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"Yeah, take that flowers. And you too, patch of dirt."
Yahtzee reviewing Minecraft

In opposition to the traditional practice of setting games in spartan worlds with nothing about that doesn't want to kill you, recent games try to add realism by inserting a lot of prop objects, such as chairs, tables, televisions and the like. These will frequently end up in your way.

There being only so many buttons on the game controller, the user interface is rarely set up to allow any kind of sophisticated interaction with these props, so the usual way of dealing with such things is to blast them to pieces. Quite often, the game will actively reward you for this with various forms of in-game currency.

As the inclusion of Ragdoll Physics becomes commonplace, expect this to increase, as objects can suddenly become extremely useful as weapons. If destructible objects are useful only to show off how awesome the physics engine is, then you've discovered an example of Wreaking Havok.

Crate Expectations is this as applied to the most commonplace prop. Kung Shui is a close relative that this trope often wishes to emulate.

Examples of Die, Chair, Die! include:
  • The later installments in the Call of Duty series had destroyable furniture.
  • In Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, various crates not only drop health, but in the X Box 360 version you can also get an achievement for destroying a large amount of them.
    • "Large" being 250, an amount which (if you break every single crate you find) can be beaten halfway through the first level.
    • Scarlet Witch even has a power that turns mooks into crates that you can break.
  • In Freedom Force, you can literally destroy anything (unless the objective requires you to protect it), including buildings, cars, lamps, benches, trees, signs... the only penalty is less "prestige" (bonus points) at the completion of a level.
  • In Golden Eye 1997 and several of the later James Bond-themed games, every piece of scenery could not only be destroyed, but would explode under heavy gunfire, often in a massive fireball that would injure the player and send foes flying. Even seemingly non-explosive items like office tables and bushes exhibited this strange behavior.
    • Golden Eye Wii avoids the exploding furniture, but otherwise plays the trope straight, as most bits of scenery can be destroyed with enough firepower.
  • Half-Life issues Gordon Freeman's iconic crowbar for dealing with breakable objects. Almost the entire game is littered with large, breakable crate-like boxes, which often contain cool stuff such as ammo and health powerups.
    • Half-Life 2 has an object library loaded with mobile, seemingly-random junk, all fodder to be used by the player and his trusty Gravity Gun weapon. In fact, a flying hot-water radiator is capable of killing almost every non-humongous enemy in the game. Only in the Expansion Pack, Half-Life 2: Episode One, was a human-sized enemy introduced that took more than one radiator to kill: the Zombine, a headcrab-infected Combine Overwatch Soldier.
    • And in Half-Life 2: Episode Two, a new enemy known as "the Hunter" was introduced. Hunters have damage resistance against almost every firearm and explosive... but have a crippling weakness to junk launched by your Gravity Gun. Despite being able to take ridiculous amounts of explosions to the face, most would fall over and die if hit by a small log.
  • Crash Bandicoot has you smashing crates as a primary objective of the game. Aside from containing several goodies such as Wumpa Fruits and Extra Lives, breaking all of them in a level will get you a gem.
  • All harmless animals in Blizzard Entertainment games may be attacked and killed. Warcraft 2 brought this to new heights when one could repeatedly click on a critter and have the critter explode in a bloody mess.
    • Starcraft critters have a habit of exploding as well. It's somewhat of a running gag in Blizzard games.
    • Some crafty Starcraft players actually infect these "harmless" animals with parasites, allowing them a little more intel on enemy movement, knowing that most people don't bother killing them.
  • This is subverted in a handful of The Legend of Zelda games, where not only are the chickens indestructible, but attacking them repeatedly will cause them to summon an army of doom chickens that will hunt you down and kill you.
    • In The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, however, attacking the chickens would force you to take control of it for a short duration. This was not so much a deterrent as totally freaking awesome.
    • And in The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass you can kill the chickens, by picking them up and throwing them to the water. You have to jump into the water too, however; otherwise they bounce from an invisible wall surrounding the land.
    • In The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, the chickens, if put in water, will simply come to the edge and climb back up... no matter how far away the surface is. At one point, you use a chicken to slow your fall as you glide down to the ground far below. When you're done, you let go of the chicken, and he'll float across the water, back to the wall, and rise back up into the heavens as if there's an invisible elevator. (There's no way his wings could propel him back up the height of a skyscraper, no way.) It is hilarious.
    • In The Legend of Zelda Links Awakening, you can kill the chickens by using the Magic Rod. Doing so might reward you with a heart.
    • The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword has Link face the consequences of this at one point. In the Lumpy Pumpkin bar, there's a breakable chandelier with a Piece of Heart on it. Break it and the bar owner makes you do a mini-quest to pay it off. The game also chastises you for looking through other people's cupboards.
  • In World of Warcraft, the recently-introduced Achievement system contains a challenge to kill 15 turkeys in three minutes; players who complete the achievement are (in a brilliantly-staged tribute to the Zelda chickens) mobbed by a horde of angry turkeys.
  • In Deus Ex, the landscape is dotted with wooden crates containing Power Ups; for ease of opening these, the player is provided with a crowbar... which is used to, you guessed it, smash them to pieces. Deus Ex also contains chairs, which may be picked up, carried, thrown, used as weapons, climbed on to reach out-of-the-way places... but not sat in, except in cutscenes. There's also throwable vases, flags, balls, cleaning trolleys, signs, and plants, all of which can cause damage. Throw them at an friendly enough times, and they'll attack), and newspapers will darken when hit, until finally shattering.
    • With a high-level Microfibral Muscle augmentation, you can use literally any physics object in the game as a one-hit nonlethal KO. There's a video lurking around Youtube of the player knocking out Manderley by hitting him over the head with the American flag next to his desk.
    • If you walk over a cat, it becomes hostile and if you do it again, it dies. Rats die the first time you step on them.
  • The Lego Star Wars games require the player to destroy scenery to release collectible items, and sometimes to continue the plot. Even when this means Queen Amidala and her cohorts smashing up Theed Palace, breaking windows, destroying flowerbeds and the like.
    • Similarly Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles gave you points for destroying things which were used to level up at the end of the stage. Since the third power for each stage required a lot of points, it was often necessary to destroy everything in sight to get it. Seeing Jedi systematically trash every computer console on a Trade Federation vessel is weird enough, but when you go to Theed, you burn down all of Amidala's plants and break all her windows.
    • Lego Batman works much the same as the Star Wars version. As noted elsewhere on this wiki, Vandalism = Heroism.
  • NCSoft's City of Villains game features Mayhem Missions, instances where characters actually get bonus time for mission completion by destroying objects ranging from parking meters to SWAT vans. Newspaper vending machines, payphone kiosks and parking meters all dispense coinage when destroyed, but most other objects explode -- even common wooden packing crates and aluminum-framed plexiglass bus stop shelters. Hydrants shoot water into the air, but not nearly as much as one might expect.
    • In the fullness of time, this led to the other half of the game, City of Heroes, getting similar mission (Safeguard) with a similar mechanic. The catch? Being a hero, you actually lose time if you let the computer-controlled baddies break too much scenery. Instead, you gain time by busting waves of vandals that mindlessly destroy scenery, and side missions.
  • Most objects in Bioshock can be nudged or picked up via telekinesis. This means you can pick up a corpse and mentally throw it at another opponent.
  • Final Fight and its sequels had a variety of crates, boxes, barrels, etc. one could smash open in order to obtain Power Ups... though this author could never quite understand why there was a barbecue roast sitting in a rotting crate in the middle of an alley.
  • An early First-Person Shooter called Rise of the Triad was one of the first, if not the first, to have destructible objects, down to the coins you could either pick up in order to gain a life, or simply blow up to have a chance to get a bonus at the end of the level.
  • Duke Nukem 3D, coming about a year later, was one of the big popularizers of the trope for FPSes.
  • The Blood Rayne games are chock full of destructible objects. One can even leave scratches on the walls from Rayne's blades.
  • Possible in The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion: you can attack and knock around pretty much anything in a shop and the shopkeeper won't mind. Pick anything up, however, and you'll have all of Tamriel's police force on you.
    • Try blasting a library's worth of books with a fireball-type spell with an attack radius. Books go everywhere. Tons of fun in the Mage Guild. Just make sure there aren't any NPCs in range first.
    • And yet Fallout 3, which uses the same engine, has bulletproof (also laserproof and explosion-proof) chairs.
      • Though you can knock most of them around. Not that you'd want to, since if you touch anything, even a tin can, NPCs gripe at you.
    • In Skyrim, you now have Shout abilities. The first you get is "Unrelenting Force". With one good FUS RO DAH! you can send an entire banquet flying across the room, food, plates, guests and all.
  • Alpha Prime has levels literally strewn with hundreds of movable objects, from small soda cans to large metal beams. What it lacks, however, is a good way to use them (aside from a few put-battery-in-receptacle puzzles). The player can pick objects up and toss them with a variable amount of force, but enemies will remain pretty much unfazed if they are hit by them. A gravity gun (a la Half Life 2) would have made things much more interesting.
  • The Sly Cooper series gives you coins for smashing things. More interestingly, there are multiple missions where you are required to 'ransack' (smash) objects in order to find some key item.
    • "When the plan goes wrong, always fall back on the Golden Rule: break stuff."
    • The Simpsons Hit and Run similarly rewarded you with coins for smashing stuff, up to and including your own vehicle.
  • In the Ratchet and Clank series, you can get bolts from destroying lots of the scenery (computer screens, cameras and all kinds of stuff). Some skill-points are rewarded for destroying ALL possible scenery.
    • There's also a skill point for taking out the spring-mounted Captain Qwark automaton on Metropolis in game 1... which requires anti-tank weaponry. Considering Qwark is revealed to be working against you in the storyline, it's really very satisfying reducing it to spare parts.
    • Hilariously inverted in Crack in Time. If you hit a broken object with Clank's time scepter it reverses and becomes fixed. You even get bolts comparable to breaking the thing.
  • The Spyro the Dragon games tend to have some destructible scenery, mostly plants. Burning the shrubbery to a crisp doesn't get you any points, but it is somewhat therapeutic.
    • Although in Year of the Dragon, burning certain things in certain levels will earn you Skill Points. (For example, Burn All the Piranha Signs.
  • The video game based on the live-action Transformers movie allows you to destroy just about anything. In many cases, there will be pieces remaining that you can pick up, carry around, throw, and sometimes even wield as weapons.
  • All the games in the Budokai Tenkaichi series of Dragonball Z feature destructible environments, allowing you not only to destroy mountains and buildings with energy attacks, but also by throwing or punching your opponent through them. If you do this in story mode, you might even find a Dragon Ball in the rubble.
  • Dungeons and Dragons Heroes for the Xbox also contained breakable barrels that frequently contained money or potions. Beware, however, as some of them actually exploded, causing damage to anything in range.
  • Also infamous for destructibles is Diablo II, where a broken crate could drop money, items, or even spawn an enemy.
    • The sequel takes this to a whole new level, with destructible environment pieces apparently everywhere.
  • Far Cry 2 features the destruction of everything from Radios and TVs over vehicles to ammunition and fuel supplies, not to mention marked explosive barrels. Basically, anything that is not a tree or a building can be completely and utterly destroyed.
  • Most placeables in the environment for Hellgate: London are destructible. While they occasionally drop money or items, players actually get Achievement Points if they destroy enough.
  • Played straight in the Shadow Hearts prequel Koudelka, where a few of the random encounters are against possessed sets of chairs and tables.
  • Thanks to Digital Molecular Matter, which can accurately model substances, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has some of the most satisfying Die, Chair, Die! moments of any game, ever.
    • Subverted at some windows near the end. Every window in the entire game (before the laser tunnel) sucks all enemies within reach into space. In the last stage: window force pushes YOU to the other side of the room.
  • Saints Row has plenty of destructible scenery. But alas the accursed telephone pole will not come down.
  • A good majority of the scenery in the Gungrave series can be destroyed. Fire hydrants, boxes, chairs, alarm lights, cars, signs, and then some. In fact, busting up inanimate objects is crucial to building the Demolition Shot Gauge--blowing up objects keeps the Beat Counter's flame lit, especially if there are no more enemies in the room left to kill.
    • Even funnier is if you've seen the full version of the original game's cover art--Grave is standing on top of a mass of destroyed objects and enemies (including a stop sign and a truck) that he, presumably, blew up himself.
  • Comparatively few objects can be destroyed in Fable, but you can break windows. And then get arrested for vandalism.
    • There was a mini-game of sorts to kicking chickens. A nasty nickname for the hero is "chicken chaser" and the more you up your Strength skill, the farther your chickens will fly.
    • In Fable 2 there are plenty of boxes and barrels to destroy, but they're all empty. One of the loading screens even tells you so, asking who would be silly enough to put any valuables in them.
  • In Psychonauts, most items can be hit, thrown, or set on fire. This is actually useful, since any enemy that bumps into flaming scenery catches on fire, and any other enemies that bump into them will then also burst into flames. Throwing objects is also the only way to defeat some enemies. An in-character example would be Sasha Nein, who hates Tiffany Lamps and uses them as target practice within his mind.
  • Stay with me here: while blowing stuff up is a major factor of any RTS game, usually it's the other guy's troops. Starcraft's campaign made a point of having missions where you have to blow up otherwise random doodads on the map that were assigned a special value for the mission. Queue up a professional gaming scene in Korea, and suddenly you have professional map-makers making RTS maps with destructible environments, ranging from the necessary to destroy-if-you-want-to-win to the just-sort-of-there.
  • Of course, there's always Portal, where there is actually an achievement for destroying all 33 destroyable security cameras on the walls throughout the Aperture Science testing areas. Because of the virtually non-existent clutter in the game, this is one of the few things that actually has a visible impact on the game world (in a material sense, given that you cannot destroy anything else... and even taking the cameras out doesn't destroy them, it just dislodges them from the wall, rendering them unusable by GLaDOS. But maybe, she wanted you to all along...?
    • In Portal 2, we get video monitors as well, with an achievement for destroying all of them as well. These are a bit more rewarding than the cameras in that you receive rather humorous complaints from the person shown on the screen.
  • Over the course of Bastion, much of the scenery (such as walls, crates, and rubble) can be destroyed. In fact, the game's narrator even references the trope if the player breaks a lot of stuff in a small area, saying, "Kid just rages for a little while."
  • In the game Darkstone, smashing crates and vases will usually reward you with gold, magic scrolls, and the occasional minor quest item. However, sometimes the objects are booby-trapped and explode when you smash them. There is a learnable skill which makes it easier to detect the booby-trapped crates/vases, and another skill which can enable you to disarm the traps, but your character's ability is based partly on class; only the Thief ever gets very good at it.
  • In the X-COM series, destroying objects (and buildings) can be an important tactic since it denies cover to the enemy and often raises a smokescreen, which admittedly can also benefit the enemy. Entire farms and orchards (or a suburban neighbourhood) can be destroyed with impunity. The main use of High Explosive packs is to kill or injure a weak alien on the other side of a wall.
    • It doesn't work quite as well in UFO Afterblank, where most things are resistant to being blown to shrapnel... however, it is sometimes possible to get through walls with carefully positioned Super Striker grenades, or to reduce a wrecked bus to shrapnel.
    • X-Com: Apocalypse counts property damage. You can reduce to rubble half of a building in a fight, but it means you owe a lot to its owner. Unless it was something that belongs to aliens or Cult of Sirius who will hate you anyway.
  • Let's not forget Max Payne. The soda machines that spit out cans that can then be shot. In the original game, there is a scene where you are on an elevator with muzak playing. If you shoot the speaker, Max says "Thank You".
  • Red Faction Guerrilla takes this and makes it (more or less) the point of the whole game. Additionally, every object seems to be made from concrete, but is destructible as though it's made from Styrofoam.
  • In Earth Defense Force 2017, entire buildings will collapse if something so much as a firecracker explodes on them. With some of the later guns allowing you to carpet bomb entire blocks, turning cities into smoldering piles of rubble can become a game in itself.
  • Legacy of Kain: Defiance has a few areas (primarily Vorador's mansion) that contain destructible furniture like chairs, desks, and cabinets. There's no reason to destroy them, since they're not in your way and you don't get rewarded for smashing them up, but then again there's no reason not to, either.
  • Destroying these things in Sin's early missions causes J.C. to state that it isn't a shooting gallery.
  • Ghostbusters the Video Game allows players to destroy almost everything in the game with the proton pack. The game keeps track of the damage in terms of dollars - a sort of a "score".
  • Devil May Cry and all of its sequels include this trope to the penultimate level: if it is clearly not a fixed portion of the scenery, it can and indeed must be destroyed to get at the precious in-game currency within. Sometimes the destructible object is even part of the scenery (DMC4 took this idea and ran with it), which leads to the few cases of a destructible object not having currency in it being quite jarring.
  • Skateboarding is dangerous in any of the Tony Hawk video games. Feel free to obliterate car windows, signs, traffic cones, chairs, tables, PEOPLE... even though it all mysteriously goes back to normal when you come back later.
  • In Metroid Prime, the Chozo Ruins feature birds flying in the distance. They're pretty. They're majestic. They're docile. They can be shot at. Doing so causes them to explode in a flurry of feathers. The Prime games also occasionally feature random bits of destructible scenery.
    • In Deer Hunter 2005, there are occasionally birds flying overhead. Since you can kill everything else in the game (rabbits, raccoons, and of course deer) it's tempting to take potshots at them - until you hit one, and are told that your score for that round has been cancelled because you just shot an endangered species.
  • The X Men Legends games feature plenty of this trope, especially in the Morlock tunnels in the first game. Even parts of the walls are destructible, and between the relatively close quarters and the variety of area effects, battles can quickly turn into spectacular displays of Stuff Blowing Up.
  • Bard's Tale on the Xbox has a barrel maker who catches the protagonist smashing his barrels. He offers to pay you for every barrel you smash afterwards. This is so everyone has to buy new barrels from him.
  • The odd little game Whiplash has this as one of the main objectives: Bankrupt the evil corporation that used you as lab animals through the sheer cost of property damage.
  • Dead Rising on the 360 takes place inside a zombie infested mall, where almost anything imaginable can be used as a weapon. Benches, baseball bats, lawnmowers, potted plants, shopping carts, guitars, TV sets, mannequins, and of course chainsaws. And like all things, nothing lasts forever, and everything that could be conceived as a weapon will either be broken due to overuse (AKA too many zombies bashed in the head), or run out of 'ammo', (either when using actual guns or throwing stacks of dinner plates or CD's).
  • Champions Online not only lets you break, blast, shoot, crush, stomp, or whatever to everything from crates to tanks, it also lets you pick them up if your strength stat is high enough. And then you can throw them at the baddies, too.
  • The indestructible nature of most non-plot-related objects in older video games was parodied on a long-lost gaming website with the "Indestructable Crate vs The L-Shaped Tetris Block" challenge.
  • Used in Phineas and Ferb, which led to Sequence Breaking after Candace realized her hair dryer deconstructed enemies and objects in a jump-and-dodge game.

  ' Phineas:' Let's just follow the carnage.

  • The Missing Link levels in the Monsters vs Aliens videogame.
  • In the FPS Sky Net, buildings would contain office-type and living-type furniture such couches, refrigerators, desks, file cabinets, wall-mounted paintings, etc.. They all could be destroyed. And would explode.
  • The flash game 'Daymare Town 3 by Mateusz Skutnik, include an achievement for destroying 10 breakable things: a clock, lightbulbs, windows, crystals, etc.
  • The most famous bonus stage in fighting game history: The destruction of a car in Street Fighter 2.
  • Deadly Premonition litters its game world with mostly-identical wooden boxes that can, besides being pushed around, only be shot, blown or broken apart. Not particularly Egregious in and of itself, but this even holds true for the boxes in Greenvale's Police Department's records room. Apparently the local deputies don't mind the sound of sub-machine gun fire and shattering wood around the office.
  • In Assassin's Creed 2 you see the occasional street cleaner with a broom or some musicians with guitars. If you make them drop their stuff you can use the props as weapons. The broom essentially is a warhammer. It is hilariously stupid going on a killing spree with an unbreakable broom and clobbing into the heads and backs of your opponents.
  • In the original Castle Wolfenstein, all of the walls (except for the four main ones) in each room, along with all of the chests, can be destroyed with grenades. Detonating a chest full of ammunition isn't a good idea...
  • Practically all the scenery of Prototype is destructible, and anything you can destroy you can also chuck up to half a city block. That includes trees and living, screaming, flailing people.
  • Scarface the World Is Yours features many locales and objects from the movie, such as the neon 'World Is Yours' sign above Tony's pool. Naturally, many of these objects can be destroyed.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Shooting things well was gun practice, allowing the player to eventually dual wield, fire while walking and other such shooting improvements. Find a hubcap and just go nuts. Don't shoot the gas tank cover.
  • Ape Escape has a number of breakable walls as well as, most fittingly, Specter's flying chair.
  • Time Crisis: Crisis Zone.
  • The Twisted Metal series.
  • Alone in The Dark 2008 also features "Burn Chair, Burn".
  • In Medal of Honor: Frontline and Allied Assault, in addition to exploding barrels and crates, certain destructible setpieces, such as radios, will explode and take out nearby mooks.
  • College Saga goes from an Insurmountable Waist High Fence ("a huge chair blocks your path") to Die, Chair, Die! via the party's new wizard. The resulting explosion turns the chair into an NPC with a Fetch Quest...who promptly gets the same Die, Chair, Die! treatment, and the party proceeds onward.
  • In the flash game Coinbox Hero, your adversary is as the title says, a coin box. In addition to the standard method of jumping and hitting it, there are a variety of weapons you can buy to use against it.
    • Nuking it destroys it and creates Nyan Cat. Seriously.
  • Vindictus loves showing off the Source Engine physics. Nearly every piece of scenery can be destroyed and/or picked up and used as an Improvised Weapon. There are a large number of quests, titles, and bonus missions which require smashing up the scenery for drops, or using bits of scenery to kill mooks and bosses. Smashed scenery can also drop gold, but the amount is so small compared to the amount awarded for completing missions, most people don't bother.
  • Goblins 3, Blount turns into a slightly more violent Wolf Man at one point and starts using a hammer to break the house of a Jerkass shopkeeper, who kidnapped his bird, stole his coin, and refused to cooperate him with anything.
  • The Command and Conquer games allow you to order units to force-fire on objects in the world. These objects can range from harmless civilians or friendly units to beach towels, which explode violently. Red Alert 2 contains perhaps the most extreme example in the form of Crazy Ivan, who can strap explosives to pretty much any unit or prop he can get to.
  • The entire point of Rygar: The Legendary Adventure is not as much defeating greek gods but more about destroying pillars, arches and the general landscape with bonuses for 100% Completion.
  • Black has a lot of structures and walls that are destructible. The levels are also filled to brim with Exploding Barrels to make sure many thing's get blown up.
  • In Sonic Riders, Power-type characters work this way, punching out certain obstacles in their path, the obstacles in question varying depending on the track, and gain Air for doing so. Nobody quite knows how the giant steel grapes in Green Cave got there. Also, all characters can do the same to the racer in front of them if boosting or using a certain board.
    • In Sonic Unleashed, there was many pieces of furnature that you could break for energy in the nighttime levels (or in the daytime levels, just destroy them because they were there).
    • Also, in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), destroying crates (or other breakable objects) gave you points for no particular reason.
  • Minecraft is a peculiar example of this. Apart from the usual mining and gathering chores that require "destroying" (i.e. hitting a block with your fist or tools until it breaks), every block or placeable item has to be destroyed and re-picked up as resource if you wish to carry it.
  • Dungeons of Dredmor has several breakable objects which can contain goodies, mostly crates and vases. If you smash a statue of Dredmor, however, you get "heroic vandalism" points.
  • Dark Souls combines this with Wreaking Havok. Smash tables, chairs, some trees, stuff like that.
  • Puyo Puyo has you killing sentient, multi-colored jelly for fun and earns you points by flooding your opponent with more sentient but clear-colored jelly. Not to mention they have eyes...

Notes

  1. Maybe they shouldn't having been driving it in the middle of the Ex World Grand Prix, in the exact part of the city that the racers would go through?
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