- Your rival Lizard Tail in 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker is obsessed with getting to the finish line before you, to the point that he starts out one delivery getting pulled over for speeding, only to spot you driving ahead of him and smash right through a gas station to pull ahead of you. Keep in mind that this is a game about delivering cargo, and any racing is purely incidental.
- Batman: Arkham City: During the climax, when Talia is taken hostage by the Joker, Batman is fully prepared to drop everything to go after them, despite the fact that Strange's Protocol 10 is underway and his mooks are firebombing Arkham City even as he states his intentions. Oracle and Alfred have to cut off his access to the satellites he's using to track Talia's signal to get him back on track.
- At one point in BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, the party is playing a game of Monopoly when theyre suddenly ambushed by a gigantic monster. While everyone else starts running for their lives, Tyalies first instinct is to run back and save her pile of Monopoly bucks.
- In Camp Sunshine, a survival horror video game, a mass murderer dressed as the camp mascot has killed almost everyone in the camp. Yet there's one NPC, a spoiled girl in a luxury cabin, who is far more concerned about whether or not the player character can fix her heating.
- In The Classroom 1, a student kills himself by jumping out a window. Everyone continue working and the teacher is still making sure that no one is cheating. This also apply to the protagonist who is still focused on cheating on a geek despite what happened. Something similar happens again several levels later when someone throw a grenade in the classroom and kill half of the students. The teacher still makes sure that no one is cheating on the exams.
- In the Sega Genesis version of Clue, if the player playing Mr. Green outs himself as the murderer.Mr. Green: I won, I won. I might be going to jail, but I won.
- The denizens of Cookie Clicker are more than a little obsessed with getting their cookies, never mind the world-wrecking catastrophes that their production causes."Unravelling the fabric of reality just makes these cookies so much tastier," claims scientist.
- Good lord, Dead Rising 2:
- Your biggest goal in this game is to provide Katie with Zombrex, a drug that can prevent the infection inside her from turning her into a zombie for 24 hours. This drug isn't easy to find, isn't easy to make, and the cost to buy it is astronomical. One would think getting it would be Chuck's top priority. (And it is.) Unfortunately, it's actually rather easy to be distracted and sidetracked in this game while doing it, not just by fighting zombies, but everything else that Chuck does to get it (and he'll do anything) so it's easy to lose track of time. The game does give you a warning alarm one hour before it's too late, but by then it may just be too late.
- And most NPCs (roughly two thirds) don't even seem to realize they're in danger from the Zombie Apocalypse. Europa's much more concerned with being outside underdressed than the more obvious danger, and is most likely only using that as an excuse to see Chuck shirtless, three poker players are more interested in finishing their high-stakes tournament than getting to safety, three tough-looking bodyguards dressed like call girls won't go with you unless they get paid for extra time, Stuart is risking both his and his girlfriend's lives in order to loot the casino he works at (and have to hit him over the head with something to get him to listen - and he later tries to start a mutiny, requiring you to call him out on his stupidity), two "kings of comedy" won't leave the store they're in until Chuck gives one of them the comedy trophy of the competition they were supposed to be in (and depending on which one of them you pick, the other might be enough of a Sore Loser to demand five thousand dollars to follow you), and Bill refuses to leave the casino you find him in until you reimburse him for all the money he gambled away. The further you get into the game, the dumber these guys get.
- Dragon Wars: The sorcerer Lanac'toor was one of the many causalities of Namtar banning magic, as he was turned to stone and shattered, his pieces scattered across the realm. When you find his journal, one passage in it notes how much harder things have gotten as the persecution began, and that he really should add to his city's defenses... but on the other hand, "I haven't done my laundry in weeks, and it's beginning to smell."
- It's common Dwarf Fortress wisdom that, when given their own choice, a dwarf will always pick the exact worst option at the moment. Looting corpses is often more important than running away from whatever killed those guys in the first place. Dwarven cooks will grab all your seeds as ingredients, no matter how much that leaves to actually plant. Dwarves with important time-critical jobs (like the fort brewer) will go on break whenever you most need them and will refuse to work during that time for anything. Fishing is given more priority than fish cleaning, resulting in your fortress drowning in rotten fish. The dwarf with the highest social skills will be elected mayor, even if they're a known vampire. Nobles punish dwarves for not meeting mandates, no matter how impossible it was to actually fulfil. No matter how easily accessible you make your food stockpiles full of masterwork roasts and alcohol, dwarves will instead pick up the raw plump helmets and then complain about the food. And so on, until you've got a tantrum spiral because some dwarf lost a sock and couldn't be bothered to fetch another.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- The City Guards in Arena don't show up to deal with the dangerous monsters that roam the streets at night. But they do show up to kill the player character if they try breaking into people's houses, killing pedestrians, robbing stores, or sneaking into tavern bedrooms without paying.
- Also true for Morrowind, but includes NPCs as well as City Guards. You can be attacked in your sleep by an Ash Zombie or Dark Brotherhood assassin with a fellow faction member or even Quest Giver not two feet away, yet they won't lift a finger to help you in the fight. Accidentally pick up an "owned" item (thus counting as theft) or attempt to sleep in an owned bed, however, and everyone else inside the building will attack you.
- The blacksmith in the "Ghosts of Vitharn" quest who is so obsessed with the quality of the weapons he makes that he refuses to let the keep's defenders wield them during a siege, in case they get damaged or broken. Justified, since the quest takes place in the realm of the God of Madness, and nearly all the inhabitants are insane in one way or another.
- Speaking of the DLC, should you decide to deal with Sheogorath's Daedric quest in the main game during the later half of the DLC, either Sheogorath or his chamberlain Haskill will lampshade that you deal with Shenanigans in such a grave situation... and then proceed to give you the quest anyway.
- Say you're a bandit, camped out in an abandoned tower in the middle of the forest. Some guy/girl walks up and you decide to rob him. Suddenly, a dragon flies by overhead and starts attacking! What do you do? Why, continue trying to rob the mysterious stranger, of course!
- For whatever reason, enemy NPCs are absolutely fixated on your horse, and will target it instead of you or anything else. Dragons especially have a habit of going after things other than the Dragonborn, with their horse taking top priority. This sometimes results in you entering into a pitched battle with a dragon, only for it to decide to go fly off and fight some bears or mudcrabs hundreds of yards away.
- Fairy Fencer F:
Fang: Then what do I do!? That was a really cool line I just shouted, and it was all for nothing!Eryn: Is *that* what you're worried about!?
- Zenke captures Tiara, thinking that she's "lovers" with Fang and says that if Fang loses against his minions, then he'll have to kill Tiara as punishment. Tiara seems most concerned about the fact that Zenke thinks they're lovers.
- If you manage to pull out all the Goddess's swords, then Fang shouts "Goddess! Awaken! The time for your revival is...now!", but nothing happens. He asks Eryn what he's supposed to do, if there's some sort of magic spell he needs to cast or something, but Eryn admits she has no idea.
- In Fate/stay night the protagonist Shirou is forced to an uneasy alliance with Blood Knight Lancer. He says he'll agree on one condition. Is it that Lancer reveal the identity and goals of his clandestine Master? No, it's that Lancer not try to hit on Shirou's girlfriend Tohsaka. What makes the example unusual is that Lancer finds this (and Tohsaka's spluttering response) hilarious and emphatically agrees it is a more important concern.
- During Fate/Grand Order's crossover event with The Garden of Sinners, Shiki is more concerned that a horse got into the apartment building than she is that the horse is a) visibly undead, and b) ridden by an evil female version of King Arthur. She's also completely unfazed when Oda Nobunaga resurrects after a boss battle, more interested in whether Okita Souji brought her any strawberry ice cream.
- Entering a tournament in a Fighting Game is usually something you should think about first, seeing as in the storylines of such games, there's a very good chance you'll be killed. Thing is, many characters in such games have pretty stupid reasons:
- Skullomania in Street Fighter EX. He was a salesman whose employers made him wear a really dumb-looking super hero costume for a promotion, which oddly enough, inspired him to become a crime-fighter. And he seems to think Chun-Li, Guile, Zangief, and all the other fighters are criminals, because that seems his sole reason for fighting anyone in the game. Still, he doesn't do half bad for a washed-up salesman.
- In Street Fighter IV, most of the characters have some legit reason for entering. Some are trying to bring M. Bison's organization down, some are trying to make a name for themselves, and El Fuerte... Uh, he's trying to find new recipes (someone should tell him this is Street Fighter, not Iron Chef). Seriously, he thinks great fighters eat well and the only way to get them to share info on that is to fight them. Which doesn't truly matter because as his ending shows, El Fuerte is a terrible chef, even E. Honda finding his cooking revolting.
- Speaking of terrible chefs, Marshal Law in Tekken 4 is worse. This guy had a restaurant chain, which failed, not only because the food was bad, but because he tended to deal with critics using physical violence. So he decides that the best way to reopen the same chain (which again, was never a success to begin with) is to enter a contest where he has to fight ninjas, robots, and demons. And, should he succeed, his ending shows that it fails again. For the same reason as before.
- Johnny Cage's goal in the original Mortal Kombat, according to his bio, is to prove he doesn't use stuntmen or special effects in his movies. Seems he thinks a film documentary isn't as convincing as a brutal and bloody battle to the death in his opinion. Exactly how much he knew about the rules - or rather, the lack of them - of the tournament is debatable. The story in the comic shows that his agent warns him that the tournament isn't approved by any legit martial arts organization, while the retcon suggests he's completely clueless.
- Norimoro, the Joke Character from the Japanese version of Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter is little more than a skinny, nervous high school student who can't fight worth beans (he's supposed to be a caricature of Japanese comedian Noritake Kinashi). So why is he fighting the likes of M. Bison, Wolverine, and the Incredible Hulk? Seems he's a Loony Fan of both factions From Beyond the Fourth Wall trying to get pictures and autographs, if his quotes are anything to go by. One has to wonder if some of the good guys the game aren't simply just being nice and holding back to keep from killing him, although why the villains would do so only raises more questions about skewed priorities.
- In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Forde likes to paint in the middle of battle, which could count for this trope on its own. What really makes it excessive, though, is the fact that when Ephraim catches him doing it, he mainly praises Forde for his painting skills.
- Five Nights at Freddy's is rife with Skewed Priorities. On the one hand, we have the management at Freddy Fazbear's, who seem to think that it's a better, more cost-effective idea to hire a security guard to keep watch over the deadly, possibly haunted animatronics than to get the damn things repaired and will fire you if you modify the animatronics in any way, even if it's to make them less dangerous. On the other hand, we have the Player Character: what, on God's green earth, would possess someone to keep coming back to Freddy Fazbear's after surviving the first night of fending off murderous machines? Are they that strapped for cash, or do they just have a death wish? And, isn't a security guard's job to watch over a facility for anyone trying to break in, rather than to protect himself against wandering killer animatronics?
- Horizon Zero Dawn: Main character Aloy at one point comes across a piece of information that defines the entire game, namely the true nature of Zero Dawn. This is information that could topple religions, destroy civilization and up-end the world as it is known, but Aloy considers it worthless because it doesn't contain the clues to her mother's identity she was looking for.
- In the 1st Degree: James Tobin admits to shooting his business partner Zachary Barnes. He also admits to shooting himself in the leg to convince people that it was self-defense. If you make the right moves in the game, you will get to see the prosecutor Sterling Granger beautifully call out Tobin on this, pointing out that "As your partner lay bleeding to death at your feet, your first thought was to protect yourself?"
- KanColle. Your aircraft carriers and battleships are far more likely to spend their shots blowing away weak destroyers or defenceless transport ships rather than the far more dangerous enemy carriers and battleships or, God forbid, bosses. And given the choice between a target with full health and one that's heavily-damaged - this is a game where Critical Existence Failure is NOT in effect, and heavily-damaged foes are thus less of a threat - they tend to prioritise finishing off the weakened one over the one that's more of a threat.
- In LEGO Jurassic World, after fighting off the Pteranodons in the main square, Zara goes and gets a cup of coffee. One of the Pteranodons spots this and swoops in to steal the coffee, Zara stubbornly refusing to let it go before she is dropped into the Mosasaurus tank. She floats around for a bit before the coffee pops up, which she happily returns to enjoying before the Mosasaurus swims up and eats her.
- In The LEGO Movie Videogame, when the heroes build a submarine to escape from Bad Cop, Vitruvius asks for more bricks when he runs out to build walk-in closets.
- Marco and the Galaxy Dragon:
- The Mayor of Gold Cord wants to stop the evil Galactic Conqueror Astaroth because doing so would give her approval ratings a massive boost. Then theres her (initial) reaction to getting snatched up by a Man-Eating Plant:Mayor: Stooooop!!! I cant concentrate on my manifestoooooo!!!
- Rakka Isezaki wont let anyone fire the giant, anti-orbital cannons that her company built specifically to repel alien invaders, despite the fact that theres an alien invasion going on. Shes concerned that actually using the damn things will negatively impact her companys stock, you see.
- The Mayor of Gold Cord wants to stop the evil Galactic Conqueror Astaroth because doing so would give her approval ratings a massive boost. Then theres her (initial) reaction to getting snatched up by a Man-Eating Plant:
- Mass Effect: On Ilos, Liara wants to stay and talk with Vigil, even though Saren is five minutes away from summoning the Reapers to kill everyone everywhere. The other squadmate will even call her on it.
- Mass Effect 3:
- Shepard has led an Alliance assault on Cerberus's long-hidden headquarters, dealing heavy damage to the station, killing scores of Cerberus troops, and infiltrating The Illusive Man's office. So when TIM shows up via hologram in the office, what does he consider most heinous?The Illusive Man: Shepard... You're in my chair.
- The Citadel DLC has at least two of these. When Shepard and friends are locked in an impenetrable vault, Shepard is more concerned with what they sound like when saying "I should go". The second is when the Normandy is taken over, one of the things that happens is that Space Hamster is placed in a disposal bin. Normandy's about to get stolen, and this is what Shepard is raging over. If you don't have a hamster, Shepard will instead get pissed off on the grounds that the villain has gone after their quarters.
- James Vega also has one in the elevator on the way to the shuttle bay during the same crisis.James: Those assholes are in the shuttle bay. My shuttle bay.
Javik: Good. Use your anger.
James: I just know somebody messed around with my weights! I finally had 'em set up right!
Javik: On second thought, do not use your anger.
Kaidan: Priorities, Vega.
Wrex: Damn right! No one touches your stuff.
Garrus: See, normally you wouldn't get to shoot someone who messed with your weights. This is actually better.
EDI: I believe my sense of proprietary outrage trumps yours.
- Shepard has led an Alliance assault on Cerberus's long-hidden headquarters, dealing heavy damage to the station, killing scores of Cerberus troops, and infiltrating The Illusive Man's office. So when TIM shows up via hologram in the office, what does he consider most heinous?
- Mass Effect: Andromeda: During Cora's Loyalty Mission, she gets upset at Ryder scolding the asari Pathfinder for her actions being the reason everything's gone FUBAR on the asari ark. The other squadmate may point out that as an experienced asari commando, Sarissa has probably experienced worse than a human snarking at her before.
- Rose (who is Raiden's girlfriend and plays the role of communications/saving your game) in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty will, usually at the most inopportune times, keep asking Raiden if he "remembers what today is". Raiden, who is trying to focus on neutralizing a group of terrorists and save the U.S. President, doesn't remember until the end of the game where he realizes it's the day that he met Rose.
- In NetHack, the Minetown guards will attack you if you kick a tree or play a bugle, but turn a blind eye to slaughtering all the resident gnomes and dwarves.
- The Nonary Game in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is a tense, 9-hour-long Deadly Game that the participants must win if they want to survive. So repeatedly examining completely inconsequential objects when time is supposed to be of the essence can sometimes invoke this trope. The best examples are Junpei repeatedly looking at a specific ladder in the first room over and over until he launches into a Hurricane of Puns about ladders (keep in mind, this is while the room is slowly flooding and he's minutes away from drowning), and repeatedly looking at a pipe in the final room (when the group has less than an hour to complete the game) until everyone breaks out into spelling "Pipe" in a cheerleading fashion, before Junpei suddenly goes "What the hell are we doing?"
- Persona 5: When your team is faced with cyberterrorists threatening them to reveal their identities as Anti-Hero criminals, Book Dumb party member Ryuji starts imagining how girls are going to fall over themselves for him once they realize he's a Phantom Thief.
- In Pikmin 3, Olimar and Louie return back to the Pikmin planet because Olimar hopes to get enough funds to buy back his ship, the S.S. Dolphin, which was sold in the second game. After their ship gets destroyed by one of the game's bosses and leaves them stranded on the planet, it's still the only thing Olimar can think about. It gets to the point Olimar starts to neglect Louie until Louie finally snaps and can only think about his base survival instincts, leaving Olimar in the process. Despite this, Olimar is still hell-bent on getting his ship back, and eventually gets captured by the game's final boss as a result.
- In Quest for Glory IV, the Paladin refuses to break open a cabinet with a couple of healing potions in it even though the cabinet is located in a temple dedicated to evil and the Paladin would burn it down in a second once he's convinced he has no more use for it. The narrator does a Lampshade Hanging of this.
- Inverted in Senran Kagura: Estival Versus. Homura and her teammates are mocked several times for worrying about keeping their mundane jobs instead of devoting every second they have to training. However, the Crimson Squad is technically in exile, meaning no school to back them, and none of them have families or an inheritance. It's repeatedly shown they're barely making rent and often go hungry, and the people mocking them usually know this. So while their priorities are skewed from the view of their In-Universe peers, to the player, their behavior is completely justified.
- Played around with Shiki, how many shinobi have you seen chatting on a cellphone during a battle? Her excuse is that she's doing it deliberately. Shinobi are trained to uphold traditionalism and honor, and her not giving her opponent her full attention is an insult, and getting angry makes her opponents sloppy. It's remarkable how many otherwise level-headed characters fall for this trick hook, line and sinker.
- In a rare funny moment in Silent Hill 2, James yells at Eddie for sitting around calmly eating pizza while they're in a town overrun by monsters. However, given what Silent Hill is like, it's very possible it's not full of monsters for Eddie.
- Sonic Forces: The Episode Shadow prequel DLC reveals that the entire reason why Infinite willingly let Dr. Eggman perform experiments on him with the Phantom Ruby so he could use its power to become a borderline Omnicidal Reality Warper and help Eggman take over 99% of the planet is pretty much entirely because Shadow had the audacity to call him "weak" after defeating him in a Curb-Stomp Battle...
- In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, during the investigation of the first murder, Gundham decides to find a way under the floorboards to retrieve his Hell Hound earring, which had fallen in a crack in the floor during the party. Interestingly enough, the fact that he managed to get under the floorboards ends up revealing several vital clues as to how the killer murdered the victim.
- Tales of Berseria: Rokurou swears a life debt to Velvet for helping him recover the ancestral sword he has dedicated his life to—except her "help" consisted solely of telling him she spotted the sword in a storeroom a ways back. To contrast, she went to a lot more effort helping him escape a five-hundred-year prison sentence, but he only mentions that as an afterthought. This is eventually revealed to be an In-Universe case of Moral Dissonance. As an immortal Daemon, Rokurou couldn't care less about prison, he'd break out eventually. Meanwhile, the sword is worth more to him than his life on several personal and cultural levels.
- Some What the Hell, Player? messages can call a player out on their own skewed priorities. Take this doozy from TimeSplitters: Future Perfect:"Cortez, you're humanity's last hope for survival AND YOU'RE PLAYING A SLOT MACHINE!"
- Total War: Warhammer has, what else, Dwarfs. These guys have some strange priorities, some of which just don't make any sense. In one instance, you can gain a Grudge quest against Vampires. What did the Vampires do? They massacred a Dawi caravan, and reanimated the corpses to act in a performance of "Southeart Beardcomber and The Ostlander's Wife." The Dwarfs aren't enraged about the horrific murder of a few dozen Dwarfs, however. What enraged them was that they would choose THAT particular play as it is considered to be one of the worst plays ever written.
- Another particular Grudge requires you to send a saboteur to punish a neighboring rival Dwarf clan because they stole a halfling cook whose signature dish was a nutty fig pudding that High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer himself was fond of. You can get this quest while Archaeon and his colossal Chaos host are ravaging the lands of Kislev and the Empire and marching towards Karaz-Ankor itself. Because, as bad as it is that the End Times are upon us and half of the Old World is nothing but burning hellscape dotted with black obelisks and arcane portals, we still simply cannot allow the halfling pudding affront to go unanswered.
- On a Kill 'Em All run of Undertale, if you hang around in the Muffet fight for a while (despite that you could One-Hit Kill her at any time), she'll eventually receive a telegram pointing out that while you're a terrible mass murderer, you haven't killed any spiders. This convinces Muffet to let you go. The dialogue meanwhile reveals that Alphys told Muffet to flee with her and that she'd block off Hotland after she followed her, which would have prevented the player from continuing their rampage, but Muffet refused because "A spider never leaves her web (except to sell pastries)."
- In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the AI sometimes has some...odd priorities (crossing the line into Artificial Stupidity sometimes). Aliens launching an assault on a major city, a wounded XCOM Colonel Badass right in range and out of cover, ripe for the killing...what's that? An unarmed civilian in range? Die! EXALT, despite being an organization of human quislings and not being cloned and bred to be consumed by bloodlust, aren't always much better. So a spec-ops team with fancy gear dropped right in your headquarters. One of them, armed with an extremely powerful shotgun, and who has shown to possess Psychic Powers is in an exposed position, and severely wounded...wait, one of their operatives, being nowhere near as skilled as that special forces girl, and armed with a laser rifle nowhere near as powerful as her shotgun, sitting in a golden cover, has been mind-controlled? Concentrate all available firepower on him!!!
- One of the Side Quests in The Bureau: XCOM Declassified has Carter being sent to stop the Outsiders from launching a nuclear missile from a hijacked silo at Moscow. The game flags this mission as being a "minor" priority, the same as missions to recover alien artifacts and investigate possible alien activity, despite the fact that this mission both involves definite alien activity as well as the prospect of aliens possibly getting control of nuclear weapons. The game considers preventing World War III less of a priority than infiltrating an alien base.
Skewed Priorities / Video Games