Penalty imposed for harming non-combatants

Other (objects, etc.) theme

Penalizes player(s) if they in any way harm players or game characters who are not fighting against the protagonist(s).


The first video game about Penalty imposed for harming non-combatants was released in 1981.

Glass Knuckle Games, Ocean Software and Nintendo has published most of these games

In some cases a certain level of harm is allowed before the penalty is implemented.

The protagonist or character(s) with authority over them many have a stricter definition of a non-combatant. For instance, a civilian remains protected even if they actively try to kill the protagonist.

The penalty is typically an unrealistic game mechanic. Such as, deep in an enemy base the protagonistist shoots a civilian contractor who has obviously surrendered. Yet the level ends instantly (protagonist's superiors instantly knew precisely what happened, instantly infiltrated the base to stop the protagonist, and instantly exited with the protagonist, all while the enemy watched without offering assistance nor resistance). In rare cases, harming non-combatants results in more realistic penalties, such as an ally character choosing to no longer help the protagonist [i]when they realize/discover[i] what the protagonist did. Or in the above example, the protagonist may continue with the mission having to face penalties only after the mission is over (which them may include mission failure state)
Implied: (enforceable)
* Neutral NPCs

See also: friendly fire penalty
Commonly this is losing a life or instant failure (requiring loading a saved game or restarting the whole mission/level from the beginning), usually depending simply on if the game has lives or not.

Parent groups

Game-like elements, Unrealism


Windows 11
Linux 5
Tandy Coco 3
Mac OS X 2
PS3 1
Arcade 1
Android 1
ZX Spectrum 1
Amiga 1
custom 1
N64 1
Apple II E 1
C64 1
Atari ST 1
Amstrad CPC 1
Atari 2600 1

By year

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