Hermes: That's a very good question!
Bender: [picking up his still-lit cigar from the underwater ruins] So that's where I left my cigar. [puffs on it, blows a smoke ring]
Hermes: That just raises further questions!
In the development of a story the writers catch a particularly bad Plot Hole, but can't alter it too much because it's a critical part of the narrative. So an attempt is made to handwave this plot hole away through an additional line of reasoning, except the handwave itself doesn't make any more sense. It might even make the initial Plot Hole more noticeable because the attempt to explain it is even weirder and more convoluted. Thus you have a plot hole dug deeper into another plot hole, which is the Voodoo Shark.
The trope name was coined by Chuck Sonnenberg, and refers to the novelization of Jaws: The Revenge. The eponymous shark seeks out and attacks the living relatives and friends of Martin Brody, following them all the way to the Bahamas. A voodoo curse had been placed on Martin and his family to explain how a shark understands the concept of revenge and how it's able to keep finding these people. However, the writer doesn't bother to answer the numerous questions this explanation brings up — who would have cursed the shark with voodoo magic, why the voodoo curse was made in the first place, or any of the other countless questions that come to mind.
Similar to Audience-Alienating Era but specific to an episode's plot device. Compare to Author's Saving Throw in that not only is it on a plot device level, and that the creative staff is able to catch it before the final product ever leaves for production, but also in that it tends to fail miserably. Compare also to Justified Trope, except a Voodoo Shark moment requires the justification to fall flat, inadequately justify, or otherwise simply fail so that suspension of disbelief remains lost. Also compare to It Runs on Nonsensoleum, in which an explanation like this is played for laughs instead of presented straight. Falsely Advertised Accuracy can be considered similar, in that specific knowledge about the subject at hand causes the hand wave or attempt to justify the trope to fall apart. Can overlap with Misaimed "Realism", where attempts at making a game more realistic have unrealistic consequences.
Not related to Jumping the Shark or Hollywood Voodoo. Compare Scully Syndrome, where a character in-universe will concoct ridiculous explanations for things, and Unscientific Science, which similarly attempts to spackle over questionable science and technology the same way the Voodoo Shark does for plot points. Can often (but does not have to) result in a Retroactive Idiot Ball if the new explanation given contradicts an earlier (potentially unrelated) one. This may result in a Fan-Disliked Explanation.
- In Luann: The end of the Gunther/Bets road trip storyline ended with Gunther returning home without Bets and telling his mom and stepfather that Bets just decided to extend the trip while he returned for the start of classes, but that they were still good as a couple. A lie he later confessed to his roommate/step-cousin Leslie. Fan-Disliked Explanation aside, Bets is an online influencer who live-blogged everything. Gunther's family should've been able to follow along from the start and know something was up. Even if Bets left out the details of the split, the lack of updates (and subsequent lack of Gunther) should've given the game away.
- In Boys und Sensha-do!, it is stated that sensha-do uses simuniton (which comes up as the reason why Miho survived getting directly hit by a round), since it's dangerous enough without live ammunition, but this does not match some of the effects the tank rounds have when striking things other than tanks.
- In Chatoyance's Conversion Bureau stories, Earth and Equestria are established early on as being governed by differing physics models, with Equestria and every other known alternate reality being permeated by a force which destroys any Earthly technology it effects. Early on the reason is given that Equestrian physics breaks terrestrial quantum mechanics, which underlies both biology and the advanced technologies of the world. The details are further elaborated upon in Recombinant 63: A Conversion Bureau Story, in which it is revealed that the Equestrian reality is completely and utterly divorced from that of Earth, to the point that its matter is composed of entirely different fundamental particles. Despite being intended to explain the differences between the two worlds, it actually raises questions as to how the two dimensions are able to interact at all.
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
- Subverted: when Bulma asks her mother why she never seems to age, she replies that Dr. Briefs won't let her, which seems to play this trope straight at first. The subversion comes later when we discover that Dr. Briefs keeps cloning his wife to keep her young.
- When Goku randomly reads Krillin's mind, his only explanation for when he was able to do that is "Muffin Button!", the joke being that it makes about as much sense as the canon explanation. (The canon explanation being that he somehow acquired the ability while training in high gravity.)
- For an In-Universe example, there's Equestria: A History Revealed. Lemony Narrator Loose Change often tries to justify her insane conspiracy theories, all of which revolve around Princess Celestia being a secret evil overlord. This is in spite of Celestia clearly being the Big Good of the setting and a Universally Beloved Leader. The whole premise of the fic is Loose Change clearly twisting the facts to suit her own purposes, often relying on tremendous leaps in logic in order to make them fit. Loose Change even has some kind of self-awareness, often pointing out the glaring plot holes before handwaving it off with something even more questionable.
- In one of the chapters, Loose Change tries to explain the question of Starswirl's place in the timeline, as he was recorded to live in two different time periods centuries apart. Loose Change says that Starswirl had a son, also named Starswirl the Bearded. But then this is complicated by the fact that she brings up that Starswirl specifically said he was infertile. So instead, Loose Change handwaves the problem away by saying Starswirl traveled back in time to create a time clone of himself who he then adopted as his son. She then ends the chapter by saying that this is a totally reasonable explanation, and that questioning her makes anyone who does a moron.
- My Immortal's author's notes often "explain" plot holes with bizarre nonsense.
- Particularly amusing is Tara (the author) apparently being under the impression that Snape hating Harry is a deviation from canon and explaining it thus: "da reson snap dosent lik harry now is coz hes christian and vampire is a satanist". Of course, Snape does hate Harry in the actual series and there was already a canon (and completely reasonable) explanation.
- The main character, Ebony, is in the Slytherin house to fit with her gothic persona (since canonically, Slytherin is the most sinister of the houses) and Tara wanted Harry, Hermione, and the Weasley siblings to be in the same house as Ebony even though they're canonically in Gryffindor, so she explained the house-swapping as a result of the canon characters turning evil. But seeing as Ebony is fighting against the bad guys, why would she hang out with these guys if they were evil?
- The Nuptialverse has a self-admitted example: In a flashback, Twilight explains to Spike that it's impossible for ponies to shapeshift anything. This was meant to explain away why it never occurred to Twilight that the Cadance who didn't recognize her was an impostor and why the shapeshifting was a uniquely changeling trait. However, it was pointed out that Twilight has shapeshifted several things in the show proper. The author eventually rewrote it to state that shapeshifting one sapient being to another takes a load of magic, more than many can use, making it impractical for a pony to disguise herself as such.
- A semi in-universe example occurs in the fourth episode of Peeking Through the Fourth Wall (a fanfic where characters from The Loud House mock their fanfiction) reading the fanfic Road Trip Rage where Lincoln suggests two explanations for his sisters in the story not acknowledging his absence, but neither is satisfactory. It could have been an accident, but then how come they were so oblivious? Or they could've done it on purpose to nab his seat in the car... but none of them did. Lucy also offers an explanation for why Lincoln is acting as though they reached the park when the restrooms were behind the van so logically they should be in front if they were going back from the park (they spent their day at the park and went in a circle), but that makes even less sense, because how could they have gone that far without noticing Lincoln was gone?
- In The Prayer Warriors:
- Jerry suddenly learns about the presence of a traitor among the Prayer Warriors during his first fight with Percy Jackson. He doesn't know who it is, but he's working to find out. In the middle of his efforts to find the traitor, the narrative comes up with an explanation of how he knows there's a traitor to begin with: God told him. Okay... so since this is God we're talking about, He clearly knows who the traitor is. Why didn't He tell Jerry?
- Grover is one of several characters who have a habit of dying and then coming back to life without explanation — he's killed three times in "The Evil Gods Part I" alone. The narrative explains that this is because he is being cloned. But no such explanation is given for all the other characters who die and come back multiple times.
- In The Loud House fanfiction Singled Out (no relation to the episode), Lola's uncharacteristically evil behaviour is explained away by a reveal that she's Satan, but that just raises more questions:
- Doesn't Satan have better things to do than take the form of a random six-year-old girl to be a pain in the neck to an equally-random eleven-year-old boy?
- Lucy apparently knew Lola was Satan and how to vanquish her/him, so why didn't she do it sooner? Also, Lola blackmails Lucy with knowledge that she practised dark magic, so couldn't Lucy just as easily blackmail Lola with knowledge that she's the devil?
- Lola/Satan implanted Bobby's dad, his servants, and Hugh with microchips to control their actions, starting with the episode "Study Muffin" that happened way before the events of the fanfiction, but her reasons for doing so were related to the "war" that happened in the fanfiction, which doesn't add up. Also, if Lola had Satanic powers (which could explain Lisa's reasons for going along with it), why use microchips?
- Was Lola a normal girl who was corrupted by Satan, or did Rita (her mother) give birth to a normal girl (Lana) and Satan at the same time?
- While the rewrite of Sonic X: Dark Chaos does a great job of filling the numerous plot holes in the original, a few explanations do fit this trope.
- If Tsali is so powerful, why didn't he just kill Sonic and his friends in the very first chapter? It's because Maledict was monitoring him and ordering him not to. But this turns into a plot hole because Tsali can still resist and defy Maledict - which exactly what he does later as the animosity between them grows. Downplayed later on, as it's revealed that Tsali is terrified of pissing off Satan (and for good reason) and when he ignores Maledict and decides to attack the Blue Typhoon in Episode 73, he fully expects to be harshly punished for it... but he decides killing Cosmo and Sonic is worth it and doesn't care anymore.
- Exposure to Dark Chaos Energy is established to be able to rapidly evolve Shroud parasites. Despite this, during his fight with Dark Tails in Episode 69, Tails does not lose control and mutate into Shroud Tails. This is explained later on - Tails has to directly absorb Dark Chaos Energy to mutate. However, this doesn't explain his first mutation in Episode 67...when he wasn't exposed to any energy at all. This is handwaved later on that the transformation in Episode 67 was an angry "spasm" rather than a full evolution, but it's not much better.
- Realistic Pokémon: RJ refuses to make Ghost-types actually ghostly because "ghosts aren't realistic", yet his fire-types still breathe fire, his electric types still shoot electricity, his water types still shoot impossible quantities of water, and his psychic types still have psychic powers. One could argue that, while ghosts defy the laws of physics as we know them, generating fire, electricity, and water organically do not, at least in theory. But it's still an odd place to draw the line.
- In Transplanted Character Fic Tales of Attornia, chapter 8, Phoenix gets attacked by a dragon and Maya enters Super Mode to protect Phoenix and effortlessly kills the dragon. When asked why she didn't use it earlier when Phoenix was trying to hunt her down she claims that overusing her Super Mode can kill her. What makes this handwave fail is that, in battle in question, Maya was completely screwed and she knew it. Phoenix had her already defeated, ready to kill her, and the only reason she's alive was that she accidentally mentioned Mia, who was her sister and Phoenix's mentor, and because of that Phoenix changed his plans to take her alive instead. Until that point it was basically a choice between certain death and possible death, and Maya choosing the former comes across as Too Dumb to Live.
- Lampshaded in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, when the supposed ghost of Kaiba turns into a... gay clown, or something. This is meant to poke fun at an edit done by 4Kids' Macekred dub; in the original version, the "clown" is simply a master of disguise hired by Pegasus to eliminate players unfortunate enough to cross with him. In the 4Kids version, he actually is Kaiba's evil side brought back from another dimension, which raises a whole host of questions that are never given even cursory answers.
- In Prophecy of the end, Oliver asks Nyssa to train him how to defeat Malcolm Merlyn. When Felicity counters that Oliver defeated Malcolm the last time they Sara explains this as Oliver taking advantage of Malcolm's hubris which won't work again; and that given that Nyssa has been trying to kill Malcolm for months, she's the best person to train Oliver. The problem is that: (1) Oliver already has League training from Ra's al Ghul, so there's nothing new for Nyssa to teach him, (2) Oliver killed Ra's in personal combat-something Malcolm was never capable of, (3) his previous defeat Malcolm was such a Curb-Stomp Battle that hubris doesn't adequately explain things, and (4) given that Nyssa has never been able to defeat Oliver or Malcolm, she wouldn't be a good teacher anyway.
- Bambi has one in form of how fast the characters age. The original movie implies that the Spring after Bambi's Mother died is the immediate Spring afterward, making it rather strange that Bambi has suddenly undergone a big growth spurt when we had last seen him as a scrawny fawn (to say nothing of how Bambi should have already been close to that large by winter if real life deer aging is taken into account). At least one of the Dell Comic adaptations of the first movie, as well as the midquel movie, tries to Hand Wave this by stating that the spring we see Yearling Bambi in is actually takes place a year after that fateful winter and isn't the immediate spring, which gives a much more plausible length of time for Bambi to grow so much. But then another Disney comic adaptation also stated that it was the immediate spring and not a later one. And then the Dell Comic book adaptation of Bambi's Children throws a wrench into all of this by having the eponymous fawns abruptly shown grown up after winter via a Time Skip—but this time, the narration explicitly points out that it's the immediate spring and not a later one!
- Despicable Me heavily implies (although never outright states) that Gru created the Minions, since we see a "blueprint" of a Minion in the background of a shot of Gru's lab. However, when it came time to do a spinoff featuring the Minions, that was understandably too restrictive, so the Minions instead became creatures that existed since the dawn of time to serve evil. Of course, that leads to some very awkward questions - not least, did Hitler have Minions? So instead, the Minions became depressed after the defeat of Napoléon Bonaparte and hid in a cave for 150 years, conveniently avoiding the horrors of the 19th and 20th centuries until they pop out, er, at the height of the Cold War. An awkward handwave to deal with an awkward handwave, but probably better than the alternative. Still leaves quite the Inferred Holocaust on the Minions' hands, though, considering it's still likely they butchered countless people under the servitude of the worst Roman emperors, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan and in the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition. And even them working for Gru from the late '60s onward still raises Fridge Horror issues, as it implies Gru has done worse things than the Cambodian Genocide and 9/11...
- Another Voodoo Shark is that the Minions movie mentions the minions always follow the most evil creature they can. Seeing as Gru suffers heavy In-Universe Villain Decay starting from the first movie, which only gets exacerbated in the second (at least in the first movie he was trying to commit an act of supervillainy by shrinking and stealing the Moon. In the second he's actively working against villains like El Macho), it makes one wonder why the Minions bother to keep following him at all instead of changing their allegiance to another, more competent and malevolent villain. However, in the third movie, the Minions finally ditch Gru because they wish to be villains again. It doesn't stick so they can help him defeat Balthazar Bratt, but in the long run, they go to work for his brother, Dru.
- In Felix the Cat: The Movie, The Duke of Zill, the ruler of an alternate dimension Felix travels into, based his giant Master Cylinder off of the one in Felix's dimension to serve as his ultimate weapon and the source of power for his mass-produced cylinder army. The movie tries to handwave how this is possible by showing the Duke's blueprints, which have a comparison chart between the main universe's Master Cylinder and Zill's take on him, but this opens up a big Plot Hole—the Duke didn't have access to the Dimensporter technology that allowed Felix to travel into the dimension, so how could he have possibly known about or seen the Master Cylinder in Felix's universe? It's particularly glaring as the writers could have just as easily not had an alternate universe at all and, if they even felt the need to explain "Oriana" in the first place, simply had it be a different country which Felix traveled to.
- Freddie as F.R.O.7: One commonly-cited sticking point is the fact that Freddie goes from living in the medieval era to living in the late 20th century, with absolutely no explanation for how he survived for hundreds of years. The American release, which had (among other changes) a different narration, explains that he used his magic powers to Time Travel to the future. However, this explanation just raises at least two further questions. If Freddie could travel through time, why didn't he go back in time and prevent his parents' murders? And how is Messina, Freddie's enemy from the past, still around? Did she go to the future too? If so, why?
- The Lion King (2019):
- The hyenas in The Lion King (1994) were already Scar's goons when the film opens, but the film is a bit vague on the details when they started working with him, besides Scar seemingly getting them to follow him at some point in the past, something that some viewers felt didn't make sense or needed more explanation. The 2019 version changes it so that the hyenas join Scar after their first encounter with Mufasa in the Elephant Graveyard, with Scar winning them over by promising stuff to them. The problem with this change is that it makes no sense for the hyenas to trust Scar and Scar's promises are completely empty at that point. If anything, they would have every reason to flat-out reject his offer and/or try to kill him; in the original version, Scar is implied to have won them over by building up his plan over time and giving them small rewards that acted as a way of showing he was serious about holding up his end of the deal, rather than it being a suddenly thrown together plot as the new film seems to indicate. It also makes Scar manipulating Simba into going to the Elephant's Graveyard make no sense — since the hyenas aren't on his side now, there was no way he could tell anything would happen to Simba, making it look stupid on his part.
- In the original The Lion King (1994), Scar's plan to get rid of Simba and Mufasa was to make it look like the two died in an accident caused by a wildebeest stampede. When Simba survived, Scar quickly tricked Simba into thinking it was his fault Mufasa died and told him to run away. This led to some viewers being confused about whether that was Scar's plan all along rather than having Simba die, since his reaction afterwards didn't seem too startled by Simba surviving (though that might be explained if he saw Mufasa put Simba on a safe ledge), leading to questions and theories about this being his true motive. The Lion King (2019) version uses this idea for the scene, having Scar make Simba think his roar was the cause of the stampede and pinning the blame on him. The issue with this change is that Scar had no way of knowing that Simba would survive the stampede. Plus the entire idea of it being Scar's plan all along in the original film was a misinterpretation of the scene, as it was clear that Scar meant for Simba to die, he explicitly says so in "Be Prepared". If Simba had died, then what good would it do to have him think it was his fault that his father died, since Simba would be dead shortly after anyway? Furthermore, by making it where Scar tells Simba to practice his roar, Simba feeling it was his mistake doesn't make sense because Scar was the one who told him to do it, so in theory he should feel Scar tricked him, but instead it continues the way the original film did.
- The basic concept of The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride was a Star-Crossed Lovers story between Simba's daughter and Scar's son, Kovu, who is deemed the rightful king by his pride of Scar loyalists. However, during production somebody realized that since Scar was Simba's uncle, this would make the two Kissing Cousins, so instead Kovu is explicitly not Scar's son. He's just Scar's appointed heir, who looks just like him, with a mother fanatically devoted to Scar and no other potential father in sight. The aforementioned realization seems to have been made late during production, as certain dubs claim he's Scar's son anyway.
- In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, Big Bad Sunset Shimmer somehow knows that the Element of Magic coming to the human world would be useful to her Evil Plan, because it would change how the Element worked. The Fall of Sunset Shimmer comic explains this by showing Sunset Shimmer finding notes revealing the human world presumably including that info, or at least enough for Sunset to logically deduce this. But this begs a question: how did whomever wrote the notes knew it would affect the Element of Magic? During the prequel comic, the Element was in the possession of Princess Celestia at the time this info must have been written, and Celestia explicitly states that she's never been to the human world, and doesn't do so at any point in the movie.
- The Unshaved Mouse refers to Pocahontas suddenly being able to communicate in English with John Smith after listening to the wind with this exact term linked to this very page. He did it again in his Atlantis: The Lost Empire review, when he called out the movie's explanation of the Atlanteans' ability to speak surface languages as Atlantean is the root of every modern language, which means they can automatically speak English. If you don't know why this is complete bullshit, consider the fact that even Old English is nothing like the modern language, and knowing one will not help you understand the other.
- The Nostalgia Critic complains in his Quest for Camelot review about trees and plants in a forest becoming animate during a musical number. During one of his "Fuck-Ups" videos, he says that a frequent user response was that the forest was enchanted. He points out that this just raises more questions. He also points out that some of the movie's other "explanations" (like Ruber getting his potion from some unseen witches who are only mentioned once) fall into this trope.
- Morphing heals you, since it's based on DNA. So why didn't Elfangor just morph and demorph to heal his injuries? In The Andalite Chronicles he claims he was "too weak to morph," but he had enough strength to give a multi-chapter Info Dump and a token fight before Visser Three killed him, and the Animorphs have frequently managed to morph under more dire conditions. This is chalked up to Early-Installment Weirdness, as K. A. Applegate freely admitted that she forgot about or changed aspects from the earlier books.
- This provides a case in point: in Megamorphs #2: In the Time of the Dinosaurs Tobias gets his wing broken. He tries morphing and demorphing, but his wing is still broken, so apparently only your morphs heal that way and not your regular body. Except that in Megamorphs #1, Rachel specifically mentions how the scratches and scrapes on her human body are healed after she de-morphed. Another explanation suggests that morphing can't heal them when they're Time Traveling, but there's no reason for that to be the case.
- In the beginning of the novelization of Back to the Future, unlike the movie, Doc says he got the idea for the time machine by having a dream about the DeLorean many years ago. But then this implies that he would have inspired the DeLorean Motor Company, and not the other way around, and raises questions about how that interaction would have worked.
- The Cold Equations, to necessitate its infamous events, claims that the ship is so stripped-down and minimalistic that it only has enough fuel to carry one person and some supplies on the journey, and therefore the only option is to kill the second person. Ignoring the massive amount of No OSHA Compliance involved in this, descriptions of the ship suggest that not only is it a lot more spacious than such a statement would imply (an airlock, a closet large enough to hold one person), but it's got quite a few things that could be thrown out the airlock instead, including a chair.note
- The Day Santa Stopped Believing In Harold: In-Universe — when Santa tries to explain Harold's appearance change as him not existing and his parents tricking Santa, Mrs. Claus is left confused as to why they'd do that. He thinks of two explanations — either they feel that if he finds out they're childless it'd ruin his Christmas, or they're conning him out of gifts.
- In the later Enderverse books, it's strongly implied that the "two-children-per-couple" rule was specifically created by the founders of the One World Order as a Batman Gambit; such an obviously oppressive measure would provoke dissatisfaction such that the OWG would dissolve almost immediately once the existential threat to humanity was dealt with. Except what government do you know would intentionally install a mechanism to destroy it in the future? And if the government felt it necessary to dissolve after the threat was dealt with, why would it need a Batman Gambit in the first place? The only explanation is that they didn't know how long the crisis would last and didn't trust their successors to dissolve the world government peacefully, but that explanation raises further questions as well.
- The first Goosebumps book Welcome to Dead House has a pretty big one: the whole town consists of undead, who are destroyed by sunlight; at the end Amanda manages to push a tree down and expose them to sunlight, which destroys them. Apparently they were tormented by their existence and thank Amanda for releasing them from their torment. While it does make for a bit of a Tear Jerker it also makes you wonder why the hell they didn't just walk into the sunlight themselves a long time ago. You could handwave it by saying they have some religious prohibition against suicide, but that doesn't really fly when you consider that it's not really suicide since they're already dead. The TV adaptation fixes this by making them more villainous and leaving out the Tortured Monster part.
- Harry Potter:
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has a minor Plot Hole: the Chamber's entrance turns out to be in the plumbing of an abandoned girls' bathroom, but it was supposedly built a thousand years prior to the series, long before the invention of modern plumbing. The resolutions to this have started to pile up on each other, and all have their own problems:
- The main claim is that the basilisk is travelling through a pre-existing set of tunnels used for other purposes, which one of Slytherin's heirs, Corvinus Gaunt, connected to the bathroom when it was built. But why would he even do that? If he could access the chamber, why not just open it? And if he had to move the entrance to a new location, why the girls' bathroom? And given that he was apparently a student at the time, how the hell did he even pull this off without getting caught?
- The chamber entrance was supposedly moved in the 1700s, but the toilets and sinks are much more modern than that — the U-bend places it at around 1880 at the earliest. So nobody noticed the entrance when they installed the new plumbing? Or are we expected to believe that the toilets and sinks are 300 years old and predate the Muggle equivalents, when wizards are known for their stubborn adherence to archaic technology like writing with quills? (Are they unaware of the super-toilets they make in Japan these days?)
- J. K. Rowling, through an article on Pottermore that tried to address the issue, made it a lot worse by introducing a baffling piece of world-building — apparently, before they installed the plumbing in the 1700s, "wizards simply relieved themselves wherever they stood, and vanished the evidence." Not only is this pretty damn vulgar and stupid, it contradicts a lot of what we see in the books. First, vanishing spells are not that easy to do; students don't learn it until they're fifteen. So what did younger students do when they needed to do their business? Second, why didn't they make use of known medieval methods of plumbing, like privies, outhouses, and chamberpots — the latter of which are even mentioned in the series? Wouldn't it have been easier to just have a set of privies and have someone come in and vanish the byproducts after the fact? Did they not have dutiful house-elves to do the work? Or enterprising piss boys? There are just so many better ways to relieve oneself with magic than invoking a Potty Failure and cleaning it up—while there are historical cases of people relieving themselves on the floor or in the halls, these were not standard policy. Finally, taking for granted that it really is that easy to perform vanishing spells, one would wonder why the wizards would bother with indoor plumbing with such an…’’efficient’’ waste management system already in place.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban introduces the "Time-Turner", a magical device that can allow the user to make brief trips back in time; the book not only establishes that time travel exists in the Wizarding World, but also that Wizards are fairly casual and relaxed about using it—since the Ministry of Magic agrees to give a Time-Turner to Hermione (who's thirteen years old at the time) so that she can fit more classes into her school schedule by taking multiple classes at once. But after the device played a major role in the climax of The Prisoner of Azkaban (effectively serving as a Deus ex Machina that enables Harry and Hermione to rescue Sirius Black from the Ministry), many fans questioned why time travel wasn't used to solve problems more often. Later works gave a few different answers to that question, most of which just served to make the issue even more complicated.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the climactic battle at the Ministry of Magic includes a scene where Neville Longbottom accidentally blasts a cabinet full of Time-Turners, destroying them all in one fell swoop. J.K. Rowling later claimed that said cabinet contained the Ministry's entire supply of Time-Turners, meaning that they couldn't be used to solve any problems in the future. For understandable reasons, most fans found it incredibly hard to believe that the Ministry would keep every single one of their Time-Turners in the same cabinet without bothering to protect them. Even if you accept the Hand Wave that the Ministry's security systems were deactivated at the time, that still doesn't explain why they would be dumb enough to keep all of their Time-Turners in the same place.
- Pottermore attempts to further patch this by declaring that time traveling more than a few hours is incredibly risky, and notes that there are hundreds of laws relating to using them properly, to the point that Time Turners are, ironically, mostly only used for the kind of minor tasks shown off in the book. But this doesn't jibe at all with either of the prior things we saw. Hermione may be a dedicated student, but she's still a fourteen-year-old living in a shared dorm and school—even if she were so scrupulous a rulekeeper as to never use the device for things outside its intended purpose (and she's demonstrably not), what if she lost it, or someone else were to steal it from her? And if the risks of Time Turner misuse are taken so seriously, then this just makes the "store all of them out in the open in a single cabinet" issue even worse.
- In the officially licensed stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (set after the events of the main series), the main plot is kicked off by Harry's son Albus using a Time-Turner to travel back in time to prevent Cedric Diggory's death—inadvertently creating a horrific alternate timeline where Cedric joins the Death Eaters, ultimately leading to Voldemort conquering the Wizarding World. The story was widely interpreted as (in part) an explanation of why Harry never used a Time-Turner to save Cedric in the main series, since it shows that doing so would have had negative consequences. But the story relies on some highly questionable logic to make this point (among other things: it blatantly contradicts Cedric's characterization in the main series), and it doesn't explain why nobody in the Wizarding World ever uses time travel to change the past; while preventing Cedric's death is shown to have negative ramifications, that couldn't possibly be true of every change to the timeline (surely not every wrongfully murdered person in the world was one bad day away from becoming a Wizard Nazi). Not to mention: the play officially establishes that Time-Turners can be used to change the past (rather than working on the principle of You Already Changed the Past, as many people had previously assumed); if anything, this just makes it even more inexplicable that they aren't used more often.note
- Later productions for the play add a line about Voldemort's daughter Delphi being the "ultimate Horcrux". While this theoretically could be used as an explanation for Delphi's existence (despite how Out of Character it is for Voldemort to have a child), it creates another Plot Hole: Delphi would have been alive during the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—and if she's a Horcrux, that means that Harry didn't successfully destroy all of Voldemort's Horcruxes...meaning that Voldemort should have survived.
- The Danish translation infamously created one regarding the name of Voldemort's father. Voldemort's real name is changed from "Tom Marvolo Riddle" to "Romeo G. Detlev Jr." to make it an anagram for "Jeg er Voldemort" ("I am Voldemort" in Danish), and since Voldemort was named after his father, Tom Senior's name was changed to Romeo too. This created a problem in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, since it's a minor plot point that Voldemort shares a first name with Tom, the bartender at the Leaky Cauldron, whose name wasn't changed. In an attempt to fix things, the translator throws in a bit where Dumbledore explains that Romeo Detlev's real first name was Tom; Voldemort's mother just nicknamed him Romeo, a nickname that was later passed down to their son. While this explanation does make sense, considering how obsessed Merope was with Tom Riddle, it unfortunately creates another problem: in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry sees the grave of Voldemort's father and paternal grandparents, and the name "Romeo G. Detlev" is chiseled on it. Why would Tom be buried under a pet name given to him by his Abhorrent Admirer who coerced him into marrying her rather than his real name?
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has a minor Plot Hole: the Chamber's entrance turns out to be in the plumbing of an abandoned girls' bathroom, but it was supposedly built a thousand years prior to the series, long before the invention of modern plumbing. The resolutions to this have started to pile up on each other, and all have their own problems:
- In The Rowan, it was assumed that "Prime Travel Sickness" — chronically severe vertigo caused by interplanetary teleportation — was simply part of being a Prime, the strongest level of psychic talent. The appearance of wild talent Jeff Raven, who could teleport between worlds with no ill effects, caused further investigation. It was uncovered that "Travel Sickness" was the result of Prime Siglen imprinting her own condition (an inner-ear defect that produced said severe vertigo) on her peers and protégés — i.e., every other Prime that wasn't Raven. But there was explicitly three centuries between The Rowan and its prequel Pegasus in Flight. In that time period, either Siglen and her peers are the first generation of Primes, no Prime-level psychic talent attempted interplanetary travel via teleportation, or no one noticed that "Travel Sickness" wasn't a big deal until Siglen made it so. All of these are equally unlikely.
- The Pendragon Adventure: Alexander Naymeer's presence is meant to be explained by The Reveal that he was meant to be the Traveler of Second Earth who was going to mentor Bobby (rather than Uncle Press), but this raises a great deal more questions than it answers. How exactly he was meant to be a Traveler is confusing given that in the original timeline he seemingly died of tuberculosis long before Bobby was born or Second Earth became a territory. Press never at any point referred to another Traveler of Second Earth and Naymeer seemingly has none of a Traveler's powers, being limited to things that any acolyte can do with their ring. He creates flumes, but this is implied to be because Saint Dane gave him the power to do so, and in The Soldiers of Halla it takes all 10 of the Travelers working together to perform a similar feat. He doesn't come Back from the Dead like any of the others do either, implying he was subject to Cessation of Existence once Saint Dane was done with him. There's also the question of why Nevva needed Mark's ring to give to him at all, given the later reveal that Saint Dane created the flumes to begin with. Was he not capable of making a ring for Naymeer?
- The eponymous planet in Poul Anderson's Satan's World is seen as valuable because, due to being a rogue planet temporarily passing by a star, it's a cold planet that nevertheless gains an atmosphere and hydrosphere. This would make it a good place to build transmutation plants, which produce so much waste heat that they would sterilize an Earthlike planet if built on one. It's also mentioned that other rogue planets wouldn't work for this purpose due to being too cold to build on. However, it would make more sense to use comets and/or gas giant moons instead, which are far more common than a literally one-of-a-kind planet and are colder than Earth but still much warmer than rogue planets.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events:
- The Great Unknown is a mysterious question-mark-shaped thing that prowls the oceans. Half of the characters are utterly terrified by it, to the point where Count Olaf is willing to abandon the sugar bowl to escape from it, and the other half have no idea what it is. The closest thing to an explanation in the series comes from the Kit Snicket at the end of the last book, where she implies it's a metaphor for death. Fair enough. Then along comes the sort-of prequel series, All the Wrong Questions, where it's revealed that the Great Unknown is actually a sea monster called the Bombinating Beast with no particular connections to anything. This makes no sense at all. Why would the Quagmires and the Widdershins be willing to give themselves up to such a thing, particularly the Captain, who claims to know its nature? And why does Lemony continue to let his sister believe in something he knows isn't true, when he places such an emphasis on not deceiving people? The Netflix adaptation, which confirms the Great Unknown to be a sea monster, notably removes the bit about the Quagmires and Widdershins giving themselves up to the Great Unknown, having the characters reunite under other circumstances.
- The End implies that the sugar bowl is a vessel that contains the seeds of a horseradish/apple hybrid, which provides a cure to the world's most deadly poison. If that's true, and other people know it, the villains have a bit of explaining to do as to why they're willing to burn down half the planet in order to get their hands on some apple seeds. This gets even worse when you remember that regular horseradish plants are an equally-effective cure, rendering the sugar bowl almost completely worthless. This is another one where the Netflix adaptation ends up patching the hole: the sugar bowl contains a special type of sugar derived from a botanical hybrid, which not only cures the poison but also grants permanent immunity to it.
- The old Star Wars Legends had something like this as official policy. The rule was that if you were writing something and found a contradiction, you couldn't just throw out the contradictory information, you had to find a way to integrate both explanations (even if one part was considered more true). For a long time, most writers were able to manage it, up until the release of an episode of the CGI Clone Wars animated series in which a Jedi master (Even Piell) is killed during a mission, when the same character was previously killed in a novel which had been published a couple of years earlier. Because George Lucas was much more personally involved in the production of the television series, it was what took precedence, and for what may have been the first time the people responsible for managing these inconsistencies had to throw up their hands and say that the other version just no longer counted (but everything else from the same trilogy of novels did).
- The Twilight Saga has quite a few, usually concerning Stephenie Meyer's explanations about how a vampire's body works:
- Meyer states that when a human becomes a vampire, all of their bodily fluids are replaced with a type of venom. This presumably means that vampires are unable to have children, as the males can no longer produce semen. In fact, in earlier books Edward's siblings occasionally expressed envy of Bella's ability to have children as a human. But then, vampire Edward impregnates human Bella. Meyer is now forced to backtrack, stating that the venom can take over "some of the functions" of the fluid it replaced, and that only female vampires can't have children because they cannot menstruate. But this still doesn't explain why the other male vampires didn't try to have children with human women if they really wanted to. Making this worse is that the resolution of Breaking Dawn is balanced on a report of a male vampire forcibly impregnating multiple human women to build a half-vampire army, meaning that at least one vampire has caught onto this, but apparently no other vampires in the world have.
- In the first book, Bella is immune to Edward's mystic vampire telepathy, but Jasper can still use his emotion control powers to calm her down. In later books, Meyer makes it explicit that Bella is immune to all vampire powers, but now she needs to explain how Jasper can get through to Bella. She did so by saying that her immunity only protects her against mental powers, and that Jasper's power was physical because it directly altered her brain chemistry. This doesn't explain much, because Bella can resist other vampire powers that sure seem physical (like electric shocks), and Jasper's power can affect vampires as well, who — as explained above — don't have those brain chemicals humans do because it's all been replaced with venom.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy: The first book introduces the Babel Fish, a fish you can put in your ear which can translate someone's speech into any language by decoding the speaker's brainwaves. This is used to explain why all sapient life forms throughout the Galaxy are able to understand each other's languages immediately after meeting. However, in the sequels, that in addition to spoken words, Arthur is also able to immediately understand written or recorded messages from anywhere in the Galaxy as if they were in English, which is never explained.
- Classical Mythology: One of Theseus's first tasks was slaying the bull of Marathon, which had previously been brought there during the seventh labor of Heracles. Later in life, Theseus would be trapped in the underworld only to be rescued during Heracles's twelfth labor. The problem is that Theseus went to the underworld after he had kidnapped Helen, and the fallout of Helen's brothers Castor and Polydeuces attacking Athens led to Theseus losing his throne, which means that the entire hero career of Theseus must fit between the 7th and 12th labors of Heracles, but that doesn't leave enough time for Theseus to have had a son who grew to adulthood (Hippolytus). Some Greek authors noticed this Continuity Snarl and attempted to solve it by suggesting that Theseus was instead rescued by Heracles' son Hyllus, but this just raises the question of what Hyllus was doing in the underworld in the first place.
- In Inanna's Descent to the Netherworld, Ereshkigal's first husband, Gugalana, has been killed off by Gilgamesh and Enkidu in The Epic of Gilgamesh. Ereshkigal is mourning for him and gets to keep Inanna's husband Dumuzi for six months of the year, as Laser-Guided Karma for her trying to steal Gugalana and getting him killed in the first place. OK... but Ereshkigal is the goddess of death and the underworld. Shouldn't Gugalana be down there with her? One theory among people who have studied the myths is that Ereshkigal is merely the gatekeeper and cannot go into death itself to find him, though not enough of the original myth survives to confirm this.
- Deadlands: In the Hell on Earth setting, modern technology does not function in the Sioux Nations. Alright so far, but then how is Deadwood, the capital of the Sioux nations, a sky-scraping metropolis and a center for Ghost Rock Mining? The answer: the city and the highway connecting it to the rest of the country are lined with totem poles that protect technology spirits from nature spirits and allow tech to function. Where do these totem poles come from? Why don't enterprising people make more of them? It's never explained. A simpler explanation for how Devil's Tower still allows technology to function (there's an active portal to the Hunting Grounds in the middle of it) makes rather more sense.
- Dungeons & Dragons can have issues when it comes to how the various settings are supposed to work as a game, and how the in-universe biology and history ties into it all. The simple explanation for a lot of things can be explained with a Doylist answer of "because it keeps the game fun that way". Even so, this can leave the writers of the various settings and splatbooks in a bind when they have to try and translate these game mechanics into an in-universe explanation.
- In most editions, arcane spellcasters (i.e wizards and sorcerers and the like) suffer a chance of their spellcasting not working when wearing armor - the heavier the armor, the higher the failure chance. Most likely, this is done for game balance reasons, but the in-game explanation is that wearing armor makes it harder to do the gestures for the spells properly. But if that's true, why is divine spellcasting that requires gestures completely unaffected by armor? Are cleric spells just less complicated, or something? And if mobility is so important, why doesn't encumbrance affect spellcasting? Why isn't there a Dexterity requirement for spellcasting if these gestures need to be so exact? This is all compounded by the creation of several classes and prestige classes that can cast arcane spells while wearing armor without their spells failing, usually to compensate for weaker spellcasting. Generally no explanation is offered for their ability to bypass this restriction. Even the AD&D Second Edition Player's Handbook dedicates a paragraph or two to exploring reasons why Armor and Magic Don't Mix, and admits even the wizards themselves aren't entirely sure. In 3.5 Edition, it was explicitly stated that the hand gestures used by clerics, bards, paladins, rangers, and druids were less complicated than the ones used by wizards and sorcerers, even if they were casting the same spell. And then 5th Edition finally dropped it altogether and ruled that the only restriction on casting spells in armor was whether or not the caster was proficient with whatever type of armor they were wearing at the time regardless of whether they used arcane or divine magic.
- Many Dungeon Masters, and some official sources, attempt to rationalize the game's hitpoint system as being more like "luck", "skill" or Plot Armor, to avoid invoking Charles Atlas Superpower. Rather than a high-level warrior taking a battleaxe to the face and shrugging it off, he's really just getting nicked as he dodges aside or deflects the blow, but as his hit points diminish, his luck and ability to stay alive dwindle. But this doesn't jibe with how hit points work in all other regards, where they clearly represent the physical toughness of characters or objects. It's especially problematic with healing spells, which are now largely "healing" a character's Plot Armor. Also, a character's hit points protect them just as well when they are submerged in acid, lava, or something else harmful (it won't be pleasant, but it's absolutely survivable at high levels), when they can't possibly dodge or avoid it.
- An example specific to one monster: Time elementals (which first appeared in the 1st edition but were later converted to the 3rd edition in the third party book Tome Of Horrors) cause wounds that never heal naturally and make it harder to bring a victim back from the dead. The in-game explanation is that their attacks cause "cell death", the problem being that a lot of damage sources (such as freezing cold or electricity) also cause cell death (or at least, they do if they hurt you in real life), but aren't any harder to heal than normal.
- There is a spell called "Tasha's Hideous Laughter" that causes the target to start laughing so hard they can't fight. If the caster is a different creature type than the target (e.g. a humanoid casting it on a dragon), the target gets a bonus to its saving throw because the humor doesn't "translate well". Most cases of Lost in Translation in real life are due to two languages being too different to convey the full meaning of a joke, or relying on a Pun or wordplay that doesn't work in the target language. There's no reason why two creatures that speak the same language wouldn't be unable to understand each other just because what one of them is saying is supposed to be funny. Even if they were different species, a humanoid who speaks Draconic can communicate with a dragon just fine in every other situation, including with things that use persuasion or intimidation; why such creatures would have a hard time understanding a joke in the same language is unclear. The implication may be that some monsters minds are just too alien to understand humanoid humor, but if that's the case, shouldn't the spell just not work at all? Worse, there are spells like Vicious Mockery that, from a design angle, work similar to Tasha's Hideous Laughter — the caster says something, and it causes the target to react. But Vicious Mockery works on anything that can hear you, even on things that can't speak, aren't alive, or can't even speak the same languages as you. This means you can cast Vicious Mockery on a dragon, and it might work even if you don't speak Draconic... but Tasha's Hideous Laughter gets a penalty, even if you do speak Draconic.
- Overlapping with Unscientific Science and Misaimed "Realism": the beholder monsters can fly without magical aid, even though they lack any wings or other body parts to do so. One explanation for this was that beholders have an organ full of lighter-than-air gas, allowing them to float. There are three major problems with this. One: if the beholders were filled with such a gas, they should just float away like helium balloons, rather than being able to control their altitude. Two: even if they can float, they shouldn't be able to otherwise move around without any wings, unless they can somehow fart out the gas to push themselves in a given direction, although if that was the case, you'd think they'd eventually expel all the gas and fall. Three: the beholder's numerous Eye Beams are all magical, since they can do things like turn people to stone, disintegrate people, or put them under a limited Mind Control effect. So why is all of that okay, but their ability to fly needs some sort of scientific Hand Wave? It would make more sense to just claim the beholder's ability to fly was magical — there's spells and abilites that creatures and players alike can learn to give themselves magical flight, so why just this one monster merits this explanation is bizarre.
- The third-party adventure "World's Largest Dungeon" falls into this a lot.
- It proudly advertises having every monster in the game, with the Excuse Plot of taking place in a massive underground prison complex built by celestials. Nonetheless, it ends up badly stretching that logic to deliver on its promise, which is nowhere more obvious than with its pseudodragon encounter. A pseudodragon is a Neutral Good creature that celestials would want to leave alone and that wouldn't make much of a prison guard, making its presence in such a setting rather dubious—so the book claims that the pseudodragon ended up there by mistake, as the celestials thought it was a baby red dragon. But while that very mistake is common for novice adventurers (it's basically the reason pseudodragons exist), it makes no sense for someone even slightly knowledgeable about dragons. A pseudodragon is Tiny, about the size of a housecat, while a wyrmling red is Medium-sized, putting it in the same size category as a cougar or a St. Bernard. This isn't even mentioning that they're intelligent and capable of telepathic speech, so the pseudodragon should be able to point this out and ask to be released, and a simple Detect Evil spell (which nearly any celestial can cast) would verify it was telling the truth. So either the celestials running the dungeon are complete morons, or they're such paranoid jerks that they locked up the dragon anyway.
- The book includes a large number of Good-aligned celestials, including a solar angel. Solars are arguably the strongest creature in the whole Monster Manual, so it creates the obvious question of why the dungeon has fallen into disorder when a solar should be able to wipe out any troublemakers by himself, much less when backed up by the dozens of other powerful celestials in the dungeon. To explain this, the book reveals that the solar is actually channeling his power into maintaining the prison on a powerful fiend, and assigns the players with retrieving an artifact stolen by demons which they need to keep the prison intact. Except said solar also has a planetar under his command, who is also much more powerful than any of the demons and should be able to retrieve said artifact in no time at all. And the book also includes stats for said imprisoned fiend, as a potential boss battle for the players—and he's just a nalfeshnee demon with some extra HD, something that shouldn't even register as a threat to a solar in combat, raising the question of why they're putting so much work into imprisoning this demon when they could easily just let the wards expire and then kill him. The book also doesn't really furnish an explanation for what happens after the artifact is retrieved and the solar no longer needs to keep the lights burning, which is rather important when, again, he should trivialize the entire dungeon solo.
- The explanation for the many deadly traps in the dungeon is that they were put there to keep the original prisoners contained. Fair enough—except that the prisoners are demons, devils, and undead, and many of the traps involve the use of poison. All three of these creature types are immune to poison. Furthermore, many regions make use of unbreakable walls of force (in a dungeon where teleport magic doesn't work). Why not dispense with the traps and just put up more walls?
- A xill wizard character has the motivation that he's taken his army inside the dungeon in the hopes of freeing a pit fiend, who can use its wish-granting ability to help the xill find the location of a Sealed Evil in a Can. But why would a rather powerful wizard looking for a wish invade a notoriously inescapable dungeon, instead of just shelling out the money for a luck blade or a wish scroll? And why would he want to free a pit fiend for his wish, a creature that would be a Jackass Genie at best, assuming it didn't just kill him? The pit fiend isn't even the only thing in the dungeon capable of casting Wish, so why not just bully one of the efreeti into line? It would be much easier to just say he was there to free the Sealed Evil in a Can because it was in the dungeon to begin with.
- Forgotten Realms:
- The Wall of the Faithless is a giant wall around the realm of Kelemvor, the god of the dead, were people who didn't worship any god(s) in life have their souls trapped and slowly disintegrated until they cease to exist. But when the writers realized that the Wall made Kelemvor (who is intended to be Lawful Neutral) seem like a Jerkass God, they decided that the Wall was made by the previous death god Myrkul (who was evil), so Kelemvor removed it and just rewarded or punished unbelievers based on their deeds in life. Unfortunately, this made enough mortals stop worshiping gods (who need worship to survive) that Kelemvor was forced to put the Wall back in place. The problems with this explanation are three-fold. One: getting a good afterlife isn't the only reason people worship gods, as they provide other benefits such as giving clerics their magic or just providing a sense of fulfilment to some. Two: it still makes Kelemvor look bad still, as it raises the question of why he can't just make the souls of non-believers cease to exist right away, as that's going to happen anyway after the Wall is done with them, so he might as well spare them the suffering. Three: it makes every other god look bad, especially the Good-aligned ones, since it makes them into Hypocrites who don't really care about mortals unless they worship the gods, which defies the characterization of a lot of Good-aligned deities as being defenders of mortal races.
- The fifth edition module "Descent into Avernus" attempted to explain the history of how Zariel became the archdevil of Avernus by saying she lead a crusade into Avernus to end the Blood War but was betrayed by some of her warriors due to the horrors witnessed, and so closed the portal and retreated to the material plane. The issue is that the module states it was the longtime and well established Ravenloft character Jander Sunstar who did so, something that made no sense and caused a bunch of confusion from older players; Jander Sunstar was a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire with no connection to Zariel or Elturel before, and had been largely confined to the Ravenloft setting since his creation. If he was the one who caused it, how did he escape the Domains of Dread when Zariel was implied to have fallen many years ago? Why would he suddenly become a coward fighting in the Blood War? How could a vampire, even a good aligned one, become so prominent in Zariel's army? Many of these questions were raised as a result, leading to it being retconned that it was actually a clone instead, and that the real Jander is still the same heroic figure in the Domains of Dread, itself being something of this trope due to it still leaving questions about how said clone could escape and why it would do something like that, but being at least slightly less scrutinized by comparison.
- It was revealed in Planar Adventures that mortals lose all memory of their previous lives when they become petitioners. Most players found this whole concept rather unpalatable, as it seems like it invalidates a lot of what they accomplished in life, to say nothing of forgetting all their friends and loved ones. When asked why this was the case, Word of God was that if people didn't lose their memories after death, they would still remember all their class levels and abilities from life, so death would just make them more powerful (as they could potentially become both a powerful outsider and a level 20 character). There are three major problems with this explanation.
- There already exist rules for how memories intersect with your class levels in the game: specifically, there's the Amnesia status effect, which only disables class features and specialized skills until they can relearn them by leveling up again, and lets the character retain things like their Hit Dice, HP, save bonuses, and most things having to do with pure numbers. An amnesiac high-level character, though badly gimped, would still have very high stats and be a lot more powerful than the petitioner statlines that usually exist in the game.
- Negative levels are a status effect that actually does effectively model a character losing their class levels (and in D&D, they could often result in permanent and genuine level loss): they reduce HP, impose small penalties to everything, and remove a caster's strongest spells in descending order. And yet, in the vast majority of cases, they have nothing whatsoever to do with memory, being generally associated with attacks that target a person's soul or life essence. Even in the rare cases where they are associated with memory loss, they only inflict the above statistical debuffs; they don't cause a person to forget anything aside from what they lost to the drain. So by all appearances, a person can still remember their life of being a great warrior or a prodigious archmage without retaining the skills they learned from it.
- Lastly, there are a few canon outsiders (such as the Horseman Of Famine Trelmarixian or the nascent demon lord Nightripper) who somehow retain almost all memories of their mortal lives. While the reason for this hasn't been explained, we are given the stats for them and they don't include any class levels, just a bunch of outsider Hit Dice, which seems to mean there's no reason everyone couldn't keep their memories but lose all their class levels. It's particularly bad in Trelmarixian's case, as he in life was a sorcerer so powerful he starved his entire planet to death, meaning he would have been level 20 and likely mythic. Nightripper was just a really prolific Serial Killer, so he could have just been a low level mundane class, but you'd still think he'd have at least one class level.
- It was revealed in Planar Adventures that mortals lose all memory of their previous lives when they become petitioners. Most players found this whole concept rather unpalatable, as it seems like it invalidates a lot of what they accomplished in life, to say nothing of forgetting all their friends and loved ones. When asked why this was the case, Word of God was that if people didn't lose their memories after death, they would still remember all their class levels and abilities from life, so death would just make them more powerful (as they could potentially become both a powerful outsider and a level 20 character). There are three major problems with this explanation.
- Warhammer 40,000: This happens with such frequency in the fluff (as well as numerous ret-cons) that Games Workshop has outright stated that if something sounds contradictory or weird, chalk it up to in-universe propaganda.
- This seemingly explains why the Eldar Avatar is supposed to be a literal incarnation of the god of war, but gets its molten ass handed to it on a silver platter every time a major character needs a Worf to Effect.
- When the "Two Lost Legions" were introduced back in early editions, they were never intended as more than Cryptic Background References to never be explained, to give an air of mystery to the setting and wonder as to how much information had been lost since the event.
But when the Horus Heresy got expanded upon, and supposedly happened around the time these Primarchs and their Legions were lost, writers (who have stated they were not allowed to give answers, or even hint at possible answers, to that mystey) eventually came up with the explanation that they had committed some kind of grave offense against the Imperium, and as such everything about them had been thoroughly erased from records and even from the minds of those who knew them. Questions on how such an operation could be done so successfully in such a short time on a galactic scale aside, that does not explain why Daemons or the Dark Eldar, both races which were present around that time as well, would not be subject to any Imperial propaganda efforts, and would love to taunt the existing Primarchs (or even the Imperials in general) about the missing demigods, have not said anything about them to anyone at all.
- Played for Laughs in Eugène Ionesco's play The Lesson. The Professor asks how The Student can multiply ten-digit numbers if she doesn't know how to count. The Student replies that she's memorized the answer to every possible multiplication question.
- My Little Pony: The Dream Beauties look like horses, in contrast to the Shetland pony-looking designs of the other toys. Instead of being a separate type of pony, this is handwaved as the Beauties being "teenage ponies". This just makes things unnecessarily confusing. Horses don't age like that and most of the previous characters were already adults.
- Ace Attorney:
- The series features Psyche-Locks — red locks over a person's heart that are a visual representation of how much a person is willing to hide a secret, only visible to one who holds an explicitly magical charm. Fair enough. In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, one person had black Psyche-Locks over them, which could not be removed at all and no explanation was given as to what the hell was up with them. The next installment gave an explanation: The black Psyche-Locks hide a traumatic secret that the person is repressing — in other words, not even they know the secret and it's potentially psychologically damaging to interrogate them about it. But the secret hidden by the black Psyche-Locks in Apollo Justice was a motive for murder, and it was something the person spilled the beans about in court after a little prodding (albeit possibly losing his mind as a result). The question of how exactly that was worthy of black Psyche-Locks has bothered the fandom ever since, and has resulted in countless amounts of Wild Mass Guessing.
- Another important plot point in Dual Destines was the introduction of "The Dark Age of Law", a period the AA world was now set in with public opinion of the legal system at an all-time low (meant to mirror similar events in Japan at the time), which is explained as being because Phoenix Wright was disbarred for presenting forged evidence and a prosecutor, Simon Blackquill, murdered Metis Cykes eight years ago. This is despite the fact that numerous instances in the prior six games featured the heroes taking down members of the legal system for corruption and murder, up and to including Blaise Debeste, possibly the most powerful legal figure in the country! How these two incidents would cause such a stir that the echoes of it would still be weighing on the country so many years later is never explained, nor why no one would mention it in Apollo Justice for that matter.
- The final DLC for Aliens: Colonial Marines, Stasis Interrupted, attempted to explain away Corporal Dwayne Hicks' survival after the events of the second film (after it was originally suggested in the base game that he was kidnapped by Weyland-Yutani soldiers and replaced with a body double in his cryotube). However, the attempt to do so created more questions than answers:
- Hicks himself is not wearing the same clothing he wore at the end of the film (wrapped up in bandages with shorts on), and has a green shirt on while in cryosleep, while the individual who "replaces" him (Turk) is wearing bandages in the exact same places. Moreover, Turk only ends up in the cryotube when a W-Y soldier stuns him, throws him in the cryotube and activates it. It becomes a Contrived Coincidence that Turk just happens to be impaled by a safety beam when the EEV crashes, thus rendering his face unidentifiable, even though Hicks' dog tags are seen in the third film during the morgue scene.
- While the facehugger was off of Ripley by the time she descended into the EEV in the third film, in the DLC, the facehugger is still on her as the cryopod ejects, making it highly suspicious as to why the Fury 161 prisoners never discovered it when they rescued her from her cryopod after it crashed.
- During the firefight in the cryopod chamber, an errant round of gunfire grazes the Facehugger attached to Ripley and causes the electrical fire which eventually results in the pods being evacuated. This is despite the acid blood not being anywhere inside the pod when Ripley examines it in the film, nor corroborates with the broken (but not burnt) glass on her cryotube and the acid stain on its side.
- Even though Weyland-Yutani infiltrated the Sulaco a short while after cleaning out the Sephora, it still takes them another two days to locate and find Ripley on Fury 161, even though they were operating in the same area and they only responded (in the film) when Ripley told them about the xenomorph specimen they had contained. Furthermore, Hicks and Stone are present just before Ripley jumps into the molten lead, and make no attempt to yell at or stop her, nor is Michael Weyland injured from Aaron's attack like he was in the film.
- The main game introduced "Legendary Weapons", special variants of the normal weapons wielded by the player which were previously utilized by the characters in the film, and differ from said weapons with unique aspects (i.e. Hudson's Pulse Rifle can carry 99 rounds instead of the standard 30). However, this raises several problems once the player catches on that the majority of the weapons were destroyed in the film — Ripley's Pulse Rifle, Frost's Flamethrower and Vasquez's Smartgun were all inside the alien hive in Hadley's Hope when the atmospheric plant exploded, and would have been vaporized regardless, while Gorman's and Vasquez's Pistols were destroyed when they detonated a grenade in the tunnels near the Medical Wing. In gameplay, you can find these weapons in random spots, including tucked inside a cargo container (Vasquez's Smartgun), on the Sulaco (Hicks' Shotgun) or other undamaged locations. More notably, the Legendary Weapons all require special ammo to use, even though they are functionally identical to the normal weapons and shouldn't have any problems drawing from the same ammo pool.
- Asheron's Call:
- The game attempted to make an in-universe explanation for why monsters respawn: They are actually teleporting in through portals that Asheron's spell (the titular "call") opened on their respective homeworlds. While this might make sense for Mooks and random animals, it falls completely flat in explaining why named/unique NPCs respawn (unless we are meant to assume they have an endless supply of expendable clones they keep sending through when they die for some reason). Later it was said that unique NPCs actually respawned due to lifestones (In game devices used to set your respawn point), while this might make sense for intelligent creatures, it still doesn't explain how unique animals and the like can respawn, and there's the obvious problem that in most cases there's clearly no lifestone nearby. Also, neither "version" of this explanation accounts for why certain creatures only "portal in" to certain locations (such as high level monsters only appearing in the games designated high level areas, even though the portals would have no way of "knowing" how to assign creatures to the right area based on their power) Really, this is one of those game mechanics that should have just gone unexplained.
- Another example: The gameplay only takes place on the island of Dereth, which, while big for a game world, is still only about as big as Ibiza, while the whole planet Auberean was about the size of Earth. The whole reason players are confined to Dereth? When the Olthoi (a race of killer insectile creatures that the Empyreans summoned by mistake, resulting in them leaving and Asheron sending out his call) invaded, most of the world was infested with a magic nullifying breed of Olthoi, making it basically uninhabitable. The Voodoo Shark comes in when you realize there's absolutely no in-game explanation for why Dereth is apparently the one place on the planet the anti-magic Olthoi can't go, not even some throw-away line about how some kind of magic protects the island.
- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! added cryo as a new element/damage type, which is all fine and good except the game takes place before Borderlands 2, which notably doesn't have any cryo weapons. The explanation for why is that Marcus (the Arms Dealer) couldn't get any of the frozen methane they use. The problem with this explanation is that Marcus is presumably not the only arms dealer on the entire planet, and even though he's the only one in Sanctuary (the main town in the game) it's hard to believe the Crimson Raiders and their friends couldn't somehow get some teleported in from somewhere else on Pandora (or even Elpis itself, as there's no indication teleportation has any range limit as long as there is equipment on both ends.) And even if you do accept that the vault hunters just couldn't get their hands on any, there's absolutely no reason Hyperion's soldiers and robots wouldn't wield at least a few.
- Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow claims that the castle the game takes place in is an exact replica of the Trope Namer for Chaos Architecture for the purpose of avoiding an Artifact Title (the game doesn't take place in Dracula's Castle, AKA Castlevania), which would merely be trivia otherwise. "Exact replica" could also mean that it works in the same way as Dracula's castle, which is possible, so the trope is downplayed.
- Chrono series:
- A pretty infamous one happens in the Chrono universe. In Chrono Trigger, the "nation" of Porre mostly consists of a humble town with an inn, a port, and a selfish mayor that you can turn into a generous one due to judicious use of time travel, but is otherwise fairly unremarkable. In Chrono Cross, suddenly Porre is a giant military nation that took over, sacked, and burned much of the rest of the world, or at least the kingdom of Guardia, a mere five years after the present era of Chrono Trigger (which is revealed in the epilogue from the PS1 port). This despite the fact that Guardia actually had a standing army, plus it was likely under the protection of Crono, Lucca, and Marle, who had previously single-handedly defeated Magus' army, plus several other armies from the past and future, including a giant space hedgehog responsible for creating and then destroying humanity as they knew it. So what's the official explanation of Porre's sudden inexplicable rise to power, according to canon? The DS release of Chrono Trigger had Dalton (the comic-relief villain from 12,000 BC whose only real technology was stolen from Belthasar and who ends up being so incompetent that he defeats himself in the final battle against him) somehow end up in the present, whereupon he used magic or something to build an army out of a tiny little town and take over the world, apparently subduing at least some of the party from the original game (you know, the party that had already defeated him several times by that point). This also has the side effect of making Dalton into possibly the biggest Karma Houdini in game history, as he's not even mentioned in Cross, much less defeated.
- A character named Guile appears in Chrono Cross that was clearly at one point supposed to be Magus (they look almost identical save for a mask that Guile wears, they're both shadow [or black-elemental] magic users, they both have the same running animation), but that plot thread was cut for space, leaving Guile as a separate person who just happened to be similar to Magus without having any actual connection to him. Then the DS port of Chrono Trigger comes along, which implies that Guile actually is Magus, just a Magus from an alternate dimension that suffered amnesia after not being able to defeat the "Dream Devourer" and getting dumped in the present era somehow. Not only is this an incredibly convoluted explanation, it makes the whole "Magus is Guile" thing basically pointless.
- In the Crysis games, the Ceph are radically different from the first game to the second. In the first game they can only survive in extremely cold environments and use mainly cold weapons. Outside their main spaceship they have to wear flying Powered Armor with Combat Tentacles, whereas when you enter their spaceship for a level you find it has no gravity and encounter some "naked" Ceph that look like floating wraith like creatures. In the second game you find a different "breed" of Ceph invading New York which have little in common with those from the first game, other than both having tentacles: the Crysis 2 Ceph don't fly, don't use cold weapons, are far more humanoid, and, most strikingly, while they all wear some armor, all of them have some body parts exposed to the outside world, indicating they can survive fine at normal Earth temperatures as said body parts don't immediately burn/melt. The second game had no explanation for why this new group of Ceph seemed like an entire different race. The third game finally revealed that the Ceph from the first game are the original, unmodified kind, as their home planet was all sub zero temperatures and low gravity. At one point after coming to Earth they changed their biology through some kind of genetic engineering to create the more "Earth-friendly" Ceph from the second game. The problem? The same game says the Ceph first came to Earth 65 million years ago. So unless it took them 65 million years to create the new kind of Ceph, it raises the question of why the original, cold based Ceph still exist at all, as there's nothing indicating the race is immortal, so you would think they would have just phased out the original type of Ceph in favor of the much more useful and versatile new kind found in the second and third games.
- In Descent 3, there is a mission that takes place in an underground temple on Mars. In the temple are so called "martian nomads", which the mission claims are horribly mutated humans (they look rather similar to Jawas), who forgot their origins and built the place. The problem is, the temple is pretty ancient looking,including some weird icons of some deities you have to collect to progress at one point. While one can handwave this by saying the ruin was built by some other (now gone) race, that only raises the obvious question of who this race was and what happened to them? The game never brings this up once, not even a "no one knows who originally built the ruins" type line.
- In Deus Ex: Invisible War, the final level takes place on Liberty Island, the site of the original game's opening level. War presents a scenario where the player must go into the ruins of UNATCO Headquarters, now populated by a group of homeless people, and reactivate the Aquinas Router in order to access the different endings. What the game has a problem with, however, is explaining how a group of homeless people with no access to food sources have been able to survive on an island that is permanently cut off from the mainland (due to ice walls that have formed around the entire exterior), exemplified by the homeless "leader", who tells main character Alex that he has been living on the island for 15 years. Moreover, the player finds two homeless people arguing about whether or not to drink the lemon-lime soda in one of the machines (a nod to a Brick Joke about a character from the first game), with the dialogue implying that this is the first time anyone's used the machine in decades, but doesn't explain how a group of a half-dozen homeless people living in an abandoned base haven't already.
- Doom Eternal: At the end of Ancient Gods — Part One, the Doomslayer finds the soul orb containing Davoth, The Dark Lord, and takes it to Urdak to force Davoth to manifest. At the very end we see Davoth and he looks exactly like the Doomslayer himself with red eyes. Part Two explains this by saying that Davoth is both the Dark Lord and The Father, and that he created the Doomslayer in his own image. This raised several questions:
- As per Canon Welding, the Doomslayer was originally a tough Marine, who presumably lived a normal life up until the events of the original games and Doom 64 (in which he is implied to have fought through different dimensions until he arrived in the universe found in the 2016 continuity), with no insinuation or explanation as to how, exactly, Davoth (who hasn't manifested in "like a decillion years," by the Intern, barring hyperbole) could have created him when his lifespan was intended to be that of a normal human.
- It's never really explained why he would want to do this. The implication is that it was to make the Doomslayer as powerful as possible to get revenge on the Maykrs, except that the Doomslayer was originally just a really tough and skilled, but still merely human, Marine, and only gained supernatural powers after Samur blessed him with them, and even then he's not some kind of Physical God or the like. The main "out" here is that the blessing was in the form of a machine filled with a spark of Davoth's power.
- Davoth isn't omniscient despite being God, as he didn't foresee the Makyrs betraying him and leaving him trapped in Jekkad (which eventually became Hell), let alone the Doomslayer killing him. So, what exactly was he trying to accomplish?
- Lastly, Davoth was sealed, until the Doom Slayer freed him. It's an important point about how the Makyr turned on him and sealed him away. So how exactly did he make the Doom Slayer? And if he can just make servants, could he not just make people to free himself who wouldn't want to kill him?
- The HD remake of DuckTales justifies Scrooge and his companions' ability to breathe on the Moon as the result of Fenton's "Oxychew Taffy" invention. This fails to explain how the Beagle Boys and Glomgold are also capable of breathing on the Moon. There's a relatively simple explanation, though. Anything that Fenton can invent, so can Emil Eagle, the Evil Inventor!
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion:
- In game Mankar Camoran's model was that of an Altmer, but his backstory made it clear he should be a Bosmer given the explanation for how in universe racial features are passed down from the mother, and his mother was a Bosmer, making it appear as though his model was incorrectly set to an Altmer. To explain this plothole, Bethesda handwaved it on a forum post by saying he used Mehrunes' Razor to turn into his "perfect form". The issue is that that it never is explained why the razor, which has only ever been made a dagger good for killing people, has Reality Warper powers that can let him change his race,, and if it can why doesn't the next game have said item let it do that? Why would Mankar even turn himself into an Altmer, when it doesn't offer him anything besides appearances, and his plans are unaffected by his appearance? It also raises the issue of why he doesn't have said weapon in game, since it seems potentially powerful to change followers into other creatures or even change himself to be more powerful. This is on top of other inconsistencies with him, such as his commentaries not lining up with his backstory, meaning being an Altmer to begin with actually more sense than a Bosmer, but because his background makes it clear he should be a Bosmer, the explanation for why he's an Altmer makes the plothole bigger instead of solving it.
- The removal of levitation and teleportation spells, done for technical/design reasons, was explained in-universe as being legally banned across Tamriel, with its presence in the previous game being retroactively justified as a treaty exception exclusive to the province of Morrowind. What this doesn't explain is why not one single person in all of Cyrodiil, not even criminals and psychopaths who unconscionably commit far worse crimes, ever considers breaking this particular law when it would be to their benefit. (The Tribunal expansion for Morrowind also had this restriction, but with the more plausible explanation that levitation was actively suppressed by Almalexia, a powerful Physical God, and only within the city where she resided.) Stranger still, when the Mages Guild banned necromancy, it caused a bunch of their members to leave in protest, yet somehow levitation and teleportation magic being banned didn't, despite being more valuable and having legitimately good reasons to remain legal compared to necromancy. This could potentially be explained by the necromancy ban being a matter of guild policy rather than Imperial law, but it still serves to highlight the complete absence of any discussion surrounding something even more controversial (and unenforceable) as the Levitation Act.
- Everquest II: In the Kingdom Of Sky Expansion Pack the Overrealm is a Floating Continent containing the Plane of Sky from the first game, a long with some other areas. At one point you can ask an NPC why people on the surface of Norrath can't see the Overrealm when they look up (as it's pretty big), and he says some nonsense about how there are chemicals in the air which hide it from view. Even if one generously accepts the epic case of Artistic License – Chemistry, there's the obvious problem how the chemicals would only blot out the Overrealm, but not other objects in the sky, such as clouds or stars.
- Fallout 76 got some flak when it revealed that the Brotherhood of Steel would be making an appearance, despite the game being set not long after the war and two thousand miles east of the Brotherhood's founding base of Lost Hills. This is explained by the existence of a satellite that the Brotherhood managed to access, allowing them to establish bases as far as Appalachia. This doesn't explain the following:
- Why isn't this satellite or the other bases founded with its broadcasts mentioned in any of the other games? It apparently went down at some point, but you'd think they'd bring it up in any of the histories you read of them.
- The Brotherhood in 3 is around because the founding California chapter decided to make an expedition, ending when they reached DC. Why did they need to march from California to DC if they had bases all around the country? The West Virginia Brotherhood was destroyed, sure, but the mere fact that they existed at all implies the Brotherhood would have many other bases. Was it the only other one in the entire nation?
- Why do no accounts of that trip mention checking up on other bases, especially when it would have passed right through West Virginia?
- Why would the Brotherhood—defined by being secretive, insular, and none too fond of the US government—put out broadcasts to US army bases around the country asking for recruits?
- The prior games seemed to imply that the Brotherhood's many foibles are the result of generations of buildup and mysticism, but 76 shows its Brotherhood as fully-formed despite being less than twenty-five years old. Why were these people just okay with joining this weird anachronistic Machine Worship cult that calls scientists "scribes," when the actual United States existed less than a generation prior? Similarly, why were people—trained and loyal United States soldiers, no less—willing to roll with all of this on the basis of some distant satellite broadcast? They've never even seen this Codex they're now planning to live their lives by. The founder of that chapter was apparently friendly with Roger Maxson, but it doesn't explain everyone else in her unit being willing to go along with it.
- It's a major point in the older games that the Brotherhood didn't know about Super Mutants or the Enclave until very recently. Yet both of them have a presence in Appalachia. The Enclave were at least somewhat hidden (though it seems pretty weird that the Brotherhood wouldn't investigate their bunker), but the Mutants are much more common and were explicitly in conflict with the Appalachian Brotherhood. So either the satellite communications that proved the basis of their entire religion and allegiance went down before even a single Super Mutant was done growing, or they did encounter them but never phoned back and went "Hey, Maxson, we just fought some muscular green people made by FEV. Wild, huh?"
- A minor case in Far Cry 2, which, in an attempt to justify the Universal Ammunition system (wherein, for instance, you can get ammo for your primary assault rifle by walking over any other assault rifle dropped by an enemy), went out of its way to include a weapon based on the obscure and rare 7.62x51mm AR-16 rather than a regular 5.56x45mm M16, so that it would make perfect sense for you to get ammo for it from G3s and FALs that fire the same ammo in reality. The problem here is that the by far most common weapon of its class, the AK, fires an entirely different 7.62mm round (7.62x39mm) than any of the other three. This also ignores that it was inconsistent with other weapon types, where game mechanics meant that universal-ammo was averted where it should have been played straight (the DLC "Craftsman Shotgun" sidearm can't share loose 12-gauge shells with any of the primary shotguns, nor can you use spare 40mm grenades from the primary M32 to load the secondary M79) and played straight where it shouldn't be (the .45 ACP Star Model P, 9x18mm Makarovs, .50 AE Desert Eagle, and the aforementioned 12-gauge Craftsman Shotgun all share ammo, and grabbing a can of gasoline gives you more flares for the flare gun). It also meant that the Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness had to step in to make early weapons weaker so that the later ones would be a proper upgrade, meaning that the G3 you can get in the first five minutes somehow takes twice as many bullets to kill an enemy as the FAL you get in the second half would, despite both firing the same ammo from barrels of similar length. Later games in the series would give up on any sort of justification and just have weapons of the same class share ammo regardless of what they fired in reality, with power generally more closely matching their real ammo than when they're unlocked (e.g. Far Cry 3 lets the first half's semi-auto MS16 rifle do the same damage per-shot as the second half's full-auto ACE).
- Final Fantasy:
- Final Fantasy IV: The After Years: The original version of the game never explain why the primary antagonist, "The Mysterious Girl", looked a lot like Rydia (something commented on by characters), and could use Summons, despite Rydia being stated to be the last of her kind. Even though she is essentially part of a Clone Army by the final boss, "The Creator", it was never explained what connection she had with Rydia. The Complete Collection would go on to include an Interlude story meant to bridge the gap between IV and The After Years, where it was revealed that "The Creator" was scouting the planet out when Rydia came upon it, so "The Creator" had his scout copy Rydia's appearance and powers in order to continue his plans, deciding to reuse the information for his Clone Army. The problem is that, you would think the characters involved with the Interlude story would recall a mysterious Rydia look-alike from years ago, and yet none of them do, not even Rydia. Furthermore, if it only decided to capture and use the Summons because they were helpful in furthering its plans, why did it treat capturing them as so massively important to its goal in After Years, when throwing an army of powerful spellcasters would have worked fine? What would have happened had anyone else found it, like Golbez?
- Final Fantasy X-2: In game, there was a minor character named Shinra, who discusses wanting to find a way to harness the Farplane as a source of energy. This was originally just a cheeky and fun Mythology Gag to Final Fantasy VII, whose plot heavily hinged on the Shinra Corporation slowly killing the planet by using its Lifestream as a source of energy. Later, the Ultimania clarified that this hint was to allude to the idea that the X was actually a distant prequel to VII as Shinra's descendants would create rockets and travel to the world of VII, which raises so many questions that fans outright refuse to accept it as true. For starters, if this was true, does this mean humans in VII are essentially aliens thanks to the Al Bhed? Are the Al Bhed the precursor to the Ancients? Was there life on the planet before this event? If none of these are true, than what happened to the Al Bhed in the world of VII? Lastly, if the Al Bhed did actually do so, how could technology in VII fall so far behind that things like an airship are seen as the height of technology when the Al Bhed were using technology that puts anything seen in Spira to shame by comparison? This confusion is further amplified in Final Fantasy VII Remake. A picture can be viewed within the Shinra Tower that shows what is very clearly the same character from X-2 (helmet, goggles and all) pictured as part of Shinra Corporation's founding board of directors. It is unclear whether this was intended as an Easter Egg or an attempt to bolster the connection between the games, especially given how it went out of its way to change or canon-weld different parts of the Compilation of FFVII. For what it's worth, one of the writers for X-2 would later clarify that the whole Shinra character was created as a Mythology Gag, but the developers ran with it.
- Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was a Spiritual Successor to Final Fantasy Tactics, set in a variation of our world where a group of kids find a magic book that after reading sends them a fantasy world called Ivalice, a world made by their imagination and desires. At the end of the game, the protagonist Marche gathers his friends from the real world and they return home, ending the world in doing so. Years later a sequel called Final Fantasy Tactics A2 came out with a similar plot, except during the story, the protagonist Luso runs into several characters from Final Fantasy XII, and the player encounters two characters from Tactics Advance: Montblanc (who calls out Marche's name if defeated), and Mewt, who is the librarian that holds the magic book in the real world and in the first game was the kid who bought the book. The problem is that this raises a number of issues and questions about the nature of Ivalice. If the Ivalice of Tactics Advance was a world created by the main characters, how can Luso's world be the same book, and yet teleport him to the actual Ivalice that Tactics and XII are part of? Does this mean the book teleported Marche and the others to the Tactics and XII Ivalice, because if so, then why was the land so radically different from any other point seen so far since that means it has to be around the time of XII for Montblanc to be able to remember Marche. Nothing about the game's placement fits either, creating a lot of issues with how Ivalice works.note
- Fire Emblem:
- The Japanese version of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn had one so bad the English localization re-wrote it entirely. Ike encounters the Black Knight and wonders how he survived the previous game despite Ike defeating him in a duel and a castle collapsing on top of him. In the Japanese version, the Black Knight explains that his Warp Powder malfunctioned and teleported his soul and armor to the castle Ike fought him at, but not his body. This raises far too many questions: why has Warp magic never done that before, or since, in the series? What happened to the soulless body he left behind? How did the Black Knight's soul re-unite with his body? Who recovered his armor from the ruins? Why was the Black Knight completely unfazed by this and cared more about his duel with Ike than fixing a Teleporter Accident that could leave him body-less? The English localization changes this to the Black Knight letting Ike win the duel due to discovering something about Ike's father through dialogue that always existed. Presumably, he escaped the collapsing castle due to being at full strength and prepared for it.
- Fire Emblem Fates introduced three Nohrian characters named Laslow, Selena, and Odin, who not only looked identical to three characters from Fire Emblem: Awakening (Inigo, Severa, and Owain respectively), but were revealed in their supports to be the same characters from Awakening. Nothing in game explained how they were in Nohr, raising questions and confusion about their inclusion, so a DLC story was released that explained that the good half of the games Big Bad Anankos requested their aid in stopping him and protecting his child Corrin. This creates issues however, because nothing in the base game at all lines up with this. For starters, they were sent to Nohr to protect and help Corrin, but they never once indicate they seem to really know who Corrin is, nor do they express a desire to fight for Corrin, as seen when the three would rather fight and die for the Nohrian sibling they serve in Birthright. They also never indicate in their supports that they know what's going on, despite Anankos providing them information that is clear enough for them to know what to do. It also fails to explain how, despite running into an at the time evil Lilith, they seem perfectly fine with her being Corrin's maid in what can be only a short time after they arrived in Nohr, despite the only time they met Lilith involved her trying to kill them. There's also the simple matter of it being contrived how none of the other child units from Awakening appear, leaving a question of why Anankos only chose three random characters like them. It's believed by fans that the characters were included only because they were (in Japan) voted three of the four most popular characters from their game and generation, so an explanation was never intended until the game came out and one was made last minute.
- Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, the remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, created one when it decided to retcon an origin story of an antagonist. Grima debuted in Awakening, which took place two thousand years after the first few games in the series. No explanation is given as to where he came from, only that he was defeated a thousand years ago. The postgame dungeon in SoV reveals he was created a thousand years before the first game and lived beneath an ancient forgotten city. This raised some significant questions. Namely, how did no one notice a super powerful dragon hellbent on eradicating the world living beneath a city for over two millennia (he's not even that difficult to find, the protagonist seemingly does it just wandering around). Specifically, why didn't the superpowered, nigh-invulnerable mage Gharnef not notice him when he had spent years in control of said city and was specifically unlocking its secrets?
- In Five Nights at Freddy's, the creator is known for clarifying its obscure lore in updates and subsequent games. A key event in the series is the Bite of '87 which is assumed to take place at the end of FNAF 2. In FNAF 4, however, a child is seen bitten by a Fredbear animatronic, which led to people believing it was the actual Bite of '87. In order to clarify it wasn't, there were updates and references put in place to clarify it was actually a separate bite incident that occurred during 1983. This however leads to a lot of issues with the timeline of events.
- In Grandia III, one of the main characters is a "Communicator", a person who can speak to powerful beings called "Guardians". Since Communicators are extremely rare, the protectors of the Guardian "Drak" don't believe you actually have one and turn you away, saying that while they can't talk to Drak they can at least protect him. Ten seconds later, they let you through when Drak tells them to let you pass! So why did they say they can't talk to Drak, and if they can, why do they need a Communicator? And Drak apparently knows who you are and why you're here, when your whole reason for coming was to bring him a message that he apparently already knows by being a Guardian.
- Master Chief's armor in Halo 4 looks very different from his armor in Halo 3, even though he has been stuck on a drifting starship for years. The canon explanation is that his AI Cortana repaired it with nanomachines, but despite completely altering its appearance the breastplate still has a gash received in Halo 3.
- In the first cutscene, Spartans are shown fighting in Chief's upgraded armor, not the weaker variants they wore in that time. It's implied that Halsey is imagining that scene, but she's never even seen Master Chief's new armor and has shown distaste for personalized variants. Later, Word of God stated that Chief's new duds were actually made to look like an older Halsey-designed model.
- In Heavy Rain there's a Voodoo Shark that was created when they removed another Voodoo Shark. Ethan Mars has unexplained blackouts and tells his psychiatrist about dreams that very strongly imply he is the Origami Killer. In the original script, Ethan had a psychic link with the actual killer, resulting in the dreams and blackouts. This explanation for the dreams and blackouts was a Voodoo Shark all on its own; after it was removed, the dreams and blackouts which now had no reason became their own Voodoo Shark.
- In Hitman (2016), the ICA training missions take place in a facility which is expressly stated to be All Part of the Show — weapons are "simulated", all of the other people you encounter in these missions are stated to be actors, and the sets are obviously faked (with cardboard decorations in several locations). Despite this, 47 can shoot, stab and kill with reckless abandon. The Voodoo Shark moment comes almost immediately — knives can be visibly stuck in the heads of NPCs, targets can be drowned in actual water, and you can beat anyone in the level with blunt objects to reckless abandon. It makes no sense why any of the participants in the training missions don't break character and try to signal for help from the handlers, even when it's possible for 47 to go on a killing spree (and the interface will even tell you that a "Non-Target" has been killed). Even moreso, several of the technicians in the Jasper Knight training mission will notably break character and call 47 a "crazy bastard" for utilizing an ejector seat to shoot the actor playing Knight straight into the roof of the facility.note
- Injustice: Gods Among Us has pretty rampant Power Creep, Power Seep, with characters at Badass Normal level or barely above, like Deathstroke or the Joker, fighting Physical God-tiers like Superman or Wonder Woman. The story mode justifies this by having the weaker characters take a Super Serum pill that vastly increases their strength and durability. This does explain why they don't die in the first hit, but it introduces the question of why they haven't changed up their fighting style. For instance, Deadshot and Green Arrow both use mundane projectile weapons, but their bullets and arrows don't just pointlessly bounce off everyone they fight. Are Deadshot's bullets taking pills, too? Since the Super Serum is actually nanotechnology, that might even be possible, but it's not explained that way, and would be even more of a stretch than with the characters all becoming equal. And there's the pills are introduced after you've already fought a few battles between characters with wildly divergent powers.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, there is significant Time Travel, right up until the ending. Many fans deduced that Ocarina, canonically the earliest game at the time, finishes by creating two divergent timelines. Then, speculation raged as to which games - before and since - belonged to the "Adult" and "Child" timelines, hinging on how Link defeated the evil Ganondorf, and what became of the hero afterwards. While there were several games that unquestionably belonged to the described timelines, there were several games, such as the first Zelda game, A Link to the Past, and their followups, that left fans scratching their heads when it came to timeline placement. Finally, the Hyrule Historia came out, to much anticipation, hoped for as the final word to quell these debates once and for all. So imagine the confusion when Historia said that, in fact, Ocarina ends with three divergent timelines - "Adult," "Child," and a timeline where Link actually failed, and this timeline was where all the games that didn't have an obvious timeline placement were put. This confused fans greatly, because even putting aside the question of whether it makes sense to take a Game Over seriously as a branching timeline rather than a simple What If? scenario, it raises a bigger question: why isn't there a timeline split for every game where Link could have died? It can't just be "because time travel"; multiple other games, including the Oracle games and Majora's Mask, have involved time travel. And if there does exist an alternate timeline for every game, then what happened in those dozens of other timelines, and what is so special about the one branching off from Ocarina?
- In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Faron the Water Dragon floods Faron Woods just in time for you to get her piece of the Song of the Hero. Her explanation for all of this? She was trying to drown all the monsters in the area, and she can't just give you the piece, so she tests you by having you collect tadtones. This explanation not only fails to point out that you saved her life, but at no other point is Faron Woods ever stated to be overflowing with monsters.
- In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, the Minish speak a different language than the humans, which naturally causes Link some trouble when he visits their village. Festari, a resident of the village who does speak human language, points Link to an item called the Jabber Nut, which lets Link understand the Minish language. As a side-effect, it apparently lets him talk to animals. However, this opens up a couple plot holes. First, Link's talking hat Ezlo admits that he's not very familiar with the village's dialect and thus doesn't understand most of what they say, but after Link eats the Jabber Nut, Ezlo understands everything perfectly as well, despite the game never hinting that Ezlo ate any of it. Second, Link can only understand animals while he's small; when he's full-sized, it all sounds like regular animal noises. The game never bothers to explain either issue. Furthermore, Ezlo is a Minish (albeit cursed), he's from the village in question, and he can't have been away from it for very long by the time Link finds him. So why can't he understand their dialect in the first place?
- Link: The Faces of Evil attempts to handwave why Link only has his sword to start with in an offhand line of "There is no time; your sword is enough!" As it turns out, both these things are completely wrong; your starting sword isn't nearly enough to handle the game's challenges, and you've got the entire game's duration to spend looking for items to make up for this. Apparently, Link has time to fight his way through poorly-designed cave levels to find fetchquest items, but not the five minutes it would take for him to go to the armory and pick up his equipment before leaving.
- The official timeline has The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games featuring the same Link as in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. Link looking younger than before can be explained as an art-style change, but this doesn't explain why Zelda has a completely different design than before and why she doesn't recognize Link.
- Fans had trouble placing the Oracle games in the timeline because of the games' setting and events, leading to many placing it in the Child Timeline due to the presence of Twinrova (who is killed in the Adult Timeline), and Ganondorf having been defeated already. When the official timeline was revealed though, both games were placed in the Downfall Timeline instead, which raised more questions, since it doesn't make sense for Twinrova to be around given Link would have had to have beaten her to get to the final battle with Ganondorf, yet now Twinrova somehow survived in this specific timeline in order to bring back Ganondorf. Furthermore, because the games are said to take place after The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, this means the two somehow were around during the events of that game, or at least were revived after it, but nothing about how or why they are alive is stated, which raises more questions about why that timeline as chosen, and how it even could have happened.
- In Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Luigi uses E. Gadd's teleport system called The Pixelator to go from his bunker to each level, and regardless of where Luigi's at, he can always be pixelated back at the level's end. At some points, the game features Escort Missions where you need to rescue E. Gadd's Toad employees from paintings so they can be pixelated back as well. However, you still need to escort them to specific points so they can be pixelated out, a problem Luigi doesn't have to deal with. E. Gadd tries to justify it by saying he can't pixelate two characters at the same time, and you need to escort the Toad to his own Pixelator Screen before Luigi can get teleported out, and this is a Voodoo Shark in two ways. First, at no point is it explained why E. Gadd can't simply pixelate them one at a time. Second, the final escort mission has you rescuing two Toads, and they use their Pixelator Screen at the same time.
- Mass Effect:
- Between Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, guns went from having effectively unlimited ammo (but needing cooldown between firings) to using thermal clips, which are disposable heatsinks effectively serving as limited ammo. The in-game Codex explains the changes as being due to kinetic barriers causing combatants to favor weapons that output more rounds faster. This caused a number of Continuity Snarl moments with the previous game — the entire galaxy seemingly switched to them with literally no examples of the previous weapon system found anywhere in the sequel, despite Shepard and their team visiting at least one location (a derelict ship during Jacob's loyalty mission) that has weapons that use this "new" system, despite being abandoned long before the switch was made. The new system also fails to explain why/by whom unlimited ammo wouldn't be preferable, how compatible thermal clips and guns were on the aforementioned abandoned ship, and why discarding overheated clips (rather than replacing them while the old one cools on its own) would have the advantages of both systems. Moreover, Shepard immediately recognizes that the weapon they're using in the intro of 2 is using thermal clips, despite never having encountered the technology before. When an "unlimited ammo" version of the M-7 Lancer is discovered in the following game's "Citadel" DLC, the in-game text describes it as an exceptionally-rare variant that required the skills of a master gunsmith to bring it back to its pre-switch condition, to the extent that it was stored in a vault in the Citadel Archives, casting further confusion over the issue.
- Mass Effect 3 Lampshades the weapon reload issue by having Conrad Verner point out that the switch "sounds like a major step backward". Shepard restates the advantages of this system using the in-game Codex, only for Conrad to state the reason guns can't cool themselves down is the cooling tech had to be removed to make room for clips, defeating the point of using weapons whose advantage was unlimited ammo as the base.
- The pre-Extended Cut version of 3 has Harbinger destroy the ground forces charging the Conduit, nearly killing Shepard. However, Shepard's squadmates inexplicably disappearnote , and wind up on the Normandy without explanation as to how they got there. The Extended Cut attempts to address this by showing Shepard call in the Normandy for an emergency extraction of Shepard's squadmates after they're injured during the charge, which raises new issues.
- From the time Shepard calls the Normandy to the point it is about to land, only a few real-time seconds pass, with no indication that the action was truncated. How was the Normandy able to get there so quickly, given the viewer last saw being caught up in the space battle above?
- Why didn't Harbinger attack the Normandy despite attacking everything else, and the ship hovering right in front of it? The ship has stealth systems and a Reaper IFF that identifies it as a Reaper machine, but the former and (as far as we're told how it works) latter don't hide it from visual identification.
- As this charge was the last chance to stop the Reapers, why would Shepard delay or risk it just to save two lives who would, along with everyone else in the Galaxy, be doomed anyway if it failed?
- The Normandy's rescue contradicts the reason for the ill-fated ground assault: that the Conduit's interference supposedly made air support impossible. If it could be overcome on such short notice, why didn't they risk using it to quickly land forces or provide distraction or fire support, given the assault was noted as likely a suicide mission anyway?
- Mega Man X: Mega Man X6 establishes that Zero didn't die at the end of X5. As Zero explains: "I hid myself while I tried to repair myself." The series uses many Shōnen tropes, so it's suggested that He's Just Hiding and X Never Found the Body. However, that didn't stop X back in X2 from (possibly) finding and reviving Zeronote . X was also mortally wounded from the same attack at the end of X5, and yet he recovered, ostensibly because his creator, Big Good Dr. Light (who was long-dead at that point) was able to repair him. Zero also comments to Dr. Light at one of X's Armor Capsules that he doesn't actually know who repaired him. Additionally, X and Zero are both Black Boxes that are notoriously hard to analyze, let alone repair. And Zero is the Anti-Anti-Christ created by the Greater-Scope Villain that Dr. Light should have no idea about. Wait, is Dr. Light a prerecorded message or some kind of Energy Being since he's able to have a conversation with Zero over this very thing? Getting back to the subject of Zero, the most notable hint is that it was Isoc, the mysterious lackey of the Big Bad, who did most of the repairs, and that Isoc is actually just a robotic vessel for the Greater-Scope Villain. Unfortunately, this never gets directly answered when Isoc mysteriously dies at the end and later games don't bring up Isoc again.
- Metal Gear:
- In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Fortune is initially presented as having a psychic forcefield around her that makes her virtually invincible. And then it's revealed that the forcefield was actually from a piece of Patriots technology that generated it around her (which Ocelot proves by shooting her successfully after deactivating it)... and then, in her dying moments, as the shield is explicitly deactivated, she does generate a forcefield to protect Raiden.
- Possibly intentional in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, which was partly a Writer Revolt against fan desire to explain Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty's deliberately inexplicable events:
- Liquid's supernatural possession of Ocelot is explained as Ocelot having used a combination of nanomachines and psychotherapy to convince himself he's actually Liquid. However, it's explained that Ocelot actually did this after the initial possessions we see in 2, which are apparently supernatural in nature.
- Metal Gear Ac!d does a partial Doing In the Wizard by explaining Alice's "remote viewing" Psychic Powers as the result of her personal familiarity with the facility (and her direct involvement in the Howard Burton murder case she solved in the backstory). However, she also has psychic powers anyway as she believed herself to be possessed by the spirit of a child she murdered.
- Metroid Fusion introduced the X Parasites, a species of highly infectious self-replicating shapeshifters. It's explained that Samus never saw them before because the Metroids were keeping their number in check... Except the X Parasites were native to SR388, while the Metroids were only engineered by the Chozo after they discovered the planet and the X. Considering how fast the X were depicted to spread (especially in later games) and the fact that they have no natural predator, how is there any indigenous life that's not an X-mimic by the time the Chozo got there?
- In the first Metroid Prime, the Space Pirates find the titular creature in the Impact Crater, take it to their labs for experiments, and then it escapes back to the Impact Crater in time for the final boss showdown. But this seems to ignore that the Chozo had sealed Metroid Prime in the Impact Crater with twelve Plot Coupons and that the Pirates shouldn't have been able to actually reach it without them. The Chozo Lore does state that the seal may not hold for long, but then why does Samus need the Plot Coupons to get in if the seal's already broken? In the EU and Trilogy re-releases of the game, the Pirate Logs are all retconned into things like "we've detected something huge at the center of the Impact Crater, but we can't get to it because of the seal." But Metroid Prime still has all the weapons and barriers it absorbed from the Pirates, now with no explanation because it was stuck in the Impact Crater. Its Enemy Scan even states that it has a host of natural and mechanical weapons, regardless of the version.
- Metroid Prime 3: Corruption established that the Phazon meteor from Prime 1 was a living organism called a Leviathan, which would attract a local predator and mutate it into guarding its Phazon core before dying shortly after. This implied that Metroid Prime didn't come into existence until after the pirates arrived and brought Metroids to Tallon IV... but only raised even more questions as to where it got the weapons, how it got into Impact Crater through the Chozo seal, and why the Leviathan waited decades to choose a protector, especially given its limited lifespan.
- Metroid: Other M:
- This game attempted to justify the lack of Samus's arsenal with the "authorization system"; namely, she still has all her powerups from the previous games but is only permitted to aid the military investigation so long as she only uses her weapons when authorized by the commander. While this does make sense for the Power Suit's stronger weapons (the Power Bombs are said to be capable of vaporizing a person on the other side of a wall; the mission is ostensibly a search-and-rescue), it falls flat on its face for defense and mobility-based upgrades, which have no potential to be detrimental towards the mission. Even worse, Adam frequently refuses to authorize upgrades that would greatly simplify the current task that he has assigned Samus. The two worst examples occur when Samus is chasing down the lizard monster: Samus has to travel through the Pyrosphere, which damages her just by being there, but Adam waits until she confronts an enormous lava monster to authorize the Varia Suit, which protects her from the heat; once she resumes her hunt, she finds that the only way forward is a Grapple Point, and yet Adam opts not to authorize the Grapple Beam and instead sends Samus elsewhere to check for survivors instead, seemingly under the impression that the path was simply impassible. To cap it off, Samus still starts out with far less health and missile ammo than in the last game (and you know she had a good amount of energy tanks, because you see them in the opening cutscene recapping the end of Super Metroid) and has to collect more by finding upgrades around the station, so it doesn't even justify the Bag of Spilling.
- Other M also features, as a major plot point, the idea that the Federation has been engineering unfreezable Metroids. Except the game features many other Metroids that are fully freezable. It attempts to justify them as "control groups" or "too young", but it ends up casting major doubts on the idea, especially since we never actually see an unfreezable Metroid and Adam acknowledges he doesn't know if the idea is true. The only evidence is a corpse apparently left by a Metroid in a cold area. And there's the idea that Metroids are completely invincible when not frozen is a Retcon (they can be killed by other means in most of the games) and even contradicts the ending of Super Metroid (and by extension, Other M's opening cinematic), where a powerful Metroid was killed by Mother Brain without using ice of any kind. It ends up making Adam's fate look like something of a Stupid Sacrifice.
- On a similar note, Other M indicates that the method by which Metroids become Queen Metroids is genetic, and that some Metroids (including the baby) are just meant to grow into Queens. Except every Metroid in that particular game had its genes derived from the baby. Why aren't they all Queens?
- Mortal Kombat:
- Mortal Kombat X introduced a new character named D'Vorah, a member of a bug race called Kytinn, as an agent of Kotal Kahn, and later The Mole for Shinnok. In an attempt to justify her importance and existence, the developers made a chapter focusing on Raiden where during a flashback to the events of Mortal Kombat II, it is revealed D'Vorah was at the events of that game, even fighting Raiden before leaving. This presented several issues about her status as a character that was there all along, most of which revolve around why she was never involved with the tournament despite her supposed importance as a warrior of Shao Kahn. Other issues arose with her when Mortal Kombat 11 attempted to justify her existence further with statements like her being responsible for killing Jerrod, the king of Edenia and Kitana's father. These once again raised many questions that neither game tried to explain. Why was she not part of any of the previous tournaments despite her allegiance at the time? Why would Shao Kahn have a random bug woman kill the king of the place he was invading, especially when it had been established Kahn had been the one to kill him? How come Raiden wouldn't find it strange that Shao Kahn had a powerful bug-like ally on his side who vanished for years only to suddenly reappear? These issues have resulted in the character becoming quite polarizing by the fans.
- Mortal Kombat 11 brought Sindel back as a playable character via DLC. Her pre-release bio however revealed she was being retconned into being an Evil All Along Gold Digger who helped Shao Kahn kill her husband Jerrod and plunge the world of Edenia into being merged with Outworld, just so she could marry Shao Kahn. In an attempt to explain this, the writers claimed that Sindel was killed by Quan Chi and her death was manipulated into coming across as suicide. However, none of these changes line up with the games that came before 11, or even with dialogue in 11 itself like Geras' intro with Kitana. For starters, Sindel's bio in Mortal Kombat 9 kept the same backstory as her original timeline, but with the inclusion of her death creating a barrier around Earthrealm that prevented Shao Kahn from invading, something that was shown in said game as being real, hence why they needed the revived and undead Sindel to get around it. If her death was not suicide, then where did this barrier come from and why it was there? If Sindel really did get killed by Quan Chi, how could he cover it up so well that nobody thought it was odd a powerful and sadistic person like her would commit suicide? Beyond that, how could Kitana ever think her mother was loving and a good person if she never acted as such? Unless Sindel was that much of a liar that she treated Kitana well for her whole life so Kitana would never know, it doesn't line up with Kitana's memories of her, as we see Sindel openly dislike Kitana because she's too much like her father. Initially there was hope this was just her Revenant self being tricked, but the Aftermath DLC story released over a year after the game came out confirmed that the retcon was real and not just a trick. According to the writers, they did this to avoid Unfortunate Implications, but in doing so fans agree her character was made even worse.
- No One Lives Forever explains the purpose for the body-dissolving powder as a quick and efficient way to hide bodies before their comrades discover them and sound an alarm, since Cate Archer's slight frame and relatively low upper-body strength means she wouldn't be able to just drag a body out of sight. The problem is that, as a first-person shooter, Cate is perfectly capable of carrying a dozen weapons, each with individual caches of hundreds of bullets each, despite her supposed low strength. The sequel wound up just letting her pick up bodies and carry them around, with the body-dissolving powder repurposed as a severely limited but much faster method of hiding bodies.
- Overwatch: Ana’s ability to heal allies and damage enemies with her rifle’s darts is justified in-universe by her carrying two different types of darts that she swaps on the fly. All well and good, except they still damage enemies if she aims for an ally, misses, and hits an enemy instead, or vice versa.
- Persona: The creators have kept schtum on the real reason but one of the many supposed ones as to why Adolf Hitler was censored in the PSP port of Persona 2: Innocent Sin was because, apparently, the Japanese video game rating system now "prevents people with a real background from appearing in fictional media". Which only raises questions as to why other games featuring historical figures like Frederick Chopin and countless Chinese heroes are A-okay. Realistically, it probably had more to do with the fear of offending international players. By giving Hitler a pair of sunglasses and calling him "the Fuhrer". Yeah.
- The Professor Layton games zig-zag this. In some games the explanation for all the weird things going on requires some thought to make sense, sometimes it works in context of the series' logic and other times it is straight-up ridiculous.
- Professor Layton and the Curious Village has the reveal the entire village is populated by robots and the place is a Secret Test of Character to see who is worthy of taking care of the founder's daughter and claiming his fortune. Why a simpler solution was not used or how these robots could be so realistic is never addressed but considering the plots of the next two games, it is logical at least.
- In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, there is seemingly an eternally young vampire living in town. In actuality, he's not a vampire — it's just that hallucinogenic gas leaking from the nearby mine has caused a shared hallucination everyone in town is having that he's a youthful vampire, and that the town is unchanged from many years ago, despite the residents aging but not realizing it. So how is it possible for no one to notice they are aging while the town crumbles around them? If the residents are hallucinations as well, how can everyone have conversations with them? How can everyone have the exact same hallucinations? Finally there is the matter of the titular diabolical box. The box is rumoured to kill anyone who opens it. The reason is the hallucinogenic gas is embedded in the structure of the box and it kills anyone who opens the box believing the rumors while those who don't believe survive. How the gas is capable of doing that is anyone's guess.
- In Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, Layton appears to travel in time to London's future. In actuality, he's traveling by elevator to an exact copy of London built in a giant sinkhole and cavern directly underneath the real London, which has been built and populated in secret without anyone ever realizing it. So how does no one in future London notice they are underground (if you look closely there are hints the sky is permanently foggy or full of industrialised smoke so it is possible this is obscuring everything), are all the residents of Future London in on the act and if not how is that possible? Then there is how a second city could exist under London without anyone noticing. Oh, and the ending implies time travel really is possible.
- Professor Layton and the Last Specter is fairly logical if thought about. The Spectre is the result of a giant machine the Big Bad is using to destroy the town and a prehistoric sea creature battling. The fog used to hide the machine's appearance means the two end up looking like one creature.
- In Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask and Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, every strange thing happening is the result of stage magic and Lost Technology respectively.
- In Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney it is eventually discovered that all of the magic witnessed in the town of Labyrinthia was faked by a corporation as a part of a scientific experiment. Everyone in town had been living under hypnosis thanks to a substance that made them extremely susceptible to suggestions that they were constantly exposed to. One of the effects of the hypnosis was that residents could not see material of a certain color, thus allowing the operators to make themselves and their equipment "invisible." Furthermore, a contamination in the local groundwater meant that anyone in town who heard the ringing of a silver bell would instantly pass out, making it possible to set up complicated illusions "instantly" because any witnesses would not notice the missing set-up time. Fair enough. The problem is that magic is also used outside of Labyrinthia on people who had not been hypnotized and were immune to the bells in locations that the company could not possibly have foreseen magic would be necessary, including Professor Layton's own office. One particular example is from the opening cutscene: A statue in a public park in the middle of London is brought to life and appears to punch a speeding car into a tree. What really happened? The statue was actually a robot that the company coincidentally had donated to the park, and it literally punched the car into the tree. The reveal also completely overturns an earlier case in which the culprit used a spell to create a magic portal through a wall. The best explanation given is that the company literally cut a hole in the wall and patched it up without anyone being able to tell afterwards.
- Parodied heavily in this video, where Layton explains that a slightly oversized dog is in fact a detailed simulation created by holograms from a satellite, shared hallucinations, dozens of paid actors, and Descole dressing up as the dog, all in the name of a man trying to impress his neighbor. The idea that it's just a regular dog is immediately dismissed.
- In Psychonauts, Raz's multiple lives in mental realms are justified with Raz having multiple layers of astral projection that weaken his link to the mental world, and if he runs out of lives, he gets ejected. Health drops are also explained as Raz collecting mental health from the realm. However, this raises a lot of questions when Raz has the same mechanics for mental health and extra lives in reality.
- Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction introduced the idea that Ratchet's race, Lombaxes, were functionally extinct, and Ratchet was the Last of His Kind. Many fans pointed out that this didn't make sense, because Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando had seemingly featured a different Lombax, Angela, without any implication that she and Ratchet were the last of their species. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time decided to patch this by having a pair of radio announcers acknowledge that Angela exists and is indeed a Lombax. However, one of the main reasons given in Tools to prove Ratchet was the last one was that he'd never seen another one, a claim he didn't contest. Prior to this, one could maybe assume that this meant the Future trilogy was a Soft Reboot and Angela didn't actually exist in its continuity, but now she does, so the whole thing no longer works. Even worse, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart shows a female Lombax, Rivet, that is much smaller than Angela and sports a tail, something the radio broadcast specifically mentioned as an indicator of male versus female Lombaxes.
- Each Rune Factory game has a character explain early on that you're not killing the monsters you fight, but sending them back to the Forest of Beginnings where they came from. This is credited to a magic spell on your weapons called "Retornen" (or "Tamitaya" in 4). Problems:
- This enchantment is, supposedly, applied individually to every weapon, tool, and spell you own. While the ones you buy are easily explained, it's a little harder to believe for the ones you find lying in chests or dropped by monsters. And it's completely inexplicable when Item Crafting — in every game, you're an Amnesiac Hero, so the only way you'd know how to cast Retornen yourself is if you learned it onscreen, which you never do.
- You can tame monsters and have them fight by your side. There's no reason to believe these monsters have Retornen, and no other explanation is offered for why their attacks send monsters home instead of killing them.
- The scenario writer for Shin Super Robot Wars came up with the infamous "Master Asia is an alien" idea after watching Mobile Fighter G Gundam and thinking "No way a human can do all that!" Completely glossing over how every Gundam Fighter in G is capable of superhuman feats, most notably Domon himself, who has no problem keeping up with Master Asia when they were launching a skyscraper into the air, yet he's not revealed to be a non-human.
- Silent Hill 2 has a possible ending which was intended as a parody of this trope. Silent Hill 2 is a macabre Survival Horror title featuring a young man who receives a letter from his deceased wife, imploring him to meet her at "their special place", which turns out to be a weird ghost town where all his subconscious fears and guilt manifest. It's in general a Tear Jerker Mind Screw of a game. This ending's explanation of it all: The Dog Was the Mastermind. Literally.
- In Sir Basil Pike Public School, the game only spans three days. Word of God is that it's the last week of school, but this doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a few reasons:
- A Big Game subplot is introduced (and poorly resolved just as quickly). School sports seasons typically end a few weeks before the last week.
- No one alludes to it being the last week of school, which would obviously be a pretty big deal for schoolchildren and warrant at least one mention.
- Both Ted and Ms. Pruet teach their classes. During the last week or two of school, teachers typically allow students to use the classes as extended study halls. Additionally, Ms. Pruet gives an assignment to Tammy and Tariq on what is supposed to be the last day of school.
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
- One manual explains the presence of Wisps in games besides Sonic Colors despite the Wisps leaving Earth at the end of that game as some of the Wisps having stuck around on Earth and occasionally helping out Sonic. But if that's true, doesn't it void the point of Colors's whole plot? Why are the Wisps okay with being weaponized in conflicts that don't involve them when their prior motivation was to not be used as weapons? Why would they want to stick around on a planet where they were enslaved and where they're in danger, instead of going home? Why don't we see this Wisp diaspora anywhere? And why don't the other characters mention this—especially Eggman, who used them as power sources before and would have every reason to try again?
- There's also the Word of God explanation that Sonic games take place on two different planets: One inhabited by humans, and one inhabited by Funny Animals, and that Sonic and friends travel between them. How they do this is never shown or explained, and it just raises further questions. If Sonic has access to planetary travel, why did he need to steal a space shuttle in Sonic Adventure 2? Why did he take Eggman's space elevator in Sonic Colors? If Angel Island only exists on Sonic's world, how did it fall into the human planet's ocean in Sonic Adventure? The sheer number of problems the explanation caused led to it being retconned out in 2022 in favour of the original explanation of animal people and humans living different parts of the same world, with the disappearance of GUN handwaved away as them being destroyed by Eggman during the events of Sonic Forces.
- In several missions of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Jim Raynor and his raiders have to steal important artifacts from a group of protoss called the Tal'Darim. Even though they were crazy fanatics, Jim still came out as the bad guy here because he was the aggressor who attacked people who were minding their own business to steal their religious relics. So in the sequel StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, it was revealed that the Tal'Darim were actually working for Big Bad Amon, which made it okay to attack them. However, because Jim had been (unknowingly) stealing the artifacts for Amon's Dragon Emil Narud, it now meant that the Big Bad's minions were paying Raynor to steal from themselves. It was thankfully rectified in StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, which clarified that the Tal'Darim in Wings of Liberty had gone rogue and didn't answer directly to Amon anymore. Except that this in turn raises the question of why wouldn't the loyalist Tal'Darim, who are a major galactic power in their own right, simply wipe out their renegade brethren and retrieve the artifacts. It's not like finding them was an issue, since Narud points you at every last one. It would make sense if he wanted to avoid Tal'Darim casualties when a convenient patsy was available, but as it happens, he couldn't have possibly cared less, and Tal'Darim themselves were fanatics who would've eagerly thrown themselves at either the renegades or the Queen of Blades for their god.
- Stardew Valley Expanded attempted to justify why the Farmer uses only melee weapons against the monsters when firearms are known to exist in the setting by having Marlon explain that monsters cannot be harmed by conventional weapons and the melee weapons are imbued with magic. This then raises the question of how nonmagical slingshot projectiles like rocks, chunks of ore and the like...and more tellingly, bombs are able to harm the monsters.
- The Star Ocean franchise had something of an issue with its setting being regarded not making sense for a futuristic space setting due to having what was essentially standard JRPG elements like characters using medieval-style weapons in the future, symbology being magic, and things like Global Currency for worlds that had never had an economy described, all of which some felt didn't make sense beyond merely gameplay justifications. The third game attempted to explain these choice with The Reveal the entire setting of the Star Ocean franchise is actually set inside a MMORPG created for 4D beings, and the Big Bad wanted to have them erased for learning symbology. This ended up making more issues though, such as what about other people playing the game? How is maintenance done on a game of such scope and scale that it created an entire universe? Does this mean the first two games are not also retroactively set in a video game? How could it be possible for a video game MMO to run long enough that at least in game wise, thousands of years of civilization and life had been born? If the characters Grew Beyond Their Programming, how did anyone not notice until now? And after the servers are wiped, how do the characters and their universe inexplicably all survive like nothing happened? The twist has become an Old Shame on the developers part due to the reception of it, and each game released since has basically been as far removed in the timeline as it, or just ignored it as much as possible, even introducing the concept of The Multiverse to work around the issue.
- The information from the Shadaloo Combat Research Institute profiles on the Street Fighter V Character Encyclopedia website raises a number of questions, such as the suggestion that Unknown Soldier Red from Forgotten Worlds is Two P from Final Fight, or that characters from different Street Fighter adaptations and Street Fighter 2010 are in a shared continuity.
- Superman 64:
- The game's horrific draw distance is explained by "Kryptonite fog". However, this raises the question of how Superman is able to breathe, let alone fly. This might qualify as a double Voodoo Shark as it was already established that Superman is trapped in Luthor's virtual reality simulator, meaning they could just claim Luthor deliberately made it harder to see when he programmed it. There was one comic where Kryptonite was released into the atmosphere and Earth itself was uninhabitable by Kryptonians (it was solved by self-replicating nanites, don't worry), and the level of Kryptonite in the atmosphere was at lethal levels for Kryptonians... and yet, you could still see through the atmosphere fine. Perhaps slightly green-tinged, but still fine. If Kryptonite fog was thick enough to not see through, Superman wouldn't just have trouble flying, there is a serious question of how he would be able to survive that much Kryptonite radiation, even from orbit.
- One frequent sticking point is why Darkseid, of all villains, is in the virtual world, since it would be completely out of character for him to start working for Lex Luthor. A prequel comic attempted to explain this by saying that Brainiac, who was one of Luthor's allies, managed to overpower and capture Darkseid thanks to his "technological superiority". This, however, raises the question of why Brainiac doesn't just kill Superman himself if he's capable of defeating somebody who's even more powerful than the Man of Steel.
- In Super Mario Sunshine, the Yoshis Mario can ride will dissolve if submerged in water. This is done for gameplay reasons to provide a challenge in which you ride Yoshi through a series of platforms situated above water, and having to start over if you fall into it. The manual tries to justify this by explaining that the Yoshis on Delfino Isle are a different breed. This explanation raises the question: why would the Yoshis on a tropical island evolve to become deathly allergic to the water surrounding them, especially when traditional Yoshis are fine with it? The claim was revisited in 2015's Encyclopedia Super Mario Bros., which explains that the Yoshis in Sunshine are not indigenous to Isle Delfino, but rather, were created from Bowser Jr's paintbrush along with most of the enemies in the game (and indeed, being harmed by water is their common link). The guide does not explain why the Yoshis are the only one of Bowser Jr's creations to not be hostile to the player, however.
- Parodied in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. Swindle at one point asks why the Autobots' transport didn't just fly from the start if it can fly faster than it can be driven. Onslaught meekly says that it probably takes a lot of energon to fly it. When Swindle starts pointing out the problems with this theory, Onslaught basically tells him to shut up.
- In Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Big Bad Lazarevic is looking for the next Plot Coupon in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. Because he doesn't know the precise location, he essentially invades the place and turns it into a war zone. There's a brief line about how the Nepali army can't do anything because he riled up the local guerrillas. However, this doesn't explain why the entire Nepali army is occupied, nor why they think fighting guerrillas is more important than stopping a war criminal with an army of mercenaries from literally demolishing their capital and all of its temples. At a bit of a stretch, the damage Lazarevic inflicts to Kathmandu is so severe that it's not inconceivable that the army and guerrillas would temporarily put aside their differences just to drive him out.
- World of Warcraft:
- A rather complicated example regarding the Big Bad Lich King from Wrath of the Lich King. Many fans complained about Arthas being stuck with the Villain Ball in the expansion after the Lich King (which he was now permanently half of) being played up as a Magnificent Bastard in the previous game. In what appears to be an attempt to justify it, Blizzard gave the explanation that Arthas's spirit actually destroyed the spirit of Ner'zhul (the previously sole spirit of the Lich King, who most certainly qualified for Magnificent Bastard status, and Arthas supposedly not so much). However, that caused much more confusion considering previous interviews and scenes stating that Arthas and Ner'zhul were one being (flat out stating that neither persona existed anymore, only one Lich King), and the game itself seemed to contradict it (one quest has the Lich King stating that he used to be a shaman, which would be true for Ner'zhul but not for Arthas).
- Starting in Cataclysm, some quests would have the Forsaken resurrect people they just killed, with those people seemingly eager to serve Sylvanas and kill their former comrades. This raised the big question of "why would they kill their former comrades and serve their killers willingly?" meaning accusations of mind control went rampant, seemingly completely discrediting the Forsaken's Dark Is Not Evil theme. Blizzard's attempt to answer the question ("They attack their former friends because when being resurrected, they suffer a state of frenzy that makes them lashes out and attack those nearby and there is no mind-control, but undeath affect emotions, and they realize they're safer serving Sylvanas, plus they're free to leave if they want") didn't help much, since it still meant that the Forsaken knowingly and willingly took advantage of people suffering from mental confusion, and despite the supposed frenzy being indiscriminate, the raised Forsaken still only attacked the Alliance rather than anyone they could. This gets even weirder when one considers Lilian Voss (who, after being revived the exact same way as other Forsaken, was in denial of her being dead to the point of trying to still fight for the Crusade until her father refuses to accept her and she retaliates, only actually joining the Forsaken years later) and Godfrey (who after being raised retained his hatred of the worgen and of Sylvanas, to the point of actually killing her when he had the occasion (she got better)).
- A controversial one came about near the end of Warlords of Draenor. Word of God explained that the Archimonde we fight at the end of the expansion is the same one we killed in Warcraft III. To explain how he's back, and why he's in an alternate timeline, we were given the explanation that demon souls regenerate in their home plane and transcend all realities. This immediately led to a huge ton of questions about how any past encounter with the demons made sense. For one, if the same demons have to move between all timelines, that implies that they go through every timeline in order to repeat their actions exactly in any timeline where those actions were not a Point of Divergence. For another, many demons, Archimonde included, were not born as such, and were corrupted, so what happens to all of the other Archimondes in any number of infinite timelines who also get corrupted into demons? Also, while this was seemingly meant to make the Legion feel like more of an insurmountable threat, it only made it seem like we'd done a good job forcing them to respawn in just a single timeline, let alone all the others out there that could theoretically become our allies. It should be noted that neither of these things have been referenced much in game (and sometimes they're seemingly contradicted, like Velen being forced to kill his demon-corrupted son being seen as a tragic end, instead of just a matter of time before he'll respawn and get another chance at redemption). It also raises the question of why any demons stay in the Twisting Nether i.e the one place they can be Killed Off for Real, rather than getting to another plane as soon as possible. Finally, Archimonde and Mannoroth both died on Azeroth in the third game, but while Achimonde would later return in Warlords of Draenor, Mannoroth never returns despite the fact all his deaths occur in ways that would let him return, which raises questions of why select demons seem to be able to respawn but some just vanish for good.
- In Zombie Driver, The Mayor pops up early in the story to tell you that he'll pay you for killing the zombies that are destroying his city. The game neglects to mention who's giving you money when you destroy the city as well.
- Played for Laughs in Ted Bear, a parody of Man vs. Wild from The Cyanide & Happiness Show. Host Ted Bear survives on a desert island by finding a "fruitfish" that produces natural fruit punch. He anticipates the audience's objection that there is no such thing as a fruitfish by admitting that it's actually a crustacean.
- Played for Laughs in Adventurers!, where Webrunner proposes a ludicrously implausible explanation for why Inexplicable Treasure Chests are lying around everywhere.
"Why dance through caves you ask? Well, that's what tiny robot pirates do."
- Played for Laughs in this comic from the Bouletcorp. How did Jesus walk on water? He must have added cornstarch to make a non-Newtonian fluid. But where did he find all the cornstarch needed? Why, from miraculously multiplying cornbread of course!note
- Frequently parodied in Darths & Droids when the players point out some of the insane lapses in logic in the Star Wars universe, particularly the GM's explanations for how Coruscant can be a planet-wide city... jokes recycled from the same author's Irregular Webcomic!, where it was eventually lampshaded with a cutaway to a pirate captain:
Captain: Arr! Take that, you scurvy equine!
First Mate: But captain, that horse be dead!
- Parodied in Dresden Codak: "I bet it's like when you find out Santa isn't real, and it was really just Bigfoot giving you presents."
- MS Paint Masterpieces has one robot ask another why they have incredibly obvious power gems that just draw enemy fire, to which the second robot replies (after getting shot multiple times in said gem, to no effect) that it just looks cool.
- In the NSFW Mega Man gender-bender comic Rock Gal:
- One of the villains explains to her lady friend (as they're torturing the title character) that if a female robot's breasts are smacked too hard, they lose energy in a manner similar to human lactation. All this does is raise the question of why the hell anyone would deliberately design a robot to lose energy. (In this case, "to prevent an overload" doesn't cut it)
- Later handwaved a second time by implying that everyone who builds these robots are massive perverts (as if that weren't obvious enough). Still doesn't explain why such a massive flaw would be included in the design.
- Terror Island:
- Played for Laughs and lampshaded in one strip.
Liln: It's been a long time since you guys went shopping. Why haven't you starved to death yet?
Sid: Now that Stephen's the Czar, people have been sending tributes. Some of them are edible or near-edible.
Liln: But Stephen's only been Czar for a few days.
Sid: Aorist sent the stuff back in time.
Liln: Wait, what?
Sid: Oh, right. I mean forward in time.
Liln: That wouldn't work.
Sid: What, and you think going back in time would?
- Another Played for Laughs example occurs in Strip #37, when Jame asks how Center of the Earth University doesn't melt from the heat at the centre of the earth. York explains that "Center of the Earth University" is a Non-Indicative Name — the university is actually located on the surface of the Moon.
- Played for Laughs and lampshaded in one strip.
- From Obscurus Lupa's review of Vampire Dog:
"Okay, get ready for this—we actually do get an explanation for why Vampire Dog eats Jell-o. But rather than give a satisfactory answer here that clears anything up, they instead open up a whole new can of worms."
- YouTube personality Paul Joseph Watson once made a video about how soy products lower a man's testosterone and make them less manly, which is a case of Artistic License – Chemistry. In response to these claims, H.Bomberguy pointed out that Brain Force, a supplement promoted by Watson that supposedly makes you more manly, also contains soy. Watson's explanation was that Brain Force is so effective at making you more manly, they had to add some soy to make it weaker. HBomb argued that this makes about as much sense as having pills that cure cancer include some carcinogenic compounds to keep them from being too effective.
- This is Played for Laughs in the Lasagna Cat episode "12/04/1980" where, after a Robo Cam effect in their home movie, Garfield asks Oddie why there's a first-person shot that's not from the perspective of either character, to which Oddie responds there are cloaked T-800s in the background. Which only invites questions such as what the Terminators are doing there, why they have invisibility when they had no such ability in the source material, and why the characters don't ever bump into them.
- Lampshaded in The Amazing World of Gumball episode "Halloween":
Darwin: How come we can see you every day, but we need this to see [other ghosts]?
Carrie: Duh! Because I was born a ghost!
Darwin: How does that work?
Gumball: Duh! [beat] Actually, I have no idea.
- This gets a somewhat more sensible explanation in "The Mirror", which explains that Carrie's father was a human who fell in love with a ghost. He found a spell that enabled him to touch ghosts and ended up having children with one.
- The ending of Amphibia involves Los Angeles being invaded and devastated by King Andrias's robot army, and this is shown to be broadcast on TV and the internet all over the world. In the Distant Finale, we're shown that people dismiss the entire thing as a hoax. The spinoff book Marcy's Journal explains that the government covered it up by explaining it as a movie shoot that went horribly wrong. That, however, raises further questions, such as why anyone would believe a movie shoot was done in a crowded city with no warning beforehand.
- Ben 10: Omniverse is filled with this trope, on various levels:
- Several of the retcons and continuity changes were handwaved in "So Long and Thanks for the Smoothies" by the Universe having been destroyed by the Anihilarg and Ben rebuilding it as Alien X. Any little changes can be attributed to Ben's flawed memory or inability to use Alien X properly. How he re-created parts of the Universe he had never seen or heard of is left unexplained. It also gets weirder when acknowledging how Mr. Smoothy's, something Ben would have known by heart, was one of the first things revealed to be altered by Ben using Alien X. Some fans consider this to be the animated equivalent of the "Superboy-Prime punches time" meme.
- The Rooters story arc makes a retcon in an attempt to explain some controversial AF elements, such as the change in Kevin's origin (who went from being a Mutant to a Half-Human Hybrid descended from an alien species known as Osmosian) and the existence of various Human-Alien Hybrids. Said explanation is that Osmosians actually are a subspecies of human similar to mutants, the various hybrid kids were actually regular humans who got their alien traits by being guinea pigs for a black op (with Kevin's friend Argit being the specific source for one such kid, Pierce), and none of them remembered this because they suffered Laser-Guided Amnesia. Problem is, that doesn't explain why nobody before questioned the fact Kevin claimed to be from an alien species that apparently didn't exist. And Azmuth explicitly references the Osmosians, which raises even more questions. It didn't help that Aggregor, the one major Osmosian villain (other than Kevin himself whenever he's Drunk with Power) faced prior to this specific series, was originally planned to be retconned as a lab experiment in the same arc, but was absent from it in the final version.
- In season 1 of Omniverse, Malware somehow manages to destroy Ben's alien form Feedback (despite the form being basically just DNA inside the Omnitrix). The reason given to explain why Ben can't just scan Conductoid DNA again to re-acquire the form is that Malware's tampering with the Omnitrix caused a failsafe glitch, leaving the Omnitrix unable to acquire this particular DNA ever again. The problem? Ben has changed Omnitrix twice since this happened, so there really is no reason for following models of the Omnitrix to still suffer this glitch.
- Codename: Kids Next Door has a pair of villains named Mr. Wink and Mr. Fibb, who have features of a walrus and buffalo respectively. Whilst the show never explains this, a comic book "Top Secret Files" explains that they were transformed into half-animals by the Kids Next Door themselves. Unfortunately, they never explain how the KND did this, or even why they would do this in the first place.
- The Fairly OddParents!: "Chip Off the Old Chip" has Timmy switch voices with pop star Chip Skylark so he can get a part in a school play since his own singing is terrible. However, Timmy sang in earlier episodes and sounded just fine. To explain this, they throw in a quick line explaining that Timmy's normally a good singer, but the prospect of singing with his crush Trixie is making him too nervous to sing properly. Fair enough, but that doesn't explain why Chip suddenly sings so badly after he receives Timmy's voice.
- Lampshaded in Family Guy:
- In "The Former Life of Brian"...
Stewie: Say, Brian, now that I think about it, how can you possibly have a thirteen-year-old son when you yourself are only seven?
Brian: Well, those are dog years.
Stewie: That doesn't make any sense.
Brian: You know what, Stewie? If you don't like it, go on the Internet and complain.
- ...and in “A Fish Out of Water”
Salty: The longer we stay here the more people'll question how a fisherman with no engineering background managed to build a sophisticated talking fish robot.
- In "The Former Life of Brian"...
- Futurama frequently parodies this:
- In "The Deep South", Zoidberg builds an underwater house, only to lose it almost as quickly:
Zoidberg: My home! It burned down! How did this happen?!
Hermes: That's a very good question!
Bender: So that's where I left my cigar! (blows a smoke ring)
Hermes: That just raises further questions!
- In "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back", Morgan asks Fry why he has a cap full of yogurt in his locker. He says it used to be milk, but it expired because "time makes fools of us all". This, of course, raises the question of why he had a cap full of milk in the first place (and why he had a waterproof cap).
- In "A Clone of My Own", Farnsworth shows his newly-finished clone Cubert several of his inventions, including the dark matter engines on the Planet Express ship which let it travel between galaxies in "mere hours".
Cubert: That's impossible. You can't go faster than the speed of light.
Farnsworth: Of course not. That's why scientists increased the speed of light in 2208.
Cubert: Also impossible.
- "The Farnsworth Parabox" revolves around the Planet Express crew interacting with their counterparts from an Alternate Universe the professor finds inside a box he created, and the crew end up visiting several other such universes over the course of the episode. This contradicts a brief gag from "I Dated a Robot" where the crew visited the edge of their own universe to see a parallel universe where everyone wears cowboy hats, with Farnsworth claiming that there were only two parallel universes when Fry asked if an infinite number existed. In a DVD Commentary, the writers "explain" this discrepancy by stating that all of the universes in "The Farnsworth Parabox" are perpendicular universes. This raises the questions of what exactly a perpendicular universe is and how it differs from a parallel universe, as well as contradicting the episode itself, which refers to the other universes as parallel universes multiple times, while ignoring the much simpler explanation that Farnsworth just didn't know about the existence of other universes.
- In "The Deep South", Zoidberg builds an underwater house, only to lose it almost as quickly:
- Gravity Falls: In Journal 3, it's said that .GIFfany survived "Soos and the Real Girl" and went into Rumble McSkirmish's game. If that's true, why didn't she appear with him during Weirdmaggedon? We didn't see every character from his game then, but one does still wonder...
- The Looney Tunes Show: Lampshaded in-universe within Lola's ridiculous rewrite of A Christmas Carol:
Lola (as the titular Carol): (gasp!) Santa Claus is my father? That answers so many questions yet raises so many additional questions!
- Played for Laughs in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Baby Cakes", when the Earth Ponies Mr. and Mrs. Cake have two children — one of which is a unicorn and the other one is a pegasus. When asked about this, Mr. Cake gives a convoluted genealogical explanation (including a relative who is related by marriage, not blood), then adds "That makes sense, right?" (complete with nervous Aside Glance). Fanon has since assumed that the three races (earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns) can and often do intermarry, and the resulting foals are usually either of the races of the two parents. If not, that can be explained by an ancestor of one of the two parents being that race or, if fans are feeling much more cynical, that Mrs. Cake was unfaithful.
- Played for laughs in Phineas and Ferb. When the anti-intellectual bully Buford is revealed to be fluent in French, he waves it off as being easy to learn if you know Latin. Another episode had an acknowledged one when Dr. Doofenshmirtz's teleporter, after spinning a wheel of possible destinations, sends its targets into his pants. He figures out that he confused it with his dry-cleaning wheel, hence why his pants were among the possibilities... but he has no idea why his dry-cleaning wheel is a thing that exists.
- Regular Show: No one on the Party Horse homeworld knows why an education in Earth's U.S. History is now compulsory for all Party Horses, although Principal Party Horse somehow believes that partying without a clear knowledge of the history of a country on a planet very far away is somehow deficient.
- Played for Laughs by The Simpsons:
- In one of the Bizarro Halloween Episodes (which was also a Superhero Episode), after Bart and Lisa save Lucy Lawless from a supervillain, she calmly picks them up and flies them home:
- Also Played for Laughs in the first Halloween episode, where they encounter Kang and Kodos.
Marge: You speak English!
Kang: I am actually speaking Rigellian. By astonishing coincidence, both of our languages are exactly the same.
- When Sideshow Bob was up for parole, Selma testified about how he tried to kill her. Bob's lawyer turned to the crowd and asked how many people wanted to kill Selma. Everyone raised their hands, including Patty. When asked why she wanted to kill her twin sister, Patty said "She's always leaving the toilet seat up."
- "Don't Fear the Roofer" has a guest appearance by Ray Romano (as "Ray Magini") centering around all the other characters thinking Ray is made-up, and Homer getting increasingly defensive about the existence of his new friend. In the end, after Ray's existence is revealed to everyone, it's explained (by Stephen Hawking, no less) that the reason Bart was not able to see him in an earlier scene, despite standing right beside him, was because a reality-warping wormhole had spontaneously opened up in front of Ray. The audience is clearly being trolled at this point, since that same scene featured Bart holding a giant pile of stuff that could have easily been used as an explanation for his blocked line of sight. Additionally, it's never explained why the character couldn't hear Ray; Flanders could hear Homer while he was right next to Ray, and Ray is introduced eating a plate of nachos, which the bartender must have heard him ask for.
- An Overly-Long Gag in "The Principal and the Pauper" reveals an increasing amount of people in the Simpsons' car during the mission to retrieve Armin Tamzarian from Capital City as Homer asks what each of them is doing there, getting a reasonable explanation every time, until:
Homer: Why are the kids here?Marge: Because we couldn't find Grampa to sit for them.Homer: And why is Grampa here?Abe: 'Cause Jasper didn't want to come by himself!(Abe's friend Jasper, heretofore-unseen in the episode, pokes his head out from the backseat.)Homer: Eh, fair enough!
- South Park:
- Played for laughs in the Scooby-Doo Affectionate Parody episode, "Korn's Groovy Pirate Mystery". At the very end, when Korn is going through the process of Doing In the Wizard to explain the presence of the pirate ghosts, the methods turn out to be complete nonsense. The ghosts were created using a flashlight and cotton swabs, and a Ghost Ship was made using a mirror, a candle, and two squirrels.
- In the Imaginationland three-parter, a subplot explaining how the terrorists gained access to the gateway to Imaginationland (they stole it from the Russians, who planned an attack in our imagination back during the Cold War) was cut because it raised more questions than it answered.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Insecurity Guards", SpongeBob works at a museum despite having an established job at the Krusty Krab. The reason why? He's working as Patrick's assistant... even though Patrick also has never been seen with this job and would have a very hard time getting it.
- In-universe in Star Wars: The Bad Batch S1 E1 "Aftermath". Clone Force 99's confusion regarding Order 66 receives an answer when they are told the reg troopers have been ordered to wipe out the Jedi Order in response to the Order committing treason. Crosshair under the influence of his inhibitor chip says that explains everything while an incredulous Hunter replies it doesn't even begin to explain things.
- Parodied in the Teen Titans Go! Island Adventures five-parter. After the Titans get stranded on a deserted island, Robin claims they can no longer use their powers just because they're stranded on a deserted island and thus can't just fly back home, even though they still use their powers several times.
- Invoked by Word of God for Transformers: Animated. The writers announced that they would not be revealing anything about the origins of the Allspark because the explanation would risk being so bizarre that it shattered the audience's Willing Suspension of Disbelief. The Star Wars Midichlorian example was specifically cited.
- One Totally Spies! episode features Clover bouncing a laser beam between two mirrors to build up energy and create a super-laser strong enough to melt a door. Aside from the fact that this makes no sense, one wonders how Clover would understand the physics for something this complex. When questioned, her answer is that it's "an old racquetball trickshot." Aside from revealing that Clover (a rather unsporty character) plays racquetball, this creates more holes; either there's another gap in physics, Clover is playing the game wrong, or her idea of racquetball involves lasers.
- Velma: The reason for Velma's hallucinations turns out the be because the killer hypnotized her to make it so she couldn't tell people about him. Why he wouldn't simply kill her if She Knows Too Much is a mystery, as he obviously doesn't have any problem with killing people.
- Winx Club 4Kids dub, "Magical Reality Check": It's already bad enough that the would-be Author's Saving Throw (where Knut comes in and says that he couldn't find the herb ingredients that the Trix wanted for a potion) is placed in the middle of the episode (and not brought up again at the end where it would be relevant; this comparison includes the throw), but it also raises the question, "Why do the Trix perform their plan to steal Bloom's powers after they're told that they lack the necessary ingredients?" (as well as "Why don't they bring that up when the plan fails?")
- In Miraculous World: New York, the robot girl Uncanny Valley revealed to us that no one recognized the heroes because of their quantum masks. Aside from some Unscientific Science, there was no problem with this explanation, until she continued talking that it didn't affect technology. This opened up the question of how no one recognized Marinette and Adrien after seeing them on television dressed as Ladybug and Cat Noir.