Created By: Redesignated on April 25, 2010
Troped

Always Check Behind the Chair

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Trope
Planned launch date: April 23rd 25th.

Rewrote the description hopefully just enough to distinguish it from Notice This. I'd appreciate it if tropers would look through the examples and make sure they are in line with the new trope requirements.
So, you've just made it through the latest ancient ruins or abandoned mansion, filled with rooms of oddly-present furniture at every turn. Along the way, you've killed monsters, triggered a cutscene or two, and picked open every treasure chest you could find. You could call it finished and head back home—or, you could turn those seemingly empty bedrooms upside down in your search for more loot. (And whatever else is there.)

Always Check Behind the Chair is the process of examining unsuspectable objects in case the developers placed something there. When this trope is applied kindly, there will be some sort of subtle deviation from the norm to show a secret's presence. Used in a more cruel manner, however, and it tends to dive into Fake Difficulty and/or Guide Dang It, especially when the item is plot-important or has literally no business being there. Such an example is placing the Infinity+1 Sword by a common bush.

What's Behind the Chair can be a number of things, but items, paths, monsters, switches and Easter Eggs are common. How they react to being discovered, however, is less concrete: switches may turn something on or off, but they're just as likely to unleash the Bonus Level of Hell's boss ramped Up to Eleven, start a mini-game, or provide some snark on particularly Willing Suspension of Disbelief-breaking events.

Some games feature a set of reusable locations for housing secrets, such as garbage cans and dressers, with the frequency of their placement capable of being a dead giveaway.

If the area becomes inaccessable after some point, the treasure may be Lost Forever.

Though primarily a Video Game trope, it can occur in other media, usually invoked by The Klutz or someone Genre Savvy.

Do note that this trope is different from Notice This: you aren't likely to check the spot in question unless you're aware of the convention of hiding things Behind Chairs. (Notice This in the inverse, where the game gives a clear, well-defined meaning to specific things to draw you in.) For that matter, Always Check Behind the Chair is related but seperate from Pixel Hunt, which is the equivalent of this in point-and-click games.

Examples of Always Check Behind the Chair:

Video Games:
  • An Untitled Story: Very, very, very present. If you're aiming for 100% Completion, it's smart to check every corner big enough to hide a Heart Container. Averted once you find the crystal ball in SkyLands: it will give you vague hints for an ever-increasing cost.
  • A Vampyre Story: You have to check under your bed for an item in order to proceed. No one prompts you.
  • Blue Dragon: Not only do some objects contain items you can take, but many more hold “Nothing,” which is apparently not the same as actually having nothing inside. Finding enough Nothing will let you get items from a certain NPC. The “Six Treasures” Downloadable Content includes a pair of glasses that places markers on top of things that are hiding Nothing.
  • Breath of Fire 3: chests of drawers, on more than one occasion.
  • Chrono Cross has this all over the place.
  • Chrono Trigger: there are two occasions where you're required to check behind a tombstone.
  • Final Fantasy absolutely loves this trope.
    • Final Fantasy III dances between Always Check Behind the Chair and Notice This: the DS remake lets you zoom-in using L/R, with spots hiding objects giving off a yellow-gold sparkle.
    • Final Fantasy IV: Many areas have hidden goods or passageways, but Eblan Castle deserves special mention due to the sheer prevelance of this trope. In summary, there are: secret corridors on basically every floor; a Sutra hidden behind the throne; a pit that you have to edge your way across to reach a chest; and then, just to confuse you, a different pit that you'll only fall through if you try to cross it. That's not even getting into The Very Definitely Final Dungeon's obession with paths under paths under paths, all obscured by the top-view.
  • The Godfather: Missions in the Wii version (and possibly others) have money bags hidden with varying degrees of visibility. If you don't get them while you can, they're Lost Forever.
  • King's Quest IV: There's an island where you have to check behind a ship's detached front, which is lying in the sand. Rearward of the wreckage is a golden bridle that: 1) has no business being there; 2) is completely necessary to win the game. The island is only accessable at one point during play, and after leaving, you can't go back. Oh, and using “look” on the shipwreck only works when you're standing in exactly the right spot.
  • Mega Man Battle Network: multiple ports and chips are hidden in the over-world.
    • The fifth set of games (Team Protoman and Team Colonel) has bosses reappear on select tiles throughout the Net; as well, the password system hides its codes where you cannot see them due to the camera.
  • Mega Man Star Force mostly follows in the footsteps of Network in its application of this trope.
  • Pokémon: Standards of the series are patches of grass with a darker shade than others, trash cans, the centers of plateaus, dead-ends, and rocks. Thank Arceus for the Item Finder when they're anywhere else.
  • Seiklus: Though there's usually an eye-like marker along walls with hidden goodies, the haunted crypt notably doesn't for a couple places.
  • Super Metroid: until you find the X-Ray Scope, at least.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind loved this trope. Easily the best gauntlets in the whole game were only attainable by searching behind a few giant coffins. They were easy to miss if you weren't a compulsive klepto, as there's nothing of note by the coffins themselves.

Western Animation:
Needs More Examples, but No Launching Please.
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • March 30, 2010
    Generality
    Chrono Trigger has two occasions where you need to check behind a tombstone.
  • March 30, 2010
    Redesignated
    Added an entry for Chrono Trigger. Thanks!
  • March 30, 2010
    melloncollie
    The game for The Godfather. The missions (at least in the Wii version) have money bags hidden with varying degrees of visibility, if you don't pick them up they're Lost Forever.
  • March 30, 2010
    Redesignated
    Added. Thank you!
  • March 30, 2010
    TBTabby
    Super Metroid, right up until you find the X-Ray Scope.
  • March 31, 2010
    Edgukator
    It happened to me recently while (re)playing Dungeon Siege. Let me try and remember the point it happened.
  • March 31, 2010
    Irrisia
    Breath of Fire 3 likes to hide things in people's chests of drawers.
  • March 31, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    I have heard this referred to in multiple places around the internet as Pixel Bitching, which refers to the early days of point-and-click adventure games where you had to click some 4-square-pixel spot to find a crucial item. Bonus points if it had no reason to be in that spot, or if something bad happens when you "miss" and click a different spot.
  • April 1, 2010
    Redesignated
    I've seen that used around a lot of gaming sites, too. Opinions on whether or not the title should be changed from Always Check Behind the Chair to Pixel Bitching?
  • April 4, 2010
    Redesignated
    Does this look ready to launch, or should I wait for more examples?
  • April 7, 2010
    QuantumToast
    Blue Dragon: not only do some objects contain items you can take, but many more contain "Nothing", which is apparently not the same as not containing anything. Finding enough Nothing will let you get items from a certain NPC, and the "Six Treasures" Downloadable Content includes a pair of glasses that puts visible markers on objects that contain Nothing.
  • April 10, 2010
    highcastle
    Morrowind loved this trope. Easily the best gauntlets in the whole game were only attainable by searching behind a few giant coffins. They were easy to miss if you weren't a compulsive klepto, as there's nothing of note by the coffins themselves.
  • April 10, 2010
    Frank75
    Related to Pixel Hunt?
  • April 10, 2010
    Redesignated
    Oh, we already have a trope for Pixel Bitching. Thanks for the tip! I'll add that.
  • April 11, 2010
    Warlock
    How far off is this from Notice This or Conspicuously Light Patch?
  • April 11, 2010
    Redesignated
    There does seem to be a bit of overlap with Notice This right now. How about I modify the description to something like this:

    Always Check Behind The Chair is about inconspicuous locations--e.g.: the tile behind a chair; a floor with an odd, but not all too suspect crack; a hidden side-corridor the camera angle obscures or outright blocks; an unusual design on the wall that opens into a new path--hiding things, when you likely wouldn't expect them to even do anything when examined. (Granted, once you've played enough games where this happens every four seconds, it seems a lot more conspicuous than it is.) Even if you run across the same oddity multiple times, if you don't know to check there, you're not likely to.
  • April 22, 2010
    Randalf
    A Vampyre Story: You have to check under your bed for an item in order to proceed. No one prompts you.
  • April 22, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    In Kings Quest IV there's an island where you have to look behind the broken-off front of a boat that's lying in the sand. Behind the wreckage is a golden bridle which has absolutely no business being there and which is completely necessary to win the game. The island can only be accessed at one point during the game, and once you leave it you can't go back. Oh, and using "look" on the wreck only works when you're standing in exactly the right place.
  • April 25, 2010
    Taeraresh
    Chrono Cross has this all over the place.
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