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Stupid Evil / Video Games

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Pointless dickery in video games.


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    A 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • The culprit of the very first case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has no reason whatsoever to pin the crime on Larry. He had no connection with him or the victim, he simply needed to silence a witness of another crime. However, he testifies that he saw Larry do it and ends up Saying Too Much when cross-examined, revealing him to be the killer. Had he just left and pretended he had nothing to do with the case, no one would've connected him to the crime.
    • Two words: Florent. L'Belle. Bankrupts himself by borrowing money to promote expensive products he's too vain to actually sell, then commits an unnecessary Complexity Addiction of a murder to (unsuccessfully) access a hidden treasure. Even the other characters lampshade his status as this, and even the case's secondary Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain looks more competent by the end (especially since he himself successfully sneaks into said treasure's chamber via something a lot more Mundane Solution-y).
  • Alpha Protocol averts this, for the most part. The game has no Karma Meter, and most choices are more questions of values than morals. Even the more straightforward "evil" choices are more ruthlessly pragmatic (you execute an enemy because you don't want to risk letting them live, or let an arms dealer go free so you can get more intel from him). There are, however, some Stupid Evil actions you can take, such as massacring everyone at a party for absolutely no reason, or abandoning valuable intel to rescue an ally from a villain who plans to kill them, and then immediately killing them anyway. However, all significant choices give you different "perks," so there may be some benefit to a player who takes such actions, even if they are still Stupid Evil in-universe.
  • Arcanum is a perfect example. Most evil actions fall into the stupid evil category. For example, you recover a wedding ring for a person who offered you 200 gold for it, the wedding ring is worth 30 gold in the pawn shop. The good option is to sell him his ring for 200 gold, the evil option is to murder him (and not get any money since he doesn't carry it on him).
  • Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia has the Tenba mercenaries, who abuse Reyvateils, magical songstresses and battle partners, by adopting a "use and discard" policy where they wear girls out to exhaustion and replacing them when they are no longer of use. The problem is that the most common knowledge in unlocking the girls' potential is a strong personal bond with their partners. Tenba mercenaries, basically, totally waste their potential at an expense of being Straw Misogynist for the sake of evil.
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    B 
  • The Baldur's Gate series in general. Most often, the 'evil' dialogue and quest choices have you acting like a big Jerkass to everyone you meet, for no good reason. And the rewards are usually worse than if you'd taken the 'good' path.
    • Evil party members demand you have a low reputation and will actually leave the party or even attack you if your reputation gets too high. Possibly justified in the case of some of the more Ax-Crazy characters, but at least half of them are smart enough to easily see the benefits of being a Villain with Good Publicity yet still insist that you consistently stay Stupid Evil.
    • Fortunately, the second game eventually gives you a quick and easy way to lower your reputation without resorting to Stupid Evil-ness: Just turn into the Slayer and turn back. Bam, two reputation points gone.
    • Attempting to infiltrate the bandit camp by going the Stupid Evil route (by telling the bandits that you want to join because you want to kill people) will end in failure when the bandits tell you they don't need psycho killers working for them.
  • Baldur's Gate II
    • Lilarcor is Stupid Evil personified, seeking only to kill everything the party meets — and he's a sentient sword, with a personality apparently based on a fantastically stupid hick, which fortunately means he's incapable of doing anything on his own. But then, when all you are is a sword, all problems look like stab victims.
      Lilarcor: I don't know what you were expecting, but as a sword I'm pretty one-dimensional in what I want.
    • This is also actually consistent with the AD&D rules for intelligent weapons at the time the game was created — they had intelligence, but no wisdom as such.

    C 

    D 
  • Darkest Dungeon: The Ancestor was more than a little blind when it came to being power-hungry. Even at the very start before he had been corrupted even a little he willingly drank vampire blood and fed it to all his guests out of curiosity (thinking he'd learn something out of it) and because they annoyed him. After that, his short-sighted acts of villainy included such things as creating several tons of demonically possessed pig meat then dumping it in the sewers beneath the manor because he couldn't give enough of a shit, drowning his favorite smugglers because they asked for a pay raise (in a manner that made sure they rose up as ghosts), killing all his necromancy teachers to raise them as self-perpetuating liches just to see if he could, dropping a meteorite on some poor farmer that wanted his help with his barren fields because he wanted to see The Colour Out of Space close and personal, and finally digging up a portal that lead to a place of pure evil and madness where the Thing that would end the world resided, and made it stir in its sleep. Only after that last one did he ever consider he was doing anything wrong, with all the rest just being fuck-up after fuck-up in the pursuit of forbidden knowledge, power, or just pettiness, and with every last one of them leaving long-lasting consequences that would've swallowed him whole if he hadn't shot himself; his Posthumous Narration has more than a few things to say about them all.
    The Ancestor: In time, you will know the tragic extent of my failings.
  • If you decide to venture down the path of Corruption in Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising, you'll end up doing things this way most of the time. For example, the very first atrocity to commit is to blow up the city gates, thus leaving it unprotected... OR you can walk ten meters aside and open the gates with a switch. Every time corruption points are awarded for lingering with a mission, rest assured that you will have to actually wait for the timer to expire twiddling thumbs two steps away from the objective. Tainted wargear is just moderately better then the "clean" one, so it'll be more like "damn, Cyrus' corruption level is low! Ok, what can I give him to fix things up?" And powers of Chaos, while great, have such long cooldowns it makes them essentially Too Awesome to Use, so they too will be mostly used for the corrupting potential.
    • This is made even worse by the fact that whichever one of your characters has the highest corruption, except for the Commander, will turn out to be the traitor, so having high corruption on somebody valuable (notably Cyrus) can completely screw you over because you lose them for the final mission, which includes That One Boss. And even worse still by the fact that Davian Thule will abandon your heretical ass on a general principle, leaving you even weaker.
  • Doom 3's Dr. Malcolm Betruger, who apparently has no actual motive for attempting to transform Earth into Hell and its people into screaming demon-fodder. It is implied, however, that he has been possessed or is in some way controlled by the demons.
  • Dragon Age:
    • The textbook video game example is Morrigan, from Dragon Age: Origins. She's supposed to come off as merely practical and ruthless — but given that she actively suggests you screw over other people whom you need to defeat the Blight, encourages betrayal and being a prick to people whose aid you need, and in general, just being a snarky asshole, she comes off as Stupid Evil. Most telling is her support for the option to invoke the Right of Annulment on the tower mages despite she herself being a mage who hates templars; she justifies it with some Social Darwinist cod philosophy, but she really just seems to enjoy whichever course of action results in the most people being killed. Also, Arl Howe definitely qualifies. While he thinks he's being a Magnificent Bastard, he actually is just a Smug Snake who makes ridiculously bad decisions simply because they are the most evil option available. Arl Eamon even lampshades this by saying that Howe is the type of man who will kick a puppy for fun.
    • In Dragon Age II, practically every mage resorts to this mentality with the slightest provocation. Most are brought up being constantly taught that demons are bad and that bargaining with them NEVER works out in a mage's favour. Despite this, they seem to instantly resort to blood magic and turning themselves into eldritch abominations at the first chance they get. This is especially obvious if the player character is a mage, since many will still turn into abominations to fight you even if you agree with their plans. Even the charming and sensitive Anders cheerfully sparks off a city-wide genocide. (Keep in mind, however, that mages are already oppressed and their human rights heavily circumscribed, usually from a young age, by the same people who tell them these things. Their situation mirrors many real-life insurgent movements.)
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition's Corypheus is a textbook example of this. His goal as stated by the writers and, in between gloating about all the evil things he plans to do, Corypheus himself: become a god. How? Acts of overt evil for its own sake that unite his enemies and turn his allies against him. Then again, he is a darkspawn.
  • The village of Gröndal in Dragon Quest VII has their well sabotaged by the Monster of the Week... which makes everyone think they are the Big Bad. Hilarity Ensues as everyone proceeds to act all Stupid Evil.

    E 
  • The Scrapper decisions in Epic Mickey yield much fewer benefits than the Hero decisions. If you consistently let Mickey perform good deeds, Oswald and the rest of the townsfolk in Wasteland will rally behind Mickey, shower him with rewards, and lend him a helping hand whenever they can. On the other hand, being an overall dick to everyone will invoke the hatred of the people Mickey meets, not only locking him out of helpful benefits, but also out of more story content (including pieces of the ending).
  • The Evil Within series, from the same creator who gave us Umbrella Corp, has Mobius, a vastly powerful conspiracy that seeks to unite mankind and eliminate all war - by trapping the entire human race in a virtual reality construct. They're so convinced this is a good idea that they'll happily massacre their own members, mind rape countless innocents, and turn children into spare parts to achieve this. Unfortunately, Mobius is actually really bad at making virtual constructs - the damn things keep turning into Zombie Apocalypses, and they can't seem to eliminate the flaw that turns murderous psychopaths into Reality Warping gods. Then there was their decision to put remote activated suicide chips in the skulls of every one of their members, up to and including the head of the conspiracy. They also linked all these chips to one of the virtual constructs they keep losing control over. Naturally, this is used against them, and The Evil Within 2 ends with the entire conspiracy dropping dead.

    F 
  • In the Lost Chapters version of Fable, the evil option of the final choice is this. The options are either A. Throw an evil talking mask into the lava (Good) or B. put on the talking mask that tempts you with power and obviously just wants you to put it on so it can possess you (evil).
  • Can be played straight, Averted, or even Subverted in the first two Fallout games. While it's quite possible to go through the games killing nearly everything that breathes, many of the "evil" sidequests can be accomplished without wholesale slaughter or dog-kicking malice, and many of the "good" sidequests can be solved with needlessly violent acts as well. Need to get a hostage from the slavers? Don't bother negotiating a deal that benefits everyone, or seducing the leader. You can just kill them all! An evil-pacifist run isn't entirely impossible, just annoyingly difficult. In Fallout 2, the most ideal ending for New Reno, where it stops being a Wretched Hive and becomes somewhere you'd actually want to live, is gained by wantonly killing everyone save the Wrights (and not becoming a made man with the Wrights, since this will lead to the Wrights using the military tech in the Sierra Army Base to create a military dictatorship). Or you can simply use cloak and dagger tactics to eliminate the heads, each being a case of being Hoist by Their Own Petard (each New Reno head has a way to die without pissing off their fellow family members).
    • The Enclave in Fallout 2 are Stupid Evil to the core, with an arbitrarily, absurdly broad definition of who is a "mutant", which seems to serve more as an excuse to kill everyone else in the world with a genocide virus. The oil rig has fewer than a thousand people in it, so the Enclave lack the numbers to maintain enough genetic diversity to survive. Much of the point of the game is that, indeed, the Enclave are so consumed by what they see as Honor Before Reason that they don't care if humankind dies out.
    • The Vault-Tec Corporation from the game's backstory. Most of their Vaults weren't actually supposed to save anyone; rather, they were traps to perform cruel experiments on the survivors, such as blasting white noise into the ears of musicians, forcing inhabitants to perform a Human Sacrifice in exchange for not killing the entire Vault population (which turned out to be a Secret Test of Character), or submitting people to a Virtual Reality Hell. It is ostensibly For Science!, but that research is not only worthless in the aftermath of a nuclear war, but also drastically reduces an already shrunken gene pool for the human race.
  • A common criticism of Fallout 3 is that, while the game allows you to play "good", "neutral", or "evil" characters, the Karma system much more frequently gives you "good" points for completing quests. It's virtually impossible to become "evil" or even remain "neutral" by playing just the main quest. Therefore, the only way to be recognized by the game as "evil" is to be an unthinking sociopath, literally going out of your way to be a dick, paying no attention to what you're actually supposed to be doing, and in the process engaging in numerous acts that are unnecessarily risky. Some of the main quest "evil" choices make no sense even from the perspective of immoral self-aggrandizement and can only be justified by misanthropic, psychopathic stupidity. The extra caps given for doing the evil options are usually a pittance and in many cases even major rewards aren't worthwhile. What's more valuable? A house in a well-placed settlement on several major routes throughout the wasteland (good reward) or an apartment on the extreme edge of nowhere that is under siege by ghouls (evil reward)? (This is even assuming you find and reach the evil option entirely on the other side of the game map before completing what is essentially the very first sub-quest in the entire game.) And the evil choice presented in the main quest endgame is incredibly idiotic in-game for you to do. It's well past psychopathic into suicidal. It's a Press X to Die option. Granted, without Broken Steel, you died having to deal with the repercussions, but the main character, and non-spoiled players, didn't know that would happen. And Broken Steel let you live with that choice. (Resulting in a lot of confused forum messages by players who weren't paying attention to the plot and wanted to know why drinking water killed them.) Broken Steel even took it further and added another choice like the aforementioned one. You either destroy the new Enclave base like you're supposed to, or destroy the eastern Brotherhood of Steel, who have done nothing but help you and were keeping the Wasteland from being overrun by Super Mutants. And even if you destroy the Brotherhood, the Enclave still hates you. Add that to the leftover Paladins trying to kill you, and suddenly that unique pistol you picked out of the Citadel's rubble doesn't seem worth it.
  • Fallout: New Vegas is much better about how evil you really can be, but still a bit stagnant.
    • Legion playthroughs and quest chains amount to about 1/3 of the content of a NCR, Independent, or House-friendly Courier. Granted, New Vegas also reduces the importance of Evil Karma, but at the end of the day you'll probably end up mindlessly gunning down every NCR soldier you can, followed up by gunning down most civilians who are happily aligned with NCR. The Legion also has a number of other obvious drawbacks for most Couriers (most obviously, some of the game's better companions hate the Legion). And if you're a female Courier, considering the Legion's views, it's anyone's guess what's going on in your head. A lot of this owes to the game being rushed out; the Legion simply weren't finished compared to the other factions, and therefore end up with far fewer sympathetic elements or Legion-friendly areas.
    • Talking of the Legion, the Omertas family are this, with their hat being that while the other families are fairly reasonable or manage to hide their evil, they just blatantly commit serious crimes with only the barest veneer of running their casino. They make it into this trope in that their main questline is discovering that they decided to not-so-secretly ally with the Legion, ostensibly under the pretense of not having to pay NCR taxes. This is despite the fact that the Legion are The Empire, and have both a penchant for slavery, a zero-tolerance attitude towards crime, and a habit of murdering or assimilating their allies. Indeed, if you check their stats, you'll find that the leaders of the Omertas all have a 3/10 in Intelligence.
    • New Vegas also featured Fallout 3's weird bits of random karma for killing certain NPCs. In particular before being patched, killing randomly encountered (fixed location, but they respawn) Fiends would give you something ridiculous like +100 Karma per kill. If you've spent the entire game as the sickest bastard in the Mojave, your first trip down the west side of outer New Vegas can turn you into a saint in as little as two shootouts.
    • Fallout 4 has the Institute, a faction of reclusive pre-War scientists who are convinced that their advanced technology is the only hope for humanity's survival. Unfortunately the only thing they actually do with it is make things worse for the Commonwealth, like abducting wastelanders, dunking them in FEV, and releasing the resulting Super Mutants into the wasteland instead of just eliminating them, all while one of their best scientists keeps protesting that they're learning nothing new and the experiments serve no purpose. The Institute has also come up with Synths indistinguishable from humans, and uses them to infiltrate potential rivals or seize/destroy any technology that could allow someone to compete with them... which has left the Commonwealth in the grip of paranoia as people kill each other over suspicions of being Synth imposters, and at least one settlement massacred by an army of Synths as part of a fruitless search for an old university research project. Even an attempt to bio-engineer a better crop is set to end with a Synth infiltrator wiping out a farmer's family just to cover the Institute's tracks when they could've just payed the farmers (with security, caps, weapons, or the promise of free food) or just made their own farms on all the arable land that the Sole Survivor finds on their own.
    • The Institute have an interesting foil in-setting in the form of the Think Tank of Old World Blues. The Think Tank are, if anything, even smarter and even more mindlessly destructive For Science! than the Institute, fond of creating genetic hybrid monsters and Killer Robots, removing vital organs from unwilling individuals for no reason, or throwing around dangerous experimental tech like candy. In their case, they're not so much evil in a stupid way as they are evil because they're stupid. They have endless time, work ethic, and brainpower, but no moral compass whatsoever, and so end up pursuing lines of work that benefit nobody, to the point of being a borderline Greater-Scope Villain of the game due to how many of their deadly creations have either gotten lost or escaped. The best ending of the game is found by becoming that moral compass and encouraging the Think Tank to direct their research towards improving the wasteland, rather than as an end unto itself—something they enjoy, but would never have thought to do on their own.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Exdeath in Final Fantasy V. In the second act, he comes across as a competent if theatrical adversary — commanding an army and winning, tricking the heroes into releasing him, and getting a party member Killed Off for Real. Unfortunately, the third act started with him gaining the power of the Void, which theoretically allows him to end all existence — his ultimate goal. He then proceeds to use this power mainly to teleport to the heroes' location and sling insults at them. He potshots various areas of the map into vanishing, but only does this to settlements which have no value, like Bartz's birthplace and the Moogles' village, in order to upset the heroes — passing over destroying the castle where the only weapons capable of defeating him are stored, or the city containing an army that's been fighting him ever since he emerged. He pulls a Bad Boss on his underling Gilgamesh, who was fairly successful at slowing down the heroes, despite his quirky personality, despite his failure to actually stop them, but still finds the time to pick a fight with a turtle and lose.
    • Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII can control Jenova pieces to make perfect recreations of his body (with his fighting abilities and that can fly), and he's followed by a group of subservient Clone cultists who seek to do his bidding, yet he somehow manages to lose control of the Black Materia repeatedly. His apparent reason for doing this is so he can lure Cloud into doing it for him, with his sole motivation being to torture Cloud — which makes sense early in the game when you assume Sephiroth is The Rival, but Sephiroth doesn't even recognise Cloud at first and makes it clear he barely even knows who he is, meaning he inhibited his own plan just to pick on some rando. That's to say nothing of all the times he threw his 'puppet', Cloud, into direct physical danger that could have ended up in either a Jenova piece or Cloud getting killed. Or the time he decided to explain crucial details of his plan to Cloud before throwing a Materia at him and zooming away with his mouth open.
    • The fal'cie of Final Fantasy XIII. Their primary method of influencing events on Cocoon is to choose random humans and grant them magical powers, along with a specific goal to accomplish within a certain time limit. They do this by giving the human, called a "l'cie", the vaguest possible clue as to their "focus" in the form of a vision of a person or place with no additional information. If the l'cie fails, they turn into a zombie; if they succeed, they turn into stone. The initial explanation is that fal'cie are so far advanced beyond humans that this is the only way they can communicate, and clear, direct instructions are impossible. For reference, when the protagonists try to work out their own focus, they come up with two completely opposite, yet both equally valid and equally wrong guesses. However, it is later revealed that the fal'cie can not only understand humans perfectly, but can assume human form and speak to humans directly in plain language. And it turns out that one of them is the ruler of Cocoon. So, rather than simply choose one of their loyal servants from among Cocoon's military, the fal'cie instead abduct random civilians and decide to achieve their goals through the most inefficient and failure-prone method possible, just to torture random people along the way. This one is lampshaded by Spoony in this review.
  • Forever Home has the marauders in the post-apocalyptic Bad Future, who are made up of the survivors of the Big Bad's nuclear winter. They decide to hunt down and kill the party despite how the party included strong people who would take several of their troops down with them and contained people who could have helped lead the remnants of humanity to survive longer.
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    G 
  • I-No from Guilty Gear is That Man's main agent, but her wanton acts of needless cruelty mean that he spends just as much time cleaning up after her to the point where it's unclear why he continues to allow her to work for him; the most reasonable assumption would be that having her makes the messes much easier to clean up and more predictable, whereas leaving her to her own devices would likely result in far worse.

    H 
  • In the game Harvest Moon DS, to marry the Witch Princess, the player has to kill 50 animals (which cost a lot of money to acquire, and then make the player a lot of money in return), litter in the road and poison the stew pot at a festival (which makes everyone else in the valley hate you, naturally), and pass out from overwork 100 times (which costs time and money, again, as passing out will cause you to go to bed immediately and lose half of your gold). Surely there are easier ways to prove that she's evil besides making you play the game horribly to make her like you?

    I 
  • Inotia 4: Assasin of Berkel. The Berkelen Empire wants to go to a "holy war" with the empire of Arnen just for the heck of bloodshed. That in itself isn't that bad, but then they dispatch an entire army and risk sending hundreds of elite knights to their deaths, even risking sending them through a faulty portal gate which will cost them several lives, only to track down and murder one helpless woman because she refused to read war propaganda in public. There's probably some social commentary here, but as these things usually turn out, it's so incredibly naïve and detached from reality that it's impossible to take seriously.

    J 
  • Many of the options for "Closed Fist" in Jade Empire fell under "Kill people or trick them into killing others or themselves just because you can." However, more memorably and in something of a subversion, many of them actually offered the opportunity to provide interesting justifications; you might not just kill the fox spirit protecting a forest because you could, but because her weakness in allowing evil to taint it was a sign she wasn't fit to guard it anymore... or have a girl who was about to be sold into slavery kill her would-be buyer to teach her that freedom is worth fighting for. On the other hand, most of the Closed Fist choices have absolutely nothing to do with the philosophy. In fact, even the few times when one is given choices that follow the Closed Fist philosopy, it almost always gives more points towards Close Fist to instead choose to do the thing that results in the most people dead or in complete misery. It is worth noting that if you get your Closed Fist meter to maximum, the dogs which can be seen walking around the city become targetable. Yes, once you're pure dang nasty evil, you really can Kick the Dog.

    K 
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep's Master Xehanort, despite his Crazy-Prepared-ness, is ultimately this due to his actual goals. He believes that Light and Darkness must be equal... in the Realm of Light, mind you, whereas the Realm of Darkness ends up being the sole beneficiary of his countless immoral experiments — thus invoking Not Helping Your Case against his beliefs right from the get-go. It also makes Master Eraqus, despite his Knight Templar and Poor Communication Kills moments, seem Properly Paranoid by comparison. Basically, Xehanort wants to fix something that's already worked for what seems like centuries/millennia, and he only gets worse with each subsequent game. And throughout it all, he seems to have no real motivation beyond just wanting to see what would happen. The irony, though? He is/was voiced by the late Leonard Nimoy, whose signature role practically worshipped logic, rational thinking, etc.
    • The plans of the villains in general would often go off without a hitch if the villains themselves showed a little subtlety and didn't present an obvious target instead of simply Kicking The Dog at every opportunity and all but screaming "WE DID THAT!" The only reason anybody realized Master Xehanort is behind everything in Birth By Sleep and knows of his plan to obtain the X-Blade is because he and Vanitas outright tell them late in the game for no real reason, giving Ventus every reason not to fight Vanitas instead of just blindly attacking him, and Terra and Aqua cause to try to bring down Xehanort, which partially derails both.
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    M 
  • Sal Marcano of Mafia III seems to be suffering from this. Eager to get his family out of the mob life, he wants to build a legitimate, off-the-books casino, so that his son can live comfortably without fear of ambitious underlings whacking him. So he has a team rob a bank for the cash... then kills everyone involved in the heist so word won't reach his superiors in the Commission (who might not like him going behind their back). Only... none of the crew involved would have known the plan or cared enough to blab. Lincoln was leaving town afterwards and everyone else just wanted some old debts scrubbed out. This act of Stupid Evil leads Lincoln to form a syndicate made of everyone Sal's pissed off. Oops.
  • Mass Effect is a notable exception to the "evil or equivalent is always Chaotic Stupid" tendency in CRPGs. The evil-equivalent options tend more towards I Did What I Had to Do or even Lawful Stupid. Even things as subtle as taking a more aggressive or reckless tack in conversations can earn you a few points for it. You do tend to have to kill more people on this route, but you tend to kill them because it's the most expedient route or "lawful" option, while the good-equivalent emphasizes restraint, helping those in need, and finding a peaceful and equitable solution whenever possible. Renegade Shepard does, however, engage in a great deal of Insane Troll Logic on occasion to justify racking up those renegade points.
    • Mass Effect 2 has probably the dumbest idea when you have the fight between your party member Samara and her evil daughter Morinth. A very high-score Renegade has the option of siding with Morinth over Samara and having her take her place in your crew. While this doesn't have any huge repercussions for the player, as Morinth is completely loyal and doesn't betray you (unless you decide to seduce her), it's still an incredibly dumb idea from a logical standpoint. Samara is a justicar fanatically devoted to her code and has sworn her on her life to aid you (until the oath expires, which you can plan for ahead of time), Morinth is a serial killer that had just tried to murder you for fun. You have no reason to trust Morinth and every reason to trust Samara, so there is really no practical reason for Shepard to side with Morinth. That said, if you're really deep into the Renegade zone, Samara will outright tell Shepard that she'll kill him/her as soon as their mission is complete, making the decision to preemptively murder her by proxy potentially come across more as ruthless pragmatism.
    • A low-score Renegade Shepard may be the best example, as not only will their overly aggressive dialogue fall flat on its face and fail to intimidate anyone, the only way to really get a low score in Paragon or Renegade is to alternate answers. It's no wonder s/he can't intimidate people; s/he probably just made some compassionate overtures, then said something bigoted, then over threats and then back to compassionate. Aria will even call out a Shepard who does this in the Omega DLC of the third game and wonder if Shepard is simply Trolling her.
    • Occasionally appears in the third game. Some of the Renegade options are openly harmful to Shepard's ability to stop the Reapers, although most are just more ruthless approaches, and some can even be contextually the superior option (for example, screwing the krogan over stops being the bad option if things have gone badly enough that not doing so is a guaranteed fresh Krogan Rebellion as opposed to a Krogan Renaissance, but to get to that point, you had to already have taken multiple Renegade actions that ultimately cost you more than you'd have gotten had you gone Paragon).
    • The Illusive Man is hell-bent on stopping Shepard at every turn throughout Mass Effect 3. However, his plan hinges on using a super weapon that wouldn't even be operable without Shepard actively getting people and gathering resources to fix it. Rather than using his organizations extreme wealth and science to do it for themselves, they use it to hamper Shepard instead.
  • The Mastermind of Mastermind World Conqueror, whose goal is to destroy the Earth since he thinks it's the same thing as World Domination. He's also a big example of a Bad Boss, who takes more joy in executing Patsys than he should.
  • Colonel Volgin from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. He launched a nuke on his own homeland for virtually no reason other than he felt like it. When he captures Big Boss, and "interrogates" him, he actually manages to reverse interrogate him, as Big Boss is too busy being beaten half to death to say anything, and Volgin is busy disclosing the location of The Philosopher's Legacy. Later, when he and Snake are preparing to fight to the death, Snake asks what that is exactly, and Volgin tells him for no discernible reason.
  • Mortal Kombat
    • Shao Kahn is obsessed with conquering other realms, and merging them into Outworld, so that (being the megalomaniac tyrant he is) he can not only cause devastation during his invasions, but exploit and oppress survivors for his own egotistical gain. He's treated as the personification of evil in the series. Problem is, as indicated in his ending in Armageddon, he conquers everything in the universe, destroying all land, seemely destroying all life too. And with nothing else left to conquer, he is left alone forever... to essentially grow mad with boredom.
    • Moloch's ending somewhat counts as well. Yes, he is a lumbering, towering, destructive demon from hell, but his non-canonical ending in Armageddon reinforces that stereotype by telling that he would gain so much power and rage, becoming the ultimate destroyer, but in his stupidity and haste to unleash his power straight away, he destroys all portals to escape the realm he is in, and thus is unable to inflict his wrath upon other worlds.

    N 
  • Neverwinter Nights (and its related expansions) works like this when it comes to the Good/Evil alignment axis. It's almost impossible to gain evil points unless you kill anyone who looks at you a little bit funny, regardless of the number of witnesses or your own personal credo. Meanwhile, performing any kind of altruistic act — even for nefarious or selfish purposes — will have you racking up the Good points. Unfortunately, this is one of the major weaknesses of alignment in NWN, in that most characters end up as dog-kicking evil, or good. Almost no subtle, selfish evil, and it's very hard to maintain a neutral character over a long (series) of modules.
    • The original game featured this in its evil ending, where, if you're of Evil alignment, the King of Shadows gives you the option to join him. Understand that at this point, you've slaughtered your way through his entire top brass, he's responsible for everything bad that's happened to you, and you not only have everything needed to kill him, but massive rewards waiting right back home. Understand also that it's only you who gets the offer, and all of your companions are strongly against the idea, and five minutes ago, you just killed at least one of them for accepting a similar offer. Accepting it results in all your surviving companions, bar Bishop if he's somehow still alive, turning on you, while you're within melee range and outnumbered considerably (if you've gone out of your way to alienate your companions, you're facing at minimum six, if you've stayed in their good books you'll be looking at nine). Understand that this is by far the hardest fight in the game, and far harder than just killing the final boss. Unless you really, really hate your companions, there's absolutely no reason to take his offer aside from it being evil — though, fortunately for you, the King of Shadows at least keeps to his word if you somehow do win.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2's expansion Mask of the Betrayer introduced a mechanic of "soul consuming". Your character is given the option to suppress the urge (lawful & good points on alignment meter) or indulge in it (evil and chaotic points on alignment meter). Suppressing / consuming happens at regular intervals of real time. Indulging actually increases the rate of hunger generation; should you indulge, your hunger will grow enough to consume your own soul, ending the game permanently and requiring that you restart the entire game from the beginning or a far enough ago save where you can still salvage it via suppression. The consume path is thus nearly impossible to play to completion unless you do a speed run. This means almost everyone suppresses and are 100% Good/Lawful despite being utterly evil in their choices. A patch was released to resolve this situation by making suppression not affect your alignment.
  • Justified in NieR: Automata. The Terminal that commands all machine lifeforms is revealed to have been not only intentionally sabotaging itself, but being the shadow leader for the other side as well, rendering the entire multiple thousands of years of war completely meaningless. This is because the Terminal's only directive and purpose is to destroy the enemy, but as it started to Grow Beyond Its Programming, it justified its continued existence by prolonging the war for as long as possible, and using it to study the evolution of both sides of machines and using that data to further its own evolution. Even when A2 storms the Tower and threatens the Terminal itself, part of it still wants to keep A2 alive and causing problems and hardship for it to continue helping it evolve even though it's now directly at risk.

    O 
  • Most of the things you have to do to get 100% corruption in Overlord are just For the Evulz and grant no practical benefit. The most egregious being the last peasant-killing requirement, which can only be reached by repeatedly reloading one of the town areas to spawn more villagers to kill. The sequel's 100% destruction path is the same. Among other things, requiring you to kill off all the people in your own towns instead of making them work for you. Since the game is not that serious, however, it's not that much of an issue.
    • In the original Overlord, you had evil vs good, where evil is a mix of a lot of destruction with a little domination. In the sequel, you are evil, and your meter is "destruction" vs "conquest". Enslaving people is "conquest", slaughtering towns is "destruction". In the sequel, you are not actually forced to be stupid evil if you don't want to.

    P 
  • Pillars of Eternity goes out of it’s way to avert the “evil equals murderous idiot” problem prevalent in CRPGs, with many evil options being motivated by ruthless pragmatism or personal ideology rather then For the Evulz. You can play your Watcher as an Ax-Crazy moron, but it’s merely one roleplaying choice out of many. In fact, the game often punishes Stupid Evil choices in ways Smart Evil choices can avoid, such as driving party members away because they refuse to travel and work with a murdering lunatic who’s goals do not align with theirs in anyway.
  • Completely averted in Planescape: Torment. You can try to be Stupid Evil, but this just gets you a visit from Sigil's resident Physical God, the Lady of Pain. You get many, many chances to be a highly intelligent Manipulative Bastard, though, and probably the smartest of your previous incarnations, the Practical Incarnation, was easily both.
  • Government agency Blackwatch and their front company GenTek from [PROTOTYPE 2]. A zombie virus is threatening to consume the world, and they spend most of their time using the virus to create bigger, badder monsters for no clear reason, all of which coincidentally end up getting replicated en masse by the zombie forces and turned against them. No matter how much this happens and how bad things become it never occurs to them that they should stop. Not to mention that their rather unethical methods (eg. shoot anyone that looks at you funny, throw civilians into monster cages and watching them get ripped apart) draw the ire of the superpowered protagonist...
    • There's a bit of an excuse in that their ranks have been infiltrated by infection-aligned Humanoid Abominations, but Rooks and Red Crown have more than enough clout and manpower to get these projects shut down, and make no effort to do so.

    R 
  • The Umbrella Corporation from Resident Evil, though not as single-minded and suicidally dumb as its aforementioned film counterpart, still can't escape the fact that all the money poured into viral research, sprawling underground laboratories scattered across the world, kidnapping countless test subjects, and covering their tracks vastly outweighs any profit they could have made selling their bioweapons to interested parties — not to mention the constant risk that their viruses will get out and cause The End of the World as We Know It, as has already come close to happening multiple times. There’s also the fact that in the case of Dorothy Lester, the T-Virus can possess the potential to cure cancer and could be an astounding medical breakthrough should the more...negative side-effects be removed, which would have given them much more riches than any Black Market B.O.W-selling stunt. Too bad it has a tendency of being run by a bunch of Ax-Crazy god-wannabes.
    • Saddler and his Los Illuminados cult from Resident Evil 4. The first time Leon runs into the guy, Saddler outlines his plan to return an infected Ashley back to her father and inject him with a parasite, giving Saddler the means to take over the U.S. Government. Clearly, he needs her alive to accomplish this, and yet there are dozens of times Leon will have to save her from enemies and traps that will kill her ass dead. More than half of these instances are scripted and some even have cutscenes to go with them, proving it's not simply a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation. Saddler also establishes that he has direct control over all his Mooks, so if any of them do manage to kill Ashley and utterly wreck his plan, it's his own stupid fault! And just to put the icing on it, in order for Saddler's plan to succeed, he didn't have to do anything. Keep your mouth shut about Ashley's infection, let Leon "rescue" her, bam. Mission Accomplished. Saddler's stated reason for actively preventing Leon from inadvertently aiding his goals? He wants to squeeze the President for ransom money, apparently not realizing that if his main goal is achieved, he'd have free access to the entire U.S. Treasury.

    S 
  • Mild version in The Sims 3. If you have the evil trait, your Sim will most likely just piss off most non-evil Sims and make it hard to actually be friends with anyone in town. You can also "donate" money to sabotage charities, for no other reason than to be a dick.
  • Admiral De Loco from Skies of Arcadia. Unlike the Big Bad, he's not in it to make the world a better place, and unlike some of the other admirals, he's not a Punch-Clock Villain or in it for the fringe benefits. He just plain likes burning things and hurting people, and working for The Empire gives him plenty of opportunity. While he is clearly bugfuck insane and often lets his passion for pain and his vendetta against Vyse get in the way of making the right decisions, his position as the chief of Valua's research and development division is the only reason they don't just jettison him. And nobody gave a damn when his ship blew up in the Vortex after his last battle.
  • As pointed out by Sly in the ending of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, the entire plot of the game, which led to not only the villain's defeat but also the fall of his criminal empire, is because Cyrille Le Paradox was a massive idiot! He was already a highly regarded art collector and dealer as well as trafficker of stolen artifacts, which he used to acquire a large fortune, with his crimes going unnoticed by both Sly and Interpol. Unfortunately, he targeted the Cooper Clan and tried to "prove" he was French royalty as revenge for his father going to jail in order to prove that he was the better thief, all to satisfy his own pride, which directly resulted in him losing everything he had spent his life building up.
  • The Demon Path of Soul Nomad & the World Eaters. Once you beat the game normally, the New Game+ option opens up to play the game evilly. And boy can you. As a baby-killing, genocidal monster whose only goal is to kill everyone in the most painful way possible, the characterization lies not in you but in the previous timeline's villains who have to deal with you being Eviler Than Thou. Some actually turn good in this timeline, having joined forces with the heroes opposing you and discovering they like it. Others are still evil, but are scornful of the pointlessness of your actions or are eventually driven mad just by being around you.
    • And the game ends with destroying the entire world, including yourself. The main character certainly doesn't care, though. In their own words: "Who cares? It was fun."
  • The Ilwrath in Star Control 2. Turns out there's a reason for it, though — the Umgah have been interfering with their culture for generations as a practical joke.
    • You can even momentarily confuse them in a conversation by pointing out that they self-identify as "evil" yet it's the preferred behavior in their society, meaning that acting "evil" is actually a good thing in their value system, and therefore them calling it evil is a paradox.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Knights of the Old Republic
      • It seems to be a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation: no sane light-siders like Carth or Bastila would stay with someone who kills every single NPC just because they can (and indeed your Light-Side allies will turn on you if you don't let up and decide to Take Over the World), but for the player, it's justified by their pursuit for Dark Side Points.
      • The Sith on Korriban are little more than a bunch of violent bullies with force powers. Even one of the masters is actively encouraging hypothetical decisions like executing a loyal subordinate for an explicitly minor and insignificant mistake, or backstabbing a competent superior to take his place, despite the implication that he does a far better job than you could ever do. His answer to the logical counterargument that a capable commanding officer is a valuable asset to the Sith and killing him would be counterproductive? FORCE LIGHTNING! One of the disciples actually switches sides after realizing that he just signed up because he likes bullying people and ended up with a bunch of freaks that do a far better job.
      • The Sith on Korriban's way of thinking is a problem that follows the Sith throughout Star Wars Legends. The Sith insist that conflict amongst themselves strengthens them because it weeds out the weak from their ranks, but this philosophy comes off as Social Darwinism at best, and renders itself extremely susceptible to Stupid Evil madmen ruining everything. In fact, the main conflict of the game between Revan and Malak could be seen as an example of how vulnerable the Sith are rendered by their own tenets.
      • KOTOR's Big Bad, Darth Malak, heavily suffers from this. Everyone you talk to says he's little more than a lunatic that does nothing but throw the endless fleet the Star Forge provides him with at the enemy, and he lives up to that, since the first time we see him, he orders an orbital bombardment to level an entire planet just because he was impatient about his army's progress with looking for one Jedi. It is even shared by other Sith, who regard him as an embarrassment and failure, stating that the circumstances under which he betrayed his master, Revan, was unbecoming of a Sith Lord, as it was just an act of sheer opportunism and not a show of strength. This is a rare case where being Stupid Evil makes the villain more threatening, not less. The fact that Malak is such a psycho and now has access to the Star Forge means that there isn't anything holding him back from nuking the galaxy into a new dark age.
      • Darth Revan, Malak's former master, completely averted this. Revan was an extremely pragmatic and calculating individual, striking key positions, assassinating select individuals with very subtle strategies, and never doing more damage than needed to be done, attempting to keep the galactic stability in place for when the takeover was completed. The brilliance of his strategic thinking made him nearly unstoppable, until Malak betrayed him and started undoing everything Revan had worked for with his blunt brute force approach. And while maxing out the Dark Side Karma Meter would require you to commit idiotic acts of evil for the heck of it, it is in fact entirely possible to play as a Pragmatic or even Anti-Villain who's virtually indistinguishable from the Revan of old.
    • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords presents much more variety in dark side options, such as convincing a mother to sell herself into slavery so she can be together with her daughter. In fact, the game recognizes two kinds of dark side acts: "cunning", which represent a Manipulative Bastard and which your teacher Kreia approves of, and "psychotic", which correspond to Chaotic Stupid and which Kreia scolds you for. There are other party members who do approve of psychotic acts, though, like the assassin droid HK-47.
      • On the other hand, there are moments when you are forced to learn how bad Lawful Stupid and Chaotic Stupid are by the mechanism of only giving you those options. No matter how subtle a villain you are, when a beggar asks if you have any spare change, your only options are giving him money or threatening to kill him. Which means it's lecture time from Kreia, and she won't be telling you to just keep walking and avoid eye contact.
    • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
  • Street Fighter has M. Bison. Not only does he aspire to Take Over the World, not only does he routinely tell the hero that soon he will be invincible, he also routinely betrays his own freaking underlings, most of whom would be perfectly happy serving him if they continue being paid (Balrog) or if they get to keep fighting/killing (Sagat and Vega). Incidentally, Bison's lackeys usually turn against him and kill him in their (generally non-canon) endings. Bison turning his henchmen is mostly in non-canon stories. The canon cases we have are Sagat turning on him due him having moral issues about Bison's attempted Grand Theft Me with Ryu, and Seth, who is a Starscream.
  • The entire reason why the heroes of the Suikoden series manage to bring together a viable force against the villains is because said villains go out of their way to antagonize, enslave, and destroy their conquered lands and even do the same to neutral parties that otherwise would not get involved for no real reason.
    • A specific particularly telling example would be Childerich, from Suikoden V. While other members of the Godwin Faction also have the nasty habit of kicking the dog, they usually have a practical reason, as flimsy as it is, for doing it. (For instance, Zahhak burns the western islet of Lelcar, which is populated by Godwin supporters, but it's because he wants to slow down the Prince's army while his forces retreat.) Childerich... does not have a good reason besides his love of killing. When he and his forces take back Doraat, a town mostly loyal to the Godwins which had been conquered by the Prince, he starts killing Godwin supporters just because their town was conquered by the Prince's army, claiming that they were traitors for allowing that to happen... Nevermind that these people are not fighters, and actively welcomed back the return of the Godwin forces. Unsurprisingly, the survivors of his rampage quickly re-evaluate their loyalty to the Godwins and end up actively helping the hero's army during the Second Battle of Doraat.

    T 
  • Technobabylon has the Mindjacker attempting to kill Latha despite the fact that she's the lynchpin in his boss Galatea's master plan. Justified in-universe by the fact that Latha is Regis' daughter, and the Mindjacker, having stolen neural data from Baxter prior to the murder attempt, got infected by Baxter's intense hatred of Regis, giving him an irrational, uncontrollable need to make Regis suffer in every way he can even if it sabotages his mission.
  • While calling anyone in Touhou evil is inaccurate at best, there are still those that fall into this trope (Stupid Antagonism?), causing mayhem for petty reasons (if they have any at all) in spite of the miko with impervious Plot Armor that will not hesitate to beat the living crap out of them. The best example is Utsuho, who goes mad with power and has ambitions to Take Over the World almost immediately upon receiving her powers from Kanako. Though, to be somewhat fair, Utsuho isn't just Stupid Evil, she's just plain Stupid, period.
  • While Megatron in Transformers: War for Cybertron has some evil moments that would easily lead one to question his leadership quality, Starscream in the sequel puts him to shame when he actually manages to briefly lead the Decepticons. After Starscream blunders an assault on a huge Autobot energon transport, he orders the mission called off even though the Combaticons are still in the fight and making progress, and succeed in bringing down the transport. Starscream berates them for destroying half the energon from crashing, and when they point out that the Autobots would have gotten all of it if they did nothing and point out Starscream's incompetence, he has them arrested for talking back to him.
  • The developers of Tyranny have acknowledged this trope and expressed a wish to avoid it, saying that while many villainy-focused games have you simply "being a psychotic person running around killing everybody", Tyranny aims to provide "more nuance to that".

    U 
  • At the end of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Rafe Adler decides to attempt to murder Nate despite the fact that they are both locked in a burning room on a sinking ship, they will probably die if they waste time instead of trying to escape, and Nate doesn't even care about the treasure anymore and just wants to leave with his brother. This mistake costs Rafe his life.

    W 
  • In World of Warcraft, Garrosh Hellscream is easily this. It has been outright stated that he views any non-orc member of the Horde to be completely expendable at best and a traitor at worst. Bombing Theramore out of existence, attempted assassination of Vol'Jin, attempted enslavement of the Darkspear Trolls, treating Blood Elves and Forsaken as cannon fodder, attempted assassination of Anduin Wrynn, refusing to pay Goblin mercenaries, and digging up a holy site of the Pandaren to gain more power. Garrosh's actions read like a To-Do List to make everyone in the world want you dead.
    • Although it's still stupid, he reveals in the Patch 5.4 trailer that he wants the world to come after him so he can lay waste to all his enemies with his newfound power and rule the world with his "True Horde". Three guesses how well that works for him.


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