You Bastard

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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"Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?"

Maximus (after killing another gladiator), Gladiator

So there you are, reading a book or playing a game. Within the media, whatever it may be, is some rather illegal and immoral action. Violence, murder, mayhem, general chaos. It's all very enjoyable and so much fun.

So you're reading or playing, and enjoying away, and then suddenly something happens to make you question how right you are to enjoy this socially unacceptable behavior. Perhaps the characters start musing about what kind of warped mindset would possibly enjoy this. Or maybe they just outright smash through the fourth wall and tell you exactly what they think of you.

Or alternatively, maybe what you're watching/reading/playing has some kind of political message—perhaps it deals with famine or suffering in impoverished nations, or the rise of fascism, or some other example of All Humans Are Bastards. And then the same thing happens—the characters basically turn around and tell you that this is all your fault: "You Bastard, why the hell are you enjoying this?!"

And you're left to wonder in shame. Or, more likely, confusion.

This works especially well in video games, in which murder and theft is the generally accepted way to advance, without thought to moral consequences. If done well, it can be thought-provoking and unsettling, giving the reader/viewer/player pause to consider the moral implications of what they may have previously considered just a bit of fun. It may prompt them to examine both their motivations in reading this and the motivations of the hero - who, if they engage in numerous acts that would be condemned if done by anyone else, may look less and less heroic. If done not-so-well, however, it can be quite Narmy and Anvilicious... and also somewhat hypocritical. After all, if the viewer is a bastard for passively enjoying this great evil, then what does that say about the producers, who ultimately when all is said and done are actively exploiting said evil for profit? And aren't other games really to blame for drilling the "everything is a target" and "your orders are absolute" messages into players' heads for 30 years?

No less a luminary than Aristotle disagreed with this trope, proposing that Tragedy exists in order to cleanse the reader of negative emotions in a healthy way. Arguments against the censoring and removal of violence in video games also argue a similar point, their position being that it is ultimately healthier to perform hideously violent acts upon computer pixels within the fictional realm of a video game rather than fulfill the same urges in Real Life.

Related tropes include Karma Meter and Video Game Caring Potential, less antagonistic ways for games to include a moral dimension. Can be caused by What the Hell, Player?. If the character who employs this tactic is a villain (or, at least, is regarded as villainous), it may overlap with Hannibal Lecture.

Not to be confused with You Monster!; nor This Loser Is You, where the Every Man character or Audience Surrogate is a "typical" loser like half the audience is imagined to be; nor with the traditional translation for the Japanese Pronoun "temee"; nor to be confused with the mathematician "You Bastard" from Discworld. Puns aside, this trope is tangentially related to the killing of Kenny on South Park, in that the gag was encouraged by the viewership.

Examples of You Bastard include:

Anime and Manga

  • Battle Royale did this in the manga. In the final volume, the main character writes a letter telling the reader that the evil things in the volume exist only because the reader, and those like him, are evil enough to be interested in it.
  • Death Note seems to do this in two ways. First, there's Light's ignominious end (coupled with the Shut UP, Hannibal he receives during it). Also, Fridge Logic indicates that Ryuk is the Audience Surrogate, and he's consistently shown enormously amused by Light's clever scheming and various acts of treachery and mass murder. This suggests some condemnation of the audience for enjoying Light's Evil Plans and not thinking at all of his victims.
  • In Nononono, the treatment of nice guy Yuusuke by every single person in Japan outside his family after he fails to get a gold medal can definitely be seen this way.
  • Lady Snowblood: there's a bit of exposition on the scientific theories of the late 18th century, where one guy suggests that the Japanese should start having children with Europeans and generally open up to the Western world. The narration goes on to ponder on if this had happened, maybe Japan wouldn't have become the jingoistic nation uit was, avoiding its expansionist policies and involvement in WWII... and you, the reader, wouldn't be holding this book right now.

Comic Books

  • The Joker, of all people, pulls one on Gotham City (and by extension the reader) by showing up during a game show and threatening to inflict Japanese-game-show levels (and beyond) of sadism on the participants. The entire time this is happening, we keep cutting away to the production crew, whose reactions run the gamut between "oh my God, this is horrible" to "keep rolling, the ratings will be awesome". Joker dicks with his terrified victims, but he does little worse than a pie to the face. After he's done, he lectures his unseen audience about their expectations - and broadcasts the producer's money-grubbing reaction. He even declares it "the most fun he ever had without killing anyone", because of all the sheer terror he got to laugh at with the contestants thinking they were going to die and screwing people over through his actions.
  • Done beautifully several times in The Invisibles, most memorably in a Whole Issue Flashback that gives A Day in the Limelight to a helmeted Mook who died in the first issue or two, showing a rather sad life that ran down to that conclusion. It's less Anvilicious than it sounds, largely because the series makes a point of showing the Grey and Gray Morality behind a seemingly black-and-white conflict, which is normally completely undermined by the ludicrously evil nature of the bad guys in every other issue.
  • Done indirectly late in Paradise X, as Loki berates Odin for making him (and a large portion of the other Asgardians) evil. "We fought and died and were brought back to life over and over again for your damned comic book need for excitement!"
  • Mark Millar likes this trope almost as much as he hates his readers, whom he's argued use comic-book violence as a substitute for the emptiness and meaninglessness of their lives. Wanted is particularly explicit about this.
  • In Animal Man, Grant Morrison essentially apologizes to the eponymous character for kowtowing to the bastards in question, towards whom he gets a few good swipes.
  • In Empowered, about once a volume, she will let the reader know how much she hates that someone is enjoying her bondage scenes.
  • The furry comic The Wanderer by Krahnos is an adult fantasy comic which features a story arc where the hero gets raped by bandits. The rape is presented in such a way to appeal to the target audience, rather than be horrified by it. During the second act, the comic pulls a 180 and the hero's rape is presented as a horrible thing, which would no doubt leave whomever was previously enjoying it feeling more than a little dirty.
  • Small Favors had one scene when Nibbil became aware that "they're watching." Her lover Annie acknowledged this, and whispered something she was sure the readers wanted to see them do together. Nibbil's response was to yell at the readers, "What! Oh my God! You sick perverts!" But Annie soon persuaded her to do it anyway.

Fan Works

  • This movie made for the Australian Discworld Convention ends with Rincewind running into the theatre in which the film is being shown, and finding a copy of one of the Discworld books. Flicking through it, he is shocked to see one of his own adventures, and scans the audience for someone matching the photograph of the author in the inside cover. When he finds Terry Pratchett, he pulls himself up, spits "You bastard!" and flounces off.

Films -- Live-Action

  • The Devil's Chair has a weird moment of Breaking the Fourth Wall where the protagonist tells the audience that the movie's just gotten silly and that they're horrible people for enjoying it.

As you can see it all got a bit silly right here. A girl with her puppies out, a demon, old banana over there in his pajamas. Is this what I promised you? Are we prick teasing you enough? Is this what you came here to see, all my brothers? Look at this poorly written, badly acted bullshit! Is there any truth in this b-movie banality? No! No, there is no truth. Believe no one. Believe nothing. You freaks and geeks. You bloodthirsty morons, fuck you! Bring on the red parade. So are there any pulses in the house? You deadbeat, midnight, freak-geek witted torture-porn gore whores! I know what you're looking for, so have it! Take it! and fuck you all very much!

  • This (along with Gorn and Breaking the Fourth Wall) is pretty much the point of Funny Games. It is the one of very few films in history to give you the option of turning off the movie and walking away to "save" the family therein. If you watch it right to the end, you are a massive bastard, being as you didn't "save" the family when you had the choice. If you enjoyed watching the film, you didn't get it. You bastard.
  • The 2000 Russell Crowe movie Gladiator has the title character pulling this on his audience, and perhaps the viewers by extension.
    • Of course, the difference between the two is that the in-film audience is actually watching people die, while the movie audience can be fairly certain all the actors went home at the end of the day.
  • The Belgian movie Man Bites Dog is based around this trope. It's a satire of the media's glorification of violence and criminals done as mockumentary about a film maker who follows a Serial Killer around and films his crimes. The killer himself is charming and likable and the violence is played as Black Comedy, but then it throws in a couple of scenes so disturbing that it makes viewers feel queasy for enjoying the rest of it.
  • WWE-sponsored Battle Royale ripoff The Condemned tries to have this as its Aesop with the infamous line, "Those of us who watch... are we the Condemned?"
  • Parodied in Wayne's World, in which (during a fourth wall break), Wayne blames the audience for his problems. For once, the "audience" reacts appropriately, with the camera's viewpoint turning away and looking for something else to watch until Wayne apologizes and changes his mind.
  • Straw Dogs does this subtly, by deconstructing the entire appeal of The So-Called Coward fantasy. Damn it, is that an exciting rampage, but afterward, you start to think about the subtext.
  • The Last Horror Movie, a British mockumentary which, like Man Bites Dog, follows the day to day life and crimes of a darkly comical, Affably Evil Serial Killer who spends the movie talking to the viewer about his POV. In the end, once he's made the viewer confront the fact that they could've stopped watching at any time, he reveals that he recorded this movie over a tape from a video store. The tape that you have rented. He has followed you home. If you've gotten far enough into the movie to see this, that means he is about to kill you.
  • In Crank: High Voltage, Chev Chelios ends the movie by flipping off the audience while on fire.
  • Ditto that for the videotaped rape/murder scene in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and the entire length of Natural Born Killers.
  • There's an entire genre of porn in which a woman continuously berates the viewer for having A Date with Rosie Palms, allegedly having no social life and tiny genitals, all while doing a striptease. It can be a bit jarring if you're not familiar with it.
  • Subtly done in Psycho. In a movie about a sexually-repressed voyeur, the opening scene is a semi-dressed couple just after having sex. The camera moves into and through the window so we can watch. We are voyeurs, just as the main character is.
  • Voyeurism is a huge theme in Rear Window. Jimmy Stewart is a bored invalid who spends his days looking in his neighbors windows with a telescopic camera lens. His friends and girlfriend all express concern about this new hobby. Toward the end of the movie, when the murderer he's been watching finally realizes he's there and looks straight across to meet his eyes, he's also looking straight into the camera, at the audience. Guess what, you're a little sick for watching and enjoying this, too.
  • Peeping Tom takes the voyeurism theme and runs with it to a degree even Psycho was unwilling to touch (part of the reason it killed director Michael Powell's career).
  • In The Wizard of Gore, during Montag's last onstage speech, he starts talking about bloody violence and how it fascinates us. He then turns to the camera, smiles and says, "You want it." And yes, this is a Gorn movie to a high degree.
  • In Blue Velvet, after Jeffrey (and the audience) has covertly watched Frank Booth rape Dorothy, Frank and his Mooks make Jeffrey go on a drive with them. Frank then turns to Jeffrey (and the camera) and says, "You're like me."
  • In Last Action Hero, the title action hero Jack Slater doesn't particulary like being sucked into a new highly dangerous adventure for reasons that are a complete mystery to him each time the audience in the real world demands it. When he meets Arnold Schwarzenegger (the actor who plays him in the "in-universe" real world as well as in the real real world) at the premiere of the newest Slater flick, the character accuses his actor of being responsible for his suffering.
  • Mocked in Danny Boyle's film adaptation of The Beach. When Richard turns against his friends and retreats to the jungle, he envisions himself as the character in a video game—a vision shown through a first-person POV so that the audience realizes their connection to Richard's violent fantasies—and their own complacency in his dementia.
  • Subtely done in Scarface. When you take Tony's words from the scene when he yells at the people in restaurant out of context, they turn into this.
  • A less mean version in The Truman Show, with 'audience' characters watching the show-within-the-show clearly also representing the film's viewers, who will be caught up in the events of someone else's life, claim to be deeply moved, then flip channels to see what else is on.
  • Inglourious Basterds does this in a similarly oblique way. At the climax, an audience of German soldiers delight in a propaganda film that consists of Allied troops getting repeatedly killed by a sniper. Later the real audience is invited to do the same when Germans are slaughtered.
  • In Night of the Living Dead, after an intense confrontation between Ben and Harry:

Ben: I oughta drag you out there and FEED you to those things!

  • Terrifier is a slasher movie where brutal murders of women by a misogynist Serial Killer are treated as, ahem, "cute", presented in such a way to make it look like the movie is "winking" at the viewer. If you want to take a shower after watching it because you feel dirty for doing so, the director may have done his job rather well.
  • Climax. Anyone struggling to kick a drug addiction should watch this 2018 film, it's almost sure to convince them to quit cold turkey. It's a psychological horror where LSD overdose from spiked punch causes the cast to lapse into both violence and madness, a perfect PSA for anyone viewing, so long as said viewer does not have any anxiety or stress issues, and by the way, that is Not Hyperbole.


  • In Heroes Die the main character (a kind of sci-fi gladiator who kills fantasy creatures to entertain the downtrodden masses of Earth) uses this on his audience, who collectively share his body for the duration of his adventures. Due to the character narrating to his own audience, it also ends up directed at the reader by extension.
  • Clive Barker's Mr. B. Gone starts from the premise that the book itself is possessed by a demon who frequently implores the reader to burn the book and set him free. The eponymous demon goes so far as to repeatedly threaten the reader, bribe them and appeal to their better (and worse) natures as the book goes on.
  • Geoffrey Chaucer does it in Troilus and Criseyde: the character Pandarus contrives various tricks and deceptions in order to bring the two lovers together, which is what the readers (with whom he's conflated - he sits around reading a romance during one scene) wants to see happen.
  • Almost everybody in Maggie by Stephen Crane is a Jerkass, and what's more, most are convinced they're virtuous and everyone else is a jerkass. Naturally, most readers look down upon the characters, a fact that some critics think Crane anticipated and subtly mocked. Then again, others just think Crane was being holier-than-thou.
  • The Norman Spinrad novel The Iron Dream is essentially a giant sword and sorcery tale, ostensibly written by sci-fi novelist Adolf Hitler. From the other wiki:" Spinrad seems intent on demonstrating just how close Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces -- and much science fiction and fantasy literature -- can be to the racist fantasies of Nazi Germany."
  • Hook & Jill — a revisionist take on Peter Pan written by Andrea Jones — features a Captain Hook who reveals to story-telling Wendy that she — not Peter — is his true antagonist. Because Hook is a creation of Wendy's imagination, she — and by extension, the meta-audience — is responsible for his mutilation and suffering at the blade of Peter Pan.
  • Played for laughs in the Sesame Street children's book The Monster at the End of This Book, in which the entire plot is Grover berating you for continuing to turn pages when the title makes it perfectly clear that there's a monster at the end of the book, and he's terrified of monsters. The monster turns out to be Grover.
  • Swordspoint does this, possibly by accident, in that many of the characters spend a significant amount of time pointing out how despicable they are.
  • In Harry Potter, when telling the story of the rape of Tom Riddle Sr., Dumbledore gives one to Harry, and by extension, the readers, who thought that using a Love Potion was entirely harmless.
  • The Hunger Games essentially turns you into an audience member, getting you totally swept away in the cool costumes and the love triangles before all your favorite characters start biting the dust and the ones left alive can never be the same again.
  • Older Than Feudalism: In the New Testament a very nice guy named Jesus with holy, life-saving powers is tortured and executed in the most brutal way possible. And whose fault is it? Not the Jews, not the Romans, it's all your fault!

Live-Action TV

  • The Vicar of Dibley provides an example: the end of an episode dealing with the character's attempts to get involved in Live Earth ends with shots of people suffering in famine-torn Africa coupled with shots of the cast glaring righteously into the camera as if to say "This is all your fault! You are to blame for this! Yes, you personally!" The episode itself was essentially a publicity spot for the White Wristband campaign.
  • The episode "Tsunkatse" of Star Trek: Voyager has the crew enjoying a violent alien sport, then feeling guilty about it when they realize the participants are slaves. Chakotay in particular, was very interested in it. Then again, he boxes, so you can see why. It was the slaves bit that got him up in arms.
  • The final episode of the mini-series Britz ends with a suicide bomber's final recorded message, in which she blames the British public (and by extension the viewing public) for their indifference to injustices committed by Israel and the West in the Middle East for resulting terrorist bombings and actions including the bomb she herself set off in London at the end of the series, and that they only have themselves to blame, as their indifference means they are no longer innocent civilians but worthy casualties of war. However, we're not exactly supposed to condone her actions since she is a suicide bomber (although we are meant to sympathize with the experiences she and her fellow Muslims go through, which is partly responsible for leading her to extremist politics in the first place), and there's more than a hint of slightly deluded self-justification on her part involved.
  • Done very cleverly in the House of Cards trilogy; in the manner of a Shakespearean villain, Francis Urquhart regularly turns to the camera (and through it, the audience) and shares his thoughts and plans with us in a very charming, seductive manner, both implicating the audience as a co-conspirator and charming us on some level into wanting him to succeed, even though his plans frequently place him only a hop, skip and jump away from being a Complete Monster.
  • The Shield spends seven seasons carefully building your sympathies for a man who is a thief, a thug, a liar, and a cold-blooded murderer. The series finale brutally tears this pretense apart and throws it back in the viewer's face.
  • It's fairly rare, but action-oriented TV series do occasionally feature characters expressing remorse or disgust over their actions in a way that makes the viewer feel guilty for enjoying a recent Moment of Awesome. Examples include Robert McCall in The Equalizer breaking down and crying when he tells a lady friend he kills people for a living (this after taking out a gang of violent thugs in a subway station); John Crichton on one of the final episodes of Farscape breaking into tears with Aeryn over how much blood he has on his hands; the first episode of the crime drama Flashpoint spending most of the time dealing with the emotional impact a successful sniper shot has on the shooter; and in the comedy spy series, Chuck, which spends an unexpected number of scenes dealing with the two lead characters' reactions to having to kill people.
  • In the final season of The Sopranos, Dr. Melfi's own shrink tore into her for enabling Tony to continue his life of crime. A lot of critics read this as a rebuke to the viewer, for enjoying the show even as it becomes painfully clear how irredeemable most characters are.


  • "The Most Unwanted Song" (the result of simply doing what a poll said people hated in music) has a fairly lengthy section where a singer directly blames the listener for different atrocities. ("You. YOU. YOOOOUUUU!")
    • On a related note, first word of "B.Y.O.B" by System of a Down, a protest song about political apathy? One very Cookie Monster-esque You.
    • Done much earlier (and Played for Laughs) by Anna Russell in "The Rubens Woman": "She is dead, and who killed her? Who killed her? You killed her! You!"
    • Who killed the Kennedys? You and me.
  • This trope is the cornerstone of Marilyn Manson's career.
  • Manic Street Preachers' "Of Walking Abortion": "Who's responsible/You fucking are."
  • Doug Anthony All Stars, "You're clapping and cheering for what is essentially a racist joke!"
  • Jay Z uses the majority of "Ignorant Shit" to mock his Unpleasable Fanbase for liking his superficial hits (like "Big Pimpin'" or "Give it to Me"), mostly because he's dismayed that his listeners don't embrace his more thought provoking material. The chorus paints the picture pretty clearly, N-bombs and all:

C'mon, I got that ignorant shit you need
Nigga, fuck, shit, ass, bitch, trick plus weed
I'm only trying to give you what you want
Nigga, fuck, shit, ass, bitch, you like it don't front

  • Lampshaded by Bob Luman in his 1965 hit "Let's Think About Living" in which he decries the number of popular songs in which the singers apparently get killed (i.e. Marty Robbins' "El Paso") or feeling so depressed they may as well die, to which Luman observes that if this trend continues "I'll be the only one you can buy."
  • Carly Simon: "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you!" (Then again, she was aiming the song at three specific men -- as of 2020 the only one she's admitted to is Warren Beatty -- so the "you" in it is not the audience as a whole.)

Newspaper Comics

  • If you read the Peanuts strip seen here on Mother's Day you might feel like an Ungrateful Bastard for the same reason almost every character in the strip does. Unless, of course, you followed Charlie Brown's example; if so, well done.

Pro Wrestling

  • One of the oldest tricks a Heel has to get Cheap Heat is to tell the audience what bastards they are. Chris Jericho spent months playing the You Bastard card, lambasting the audience for cheering Shawn Michaels, who he saw as a hypocrite, a cheat, and a coward.
    • CM Punk, as a heel, has also been employing this trope. See, he's Straight-Edge and Jeff Hardy (as a face), his rival, was a reformed drug addict, so this naturally led Punk to despise us fans for liking Hardy so much, and very, very... VERY long narc speeches. To those familiar with his pre-WWE, he's done this act as a heel before and is apparently very, very good at it.
  • Mankind in this promo, which also highlights Vince McMahon's Manipulative Bastard skills.
    • Mick Foley in general has become famous for doing this. Take, for example, his Enemy Mine teamup with Edge against the revived ECW promotion in the spring of 2006. Foley declared that he hated ECW because it had literally forced him to shed blood for the company. Although he was technically lambasting Paul Heyman and not the fans, it was hard not to feel a little soiled if you were an ECW aficionado.
    • Mick actually suggested the Mankind name expressly so he could ambiguously do You Bastard material, talking about the evil and ugliness of Mankind in a way in which he may be referring to himself, or to all humans in general.

Recorded and Stand Up Comedy

  • Subverted parodically in Ricky Gervais' stand-up act Animals, in which at one point he announces that he's going to spend a few moments "talking about the most dangerous animal of them all" with an accusing finger pointed at the audience... before suddenly pointing at a picture of King Kong and yelling "The giant gorilla!" He then incredulously notes that some people say the most dangerous animal in the world is "Man", before pointing at King Kong once again.
  • Jo Brand had a routine where she would talk about the film Boxing Helena and say "A woman has her arms and legs cut off and put in a box. What if she has her period?" When audiences groaned in disgust at this point she would say "Oh you're fine with a woman being dismembered then, but mention periods..."
  • Steve Martin did this in one of his routines.

"I guess I'm kinda thinking about my old girlfriend. We were together about three years, and uh... sometimes when I get on stage I think about her, because she'd travel with me, and I'd be performing, and I'd hear her laugh... I guess I kind of miss her. And, uh... she's not living anymore, so... [laughter] You think that's funny?


Tabletop Games

  • The game Munchkin is all about not doing this when it should be. There are actually situations in which you can accept bribes from player A to sit back and watch the fun as player B gets slaughtered when you could have saved them not only without penalty, but getting free experience in the process.
  • The John Tynes roleplaying metagame Power Kill. It's intended to point out to fantasy Tabletop RPG players that many or most of the actions their characters perform (entering other creature's homes, killing them and taking their belongings) would be considered heinous crimes if they occurred in the real world.
    • This can occur even in non-fantasy games. Someone once pointed out in a long-ago review of the science fiction game Traveller that every adventure published up to that time required the adventurers to commit at least one crime in the course of the mission.
    • Interestingly enough, the Urban Fantasy RPG Unknown Armies, which John Tyne co-created, also features similar applications of this trope. Many times in the corebook and the supplements, there is a subtle (or not so subtle) hint that Game Masters should punish the PCs in some manner for the kind of immoral or bizarre behavior described above, usually in the form of legal consequences or Madness checks (most likely in the Self meter). The most blatant example was in the Post Modern Magick sourcebook's section on magick-user lifestyles, which seemed to exist only for the purpose of making players interested in the kewl okult powaz of a certain school go "What the fuck is wrong with me?"
    • Also several pictures in the game and its supplements feature a murdered body with the blood or some other item in the scene subtly spelling out "You did it."
  • Somewhat similar to the Power Kill example above is Violence: the Roleplaying Game of Egregious and Repulsive Bloodshed by Greg Costikyan, which explicitly states that it was designed to be a D&D-style hack and slay game set in the modern world. The message is delivered pretty anviliciously, with the rulebook repeatedly insulting the reader and taking pains to point out how reprehensible the whole premise of the game is.
  • Some Paranoia missions are designed to set this up, where for once the PCs did have the knowledge and skills to do the right thing, but instead chose to screw things up for their own personal gain. In particular, two of the missions in WMD turn it Up to Eleven, giving the PCs the opportunity to be promoted multiple clearance levels while most of the population starves to death or gets memory-wiped every few days.
  • In the Dragon Age tabletop RPG adventure pack, Blood in Ferelden, there is an adventure where if the characters slay a monster guardian they learn that if they then take the object of their quest, they doom an intelligent species to extinction. "Should the players complain about this horrible choice," the text reads, "you might remind them that they entered the [monster's] lair with the intention of robbing it, and killed it while it tried to protect its home. Slaying the [monster] wasn't necessary; Dragon Age provides rules for knocking out a creature rather than killing it. The heroes face this horrible choice in part because of their own actions." Given the actual setup, the point is rather Anvilicious, but well taken nonetheless.


  • Done backhandedly in "Nowadays" from the musical Chicago: the protagonists, having been declared innocent of the murders they committed, give glowing compliments (including floral tributes) to the audience "who made it all possible by believing in our innocence."
  • In The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Jimmy is about to be executed for having committed the most heinous crime in the world: not having any money to pay his debts. The execution scene is introduced with a caption which asks the audience members who are offended by this turn of events if they would have paid his debts. "Would you? Are you sure?"
  • William Shakespeare does this fairly often, with characters like Iago, who implicate the audience in his evil schemes while constantly winking at them, or the Duke of Measure for Measure who does questionable things to bring the story to a happy, generically-correct conclusion (while advancing his own power).

Video Games

  • Soul Nomad. The Demon Path. That is all.
  • God of War‍'‍s Kratos. The series he is in is based on Greek Mythology, which means you end up with Protagonist Centred Morality a lot of the time. The player has to do completely heartless things like smash a person's head on an altar, which the player drags him to while he is screaming "no!no! get away from me!" (this is from the second game). There is no way he could have resisted. In the first game, Kratos is a champion of the Gods, In the second, he is a champion of the Titans, who eventually kills the fates, which gives him the ability of time travel. This may sound fine, but the level of bloody violence is so much so it was mentioned on the back cover. Then again, at that time morality was different, and they are not afraid to show some of it. Also, as noted above, Kratos commits an act of treachery at the beginning of the second game. The entire plot revolves around being a Complete Monster. Just look at the page mentioned above for more examples.
    • However, in the third game several characters (most notably Hermes) tell him how much of a bastard he is, as well as him gaining a Morality Pet in Pandora. It actually affects him enough that he makes a slight Heel Face Turn towards the end.
  • In Ninja Gaiden 3 this happens very often, though mileage varies very wildly on whether they are effective Player Punches or just Narm. For example, after slaughtering the very first group of enemies in the game, a single mook decides that it'd be a better idea to surrender rather than get slaughtered by Ryu Hayabusa, and begs Ryu not to kill him, pleading that he was just trying to feed his family. However, you have to kill him anyway to proceed.
  • In a lot of H-Games where your character is not a Complete Monster from the get go (and is shown to have some shred of human decency or morality), you the player are given the option (at least once, and there is always a more moral option as well) at some point to pick a totally amoral choice and cross the Moral Event Horizon at worst, or just become a total Jerkass at best. The You Bastard comes from the fact the game makes it quite obvious your character is not acting like himself (a subtly implied What the Hell, Player?), and you get a Downer Ending for being a total bastard, especially if a more noble alternative was available. Some HGames go as far as to invoke this trope by name on your character as you choose the "total asshole" choice.
    • One to note was Itazura Gokuaku, which is about a serial train molester and a handful of his victims. The themes Victim Falls For Rapist and "It's Not Rape If You Enjoyed It" are present, so it's possible for him to form actual intimate relationships with any or all of the girls. To get a good ending, the player must choose for the protagonist to turn himself in and reform. But if you take the provided options to exploit the girl any further, the protagonist will be shoved before an incoming train by a vengeful girl, to reflect on what a prick he is in his final moments before being mangled to death.
    • Perhaps more bizarre is Saya no Uta where agreeing to part ways with Saya, the route that causes the least amount of death and insanity, comes across as more of a Bad End.
  • In BioShock, the Story Arc with the NPC "Atlas" adapts this to game play itself. From the game characters' point of view if not yours, you go around killing people just because some NPC contact asked you to. Where is your sense of agency? If you will not exert free will, maybe it should be taken from you...
    • BioShock 2 seemingly goes out of its way to make you feel like the biggest bastard ever if you choose the evil path. Yes, you can harvest every Little Sister in Rapture, but Eleanor's watching your every move and if you solve all your problems through slaughter the game ends with her deciding to follow in your footsteps.
    • Sadly, even if you devote all your effort to saving and protecting the Little Sisters, there is no way to avoid killing the Big Sisters, who are what Little Sisters are when they become adults. You can try to convince yourself that it's Mercy Killing, but this revelation is likely going to make you feel almost as bad.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day stars an Anti-Hero squirrel, the point of whose whole quest is an attempt to collect money. (Actually, the original cause was he took a wrong-turn walking home, but it quickly turned into the money thing.) Though he occasionally acts heroic, he also kills whoever happens to get in his way, advertently or inadvertently, and much of the game is set in a comical world with bright visuals and happy jazz music that seem straight out of an old Mickey Mouse cartoon. Then at the end, Conker becomes rich by robbing a bank and is crowned king, but his girlfriend dies in the process, and he laments about how greedy and foolish he was.
  • Harvester revealed in the end that the whole game was a game-within-a-game to make the player character (and, by extension, the player) into a serial killer. You've been having Steve do steadily eviler acts all game (from minor vandalism to arson to murder), and of course the whole point is to make the 'real' Steve into the kind of person that does those things for fun.
  • This may have been part of what Hideo Kojima was going for in Metal Gear Solid 2. Then again, we can't be sure...
    • Every boss in the series tends to pull the Tear Jerker card after they've been beaten.
      • Except the ones in MGS3. They're just COVERED IN BEEEEEES.
      • Oh yeah? You seem to have forgotten The Sorrow and The Boss.
    • The tranquilizer gun probably became the favorite weapon for many people after the fight with The Sorrow. There's just something about passing by each and every soldier you killed as they scream in horror that gets to you.
    • Liquid accuses Snake of "enjoying all the killing" at the end of Metal Gear Solid. The game gives you opportunities to, among other things, strangle and break the neck of a guard while peeing in a urinal. It's your own fault if it rings true.
      • This is then called back to in MGS4. If you kill fifty mooks in one area, a soundbite of Liquid saying "You enjoy all the killing" will play, and Snake will vomit in self-disgust. It happens with every fiftieth mook dispatched thereafter, too.
    • More subtle example from the sequel—there's a pretty young hostage named Jennifer in the Shell 1 core, who you can address by name, guess the measurements of, or knock her out to look up her skirt (you get special Codecs if you call Mission Control while looking up there or after having taken a photograph of it). When the Ninja descends in the following cut scene, one of the bullets she deflects hits the female hostage in the head, killing her. It's your fault if her last memory is of you molesting her.
  • At the end of Contact, the main character inflicts this on the player, in a truly magnificent example of the Player Punch.
  • The Witcher, thanks to having the consequences of your choices come back an hour later to bite you in the ass, ends up doing this in a sort of way. For instance, you end up as a sort of surrogate father for an orphan, and he occasionally asks you questions regarding your own moral compass and various views on destiny and the world in general. He later turns out to be the Big Bad, thanks to some accidental time travel, and he spits back your own philosophy as a justification for genocide and the creation of twisted mutants.
    • However, Geralt makes it very clear that Jacques De Aldersberg never truly understood the lessons he learned from Geralt (assuming Jacques de Aldersberg is indeed Alvin as an adult). Best demonstrated in the following exchange:

Jacques De Aldersberg: You always believed man makes his own destiny. I seek to change all humanity's fate.
Geralt: You robbed humanity of its right to decide. You understand nothing.

    • Done well earlier on too. If you give equipment to the terrorists, which they insist they need for the medical supplies included, they will later use weapons also included to kill one of your friends. Definitely a Player Punch.
      • Eh, let's put that into the "gray and grey" context it's really presented in. The victim is a criminal bottom-feeder and definitely no "friend" of Geralt's; the terrorist's justification was that he was exploiting their people through drug-peddling. However, it's pointed out that a murder is still a murder, and this is one that the player's choice facilitated.
  • Done with subtlety and elegance in Shadow of the Colossus: arguably the whole idea behind the game's minimalistic structure and almost complete lack of dialogue is to silently stress the fact that you are slaying mostly docile creatures that are unique, majestic and beautiful. You Bastard indeed.
    • During the credits you get shown the remains of every single colossus, which have returned to earth and rocks, still lying in the same position as they collapsed.
  • Fallout 3 pulls one of these, very nearly breaking the fourth wall to do so: If you choose to put a dying man out of his misery, a message pops up to tell you that you're a bastard for killing him.
    • Fallout: New Vegas pulls one too when, after killing Mr. House you receive a message chastising you for your action. Fridge Brilliance in that it is actually his eulogy to whomever kills him, which would be certain since he is essentially immortal.
    • Lonesome Road, the final story add-on for Fallout: New Vegas, manages to give the player one from all the way back in Fallout 3 and it's add-on, Broken Steel. Throughout Lonesome Road, you hear logs from a Dr. Whitely, a kindly Enclave scientist. It turns out he was at Adams Air Force Base, which the Lone Wanderer canonically seems to have destroyed.
      • Hell, Lonesome Road could be described as an extended case of this trope. Ulysses constantly lambasts the Player Character for causing immense damage in the world through careless actions...something that not only happened in the Backstory of the DLC, but throughout the entire series! He even goes so far as to accuse you of "carrying death wherever you go." He's...not entirely wrong about that.
  • World of Warcraft, there's so many...
    • One of the worst is with the Death Knight starting chain in the Wrath Of The Lich King expansion. Working for the Scourge involves many screaming civilians getting slaughtered by you and your compatriots. Then, you reach the race specific execution quest...
    • Perhaps done even earlier in the Burning Crusade expansion: one mission requires you to sneak into an enemy camp to investigate certain people. During which you can talk to most of the neutral-via-your-disguise enemy NPC's and hear them talk about going into a nearby town and having drinks or starting a 'leatherball' game. Upon completing this quest, the quest giver orders for you to go back into the camp and kill X no of the enemy characters. Yes, they are an evil cult...but still...
    • A very subtle one: In Hillsbrad, you come across a group of humans who are buried neck-deep by the Forsaken and are at the mercy of the surrounding ghouls. Your character spots a shovel nearby and decides to "do the right thing". The quest that follows gives you the option to dig the humans out or bash their brains in with the shovel. Should you choose to do the latter, you get a debuff that tells you to "rethink your definition of "right"".
    • Hunter player characters are often avid collectors, and will search the game world for "rare spawn" beasts that appear periodically. As such, if you kill such a beast in a Cataclysm zone, your reward is the Crystalline Tear of Loyalty, which is described as "The desire to serve as a loyal companion, coalesced into a single priceless crystal". It doesn't do anything, but you can sell it for 25 gold. You bastard.
    • If you do a Human or Orc orphan's quests for Children's Week, you can choose from one of a few rewards, including pets and pet biscuits that make your pets larger. You can also choose an item that can be sold for a few gold, and is said to be for those who like telling children Greatfather Winter does not exist.
    • Every time you boot one of the NPCs off of the Traveler's Tundra Mammoth or its yak equivalent from Mists of Pandaria (or even when you dismount) you get to hear them complain.

Hakmud of Argus: I thought we were friend, buddy! How could you leave Hakmud stranded?

    • Players who get the inn/tavern in their garrison will get various NPCs visiting and offering quests. One of them is Moroes, a boss from the Karazhan raid. His quest involves finding something to help clean up the mess the player and their raid buddies left the last time they were there.
    • One quest in Booty Bay requires you to kill Bossy, a defenseless cow. What makes it worse is that you have to tell the poor cow what you intend to do, which causes her to bow her head in submission. No matter how much genocide you've caused in this game, no matter how many times you've eaten hamburger in reality, this is going to make you feel like a rat for days.
    • The Gleamhoof Fawn pet in Val'sharah is always found near stags and does. Its pet journal description:

Now, where are its parents? You monster.

    • One of the harshest reminders that War Is Hell comes during a quest in Dragonblight where the quest giver tells you to kill an officer and use her device to gain information on Ley Lines. If her cry of "Sorry Daddy," right before you kill her doesn't make you feel like a monster, this letter on her corpse certainly will. While a her father does not blame you, the letter from him saying that can be cold comfort indeed.
    • And speaking of Wrath, there's the quest where you have to find and defeat Warlord Zol'Maz. You can't even claim ignorance here, the Quest Giver tells you hat you have to find and kill his wife, daughter and son first. None f them are exactly innocent or helpless, but it's still downright low.
    • In Stormheim the player can attend a jarl's wake and provoke the other attendees to kill them. One female Vrykul drops two poppy flowers, given by her twin daughters when they wished her a safe journey.
    • At the various Warden Towers in the Broken Shore there are guards from the other faction who are killed more as a statement to the enemy than for any actual gain. Rogues who pickpocket these guards may come away with a family engraving, wishing the bearer returns home safely.
    • An Engineering quest in Legion requires you to get a Fel-Infused Core from a guy at the tavern; he won't give it to you unless you give him a gem on the second floor of the tavern. The gem belongs to a blood elf waitress named Caitrìona. Solution? You steal it. No, there is no option to buy or quest for it, you swipe it from her room. Even worse, this isn't the only time it's stolen; someone you work for does so again during a Jewelcrafting quest, although it's impossible to say which event happens first.
  • Deus Ex starts you off as a government agent going after terrorists. It looks like a classic FPS at first, but going on a killing spree on your first mission will earn you the disapproval of several characters. Not only that, but you later find out that you're working for the Bad Guys and join up with the "terrorists" you may have been killing off previously.
    • The Faceless Mooks of the terrorist organizations, government, and shadowy conspiracies all have conversations which anviliciously remind you of how human (or synthetic humanoid) they are, and how much of a vicious bastard you are for killing them when you could be using your cyborg super spy skills to sneak by or temporarily incapacitate them.
    • One part of the game has you talk to the parents of a MJ12 trooper. The father, has resigned himself that his son is no longer a boy, will give you his son's user name and password for a console, and is accepting that he may be killed by the player (somewhat, he'll curtly say to the player, "I have helped you kill my son, isn't that enough?" if you attempt to talk to him again) The mother on the other hand, will beg you to spare him, and berate her husband for "letting politics get in front of his duties as a father." Continue to kill MJ12 troopers if you like, but you can't help but wonder if you just killed the couple's son.
    • It's easy to get a NPC innkeeper killed in the second missions and not even realize it; then you meet his grieving daughter being forced to prostitute herself a few missions later. Hope you saved.
      • Inadvertently evil, JC himself can kill the innkeeper himself, in front of his daughter, and respond to her mourning with the now-memetic phrase, (and, in this context, sarcastic) "What a shame."
    • At least, unlike a lot of these examples, Deus Ex does give you the option of not killing everyone, even if it makes the game much harder.
    • In The Nameless Mod, playing the World Corp storyline will give you this trope a lot from the PDX gang, who were your friends before the events of the game.
    • In a lesser-known dialogue: Although the group "The Rooks" is responsible for the oppression of other, more peaceful citizens, if JC slaughters them all, confronts their leader, and orders him to give him what he wants (a bomb,) if the main character's inventory is full, JC will let out an uncharacteristic, sinister-sounding laugh.
    • And then there's Deus Ex Human Revolution where the Achievement for accepting O'Malley's bribe and letting the dirty cop skip town flat-out calls you a "greedy bastard".
  • This was the entire premise of Crusader of Centy: the main character comes of age and sets out on a quest to kill monsters in true adventure game style. But over a series of bizarre circumstances, it is revealed that the monsters are intelligent and (initially) innocent, and you've spent the whole game basically committing genocide because you assumed they deserved to die. An interesting premise, but its presentation leaves much to be desired.
  • The Mind Screw last act of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time reveals that the entire world was created as a giant virtual reality MMO for a more advanced dimension's amusement. This was depicted as plainly sick and disturbing leading the heroes to Rage Against the Heavens when they'd become obsolete. Then there's that line about no controlling with a joy-stick.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum: one scene where you take the role of Catwoman shows her finding two large briefcases full of money; before she can make off with them, she sees a news report showing Batman dying, and the player is given a choice, to A) go and help him, or B) run with the loot. If the player chooses B, it leads to something that looks like a Nonstandard Game Over, signaling Batman's death and Joker's victory. However, the scene then rewinds, letting the player take that choice over; the whole sequence is easy to recognize as a scolding for being a coward.
  • Grand Theft Auto (a game series that's downright deliciously wanton), particularly Grand Theft Auto IV, is prone to this though in-game content that's easy to miss in a regular play through (such as in radio messages or TV shows).
    • Speaking of Grand Theft Auto IV, Niko Bellic is an incredibly self-aware avatar. He mourns his loneliness when he sleeps with prostitutes, apologizes if he almost runs over a pedestrian, and then spends much of the cutscenes talking about the horrible things he is responsible for and his regret. And then there's the climax: Roman already holds you responsible for destroying his comfortable life and demands you choose money over revenge. If you choose Money, he dies in a drive-by meant for you. If you ignore him and choose Revenge, he lives but your friend, and possible love interest, Kate McCreary dies in his place. Either way, after you kill The Big Bad, you receive a phone call asking if it was all worth it. Niko seems unconvinced, hangs up, and in a bit of unexpected Fridge Brilliance the post-game plays out with Niko exactly where he was before even making the decision -- minus one relationship.
      • In short, the only way to win at Grand Theft Auto IV is not to beat it.
  • Saints Row 2 carries out this trope to the letter in a secret mission: When you find out that Julius was the one attempted to kill you at the end of the first game, you go hunting for him. At the end of the mission, you shoot him in cold blood. Before he dies, he explains that he did it because the Saints, who were originally meant to save the city from violence, had become, in essence, WORSE than the Vice Kings. While this is true, and certainly made the player have second thoughts about their behavior in the game, the situation was punctuated by the main character exclaiming how he didn't care, and shot him in the forehead. Worse is that if there had not been a speech like that, the player probably would have done that in the first place, adding even more punch to his words.
  • At the end of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Ganondorf opens the final battle with an explanation that he was just jealous of Hyrule's wind, which has resulted in plenty of fans feeling sorry for him.
  • Dhaos of Tales of Phantasia attempts to pull your heartstrings with the reveal that he's only fighting to save his planet, which loses momentum when you consider that a few minutes earlier he told the player that he didn't care one whit about what happened to Earth.
    • Dhaos is kind of an interesting case. In the actual game, he's pretty much a colossal jerk that decided that humanity was going to kill the tree with their prototype manatechnology, and thus attacked, killing everyone who had any connection at all to it. This naturally freaked out humanity, forcing them to speed up production and fire a Mana Cannon based on the prototype technology in order to even have a chance of winning the war Dhaos starts. This kills the World Tree. This makes Dhaos even more angry. Of course, that's not all that happened, but the main thing to note is that in the game, the blame for all of the events is distributed among several parties equally.
    • Meanwhile, in the OVA, Dhaos is made to be more of a Noble Demon. Unfortunately, this had the effect of making the humans of the past war crazy morons. See, while the Mana Cannon was built in-game to stop Dhaos, this time around humanity decided to just build one for no real reason. Dhaos hears about this, and goes on to stop the construction to save the World Tree.
  • In Iji, if you play the game like any other shoot-em-up, which is what seems to be expected of you, your enemies at various points call you out for the vast amounts of deaths you've caused (not that this isn't hypocritical on their part). It is possible to play through without killing anyone, in which case you gain a certain amount of admiration instead.
  • In Ico, you find the body of Yorda frozen as stone with shadow creatures standing around her that run as you approach. The shadow creatures do not attack you, some approach you curiously, others run while still others fly or run around in circles as if they're confused. To proceed you have to kill them, and as you kill them you realize that they are the souls/spirits/essence/etc of the other horned boys, innocent victims who were sacrificed like you were intended to be.
  • Call of Duty: World at War does this. At two points in the game, in the Russian missions, you have the option to spare or execute a group of helpless German soldiers. Also, one of your squadmates keeps a diary. Before the last mission, Sgt. Reznov will read an entry from said diary. If you spared the soldiers both times, your character is described as a true hero. If you killed both groups, you're called a brutal, merciless savage and if you killed one and spared the other he puts you as morally ambiguous individual.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 does this as well when you not only play on the side of Makarov, the new Ultranationalist leader, you get to also gun down an airport full of civilians and shoot them as they pitifully try to crawl away to safety. And to top it all off, you get shot by Makarov himself because you were a CIA agent working on the inside. So not only were you doing horrible things, but you were also on the side of good the entire time. Wow Infinity Ward, wow. You'll also get shot if you don't do anything as well
    • And Makarov uses the incident as an excuse to declare war on the United States.
    • Not only that, but the same scenario ( you being shot and killed by Makarov) plays out whether you fire your weapon or not. And the mission tells you to follow Makarov, not kill the civilians. If you killed a single person, it was your choice to do so.
  • A Marathon: Infinity level-design finalist plays this for laughs. Upon starting, there is nothing you can do but press a button. You do, a bunch of screams let out, and the window next to you fills with lava. You can then go over to a terminal where a stereotypical middle-management type person congratulates you for putting down that miners' strike so quickly.
  • In Portal: "You euthanized your faithful companion cube more quickly than any test subject on record. Congratulations."
    • "There was even going to be a party for you. A big party, that all of your friends were invited to. I invited your best friend, the Companion Cube. Of course, he couldn't come because you murdered him."
    • The song at the end of Portal, "Still Alive": "I'm not even angry. I'm being so sincere right now. Even though you broke my heart. And killed me. And tore me to pieces. And through every piece into a fire. As they burned it hurt because/ I was so happy for you!" That she sings in a happy girl's voice (and is insane) makes the whole thing a You Bastard moment. She also calls you a monster a few times in the sequel. She really does know how to make you feel guilty for stopping her trying to experiment on you to death.
    • Also this quote from the sequel's trailer "But perhaps we can put our differences behind us... For science... You monster..."
  • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, a soldier says in a base conversation that some of the soldiers are not looking forward to the end of the war, because it means the end of their soldiering career, with all its promotion possibilities and great pay. To this Ike says that the men should be ashamed of finding pleasure in the war and should instead concentrate on the great sorrow the war has caused for all sides. That can really hit home at players who don't want the game to end because they want to level their soldiers higher and get everyone to 20/20.
  • The point of the song "Ai no Uta" for Pikmin seems to basically condemn the player for enslaving the Pikmin and using them in an expendable manner, describing the Pikmin as willing to do anything for Olimar and never asking anything in return.
  • Jesse Venbrux's ultra-short (seriously, it takes a few seconds to play) Execution combines this with a Deconstruction of how death normally works in video games: Shooting the prisoner leads to a "You lose" message. Restarting the game leads you to a message that it's already too late, followed by a view of the prisoner's corpse. This is accomplished by adding a bit of data to your computer's registry, so simply deleting the game and re-downloading it will still give you the corpse. On the other hand, attempting to quit without shooting the prisoner leads to a "You win" message.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II did this to the classic RPG mechanic of killing things for XP, by revealing that you're growing more powerful not because you're learning things, but because you're in a way draining your opponents' lives as you kill them.
    • A lesson made even more jarring given it's effectively hand-waved by your party members and by the final outcomes in that if you're good you lead to the resurrection of the Jedi Order and if you're bad your actions significantly weaken the already fractured Republic potentially leading to it's destruction. Values dissonance?
  • Chrono Cross throws this at you after you kill the Hydra - not only is it revealed that it was the last of its kind, but it was pregnant. This one is a massive YMMV, however; many fans did not find the Dwarves' reaction well-written.
  • In EarthBound, when Ness reaches Magicant, he can recruit one of the five Flying Men to accompany him through the rest of the dungeon. If one dies, he can go back to their house to recruit another, but the remaining Flying Men get increasingly angrier at you for letting them die, and the graves of the deceased Flying Men have decreasingly detailed inscription until finally, all the Flying Man are dead and the last grave is unmarked.
  • 3DO pseudo-porn Visual Novel game Plumbers Don't Wear Ties has a surprising instance of this, where the heroine is pleading for a job. You get the option of turning the situation into a classic "I'd do anything to get this job!" porn movie scenario, but if you do the decision blows up in your face as the scene quickly turns dark and wrong, the boss turning into a Complete Monster and the heroine turning sad and pitiful. Then the narrator chimes in with "What kind of sick, perverted monster are you!?" Because really, what the hell were you thinking choosing the porn option in a porn game!?
  • The Escape Ending in Devil Survivor goes out of its way to ensure you feel terrible for the decisions you made.
  • In Mass Effect, some characters react strongly if the player chooses a more morally ambiguous option, or just one that character disagrees with ("Do you enjoy committing genocide, Commander?!"). The Turian Councilor is especially notable for having You Bastard dialogue options no matter what option the player chooses. Though, it's implied the reason for this is due to him bearing Fantastic Racism against humans.
    • "Depends on the species, Turian."
    • -Disconnect
  • Dragon Age Origins has plenty of this, too. After killing a wounded soldier, Alistair asks: "Does the word "insane" mean anything to you?"
  • EVE Online‍'‍s chronicles and the Burning Life novel go a long way to fleshing out how the world of New Eden views capsuleers like you. In the course of being your average MMORPG character, you are an immortal directed by a moral compass completely alien to the average denizens of the world you inhabit. Thousands die at your bidding for loot or sometimes for fun, and your kind wage endless wars that up that amount by orders of magnitude. Many capsuleers are so far removed from the sphere of the ordinary person's world that they don't even realise they're carrying a crew aboard most of the ships they control. Good luck not feeling guilty on those rare occasions when those poor saps are given a voice.
  • Mildly occurs in World in Conflict, towards the end. Having been under Soviet rule for months, Seattle has many Soviet propaganda posters and images painted around the city, most of them giving idealistic messages about the ending of the Cold War, a new, united world and attacking US and NATO forces for being warmongers. Now listen to the Colonel Sawyer himself admitting that the US airstrikes did more damage to the city than the Soviets themselves, consider that you are trying to save the city from a nuke by the US government and note that the final US assault on the city pretty much levels the whole place. A small pang of guilt is unavoidable even knowing that the Soviets are the aggressors.
    • Also occurs in the expansion where you learn Malashenko's wife and child was killed during a NATO assault in Soviet territory. Didn't you blow up some apartment buildings during the assault in Murmansk in the original game with no comments whatsoever on the implications? Or didn't Bannon shell a group of surrendering Soviet civilians in the same mission?
  • The entire point, done with beautiful subtlety, of Far Cry 2. Enemies attack you on sight. Patrols attempt to kill you before even checking to see if you're an enemy or a friend. The entire world is hostile. The result? The player learns to attack first. To kill everything in sight. To blow up jeeps the moment they see a patrol. In short: To become exactly the same as all the people you're murdering. Reinforced by a reputation system that sees (at high levels) enemies scream and run when they see you and the Underground, the only decent group of people in the game, to refuse to do business with you.
    • Some of the more compassionate behaviours exhibited by enemies had a similar effect. Shooting a guy who is shooting at you? No problem. After all, that's just self defence, at least to some degree. But shooting a guy who is trying to drag his wounded mate to safety? Not fun. The effect is magnified when you can hear him constantly reassuring the wounded fellow that everything will be alright.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni does this in a side story: Bernkastel: "Expanding a happy dream into infinity? Effort that brings success no matter what...? It's so sickeningly sweet that my tongue will fall off. ......Aah, how revolting. It's the same to you, right? Therefore. I will show you a true, witch-like, granting of a wish. Because you're obviously looking forward to that." She then proceeds to convince a character to defy her aunt because if she doesn't she'll never get to be with her true family again. And then for her troubles her aunt makes her life a living hell. Then Bernkastel says this: "These kinds of kakera exist, ......but what do you think? All of you who love this kind of ill-natured this level of pain more, don't you?" This is the first time you realise just who the Complete Monster of Umineko no Naku Koro ni actually is.
  • In the game Evil Genius, you perform one of these in a game that otherwise tries to allow you to revel in being a Diabolical Mastermind. Each global anti-Evil-Genius group has a Super Agent, an practically-unkillable Super Agent that can only be killed in a certain way. Mariana Mamba? You strap her down in a surgery booth and make her morbidly obese. Not that bad, she can recover. Jet Chan? You challenge him to a karate duel, win, and he flees to contemplate his loss. That's okay, he's not injured except for his pride. Dirk Masters? You dunk him in a biological tank filled with a chemicals obtained from his own steroid-riddled gym rag. Kinda fitting and justified. But defeating Katarina Frostonova, the emotionally-dead assassin who lived in a Soviet-run Orphanage of Fear after the KGB accidentally killed her parents? You find the only thing she ever cared about as a child - a big teddy bear - cut it to pieces in front of her. Her running away crying is the only time I felt horrible about what I did in the game.
  • In Command & Conquer Red Alert, in the first mission under the Soviet campaign, your goal is to kill everyone in a village. You have three planes and some soldiers. Alright, everything's fine, just killing some low-graphics sprites for the level. Then the level ends, and you're treated to a (for its time) high graphics CG cutscene of the same planes that you commanded gunning down a family, you see a little girl drop her stuffed bunny, and the camera zooms in on it. Nice job finishing the first mission, You Bastard.
    • Oh, but it gets even worse when you think about it. The opposing forces: about a half-dozen Polish Partisans trying to protect dozens of unarmed civilians (ALL of whom you have to kill). Your forces: about 60+ men and air support. The reason you are destroying this village: a handful of survivors from one of the USSR's less-than-ethical experiments involving Sarin Gas managed to escape, and the village made the fatal mistake of taking these poor, near-dead souls in and reporting the matter to the Western Allies. You Bastard indeed.
    • If you use the Liquid Tiberium Bomb in the last GDI mission of Tiberium Wars (despite being warned that using it will set off a chain reaction) you end up killing your entire army and twentyfive million civilians AND set a precedent for GDI using Tiberium weaponry in the future. General Granger immediately resigns in disgust but not before calling the player a war criminal while looking directly at the camera. Worst part of THAT one? It's Canon.
  • In FMV-driven adventure game Quantum Gate and its sequel Vortex, the 'bugs' you wind up shooting in the 'tween-act minigame were actually fairy people, and the barren planet is actually a lush paradise. Has slight Unfortunate Implications running along the What Measure Is a Non-Cute? line due to the fact that, even if they were giant bugs, you were still invading their home on behalf of an evil corporation, albeit one with a noble endgoal.
  • In Heavenly Sword they get into to this right off the bat as the extremely realistic looking main character turns to the screen and yells at you for letting her die when the fate of her people hung in the balance and she was the only one who could save them.
    • I didn't really see this as Nariko talking to the player, especially since there is absolutely no way the player can keep her from dying. To me, it seemed more like her talking to an unseen deity.
    • She's talking to the Sword.
  • The final case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All takes this trope Up to Eleven. First, Phoenix has to essentially accuse the innocent Adrian Andrews of murdering the victim...and It Got Worse. Phoenix is then forced to make the Sadistic Choice between getting Complete Monster Matt Engarde acquitted, or having Maya's kidnapper, the assassin Shelley de Killer make good on his threat to kill her. It hits hard on both sides of the fourth wall. That's part of the reason why it is such a Crowning Moment of Awesome when Phoenix is able to turn de Killer against Engarde.
  • Independence Port in City of Heroes is one of the largest zones in the game, over two miles from end to end, but with most important spots within a few hundred yards of the tram line. Therefore, it's rare for anyone to wander outside that radius unless a mission specifically directs them to go further. An exploration badge in the far corner of the map reflects that tendency... by pointing out that the area sees a lot of mob-related deaths because no heroes patrol that far.
  • Final Fantasy VI Advance has the Bonus Boss Kaiser Dragon condemn the heroes for slaughtering its fellow dragons simply for the sake of fighting in its introduction speech.
  • Breath of Fire 3‍'‍s first boss qualifies. It is a giant monkey-like creature called a Nue that has been terrorizing the town and stealing their crops, so you and your little adopted family go to take it out - only to find out that the only reason it was stealing food was to give it to its deceased offspring, whom it didn't understand were dead. Rei, Teepo and Ryu are quite shaken by this.
  • The protagonist of Manhunt is forced to kill by a mysterious and malevolent figure, who's watching it all on a TV screen for a sadistic thrill. The more gruesome murders you commit, the more obvious the parallel is between the villain and the player.
  • NieR gets a lot of comparisons to Shadow of the Colossus, and for good reason. By the end of the game, you'll have the unpleasant suspicion that your desperate, well-meaning main character is kind of an asshole. By the end of your New Game+, you'll learn that he's much, much worse.
  • Prototype has this in spades. You can tap into enemy communications - and hear their cries of agony as you, or the infected, go on murderous rampages. Helicopter pilots in particular give out hellish, despairing screams as they plummet towards the ground. This troper had to turn off the voice volume in order to continue playing.
  • Travis in No More Heroes actually calls out the player for enjoying watching him and his fellow assassins fight to the death towards the end of the second game. Well, technically he calls out Sylvia and the UAA, but the way he does it certainly causes the player to pause and say, "Wait, is he talking to me?"
    • The whole game is a subtle You Bastard to everyone that enjoys Gotta Kill Them All plots. It gets less subtle in the second game with the above example.
  • The Hell Lord Arc of Legend of Mana. It's made abundantly clear that Draconis is evil, and though he blackmails you into doing his bidding saying no to him has no permanent effect on the plot or gameplay, so going along with his quest to kill the other dragons and steal their Mana Crystals means you get What the Hell, Hero? thrown at you quite a bit.
  • The cliffhanger ending of the second Simon the Sorcerer game has Simon criticize the player for enjoying the situation he's ended up in (stuck in Sordid's body and at the receiving end of much humiliation by the citizens while Sordid romps around in his body in the real world), and throws in a bit of Paranoia Fuel to drive the point home.
  • The ending of Arc Rise Fantasia. You aren't called one, but boy do you feel like a bastard after hearing Eesa's backstory and why she had to fight you. The fact that she gracefully offers to let her body be used in your plan after losing just makes it even sadder.
  • In Uncharted 2, you make affable "treasure hunter" Nathan Drake run around snapping necks, crushing tracheas, throwing men off moving trains, and shooting, shooting, shooting. So when Lazarevic says, at the climax, "How many men did you kill... today?", it's probably supposed to be a boilerplate Not So Different speech... but it's hard not to admit he has a point.
  • In Rift, killing harmless animals will give the player the "critter killer" status for one minute; mousing over the effect's icon will display the message "you should be ashamed."
  • School Days does this as a deconstruction of Hentai Games. If you treat any of the girls right you do get a good end and if you mess around with them, you do not go unpunished.
  • Hilariously parodied in E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy. Behold.
  • In Alpha Protocol, there are very few enemies you have to kill. A bit of mercy can not only drastically change several points in the plot but provide you with perks, stat bonuses, and recognition from your peers (both allies and opposition). For instance, sparing the head of a terrorist organization gives you an ally and a bit of a political upper hand. Although when Parker compared the 300 people he's killed to the 12 people this troper killed and said we were not so different, I found the lack of a possible retort to be annoying.
  • In DC Universe Online if you're playing a villain you'll find yourself dishing out punishment (and based on your weapon selection possibly shooting) to everything from iconic superheroes to run of the mill cops, to university students. It all sort of blends together pretty quickly, right up until the point were you reach one of the late game missions where you end up attacking firefighters. Ouch.
  • Mortal Kombat has this in the first and second installments. So you beat the game and saved the world, right? Wrong. You just condemned the Earth to destruction. "Have a nice day" indeed.
  • The Elder Scrolls games typically have a menu listing how many of certain accomplishments the player has done (for example, "people killed", "quests completed", "locations discovered".) Skyrim lists how many rabbits the player has killed in this menu - under the heading "bunnies slaughtered".
  • Averted heavily in Panzer Dragoon Saga. At the end of the game, you find out that the being that resurrected you at the very beginning of the game was the Dragon itself. The protagonist Edge then asks if the dragon is not the "divine one" the game world's religious prophecy spoke of, then who is? The dragon then makes the revelation that the divine one is the being that has been guiding Edge throughout the game and then talks directly to the player, calling them by their real name they entered at the beginning (this is the only time that your entered name is referenced in game, and the one reason why the game urges you to enter your real name). The dragon asks you to "press the button" and end their world's struggle (it's implied he wants you to turn the game off). Since we of course don't want to do that, the game then continues and the dragon takes Edge away through a portal. Right before Edge goes through it the camera does a close-up and he looks directly at the player, saying "It was you all along. Thank You" as though in prayer. In short, rather than instigating pain, death and suffering, the player is literally the god of the world's religion, the divine watcher that guides the protagonist through difficulty, provides him with the resolve to continue and delivers him from evil.
  • In Dark Souls, the Boss Battle with Sif in is going to make you feel like a rat unless you're a dog-hater (and maybe even then). Not only does he look like a Big Friendly Dog (well, technically a wolf, and much, much, bigger, but same idea), you have to kill him multiple times. But it gets worse the third time when you find out he not only looks like a Big Friendly Dog, he is one. He's trying to honor the legacy of his dead master and trying to prevent you from making the same mistake he did. He doesn't even want to fight you, you rat. To make this even worse, as he loses health, he's clearly injured, limping and stumbling more until he collapses. You rat.
  • From The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Link does a lot of side-quests in the game that might seem frivolous, trivial, and possibly even selfish; snowboarding, buying and renovating a house, attending a wedding, being romanced by giant fairy women... Through all this, you can't help but remember every so often that the very reason you're able to do any of this is because poor Zelda is locked in an eternal, nonstop struggle with Ganon that has lasted 100 years, and your true goal is help her. Of course, most players at least try to excuse this by telling themselves, "she's managed to hold him for a century, a few more weeks can't hurt her, right?"

Web Comics


Tarquin: It's weird, no matter how many people he kills, the audience still thinks he's lovable.

    • Given that Rich Burlew has done everything in his power to make Thog popular, this is very much tongue-in-cheek.
    • Tarquin may be the first villain in history to actually use this Trope as part of his Evil Plan:

Tarquin: My name will be immortalized forever.
Elan: As a villain!
Tarquin: So what? Audiences always think the villain is cooler than the hero is, anyway.


Web Original


Your actions have damned Vinnie

  • Towards the end of his review of Chris Brown's "I Can Transform Ya", Todd in the Shadows explains that he doesn't blame him for the terrible song; rather, he blames his audience, because they're the ones who made it popular rather than his "simpering apology songs."
  • Atop the Fourth Wall almost pulled this off when Linkara at the end of his Ultimates #5 review blames the audience for reading it in the first place. In the end it turns out that it wasn't Linkara but Mechakara during their first confrontation. The real Linkara was just coming home from his vacation and walks in on him just as Mechakara was a tad close to turning his fans against him.
  • The Nostalgia Critic despises his audience for not appreciating him, for wanting him to suffer and constantly requesting the show that gave him one of many reasons to be bullied. As should be obvious, this is just the Critic's issue, Doug loves his fans and needlessly apologizes if there's ever a hiccup in schedule.
  • Bum Reviews: Chester A. Bum reamed out people who found it funny to watch him nearly freeze to death in a night-time snowstorm. The experience also served as a Despair Event Horizon, as he got far less idealistic about everything in following episodes.
  • The "One Piece/Child Molestor"-clip in AMV Hell 4. It's been almost a full hour full of Dead Baby Comedy and Black Comedy Rape, but this one does not have any punchline or subversion at all and is just pure Mood Whiplash.

Western Animation

  • In ReBoot, after being put into a horror game and seeing the Player maniacally blast away enemies:

Enzo: And the next level has zombies! They got flesh on their bones!
Dot: What kind of sick person would enjoy this game?! (both characters glare at the viewer accusingly)

  • In South Park, in the episode "Tonsil Trouble" (the AIDS episode), an HIV-infected Kyle, fed up with Cartman's jokes, launches into an emotional rant: "This isn't funny, AIDS isn't funny, dying isn't funny, so shut the fuck up!" It's a bit of a mindfuck for a viewer who just spent 20 minutes laughing, perhaps somewhat nervously, at AIDS jokes.
    • Ever notice that, nearly every time Kenny died, when Stan and Kyle did the "Oh my god, they killed Kenny, You Bastards!" bit, they were usually looking right into the camera and pointing at you? YOU are the reason Kenny kept dying, and you were a bastard for laughing about a small child dying horrible deaths!
      • Actually, Trey and Matt are the bastards.
      • Parker and Stone often subvert audience expectations in this manner, and later episodes make it increasingly clear they've seemed to stumble upon Misaimed Fandom with certain arcs and characters. Go ahead and ask your friends what With Apologies to Jesse Jackson and Go God Go were really about.
    • There was also an in-universe example in the episode in which Cartman and a few of his friends decided to go to Somalia and become pirates after hearing about the heavily publicized exploits of Somalian pirates. Cartman leads his "crew" to Somalia dressed as a Long John Silver knockoff and spouting all the pirate cliches - but is disappointed to find that the actual Somalian pirates are A Disgrace to Blackbeard (wielding assault rifles instead of swords, and drinking water instead of grog). He forces the Somalians to alter their behavior to fit the pirate stereotype, even making them sing sea chanteys about how much they love being pirates. But one of the Somalians refuses to go along, explaining that he didn't become a pirate because he thought it was fun, but because he was so poor that he felt crime was the only career option open to him. Butters (who is one of Cartman's crew) instantly feels guilty for having interpreted another person's sufferings through the prisms of myth and entertainment.

Real Life

  • Despite the page quote, the gladiatorial games were actually something of an aversion. Whilst there's no doubt that spectators enjoyed them, much of the point of the gladiatorial games seems to have been not one of decadence but quite the contrary: the Romans felt that the games countered decadence, in as much as they provided upstanding examples of how to live and especially how to die and kept the manly Roman spirit strong. In a way, the enjoyment of watching them was seen as secondary to their didactic value, attested to by the fact that many people found the public executions that formed part of the games both vulgar and barbarous.

You read the whole thing? How could you?