History Main / UnwinnableByDesign

8th Jul '16 8:39:03 PM KoopaKid17
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[[folder:Game Shows]]
* ''Series/{{Knightmare}}'' had a No Backtracking rule, meaning it was easily possible for the teams to miss a vital clue or item. In a few cases, this led to an extremely hard LuckBasedMission. Usually, it was only a matter of time before their mistake came back to kill them.
* The most famous game on ''Series/ThePriceIsRight'', Plinko, is technically close to unwinnable because the official rules only consider Plinko to be won if the full $50,000 is won. The only way to do that is to win all four additional Plinko chips (by correctly answering 'either/or' questions), and then to have ''every one'' of the five chips land in the center slot (out of nine) at the bottom of the pegboard. Even hardcore ''TPIR'' fans consider the game to be won if that slot is hit at least once, but WordOfGod disagrees. Nobody has won the game in the 29 years since it's been introduced, and nobody is likely to win it any time soon.
** And one early pricing game, "Bullseye" (not to be confused with another identically-named pricing game) has the dishonor of being the only pricing game with a "true" 0% win rate. The player had seven chances to guess the ''exact'' price of a car, and would be told whether their bids were too high or too low. They tried pretty hard to make the game easier spotting the contestant a $500 bidding range, rounding the price to the nearest $10 and even playing it for a sailboat instead but none of the tweaks helped, and the game was gone only two weeks in.
*** Incidentally, if you know what you're doing, you could get the exact price (rounded to $10) if you can guess it within a $1,260 price range.
* On ''Series/MinuteToWinIt'', those who make it far enough are subjected to a game they call "Supercoin", where you have to bounce a quarter into the top of a water jug from a few feet away in 60 seconds to win $1,000,000. The producers have allowed people to play it for $1,000,000 after meeting special conditions (either by winning the "last man standing" episodes which award a guaranteed $100,000 to their winners, or being a lucky audience member during their "million dollar mission" during Season 2). No one has won, and the only couple to clear the $500,000 level were smart enough to walk away with the half million. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSKR2zzwNbs A YouTube user has proven that part of the challenge is possible]], the part involving bouncing the coin into the jug, but it took ''much'' longer than 60 seconds. Thankfully, losing on Supercoin would theoretically only drop you down to $250,000, which is still a good payout for a night's work.
** Until they lampshaded the whole ordeal by putting a safe point conveniently at $500,000
* On the GameShow ''Series/{{Distraction}}'', the winner must play an inverted BonusRound to save his or her prize(s) from damage or destruction. If you were stuck with [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sl1oC1rUzI#t=5m17s this endgame]], your opponent started shoveling your £5,000 into the cement mixer ''immediately'' upon the round beginning, thus making it impossible to save your entire prize.
** The "cash in the toasters" round was just about as evil - you had to answer five questions, each of which allowed you to save £1,000 from a toaster before it went up in flames. The first toaster pushed down represented the ''last'' question you were asked - even if you had gotten the first four with no problem, the money in the fifth toaster was likely half gone by the final question.
* Played for laughs on the short-lived ''VideoGame/YouDontKnowJack'' TV series. The "$2 Million Question" starts at $2,000,000 but starts counting down when host Paul Reubens ''started'' reading the question, after which something would inevitably interrupt him and stall the question so that the value was down to less than $1,000 by the time he finished reading it.
* The American daytime version of ''WhoWantsToBeAMillionaire'' has started asking questions about things famous people did before they were famous. They are always so ridiculously arcane to the point that it's very obviously meant to force the contestant to use a Jump the Question lifeline, or end the game if they have no lifelines left.
* Thanks to some ExecutiveMeddling, ''The $64,000 Question'' deliberately used nigh-impossible questions in an attempt to flagrantly rig the show and force several contestants to lose. But when they tried it on Dr. Joyce Brothers, it didn't work, in a personal CrowningMomentOfAwesome for her. She practically inhaled all the reference material she could find on her category (boxing) and was prepared for everything they threw at her.
* Some physical challenges in ''Series/DoubleDare'' were set up this way.
** The "Root Beer Relay" challenge involved one contestant filling up a root beer-like substance with a spray tap and sliding it to a teammate who had to fill a bucket across the line with it. At least twice, the bucket was not properly grounded and fell off the stool. The judges would declare this a loss despite such a case being beyond the contestants' control.
** "High Five" used in ''Super Sloppy Double Dare'' involved contestants breaking balloons that were hanging from a support beam. If a balloon falls off without popping, the challenge is rendered incomplete. This happened at least once with the team understandably upset at the poorly-designed challenge.
** ''Double Dare 2000'' had a challenge similar to the one above where a contestant had to put on a hedgehog outfit and crawl underneath a set of balloons. Just like before, the challenge is lost if a balloon falls off without breaking. This once happened during a ''Special Olympics episode'', no less but thankfully, it didn't affect the outcome of the game.
** The UK Saturday morning kids' show ''Ghost Train'' included a gameshow called ''Skull'' which began with a quiz section. For every question the contestant got wrong, they'd have one more enemy in the following section (where the enemies were blindfolded and the contestant had to dodge them). However, the final question was a "Mafia question" (Barry Mafia being the name of the villain) which was unanswerable (eg, "What did I have for breakfast this morning?") ensuring there would always be at least one enemy. (Although on one occasion when a contestant got ''every'' other question wrong, the player's guess at the Mafia question was deemed correct!)
* The Flemish PhoneInGameShows is a perfect example of tricking people into something that seems easy, but that is impossible to solve.
** During the very first years of those formats the host was able to invent an answer on the spot. No matter what you answered, the host would say it is wrong and when the time was come to reveal the answer he/she would remember the answers that were wrong and take an answer out of nowhere that is not those that were answered and say that that particular answer was the right one.
** After people complained about it the format was changed. This time the right answer was on a card shown in front. If one guessed correctly the answer on the card the host and people behind the scenes would distract the audience to get the time to switch the card with another one.
** After court hearings of the government the format was changed again and split in 2. This time it is "winnable", but good luck knowing the right answers, as they are nearly impossible to know.
*** One format involves guessing names that involve a particular subject. On one episode of ''Basta'' they used one of the panels that had ''animals'' as a subject. They went to the zoo to see if the could find all the animals that were written on the panels. One of them was not even in the zoo, they had to go to a school restaurant to find the meat that was made of it. You might as well search for a random word in the dictionary and ask people to guess that random, almost unused, word.
*** Another one involves "a calculation". The term calculation is used loosely here because you are not supposed to calculate the term that is being presented in order to find the correct answer. Instead you have to add up all the letters and numbers (and use a faculty term if a "!" is in the message, though the general rule of thumb is to only use it if the term does not add up too high) to get the correct answer. Note that it is rather dubious as to what means what, while numbers in letters always works (like in "an after-'''eight'''") the letters themselves are another matter and are frequently switched up (a good question to ask is whether or not the C in the question is just a simple C or if it is the Roman number 100 and keep in mind that the game is not shy of putting up Chinese counting units used in 1100 BC). All in all you have a game so fabricated and obtuse that it makes a ConspiracyTheorist look enlightened and simple by comparison.
[[/folder]]



* ''Series/{{Knightmare}}'' had a No Backtracking rule, meaning it was easily possible for the teams to miss a vital clue or item. In a few cases, this led to an extremely hard LuckBasedMission. Usually, it was only a matter of time before their mistake came back to kill them.
* The most famous game on ''Series/ThePriceIsRight'', Plinko, is technically close to unwinnable because the official rules only consider Plinko to be won if the full $50,000 is won. The only way to do that is to win all four additional Plinko chips (by correctly answering 'either/or' questions), and then to have ''every one'' of the five chips land in the center slot (out of nine) at the bottom of the pegboard. Even hardcore ''TPIR'' fans consider the game to be won if that slot is hit at least once, but WordOfGod disagrees. Nobody has won the game in the 29 years since it's been introduced, and nobody is likely to win it any time soon.
** And one early pricing game, "Bullseye" (not to be confused with another identically-named pricing game) has the dishonor of being the only pricing game with a "true" 0% win rate. The player had seven chances to guess the ''exact'' price of a car, and would be told whether their bids were too high or too low. They tried pretty hard to make the game easier spotting the contestant a $500 bidding range, rounding the price to the nearest $10 and even playing it for a sailboat instead but none of the tweaks helped, and the game was gone only two weeks in.
*** Incidentally, if you know what you're doing, you could get the exact price (rounded to $10) if you can guess it within a $1,260 price range.
* On ''Series/MinuteToWinIt'', those who make it far enough are subjected to a game they call "Supercoin", where you have to bounce a quarter into the top of a water jug from a few feet away in 60 seconds to win $1,000,000. The producers have allowed people to play it for $1,000,000 after meeting special conditions (either by winning the "last man standing" episodes which award a guaranteed $100,000 to their winners, or being a lucky audience member during their "million dollar mission" during Season 2). No one has won, and the only couple to clear the $500,000 level were smart enough to walk away with the half million. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSKR2zzwNbs A YouTube user has proven that part of the challenge is possible]], the part involving bouncing the coin into the jug, but it took ''much'' longer than 60 seconds. Thankfully, losing on Supercoin would theoretically only drop you down to $250,000, which is still a good payout for a night's work.
** Until they lampshaded the whole ordeal by putting a safe point conveniently at $500,000



* On the GameShow ''Series/{{Distraction}}'', the winner must play an inverted BonusRound to save his or her prize(s) from damage or destruction. If you were stuck with [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sl1oC1rUzI#t=5m17s this endgame]], your opponent started shoveling your £5,000 into the cement mixer ''immediately'' upon the round beginning, thus making it impossible to save your entire prize.
** The "cash in the toasters" round was just about as evil - you had to answer five questions, each of which allowed you to save £1,000 from a toaster before it went up in flames. The first toaster pushed down represented the ''last'' question you were asked - even if you had gotten the first four with no problem, the money in the fifth toaster was likely half gone by the final question.
* Played for laughs on the short-lived ''VideoGame/YouDontKnowJack'' TV series. The "$2 Million Question" starts at $2,000,000 but starts counting down when host Paul Reubens ''started'' reading the question, after which something would inevitably interrupt him and stall the question so that the value was down to less than $1,000 by the time he finished reading it.
* The American daytime version of ''WhoWantsToBeAMillionaire'' has started asking questions about things famous people did before they were famous. They are always so ridiculously arcane to the point that it's very obviously meant to force the contestant to use a Jump the Question lifeline, or end the game if they have no lifelines left.
* Thanks to some ExecutiveMeddling, ''The $64,000 Question'' deliberately used nigh-impossible questions in an attempt to flagrantly rig the show and force several contestants to lose. But when they tried it on Dr. Joyce Brothers, it didn't work, in a personal CrowningMomentOfAwesome for her. She practically inhaled all the reference material she could find on her category (boxing) and was prepared for everything they threw at her.



* Some physical challenges in ''Series/DoubleDare'' were set up this way.
** The "Root Beer Relay" challenge involved one contestant filling up a root beer-like substance with a spray tap and sliding it to a teammate who had to fill a bucket across the line with it. At least twice, the bucket was not properly grounded and fell off the stool. The judges would declare this a loss despite such a case being beyond the contestants' control.
** "High Five" used in ''Super Sloppy Double Dare'' involved contestants breaking balloons that were hanging from a support beam. If a balloon falls off without popping, the challenge is rendered incomplete. This happened at least once with the team understandably upset at the poorly-designed challenge.
** ''Double Dare 2000'' had a challenge similar to the one above where a contestant had to put on a hedgehog outfit and crawl underneath a set of balloons. Just like before, the challenge is lost if a balloon falls off without breaking. This once happened during a ''Special Olympics episode'', no less but thankfully, it didn't affect the outcome of the game.
** The UK Saturday morning kids' show ''Ghost Train'' included a gameshow called ''Skull'' which began with a quiz section. For every question the contestant got wrong, they'd have one more enemy in the following section (where the enemies were blindfolded and the contestant had to dodge them). However, the final question was a "Mafia question" (Barry Mafia being the name of the villain) which was unanswerable (eg, "What did I have for breakfast this morning?") ensuring there would always be at least one enemy. (Although on one occasion when a contestant got ''every'' other question wrong, the player's guess at the Mafia question was deemed correct!)
* The Flemish PhoneInGameShows is a perfect example of tricking people into something that seems easy, but that is impossible to solve.
** During the very first years of those formats the host was able to invent an answer on the spot. No matter what you answered, the host would say it is wrong and when the time was come to reveal the answer he/she would remember the answers that were wrong and take an answer out of nowhere that is not those that were answered and say that that particular answer was the right one.
** After people complained about it the format was changed. This time the right answer was on a card shown in front. If one guessed correctly the answer on the card the host and people behind the scenes would distract the audience to get the time to switch the card with another one.
** After court hearings of the government the format was changed again and split in 2. This time it is "winnable", but good luck knowing the right answers, as they are nearly impossible to know.
*** One format involves guessing names that involve a particular subject. On one episode of ''Basta'' they used one of the panels that had ''animals'' as a subject. They went to the zoo to see if the could find all the animals that were written on the panels. One of them was not even in the zoo, they had to go to a school restaurant to find the meat that was made of it. You might as well search for a random word in the dictionary and ask people to guess that random, almost unused, word.
*** Another one involves "a calculation". The term calculation is used loosely here because you are not supposed to calculate the term that is being presented in order to find the correct answer. Instead you have to add up all the letters and numbers (and use a faculty term if a "!" is in the message, though the general rule of thumb is to only use it if the term does not add up too high) to get the correct answer. Note that it is rather dubious as to what means what, while numbers in letters always works (like in "an after-'''eight'''") the letters themselves are another matter and are frequently switched up (a good question to ask is whether or not the C in the question is just a simple C or if it is the Roman number 100 and keep in mind that the game is not shy of putting up Chinese counting units used in 1100 BC). All in all you have a game so fabricated and obtuse that it makes a ConspiracyTheorist look enlightened and simple by comparison.
1st Jul '16 4:29:50 PM FlakyPorcupine
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Added DiffLines:

* It's very hard to get the good ending in ''[[Webcomic/{{Megamanspritecomic}} Megaman Sprite Game]]'' on the first try for one particular reason: [[spoiler:if you walk off the path, you'll be arrested]]. The only time this is foreshadowed is a sign in the beginning of the game... [[spoiler:which requires you to step off the path to read, naturally]].
26th Jun '16 10:56:14 AM nombretomado
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* In the ''BaldursGate'' series, you cannot talk with anyone who's hostile to you. To prevent the game from becoming Unwinnable by making a plot-critical (i.e. you need to talk to them to advance the plot) NPC hostile, the game will immediately kill you if you make them hostile. The methods differ from fire from the sky (Tethoril) to death by a game-breaking amount of magic missiles (Gorion) to spawning assassins that instantly kill you (Aran/Bodhi in their respective paths, Elthan). Most of these {{NPC}}s are almost impossible to kill on top of it.

to:

* In the ''BaldursGate'' ''Franchise/BaldursGate'' series, you cannot talk with anyone who's hostile to you. To prevent the game from becoming Unwinnable by making a plot-critical (i.e. you need to talk to them to advance the plot) NPC hostile, the game will immediately kill you if you make them hostile. The methods differ from fire from the sky (Tethoril) to death by a game-breaking amount of magic missiles (Gorion) to spawning assassins that instantly kill you (Aran/Bodhi in their respective paths, Elthan). Most of these {{NPC}}s are almost impossible to kill on top of it.
25th Jun '16 12:17:23 PM Steven
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* Many of the boss fights in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'' are designed to instantly wipe out the whole party if certain mechanics are not done on time or if they are done incorrectly. Other bosses will get a massive buff in attack power or attack speed that make it impossible to weather out since the damage given and/or the rate of damage pumped out is simply too much for the healers to counteract. The bosses are obviously beatable, but they will become unbeatable if you screw up.
16th Jun '16 11:42:57 PM gophergiggles
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* ''VideoGame/ClockTower'' plays with this. It's possible on more than a few occasions to create unwinnable scenarios, depending on if you missed an item or failed to do something, and you won't know about it until ''much'' later when there's nothing you can do about it. However rather than just giving you the generic GameOver screen you instead get alternate (and worse) ending sequences, all of which you need for HundredPercentCompletion.

to:

* ''VideoGame/ClockTower'' plays with this. It's possible on more than a few occasions to create unwinnable scenarios, depending on if you missed an item or failed to do something, and you won't know about it until ''much'' later when there's nothing you can do about it. However rather than just giving you the generic GameOver screen you instead get alternate (and worse) ending sequences, all of which you need for HundredPercentCompletion. There are also obtainable extras that give you warnings on how to avoid these fates (or trigger them if you're a completionist), such as advising you to find the flashlight or remember who you gave the Demon Idle to.
12th Jun '16 9:25:18 AM raekuul
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* The MMORPG ''VideoGame/TricksterOnline'' allows you to sell or accidentally drop (destroy) quest items necessary for the story quests. They cannot be replaced, petitioning a GM will only get the response 'well you shouldn't have done that'. Although the game is still playable about 1/2 of the single player content is forever lost and all the EXP those quests can give is gone.
11th Jun '16 2:31:03 AM res20stupid
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11th Jun '16 2:30:20 AM res20stupid
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* Due to the story variations in the ending to the ''VideoGame/{{Dishonored}}'' DLC ''The Knife of Dunwall'' you can't complete certain challenges if you were aiming for a [[KillEmAll High Chaos]] game. On High Chaos, [[spoiler: [[TheMole Billie Lurk]] doesn't pull a HeelFaceTurn]] and instead the final conversation leads into an immediate BossBattle, but [[spoiler: Billie]] begins the fight by being alerted as any other guard in the area. As a result, the GhostRun and StealthRun challenges for that level, and the entire game if you were trying, is instantly voided.
22nd May '16 4:00:37 AM smalltime
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** In ''Seymour Goes to Hollywood'', if you try using the teleporter in the Flash Gordan parody, you will be teleported above a spike pit, and you automatically respawn above the spike pit each time you die. You need to teleport the towel item first.
20th May '16 4:36:08 PM diaaru
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* ''VideoGame/KingsKnight'' allows you to continue to the final stage even if you have one character alive... but beating it is impossible without all four characters as each character can only destroy certain types of statues that block your way. Moreover, it ''still'' can't be beaten with a full party if you don't have the thief and the monster's spell unlocked as the group will get crushed by unbreakable obstacles otherwise.
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