Created By: Phediuk on August 15, 2011

Tutorial Failure

A video game tutorial that is either misleads or withholds vital information from the player.

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This trope is for those tutorials which do a completely inadequate job of what they're supposed to do--the kind that leave the player frustrated that they can't perform that seemingly-simple move, or wrap their heads around a gameplay system which seems straightforward. Either this tutorial contains outright false information or fails to mention some vital aspect of gameplay. Perhaps it's because of "Blind Idiot" Translation; perhaps it's because the game swamps the player with mounds of text right out of the gate and expects them to remember everything immediately; or, maybe, the tutorial tries to simplify a complex game mechanic into a "rule of thumb" which ends up being more of a hindrance than a help. Whatever the case, this tutorial just doesn't work. Think of this as a tutorial-induced Guide Dang It!.


-An infamous example would have to be Sabin's Blitzes from Final Fantasy VI. You're supposed to input the command while an otherwise innocuous arrow is pointing at Sabin, but most new players will try instead to input while Sabin is flashing, which is already way too late. The game will never try to correct your timing even after dozens of failed attempts, so naturally, many players just think they haven't inputted the button combination fast enough.

-In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, the game tells you to "draw little circles at the edge of a screen" to perform a roll. In reality, the technique is more like wiggling at the edge of the screen--drawing circles will just make Link flail around with his sword.

-Pokemon Red and Blue and all of its associated media insist that ghost types are the best choices against psychic types, when they're actually in many ways the worst. Not only are they weak to psychic attacks due to their secondary poison type, and not only are there no strong ghost attacks, but psychic-types are outright immune to ghost attacks.

I think this has potential.

Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • August 16, 2011
    Bumping this.
  • August 16, 2011
    Continuing the pokemon example, in Black and White, ground type moves are very effective against electric pokemon, and everyone says that the best way to defeat Elesa, the electric type gym leader, is to get a good ground type. So you do. And then it turns out that two out of three of her pokemon are actually Electric/Flying type, and guess what? Ground type attacks don't work on flying enemies.
  • August 16, 2011
    Be sure to have a link to Tutorial Level in the write up somewhere.
  • August 16, 2011
    I suggest this should be YMMV. I never once had a problem with Sabin's blitzes, and his on-screen directions were perfectly accurate.

    For Pokemon Ghost types, this was obviously fixed since Generation II (Psychic was actually normal against Ghost all along, it was just Gastly's being half-Poison which made them vulnerable).

    As for Pokemon Black And White, I think you're stretching things. Skyla's gym, for example, you're told that Flying types are vulnerable to Ice, Rock, and Electric. Hope you weren't planning on using Ice though, because two of her three are Water+Flying which normalizes that weak point.

    Electric+Flying is one of the awesome combos though, but while Flying types are naturally immune to Ground based attacks there are certain moves that can override this, such as "Gravity" or "Smack Down". For me, it wasn't the Emolga my team had problems with, it was the Zebstrika.
  • August 16, 2011
    Wasn't the whole ghost thing from Red/Blue a glitch though? If so, it shouldn't really belong here.
  • August 16, 2011
    ^ It was partially a glitch, yes. Ghost was intended to be supereffective against Psychic, but in Gen 1 the type chart actually made it completely ineffective (not that it mattered, as its only damaging moves were one Fixed Damage Attack and the rather weak "Lick"). This was Hand Waved in Yellow where an NPC's reference to it was removed, but truly fixed starting in Gen 2.

    Also, in Pokemon Black And White, when you're told that Ground is supereffective against Electric (despite Elesa's two fliers), don't forget Ground is also completely immune to Electric, which is a bonus against Elesa using her signature Volt Switch all the time.
  • August 16, 2011
  • August 16, 2011
    ^^^^ No, the blitz thing is just a bad example. The tutorial being WRONG is objective.

    Related to Manual Misprint.
  • August 17, 2011
    • In the instruction manual for [The Legend of Zelda], the Pols Voice enemy is said to "hate loud noise". Naturally, the player would assume that their weakness would be the flute, then, but that's not the case at all. The flute does absolutely nothing to the Pols Voice. What the manual is actually referring to is the built-in microphone found in the Famicom, the Japanese version of the NES, the functionality of which was removed entirely for the American release.
  • August 17, 2011
    • Almost all "examples" given by official Dungeons And Dragons sources are wrong.
      • One noticeable failure is in a web article that preports to explain some of the harder rules. The article (correctly) mentions there is no such thing as being proficient in a splash weapon (any class can use them equally), then gives an example of splash weapon use with a character taking a non-profiency penalty.
      • In Tome Of Battle the Ruby Knight Vindicator class requires an entrant to worship Wee Jas. The example RKV worships St. Cuthbert instead (there is an official suggestion in the writeup to drop the deity requirement, but it's ultimately a suggestion).
      • Player's Handbook II recommends Duskblades use Twilight armor (which reduces an armor's possibility of causing a spell to fail). Duskblades ignore ASF entirely.
  • August 18, 2011
    Another Final Fantasy example:
    • Final Fantasy VII gives the player some infamously poor advice in its very first boss fight, owing to the game's poor translation: When the boss goes into a defensive stance, the game will tell you to "Attack while its tail is up! It's going to counterattack with its laser!" This, of course, is exactly the opposite of what you're supposed to do, because otherwise you'll get a faceful of laser.