Apocalypse buttons are items that can destroy the world, lead to a tyrant ruling,kill a main character, or have some other darstardly event to happen. Often, the person looking for it will only be a pawn to the Big Bad
, he wil be promised life, prospering in the villain's kingdom or in the case of a particularly evil individual, a quick death. It is worth noting that the only use of the apocalypse button does not have to be malevolent, it could, for example give someone otherwise unattainable power, which the villain would use for his dastardly purposes.
At the start of the film/videogame/book/whatever else, the antagonist seldom ever has the apocalypse button, if they do, it will require charging, the protagonist will need to get to it and stop the antagonist from using it.
If one of the Big Bad
's minions gets to it, it could result in the bad guy wins
It often needs to be protected by main characters to prevent the big bad
from finding, or the main characters will have to race the big bad to the artifact.
Compare Lost Superweapon
and Artifact of Doom
- The lifestone from The Riftwar Cycle is kept in Sethanon. It could wipe out all life on the planet, and bring back the Valheru, who would use the planet as a base from whitch to attack other planets. Fortunately, both groups of heroes get there before Murmandamus's army, and protect the garrison from him.
- The Index in the Halo series.
- The Catalyst from Mass Effect 3. Shepard must find it in order to power a weapon called The Crucible. This weapon would have the power to wipe out the Reapers. They try to stop him from reaching it.
- The Ren and Stimpy episode "Space Madness" has a literal red "history eraser" button that Stimpy just can't help his temptation to push.