Player Punch

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"It's a shock, you know? I mean, I knew the Sith were evil and all, but the reality of it kind of slaps you in the face."

There's some times when playing a Video Game can be a little dehumanizing. After all, if your character is The Faceless, then there's no cinematic depiction of his grief that his Doomed Hometown was wiped off the map. And to the player who doesn't see it except if they possibly read the instruction manual, it's not that motivating.

Enter the Player Punch. The script gives our hero a Sidekick or supporting character who is given a good degree of characterization or is just plain adorable. Over time, the player begins to take a liking to them when suddenly BAM! The villain displays a startling And Your Little Dog, Too action in killing them off (usually in a non-resurrectable Plotline Death), or worse, forcing the player to kill them by kidnapping them and turning them into a Tragic Monster. It isn't just personal now for the character. The player has been drawn into the situation because they liked Skippy the Adorable Airedale, and now that villain is going down. HARD.

Can also be utilized by making the villain into such a smug jerk that the player wants to rearrange his face, or by suddenly having a former ally commit a Face Heel Turn.

See also Death by Newbery Medal, Dropped a Bridge on Him, Stuffed Into the Fridge. MacGuffin Delivery Service is one way of doing this. Contrast Moral Myopia. Related to The Computer Shall Taunt You.

Has nothing to do with the player taking part in combat with the characters.

As a Death Trope, Spoilers ahead may be unmarked. Beware.

Examples of Player Punches are listed on these subpages: