Above you can see a Twitch clip of streamer sodapoppin roleplaying Kevin Whipaloo in GTA 5. Kevin is standing on the sidewalk while he waits for another player, who is roleplaying a tow truck driver named Jordan, to give him a damage estimate on his car. Jordan gets the car keys from Kevin, enters the car, pops the hood, gets back out, and carefully checks the engine and undercarriage. Then he pauses for a moment before suddenly and shockingly lunging onto the sidewalk and punching Kevin in the face.
Naturally, it's an accident. Jordan didn't mean to punch Kevin. It's just something that happens occasionally. And despite everything else going on in GTA 5 roleplay—the drama, the heists, the chases, the relationships, the tragedies, the comedies, the stories—people accidentally punching each other is my absolute favorite thing.
Note: there is a fair amount of loud screaming and swearing in the clips to follow, so mind your ears if you decide to unmute them.
If I had to guess as to why it happens, I'd wager players alt-tab out of the game or switch focus to a second monitor, and when attempting to regain focus on the game, they click on the screen, which results in a melee attack on the nearest target. I know I've accidentally fired my gun in Sea of Thieves a dozen times when clicking on the screen after doing something on my second monitor.
At any rate, it's common enough that other RPers usually excuse the attack after a brief reaction, unless they're badly hurt. You can't just ignore that it happened, because that would be bad RP. But you can't treat it as you would if someone in real life strolled up and punched you in the face, either. I haven't been watching GTA 5 RP for more than a month or so, but the way everyone treats a sudden punch in the face tells me just about everyone has had it happen at least a few times.
A lightning rod for accidental punching is Brenda, a hospital receptionist, roleplayed by streamer ashlynn. Above, she reacts with extreme excitement at figuring out how to enter a house so Mr. Payne, a real estate agent, can interview her for an interior decorator position. In this case, she attempts a celebratory gesture and winds up punching Mr. Payne in the face, to the horror of both characters.
And below, a minute later outside, Payne accidentally returns the favor while attempting to demonstrate the exact same thing. As a reminder, this is all happening during a job interview.
And, on yet another occasion, Brenda is talking to a couple of police officers when one suddenly rushes over and clubs her with a baton.
Sorry, sorry. I just brutally, yet accidentally, assaulted you.
It's just something that happens in this strange world these characters inhabit.
Punching people isn't the only accident that happens in GTA 5 roleplay. I've seen roleplayers accidentally jump off rootftops and ladders and bail out of moving cars on the highway. All of us have mis-clicked while playing games and done something we hadn't attended to do, but it's especially amusing in a roleplaying situation where the behavior is so out of place—even in a world where people getting hit by cars or set on fire as a regular occurrence.
The random, stray, accidental punch is the best, though. It can happen during a tender moment where two players are roleplaying a kiss on the boardwalk. It can happen during a meeting of the Leanbois when they're planning on how best to retaliate against a rival gang. It can happen in motel courtyards and in hospital lobbies and burger joints and even in a courtroom in the middle of a trial.
And it makes me laugh every single time it happens.
And as a bonus for those of you not amused by people accidentally punching each other, then how about an accidental kick? The kick isn't even aimed at another player, but the results are still pretty funny: