Created By: MisterSix on August 12, 2009
Troped

ProgrammedForPain

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Hello! I'd quite like to launch this, so please don't jump in and take it...

Anyway, I was reading [[Unwinnable]] and it ocurred to me that there are two tropes being discussed there. The first is when the game becomes unwinnable because of a bug or a miscalculation in programming (eg. the game accidentally spawns the player behind a locked door, with no way out) and the second is when the programmers have intentionally programmed in something that will make the game unwinnable as a kind of 'trap'. For example, in King's Quest V it is possible to feed a vulture with an item that you need later in the game; this is not a bug - the game has a specific 'feeding' animation that it uses.

Cases where the game is unwinnable because of (apparent) programming or design neglect - an item that is vital to completing the game can be missed by accident, for example, or it being possible to spend all your money on knick-knacks so that you can't afford an important object - can probably stay in unwinnable.

So! We need a new name for the split topic. But I'm sure we can come up with something better than Programmed For Pain...

Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • August 12, 2009
    henke37
  • August 12, 2009
    Gammon
  • August 12, 2009
    castaghast
    I see what you're saying, but I don't quite see where the topic needs to be split. Maybe a subtrope, or a different trope for programming issues? Whether or not the bug arises from a logic flaw, a design flaw, or an execution issue, the game is still unwinnable.
  • August 12, 2009
    MisterSix
    Yeah, but there's a marked difference between The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy, which takes a perverse delight in leaving the player's game unwinnable, and Jet Set Willy, where the game just happens to bring dead players back to life over gaping black holes due to a bug.

    Mostly, I look at split tropes like this: if a difference exists - and in this case it does - would I be more interested in one bunch of examples than the other? In the case of Unwinnable, I didn't want to sift through examples of shoddy programming and lazy design just to get to the really twisted stuff.
  • August 12, 2009
    Ryusui
    I think this is splittable. There's cases where the game can't be won due to faulty programming, and there's cases where the game itself is purposely designed to lock the player out of victory.
  • August 12, 2009
    Taeraresh
    I second it being splitabble. There's a big difference between a game-breaking bug that eats the item you need to win, and something like the 'kulcad' scroll in enchanter (which you need to win the game, but you can use to bypass another puzzle, and probably will before you know better).
  • August 13, 2009
    Arivne
    @Mister Six: "I'd quite like to launch this, so please don't jump in and take it". The phrase you're looking for is No Launching Please. :)

    I agree that this is splittable.

    Video Games
    • Eye of the Beholder II has two of these.
      • If you enter a specific room, the entrance will close behind you, trapping you with no escape.
      • Another room has a dying priest holding down a pressure plate. To get the treasure in the room you must kill the priest, but if you do so the pressure plate releases and the door closes, again trapping you permanently.
  • August 13, 2009
    Dcoetzee
    I agree that this is splittable, but don't like the current title because it's too large in scope, covering everything unpleasant that game designers could do. I'll vote for Intentionally Unwinnable. The trope description could include some history about how at one time it was in vogue to include this sort of thing in games, and has since become anathema.
  • August 13, 2009
    DracMonster
    Or possibly Unwinnable As Designed (From Working As Designed used as a slur by computer programmers for a badly made but functional piece of code.)

    I kinda like The Programmer Is A Cheating Bastard, though...
  • August 13, 2009
    Taeraresh
    Maybe Unwinnable By Design and Unwinnable By Mistake or something like that?
  • August 13, 2009
    quedonX
  • August 13, 2009
    Nimbostratus
    Definitely splittable. Here's another potential name to throw in: Whoops Unwinnable.

    And since nobody has properly linked to it yet: Unwinnable. (use curly brackets instead of square ones for single wiki words)
  • August 13, 2009
    DracMonster
    I'm partial to Taeraresh's suggestions, they have a nice symmetry and pretty well encapsulate the concepts.
  • August 13, 2009
    Dcoetzee
    I'll third Taeraresh's suggestions - presumably all existing examples will fall into one of these and the existing page may become a supertrope/index.
  • August 13, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Another example:

    • The NES adaptation of Dirty Harry features a semi-Easter Egg where one room, virtually indistinguishable from any other room on the outside, has an entrance but no exit - instead the door vanishes as soon as you come in, leaving just "Ha Ha Ha" spraypainted on the wall.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=labw2dj501uhwvn0cres3iiv