[[caption-width-right:230: [[CombatPragmatist En garde,]] [[ThisIsForEmphasisBitch bitch]]!]]

->''"The Assyrians were the first people to start using iron weapons instead of bronze which, to put into a modern perspective, is sort of like showing up for a knife fight with the Death Star. Using iron made the Assyrians so near-invincible that, really, the other guys might as well have been swinging around bananas."''
-->-- ''Website/{{Cracked}}'' [[http://www.cracked.com/article_16972_5-most-terrifying-civilizations-in-history-world.html article]].

An often controversial element of gameplay that unexpectedly trumps all others. Depending upon who you ask, it may or may not be considered cheating. A Game-Breaker is a legitimate element of the game used in an unintended way. The MetaGame ends up revolving around who can get the Game-Breaker (or use it on the other) first, resulting in GameplayDerailment.

A Game-Breaker can boost a pre-existing strategy or character and make it overwhelmingly powerful against things it would normally be balanced against -- [[ScissorsCutsRock Scissors crushing Rock]], [[ElementalRockPaperScissors so to speak]]. One fan term for it is "cheesing".

For example, in a game where the player's capabilities are meant to be limited by their access to currency, an easy trick that [[MoneyGrinding reaps a lot of money for little effort]] can become a game breaker. Or a particular gun having extreme firepower, high accuracy, ''and'' a high ammo capacity; or a FightingGame character having a fast, unblockable move with very high [[ActionInitiative priority]] (the ally equivalent to the SNKBoss). In games with a choice of playable characters, one may be much easier than the others and allow for [[SequenceBreaking skipping parts of levels]] that other characters would have to wade through slowly.

Another example is the potentially convoluted win/make-then-sell exploit, which is common in games with [[ItemCrafting customizable items]]. A borderline example may be the trick of saving your game before a [[RandomlyDrops random item]] appears and reloading until you get the particular item you want, also known as SaveScumming.

Patches will often seek to rectify this. However, this often leads to an [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks outcry among players]] who favored the original tactic. Worse, sometimes the {{nerf}}ing of one Game-Breaker results in [[NiceJobBreakingItHero another Game-Breaker being discovered as a result]], prompting the developers to consider whether they should apply a patch for the second one, or undo the previous patch so the two Game Breakers will balance each other out as they used to.

Game-Breakers are often controversial and subjective. Rarely do people actually agree on what is and is not game-breaking. Heated debates ([[FlameWar or worse]]) over Game-Breakers spread like wildfire on the Internet, or even around the house. It's obvious that the extremes of the {{Munchkin}} or the {{Scrub}} are wrong. However, there are techniques whose power is hard or even impossible to call.

Banning glitches and "unintentional" moves is usually a difficult thing to do. Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether something is a glitch or not, sometimes a glitch happens so often that you'd have to go out of your way to have it ''not'' happen, and other times it can be argued that a glitch adds ''[[GoodBadBugs more]]'' depth to a game rather than less.

The upshot is that you should probably take most of the below examples of multiplayer games with a [[strike:grain]] kilo of salt.

Unlike video games, many {{Tabletop RPG}}s (except most modern ones) have a built-in check in the form of the GameMaster, who can override published rules for the sake of everyone's enjoyment; thus, with a good GameMaster, no Game-Breaker is possible (unless the game is '' [=SenZar=])''. However, this naturally carries the corollary that, with a ''bad'' GameMaster, the game comes pre-broken. Just what is and isn't game-breaking is, again, controversial, and many [=GMs=] have to deal with a limited player base; [[{{Scrub}} too heavy]] or [[StopHavingFunGuys too light]] a hand may alienate players and destroy the GameMaster's plan.

Compare DiscOneNuke and SequenceBreaking. A LethalJokeCharacter may be one of these, as will the OneManParty if the game's balance is easily skewed. {{Lightning Bruiser}}s are also common candidates. Some BoringButPractical moves/tactics may border on this. ThatOneAttack, when available un-nerfed to players, usually becomes this, as will any particularly powerful MinMaxersDelight. Contrast TheComputerIsACheatingBastard, as well as SkillGateCharacters that appear this way to newbies but can be taken apart by experts. DifficultButAwesome characters can also be this when they're so overwhelmingly powerful when mastered that there's no way to beat a skilled user. Often overlaps with TierInducedScrappy.

A power-up that would be a game-breaker, except that it only appears when the game is essentially over, is PurposelyOverpowered -- note that most examples of these tend to be single-player affairs, where there are no other opponents to become offended over it. For stats that, once boosted to a high enough degree, make the character into a Game-Breaker, see OneStatToRuleThemAll.

Note that this is not another word for 'overpowered'. To be a true game breaker, the ability or character in question must be so hideously unbalanced that it makes people just quit the game in disgust. It's so powerful that there are only two kinds of people: the ones that use it, and the ones that lose to it. That's why people quit in disgust: it destroys all semblance of choice, and quite possibly all semblance of fun. Your available tactics are now limited to one--the one that works. And what if you don't ''like'' that tactic? What if it's a gun in a game where you prefer swordplay? What if it involves AttackAttackAttack when you're more of a defensive turtler? What if it requires you to play the MightyGlacier but you're a FragileSpeedster player? Well, then, it sucks to be you. You can play the game the way you want to, and lose... or you can follow the crowd, and maybe win. Small wonder some players TakeAThirdOption and RageQuit instead.

Not to be confused with GameBreakingBug, for when you can literally "break" the game by crashing the underlying software or leaving your saved game in an {{Unwinnable}} state, or GameChanger. The narrative equivalent of this trope is StoryBreakerPower.


* Any game with a finite number of states and which does not make use of randomness may be [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solved_game mathematically solved]], resulting in a guaranteed win or draw ("[[PerfectPlayAI perfect play]]") for whomever has the correct starting conditions. "Perfect play" does not mean "good play", such as top-level human players might execute. It means having god-like knowledge of every state of the game and choosing the absolute best move at each point. Thus, there really is only one way to play these games "perfectly," except when choices are pretty much equivalent. Once a strategy for perfect play is discovered, the game can be considered completely broken, unless played by naive players. The most well-known example of this is Tic-Tac-Toe, which any skilled player can play perfectly to a draw. Connect Four and Checkers have also been solved, though in these cases, the correct strategy was found by computers and is far too complex for most humans to memorize.
** Connect Four is a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_player_win first player win]] for perfect play. To two sufficiently advanced programs playing the game, the game comes down to who wins the coin flip for first turn.
** Checkers may be the most popular [[http://www.sciencemag.org/content/317/5844/1518.abstract solved game]]. The game has 500 quintillion possible states. No human can comprehend all that. From a sufficiently advanced computer's point of view, Checkers is as trivial as Tic-Tac-Toe. Perfect play results in a draw. Because humans lack this perspective, we cannot play Checkers perfectly and don't grow bored of it like we do Tic-Tac-Toe.
** Chess and Go, [[SmartPeoplePlayChess the quintessential games for geniuses]], are both theoretically solvable for a sufficiently advanced computer, as both games have a finite board and no random elements -- though a computer powerful enough to perform the necessary calculations would be many orders of magnitude better than anything available with our current level of technology (the high branching factor in Go makes it intractable to analyze with the methods used for Chess, since you rapidly get too many options to explore via lookahead in any reasonable timeframe, with no obvious way of pruning 'bad' choices quickly, and even chess has more possible games than there are atoms in the universe). For a hypothetical intelligence far beyond our capacities, Chess and Go are as trivial as Tic-Tac-Toe, but no human creation as of 2016 - not even Deep Blue - is even close to having such a level of computational power. For some perspective, there are more [[http://www.chess.com/blog/Billy_Junior/number-of-possible-chess-games?_domain=old_blog_host&_parent=old_frontend_blog_view possible chess games]] than we estimate there are [[http://www.universetoday.com/36302/atoms-in-the-universe/ atoms in the observable universe]].
** On a double-meta level, the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategy-stealing_argument strategy-stealing argument]], which can prove for many games that perfect play isn't a win for player 2, without anyone having to figure out what perfect play actually constitutes. It works on any game where the players start in the same scenario, and getting an extra turn can never harm you. Notably, this does ''not'' include Chess or Go, as there are scenarios in Chess where [[MortonsFork every possible move weakens your position, but passing isn't allowed]], and Go traditionally gives player 2 some extra points to compensate for the known advantage player 1 has.
*** Additionally, as Go's metagame has evolved, the points given to player 2 has risen over time, as players have found going first to be more and more advantageous.
** Tic-Tac-Toe, Connect 4, and Chess also help introduce some ideas about why a game might be easier or harder to solve. Consider Tic-Tac-Toe. At first, it seems like the first player has 9 options for where to place their first mark, but that isn't the case. The play space is symmetrical. Each corner square is functionally identical, as is each side square. Thus, there are really only three options: side, corner, or center. Suppose first player chooses the center square. Now second player only has two options: corner or side. The number of meaningful choices in the game is surprisingly small, and it can be broken with a brute force search through those possibilities with a sheet of scrap paper.
*** Connect 4 has a symmetrical seven columns the first player can place their piece in, so really they have only four choices for first turn: center, one away from center, one away from the outside edge, and outer edge. If they drop into the center, the second player has the same number of choices (4), but if they drop into any of the other columns, then there is now a difference between all of the columns and second player has 7 choices, and so on. It takes a computer to use brute force to go through that many possible moves.
*** The chessboard is not symmetrical, and there is a difference between moving the king's bishop's pawn one square and the queen's bishop's pawn one square. White has 8 distinct pawns that can move to one of two squares and two knights that also could move to two different squares each, for a total of 20 possible initial moves. Black has the same options, for another 20 distinct responses. That's four hundred possible states for the game after both players have had their first turn: after both players have had two turns there are 197,742 possible states, and after three, 121,000,000. While the number of valid moves a player could make in chess is always in flux, they never are equivalent, so a computer trying to solve chess via a brute force search encounters a staggeringly large number of possible games. The lower bound of possible games is usually given as the Shannon Number (a number that estimates the lowest possible right answer for "How many games of chess are possible?") This number is 10^120 - a googol followed by twenty more zeros. For comparison, it is estimated that there are 10^78-10^83 atoms in the ''entire observable universe''. That's why no computer as of 2016 can solve chess via a brute force search. The numbers for Go are even more staggering.
** So far, we've looked at board games. In theory, however, there is no reason that a hypothetical computer with enough power couldn't solve a competitive video game or develop a perfect speed run or max score run if the game has no random factor. Time and distance and options in video games by definition are finite and discrete.
*** Consider Pac-Man. Every ghost in Pac-Man has a simple script that tells it where to go, which famously gave each ghost its personality. The speed of Pac-Man and every ghost, as well as the duration of each power-up and appearance of each bonus item, was determined from the start of the game. Thus, a hypothetical computer could solve Pac-Man for whatever a human determines is perfect play, such as obtaining the maximum possible score before the KillScreen or else getting to the kill screen as quickly as possible.
*** Remarkably, six humans have indeed managed a perfect score in Pac-Man, so a fair definition for a perfect game of Pac-Man might be, "Get the maximum possible score in the shortest amount of time, as measured in frames."

* GameBreaker/{{Action}}
** ''[[GameBreaker/AssassinsCreed Assassin's Creed]]''
** ''GameBreaker/{{Castlevania}}''
* GameBreaker/AdventureGame
* GameBreaker/CardBattleGame
** ''GameBreaker/HearthstoneHeroesOfWarcraft''
** ''GameBreaker/YuGiOhDuelLinks''
* GameBreaker/FightingGames
** ''GameBreaker/SonicBattle''
** ''GameBreaker/SuperSmashBros''
* GameBreaker/FirstPersonShooter
** ''GameBreaker/{{Borderlands}}''
** ''GameBreaker/{{Borderlands 2}}''
** ''GameBreaker/BorderlandsThePreSequel''
** ''GameBreaker/CallOfDuty''
** ''GameBreaker/DeusEx''
** ''GameBreaker/{{Doom}}''
** ''GameBreaker/TeamFortress2''
* GameBreaker/MassivelyMultiplayerOnlineGames
** ''GameBreaker/DungeonFighterOnline''
** ''GameBreaker/HeroesOfTheStorm''
** ''GameBreaker/LeagueOfLegends''
** ''GameBreaker/WorldOfWarcraft''
* GameBreaker/{{Platform}}
** ''GameBreaker/{{Kirby}}''
** ''GameBreaker/MegaMan''
*** ''GameBreaker/MegaManX''
*** ''GameBreaker/MegaManLegends''
*** ''GameBreaker/MegaManBattleNetwork''
*** ''GameBreaker/MegaManStarForce''
** ''GameBreaker/SonicTheHedgehog''
** ''GameBreaker/SuperMarioBros''[[note]]Includes games in the franchise outside of the platforming genre[[/note]]
* GameBreaker/{{Puzzle}}
* GameBreaker/{{Racing}}
* GameBreaker/RealTimeStrategy
** ''GameBreaker/DawnOfWar''
** ''GameBreaker/HeartsOfIron''
** ''GameBreaker/TotalWar''
* GameBreaker/RhythmGames
* GameBreaker/RolePlaying
** ''GameBreaker/ArcanumOfSteamworksAndMagickObscura''
** ''GameBreaker/BaldursGate''
** ''GameBreaker/BravelyDefault''
** ''GameBreaker/BreathOfFire''
** ''GameBreaker/DarkSouls''
** ''GameBreaker/DragonAge''
** ''GameBreaker/TheElderScrolls''
** ''GameBreaker/EtrianOdyssey''
** ''GameBreaker/{{Fallout}}''
** ''GameBreaker/FinalFantasy''
*** ''GameBreaker/FinalFantasyBraveExvius''
** ''GameBreaker/KingdomHearts''
** ''GameBreaker/{{Magicka}}''
** ''GameBreaker/MassEffect''
** ''Pokémon''
*** [[GameBreaker/{{Pokemon}} In-game]]
*** [[GameBreaker/{{Smogon}} Competitive]]
** ''GameBreaker/ShinMegamiTensei''[[note]]Includes the ''Persona'' spin-off series.[[/note]]
** ''GameBreaker/{{Suikoden}}''
** ''GameBreaker/TalesSeries''
* GameBreaker/ShootEmUps
* GameBreaker/{{Simulation}}
** ''[[GameBreaker/{{AceCombat}} Ace Combat]]''
** ''[[GameBreaker/{{X}} X-Universe]]''
* GameBreaker/{{Sports}}
* Stealth Based Game
** ''GameBreaker/MetalGear''
* GameBreaker/SurvivalHorror
* GameBreaker/TabletopGames
** ''GameBreaker/CardfightVanguard''
** GameBreaker/{{Gamebooks}}
** ''GameBreaker/MagicTheGathering''
** ''GameBreaker/MyLittlePonyCollectibleCardGame''
** GameBreaker/TabletopRPG
** ''GameBreaker/{{Warhammer 40000}}''
** ''GameBreaker/YuGiOhCardGame''
** ''GameBreaker/YuGiOhDuelLinks''
* GameBreaker/ThirdPersonShooter
** ''GameBreaker/KidIcarusUprising''
* GameBreaker/TowerDefense
** ''GameBreaker/PlantsVsZombies''
* GameBreaker/TurnBasedStrategy
** ''{{GameBreaker/Civilization}}''
** ''{{GameBreaker/Disgaea}}''
** ''GameBreaker/FinalFantasyTacticsA2''
** ''GameBreaker/FireEmblem''
*** ''GameBreaker/FireEmblemAwakening''
*** ''GameBreaker/FireEmblemFates''
*** ''GameBreaker/FireEmblemHeroes''
** ''GameBreaker/NintendoWars''
** ''GameBreaker/ProjectXZone''
** ''GameBreaker/SuperRobotWars''
** ''{{GameBreaker/XCOM}}''
* GameBreaker/WideOpenSandbox
** ''GameBreaker/BatmanArkhamSeries''
** ''GameBreaker/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild''
** ''GameBreaker/{{Terraria}}''
* GameBreaker/GameShow
* GameBreaker/{{Other}}
** ''GameBreaker/TheBindingOfIsaac''
** ''GameBreaker/DynastyWarriors''