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"Who leaves these weapons scattered around anyway?"

Ever been traipsing though a computer game and found an item that doesn't belong? Ammo, weapons and pickups that have no reason for being there other than to supply the player. It doesn't matter if you are in an enemy base or in a underground tomb that hasn't been disturbed for thousands of years; you will find ammo and weapons. Most of it is brand new and functional.

This trope mostly applies to games that otherwise take themselves seriously.

While this has become less common in recent years, it still turns up occasionally.

Supertrope of Inexplicable Treasure Chests, Crate Expectations, Exploding Barrels and Suspicious Videogame Generosity. Not to be confused with Product Placement (which can be very blatant).

Related to Notice This.

Examples of Blatant Item Placement include:

Played Straight

These games, while often trying to be serious, will offer no explanation of what these things are doing there.

Action Adventure

  • All of the Tomb Raider games outside of Legend and Underworld use this; even in areas where Humans have apparently not been for thousands of years you find contemporary ammo, weapons and medikits.
    • Every once in a while (though certainly not often) they'll justify it by having a skeleton, obviously killed by a trap or animal, with an item lying right next to it.

First Person Shooter

  • Doom has you finding health, weapons and armor in Hell.
    • Probably the most Egregious aspect of this has to be The Great Communicator, because it's really difficult to come up with any legitimate reason for why the hell there's a chainsaw on Mars. The third game at least had the courtesy to lampshade this in one of the email logs, and handwaves it by explaining that an order for jackhammers got mixed up on Earth.
    • A possibility being that others had been there before and had died and left the items (and were just not badass enough to continue), although that's probably just All There in the Manual, if anywhere at all.
  • Clive Barker's Undying: Pistol and shotgun ammo in a medieval monastery?
  • Serious Sam: Where does all the ammo and weaponry come from? After all, the games do take place in ancient Egypt, ancient Mesoamerica, and alien planets. A brief note suggests that they are transported in by the same time travel that Sam used. Despite the name, Serious Sam is really not meant to be taken that seriously. Rather obvious since you're running around ancient Egypt shooting headless aliens with giant uranium filled cannonballs.
    • In Serious Sam 3, weapons are scattered around more realistically.
  • The post-apocalyptic environment of Fallout 3 contains a ridiculous amount of equipment and weaponry just lying around many decades after the war. Useful gear is practically ubiquitous, having somehow escaped looters, scroungers, and of course damage from very lengthy exposure to the elements. Contrast with the original Fallout games where most of the equipment to be found is either already in someone's possession, or stored away in undisturbed underground facilities.
    • Much of the stuff could be interpreted to have been stashed by earlier generations of looters, who never managed to come back for them, or are still there and using the area as a base - many of the larger buildings are populated, as are the subways. For example, a supermarket near Megaton is populated by raiders, and while the shelves are stripped of anything useful, there are some supplies in the back room where raiders have their base.
    • Because they've probably been horribly killed somewhere out in the Wasteland by any of the myriad things that can kill a curious looter. Things that the equipment they've stashed would probably save them from.
      • Or they did equip the items, the stash is just their backup in case their current is damaged or worn out.
      • So they looted all the medicine then stashed it in the first aid boxes in the hospital? Sure, nobody'll ever look for it there...
        • Think the medicine cabinets are bad? There are barbeques in gardens and picnick spots with food still on it. No matter how desolate or dangerous the place is..
    • Then again, most of the stuff found freely around isn't stuff you tend to keep (aside from the ammo, of course). The real goodies are stashed in locked containers, and the PC just happens to be unrealistically good at lockpicking.
  • Rainbow Six: Vegas 1 and 2 have large crates which allow you to switch weapons and equipment. While some of them can be handwaved as enemy gear (Why would they leave it unguarded?), some of them are in incredibly implausible locations, including areas where they couldn't have even fit the box through the doors.
  • Deus Ex and its open-endedness suffered somewhat from this. Why would you find grenades or rebreathers in sewer pipes just as you would need them?
    • Often this was averted - Serious weapons and ammo are locked in cabinets or stored in (often heavily guarded) armories and guard stations, and in one notable instance, a research lab. In one notable aversion in the prequel, there is a Praxis Kit next to a dead body. It's booby-trapped, and the mine will alert any enemies in the area. Some NPCs will also provide you with weapons...for a price. Although it was odd the number of down and outs you met with nothing but the tattered clothes they stood in, a half bottle of booze, and a high-end sniper scope for a special forces issue assault rifle.
  • A couple of Marathon's Pfhor ship levels have hidden stashes of ammo. Maybe they claimed it from captured humans.
  • Left 4 Dead generally avoids being a bad offender of the trope, but the sequel just has odd placements for items, due to how the AI Director is feeling. For example, if you explore the bathrooms in the finale of Dead Center, you can find pills, adrenaline shots, first aid kits, and fire/explosive ammo stuffed inside toilets and urinals.
    • Not to mention the fact that so many katanas and cricket bats are scattered across the U.S. Deep South in the first place. Katanas Are Just Better, of course, but you'd think baseball bats would make more sense (they are in the game, but were only plentiful back when they were just a Preorder Bonus).

Platform Games

  • Dr. Robotnik seems to love keeping rings around, even though they're the only thing keeping his main enemy from being a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
    • There are a lot of Fan Wank for the existence of the rings, but that does ignore the fact that Robotnik never bothers to clean them up.
  • In Castlevania, it seems rather easy to find holy water lying around, even in Dracula's castle.
    • The crosses (and cross-shaped rosaries) are also curious. And then there's the pork chops hidden in the walls.
    • Help me stuff this pot roast into these candles!
    • It makes sense in Lament of Innocence, though. Walter Bernhard is stated to make a game out of hunters trying to kill him. Why not give them tools and make them think they have a chance? Of course, he never expected Rinaldo Gandolfi and Leon Belmont to use the soul of Sara Trantoul, who Walter turned into a vampire and gave back to Leon, to turn the Whip of Alchemy into the Vampire Killer. Because of this, Walter's game ended, and he lost.
  • The Mega Man series has health pellets, weapon refills, one-ups and even E-tanks in Wily's castle. Doesn't Wily know these items help Mega Man?
  • Metroid Fusion takes place on a research lab satellite, yet there are missiles and bombs hidden in the walls of otherwise empty rooms.
    • Although, it's hinted at that BLS's purpose was to develop biological weaponry.

Role-Playing Games

  • Skyrim does this to an extreme, you can find money and ammo in anything. Evidently Nords think burial urns are piggy banks.
    • Apart from a few Money Spiders the game actually does a pretty good job at keeping stuff in their appropriate containers. For example, you are unlikely to find anything more valuable than clothes in cupboards and wardrobes. Leaving valuables for the dead is a pretty common custom in many cultures as well, either real or symbolic. Unfortunately you keep finding fresh vegetables in barrels and sacks that have sat in abandoned tombs for centuries, though.
    • A minor case is that all coinage, even ones that would be more valuable as antiques than as actual coinage, is represented by Septims. That makes sense for many ruins (at the time of the games, Septims have been in use for half a millenia)... but not all. Especially blatant as the last game to feature Dwemeri ruins actually did have Dwemer coins.
  • Diablo II, besides having equipment that Randomly Drops, has beneficial shrines and healing wells that can be found even in the Chaos Sanctuary, Diablo's lair.
  • Hype The Time Quest has crossbow bolts, herbs, potions, magics, chests, and exploding barrels stacked up everywhere!
  • Mass Effect; one the worst examples being when you find perfectly functional modern (year 2183) equipment in a Soviet probe on the moon. The sequel averts this with weapons and the like, but the planet that Ronald Taylor crash-landed on has thermal clips for your weapons, a new development within the previous two years, lying around despite being out of touch with the galaxy for a decade.
    • You also have oddly convenient weapon-switch lockers strewn all through the second game, all of which have multiple copies of every single gun you have access to, including heavy weapons. Why does a hotel need a nuke launcher lying around, anyway?
    • Heretic Station is a geth base which hasn't been used by organics in several hundred years, but there are still working medkits everywhere.
    • And the collector ship has a collection of advanced human weaponry lying around in a pile. Considering the collectors only collect live samples and don't touch other races' equipment or technology, it boggles the mind how and why. Even more mind-bogging is why you can somehow only pick up one of them.
      • Though, we do see that some of the abducted humans are carrying their guns, and the Collectors might want to incorporate human weapons into the Human Reaper, for a Death by Irony situation.
  • In Neverwinter Nights (Shadows of the Undrentide), 'so old it's useless' armour and weapons can be found, but otherwise the game is a worst offender.
    • In the base game most containers have random treasure based on your level. So based on what level you are, you can find hundreds of gold pieces, a magical warhammer, and some gems in a rain barrel outside a whorehouse!
  • Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder tend to specifically encourage this. Especially true in 4th edition, since items resell for only one fifth of their market value, its important that DM's make sure the items the players need are in the treasure caches the players find and monsters are factored based on players having those items. Pathfinder went the other route and beefed up the player classes so that magic items were less important.
  • Many Roguelikes will have items randomly scattered around on the ground instead of (or in addition to) Inexplicable Treasure Chests.

Survival Horror

  • For a place that's trying to torment you constantly, Silent Hill is awfully generous with ammo and health boosters lying strewn randomly through the empty streets. This is not to mention what sort of mental hospital or prison would leave guns or ammo lying around. A player can sometimes finish a playthrough of the game with ammo for all weapons clocking in at over 100, and enough health drinks, medkits and tourniquets to keep the series alive after Silent Hill: Homecoming.
    • Possible bit of Fridge Brilliance there; the Town, in its infinite, mind-raping evil, wants you to stay alive as long as you possibly can, in order to prolong your suffering. It's giving you a sporting chance, because nobody falls as hard as the man elevated by hope.
    • Lampshaded in Silent Hill 3, where the Shotgun is found wrapped up in a birthday present.
  • Fatal Frame games can contend for the most egregious example of this trope. Basically, your heroines must survive their way through horde of ghosts, armed with an obscure camera that can spiritually bind ghosts in magical films. Rolls of magical films are everywhere in the games, even though the only one with the know-how to make them is the occult professor who also invented said camera. To make it worse, the majority of the games take places in house/village that are "devoured by darkness" long time ago, before camera were even invented.
  • Dead Space is kind enough to, generally speaking, only drop ammo for the weapons you have on you at the time. For this reason, combined with the high cost of upgrading weapons, it's generally recommended to only carry two or three guns at a time, rather than the maximum of four. Items in general are stored in containers or on the bodies of the dead necromorphs, who were likely trying to horde supplies to stay alive, the same as Isaac. However, there still manages to be some fairly inexplicable examples. For example, why is there a storage crate containing saw blades at an elementary school?
    • Check out aversions as Dead Space manages to land in that category as well.

Third Person Shooter

  • Psi Ops the Mindgate Conspiracy has 'psi-vials' all over the place that are used to replenish the players' psi-energy. Considering that very few people have psi powers, it a bit of a mystery as to why they would be there. This is especially blatant in boss fights, but otherwise disappears later in the game as the player finds another way to get psi-energy. Health and ammo are also inconsistently placed.
  • In 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, you buy guns from an arms dealer by contacting him on pay phones strewn throughout the levels. This despite the fact that some of the levels are set in Ancient Napoleonic desert castles, or even in one memorable instance, inside a burning building.


In these games, a decent attempt is made at explaining why these things are lying around.

First Person Shooter

  • F.E.A.R.: Although booster injectors turn up in odd places, ammo, weapons and normal health packs are usually found in only enemy staging areas.
    • That's not to say that there aren't the occasional inexplicable weapon (such as a sewer worker who apparently committed suicide with a 10mm nailgun), of course.
  • Halo, when human weapons are found in hostile areas, usually has the design sense to put them into shipping crates near crashed escape pods, or some other grasp for plausibility.
    • Before very difficult sections a friendly dropship will often supply vehicles and heavy weapons.
    • Played straight in some areas of the first Halo, where you would find marine corpses (and handy ammo stashes) where they couldn't possibly have reached.
      • But then justified in at least some of these cases; 343 Guilty Spark in the novelization of the first game shows the Master Chief another human he brought to the Library who died in combat against the flood, which was never mentioned or explored in the game.
  • In Unreal, while there are exceptions, items are mostly justified by being in Skaarj-populated areas, being in places where doomed Humans have gone, or worshipped as some sort of holy artifacts by the Nali. The add on Return To Na Pali continues this with the addition of dropped from orbit ammo crates, unfortunately their aim is a bit off and they keep hitting the locals.
  • Bioshock generally had the biggest stashes of items in places where it would make sense, such as splicer hideouts or an important person's office. Occasionally things have been laid in your path as traps.
    • Unfortunately the sequel dropped the ball with items all over the place, including ammo that only your character can use.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior usually accompanies ammo drops for your Tau weaponry with a slightly mangled corpse of a fellow Fire Warrior; the other weapons are nicked off a soldier you've just killed or found in workshops and the like.
  • In Half-Life, most of the stuff is looted from fallen enemies, or lies around in places where you'd expect to find them - for example, a shotgun in a guard checkpoint.
    • Half-Life's manual actually made a point of mentioning that items were placed logically compared to most other games at the time of its release.
    • In Half-Life 2 and the Episodes, while a little bit of stuff is found lying around randomly, much of it is found in lockers, storage rooms and rooms that look like they've been converted into armories, on corpses, or in resistance supply caches marked by the lambda symbol. Most that isn't, or which falls into the last category, is also in distinctive supply crates.
    • Half-Life 2 actually goes so far as to justify this - at one point you actually meet a resistance member who's going around planting the supply crates in strategic locations along the route out of the city.
  • Unreal Tournament's a giant tournament. You can see vehicles, ammo, and weapons being teleported straight into the battle. And all of these places are bought and repurposed strictly for the tournament- whether it be two towers floating on an asteroid in space, or various No OSHA Compliance industrial sites (generally purposefully left as dangerous as possible for the sake of entertainment).
  • In Borderlands, weapons, shields, and mods can drop from animals as well as human enemies. Items are also found in "skag piles." An explanation is given in loading screen tips: they eat everything they can find but don't digest guns. Still doesn't explain why 17.4 million different guns exist on a post-apocalyptic wasteland with a permanent non-bandit population in the double digits.
    • There has been a strong corporate presence on Pandora. Dahl and Hyperion have factories there, and according to previews for the Zombie Island of Dr. Ned expansion, there's also a Jakobs factory that met a terrible end. Given the attitudes the companies seem to keep in the Borderlands universe, it makes total sense that they would pump out more guns than there are humans on the planet...
    • And more specifically, regular Rakks don't drop items, but Bloated Rakks do, as they have presumably previously eaten someone.
  • Far Cry is pretty good about this, as all the weapons you find are either in armories, mercenary camps or other logical places, or directly from their late owners.
    • Far Cry 2 (not a direct sequel to the first, but a Spiritual Successor) is even more consistent about it, since the vast majority of supplies are in guarded enemy camps; they are enemy supplies (the problem is that enemies can shoot forever and so don't need to use those supplies, but whatever). Also, everyone uses the same standard ammo types and guns because their direct suppliers all have the same supplier (the guy you've been hired to kill). Enemies don't drop ammo, either; they drop guns, and you can remove the ammo from them for your own use provided your guns use the same ammo type. Even though the AI never runs out of ammo, the quicker you kill enemies, the more ammo you get to loot from their guns, and the higher the chance that they'll have unused grenades on them.
  • The weapons laying around in Left 4 Dead and its sequel are generally implied to be left behind by other people, who have either been killed, turned into zombies, or already left the area. Occasionally the area around will actually explain it even further, by showing a dead body nearby or setting up an area to look like it had been someone's hideout. Other items like first aid kits or pills can show up in common areas like closets or offices since one would expect such items to appear in those locations.
    • The finales sometimes show this as well, having the area filled with guns, ammo, mounted machine guns, pipe bombs, molotovs, pills, and first aid kits as if a large group of people were making their last stand while waiting to be rescued.
  • While typically the settings of Team Fortress 2 would have no real explanation for why ammo and health are lying around the levels—for instance, the typically egregious farms and Egyptian tombs—just about any gameplay oddity can be explained due to the espionage setting of the games. The RED and BLU bases only LOOK like farms and Egyptian tombs, and given the high amount of activity around them it's only natural that they would keep ammo and medkits around.
  • STALKER goes a long way towards averting this trope, with the only way to get most weapons and ammunition being either to trade for them, loot enemy corpses, or find hidden stashes left by other Stalkers. All of which makes the appearance of fresh suits of high quality armor lying around in plot-important areas all the more noticeable. Especially in the Chernobyl NPP, where you find an exosuit roughly once every 100 meters.
  • The third Doom game is much more logical than the first two. Much of the stuff you find is in storage areas or other logical locations with e-mail messages saying why somebody has put it there.

Platform Games

  • In the PC game Jazz Jackrabbit, the explanation for all the ammo in each level was given not in the game but in a comic in the manual, in which one of Devan Shell's acquaintances tells Jazz to expect "a huge stockpile of weapons lying around" and to steal whatever he finds.
  • In New Super Mario Bros Wii, the toads prepare for the mission by scattering power-ups throughout the land by shooting them out of a cannon.
  • Jabless Adventure gives a rather tongue-in-cheek justification.

 Shop keeper: Don't worry, we're running a special promotion.

Jables: What's that?

Shop keeper: I hid weapons and items outside the town to drum up publicity.

Jables: Isn't that reckless?

Shop keeper: It's a game, kid. Don't be so serious.


Role-Playing Games

  • Elder Scrolls Oblivion: In the tutorial section you find some very rusted armour. Often treasure could be explained as being hoarded by monsters.
    • The vast majority of things you find in Oblivion are things that are perfectly normal to find wherever you find them, meaning this trope only comes up when the leveling system messes up and you start finding bandits in armor that literally costs more than a house.
      • Or when well-locked treasure chests in ancient, pre-Imperial ruins contain inexplicable caches of Imperial coins.
      • Gold is gold. Payment in ancient coins instead of standardized coins is not even remotely far-fetched when you consider that medieval commerce (And by extension, a good portion of fantasy commerce) was based on the barter system.
      • A notable exception that is noticable is the occasional placement of lockpicks or flatware in a wolf, rat, wild creature. Especially when said creature would not be able to carry said item, barring Hammerspace or cruel treatment by bandits and highwaymen.
    • Morrowind is quite good at this too. Okay, the lockpick in the starting building might be a tad implasusible, but everything else, (the items you find on monsters and people (if you kill them), the stuff behind (and in) locked doors (and locked chests), the items you buy from shop keepers, etc.) has a perfectly justified reason why it's there. Hell, you can even steal the pillows from the beds and sell them!
  • Fallout 3 and New Vegas has Medkit Boxes (First Aid Boxes, really) that are strewed all through the ruins. Justified, in that most homes should have a First-Aid Kit, but yet, given 200 years after the apocalypse, why hasn't anyone found those supplies yet? Still, though, the boxes themselves seem to be placed with some type of logic.
    • Also more or less true in earlier installments. While drugs, money, and ammo can be found nearly everywhere, large stashes only appear in abandoned military bases, gang hideouts, and the like.
  • In New Vegas, mostly justified, seeing as most good medical loot is in currently inhabited houses and must be stolen, or is in a very dangerous place, like REPCONN HQ + REPCONN Test site, and then it is usually locked. Also, in NV, there is some manufacturing of weapons+medical equipment, so some things the player finds may only have been there for months or even weeks, not 200 years.
  • As a general rule, any game from Spiderweb Software (particularly Avernum) will completely avert this and mostly avert Money Spider, while still finding ways to reward you for major victories. If the boss you just killed is a human bandit, help yourself to his cash. If the boss is a giant spider, odds are that somebody two towns back wanted spider fangs to make a potion.
  • Adventure Quest explains Money Spiders by the introduction of a character named 'Robina the Hood' who steals from the rich and gives to the forest creatures.
  • In Dragon Quest VIII, one of the first "books" you come across tells you that you're likely to find treasure chests lying randomly around, and encourages you to loot the contents. It adds cheerfully, "Who put them there? Who knows! Just think of them as gifts from the Goddess!"
  • Having treasure chests in Digimon World 3 made sense seeing as the entire game took place inside an MMORPG.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, the party comes across high-tech chests and internet shopping terminals in all manner of strange places, including littered about the wilderness of Gran Pulse where no humans live. However, as the player nears the end of the game, the terminals begin displaying not just store options, but messages directly to the party from the Big Bad, who placed all of these things carefully in order to encourage the characters in their intended mission.

Survival Horror

  • Eternal Darkness mostly averts this trope - while the odd bunch of crossbow bolts may be found lying around, most characters have all their available gear from the start or loot it off newly-dead bodies. One insanity effect has the floor of the next area littered with dozens of boxes of shotgun shells. Finally, the Elephant Gun is located in a locked gun cabinet!
  • In Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, the first time you get weapons, they're found in the gun-cabinet of a police station. Most of the time later on the weapons and ammo are found in reasonable places, save for the final BFG, which was originally supposed to have been found from an area behind a time portal, but didn't make it to the game due to time constraints, so you just find it lying around for no reason in a random cave deep in enemy territory.
  • Dead Space and Dead Space 2 both plays this straight (see above) and averts it. While neither setting is a military heavy setting, the weapons are almost all mining equipment. Even the more blatantly offensive uses can be justified as a bit of jury-rigging on Isaacs part (the 'grenade' function of the Force Gun and Flamthrower can be justified as just launching the ammo container at the enemy). The only clear weapon is the Pulse Rifle, but that makes sense as simply being the standard issue security / police weapon. Item pickups waver back and forth on this. Items are generally found in lockers, storage crates, and on the bodies of the necromorphs (who used to be people probably trying to defend themselves the same way you are). However, what is in these locations doesn't always make sense.

Third Person Shooter

  • Max Payne: most weapons are dropped by enemies, and as health is in the form of painkillers, you generally find them in bathroom cabinets.
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