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  • Online gaming in general. Very few games that offer a tutorial do more than simply explain the control scheme and a few other things such as what a stat may do or what a class role is. They are rarely updated for the ever-changing Metagame. And sure enough, players expect you to know all of the metagame rules if you don't want to find yourself kicked or repeatedly cussed out by "Stop Having Fun!" Guys and arrogant players.
    • The Mo BA genre is especially prone to this. The practice modes don't tell you anything of what you can expect players to do. The players claim this is a "steep learning curve", but really, we can call this more of "Denial of crucial information". And if you're new to the genre in general, you probably don't wanna play unless you like getting cussed out, kicked, or suffering a leaver while losing a lot - the tutorials that are available on third-party sites are often full of jargon that is never defined. Combined with the players' tendencies to chase newbies out of the game, this is very very frustrating.
  • The iPod app Magic Piano has 26 levels. To pass level 26, you must play 1,000 different songs. There's NOWHERE NEAR 1,000 songs available.
  • The finished but still-current Neopets 'plot' quest called Altador is absolutely impossible without using a guide: Some of the requirements make you click A SINGLE PIXEL in an image which it was never specified to do so, and go to locations in a certain order which seemingly had absolutely nothing to do with the plot. Some of the 'puzzle' varieties in the games consisted of pressing switches in the right combination-- for the second-last combination puzzle, there were over 1,000 possible combinations and you had to try every single one. All this for some measly items per day while the plot is still relevant, which don't even amount to much cash right now (but will in, say, 10 years) so it's useless to most players of the game.
    • Not to mention when you had to take care of the sick petpet you found, which requires pressing a certain action for according facial expressions of the pet at the exact time the clock changes on a correct clock-- ten times. If you made a mistake and didn't know, you would never know you made one and could've possibly been trying for hours. The fact that you must only press an action at the exact time the clock is :00 minutes was never specified, let alone which actions correspond to which facial expressions. A true example of this trope indeed.
  • Online Games by Motion Twin tend to fall into this territory more than often, mainly because they're not-so-perfectly translated from French, and all the official guides stop at the basics and a couple FA Qs. Good luck finding out what class build to use in Minitroopers or which way to build a town in Die 2 Nite without a player-made guide...
  • Mario and Sonic At The Olympic Games falls very mildly to this trope, but it's susceptible all the same. One of Peach's missions requires her to perform a shout in the hammer throw three consecutive times, which nothing in the game or the guide tells you how to do even once. On the plus side, learning how to do it tends to give you extra distance.
    • One of the tips in the Dream Spacewalk event tells you that when your group is flying toward Dino Piranha, you can press the Spin to Deflect Stuff button when you hit him to do additional damage. It makes sense given the other events, but doing this still keeps the player well below the game's other competitors, let alone online records. The correct solution is to mash the spin button for the duration of your approach.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd points out that having the manual is essential to playing the games in the Magnavox Odyssey console. Otherwise it would be near impossible to figure out what to do with two player-controlled squares and the plastic overlays (and sometimes, real pieces and tokens) used for each game.
  • The Winter section of the Woods in Mickey Mousecapade. The hidden door to the final section is in the tree right at the start, but won't open until you go all the way through and loop back to the start, so many players would think there is no door there at all and eventually admit defeat and consult the helpline after shooting every other tree to no avail.
    • Undercoverfilmer00v covered this in his review before taking it down, mocking the logic behind it:

  UCF 00 v: * gasp* There's that start sign! I guess I better shoot that same tree again that I know didn't do anything the first time. Maybe something has changed for no reason whatsoever. (shoots the tree in question to open the door) * gasp* Oh my God! It's a glitch in the matrix!

  • In The Guardian Legend for the NES, the gates to several of the Corridors (the space-shooter areas) are Guide Dang Its to open. One such message says a corridor is sealed permanently; to open it, you have to visit a certain Blue Lander three times in a row(god knows who could figure this out).
    • For another cooridor, the message was to "ask the round creature for help several times." This was, as stated above, the blue lander. You had to enter and exit its room several times in a row (through the same door and without going through any other rooms) before it would unlock the cooridor. But prior to the last time (when you get a message saying the door is open) there is no message given to suggest that what you're doing is right.
    • For one corridor, the hint is to shoot continuously at the door. It won't work if you happened to be using a controller with "turbo" turned on.
  • Rune Factory 2 has a few, the biggest one being what to do after getting every last stone tablet fragment in the second generation. The only hint as to what you're supposed to do comes from Barrett, who first tells you not to get any ideas to seal the dragon and then proceeds to make a small, seemingly insignificant remark about how there's no way to get under the town. Freebie hint: your barn doesn't expand above ground.
  • The Flash Game PSAI is an extreme example of Guide Dang It.
  • The C64 had some painfully Guide Dang It titles; among them the BC series, Quest for Tires and Grog's Revenge. To this day I still don't understand "Use keys A and B in the first cave you See", just that it means a lot of dying.
    • There's no trick. You die, it's game over, that's how the game ends.
  • Bemani managed to avoid this for 14 Play Station 2 iterations of Beatmania IIDX. Then DJ TROOPERS came along with their Unknown Targets secretly hidden in the extra stage system. There is no way you would figure out that in order to unlock all of the Unknown Target songs (which, unless you knew exactly what was going on, seemed to appear randomly inside the Military Splash extra stage system) you'd need to fulfill any 5 of 6 criteria:
    • Clear a song with a MAX COMBO of 573 (which itself is a reference lost to anyone outside Japan)
      • To be fair, if you're a fan of IIDX, then you've probably also played DDR, and there are enough references to "573" in DDR to make you suspect that is, in some sense, a "special" number to the bemani series, if not to Konami itself. In case you're wondering about the significance of 573, basically, one possible pronunciation of "573" in Japanese is "Konami". Not exactly that simple, but if you want the full story, learn Japanese.
    • Clear a song with an exact multiple of 1/9 of the song's maximum possible "EX SCORE" (with fractions rounded up on songs with a note count that isn't a multiple of 9), but not 1/9. This means there were 8 possible scores on each song to fulfill this requirement, and you had to hit one of them on the nose, with most songs having a maximum possible EX Score of well over 1,000.
    • Clear a song with a Border Bonus (i.e. finish with exactly 80% on your gauge, without HARD or HAZARD turned on)
    • Clear 40 songs
    • Full Combo 10 songs
    • Hit a total of at least 1,000 notes with a GREAT judgment or better in the Scratch column.
      • And then there's one song that requires you to know to spell FOREVER using the first letters of songs' titles to unlock, and doing so dumps you into the song without even highlighting it. What? You're missing a letter? Back to the Unknown Target songs for you!
      • Another song can only be unlocked by playing the 2-kyu course in Dan'inintei mode
      • Thankfully, Konami posted the requirements on their official web site, 5 weeks after the game was released.
  • There is a rather baroque puzzle built into a scenario in the tabletop RPG Call of Cthulhu Sourcebook Secrets of Japan. Basically, the PCs need to find a secret door in a maze. The only real hint of the door's location the player characters can get requires them to 1) be able to understand Japanese writing (not a big obstacle, seeing as how at least one of the PCs or NPCs within the party are expected to Japanese), 2) pick up one of the cultists' prayer books earlier (not as big a snag, it is loot after all), 3) explore enough of the maze to map out its layout without hitting any traps or monsters (thankfully, there's only one or two of each in the entire maze) and 4) compare the map and the first letter of each line in the prayer book for some random reason, thus learning the right directions for getting to the secret door from the entrance. Mercifully, despite the game's reputation, the scenario outline nevertheless offers alternate ways for the PCs to find the secret door, such as pure luck, the guidance of NPCs or successful Idea and Spot Hidden rolls.
  • in the MSX version of Salamander, if you want the good ending you have to have a number of secret items PLUS a copy of Nemesis II (another game in the series) in the second cartridge slot...God help you if the MSX you're playing on doesn't HAVE a second cartridge slot. also, you have to go through a secret level that's...well, Temperamental on anything but a MSX 1.
  • Any game by Cactus that involves puzzles or multiple endings. the Mondo series (which is approaching a third game) are large offenders, Mondo Medicals being the most Egregious of the two released games.
    • Another notable offender is Stench Mechanics, which can lock you out of two endings if you get the suit before inhaling the purple stench. That combined with some counter-intuitive moments ( turning on EVERY LIGHT despite captain's orders, for instance) makes for some headaches.
  • And then there's Solaris. It was a fun little shooter for the Atari 2600, had amazing graphics for it's day, a couple of you might remember it: you flew a little triangle in levels that looked to be psuedo 3d, in a 3rd person view. Considering that virtually all other home shooters at the time were top down or side on, this was amazing. Anyway, this game actually had an ending. Yes, someone actually BEAT this game, and it IS beatable. They had to hack the ROM to do it, and then write down all of the grids they went to and the time they did, but they did beat the game. Guide is here.
  • Looking to score high in the Raiden Fighters series? Then you'll need to know where all the hidden Micluses are, as they release medals that can make or break your score. Uncovering some are as simple (to put it very nicely) as hovering in a particular spot, and uncovering others requires destroying enemies in a particular order or way. There's no in-game hints pointing towards where to find any of them.
  • Revolution X, an arcade Rail Shooter game from 1994 is guilty of this. There's special items you can get called "Wings", which you get when you find a member of Aerosmith. You want to get these because not only do you get a score multiplier at the end of every stage after you find Wings, but you also need to collect all five to get the game's best ending. And typically, the way you find them is you need to destroy parts of the stage to trigger a sequence to get them. Herein though lies the problem: due to the fact that nearly ANYTHING can be destroyed and also the fact that other actions NOT connected to destroying parts of the stage must be undertaken to find a member of Aerosmith (noting which way the screen scrolled so you can go the right direction, destroying something AND collecting the power-up), almost no one would get lucky and figure it out. The order of destroying certain parts of the stage also has to be done in a specific manner, or else you won't get to retrieve those Wings. It's especially frustrating because the FIRST STAGE has TWO Wings in it, and a first-time player would have no clue of their existence until they completed it.
  • The NES version of Section Z, an early Capcom Shoot'Em Up originally released for the arcade, consists of three stages with 20 "sections" each. The game requires you to memorize the layout of each stage and know which teleporter will take you to which section in order to find the two power generators in each stage and destroy them in order to reach the stage boss. This isn't a hard task to do, since you have to manually map the game if you have trouble remembering the correct path. However, the paths to the final two generators are hidden in warp gates which you can only find by shooting at the exact spot where they're located. If you don't know where the warp gates are located, you will spent an eternity flying through various sections in circle finding nothing.
  • You'd think that if Wii Fit was intended for people who are looking to get more exercise (i.e., aren't already working out), it'd do a better job of explaining which muscles are your "core muscles" (the abdominals, side abdominals, and lower back), instead of just telling people to "use" them in keeping their balance during certain exercises.
  • The infamous song "Memories" in Dance Dance Revolution Extreme US. The unlocking method was so cryptic that even hackers were unable to figure it out, and Konami didn't release the code until 2 years after the game's release.
  • Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition actually has this in an adventure. Normally, Hags are creatures that PCs should immediately kill, however in this particular adventure the Hag is the only one who can inform the PCs of where to find their goal. The problems with this, DnD 4E tends to breed trigger happy gamers, the hag goes down with ANY attack against her, and the adventure IMMEDIATELY ends when she dies. The DM is specifically forbidden from letting the PCs try searching for the goal themselves.
  • The tie-in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa game has achievements requiring you to use specific teams, but unless you were a master of World Cup trivia, there's no way to figure it out which ones from the information in game. For example the achievement "Second Trip, First Goal" requires you to qualify with a team that has made it to the World Cup in the past without scoring once, and then score. [1]
  • Shivers had quite a few. Fortunately, the earlier puzzles were in the manual, but others, such as the red door and Egyptian door puzzles, were almost impossible.
  • Action 52's guide wasn't just vague--it was flat-out wrong about the kinds of games on the cartridge. Meong needed a guide just to describe how to PLAY the game. Said information was lacking.
  • Every song in Dance Central has its own "finishing move," which the game neglects to teach you in the Break Down. Because of this, it is impossible to get 100% on a song your first time unless you look up said move on youtube or are really good at guessing what exactly the move will be based on the flashcards.
  • If a Wide Open Sandbox or Metroidvania game doesn't give the player a stable idea of where to go, then it'll certainly feel like this after the player dinks around enough and happens to find where they were supposed to go.
  • Yume Nikki is the definition of this trope. No explanations, no plot, no storyline, no interactions with npc's (unless you stab them- that does nothing), nothing. Many a person will wander around the Wide Open Sandbox of the game's maps, looking for that one thing they need. Then, when you get all your effects, there is no hint as to what you need to do to complete your game. It's actually counter intuitive. You drop ALL your effects in the main room, wake up, there will be a set of stairs on the balcony, and jump off the set of stairs.
  • Panic has some of this. Every area has at least one button that warps you to another scene, and the ones that have more than that often have one to send you backwards. So unless you have a photographic memory pertaining to which button does what, be prepared to spend a long time repeating scenarios. Also, some buttons instantly end the game.
  • Referenced in Toy Story 2, in which Rex can't figure out how to beat Emperor Zurg in the Buzz Lightyear video game until he finds a Strategy Guide when the characters infiltrate Al's Toy Barn: "They make it so you can't defeat Zurg unless you buy this book. It's extortion, that's what it is!"
    • When the group goes up against an action figure of Zurg, Rex manages to defeat it by accident. When he gets back home at the end of the film, he's uninterested in the game. "I don't have to beat it. I lived it!"
      • It's implied to be counterintuitive to the point of Insane Troll Logic, because Rex's remark is prompted by Hamm trying to play the game and asking Rex for help.
  • Spoofed in this Adventurers strip. And also see this one.
  • Good luck getting through Knightmare without divining what you were supposed to do, the game was easily made unwinnable with the no backtracking rule.

Notes

  1. Trinidad & Tobago, China, Canada, Greece, Congo, and Indonesia.

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