opened not by rooting around for a key or figuring out some bizarre puzzle, but rather by smashing through the door's glass panel, then reaching in and unlocking it.
  • Even Resident Evil 2, despite being from a series infamous for its Solve the Soup Cans puzzles and leaning heavily on Willing Suspension of Disbelief to make any sense, has such a moment if you encounter the zombified Brad Vickers. He takes way more abuse than any other zombie in the game, because he's wearing a bulletproof vest and your characters aim center of mass. Nevertheless, if you manage to knock him down and stomp on his unprotected head, or get lucky and score a headshot, he dies in one hit like any other zombie.
  • In the later parts of The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, the player will reach a machine they need to activate only to find a small group of armed scavengers already investigating it. You COULD rush out guns blazing and take them on.... or, listening in on their conversation, figure out that only one of them is really interested in it. With a little patience, the other two convince him it's a waste of time and the group will simply leave on their own.

    Text-Based Game 
  • Giant parts of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1984) game. You have a headache? Take an aspirin. (After taking it out of the pocket of your dressing gown. After opening the pocket. After putting on the dressing gown. After turning on the light. After getting up out of bed. Oh, and realizing that the "buffered analgesic" is aspirin.)
  • Most of the solutions to puzzles in Bureaucracy by Douglas Adams involve thinking in strange ways. However, there's one puzzle that you have to solve by thinking in real life terms; at one point, you're faced with a locked door. To get it to open, just knock on the door, and the person who lives in the apartment will open it for you.
  • Similarly, a cell door shows up in Leather Goddesses of Phobos after being kidnapped by aliens. The solution is to just open it as it is not locked.
  • += 3: A Controversial but Nevertheless Logical Adventure is a short game specifically written to lampshade this trope. The objective is to give a troll three items (any at all). There are several red herrings in the environment, but it seems impossible to gather three different items. The real solution is to take off several articles of clothing (which, typically of interactive fiction games where they're not relevant to the plot, are not listed in the player's inventory) and give them to the troll.
  • In Don't Shit Your Pants, it turns out that deciding to defecate without taking your pants off first isn't such a good idea, even if you're sitting on the toilet. The game is very precise, and often players get a bad ending on their first playthrough. On the other hand, doing it on the floor is counted as a victory.
  • The Wizard of Oz (1985), a text-based game on systems in the Commodore 64 era, allowed you to end the game immediately by typing "CLICK HEELS" to acknowledge how that was always an option in the film. Dorothy clicks her heels, wakes up back home, adventure over, the end. Of course, it also nets you something of a Downer Ending where Dorothy apparently spends the rest of her life regretting it as she wished she could have seen what Oz had to offer...

    Visual Novel 
  • Zero Time Dilemma:
    • In one fragment, Eric asks Q who's responsible for killing Mira, and a keyboard pops up on the screen for the player to input their answer. Savvy players would assume they just need to come back later after exploring all the other playable segments. The trouble is that the player doesn't learn who the killer is until after this part in the story, but they may get stuck assuming the game already told them. The actual solution, contrary to a player's expectations, is to be completely honest with Eric- in other words, 'I don't know'.
    • At one point in the story, C Team has to deal with the Monty Hall thought experiment and then apply it to a life or death situation (the room is being flooded with toxic gas, there are 10 lockers that follow the Monty Hall rules and only one has a gas mask.) Logically, a player might think that as long as they follow the reasoning of the Monty Hall problem (pick one locker, then switch to the other one that's left after every other "wrong" locker is revealed) they are guaranteed to win. However, the Monty Hall problem's answer doesn't guarantee you'll win, it just improves your odds. There's still a 10% chance that you picked the right locker on your first try, and that switching will cause you to lose.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • A mission in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City concerns carrying out a hit on a driving range, with the target's lackeys ready to chase you down in golf carts if you try to flee before taking them out (or the target even fleeing on said cart if you miss taking him out initially). Alternatively, the player can circumvent that issue by simply driving all the golf carts into the water hazards before triggering the attack, leaving the lackeys to be sitting ducks in combat or unable to keep up on foot if you drive away.
  • One of the missions in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has you preparing for an upcoming casino heist by requiring you to seduce and date a girl who works at the casino in order to get her key card. Despite some missions in the game not even letting you destroy your highly non-essential car without failing the mission, this mission actually has two options: Go on a couple of dates with her until she gives you the card. Or just kill her. You won't fail anything, and the key card will be right there in her house (which unlike any of the other girlfriends, is actually a fully modeled space which you can only access if she dies).
  • Prior to Grand Theft Auto IV, the Pay 'n' Spray was an instant 'lose the cops' option; no matter your wanted level or how many law enforcers saw you enter the garage with their own eyes, you were off scot-free as long as you don't commit another crime within about 15 seconds of exiting the building. Any player thinking it'll work again in IV is up for a disappointment when the police won't treat you as having vanished into thin air just because you tried to change the color of your car, because of course they won't. You actually need to get out of the police's sight before the Pay 'n' Spray trick will work this time.
  • Grand Theft Auto V:
    • One of the later heist missions involves acquiring several muscle cars and tuning them to carry the loot. The game offers pictures of where they might be found and stolen in parking lots spread across the city. Alternatively, if you have been frugal, you can simply whip out your character's smartphone and buy all the cars you need right from the in-game internet.
    • A fast way to lose the cops is to switch vehicles or change clothes (without them seeing you do it). Even if you get spotted in their field of vision, they will ignore you. However, if they find your old car, they'll spot you no matter what you're driving.
    • Convenience store clerks will recognize you if you try to rob them more than once and sometimes will have the cops laying in wait for you... unless you wear a mask they haven't seen before.
    • Taking off or putting on a mask while out of sight will instantly drop a Wanted Level by one star.
    • In Grand Theft Auto IV, it was possible to survive falls from any height into a body of water. In GTA V the result of falling from a great (or even moderate) height into a body of water is the same as in real life - fatal.
    • The protagonists can take damage from motor vehicle collisions. They can also be directly killed by bullets while driving enclosed vehicles, which differs from most GTA games.
    • One mission for the Doomsday Heist requires the player to steal an ambulance, which the game helpfully marks on your radar and it's located somewhere in the city - or you just call 911, request an ambulance and steal that one instead. Your Mission Control even points out that he didn't mention this option because he thought it would be too obvious.
  • Minecraft: Once you obtain the means to craft an iron pickaxe, you gain the ability to mine gold ore, and Gold-Colored Superiority generally dictates that such equipment is quite powerful. However, gold equipment here is among the worst in the game, as real gold is among the softest and weakest metals. Outside of its very high chance of getting more powerful enchantments, it's better used as decoration, as currency, or when working with redstone, the game's electricity analogue. This last use is itself a nod to real gold's usefulness in electronics for things such as semiconductors and circuits specifically because of its conductivity and pliability.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, you don't have to kill a shop keeper to rob his cash register—just take out your gun and point it in his general direction, and he'll put up his arms and slowly back away, allowing you to plunder his cash. Of course, if you do it accidentally, the results will be the same and your Karma Meter will go down. Well, what did you expect, swinging a loaded gun in a guy's face like that?
  • Red Dead Redemption II has way more of this than the first game:
    • You carry your sidearms everywhere you go, but actually drawing them outside of combat realistically causes people to Freak Out; some flee, some scold you for your Reckless Gun Usage, and others still assume you're about to start shooting and pull their own weapons.
    • Dirt, mud, water, snow, and blood will accumulate on your clothes and body unless you clean up semi-regularly. That's not this trope. What pushes it into this is that people will respond to your appearance; namely, reacting with horror and disgust because you smell horrible and look like a deranged hobo, with many refusing to interact with you until you clean up.
    • Think you can Take Your Time with animal carcasses while hunting? Wrong. Animals you've killed will decompose after enough time, and this can even be affected by temperature like in real life (slow in cold areas, fast in hot). The weapon used to kill them and where you hit will also impact the quality of the body; don't shoot small animals with high powered rifles if you want anything usable left behind.
    • Disguises are a lot more complicated than you think. You may think you can get away by just wearing a mask like in the first game, but if you commit multiple crimes in the same area and don't change all of your clothing, people will recognize you from your Limited Wardrobe and alert the law, earning you a bounty. And if you commit crimes without a disguise, people will naturally recognize you on-sight and respond with hostility, even if you've paid off your bounty.
  • Remember how much of a pain it was to drive all the way back to failed missions in Saints Row 2? Well believe it or not, there's a fast-travel feature in this game. So how do you use it? Find a taxi, write down the phone number on the side, and then call that number on the in-game phone. A taxi will show up to drive you.

Non-video game examples:

    Anime & Manga 
  • Full Dive: One of the major plot point of this series and why the game, Kiwame Quest has been so barren for the last ten years; The Opening Narration states that gamers realized that a hyper-realistic virtual reality MMO simply was not fun to play, because they play video games to escape reality. Indeed, when Hiro enters the game, he was intitally impressed by how indistinguishable the game is from reality (i.e. he can feel the wind and is able to taste the food he eats) until he learns he can also feel pain when he gets hurt.
  • This is a plot point in Log Horizon. When the Elder Tales game becomes real, most inhabitants (former players) continue to try and do things in everyday life the same way the rules were originally defined in the game. For example, creating food through a sub-menu. However, they quickly learn that food prepared this way has no taste. Instead, the protagonists learn that by preparing food yourself, as you would in Real Life, is the only way to create real food. However, you also need a prerequisite skill level in the relevant craft. Eventually, this is used to break the rules of the "game", turning the world of Elder Tales into something entirely new. Another unexpected outcome is the drop in questing by players: As it turns out, even if Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, having monsters actually in your face trying to kill you is a lot scarier than many players were ready for.

    Comic Strips 
  • Jason from FoxTrot once spent a week trying to defeat the Red Orb Guardian. Paige instantly bypasses it by... walking right by it. Jason declares just walking past a menacing, powerful boss to win to be "counterintuitive," to which Paige asks him how many nanoseconds a day he spends in the real world. (See also Lord British Postulate).
  • One of The Funday Times' central spreads was a quiz in which the reader has to pick the correct action a dog would take in various scenarios. One of the challenges was to find a path through a maze of pigeons to chase a cat. Actually working out the path would lose points. The correct answer is to simply charge forward, because pigeons will fly away.

  • Spells, Swords, & Stealth series is set in a D&D-like game world, in so far as Players are concerned, where realistic outcomes are possible. For instance, fail to bring food, and the character will starve, unless they hunt/forage for food. Mixing certain mushrooms with alcohol will kill the consumer. Fighting folks stronger than you will get you killed easily. Some easy jobs pay well, while some harder jobs pay little. It's possible to find valuable loot while on a low-paying job. It's also possible that, since one helped a lowly baker deal with a rat problem, that their cousin, a well-off smith, might give one a discount for helping their kin out. Likewise, just because a person's race has a reputation for being Evil, it's possible that the reputation is exaggerated, or that there are those who are the exception to the rule.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu:
    • Combat in the Purist version of the game is a messy and terrifying affair that should be avoided if at all possible. A moderately-tough Investigator might be lucky to have 12 or 13HP, something to consider when a shot from a bolt-action rifle deals 2d6+4 (6 to 16) damage, or a good stab from a switchblade deals 6+1d6+DB. What we're trying to say is, a One-Hit Kill is a very strong possibility from any attack. And even if the character gets lucky, they will still be very seriously injured and require weeks of rest and recovery in a hospital bed.
    • A Tome of Eldritch Lore might take weeks or even months to study. The books are usually written in obscure occult jargon and bizarre cyphers (as black magic is something you tend to want to keep a secret!), from a time where standards of literacy were much lower, and the person who wrote it was probably a lunatic so expect badly-communicated instructions and rambling notes. Don't expect a contents page or glossary either. And if you do glean some spell out of it, it might not even work because of a missing page or a blurred line.

    Web Comics 
  • Penny Arcade had a strip where Gabriel experienced this problem with Tomb Raider (2013), trying to figure out a way to get across a gap. Tycho suggests simply jumping over, which works, leading Tycho to remark, "I don't think this is a puzzle room."
  • Realism is relative to the source material in this case, but one strip of Awkward Zombie has Chell try numerous methods to cross a room... before remembering that her primary tool is a portal gun. Then she just sets up a portal on the other side of the room and walks straight through. See it here.
  • Characters in Homestuck retrieve items using complicated "sylladex" systems that require them to think ahead, choose their words carefully, or even play memory games to access each item. Out of frustration, one character just reaches over and takes the item out of his inventory. Physically. With his hand. It works. Even more strangely, the sylladexes aren't even real. They are abstractions and don't exist on the physical plane, yet they are able to hold objects millions of times their size.

    Web Animation 
  • Lampshaded in Metal Gear Awesome, in which Egoraptor, playing Metal Gear Solid, is shocked to discover that enemies can see your footprints in the snow and track you by them.
    Guard: Whose footprints are these?
    Egoraptor: What the fuck, I didn't expect that! (a huge crowd of guards surrounds Snake) Fuck!

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in Rick and Morty, when Rick and his family get an alien game console in Season 6. The games prove to have primitive graphics, so when Morty finds out it has adjustable realism he turns it up...only to find that the realism affects the gameplay, not the graphics (for example, the Shoot 'Em Up he was playing lacks enemies since space is mostly empty, and Rick and Summer later play a fighting game where you have to find your opponent—and there's a chance your character will forget what made them so mad before you do so there's no guarantee a fight will even happen).

What a cool article! How can I make it better? What? Just edit it?! Why didn't I think of that?