Follow TV Tropes



Go To

In which one gets up close and personal with a wall for an extended period of time.

For whatever reason, a character will find themselves either running aimlessly with their face against the bricks or slamming into said bricks, over and over and over again.

In most media, it's a Comedy Trope where the affliction's caused by the character is being incompetent, misled, etc. and steered into a dead end. And staying in that dead end. Alternately, it may be an overdramatic gesture to bonk one's head against a wall as if punishing oneself for one's mistakes or perceived idiocy; that one can be Truth in Televisionnote .

In video games, however, when it's simply the game designers not bothering with a "unit has detected a wall and is stopping short" animation, it most often shows up as a common glitch. Collision data is complicated — No matter how smart the AI is, there's bound to be some problems where they forget the location of a wall or a building and just try to run through it, sometimes for hours if the player doesn't intervene somehow. Another, more common variation is that they strangely slide sideways while running until they find a path that they can run through. This is often caused by The All-Seeing A.I. when the player's location is always detected, but in exchange for everything else. As minor instances are pretty common, generally only examples that either affect gameplay or are interesting to look at should be added for this type. If a player's avatar in an online game winds up doing this, lag is usually the culprit. Other times, however, certain types of gamers such as Speedrunners can invoke this as sometimes it can, when done "correctly", allow them to clip through games' boundaries so that they may finish them faster or outright skip huge portions of them.

The video game variant is a subtrope of Artificial Stupidity.


    open/close all folders 

  • One advert for Challenge TV had office workers act out their favourite game shows. The Knightmare reference was a man with a waste paper bin on his head being repeatedly told to walk forward by his co-workers and keeps banging into the wall.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Justified example in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid when Fafnir is playing a Dark Souls Expy, only for Takiya to cover his eyes in response to a drunk Kobayashi stripping Tohru. The game character is then shown walking into and repeatedly swinging his sword at the wall of a hallway due to Fafnir being unable to see the screen.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In THX 1138, the robot cops are seen malfunctioning and running into walls, which after the police tensions of the late 60's was apparently very amusing.
  • During the parade scene at the end of Animal House, one of the Delta Fraternity members mugs the drum major of a marching band, steals his baton and leads the band into an alley. The band marches up to a wall and tries to go through it.
  • The hospital floor in Idiocracy is much dirtier than any floor in a hospital should rightfully be. The Roomba responsible for cleaning the floor is stuck in a loop, ramming itself against a chair and proudly announcing that the floor is now clean, except the floor is only clean in the spot where the Roomba is stuck.
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats opens with a strait-laced military general getting up from his desk and running straight into a wall. It's revealed later that he was trying to use his psychic powers to run through it. This is followed up by a disclaimer reading: "More of this film is true than you would believe."
  • The SAINT units from Short Circuit all have pre-programmed paths to take within the Nova Robotics compound, and all of them follow this path normally, except Number Five, who is not functioning properly. When the other SAINT units complete a corner turn, Number Five continues forward into the wall, much to his frustration.
  • In World War Z, one of the zombies at the WHO Facility is seen bumping up against a wall ad nauseum.

  • Two men walk into a building. You'd think one of them would've seen it.

  • Discworld:
    • In Mort, the hapless Mortimer of the title becomes apprentice to Death. An attribute of Death is that he can walk through walls as if they were not there. In theory, any authorized subordinate, carrying out the Duty on behalf of the anthropomorphic personification of Death, should inherit this ability. But it's all a bit hit-and-miss for Mort, who sometimes attempts to walk through walls only to be brought back to Disc with a dull thump and a few bruises...
    • In Going Postal Mr. Tiddles, an extremely old cat, is so set in his ways that if one of the chairs in the Post Office isn't moved as he comes in, he'll stand there bonking his head against it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Reese joins the army in Malcolm in the Middle. To become a better recruit, he turns off his mind and decides he is a perfect order-taking machine. Reese's commanding officer tests this by ordering him to face a wall and forward march, causing Reese to endlessly walk into the wall. The officers then debate how long they'll let him continue doing that.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Magnificent Ferengi", Gaila accidentally shoots Keevan and kills him, so they have to use technobabble to pull an Of Corpse He's Alive. They end up steering his animated corpse into a support beam, and for all we know he's still there, trying to walk through it.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6 premiere Buffy is dead and the Buffy-bot is used to fill in for her on patrol and at parent-teacher conferences (Buffy being her little sister's guardian). The buffy-bot never does work quite right and can be seen bonking into walls in the background of several shots.
  • In Final Deployment 4: Queen Battle Walkthrough, this occurs to one of the main characters, Blair Trigger, as he goes through his house, bonking into walls. To be fair, this wasn't entirely his fault; it was rather the person who was controlling him, as he's in his own game.

    Video Games 
  • In Assassin's Creed, some characters appear to become... a little more than obsessed with walls out of nowhere, due to the "pushing" animation appearing on loop. Read about it in Cracked here.
  • The NPCs in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, of the "sliding until a path is found" variety.
  • In the Core-era Tomb Raider, collision detection works fine on walls for Lara, but enemies still run when in contact to one. Doors are right out though, as Lara will run/walk in front of them until she slides to the wall beside the door. It's even worse in The Last Revelation (and by extension, levels made with the Level Editor, which run on the TLR engine), where only the level geometry causes Lara to stop - she will run in front of urns, sarcophagi, statues, and other non-geometry 3D objects.
  • In the Super Smash Bros. series:
    • Because of the way custom stages are handled in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the AI would occasionally get confused and do this, but more commonly and more infamously, if a stage had a spike hazard, the computer opponents seemed to do absolutely everything that they could to stay above them and keep getting hit, racking up hundreds of damage to the point where even a weak attack would cause Critical Existence Failure.
    • A similar problem occurs in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, where, depending on how a stage is put together, an Amiibo, which attempts to be like a human opponent, may be repeatedly stuck in lava, like in Brawl, or if there's a miniscule gap between two stage pieces, which is not up to you, the Amiibo will attempt to continually charge through it as if they thought they could fit.
  • Early on in Super Smash Flash 2's development, the Hidden Leaf Village stage was impossible to play a solo match on, as the wall of the building on the right proved to be stupidly irresistible. The computer players would do nothing but keep trying to run into it, even under vicious attack by the player.
  • The monsters in id Software's Doom series routinely take the shortest path toward the Space Marine, even when walls and obstacles impede them. Savvy players can exploit this mechanic by leading a mob of monsters into a cul de sac, then moving toward the access point; the monsters will usually emerge in ones and twos rather than all at once.
    • Thanks to a collision error, running diagonally into walls would cause the player to move insanely fast.
  • This is one of the many Video Game Cliché Moments you can collect in The Simpsons Game, uncovered when you find Ralph Wiggum running in a corner like this.
  • The Trope Namer is the Creatures series; the fandom coined the term when, in Creatures 2, the eponymous creatures would become so obsessed with the walls that they would forget to eat or sleep, becoming a literal case of Too Dumb to Live. This was also present in Creatures 1, although the results weren't as fatal.
    • Unlike most examples, this wasn't caused by failing to detect a collision, but rather a flaw in the Artificial Intelligence — the "reward-and-punishment" systems in the norns' brains were flawed, causing them to see innocuous actions such as turning around when crashing into something as amazing. This specific instance caused the poor norn to turn around twice instead of just once when running into something because its own brain tricked it into thinking it was just that euphoric. This was fixed in The Albian Years.
    • In Creatures 3 and Creatures Docking Station, part of the wallbonking stimulus went unused, preventing creatures from feeling pain and fear or being injured when they walked into something. Players experimented with reenabling it to see if this would discourage them from running into walls — and creatures promptly began wallbonking themselves to death. Turns out that even though they instinctively retreat from things that scare them, they can't perceive walls at all and instead flee from any nearby object/creature, repeatedly hitting that same wall in the process.
  • One of the symptoms of the "auto-pillock" in the X-Universe series is that ships have trouble maneuvering around large objects. They fly straight towards their destination, detect something in their path, turn and fly away from it for a bit, turn back towards their destination, and repeat until they either get around it or crash into something. This is (sort of) fixed in X: Rebirth with a rewritten pathfinding algorithm, though it's not uncommon to find a Space Fighter wedged between some storage tanks on a space station, bouncing back and forth endlessly, though collision damage is far less deadly than it was in previous games.
  • Team Fortress 2: Bot pathfinding is still a work in progress, and sometimes they can be seen stuck running endlessly against walls; this was especially obvious in Payload maps, since the way most of them are set up it made the RED-aligned bots think that the quickest way to get on the battlefield was through the back wall of RED spawn, and the Medieval map also features RED bots crowding around walls due to a window of RED's starting fort being inaccurately marked as a possible exit.
    • Sniper bots exhibit a slight variation where, instead of constantly running into a wall, they spend ages zoomed in staring at a wall, even at point blank range, due to their AI prioritizing aiming rather than movement.
  • In the Mansion of Hidden Souls foyer, you're welcome to invoke this, either against a wall or a locked door. In actual rooms, you're limited to searching predefined locations.
  • Dynasty Warriors:
    • The series is infamous for its Artificial Stupidity, CPU!Officers (both generic and playable) and Mooks had always had trouble on not running into walls to go from point A to point B. They also do things like constantly "change their mind" on whether they should do something or not, like if you swim to the middle of a lake, officers who are supposed to follow you are divided on whether they should swim towards you or "follow you to where you are going" on land, meaning they repeatedly "test the waters" until you actually move back on dry land elsewhere where they will finally follow you. The officers can be so stupid at times they delay important Scripted Events by insisting on jumping on a fence with an Invisible Wall instead of going around it. Here's that and a couple more in Dynasty Warriors 8 (Player!Officers getting stuck on objects and obstacles, the mentioned jumping glitch, stupid horse, etc.).
    • Summoned horsesnote  who "autopilot" towards you by teleporting nearby and running to you are also pretty stupid, often getting stuck running through obstacles by going straight towards them as if they can't see.
    • There's also the lack of collision detection for walls and gates in general, which you can exploit in Dynasty Warriors 6 at "The Battle of He Fei Castle", Where there's this gate which you have to open which has a Conveyor Belt o' Doom that pushes people to a moat below it, where you can use your True Speed character's infinite dash attack to wail at the gate without worry of falling until it breaks.
    • Obstacles in general will make your running characters/horses stuck running in front of them until you jump.
  • A possible bug in almost any LEGO Adaptation Game is for characters you're not controlling at the time to constantly run into a wall or other obstacle. Sometimes it's because they can't follow the active character (due to not having the required power or equipment), other times it seems to be for no reason at all.
  • Most of the main games in the Shin Megami Tensei series have grid-based movement, so you will end up being very good friends with the walls, especially if you're running. Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey even gives you achievements for this, with some snarky side text to boot.
    Strange Journey: Ran into walls 255 times! Fear not: the demonica's superior build quality won't get so much as a scratch. The most advanced materials were used to create it, and can take any punishment. ...Even so, 255 times is a bit much. calm down spaz.
    • The same thing happens in the Persona games.
  • In Battle Zone 1998's original release, Scavengers were particularly infamous for plowing over anything in their path (or attempting to), be it squishy little you or an immovable Base on Wheels. The 2013 update rectifies this behavior, though it can result in dogpiles of units that are incapable of moving because it would result in them smashing into each other or buildings. The bug returns with a vengeance in the sequel, where units will often get stuck in the far more densely built bases, and can result in oddities like building-sized Assault Tanks somehow wedging themselves through a 6 foot tall doorway and subsequently getting stuck inside a room that the tank physically cannot fit in.
  • In Warframe, Rescue missions usually have the rescue target get stuck on a railing. Luckily, they will teleport if they fall too far behind. The dog-like Kubrow companions will almost inevitably get stuck under a staircase if a room has a staircase. Kubrows and melee enemies are also prone to falling into the Bottomless Pits found in Spy datavaults, where they will be teleported back to safety only to run right back into the pit.
  • Standard trick in Grand Theft Auto when you have to protect a character from becoming target practice for the enemy. Carry him elsewhere where he can safely wallbonk when you gun down the enemies on your own - his firepower on your side wouldn't have made a difference anyway.
  • In Elite Dangerous, NPCs and the docking computer are usually good with docking at space stations, but it's not uncommon to things to go wrong. The Beluga Liner starship is infamous for getting stuck in the 'mailslot' airlock because of its ginormous tailfuns, whereupon the station will blast it to pieces because loitering is a crime punishable by death. If too many ships attempt to enter or leave the mailslot at once, they'll start grinding against each other, bouncing back and forth until the station murders them all.
  • Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future had an Attract Mode that occasionally did this. Normally the previews would play through the level normally for a minute or so before going back to the title screen, but every now and then something caused Ecco to instead go ever-so-slightly off course, causing him to go through all the rest of the motions of the demo while mashing his face up against a wall.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is known for this glitch during a fight with Vanitas Remnant. There is a particular rock you can run behind but Vanitas will keep running into the rock as if he's chasing you. The glitch also allows for you to throw your Keyblade through the rock and deal damage to your ever wallbonking opponent.

    Web Animation 
The finale of Sexy Robots by Weebl gives off the impression that the "male" bot has glitched and is just repeatedly bumping into the table which the "she-computer" rests on.


    Web Videos 
  • This is a common occurrence in Twitch Plays Pokémon, due to the frequent inability of the viewers to cooperate with each other.
  • Petscop: Marvin does this in episode 8: a good reminder that it's all happening inside a videogame.
  • In an episode of It Seems Marisa has become a TASer, Marisa ends up stuck endlessly walking against a wall because she was attempting to console verify her run but it desynced (i.e. the timing of the button presses doesn't match up with the timing of the actual console).

    Western Animation 
  • In The Simpsons, Marge joins an online game and gets stuck walking into a wall. She comments "how incredibly annoying!" only for Grandpa, who is stuck like this in real life, to respond "tell me about it."
  • Pebbles in The Flintstones frequently crawls into a wall like an errant Roomba, only to have her doting mother pick her up and preposition her heading into a different direction.

    Real Life 
  • Happens pretty often with GPSes, which are frequently based on outdated map systems and can often lead a driver who reacts to its directions at a moment's notice to drive through a spot where something has since been built or turning down a road which no longer exists.
  • Bump N' Go toys are basically this in toy form. They work by having a set of driving wheels on a freely spinning axle that is held still only by the forward movement of the toy, which means that when the toy bumps into a wall and stops, the spinning axle turns the toy in a new direction, hopefully away from a wall, and keeps going. However, sometimes, if the toy bumps the wall at just the wrong angle, or the axle is too close to the wall, the toy will keep bumping and trying to spin around, causing it to bump the wall again and again until picked up and put back on its way.
  • Similarly, automatic vacuum cleaners (usually not made by Roomba themselves, as their pathfinding is fairly robust, but the lower-priced competitors leave much to be desired) can get trapped if trying to navigate a chair whose legs leave a gap just barely big enough for the vacuum cleaner to pass through, as it can get stuck between the "hit an obstacle" and "navigate a chair/table leg" algorithms.
  • In a more sinister example, cats and dogs occasionally display similar behavior, where they'll stand/sit with their faces pressed against a wall. It can be a sign of damage to the nervous system or some other severe illness, so if you see your pet doing this, get them to a vet ASAP.
  • Less unnervingly, pet bearded dragons left to run free will repeatedly and reliably run into walls, trying to lick them like they can't believe they're there. Being creatures native to vast deserts without anything resembling a wall, they simply aren't made to process their existence.
  • The same thing is one of the reasons why it is so hard to keep great white sharks captive.
  • Fairly justified for the visually impaired. To discover the layout of rooms/hallways, constant outlining is all but required for the first few trips. While experienced travelers can typically avoid the more painful collisions, the fact is it's bound to happen regardless. Most take it in good humor.


Video Example(s):


Blair Trigger

Fire Quacker guides Blair Trigger to the kitchen, though she keeps having him bump into walls.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / Wallbonking

Media sources: