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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

From YKTTW Working Title: ProgrammedForPain

Cynthia Wakefield:

  • Dwarf Fortress may be the ultimate example of this trope: there is no way to win the game: you simply build a fort until disaster strikes, the game overwhelms your computer's processing power, or you get bored. The unofficial motto is even "Losing is fun!"

This isn't Unwinnable by Design, it's Kobiyashi Mario.

  • Inverted by the old 8-bit graphic adventure Danger Mouse and the Black Forest Chateau (because it was aimed at kids); no matter what you do, it's impossible to make the game Unwinnable.

True. But there are thousands and thousands of other games that you can't make unwinnable — that's not an inversion.


  • The most egregious example was in the first book, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, in which you collected a bunch of keys with numbers etched into them, and eventually had to add the numbers on three keys together to reach the winning section. No such combination existed.
    • Mike Rosoft: Not true, though the correct combination contains two keys with the same number which may have led to the confusion. (In addition, the correct combination doesn't lead directly to the winning section - it's still two steps away.


Cambdoranononononono: I'm taking the Zero Punctuation quote out, as it wasn't referring to this trope. Since the page already has some more illustrative quotes, adding some generic Yahtzee complaints doesn't seem to accomplish much except to make things amusing for people playing the TV Tropes Wiki Drinking Game.
Deleted spurious-looking Pokémon example — see Unwinnable By Mistake Discussion. If someone wants to restore one of these examples, remember that at most one fits.
C Drayan:

  • Quest for Glory 3 had many Unwinnable situations. Did you forget to make a magic staff as a wizard? Did you forget to meet the thief in the bazaar at night? Did you forget to get the items required for the dispel potion? Did you kill the demon rather than dispelling it (which is likely to happen if you don't have a dispel potion)? Did you not marry the captured leopardman? Well, you're screwed. Have a good day!

This was originally listed under "Cruel", and I removed it a while ago. The reasons:
  • The leopardman won't appear at all until you make the magic staff.
  • The thief will still help you regardless of whether you helped him (I think)
  • It's impossible to forget to have the dispel potions made - you need one to dispel the captured leopardman. You could make the game unwinnable by eating the venomous vine fruit (which the game specifically warns against), or by dropping the finished dispel potions, but those would be blatantly stupid moves.
  • Killing the demon is less honorable than dispelling it, but both have otherwise the same outcome.
  • The game simply can't continue any further until you marry the captured leopardman. if you lost the initiation as a fighter/paladin but helped Yesufu when he was caught in a trap, he will relent and let you marry the leopardman anyway. If you didn't help him, you just get a death message instead.

Anything that is an unwinnable situation in that game would be classified as Unwinnable by Mistake.