Violation of Common Sense

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
"People sometimes say: 'Common sense is quite rare'."
"It just occurred to me that mixing medicine and alcohol is a really stupid and possibly lethal thing to do. If I were a real person instead of a lovable, inept cartoon character with the potential for a few more sequels... I wouldn't even consider it. Skoal!"
Guybrush Threepwood, The Curse of Monkey Island

People tend to expect a certain relationship between action and consequence; common sense dictates that a clever action should have positive results, while a stupid action results in some kind of negative consequence. Video games do not always live up to this, however. Sometimes they allow you to do something suicidally dangerous (or at least utterly pointless) and, far from forcing you to face the consequences of your actions, they reward you for this behavior. This is a Violation of Common Sense; one does not expect to be rewarded for stupidity.

Sometimes this is an unexpected result of Video Game Physics, but just as often it's deliberate solution to a puzzle or a way to collect useful items. As always, Tropes Are Not Bad—a Violation of Common Sense can be entertaining and amusing when well-executed, just as it can be confusing or annoying when not properly set up.

Compare and contrast both Press X to Die (where an obviously stupid action has harmful results) and Stupidity Is the Only Option (where the player is forced to do something stupid in order to continue the game).

To clarify the difference: Press X to Die is when you can leap out of an airplane without picking up your parachute, and you die from it. Stupidity Is the Only Option is when someone steals your parachute and the plot requires you to leap out after them and steal it back, an option that would kill you in Real Life. (If your character does it in a cutscene, it's Cutscene Incompetence instead.) Often, how stupid this action was will be commented on later.

A Violation of Common Sense, however, is when you're given a parachute, and you decide to put it back, then leap out of the plane anyway. Instead of killing you (like surprise, surprise, it should) the game will, for example, give you a big pile of delicious marshmallows to land in.

If you are required to be stupid, it's Stupidity Is the Only Option. If you can optionally jump parachute-less out of a plane and get rewarded for it, it goes here. Likewise, it's not limited to 'harmful' things, just things where the attempted action could not possibly be predicted to lead to the result, like throwing a tire out of a plane and having it solve a puzzle on the ground somewhere.

Of course, that's not to say these violations are solely limited to fiction... Many examples fall into a certain game's Metagame. This leads to a form of Fake Difficulty, when you're rewarded for doing stuff that the game flat out tells you not to do.

Examples of Violation of Common Sense include:


Action Adventure[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Lampshaded in Okami at certain points, usually when Amaterasu has to jump down a hole. This is done to the point of Issun claiming that their motto is "Leap before you think." This would be Justified Trope by the fact that Ammy is a god, but there are some falls that won't kill you and some that will. Sometimes Issun reciting his motto is the only indication that you won't die if you jump right there.
  • At one point in Cave Story, you see an NPC in mortal peril, and you have the option to either go help them, or just leave them to their fate. Your decision determines whether they live or die from their injuries. Except the results are the opposite of what you would expect: If you go to help, they give one last speech and then die; if you leave them, they recover on their own and catch up with you later. In fact, the only way to GET THE BEST FREAKING ENDING is to ignore him.
    • There's Guide Dang It, and then there's this plot branch. The only hint you get is the red pixel line denoting the jump spot past your rescue attempt.
      • Avoiding the NPC also requires a pretty difficult jump, which can be considered a clue on its own


Adventure Game[edit | hide]

>KILL DRAGON
WITH WHAT? YOUR BARE HANDS?
>YES
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE JUST VANQUISHED A DRAGON WITH YOUR BARE HANDS! (UNBELIEVABLE, ISN'T IT?)

    • This puzzle is actually much, much harder to any modern gamer than it was at the time, since "With what? Your bare hands?" has become the default response to attempts to kill something without specifying a weapon (it was in Adventure, too, but at least it was new enough there to make players think about it—today, nobody is likely to consider treating it as a real question.)
  • Several actions the Monkey Island adventure games require you to take are questionable in their wisdom. Over the course of the series, Guybrush has: ridden a rope across a chasm using a rubber chicken (with a pulley in the middle), deliberately mixed medications to put himself in a coma (twice), fired himself out of a cannon (thrice), triggered a volcanic eruption at point-blank range, soaked an irritable undead pirate with root beer... Thankfully, the games make it almost impossible to lose, no matter what you do, so the player can experiment without fear.
    • Let's face it, the Monkey Island series was one big Violation Of Common Sense. You're supposed to start the game, solve the first puzzle, realize that common sense just doesn't work in the Monkey Island world, and then gleefully throw all good judgment out the window and just try the most outlandish things you can think of. It's more fun that way.
  • In the Infocom The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy, to pass one obstacle you first had to remove your common sense in order to be carrying both tea and no tea at the same time (something your common sense tells you can't do).
    • You are required to enter in an illegal command at a certain point in the game. As anyone who plays a text game can tell you, normally, you do not want to do that.
  • In King's Quest VI Heir Today Gone Tomorrow, the player must cross a boiling pond, defeat a living statue, and cut down an ever-growing hedge, all without a good reason. The owner points out that he clearly wanted privacy, and the player character can only suppose that he breaks through traps because it's what he does. The owner's had enough adventures to know how they go, so he sighs and accepts the explanation.
  • In the Ace Attorney series, you hang on to items long after they've seemingly lost their usefulness, only to have them turn out to be useful evidence later. For some items it's just minorly odd, for items like Trucy and Little Plum's panties it seems outright bizarre that you wouldn't give them back immediately.
  • In The white chamber, you're required to collect a body's worth of loose body parts, without any motivation. Once you have the complete set and assemble them on a hospital bed, the protagonist will remark that she had no idea why she did all that.


Fighting Game[edit | hide]

  • Some fighting games will allow you to gain super meter energy by simply swinging your limbs around (or in gameplay terms, repeatedly mashing attack buttons so that you keep throwing out attacks that miss), regardless of if they actually make contact with your opponent.


First-Person Shooter[edit | hide]

  • Unsheathing a knife to run faster. Instead of slicing yourself up, carrying an unshielded blade in your hand while you sprint around lets you go even faster!
    • Another thing to note. In Counter Strike: Source, at least, if you run around with the less powerful of the two snipers (The "Scout"), you actually move slightly faster (though not by much) than the knife... despite the fact that the 100 rounds of ammo alone should weigh more than the knife. Not to mention the fact that the rifle is obviously much less maneuverable.
  • Left 4 Dead has a few of these. Is a survivor in black and white and will die within the next hit or two, but you don't want to waste a health kit on them because the safe room is right there? Just kill them! They'll come back in the next level with 50 health. Mobbed by a swarm of zombies and no place to escape? Get that Molotov out and set yourself on fire!
    • Similar to the fire example, blowing yourself up with the Grenade Launcher if you get swarmed will do some damage to you and clear out the zombies, which can be far better than trying to melee them off and suffer more damage from the attackers.
    • Left 4 Dead 2 makes it even dumber by adding the defibrillator, meaning that the best thing to do when one survivor is in black and white, and you find a defibrillator, is to kill the survivor, and then revive him/her with the defibrillator, allowing the survivor to return to 50% health and not lose any equipment (equipment can be picked up again).
      • Speaking of the defibrillator, it can be used in a pool of water without shorting out the device or electrocuting the survivor using it.
    • The Witch will instantly kill players on Expert and/or Realism mode. However, if someone startles the Witch and they go down before she attacks them, she will then attack the downed survivor for damage and not kill them in one shot. Some people will shoot a player who disturbed the Witch until they are incapacitated so that they won't die instantly from her and the rest of the team can bring her down.
      • Similarly, a player that disturbs the Witch can force themselves to hang from a ledge, which counts as being immobile by the game. Due to this, the Witch will still damage the player, but once the Witch is dead and the player is helped up, any damage taken from the Witch while hanging will transfer to the player's overall health. This means that the player, if they use this method, will suffer some damage instead of being knocked down instantly.
  • As part of its gameplay mechanic, you can snipe enemies out of their vehicles in the PC Battlezone RTS/FPS remakes and their respective ports. Now imagine someone doing this RL to a marine driving a buggy or a hummer while raking them with machinegun fire to steal their hummer, drive it back to their base, and use it to wipe out said base. Whether far away or within spittin' distance. Yes, one of the chief gameplay mechanics IS a VOCS.
  • This is standard for the most of the gameplay in Team Fortress 2. Apart from Rocket Jumping (available to two different classes, no less), you can set allies on fire if you suspect them of being a disguised Spy (which, if they really are teammates after all, doesn't hurt them), hit enemies in melee combat with a handheld grenade and stand still in the middle of battle to regain health by eating a sandwich.
    • The grenade one is even lampshaded, saying a sober person would just throw it. Ironically, it's an even bigger Violation of Common Sense than the flamethrower: It's the perfect spy-checker since it will definitely kill the interloper, but who goes around smacking his friends with a pressure-trigger grenade?
  • In the Half-Life mod They Hunger, there is ammunition for the revolver. In a fire. Jump in and out to collect those six rounds!
  • Imagine this in Battlefield 2: Your ally has just been shot by a 9K22 Tunguska. It fires 30mm rounds at a combined fire rate of about 4000 to 5000rpm. That's not even a heavy machine gun, that is two autocannons, firing high-explosive shells. They are supposed to be employed against armored targets. Somehow he is managing to call "Medic!" while an enemy tank drives several times over him. No worries though, you switch out your trusty defibrillator and aim at the bottom of his left shoe. One zap and he is back to fighting, with full health, of course.
    • Besides ejecting from a jet fighter, you can also get back into the same plane in midair.

General[edit | hide]

  • Rocket Jumping. One would generally expect deliberately detonating explosives at your feet would have no effect beyond converting your legs to mush. But instead they let you soar through the air, allowing access to places that jumping alone won't reach.
    • Notably, in Iji, some secrets require you to get hit by enemy rockets in just the right spot, and one requires you to blow yourself up with one of the game's BFGs nine times. The latter is so stupid that Iji herself comments, "There BETTER by something good up here."
    • In World of Warcraft the only way for most characters to reach a certain rare spawn is to detonate explosives directly at their feet, blowing them across a room and onto an otherwise inaccessible ledge.
  • Walking on really, really thin ledges. As in, ledges that are thinner than one of the character's feet. If the game's collision detection is simple enough (2D games that internally use rectangular boxes rather than the visible sprites inside; many 3D games), expect to see them planting their other foot firmly in the air.
    • Take the Mega Man games. Our 2D hero can balance his entire weight on half of one foot, and just stand there without reacting. Doing this is necessary for some platforming puzzles.
    • Small Mario can balance in mid-air in the SNES iteration of Super Mario Bros., among other games.
    • The original Quake played with this. One example: a staircase about half an inch wide, protruding from a wall. The level designers probably expected people to pass by and never notice that it led up to a secret area you just passed under. Not just because it looked like a wall decoration rather than an actual staircase, but also because players of the day likely hadn't considered the possibility of rooms-over-rooms yet.
    • In Pokémon you can't walk on the thin railings. You can, however, bike on them... in fact, your character is innately good at making the bike jump sideways from a standstill, and miraculously landing on an equally thin railing, without ever tipping over.
      • In the same games, the only way to climb up little cliffs that can't be higher than half your size is also to use a bike—and bunny hopping on something that looks like a line of rocks, or possibly stumps (that's actually, arguably, an amelioration, since in the previous games you couldn't go up the cliffs at all).
    • One Half-Life 2 Speedrun featured Gordon climbing up to some normally inaccessible power lines ... but he didn't walk on them. Oh, no, since that model was supposed to be far enough away to be inaccessible, it allows you to stand several meters above the impossibly thin line!
      • In Opposing Force, an expansion pack to the original game, you are required at one point to tightrope-walk across a high-tension power line, and you are able to do so more or less as if it were a wide catwalk.
    • James Bond 007: Nightfire had a level with working cable cars. However, because they traveled fairly slowly, and there were only a couple of cars on the cable, it was easy to spot someone using one and attack while they had no room to maneuver... so people would typically climb up and run along the cable instead.
    • Even Mega Man is a wimp compared to Max Payne, especially in the first game. The trapeze acts and leaps of faith he had to make everywhere, everywhere, were just ridiculous, and as often as not with enemies shooting at him at the same time. And let's not forget the ever-infamous blood trail levels. Detective work? I wouldn't wish this on a 10-year Army Ranger!
      • The blood trails, thankfully, are a hallucination, so can be excused. Not so much Max's policy of charging the armed gunmen.
    • Characters in Unreal Tournament 2004 can walk across any object that's level enough, even if it's a single game unit wide. Some maps, especially indoor Deathmatch maps, have decorative trim along the walls, fancy doorways, and other aesthetic details like pipes and light fixtures. Since these features tend to A) be solid and B) stick out at right angles from the wall, they are indistinguishable from flat ground as long as you don't walk all the way off. User-created "Trial" maps, which tend to focus on tests of movement skills, often take advantage of this quirk.
    • The original Turok is both a VOCS for its players and its map creator. Who in the hell designs a path to the boss made of jumps from one-square-foot-wide pedestals over a seemingly endless drop into the foggy jungle floor? What psycho would even traverse that sort of lunacy? Clearly, the first boss read the Evil Overlord handbook, he just underestimated the player's Iron Butt Monkey persistence.
  • Bunny hopping, i.e. hoppity-skipping everywhere because your character can jump faster than they can run.
    • Depending on how you evolved your creature in the land stages of EVO Search for Eden, bunnyhopping could easily become more efficient than walking. Upgrades like the 'Thorny Spring Tail' encourage this sort of behavior, and prey like the ikustega (who can be killed by jumping on their heads, Mario-style, and later try to do the same thing to you) positively demand it.
      • Sort of justified in that instance, if it's a function of an animal's evolution. After all, there ARE animals in real life that move faster when hopping than running. Like kangaroos, frogs, and, y'know, bunnies.
    • In Thief, each successive hop increases your speed. In a wide enough space, you can take "falling" damage by hopping into a wall.
    • In the original God of War, it's possible to move faster by holding down the right stick and tapping X, making Kratos somersault everywhere as if he were Dan Hibiki. Yahooie!
    • Super Mario World has an interesting variation. Mario's running speed actually oscillates between three different values, but if Mario is in the air and the D-pad isn't pressed, his speed remains constant, and so maximum speed can be attained by getting to the highest of the three speed values and then constantly jumping. Because this requires frame-perfect reflexes (among other considerations), it's quite impractical for a human player, but tool-assisted speedruns use it like it's going out of style.
    • Some of The Legend of Zelda games, such as Ocarina of Time, have you move faster if you walk backwards.
    • Ditto Castlevania, who can forget Alucard's speedy backdash to get through Symphony of the Night? Would you backstep through an entire castle full of things trying to kill you?
    • In Morrowind, it was easier and faster to jump around than to run; also, jumping was useful to, um, jump. Obviously, this resulted in players constantly hopping to get anywhere. There was even a mod that automated constant jumping.
      • Pelit (a Finnish gaming mag) poked fun at this:

"If you see a person jumping down the street, you can tell his preferences by shooting at the guy. If he starts whining, he plays Counter-Strike. If he charges you wielding an axe, you just interrupted a Morrowind player buffing his Acrobatics."

    • Bunnyhopping also works in PO'ed, a rude n' crude but innovative FPS for the Playstation, PC, and 3DO. However, beware of using it on staircases of certain heights. Each time you 'touch' the very tip of the stair you 'jump' again. But the effect doesn't pull off until the very last. You can actually kill yourself this way by throwing yourself hundreds of meters into the air if you move up a staircase fast enough. Backflipping near a ledge of the appropriate height also can work.
    • It works in Lugaru, but it's justified since the characters are rabbits and make huge, Mars-style jumps.
    • In Team Fortress 2, it's preferable to jump around so that enemies have a harder time hitting you, especially the scout. Try this in a real gunfight and you'll probably find yourself lacking a limb or two.
  • Spent half the ammo in that magazine in that last firefight, soldier? Not sure what's around that next corner? Why, all you gotta' do is reload! The bullets will somehow end up back in your inventory, even if you drop the whole magazine down to the ground and never even so much as look at it again! A few games go out of their way to avert this, but more often than not this is a universal feature of every clip or magazine-fed weapon in Video Game-land.


GLaDOSs[edit | hide]

  • In World of Warcraft, a number of quests depend on this, like that quest in Howling Fjord where you shoot a harpoon off a cliff and over a very cold lake, and ride it like a surfboard into the town below. While it's on fire. The NPC at the bottom lampshades this, pointing out that you're absolutely out of your mind.
    • Trusting your life to any engineering device, really. Even the footnote for the profession notes that it's only usually that these things work as intended.
      • That's incorrect! Goblin engineering always works as intended! In fact it tends to work better than expected!
      • One device increases the haste rating on a ranged weapon by removing its safety mechanism. Think about this for a moment.
    • The fast exits from the boss rooms of several dungeons also require leaping off intimidating cliffs or into shafts dropping straight down. Later dungeons add water pits at the bottom to soften the blow. Earlier ones require considerable faith that the fall will merely be massively damaging instead of instantly fatal.
    • The quest chain before you meet Matthias Lehner has you helping the Argent Crusade infiltrate Icecrown Citadel and ends with you activating highly volatile explosives. When you realize you need to get away from the ensuing explosion (they don't actually go off after you activate them of course) you're encouraged to jump down the shaft in front of you and hope the fall doesn't kill you... not that it does because there's water below.
    • Some dubious achievements are awarded for mistakes and other stupid things, which leads to players trying to do these intentionally. These achievements include falling a huge distance without dying, falling a huge distance without dying while drunk, and getting killed by Deathwing.
  • Player characters in Kingdom of Loathing are insane. How would you react if told to "use" a bottle of bubble bath? Easy. Drink it. The game is actually inconsistent about it; when you try this with certain items, the game will in fact call you an idiot for trying to eat them.
    • There actually is one drink (the world's most unappetizing beverage) whose intended purpose is to make you 'Literally Insane' ... since only someone literally insane would deliberately drink their own hair dissolved in depilatory cream.
    • The game does have the advantage of being consistent. If it's bubbly - or fizzy, or the like, then it'll let you recover MP. This does become rather insane, though, when one's snorting beer-soaked teddy bears.
  • City of Heroes has a rather interesting instance of this- in one game event, Rikti (evil alien) ships fly over the city, bombing the hell out of it. It's brutally difficult, but just barely possible to kill the bombers. Only thing is, that doesn't give you anything (other than a fairly spectacular lightshow), and what you're actually supposed to do for the event is to hunt down bombs that failed to detonate on impact. And then beat them to death with your bare hands (or whatever weapon your hero favours).
  • One quest in Maple Story has an alien claiming his race is peaceful (when it's obviously not) and asking the player to steal files from Omega Sector. You can tell right off the bat he's lying and that he only wants the files to speed up his race's plans but if you do the quest anyway he'll reward you with 3 summoning items which can be used to Griefer.
  • In Mabinogi you can mine sulfur ore and fossils from the sulfur pits in Zardine. If you stay too long you'll get sulfur poisoning which will take your health down past "Deadly". Common sense would tell you to leave before this happens, but if you stay long enough for it to happen you'll get a Title for it.
  • In Dragon Nest you can get titles for accomplishing certain achievements which can provide you with some extra stats. One title requires you to collect 8 other seemingly pathetic titles that provide no stats whatsoever. To get them, you'll have to kill a goblin you're supposed to protect, get killed by a hound, get run over by a minotaur, get killed by a stone thrown by a blue goblin (whose aim is so bad you actually have to run into the little pebble yourself, get killed by an ogre boss, get killed by hounds again and lastly, get killed by an orc challenger who is afraid to even actually hit you, especially if you're a little higher levelled. And after all this, what do you get? One of the best -if not the best- titles you can get in the game; providing you with 20-25 stats and 40 damage and magic attack!


Party Game[edit | hide]

  • In Mario Party 9 when you land on a Bowser space you can get a reverse mini-game. Bowser will reward ten mini-stars to anyone who loses the mini-game first.


Platform Game[edit | hide]

  • The Super Mario Bros. series has quite a few examples of ridiculous things being necessary to grab coins or other goodies, ranging from jumping off the top of a mountain to leaping into a volcano or allowing yourself to sink into quicksand.
    • One particularly excellent example occurs in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. After Luigi obtains the power to create electricity from his hands, you open a warp pipe leading to the bottom of the ocean. In order to proceed, you have to give power to a conductive object. Underwater. The game doesn't seem to have any problem with this. Nor with Mario setting things on fire while underwater.
    • In Super Mario Galaxy, what do you have to do to get the last two purple coins in the Freezeflame Galaxy purple coin mission? Apparently, you have to do a long jump off the summit of a mountain to some conveniently placed columns a good hundred meters below. Considering the sheer amount of black holes and instant death pits around the rest of the mountain, this is more than a little suspect, even when the Toad at the summit actually encourages you to jump.
    • In Super Mario Galaxy 2, several hidden stars require you to make suicidal leaps of faith. For example, one hidden star in the last stage of World 1 has you jumping into lava, causing Mario to bounce high enough to reach it.
    • Don't forget that in 3D Mario games, the best way to avoid falling damage is to do a Ground Pound, which makes you fall even faster.
      • This can be explained away with a very selective application of physics. His ground-pounding always causes him to briefly pause in mid-air, which (if we don't mind that it's impossible) would neutralize his velocity. When he ground-pounds, his velocity starts at zero again. If he does this when he's still too high in the air, he'll still take damage. Or, it's magic.
    • Super Mario 64 has Mario slowly lose life while underwater for long periods of time, then have it restored to its full level when he surfaces. This causes a rather fun loophole where the best cure to being beaten to a pulp is to dive underwater for about a second, then surface, where Mario will gain all his health back from said beating. (Future games in the series fixed this loophole by adding a seperate 'air' meter.)
  • In the otherwise somewhat-kinda realistic alien shooter Contra III, what's the best way to destroy a giant flying alien ship? Chase it with motorcycles, and then cling to a cruise missile that's heading for the ship! And then leap from missile to missile in the salvo as they impact uselessly on the alien's shield. Considering that you've mostly been running along the ground, climbing walls, and riding tanks so far, it's an unusually... brazen choice of attack.
  • In the Treasure game Mischief Makers, you fight the wolf-man Lunar twice. The first time is very normal, but for the second one he's riding his transformable cerberus bike. Your solution: ride a cat. This is further improved by the fact that said cat can jump on Lunar's missiles, riding them like flying surfboards. Go Reality!
    • In that game, you're generally encouraged to grab things which are fired at you... bullets, missiles, even huge sustained blasts from laser cannons... and throw them back.
      • Sometimes you'd want to give those lasers a good shake first.
  • Wario Land makes Guybrush look sane in his absolutely hilarious violations of common sense. These range from setting himself on fire to destroy obstacles in his path, getting crushed to the point of being flattened to go through tiny spaces, being stung by bees to float to higher places... Though it helps in two of the games that Wario is invincible throughout both games.
  • Ristar has to do the following in the first stage of Planet Sonata - carry large blue metronomes through elaborate puzzles, in order to then throw them at the giant sleeping bird found after each puzzle, waking it up and causing it to fly out of his way and sing part of the stage's theme. Wait what?
  • Many of the levels in N force you to do this to pass a deadly trap by running full-tilt into another, or using a deadly trap as a lift.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Wacky Workbench contains some large gray blocks in narrow corridors that slowly descend, then quickly slam against the ceiling. These do not crush you, as similar objects in other Sonic games (and later in the same game) do, and are not only completely harmless, but useful: Letting them push against the ceiling will drop you into an area below. It's even necessary to use one to reach the Robotizer in Zone 1.


Puzzle Game[edit | hide]

  • Portal 2 has two achievements that require you to ignore all common sense. Early on in the game, McTwist coaxes you into a previously-solved test chamber as you're trying to escape. Later on, you can jump into a bottomless pit as the antagonist tries to (ridiculously) persuade you to jump. Both events will kill you if you comply as well as unlock achievements.


Real Time Strategy[edit | hide]

  • Denying, the killing of your own troops to reduce the gold and experience available to your enemies, is a vital gameplay element in Defense of the Ancients. Never mind that even for Neidermeyers or General Rippers par excellence, We Have Reserves is one thing, outright killing your own troops yourself is another.
    • This is lampshaded by in League of Legends.
    • Also somewhat justified in Command & Conquer before you can build medics (depending on game in the series, the requirements are always less the farther on the game). In the first though, if you don't know about the barrier sell bug, then offing wounded soldiers is a good point denial strategy. (Although bazooka troops should hand around as they don't need to get into instant-death range to function.)
    • Works in War Wind as well, though out of combat they can be healed so you have to be fast in combat to micro a weak guy on your side then swap back to shooting the enemy.


Rhythm Game[edit | hide]

  • Umjammer Lammy example: Need to put out a burning building? Play the hose like a guitar! Need to put hundreds of babies to sleep? Play one of them like a guitar! Flying a plane? Play the steering wheel like a guitar! Cutting down a tree? Play the chainsaw like a take a guess!
  • One of the more prominent Metagame tactics in Rock Band and Guitar Hero (as well as earlier Harmonix games like Frequency and Amplitude) is called "Squeezing", where hitting notes just before they're supposed to be played, but still within the timing window, allows you to "squeeze" more notes into a bonus multiplier. Yes, playing slightly off-rhythm in a rhythm game gives you a better score.


Roguelike[edit | hide]

  • In Dwarf Fortress, a lot of Good Bad Bugs do horrible things to your common sense. For example: lowering a drawbridge onto something will not only destroy it, but obliterate it utterly, so that not even wreckage or a corpse is left behind (unless it's too big, in which case the drawbridge is destroyed instead). This makes it excellent for both fortress defence and garbage disposal, and has led to drawbridges being known as "Dwarven Atomsmashers".
    • Bugs be damned, dorfs are half-retarded. Dwarves can have their skin and fat boiled off to become mostly immune to fire, soldiers will leave the battlefield because their commander needs a beer, backfiring deathtraps are commonplace, civilians will run screaming from a harmless goat directly toward a squad of armed goblins...
    • At least one Let's Play made a Running Gag out of bizarre contradictions of reality like this; apparently, things like being able to transport magma with wooden pumps, create perpetual motion machines, and store an infinite amount of stuff on one tile are all innovations developed by their slightly unhinged leader because it doesn't even occur to her that it's a bad idea.
  • Elona, being what seems to be a kitbash of ADOM and Elder Scrolls with anachronistic tech, has many occurrences, from randomly generated quests to the 'solutions' to many seemingly mundane problems and enemies. Dyes have so many uses... Also, if impregnated by an alien, you drink poison/dye to kill the child in your belly. considering they attack with acid there's no indication something that simple will work. Also, the best non-cheating way to clear out respawning monsters in a city? Nuke it. If something is vulnerable to fire, one may also bring their pet next to hit then feed it molotovs, as a thrown molotov's fire will count as an 'attack' if any friendlies step on it. Having your pet burst into flames which consume the entire city, however, doesn't affect your karma in the least.


Role-Playing Game[edit | hide]

  • In practice, Stat Grinding falls into this because a practical way to get your stats up would be to do stuff you normally do not want to do. Want someone with low health to get more? Why, intentionally put them in harm's way, of course!
  • One of the Bonus Bosses introduced in Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+, Demyx's Data Replica, is essentially one of the series' One of Those Bosses turned Up to Eleven. Perhaps the worst thing about him is that he begins the battle by constantly spamming his hated water clone attack and, unlike in the original battle, the Action Command used to attack the clones is not available. The only reasonable way to survive long enough to even damage him? Change into one of your Drive Forms and use your fire spell of all things to mow down the darn water clones.
  • In Planescape: Torment, you can get rewarded for doing some things no sane person would do, such as permitting a crazy person to take a huge bite out of your arm. You can also acquire a ring if you let a woman cut into your belly and dig around for treasure.
    • Arguably this is common sense, just governed by different rules. Death doesn't permanently affect you and you almost always learn something about yourself from experience (or at the very gain a lot of experience points). This all seems a bit less crazy to the character than the player, in theory.
  • In Fallout 3, just about every single thing Moria Brown asks you to do, from relatively minor things like collecting books from a library that happens to be crawling with raiders to insane things like intentionally breaking your bones and poisoning yourself with radiation! Especially as the stated reward is...a copy of a book explaining how to survive in the Wasteland without doing any of those things. Seems like it would be simpler to just write 'Don't do anything Moira asks' on a piece of paper and follow that advice. (You do get some [potentially quite good] bonuses, at the end, though, but you don't know that in advance.)
    • To be fair, she does use your broken bones to get some experience with patching people up and I do believe she includes how to do it in her book. I'm not sure if it's the same case with the radiation poisoning.
      • Also, if you complete all of her tasks as well as the optional objectives, you have a chance of receiving thanks both from radio DJ Three Dog and from a random wastelander whose life you probably saved.
    • Another violation has to do with nearly drowning. While your character is underwater, an oxygen meter will appear - when it reaches zero, you'll start losing health rapidly until you drown or surface. Once you surface, you can restore your health by drinking the same water you almost drowned in!
    • You expose yourself to radiation so that Moira can both study the effects, and test out her experimental formula. (risky, but Post-Apocalyptia doesn't exactly offer many other options.) Healing yourself by drinking the water you were just drowning in is easily justified; your drinking it rather than trying to breathe it.
    • Ultimately though, her book, The Wasteland Suvival Guide, becomes a Survival skill book in Fallout: New Vegas. It's not only very helpful, it was popular enough to be mass-published and make it to the west coast. Ultimately, the trope is played out but to benefit of all mankind, ghouls and super mutants.
  • At one point during Final Fantasy VIII, when Squall is being tortured for information he does not actually have, the player is given the choice between "I'll lie... I must live..." and "Just let me die...". Choosing the latter causes some friendly mooks to help you out later on, while you get nothing for lying.
    • Not to mention, some players intentionally reduce characters to low health so that they can use a Limit Break, or even spam Limit Break after Limit Break. Even a complete newbie to the genre would wonder why the hell you'd intentionally keep your characters at low health where all it takes is one powerful attack to get you a Game Over.
  • In Final Fantasy II, the most efficient way to level up your party members' stats? Why, beat up your own party members. Of course!
  • Numerous Final Fantasy games have an ability that makes your characters' attacks heal their target. While this would hurt undead, for what reason would you do this? Free heals as you club your own party members over the head and hit them, of course!
  • Blitzball from Final Fantasy X. It is an, apparently, very fascinating sport, where 6 teams play in matches of 2 teams, in a giant sphere of water. Each round takes 5 minutes, which forces anyone to be able to either breathe underwater, hold their breath for more than 5 minutes while being pummeled, or just generally not need oxygen.
    • Lampshaded in the game. After first washing up on Besaid, one of the Aurochs will comment on how "some blitzball players can even sleep underwater", saying how supernatural such a feat is.
    • Eight Bit Theater parodies this, and refers to it as Drownball, where the goal is not to get the most points but to drown as fast as possible. It's never really clarified where the ball comes into the game, though.
    • Also, Blitzballs in general violate common sense. Normally a ball would be hindered in water, but not a blitzball.
    • Not to mention, in a later scene we see a Blitzball FLOATING on the water's surface.
      • Actually, pretty much all the contradictory physics of the Drown-sorry, Blitzball can be explained if it was designed to have neutral buoyancy. Well, it'll still drag pretty heavily, but the rest of it is sensical.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, you'll fight Galenth Dysley in his Barthandelus form, which is That One Boss for almost everyone. You'll get a warning when he's about to use his strongest attack, which usually means death. What are you supposed to do? Heal and defend to try to survive? You'll probably die with his next attack. What you're supposed to do is keep hitting him. He's charging his attack, so hitting him enough makes him lose concentration (he backs down a bit when you deplete enough health) and his attack becomes almost useless.
  • In Jeanne D'Arc, Marcel or Bellatrix can learn an ability that heals someone...by shooting them with an arrow. What makes this a violation of common sense is that normally, you'd expect to want to avoid any arrow coming at you, not standing in the path of an arrow from your own ally and hope it's going to be a healing arrow.
  • In the second Golden Sun, acquiring one of the Djinn requires jumping off the edge of the world. Thankfully, you can only jump off where there is a ledge below.
  • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. After reclaiming one of the seven pieces of Star Road, you are met by the "townspeople", who turn out to be agents of Smithy in disguise. Saying "Get serious!" to his demands results in them tortur—okay, tickling, the town's elder, who's holed up in a shack with the rest of the real townsfolk. You then have to fight a second boss battle to get it back. It ends up being a case of But Thou Must!, and the real townsfolk share their unhappiness with you later should you continue answering negatively. However, the reason it counts as a Violation of Common Sense? If you willingly give up the star you are rewarded handsomely by the elder; allow the people to be "tortured" five or more times, and the elder shows his displeasure by "rewarding" you with a single coin.
    • However, this sort of situation seems NOT to be a Violation of Common Sense in most Japanese folktales; For example, let's say that the bad guy kidnaps the hero's lover and threatens to kill her if he doesn't get the super-important MacGuffin. If the hero refuses to hand it over, and the bad guy kills the girl, it's the hero who is branded a monster, for not saving the girl. If the hero somehow defeats the bad guy without losing either the girl or the MacGuffin, he's still a douchebag for being needlessly reckless. But if the hero hands it over, he has acted valiantly, and the bad guy getting everything he wants is just a regrettable necessity.
      • There is no kidnapped lover, nor threat of death; they're being tickled. No matter how you look at it, the mayor thinks that being tickled is worse than handing over an object of cosmic power to an obviously malevolent entity.
      • It is possible to kill a person by tickling them, in that as a person is tickled, he hyperventilates, disrupting the body's internal pH, and, if prolonged, causes the person to die due to the person not being able to excrete carbon dioxide fast enough. Secondly, if you were a hostage, and your captor repeatedly tortured you in order to get the hero to do what your captor wants the hero to, would you want to reward the hero after you were rescued? Would you still want to reward or shake the hero's hand if you found out he balked at saving you?
  • Valkyrie Profile allows you to send some of your party members to Valhalla, which is essentially having them Put on a Bus. A nice way to get rid of inconsequential, weak party members, right? Actually, if you want to get the Golden Ending, you have to send Lucian, which is arguably the best fighter you have, and definitely very plot important.
    • Which isn't a Violation of Common Sense at all. What's more important? Your rag-tag recruitment force, or the army tasked with saving the world.
    • Of course, Lucian is only good because of a Good Bad Bug and Swords being almost exclusively more powerful then any other weapon type, and even that doesn't put him above being a high end second string character.
    • Getting the "best" ending fits the trope.
      • B-Ending: Fairly straight forward ending where you easily demolish Surt's forces following the plan Odin gives at the very beginning of the game.
      • A-Ending: Most of the gods get wiped out by Loki, who then goes on to destroy all of creation. Lenneth happens to fix everything in the end, but most of the gods are still dead. To make it even worse, resurrecting Lucian at the end isn't a big deal because Lucian doesn't die in the B-Ending.
  • Ein has the opportunity to do many stupid things in Riviera. One of the more notable? Stick your hand in a blazing (blue) torch! Multiple times! What do you get for being an idiot? Why, increased stats of course.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, you have to drown yourself at one point in a quest. As in, wait for your Oxygen Meter to run out and then keep waiting until your health is drained to 0. You get better. It is a test of faith, though.
    • Honestly, the game is pretty explicit about what you have to do. Considering it's supposed to be a pretty commonly-executed ritual among the populace, and the god you're honoring is literally sitting (floating) in the next building over, in-character it probably doesn't seem that stupid. There's every reason to expect it to not result in your death.
    • There is a similar quest the sequel, Oblivion. A daedric lord (basically meaning a demon/god) tells you to corrupt a man by provoking him into killing you with a cursed weapon, and he'll reward you by giving you a mace. As an added bonus, he states that he'll probably stop you from actually dying in the process. You can choose to actually do this, which might not be all that bright, or to mess it up, and thus irritate an evil god, which could invoke any number of horrible fates. (Given the reputation he has, you have probably invoked this trope from the moment you put yourself in a position to be asked...)
    • And in Skyrim, learning the properties of alchemy ingredients consists of you eating said ingredients you gather from the wild. While a few are strange but doable such as wildflowers and raw birds eggs, some are flat out dangerous such as Nightshade and others are just absurd. The Dragonborn can apparently chow down on deer antlers, bear claws, saber cat teeth and the parts of ghosts/ethereal beings whole and raw with the only possible consequence being the loss of an atom of health/magic/stamina.
      • One glaring example: During the Dark Brotherhood quest, to kill the Emperor, you are given a single sample of DEADLY Jarrin Root. It's treated as a normal ingredient, meaning it's edible. Crosses over with Too Dumb to Live.
  • One of the quests in Neverwinter Nights presents you with an altar that supposedly leads you to the spirit world. How do you get across? Stab yourself in the heart! Also, there's a skeleton on the altar. Also, there's no clue on how you get back.
  • The Blades of Avernum expansion/editor for the Avernum series tends to have many of these coupled with But Thou Must! so it seems the fans enjoy these sorts of things.
  • Persona 4 rewards you with stat bonuses for eating some rather... suspect things from the fridge.
    • For what it's worth, the stat it boosts is courage. Not that this explains why it would even occur to the main character to eat Nanako's science project, which was a container of dirt with grass growing on it.
  • In The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, there's a part where you're on an oil-covered bridge that is ignited by an archer mook. With no apparent way out, you push a conveniently located crate over to the side of the bridge and jump off into Lake Hylia below. It's a good thing Link doesn't have to worry about smashing into the surface of the lake, since if he had to make that decision in real life he'd be better off just burning to death.
  • In Tales of Graces:
    • It's actually lampshaded in-game with Pascal. Pascal is a mage, typically you want to keep mages away from the fray, right? Well not Pascal; her spells are actually melee range and her non-spell artes are ranged. The tutorials, when describing her artes, mention that this really does seem backward, and can cause some grief because her spells have a charge time and can be interrupted. However, she actually has pretty high defense for a mage (Sometimes it's higher than Asbel's!) so she can take hits.
    • In order to use Blue Earth? You have to make the Fodra Queen chain seven of the Maxwell extensions on you, typically something for overkill when you use it. IF you do it right, you'll have several hundred thousand points of damage accumulated on your characters, so if you mess up, you get a game over. Then you counter with Blue Earth and end the battle. Now why on earth would you want to goad the boss into chaining SEVEN mystic artes on you when only one deals enough damage as is? To be fair, this is an Easter Egg / Shout-Out.
  • In Tales of Vesperia, Estelle equips swords (and rods) and shields, and plenty of her artes are melee range. Naturally this has lead to people complaining of Estelle running into melee range, which is typically something you don't want a mage to do. To be fair, she does have very high defense (That shield isn't just for show, you know.)


Simulation Game[edit | hide]

  • Ace Combat is either in love with Airstrike Impossible missions or owes the trope money. There's at least one a game, and nearly always compounded by things other than the dam/ravine/tunnel walls to crash into trying to splash you.
    • The hunt for aces and parts in X: Skies of Deception uses this too. Rush through an area filled with Instant Death Radius radar coverage circles on full afterburner? Ignore Xbox huge Frickin' Laser Beams to go dogfight with enemy pilots? Why the hell not?!
  • Airforce Delta takes it above and beyond, due to taking the basic Ace Combat mechanic and injecting it full of Nintendo Hard situations. The most notorious seems to be a Shout-Out to UN Squadron/Area88 as it is a dogfight both inside and outside a CAVERN buried deep in a mountain. All the mission targets are inside the mountain, but at least there's no instant-SAM-locks outside. However, you will run out of time attempting to draw everyone out one at a time. Thank goodness the unfinished weapon hanging from the ceiling doesn't move, at least.


Sports Game[edit | hide]

  • Just about any stunt from a Tony Hawks Pro Skater game that gets you lots of points would be suicidal even for professionals in real life. The Rule of Cool is king. Leap of Faith is especially famous despite not being nearly as stupid, crazy or fun as some of the later gaps.
    • Performing a McTwist over a helicopter between the roofs of two hotels. And if you don't quite make it... Good thing Death Is Cheap.
      • In my experience, the first time you do the roof to roof over the chopper your stats are usually too low for you actually make the landing on the second roof even with a Boneless ollie for extra air. The game though is forgiving enough that you'll still get the gap even if you're a few inches short and land in front of the target building's front doors on a cobblestone walkway.
  • Ditto stunts in the SSX series of snowboarding games, many of which require detaching the board and reattaching it in midair.
    • The king of implausible stunts is the Guillotine. You not only take the board off, you make it spin around your neck.
    • The Magician involves sawing yourself in half!
  • In EA Sports' NHL Hockey series, online games use an accelerated clock. However, to emphasize penalties, the clock winds slower when a team is on the power play. So, for a team that is losing in the final minutes, it is to their advantage to have a less offensively-inclined player commit an intentional foul. This not only gives you more time to even the score but it allows the shorthanded team to leave a cherry picking forward up ice without fear of accidentally icing the puck.


Stealth Based Game[edit | hide]

  • Assassin's Creed has leaps of faith as part of its overall Le Parkour aspects. What this means is to get up somewhere really high and jump off into an inexplicably lifesaving pile of hay. And yes, you're rewarded for this nigh-suicidal behavior.
    • As Brotherhood shows us, performing a leap of faith is part of becoming an Assassin. Ezio even makes his sister do it, who has never been trained to do this.
  • In Hitman: Codename 47, the tutorial level required the player to take down a guard and use his uniform as a disguise. It seemed reasonable to assume that shooting him would spill blood on said uniform and render it useless as a disguise, plus one still had a garrote in the inventory. It seemed that it was best to attempt to sneak up on the guard and kill him without spilling blood, but he would always discover the player character and disable him with a taser. Turned out, you were just supposed to shoot him, and wear the mysteriously spotless uniform as a disguise.
    • Getting the Silent Assassin rating on the final mission of Contracts requires you at one point to mug a paramedic for his clothes. The problem? There are at least a half-dozen civilians standing right behind the paramedic, looking straight at him as you subdue him. No one thinks to call the cops.
      • It is possible to get Silent Assassin on that mission via another method, however.
  • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. You are a martial arts expert. How do you avoid being choked to death by a wrinkled old doctor? If you guessed "getting out your Remote-Controlled Missiles and shooting them around yourself so that they hit the person choking you" or "Step on a mine because that scientist on your back is a wuss", you've just won the boss fight. Congratulations, you're as completely insane as Hideo Kojima.


Survival Horror[edit | hide]

  • Resident Evil 5 has a few examples.
    • Melee attacks are very powerful, some are even instant kills. Yet you can't use them willy-nilly, you've got to shoot enemies first.
    • The secret method of defeating the final boss has Chris run up behind Uroboros-abusing Wesker and hold his betentacled arms while Sheva runs up and start stabbing him in the Glowing Weakspot. Common sense dictates that you don't fight a monster that assimilates every lifeform it touches by jumping on its back.
  • In Silent Hill 2, James must jump into a dark pit with no visible bottom. It's the only way forward, but still...
    • Partially justified given his suicidal tendencies.
    • Don't forget James' famous "I'll just stick my hand into this filthy toilet and fish around for a bit" decision.
    • In Silent Hill 1, getting the Good+ ending can only be achieved by using a certain object on a certain person at a certain time. It happens to be during one of the game's most dangerous boss fights. You are given absolutely no indication that there is an alternative outcome to the obvious solution of beating the boss with force. The item needed is found hours before, and the game only makes an effort to hint to the player what that item's purpose is in the game after it's too late to matter to the player. Perhaps partially in recognition of this fact, the second-best ending is officially the canon ending.
  • In Rule of Rose, the only way to get the good ending is to deal with the final boss in the most counterintuitive manner possible (though it fits the game's theme very well): hand over his gun, the only firearm in the whole game to an Ax Crazy murderer who just slaughtered an orphanage full of children. He is overcome by guilt and shoots himself on the spot.


Turn-Based Strategy[edit | hide]

  • In the GBA Fire Emblem games, there's a cursed weapon called the Devil Axe. It's very powerful, but has a significant chance to cause the wielder to hurt themselves when attacking. This always applies, even if you're using it to break down a tree or a weak wall, making it possible to die fighting an inanimate object. There's an upside to it, though: The Devil Axe trains a character's Axe Proficiency sixteen times faster than a normal axe. If you can survive it, this makes training to unlock better axes ridiculously fast.
    • In another Fire Emblem, there is an Axe user named Dice and his equipment includes the Devil Axe...
    • While we're on Fire Emblem, some animations for a Critical Hit:
      • Archers close their eyes, stand still, and focus for a couple of seconds in the middle of a battlefield.
      • Berserkers and Mercenaries/Heroes throw their axes or swords up in the air, then catch them before slamming them down on the enemy. Mercenaries/Heroes in particular jump and catch their weapons in midair.
  • In Master of Orion II, you can, eventually, be able to terraform any planet all the way from barren (Moon-like) or irradiated (Moon-like plus heavy radiation) rock to a paradise world. With one exception - toxic worlds. Apparently, clearing a world of toxins is infinitely more difficult than building a planet out of asteroid chunks like a giant jigsaw puzzle. So, some savvy players have figured out that, if you want to capture an alien colony but don't want to have a toxic un-upgradable planet, just blow it up with a Stellar Converter, colonize a planet in the same system, and rebuild the destroyed planet as a barren world. Easy, right?


Wide Open Sandbox[edit | hide]

  • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, there's one point where you jump out of a moving plane, onto another moving plane, open the door, and start shooting everyone in sight. Impossibility notwithstanding, who the hell would ever think of trying to do this just for a second? Especially considering you have a P-51 Mustang at this point. You could drive to the airfield, get in it, and shoot the Learjet down!
    • Grand Theft Auto seems to have a lot of these in regards to finding the 'unlocking bonuses' items in each game from Vice City on. Though, being sandboxy, you can skip the insane stunts and just pick them up by helicopter later on. But if you want to do it PROPERLY...
    • In Grand Theft Auto IV, jumping up/down stairs is actually a quicker and more efficient way to navigate stairs compared to taking the time and slowly walking up/down them. Try that in real life, and you'll wish you had just acted like a normal person in the first place.
  • Just Cause 2. If you're falling from a great height, you don't need your parachute! Simply fire your hookshot at the ground, and it will pull you down to safety, even though all it should do is make you hit the ground faster. In fact, it's better than the parachute, since you're easier to shoot when you're slowly drifting through the air.
    • Allow me to rephrase that. The solution for plummeting towards solid ground at terminal velocity is to pull yourself towards it much higher than terminal velocity.
    • III continues this while lampshading the obvious violation of basic physics on a load screen hint.
  • Several of the buildings where John Marston can safely sleep in Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare are actually on fire while he's inside.
  • In Need For Speed Underground 2, There are drift races that takes place on a mountain side. You gain more points by drifting near pedestrian cars, and Mountain barriers.