History Main / UnwinnableByDesign

14th Apr '17 11:20:11 PM DrFraud
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* ''Propositiones ad Acuendos Juvenes'', a 9th century medieval Latin manuscript of math and logic problem, has one. The 43rd problem proposes a situation where a man wants to slaughter 300 pigs in 3 days. However, it says there has to be an odd number of pigs on each day, which makes it impossible. TheOtherWiki theorizes this was written to punish troublesome students.[ [note]]It's a parity puzzle. Odd (pigs) times Odd (days) always equals Odd, and 300 is Even.[[/note]]

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* ''Propositiones ad Acuendos Juvenes'', a 9th century medieval Latin manuscript of math and logic problem, has one. The 43rd problem proposes a situation where a man wants to slaughter 300 pigs in 3 days. However, it says there has to be an odd number of pigs on each day, which makes it impossible. TheOtherWiki theorizes this was written to punish troublesome students.[ [note]]It's [[labelnote:note]]It's a parity puzzle. Odd (pigs) times Odd (days) always equals Odd, and 300 is Even.[[/note]][[/labelnote]]
11th Apr '17 5:49:15 PM nombretomado
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* In ''ShiningForce: The Sword of Hajya'', Prince Nick, whose right arm is turned to stone and rendered unusable for the majority of the game, shows up in the confrontation with the FinalBoss, Iom. The only thing that can break the invincibility seal on the boss is the Sword of Hajya, and he is the only one who can use it. And if Iom happens to kill Nick before he gets a chance to use his sword, which in this battle can ''easily'' happen because of how absurdly over-powered the boss is, you'll have to start all over again because it becomes unwinnable.

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* In ''ShiningForce: The Sword of Hajya'', ''VideoGame/ShiningForceTheSwordOfHajya'', Prince Nick, whose right arm is turned to stone and rendered unusable for the majority of the game, shows up in the confrontation with the FinalBoss, Iom. The only thing that can break the invincibility seal on the boss is the Sword of Hajya, and he is the only one who can use it. And if Iom happens to kill Nick before he gets a chance to use his sword, which in this battle can ''easily'' happen because of how absurdly over-powered the boss is, you'll have to start all over again because it becomes unwinnable.
10th Apr '17 4:57:12 AM TheKaizerreich
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* The online video game ''[[http://www.newsgaming.com/games/index12.htm September 12th]]'', by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gonzalo_Frasca Gonzalo Frasca]], was written as a social commentary on the WarOnTerror. The player has to shoot terrorists, only for them to suddenly vanish and the player instead accidentally hits civilians. [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped The more civilians killed, the more they arm themselves and become terrorists]].

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* The online video game ''[[http://www.newsgaming.com/games/index12.htm September 12th]]'', by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gonzalo_Frasca Gonzalo Frasca]], was written as a social commentary on the WarOnTerror. The player has to shoot terrorists, only for them to suddenly vanish and terrorists with missiles who are openly marching around a city full of civilians, but if the player instead accidentally hits civilians. [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped The more missiles kill any of the civilians, other civilians killed, may come around, see the more they arm themselves bodies, and suddenly decide to become terrorists]].terrorists themselves. This will happen '''without fail''', and is (hopefully unintentionally) pretty damning, since it suggests that the only way to end terrorism is to KillEmAll.
7th Apr '17 10:11:29 AM Midna
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* The adventure game adaptation of the Polish ''ComicBook/KajkoIKokosz'' comic has numerous opportunities to get stuck. For example: picked up the flower at the beginning with your bare hands? It withers immediately, and you will need it later. There are also two [[PointOfNoReturn Points of no Return]] in the game; if you left any necessary items behind (you have limited space in your inventory) before moving to the next part, you're screwed--and there's no way to tell ahead of time which items will be useful and which won't.

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* The adventure game adaptation of the Polish ''ComicBook/KajkoIKokosz'' comic has numerous opportunities to get stuck. For example: picked up the flower at the beginning with your bare hands? It withers immediately, and you will need it later. There are also two [[PointOfNoReturn Points of no Return]] in the game; if you left leave any necessary items behind (you have limited space in your inventory) before moving to the next part, you're screwed--and there's no way to tell ahead of time which items will be useful and which won't.



* Invoked ''InUniverse'' with Lucas Baker's final DeathTrap in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil7Biohazard''. The "quest" appears easy; you need to place a lit candle on a birthday cake to earn your freedom. But, a pressure-plate in the floor of the doorway triggers a roof-mounted sprinkler that douses your candle when you get near. There's a window outside to another room that you can see a wheel-crank in, which can be used to deactivate the sprinkler. So, you set off on what seems like a typical [[SolveTheSoupCans Resident Evil-style puzzle]]. You pull out a big key from a wooden cask near the birthday cake and stick it in a creepy animatronic clown-scribe to unblock a nearby toilet. Recovering a dirty polarized telescope from the toilet, you wash it off under the sprinkler and then look at a nearby family portrait to reveal the three symbols you need to open a safe containing a straw doll. Burning the doll on a lit stove reveals a dummy finger, which you use to repair the clown-scribe's missing hand. Lighting the candle, you burn off the rope holding a third door closed, which takes you to the room with the door to the crank-room. But it's protected by a code-word tumbler. Looking around, you find an uninflated balloon nearby and take it back to the main room to a gas vent. Here's your first warning that things aren't what they seem: the balloon is full of sharp objects, so you wind up with a nail through your hand and a feather pen driven quill-first into your gut. When you give the clown-scribe the quill, it ''carves the code into your arm with it''. And then, finally, when you solve the puzzle... [[spoiler: you die a horribly flaming death. See, that cask with the key in it? Was full of ''oil'', which has been seeping all over the room since you pulled it out and so promptly ignites when the firecrackers in the cake go off. With the room sealing itself and locking the sprinkler system when it does.]] Comes with a unique solution: [[spoiler: you have to watch a VHS of some poor bastard solving it the intended way, so that instead you can skip the deadly parts and just burn the rope, enter the password, turn off the water and light the cake, as an invoked/meta example of SaveScumming]].
* In the SNES version of ''VideoGame/CoolWorld'', you can be teleported to Las Vegas two times after you got the pen. But if you failed to ascend towards the Hotel, or waste your time after capturing the Doodles, you will be teleported back to Cool World. The second time will be the last time, and you will be stuck in Cool World forever.

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* Invoked ''InUniverse'' InUniverse with Lucas Baker's final DeathTrap in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil7Biohazard''. The "quest" appears easy; you need to place a lit candle on a birthday cake to earn your freedom. But, a pressure-plate in the floor of the doorway triggers a roof-mounted sprinkler that douses your candle when you get near. There's a window outside to another room that you can see a wheel-crank in, which can be used to deactivate the sprinkler. So, you set off on what seems like a typical [[SolveTheSoupCans Resident Evil-style puzzle]]. You pull out a big key from a wooden cask near the birthday cake and stick it in a creepy animatronic clown-scribe to unblock a nearby toilet. Recovering a dirty polarized telescope from the toilet, you wash it off under the sprinkler and then look at a nearby family portrait to reveal the three symbols you need to open a safe containing a straw doll. Burning the doll on a lit stove reveals a dummy finger, which you use to repair the clown-scribe's missing hand. Lighting the candle, you burn off the rope holding a third door closed, which takes you to the room with the door to the crank-room. But it's protected by a code-word tumbler. Looking around, you find an uninflated balloon nearby and take it back to the main room to a gas vent. Here's your first warning that things aren't what they seem: the balloon is full of sharp objects, so you wind up with a nail through your hand and a feather pen driven quill-first into your gut. When you give the clown-scribe the quill, it ''carves the code into your arm with it''. And then, finally, when you solve the puzzle... [[spoiler: you die a horribly flaming death. See, that cask with the key in it? Was full of ''oil'', which has been seeping all over the room since you pulled it out and so promptly ignites when the firecrackers in the cake go off. With the room sealing itself and locking the sprinkler system when it does.]] Comes This comes with a unique solution: [[spoiler: you have to watch a VHS of some poor bastard solving it the intended way, so that instead you can skip the deadly parts and just burn the rope, enter the password, turn off the water and light the cake, as an invoked/meta example of SaveScumming]].
* In the SNES version of ''VideoGame/CoolWorld'', you can be teleported to Las Vegas two times after you got get the pen. But if you failed fail to ascend towards the Hotel, or waste your time after capturing the Doodles, you will be teleported back to Cool World. The second time will be the last time, and you will be stuck in Cool World forever.



* ''Manga/{{Kaiji}}'' features an example in its second part, the [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Man-Eating Bog]], a pachinko machine designed to never pay out. The defenses ware intricate: first, the balls have to pass through a tight set of pins, followed by a set of flippers (which can be set to block any incoming ball whatsoever), and lastly, the balls have to pass through three trays: one with three holes, one with four holes, and one with five holes. Each tray has only one correct hole. This last one is the kicker: the trays, machine and even the floor itself are tilted ever so subtly, and there's a slight bump around the final jackpot hole. These circumstances make it literally impossible for a ball to enter the fifth hole. And even if that gets bypassed, there are small air blasters installed around the final hole, able to blow away balls that are headed for the jackpot.

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* ''Manga/{{Kaiji}}'' features an example in its second part, part: the [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Man-Eating Bog]], a pachinko machine designed to never pay out. The defenses ware are intricate: first, the balls have to pass through a tight set of pins, followed by a set of flippers (which can be set to block any incoming ball whatsoever), and lastly, the balls have to pass through three trays: one with three holes, one with four holes, and one with five holes. Each tray has only one correct hole. This last one is the kicker: the trays, machine machine, and even the floor itself are tilted ever so subtly, and there's a slight bump around the final jackpot hole. These circumstances make it literally impossible for a ball to enter the fifth hole. And even if that gets bypassed, there are small air blasters installed around the final hole, able to blow away balls that are headed for the jackpot.



* 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

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* ''Series/ThePriceIsRight'':
**
The most famous game on ''Series/ThePriceIsRight'', game, 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 One early pricing game, "Bullseye" (not to be confused with another identically-named pricing game) 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.
***
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
work. Eventually they lampshaded the whole ordeal by putting a safe point conveniently at $500,000$500,000.



* 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.

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* The American daytime version of ''WhoWantsToBeAMillionaire'' has started asking ''Series/WhoWantsToBeAMillionaire'' sometimes asks questions about things famous people did before they were famous. They are always so ridiculously arcane to the point 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.



** 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.

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** The "Root Beer Relay" challenge involved involves one contestant filling up a root beer-like substance with a spray tap and sliding it to a teammate who had has 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" Five", used in ''Super Sloppy Double Dare'' involved Dare'', involves contestants breaking balloons that were are hanging from a support beam. If a balloon falls off without popping, the challenge is rendered incomplete. This happened at least once once, with the team understandably upset at the poorly-designed challenge.
** ''Double Dare 2000'' had has a challenge similar to the one above where a contestant had has 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 happened, during a ''Special Olympics episode'', episode'' no less less, but thankfully, thankfully it didn't affect the outcome of the game.



* 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.

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* The Flemish PhoneInGameShows is are 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 formats, the host was able to invent an answer on the spot. No matter what you answered, the host would say it is wrong wrong, and when the time was had come to reveal the answer he/she would remember the answers that were wrong and take give an answer out of nowhere that is not those that were answered and say that that particular answer was the right one.
wasn't previously given.
** After people complained about it it, the format was changed. This time the right answer was on a card shown in front. card. If one guessed correctly the answer on the card correctly, the host and people behind the scenes would distract the audience to get the buy time to switch the card with another one.
** After court hearings of the government court hearings, the format was changed again and split in 2. two. This time it is "winnable", but good luck knowing the right answers, as they are nearly impossible to know.
know.
*** One format involves guessing names that involve a particular subject. On one episode of ''Basta'' ''Basta'', they used use one of the panels that had has ''animals'' as a subject. They went go to the zoo to see if the they could find all of the animals that were written on the panels. One of them was not even animal wasn't in the zoo, so they had to go to a school restaurant to find the meat ''meat that was made of it. from that animal.'' You might as well search for be looking up a random obscure word in the dictionary and ask asking people to guess that random, almost unused, word.
define it.
*** Another one involves "a calculation". a "calculation". The term calculation is used loosely here here, because you are you're not supposed to calculate the term sum 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 it's rather dubious as to what means what, what: while numbers in letters that have been spelled out always works work (like in "an after-'''eight'''") 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 it's the Roman number 100 and 100--and keep in mind that the game is not shy of putting these games aren't afraid to put up Chinese counting units used in 1100 BC). All in all all, you have a game so fabricated and such an obtuse game that requires such leaps of logic it makes would make a ConspiracyTheorist look enlightened and simple seem sane by comparison. comparison.
%% I had no idea what the hell a "faculty term" referred to so I just removed that bit. --Midna



It is possible to get past this part without having the magic spear, but it requires picking the right skill from the very beginning, choosing the right path, and talking to mice. GuideDangIt! And in the original version, if you had the spear and gave it up, then you missed the chance to talk to the mice. The free online Project Aon version fixes this.
** The first three books were bad with this. In addition to the magic spear kerfluffle, book two becomes Unwinnable if you fail to get the vitally-important Seal of Hammerdale back in Ragadorn or if you [[TooDumbToLive sell it later for extra cash]]. Also in book two, if you don't have enough money to pay meals and lodging for the ''entire'' carriage journey, then you'll be forced to sleep in the stables at the last stop, where an assassin will get you in your sleep.

to:

It is possible to get past this part without having the magic spear, but it requires picking the right skill from the very beginning, choosing the right path, and talking to mice. GuideDangIt! And in the original version, if you had have the spear and gave give it up, then you missed miss the chance to talk to the mice. The free online Project Aon version fixes this.
** The first three books were are bad with this. In addition to the magic spear kerfluffle, book two becomes Unwinnable if you fail to get the vitally-important Seal of Hammerdale back in Ragadorn or if you [[TooDumbToLive sell it later for extra cash]]. Also in book two, if you don't have enough money to pay meals and lodging for the ''entire'' carriage journey, then you'll be forced to sleep in the stables at the last stop, where an assassin will get you in your sleep.



** The book ''Escape from the Carnival of Horrors'' could be unwinnable; instead of having a game-over, it would cause you to repeatedly jump back and forth between two pages forever to simulate the player being trapped inside a hall of mirrors.
** In another ''Goosebumps'' book, you are shrunken to a tiny size and have to deal with a (to you) enormous rat. Your decision in the matter is determined by, wait for it -- how many letters are in your first name. If you have an odd number, you successfully evade the rat and can continue onward. If you have an even number? Your attempt to make friends with the rat works a little too well and it takes you back to its nest where you spend the rest of your days raised by a small furry mammal, Game Over.
** Another one about a Cave Spirit involved far more than remembering stories. You had to select which weapons or spells your character would be armed with. The hunter's path was always the hardest because your weapons had finite ammo or durability. If you used the wrong weapon at a certain time or didn't PICK the right weapon to use at a certain obstacle, then the game would be unwinnable.\\\
To make matters even worse, you could actually lose the one weapon you needed for the ending by using it on the wrong obstacle early on. Plus, at the beginning of the hunter's path, there are two weapons you NEED to pick to get a good ending -- fail to pick any one of them (you can only pick three of four weapons) and you'll meet an untimely end later on. [Hint: the weapon you can use only once is pretty much useless and use of it will spell instant death for you -- unless you're on a certain story path, which only leads to two bad endings anyway.] The spellcaster's path is easier, as you can actually choose not to get into ''any'' problematic situations until you meet the Cave Spirit again, but you'd better steer clear of the park or else kiss the path's best ending good-bye (because you either will be turned into a frog/snake or destroy the one thing you need to defeat the Cave Spirit to escape).
** And in another book, getting one of the good endings is determined by your height. In the same book, on the path to another ending, you die if you're not left-handed.

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** The book ''Escape from the Carnival of Horrors'' could can be unwinnable; instead of having a game-over, it would cause causes you to repeatedly jump back and forth between two pages forever to simulate the player being trapped inside a hall of mirrors.
** Certain bad endings are determined by factors entirely outside of the reader's control. In another ''Goosebumps'' book, you are shrunken to a tiny size and have to deal with a (to you) enormous rat. Your decision in the matter is determined by, wait for it -- by how many letters are in your first name. If you have an odd number, you successfully evade the rat and can continue onward. If you have an even number? Your attempt to make friends with the rat works a little too well and it takes you back to its nest where you spend the rest of your days raised by a small furry mammal, mammal. Game Over.
Over. In another book, getting one of the good endings is determined by your height. In the same book, on the path to another ending, you die if you're not left-handed.
** Another one about a Cave Spirit involved involves far more than remembering stories. You had have to select which weapons or spells your character would will be armed with. The hunter's path was is always the hardest because your weapons had have finite ammo or durability. If you used use the wrong weapon at a certain time or didn't don't PICK the right weapon to use at a certain obstacle, then the game would be is unwinnable.\\\
To make matters even worse, you could can actually lose the one weapon you needed need for the ending by using it on the wrong obstacle early on. Plus, at the beginning of the hunter's path, there are two weapons you NEED to pick to get a good ending -- fail to pick any one either of them (you can only pick three of four weapons) and you'll meet an untimely end later on. [Hint: (Hint: the weapon you can use only once is pretty much useless and use of it will spell instant death for you -- unless you're on a certain story path, which only leads to two bad endings anyway.] ) The spellcaster's path is easier, as you can actually choose not to get into ''any'' problematic situations until you meet the Cave Spirit again, again... but you'd better steer clear of the park or else kiss the path's best ending good-bye goodbye (because you either will be turned into a frog/snake or destroy the one thing you need to defeat the Cave Spirit to escape).
** And in another book, getting one of the good endings is determined by your height. In the same book, on the path to another ending, you die if you're not left-handed.
escape).



** In the ''City of Thieves'' Gamebook, if you tried to scale a building you were trying to infiltrate, then you'd be faced by a gargoyle. You're told you need a magic sword to beat it. Say you have one, and the game chides you for cheating, saying you can't have one yet. Say you don't, and you're dead. Oh, and the alternative is to approach a guarded door.

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** In the ''City of Thieves'' Gamebook, if you tried try to scale a building you were you're trying to infiltrate, then you'd you'll be faced by a gargoyle. You're told you need a magic sword to beat it. Say you have one, and the game chides you for cheating, saying you can't have one yet. Say you don't, and you're dead. Oh, and the alternative is to approach a guarded door.



*** This becomes an odd veteran bonus as later on the bad ingredient becomes obvious as it gives life to undead, and you're trying to kill an undead. This requires reading other Fighting Fantasy books.

to:

*** This becomes an odd veteran bonus bonus, as later on the bad ingredient becomes obvious as obvious: it gives life to undead, and you're trying to kill an undead. This requires reading other Fighting Fantasy books.



** ''Crypt of the Sorcerer'': This one goes completely overboard. You have to follow a VERY narrow path to have even a remote chance of winning. Among other things, you need to smear yourself with a certain creature's blood to avoid death from a huge lizard monster in the middle of the book. The creature is met at the very beginning of the gamebook, and smearing yourself with the blood gives you a random chance of dying.
** ''Magehunter'' also involves a ridiculously narrow win path. The plot involves a body swapping mechanic, and in order to get the proper ending you need to get yourself, the [[BigBad Big Bad]] and your companion back into the correct bodies by the end of the book. Making the wrong decisions right at the start will leave the bodies mixed up in a way that is impossible to fix, with the result that vast swathes of the book are devoted to activities that will never result in a victory. Only by mastering the body swapping magic and switching into the right people at the exact right times can the reader come out on top.

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** ''Crypt of the Sorcerer'': This one Sorcerer'' goes completely overboard. You have to follow a VERY narrow path to have even a remote chance of winning. Among other things, you need to smear yourself with a certain creature's blood to avoid death from a huge lizard monster in the middle of the book. The creature is met at the very beginning of the gamebook, and smearing yourself with the blood gives you a random chance of dying.
** ''Magehunter'' also involves a ridiculously narrow win path. The plot involves a body swapping mechanic, and in order to get the proper ending you need to get yourself, the [[BigBad Big Bad]] and your companion back into the correct bodies by the end of the book. Making the wrong decisions right at the start will leave the bodies mixed up in a way that is impossible to fix, with the result that vast swathes swaths of the book are devoted to activities that will never result in a victory. Only by mastering the body swapping magic and switching into the right people at the exact right times can the reader come out on top.



** A Cruel example is found in ''The Crown of Kings'': At the very, very, end of your adventure you will be forced to find a safe means of escape from [[EvilTowerOfOminousness Mampang Fortress]], and the only way to do so without using magic is to have much earlier found and befriended the well-concealed [[LaResistance Samaritans of Schinn]]. If you play as a warrior and either fail to find them, or fail to earn their trust, you will continue your adventure only to discover at the last that you [[ShaggyDogStory cannot escape the Fortress.]]
** ''Trial of Champions'': This one contains a luck-based challenge forcing you to choose a chain of maneuvers against a blind kendo master, all of which are essentially random and lead to either total victory or end of game with no use of skill or items. The same book also has a wizard who requires you to have gathered exactly nine gold rings from random places as well as the code numbers to use them. Failure at any point is instant death.
** The BigBad confrontation in ''Return to Firetop Mountain'' requires the player to have gathered gold teeth with numbers on (Hope you don't have to forfeit a gold item in the [[ForeignQueasine eyeball-eating contest]]!), a series of tiny book pages saying how to use them, a magnifying glass to read the pages, a throwing knife to throw at a rat to avoid it stealing the tooth, and a successful skill roll to hit the rat. After all this, you finally get to fight Zagor, who may kill you if the print-based QuicktimeEvents didn't already.
** ''Knights of Doom'' has an amusing but sadistic example in the form of the Assassin's Dagger. This intangible opponent will plague you for the whole game, and can only be permanently defeated by choosing an appropriate skill ''before the adventure even starts'' or by buying a certain item. Otherwise the book will give you opportunities to trap the dagger and run away only for it to keep escaping and catching up with you later on. If you don't finish it off then it finally manages to plunge itself into your back just as you confront the [[BigBad Big Bad]]...
** Undoubtedly the most sadistic example from the entire ''Fighting Fantasy'' series comes in ''Creature of Havoc'', a book where you play as a monster who begins the story with no free will. Your first few "decisions" are determined by dice rolls. Almost from the beginning, getting the wrong roll will make you miss the only item you can use to defeat the main villain. It is possible to play the book until the final confrontation and lose because you missed an item you could only obtain by 50/50 chance near the very start. To make matters ''worse'', the weapon in question is still buried in a maze of very specific chapter selections, and you also have the [[SchmuckBait option to use it]] in battle any time in your adventure, and it is destroyed after one use.
* Dave Morris generally believed that heroes should be heroes, and in most of his books (other than ''Literature/TheFabledLands'' and ''Literature/HeartOfIce'') would punish people for trying to play a SociopathicHero. In "Down Among The Dead Men", you and a few shipmates escape from an evil captain; later, after going across the ocean to reach civilization and proving your worth to the others, you become captain and lead a ship against the BigBad... unless you've acted in a blatantly immoral fashion, such as demanding first dibs on food, murdering another captain in cold blood while they sleep (this also earns a WhatTheHellHero from your shipmates), or [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking letting a crewmate sing a really depressing song when morale is already critically low, just because you're too afraid to make him stop]]. In any of these cases, the adventure continues, but you have to note down a Codeword, and when you get to civilization, if that Codeword is on your sheet, your crew decides you're not cut out to be a captain and leaves you.

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** A Cruel example is found in ''The Crown of Kings'': At the very, very, very end of your adventure adventure, you will be forced to find a safe means of escape from [[EvilTowerOfOminousness Mampang Fortress]], and the only way to do so without using magic is to have much earlier found and befriended the well-concealed [[LaResistance Samaritans of Schinn]]. If you play as a warrior and either fail to find them, them or fail to earn their trust, you will continue your adventure only to discover at the last that you [[ShaggyDogStory cannot escape the Fortress.]]
** ''Trial of Champions'': This one Champions'' contains a luck-based challenge forcing you to choose a chain of maneuvers against a blind kendo master, all of which are essentially random and lead to either total victory or end of game with no use of skill or items. The same book also has a wizard who requires you to have gathered exactly nine gold rings from random places as well as the code numbers to use them. Failure at any point is instant death.
** The BigBad confrontation in ''Return to Firetop Mountain'' requires the player to have gathered gold teeth with numbers written on them (Hope you don't have to forfeit a gold item in the [[ForeignQueasine eyeball-eating contest]]!), a series of tiny book pages saying how to use them, a magnifying glass to read the pages, a throwing knife to throw at a rat to avoid it stealing the tooth, and a successful skill roll to hit the rat. After all this, you finally get to fight Zagor, who may kill you if the print-based QuicktimeEvents didn't already.
** ''Knights of Doom'' has an amusing but sadistic example in the form of the Assassin's Dagger. This intangible opponent will plague you for the whole game, and can only be permanently defeated by choosing an appropriate skill ''before the adventure even starts'' or by buying a certain item. Otherwise Otherwise, the book will give you opportunities to trap the dagger and run away away, only for it to keep escaping and catching up with you later on. If you don't finish it off off, then it finally manages to plunge itself into your back just as you confront the [[BigBad Big Bad]]...
** Undoubtedly the most sadistic example from the entire ''Fighting Fantasy'' series comes in ''Creature of Havoc'', a book where you play as a monster who begins the story with no free will. Your first few "decisions" are determined by dice rolls. Almost from the beginning, getting the wrong roll will make you miss the only item you can use to defeat the main villain. It is possible to play the book until the final confrontation and lose because you missed an item you could can only obtain by 50/50 chance near the very start. To make matters ''worse'', the weapon in question is still buried in a maze of very specific chapter selections, and you also have the [[SchmuckBait option to use it]] in battle any time in your adventure, and it is destroyed after one use.
* Dave Morris generally believed that heroes should be heroes, and in most of his books (other than ''Literature/TheFabledLands'' and ''Literature/HeartOfIce'') would punish he punishes people for trying to play a SociopathicHero. In "Down Among The Dead Men", you and a few shipmates escape from an evil captain; later, after going across the ocean to reach civilization and proving your worth to the others, you become captain and lead a ship against the BigBad... unless you've acted in a blatantly immoral fashion, such as demanding first dibs on food, murdering another captain in cold blood while they sleep (this also earns a WhatTheHellHero from your shipmates), or [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking letting a crewmate sing a really depressing song when morale is already critically low, just because you're too afraid to make him stop]]. In any of these cases, the adventure continues, but you have to note down a Codeword, and when you get to civilization, if that Codeword is on your sheet, your crew decides you're not cut out to be a captain and leaves you.



* In [[http://www.amazeworld.com/ Amazeworld]]'s "The Maze" game, you can get trapped in the "Labyrinth of Death," a vicious cycle of links that form an infinite loop similar to the ''Goosebumps: Escape from the Carnival of Horrors'' example on this article, if you click on too many or too blatantly wrong answers. The game is polite enough to warn you to "be very careful" if you're facing a specific question where only ''one'' of three answers don't link straight to the Labyrinth of Death, but it won't warn you anywhere else if there are incorrect answers that lead to the Labyrinth.

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* In [[http://www.amazeworld.com/ Amazeworld]]'s "The Maze" game, you can get trapped in the "Labyrinth of Death," a vicious cycle of links that form an infinite loop similar to the ''Goosebumps: Escape from the Carnival of Horrors'' example on this article, Horrors'', if you click on too many or too blatantly wrong answers. The game is polite enough to warn you to "be very careful" if you're facing a specific question where only ''one'' of three answers don't link straight to the Labyrinth of Death, but it won't warn you anywhere else if there are incorrect answers that lead to the Labyrinth.



* Amanda's traps in ''Film/SawIII''. Jigsaw actually decrees that she's not worthy of being his successor because her "games" were unwinnable, unlike his.
* ''Film/WarGames'': The computer thinks its playing a game called "Global Thermonuclear War". After analyzing all the scenarios, it finally concludes: "Strange Game. The Only Winning Move Is Not To Play."
* In the ''Franchise/FinalDestination'' franchise, once you're on Death's list it will pursue you relentlessly until you're dead. While it is possible to intervene in someone's death so that Death "skips" them, Death will simply continue working its way through the list until it's cycled back to you- ad infinitum. Attempts to subvert the list such as giving birth, resuscitation and suicide have all failed so far, leaving Death unbeatable. ''Film/FinalDestination5'' introduces the new rule that you can kill someone in order to get their remaining lifespan, seemingly offering survivors an out. However [[spoiler: the two characters who use this method in the film both inherit short lifespans and end up dying within a fortnight, the implication being that Death will just manipulate you into killing someone with very little time left anyway.]]

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* Amanda's traps in ''Film/SawIII''. Jigsaw actually decrees that she's not worthy of being his successor because her "games" were are unwinnable, unlike his.
* ''Film/WarGames'': The computer thinks its it's playing a game called "Global Thermonuclear War". After analyzing all the scenarios, it finally concludes: "Strange Game. The Only Winning Move Is Not To Play."
* In the ''Franchise/FinalDestination'' franchise, once you're on Death's list list, it will pursue you relentlessly until you're dead. While it is possible to intervene in someone's death so that Death "skips" them, Death will simply continue working its way through the list until it's cycled back to you- ad infinitum. Attempts to subvert the list such as giving birth, resuscitation and suicide have all failed so far, leaving Death unbeatable. ''Film/FinalDestination5'' introduces the new rule that you can kill someone in order to get their remaining lifespan, seemingly offering survivors an out. However [[spoiler: the two characters who use this method in the film both inherit short lifespans and end up dying within a fortnight, the implication being that Death will just manipulate you into killing someone with very little time left anyway.]]



** The method of cheating is slightly different, depending on the continuity. In the original timeline, he reprogrammed the simulation to make the Klingons more agreeable. In the altered timeline, he programmed the Klingon ships to have their shields go down, turning the simulation into a [[ArmorIsUseless turkey shoot]].

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** The method of cheating is slightly different, depending on the continuity. In the original timeline, he reprogrammed reprograms the simulation to make the Klingons more agreeable. In the altered timeline, he programmed programs the Klingon ships to have their shields go down, turning the simulation into a [[ArmorIsUseless turkey shoot]].



* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' has a children's game called "Snakes and Foxes", played with dice and tokens on a simple board. Kids grow out of it once they realize it is Unwinnable without cheating. Heavy foreshadowing indicated that its unwinnability and the need for cheating would be important to the plot. [[spoiler:This turned out to be correct.]]
* In ''Literature/EndersGame'', the Giant's Drink simulation was unwinnable because it wasn't really a game. Its only point was as a psychological gauge for each student. If they tried it a few times and gave up, good. If they kept on playing, despite having their avatar repeatedly killed, they had to be assessed for suicidal tendencies.
** Then there was Ender, who broke the system and [[TakeAThirdOption took a third option]]. [[spoiler:Retconned in the sequel, though.]]
** Arguably, the only real win is Bean's decision [[WarGames not to play at all]].
*** And even that probably proved a bad move. He didn't refuse to play to avoid the scenario; he was just in the habit of not giving people anything that could be used to understand him or predict his actions. Being unwilling to play a computer game helped lead to his being put in life-threatening danger later.
* In the Discworld series, many religions in Ankh-Morpork feature human sacrifice. The good news is they only sacrifice condemned criminals. However, refusing to voluntarily take part in such a ritual is a crime punishable by death.

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* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' has a children's game called "Snakes and Foxes", played with dice and tokens on a simple board. Kids grow out of it once they realize it is Unwinnable without cheating. Heavy foreshadowing indicated indicates that its [[spoiler:its unwinnability and the need for cheating would be is important to the plot. [[spoiler:This turned out to be correct.plot.]]
* In ''Literature/EndersGame'', the Giant's Drink simulation was is unwinnable because it wasn't isn't really a game. Its only point was is as a psychological gauge for each student. If they tried try it a few times and gave give up, good. If they kept keep on playing, despite having their avatar repeatedly killed, they had have to be assessed for suicidal tendencies.
** Then there was there's Ender, who broke breaks the system and [[TakeAThirdOption took takes a third option]]. [[spoiler:Retconned in the sequel, though.]]
** Arguably, the only real win is Bean's decision [[WarGames not to play at all]].
*** And
all, and even that is probably proved a bad move. He didn't doesn't refuse to play to avoid the scenario; he was he'd just in the habit of not giving people anything that could can be used to understand him or predict his actions. Being unwilling to play a computer game helped helps lead to his being put in life-threatening danger later.
* In the Discworld ''Discworld'' series, many religions in Ankh-Morpork feature human sacrifice. The good news is they only sacrifice condemned criminals. However, refusing to voluntarily take part in such a ritual is a crime punishable by death.



* Games Magazine's ChooseYourOwnAdventure type short story ''Horace Beam and the Blue Peril'' had a cruel one where if Horace does not buy the crystal from the psychic in San Francisco, then even if he makes it to the end he's shark bait due to not being able to access the ship. In short, reject the crystal and the sole hope for even staying alive is to end up in a gulag (a losing ending itself).
* {{Conversed}} in ''Literature/{{Mako}}''. The sudden twist during the final level of the VR game ''Mako Assault'' is that a group of Auran colonists imprisoned by the Alystierians have been brought to the refueling post the players are trying to destroy. Reiser says that had Lee's team exfiltrated without rescuing the colonists, the game would have sent them on a final bonus level to rescue them which was deliberately a no-win scenario.
* ''Propositiones ad Acuendos Juvenes'', 9th century medieval Latin manuscript of math and logic problem, has one. The 43th problem proposes a situation where a man wants to slaughter 300 pigs in three days. However, it says there has be an odd number of pigs for each day, which makes it impossible. TheOtherWiki theorizes this was written to punish troublesome students.[[note]]It's a parity puzzle. Odd (pigs) times Odd (days) always equals Odd, and 300 is Even. See "Video Games" below for more information.[[/note]]

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* Games Magazine's ChooseYourOwnAdventure type short story ''Horace Beam and the Blue Peril'' had has a cruel one where one: if Horace does not doesn't buy the crystal from the psychic in San Francisco, then even if he makes it to the end end, he's shark bait due to not being able to access the ship. In short, reject the crystal and the sole hope for even staying alive is to end up in a gulag (a losing ending itself).
* {{Conversed}} in ''Literature/{{Mako}}''. The sudden twist during the final level of the VR game ''Mako Assault'' is that a group of Auran colonists imprisoned by the Alystierians have been brought to the refueling post the players are trying to destroy. Reiser says that had Lee's team exfiltrated without rescuing the colonists, the game would have sent them on a final bonus level to rescue them which them,which was deliberately a no-win scenario.
* ''Propositiones ad Acuendos Juvenes'', a 9th century medieval Latin manuscript of math and logic problem, has one. The 43th 43rd problem proposes a situation where a man wants to slaughter 300 pigs in three 3 days. However, it says there has to be an odd number of pigs for on each day, which makes it impossible. TheOtherWiki theorizes this was written to punish troublesome students.[[note]]It's [ [note]]It's a parity puzzle. Odd (pigs) times Odd (days) always equals Odd, and 300 is Even. See "Video Games" below for more information.[[/note]]



*** ''StarTrekker'', a parody manga briefly published in the US by Antarctic Press until Paramount [[NoExportForYou came down]] like [[IncrediblyLamePun a mountain]] on them, subverted this by having a Japanese captain FIRE ON the freighter loaded with dilithium crystals, with the resulting explosion crippling the nearby Klingon cruisers. The captain was ordering a followup strike when Admiral Kirk himself (who did not want anyone else to win) killed the simulation and dressed her down. She explained that since saving the civilian vessel was a clear impossibility, priority had to be given to saving her own ship.
** On ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]'', O'Brien and Bashir often spend their evenings playing a simulation of the battle of the Alamo in the holosuite, with themselves taking on the role of the doomed Texas soldiers. When asked why in the world they keep playing a battle scenario that's literally impossible to win, they explain that it's such an irresistible challenge precisely because it's unwinnable. After their previous simulations of RAF officers in the Battle of Britain and Spartans at Thermopylae counselor Ezri was getting kind of worried about them.

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*** ''StarTrekker'', ''Star Trekker'', a parody manga briefly published in the US by Antarctic Press until Paramount [[NoExportForYou came down]] like [[IncrediblyLamePun a mountain]] on them, subverted subverts this by having a Japanese captain FIRE ON fire on the freighter loaded with dilithium crystals, with the resulting explosion crippling the nearby Klingon cruisers. The captain was is ordering a followup strike when Admiral Kirk himself (who did not doesn't want anyone else to win) killed kills the simulation and dressed dresses her down. She explained explains that since saving the civilian vessel was is a clear impossibility, priority had has to be given to saving her own ship.
** On ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]'', O'Brien and Bashir often spend their evenings playing a simulation of the battle of the Alamo in the holosuite, with themselves taking on the role of the doomed Texas soldiers. When asked why in the world they keep playing a battle scenario that's literally impossible to win, they explain that it's such an irresistible challenge precisely because it's unwinnable. After their previous simulations of RAF officers in the Battle of Britain and Spartans at Thermopylae Thermopylae, counselor Ezri was getting kind of worried about them.



* In ''Series/TheWire'' life and the system are referred to as "The game". Several characters remark its unwinnability (Bodie : "The fucking game is rigged!", Marla Daniels: "You cannot lose if you do not play.") . However [[InherentInTheSystem the game is not exactly designed and it shapes itself]], it's merely perpetuated by those at the top, who are just an instrument to screw over those below them.

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* In ''Series/TheWire'' ''Series/TheWire'', life and the system are referred to as "The "the game". Several characters remark on its unwinnability (Bodie : (Bodie: "The fucking game is rigged!", Marla Daniels: "You cannot lose if you do not play.") . However "). However, [[InherentInTheSystem the game is not exactly designed designed, and it shapes itself]], itself]]; it's merely perpetuated by those at the top, who are just an instrument instruments to screw over those below them.



** In an episode the team is ensnared in an alien device that keeps making them relive the same memory over and over again, offering them the opportunity to "set things right". However, every time they try to, the scenario is changed and forces them to fail. Even if they anticipate the previous change and prepare for it, the machine will create a modified scenario in which they still fail.
** There is also an episode where Teal'c is hooked up to a simulator through his mind, and is constantly going through the same base invasion scenario. The other characters realise that because the real Teal'c wouldn't give up, neither will the simulation in trying to beat him. The problem here-in is two fold; for one, the machine is based on the alien devices in the former episode and the other is that Teal'c's mission in the simulator is to defeat the Goa'Uld trying to destroy the Star Gate Command, but since Teal'c is absolutely convinced the Goa'Uld can never be completely defeated, his subconsciousness constantly creates worse and worse scenarios. It's eventually beaten by putting Daniel into it and giving him a 2-second future vision which eventually pays out and gets them out of the game after finally winning.

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** In an episode one episode, the team is ensnared in an alien device that keeps making them relive the same memory over and over again, offering them the opportunity to "set things right". However, every time they try to, the scenario is changed and forces them to fail. Even if they anticipate the previous change and prepare for it, the machine will create a modified scenario in which they still fail.
** There is also an episode where Teal'c is hooked up to a simulator through his mind, and is constantly going through the same base invasion scenario. The other characters realise realize that because the real Teal'c wouldn't give up, neither will the simulation in trying to beat him. The problem here-in herein is two fold; for one, the machine is based on the alien devices in the former episode episode, and the other is that for two, Teal'c's mission in the simulator is to defeat the Goa'Uld Goa'uld trying to destroy the Star Gate Command, but since Teal'c is absolutely convinced the Goa'Uld Goa'uld can never be completely defeated, his subconsciousness constantly creates worse and worse scenarios. It's eventually beaten by putting Daniel into it and giving him a 2-second future vision vision, which eventually pays out off and gets them out of the game after finally winning.



* In an episode of ''Series/Alice1976'', Mel sets up a "Spell 'M-E-L-S' To Win" contest for a $500 grand prize. After raising the grand prize to $10,000 (to one-up a competitor who offered $1000 on a similar contest), Mel destroys the only "E" game piece to avoid having to pay (He didn't have the money even if he wanted to). Vera reassembled the destroyed piece and discovered that [[VandalismBackfire Mel ripped up an "M", not the "E".]] Cue diner regular Henry finding the "E" piece.[[note]]Henry settles for the original $500.[[/note]]

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* In an episode of ''Series/Alice1976'', Mel sets up a "Spell 'M-E-L-S' To Win" contest for a $500 grand prize. After raising the grand prize to $10,000 (to one-up a competitor who offered $1000 on a similar contest), Mel destroys the only "E" game piece to avoid having to pay (He pay. (Even if he did want to pay, he didn't have the money even if he wanted to). money.) Vera reassembled the destroyed piece and discovered that [[VandalismBackfire Mel ripped up an "M", not the "E".]] Cue diner regular Henry finding the "E" piece.[[note]]Henry settles for the original $500.[[/note]]



* In one series of ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'' strips, Andy bought Peter some guarantee non-violent VideoGames. ''Nice City'', which is all about not killing anyone, becomes Unwinnable if you so much as step on an ant.

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* In one series of ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'' strips, Andy bought buys Peter some guarantee guaranteed non-violent VideoGames.video games. ''Nice City'', which is all about not killing anyone, becomes Unwinnable if you so much as step on an ant.



* Games Magazine's ''Escape from the Forest'' puzzle has a few. Did you pick the wrong fruit? Or did you land the ark in the wrong place? You'll be torn to pieces by the ogre if you try to reach Anagrammaticus, because you can't assemble the proper word.
** The earlier ''Escape from the Dungeon'' was the same way.

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* Games Magazine's ''Escape from the Forest'' puzzle has a few. Did you pick the wrong fruit? Or did you land the ark in the wrong place? You'll be torn to pieces by the ogre if you try to reach Anagrammaticus, because you can't assemble the proper word.
**
word. The earlier ''Escape from the Dungeon'' was is the same way.



* The original ''Call of Cthulthu'' RPG from Arkham House was this: even the lowliest enemies could kill you real quick in a direct fight, and even seeing one of them could drive your character insane. It's a wonder why they bothered to print game stats for the actual Mythos figures, which are so overpowering that they can't really be used in actual gameplay (they do lampshade this a bit with Cthulthu itself, whose attack reads "Each round 1d4 Investigators are scooped up to die horribly in its terrible maw.")

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* The original ''Call of Cthulthu'' RPG from Arkham House was is this: even the lowliest enemies could can kill you real quick in a direct fight, and even seeing one of them could can drive your character insane. It's a wonder why they bothered to print game stats for the actual Mythos figures, which are so overpowering that they can't really be used in actual gameplay (they do lampshade this a bit with Cthulthu itself, whose attack reads "Each round 1d4 Investigators are scooped up to die horribly in its terrible maw.")



* ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' [[http://xkcd.com/724/ used to]] provide the page image: a VideoGame/{{Tetris}} game where the bottom is curved, rendering it impossible to complete a line (The old image is now on UnwinnableJokeGame). [[http://xkcd.com/888/ The sequel makes up for it, though.]]

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* ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' [[http://xkcd.com/724/ used to]] provide 724]], providing the page image: image for UnwinnableJokeGame: a VideoGame/{{Tetris}} game where the bottom is curved, rendering it impossible to complete a line (The old image is now on UnwinnableJokeGame).line. [[http://xkcd.com/888/ The sequel makes up for it, though.]]



* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', during a game night the cast was playing Cleveland Brown's choice of board game, ''Two Decades of Dignity'', that purported to simulate the experience of African Americans. After being sent to jail for looking at a white woman, Peter asked how one was supposed to win, to which Cleveland replied, [[{{Anvilicious}} "You don't win; you just do a little better each time."]]

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* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', during a game night night, the cast was playing plays Cleveland Brown's choice of board game, ''Two Decades of Dignity'', that purported purports to simulate the experience of African Americans. After being sent to jail for looking at a white woman, Peter asked asks how one was is supposed to win, to which Cleveland replied, replies, [[{{Anvilicious}} "You don't win; you just do a little better each time."]]
6th Apr '17 9:29:13 PM nombretomado
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* ''PlanescapeTorment'' can be made unwinnable if you anger the [[InexplicablyAwesome Lady of Pain]] twice; in this situation, she will always show up and kill you as soon as you leave whatever area you're in. However, the programmers were kind; the game will not let you ''save'' if you have done this, and will give you an error message stating that you have incurred the Lady's wrath and saving now would imperil your quest.

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* ''PlanescapeTorment'' can be made unwinnable if ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'':
** If
you anger the [[InexplicablyAwesome Lady of Pain]] twice; twice, the game becomes unwinnable; in this situation, she will always show up and kill you as soon as you leave whatever area you're in. However, the programmers were kind; the game will not let you ''save'' if you have done this, and will give you an error message stating that you have incurred the Lady's wrath and saving now would imperil your quest.
4th Apr '17 5:35:17 AM ZorotheGallade
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** Some other situations seem unwinnable but have alternate solutions (though you can block them, too). For example, if you fail to get poison from the mad scientist (you only get one try, after which he'll throw you out of his lab and lock the door), you can instead [[spoiler:get the key from the piranha aquarium]] using a telekinesis spell. But if you have only one TK spell (it depends on your level and intelligence) and you spend it here, then you have made the game unwinnable once again.

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** Some other situations seem unwinnable but have alternate solutions (though you can block them, too). For example, if you fail to get poison from the mad scientist (you only get one try, after which he'll throw you out of his lab and lock the door), you can instead [[spoiler:get the key from the piranha aquarium]] using a telekinesis spell. But if your Intellect and Level are low enough, you have will only get one TK spell (it depends on your level use out of the spell, and intelligence) and spending it there you spend it here, then you will have made the game unwinnable once again.again since you won't be able to retrieve certain keys from a trapped alcove later.
30th Mar '17 9:37:13 AM crazysamaritan
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* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' had the Dark Elf, who lived in a cave where it was highly magnetic and would disable you if you wore anything metal in it. To get past him you needed to have talked with Edward and received a key item. However, if you did not do this, there is nothing stopping you from initiating the battle. While in theory you could defeat him without getting the harp and could still de-equip the armor mid-battle, you could only do so with cheats since the Dark Elf would one-shot any character without armor. If you did not save before-hand, you would have wasted a ton of time.
** You could also wear silver armor (only available from a tiny, otherwise plot-unimportant island hidden in a far-off corner of the world map), because [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything silver is a non-ferrous metal and therefore unaffected by magnetism.]] However, if you don't happen to have it, you're still boned.
* The NES port of ICOM's ''VideoGame/{{Uninvited}}'' has a Ruby in one of the bedrooms in the game. You are warned not to take it the first time you try. If you choose again to take it, then the game will let you continue and even save until you die after a certain number of moves.
** There's one location where you can put the ruby down and live. Fortunately enough, upon entering a message explicitly says you can use it to throw away items you don't need anymore.

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* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' had the Dark Elf, who lived in a cave where it was highly magnetic and would disable you if you wore anything metal in it. To get past him you needed to have talked with Edward and received a key item. However, if you did not do this, there is nothing stopping you from initiating the battle. While in theory you could defeat him without getting the harp and could still de-equip the armor (or wear silver armor instead) mid-battle, you could only do so with cheats since the Dark Elf would one-shot any character without armor. If you did not save before-hand, you would have wasted a ton of time.
** You could also wear silver armor (only available from a tiny, otherwise plot-unimportant island hidden in a far-off corner of the world map), because [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything silver is a non-ferrous metal and therefore unaffected by magnetism.]] However, if you don't happen to have it, you're still boned.
time.
* The NES port of ICOM's ''VideoGame/{{Uninvited}}'' has a Ruby in one of the bedrooms in the game. You are warned not to take it the first time you try. If you choose again to take it, then the game will let you continue and even save until you die after a certain number of moves.
**
moves. There's one location where you can put the ruby down and live. Fortunately enough, upon entering a message explicitly says you can use it to throw away items you don't need anymore.
26th Mar '17 9:34:47 PM Benthelame
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*''VideoGame/DarkCloud'' has a minor example. You cannot get 100 percent on Matataki's Georama if you do not have a lollipop for Kululu. There are two chances to get one. You can go to Clyde's house during a very narrow time frame(Just after setting it up) and he'll give you one. Get there a second later and he just gives you a wedge of cheese. You can also get it from the monster after setting up his house, but if you say that you prefer an item instead, you've just blown your chances. You'll go to her house and find that she is standing on a raised pipe because her brother ate something of hers and she won't come down. He'll ask you for it, but you don't have it so they're both dissatisfied forever. Was there ever any hint that you'd need candy? No. Did Kululu herself ever tell you she liked it? (You have to ask characters if they have any requests) No! when you talked to her, all she said was"..." It's her own fault!!!! BewareTheQuietOnes!
24th Mar '17 10:39:53 AM BeerBaron
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** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'', as all NPCs are mortal, it is entirely possible to kill someone critical to the main plot and thereby prevent you from completing it. The game is decent enough to tell you when you do this (see the message below) so that you can reload a saved game. There is also a "[[TakeAThirdOption back door]]" method of defeating the BigBad that requires only one living NPC, but it skips the entire story and is [[GuideDangIt pretty well hidden]]. However, this NPC can die as well. This is also true for other major plotlines, such as those for the Guilds and Factions you can join. (However, you will get no such message there.)

to:

** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'', as all NPCs [=NPCs=] are mortal, it is entirely possible to kill someone critical to the main plot and thereby prevent you from completing it. The game is decent enough to tell you when you do this (see the message below) so that you can reload a saved game. There is also a "[[TakeAThirdOption back door]]" method of defeating the BigBad that requires only one living NPC, but it skips the entire story and is [[GuideDangIt pretty well hidden]]. However, this NPC can die as well. This is also true for other major plotlines, such as those for the Guilds and Factions you can join. (However, you will get no such message there.)
24th Mar '17 10:39:05 AM BeerBaron
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* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall'', The first main quest you have to meet an Agent who sends you on your way. But you have to meet her by a certain date or else she'll get bored and leave making the game unwinnable. (Unlike later games in the series where you have all the time in the world to do whatever) also you can choose to turn down any quest, including main quests necessary to the story, also making it unwinnable. (You don't get another chance unless you reload) Yet unlike the scenario just mentioned, this was more if anything a lazy oversight by the creators.
* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'', everyone can be killed. However, killing a critical character will render the game Unwinnable by plot design. When you kill any necessary character, the game displays this message:
--> With this character's death, the thread of prophecy is severed. Restore a saved game to restore the weave of fate, or persist in the doomed world you have created.
** Although technically, the game is never unwinnable, because nothing stops you from skipping the main quest and killing the final boss at any time, but good luck figuring out how on your own.

to:

* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls''
**
In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall'', ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'', The first main quest you have to meet an Agent who sends you on your way. But you have to meet her by a certain date or else she'll get bored and leave making the game unwinnable. (Unlike later games in the series where you have all the time in the world to do whatever) also you can choose to turn down any quest, including main quests necessary to the story, also making it unwinnable. (You don't get another chance unless you reload) Yet unlike the scenario just mentioned, this was more if anything a lazy oversight by the creators.
* ** In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'', everyone ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'', as all NPCs are mortal, it is entirely possible to kill someone critical to the main plot and thereby prevent you from completing it. The game is decent enough to tell you when you do this (see the message below) so that you can be killed. reload a saved game. There is also a "[[TakeAThirdOption back door]]" method of defeating the BigBad that requires only one living NPC, but it skips the entire story and is [[GuideDangIt pretty well hidden]]. However, killing a critical character this NPC can die as well. This is also true for other major plotlines, such as those for the Guilds and Factions you can join. (However, you will render the game Unwinnable by plot design. When you kill any necessary character, the game displays this message:
get no such message there.)
--> With "With this character's death, the thread of prophecy is severed. Restore a saved game to restore the weave of fate, or persist in the doomed world you have created.
** Although technically, the game is never unwinnable, because nothing stops you from skipping the main quest and killing the final boss at any time, but good luck figuring out how on your own.
created."
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