Obfuscating Stupidity/Video Games

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  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has a number of these characters, to the point where your average ditz nearly always is smarter than they look.
    • In the original game, the supposedly beyond-senile Yanni Yogi (a Shout-Out to Yami Yugi) faked permanent brain damage for fifteen years before trying to exact revenge and get away with it.
    • Case 5, in the DS remake, has Police Chief Gant. His guise of a lovable, laughing buffoon hides not only a razor-sharp mind, but his true personality of a ruthless genius willing to kill one of his own officers, and blackmail another by framing her sister, in order to put away a serial killer.
    • In Justice For All, Ini Miney from case 2 and Matt Engarde from case 4 are both smarter (and more sinister) than they appear to be at first glance.
    • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright himself shows a bit of this trope.
    • Dahlia Hawthorne from Trials and Tribulations. a VERY devious girl who hides her true self behind a sugary sweet personality, and not once but twice in the game. And bar in mind she's dead by the second encounter.
    • Done in Ace Attorney Investigations with the ditzy bubble-blowing Cammy Meale, the jovial Ernest Amano, and the elderly Quercus Alba. They're all murderers or accessories to murders, and all work in the same smuggling ring. Since veteran players of the series will know to look for the trope, the game even plays with your head a little with the delightful, energetic, and oblivious Colias Palaeno--who never even comes under suspicion.
  • Most of the characters of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors do this in some way, shape, or form. Particularly June and Santa, who are Zero and her brother respectively.
  • Zelos from Tales of Symphonia is highly intelligent, skilled at manipulation, and has severe self-loathing stemming from some severe Parental Abandonment, not to mention being a triple agent who's playing the party, Cruxis and the Renegades against each other to ensure he's got a shot of joining whoever's the victors. He hides all of this under a facade of being a happy-go-lucky Handsome Lech who seems to have made it his life's mission to hit on every female in existence and antagonise Sheena.
  • When Raven joins your party in Tales of Vesperia, he presents himself as a goofy but skilled middle-aged Handsome Lech who imparts nuggets of wisdom that no-one asked for and constantly complains about how he can't keep up with the other, much more youthful party members. In fact, he's The Mole for the local Smug Snake. His true identity is that of a cunning, experienced and suave knight who, under his "Raven" persona, managed to infiltrate the highest levels of the Dahngrest government over ten years.
  • Arguably, the entire Team Fortress 2 team, all of whom the Announcer refers to as having "below average" intelligence, outside the attack classes, could count. Demoman seems like a friendly, reasonable guy when he's not drunk, based on the War update comic, and it's hard to be stupid and make five million dollars in one year. Heavy has a Ph.D. in Russian literature, and if the Russian "Meet The Heavy" is any clue, is much more eloquent in his native language. Engineer has 11 "hard science" Ph.D.'s, which speaks for itself. "Meet The Medic" revealed Medic is indeed a trained doctor, though he's barking mad and he lost his license for stealing a patient's skeleton. Sniper managed to rig a tribal shield to electrify its attackers, and while not as smart as the rest, doesn't seem "below average." Spy had the resources, intelligence, contacts, and capability to thoroughly research a "Your Mom" joke, in addition to being able to do a spot-on impression of the voice of all eight other team members, and seeming like a completely civil, intelligent gentleman off the battlefield. Below average, indeed.
  • Levin from Soul Nomad and The World Eaters appears to be a complete idiot...up to the point where he stabs your Old Master dead out of the blue and reveals he's the last world eater; he's helped you because you've been killing off -- or given him an opening to kill -- everyone who was ever a challenge to his future bid for godhood.
  • Resident hungry ghost Yuyuko Saigyouji, of Touhou Project, definitely fits the bill during her appearance in Imperishable Night. Although that's arguably more a case of Obfuscating Gluttony...
  • Guildmaster Wigglytuff in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness: a Cloudcuckoolander who looks like a big pink bunny...and one who gives Team Skull a well-deserved beatdown.
    • In the Sinnoh region of the main Pokemon games, Dr. Footprint can essentially read Pokemon's minds. Some of the more slow or dumb Pokemon will express simple thoughts full of "hnurr" pauses - except when they suddenly share a complex and grammatically correct sentence or two about how people and other Pokemon assume that they don't think much because they don't speak up often. They don't seem annoyed or insulted though.
  • Shuji Ikutsuki relies heavily on this to fool Persona 3's protagonists into bringing about the Fall for him. A harmless character known for bad jokes becomes The Chessmaster in one fell swoop..
    • And in Persona 4, Adachi plays much the same role. People who have played Persona 3 will probably be instantly suspicious towards him because of it.
    • Actually, a video of Ikutsuki in FES shows that he genuinely thought those jokes were funny, so it's more of a subversion.
  • Dark Adonis aka Midboss and Seraph Lamington from Disgaea. The first appears to be a foppish Recurring Boss whose sole purpose in the story is to get his ass kicked by Laharl. The second appears to be a hands-off sort of boss content to just walk around his garden while his subordinate plans a coup to conquer reality. In the end, it turns out Lamington was aware of everything all along. In addition, the entire game is essentially a Secret Test of Character masterminded by Lamington and Midboss to make Laharl a great and compassionate Overlord. Midboss is also heavily implied in the end to be the temporarily reincarnated form of Laharl's father the previous Overlord.
  • Asmodeus from Painkiller, an easy-going imp who followed Daniel around for most of the game only to reveal that he was Lucifer himself, digging holes to allow demons into Purgatory from Hell.
  • A certain character in Devil May Cry 3:

Arkham: You failed, Vergil, because you underestimated humans\

    • And this little gem hammers it in:

Jester/Arkham: I even went so far as to dress up like a complete idiot!!

  • Flay from Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis has flunked the academy three times, yet he is the one who plans almost all the hijinks that the True Companions get into. And they work...sometimes...
    • He's smart enough to have conquered half of the world in his ending at the very least.
  • Knox Harrington in Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines first appears as a vampire's excitable, none-too-bright servant who's gotten in over his head while following a target and needs the player character's help. Turns out with the right questions and mental stats (or Malkavian insight) that he's actually a competent former bounty hunter and his job all along was to get your character to go after the target.
  • Florian Greenheart in Overlord II pulls this, acting like an Ineffectual Sympathetic Hero Antagonist when in truth he's also Emperor Solarius, ruler of The Glorious Empire. He states that he keeps up the Florian guise after becoming Solarius in order to subvert the efforts of Queen Fay and the Elven Sanctuary.
  • No One Lives Forever has a recurring character - a drunk who shows up in virtually every level, acting like an idiot. He even somehow shows up on an enemy space station, presumably just for the gag...but a post-credit sequence reveals that the idiot is actually the leader of HARM, the evil organization, spying on you personally
  • The main character of Devil Survivor has some decidedly ditzy dialogue options (especially: "What's 0+2?"), but generally seems to figure things out much faster than he lets on. He even gets called out on it in one of the Multiple Endings.
    • It gets Lampshaded earlier than that, too. In the game's prologue, during a brief meeting with Naoya, the main character has the option to guess that the Laplace Mail is predicting the future. Naoya is amazed -- not just because that's correct, but because it's a downright bizarre and even somewhat stupid conclusion to draw from the current evidence.
  • In The Force Unleashed, after losing his eyes, Rahm Kota becomes so depressed that he spends all his time binge-drinking and claims that he has lost his connection to The Force. It eventually proves that he is still a mighty Jedi Knight, like when he steals Emperor Palpatine's lightsaber.
    • Though, then again, that happened AFTER his He's Back moment.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2, Xigbar shows every sign of being basically a surfer dude Punch Clock Villain who just happens to be That One Boss in the former. Birth By Sleep reveals that he knows everything about what's going on, even more than the Big Bad of the organization, Xemnas, and may have even been at least in part The Man Behind the Man regarding Xemnas' more Xehanort-y actions.
  • Played straight and averted in Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura. In the Museum of Oddities in Tarant there is an exhibition of Gar, "world's most intelligent Orc". It turns out that Gar is actually a full-bred Human with a strange mutation and just pretends to be stupid, because people wouldn't put up with an Orc smarter than themselves.
  • It's very debatable as to whether Space Quests Roger Wilco is a lucky Idiot Hero or brighter than he looks and just very unmotivated. The Big Bad of the sixth and final game muses about this and concludes it's some of both.
  • Gaston is Luminous Arc 2 is such a Large Ham his overacting gets questioned by other characters in the game on occasion, but has a very real, very sensible code of honor and duty to the Queen, and is a legitimately skilled Knight Commander, preferring to lead from the front line.
  • In Dragon Age II the Hawke's "sarcastic"-choice dialogue indicates that personality type uses this and Buffy-Speak seemingly as a tactic to lure enemies into a false sense of security, before revealing that their title of "Champion of Kirkwall" is very much deserved and they really are that dangerous. Cue many an Oh Crap moment from their enemy.

Sarcastic!Hawke: Oh I'd make a terrible slave. For one thing, I talk too much.
[pulls a knife out thin air and holds it to the slaver's throat]
Sarcastic!Hawke: Plus, I do that.

    • In the original Dragon Age, take a shot every time someone mentions the old saying that Mabari are clever enough to speak and wise enough not to.
  • BlazBlue gives us Makoto Nanaya. On the surface, she's willing to Glomp whatever she finds cute, eat waaaaaay too much for an allegedly 49 kilo girl, climb trees for exercise (she's a squirrel, so it makes a bit of sense), and generally acts like Fun Personified and a typical Adult Child (one of Jin's victory quotes against her asks if she's going to grow up already). On the other hand, she got into the Military Academy on a scholarship when the rest were mostly of affluent families, managed to get directly enlisted under Hazama of the Intelligence division and sneak that she's working for Sector Seven under his nose at that, and happens to be one of the few opponents in his chess game with Rachel and Jubei that he tried to kill on sight with no prior warning... because Hazama would rather people forget that Noel Vermillion was part of a project to control the Eye of the Azure - Makoto's the latest to learn this particularly dangerous fact, the ease of which is mentioned in the quote below. She's also friends with Noel and Tsubaki Yayoi, both of whom have prominent roles in his schemes against Amaterasu and Hakumen, respectively, and her presence in either of those is capable of fundamentally ruining them completely - nothing kills perfectly good Mind Rape like a poorly-timed Rousing Speech from a third party.

Hazama: Ah, so you found that?
Makoto: Found? You might as well have puts signs out front, thrown up banners and charged admission - that thing was practically screaming for attention!


Atton: I haven't known who I am for years.

    • Amazingly enough this capable of fooling Kreia for a decent amount of time.
  • In Ōkami if talked to at the Cave of Nagi during the festival, Susano lets slip he is aware of Amaterasu's divinity (she looks like a normal dog to most people) and seems to have been the entire time. How much else he is faking is left to interpretation. Since this requires you go back to the tutorial area during a major event, it's quite easy to miss.