Video games often require the player to collect one or more {{Plot Coupon}}s to proceed through the game's story. This trope is about when those Plot Coupons have a secondary function rather than just a MacGuffin to collect.

While it's required to advance the plot, the plot coupon that does something [[GameplayAndStoryIntegration has a gameplay function as well.]] For example, it might come with some new spells, abilities, or commands you can use. Or perhaps it doubles as a weapon--a variation common enough to have [[SwordOfPlotAdvancement its own separate trope]].

Not to be confused with:

* Plots where GottaCatchEmAll for potential party members or useful items is a goal for OneHundredPercentCompletion but not vital to the plot, as in Franchise/{{Pokemon}}, VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile, or VideoGame/{{Suikoden}}. Characters that make themselves useful aside from being one of the six mages needed to restore the seal on the gates of doom, or pieces of a DismantledMacGuffin that each provide a benefit along the way can count for this trope, however. The distinction is that they must be both vital to the advancement of the plot and have some use outside of that purpose.
* [[AbilityRequiredToProceed Items that you use to get past obstacles but serve no other purpose]]. There can be overlap here too, though: the EquipmentBasedProgression in the Franchise/LegendOfZelda games features many items that not only get you across a specific type of BrokenBridge, but also serve as {{Utility Weapon}}s or have MundaneUtility like speeding travel in the overworld or giving you an edge in certain minigames.

{{Subtrope}} to PlotCoupon, and SuperTrope to SwordOfPlotAdvancement (for coupons that are weapons or armor). Contrast the MacGuffin, which serves no purpose besides driving the plot.


[[folder: Action Adventure ]]

* ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}''
** ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaIISimonsQuest''. Four of Dracula's five body parts cause beneficial effects when equipped, like giving Simon a shield or making hidden clues visible. Dracula's Ring is the only one that does nothing other than help open your path to the final battle.
** ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight'' paid homage to ''Simon's Quest'' by bringing back the five body parts, now with each one (even the Ring this time) granting a +10 boost to different stats.
** ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow''. Soma's soul-collecting ability was worked into the plot in both games; it was actually central to several of ''Dawn'''s twists.
** Shanoa's glyph ability was also critical to the entire storyline of ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaOrderOfEcclesia.'' In fact, the almighty Dominus glyph can indeed be used in gameplay any time you wish. [[DeadlyUpgrade You may regret it, though.]]
* [[DummiedOut At one point in the development of]] ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'', [[WhatCouldHaveBeen the medallions you get from the sages upon clearing each dungeon]] would have been equippable as items and had some effect.
** Speaking of, the [[SwordofPlotAdvancement Master Sword]] is generally required for plot purposes in most of the games. It just happens to deal more damage than the starting sword as well.
** The same goes for the Bow of Light in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks''; it's significant to the plot in that it's crucial for removing Malladus from Zelda's body and is the entire reason Link goes to the Sand Temple, but it's also a very useful ranged weapon.
* In ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaTheForgottenSands'', the experience points system is explained as the Prince drawing the souls of defeated sand monsters into his amulet. This becomes a plot point when it is revealed that the Prince's brother also has the same ability, and is being driven mad by the amount of levelling he has done.
* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil'', specifically in Chris's campaign, Chris can find a flamethrower. This can be used to burn things...for a few minutes, before it must be placed into a locking mechanism to open a door.
* The ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilOutbreak'' series integrates TheVirus into the gameplay for the first time in the series. All of the players are infected, and the infection (represented by a %) ticks up to force the players to keep moving, and increases very fast if they are grievously wounded.
* Eight magical orbs in {{Silver}}. Ultimately used to destroy the ''BigBad'''s source of power but also work wonders (literal and very harmful wonders) on the ordinary enemies.


[[folder: Action Game ]]

* ''VideoGame/AstroBoyOmegaFactor'' integrates its stage select system into the plot, in the form of time travel. [[spoiler: The majority of the game is spent going from stage to stage, fixing all the disasters which happened in the first playthrough.]]
* In ''VideoGame/TonyHawksProSkater 2'', most levels have an objective for collecting a set of {{Plot Coupon}}s in the level. New York uses subway tokens. Beyond awarding the objective, collecting all the subway tokens also opens access to the subway on that level.


[[folder: Action Role Playing Game ]]

* In Part Two of ''VideoGame/TheBardsTaleTrilogy'', each of the seven parts of the Destiny Wand needed to defeat Lagoth Zanta grant their own little bonuses, such as giving buffs to the owner or using to cast certain spells.
* Halfway through ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'', you obtain the Lordvessel, which is required to [[spoiler:open the gateway to the Kiln of the First Flame to kill Lord Gwyn and succeed him by linking the fire]]. Before filling it with Lord Souls to accomplish that, you can use it to warp between bonfires- a skill that's very useful when you defeat the late-game bosses whose fights end with you trapped in their arena with only a bonfire for company.
* The Horadric Cube in ''VideoGame/DiabloII'' is needed to transmute several pieces of useless crap into a larger piece of useless crap just so you can get to the bosses of Acts II and III. However, you can continue to use it to transmute VendorTrash into better items that are both more useful and more valuable. It also doubles as a mini-BagOfHolding, taking up 2x2 space in inventory while having a 3x4 space for items.
* The DismantledMacGuffin in ''Nox'' actually converges into a fearsomely deadly weapon as you collect more pieces.
** More accurately it becomes a fearsomely deadly weapon for the warrior, and a kind-of-nice upgrade for the [[MagicKnight conjurer]]. If your playing the [[SquishyWizard wizard]] your never going to be doing melee attacks, which makes a melee weapon, no matter how nice, nearly worthless. Which [[FridgeLogic begs the question]] why your wizard spent at least 3 out of 10 acts in the story collecting the pieces necessary to construct a weapon he will never use, rather then spending that time actually fighting the BigBad.
* ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'': The secret reports make EVERYTHING plot relevant (except the fashion bonuses and the food.) Neku's ability to use multiple pins? Plot relevant. Super charged fusion attacks? Plot relevant. The dual screen fighting system? PLOT RELEVANT.


[[folder: First Person Shooter ]]

* ''VideoGame/BioShock''
** The plasmids in ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'' that serve as the game's "spells" are also the major reason the city of Rapture was transformed into a nightmarish hellhole in the first place - overuse of them, even the non-combat ones, slowly turned the population insane.
** Lot 192, the antidote for Jack's [[spoiler:mental conditioning]] in [[VideoGame/BioShock1 the first game]] also makes Jack's plasmids unstable, causing them to change randomly until a second dosage of the antidote is obtained.
* ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'' does this in part with the [[spoiler: Eridian Artifacts]] being both plot-critical concepts, and the most common way to bolster your Action Skills. [[spoiler: And include a bunch of rare/interesting weapons to boot.]]
* The Soul Cube in ''VideoGame/{{Doom}} 3'' and the Artifact in ''VideoGame/{{Doom}} 3'' Resurrection of Evil are integral to the plot of both games. They are also ''very'' useful in gameplay. The Soul Cube [[OneHitKill instantly kills]] any non-boss enemy and transfers all of its LifeEnergy to the player, healing him/her. The Artifact, once fully upgraded, can [[BulletTime slow down time]], [[QuadDamage increase the power of your weapons]], and [[InvincibilityPowerUp make the player temporarily invulnerable]].
* In ''VideoGame/TimeShift'', the time suit that gives you your time-bending powers is also central to the plot, as a similar time suit was used by the BigBad to alter history and create the dystopian future you spend the game fighting through.


[[folder: [=MMORPGs=] ]]

* In ''VideoGame/BillyVsSNAKEMAN'', the most obvious example is the Witching Hour, which centers around your ability to [[NewGamePlus loop]], but there are numerous subtler examples, even without resorting to [[AllThereInTheManual reading the manual]]. WordOfGod claims that ''every last'' gameplay detail means something in the story.
* In Flash-based MMO ''[[Website/GaiaOnline zOMG!]]'', all of your powers come from special Rings. These Rings are the only things that can harm [[EverythingTryingToKillYou The Animated]]. They can be powered up by powerful emotions, can only be leveled in a special room, and can be made more powerful by [[SocializationBonus spending time with other people]]. ''ALL OF THIS BECOMES PLOT RELEVANT''.
* In ''VideoGame/GuildWars'' factions, a few of the missions are spent collecting some powerful artifacts (Urn of St. Viktor, Spear of Archemorus) to defeat the BigBad. The artifacts also provide some useful combat effects (Damage absorption, and powerful damage, respectively).
* Many quests in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' involve bringing items back to a questgiver NPC who asked you for them, whether to prove you killed the target or because it's something valuable to the NPC. Probably more than 90 percent of these are nothing but PlotCoupons; they can only be picked up if you have the quest and they can't be used for anything or even sold to a vendor. However, a few here and there can be [[PlotCouponThatDoesSomething used as equippable items before returning them to the questgiver]], or even instead of returning them if you want the item more than whatever the quest reward is. They are generally below-average quality for their level because they aren't intended to be kept, but some have unique abilities or effects that fit the storyline of the quest and are hard to get anywhere else.
** The popularity of some of those items has not gone unnoticed, some quests were changed to allow you to keep them anyway, and the next expansion not only expands the list, but will even add a ''toybox'' (a seperate, account-wide collection much like mounts and pets) just for storing them and many other fun items.
** There's also some [[InfinityPlusOneSword legendary weapons]] and their [[InfinityMinusOneSword incomplete versions]], namely the Shadowmourne/Shadow Edge and Fangs of the Father, which tied to their respective raids' storyline, but also serve as best choice of weapon for any class that can wield it.


[[folder: Puzzle Game ]]

* The mysterious black and white cubes found in ''VideoGame/CubeEscape'' become more and more important throughout the series. [[spoiler: By the time the game ''The Mill'' comes around, it's revealed that these cubes are formed from memories harvested from dead bodies with still-functioning brains. White cubes contain good memories, but black ones form from trauma, which also have the side-effect of reanimating the dead person as a black Corrupted soul. The cubes were harvested to "feed" to the eponymous Rusty Lake.]]


[[folder: Real Time Strategy ]]

* In ''VideoGame/StarcraftII'', you spend about half the missions gathering pieces of a [[ThePrecursors Xel'naga]] artifact. In the final mission, the artifact is assembled, and requires you to defend it while it charges up to [[spoiler:cure Kerrigan]]. In the meantime, you can use it every three and a half minutes to fry every Zerg in a half-mile radius. Once it finally charges up to do that thing in the spoiler tags, it fries all the zerg again, just for kicks.


[[folder: Roguelike Game ]]

* The path to ''[[VideoGame/AncientDomainsOfMystery ADOM]]'''s ending involves collecting all the [[ArtifactOfDoom Orbs Of Chaos]] and inserting them into a keyhole on the final boss's front door. You can actually ''equip'' these orbs for stat boosts. Although [[EvilIsNotAToy it's not a good idea]] to use their special powers.


[[folder: Role Playing Game ]]

* In ''VideoGame/The7thSaga'', each of the 7 runes you're trying to collect has a special effect when used in combat; most boost one of your stats, and one heals you a modest amount. They can be used an infinite number of times and are crucial for making it through this NintendoHard game, [[spoiler: to the point that the game can become unwinnable about two-thirds of the way through when the plot takes them away from you and suddenly teleports you back in time and gives you much stronger enemies to deal with.]] It's not a kind game.
** On the bright side, [[spoiler: you get them back at the end... in order to [[StableTimeLoop use them on the Big Bad in exactly the same way they were originally used to seal his powers in the first place.]] Turns out the Runes were the sealed powers of this game's version of Satan, and HE was the one who sent you to find them in the first place so that he could have his powers back. So the powers you've been using to keep yourself alive [[FridgeHorror were the residual strength of the embodiment of evil.]] Kind of disturbing, isn't it?]]
* In the ''[[VideoGame/ExaPico Ar tonelico]]'' RPG series, music is both a technological power source and the source of the game's magic spells ("songs".) Further, the process used to learn Songs (a form of virtual reality psychotherapy) is also an important story element.
* In an early cutscene in ''VideoGame/BaldursGateII'', [[BigBad Irenicus]] and Imoen are arrested by the Cowled Wizards for using arcane magic, which is illegal in the city the game takes place in. Noticeably, this law is ''not'' restricted to that cutscene, and you will actually come into conflict with the Wizards if you use arcane magic in the city. It is mentioned in certain dialogues that it ''is'' possible to freely use arcane magic if one has a special license, which you can buy.
** [[spoiler:Unless you have the ''Unfinished Business'' mod, in which case one of your rewards for completing Minsc's personal quest is being issued a "free magic use" license free of charge.]]
** Also, a sidequest has you [[spoiler:trying to defeat a MagnificentBastard dragon that tricked you into slaying a group of knights under the pretense of the incident "tarnishing your honor." Sure enough, until the dragon is killed, if you're a Cleric you lose your special abilities, and if you're a Paladin you're considered Fallen.]]
* In ''VideoGame/BatenKaitos'', the Broken Earth Sphere and Ocean Mirror both heal 1000 HP, with the Ocean Mirror also serving as a defense card. The Sword of the Heavens, on the other hand, is a good offensive and defensive weapon for Kalas. [[spoiler:Both the Ocean Mirror and Sword of the Heavens become worse after being broken as part of the plot.]]
* The first ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireI'' game features an item called the [=EKey=], which you get early and is one of seven {{CosmicKeystone}}s keeping the power of Tyr at bay. The [=EKey=] is also fairly unique in that you can use it repeatedly during battle to create an earthquake that [[AreaOfEffect harms all enemies for 30 damage]], useful since your WhiteMagicianGirl has little offensive capabilities at that early point in the game.
** It's not just the [=EKey=] - the Dark Key and Light Key turn the overworld clock to nighttime and daytime, respectively.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'''s save points play an almost identical role to those in ''Xenogears''. [[spoiler:That is, mind control.]]
** The titular Chrono Cross is an element usable in battle to recharge other party members' elements for a second use.
* The ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' add-on ''Legacy'' has Hawke's Key, which is just that, a key to Corypheus' prison that can only be used by Hawke. However, it is also a leveled customizable weapon specific to Hawke's class and combat specialization.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'',
** Everyone in Castle Trodain has a curse cast upon them... except for the hero, who is, for some unknown reason, immune to it. There is a "Curse" status ailment in the game, which temporarily disables whoever it's inflicted upon. The hero is immune to this particular ailment.
** The hero has a pet mouse named Munchie, which spends the entire game in his pocket and can eat various types of cheese during combat to produce magical effects, as well as passing through conveniently placed mouseholes to retrieve small items a few times. After completing the game and starting the BonusDungeon content, Munchie is [[spoiler:revealed to be the hero's grandfather, a shapeshifting dragon, who finally explains the hero's mysterious backstory and indirectly the curse immunity mentioned above.]]
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'':
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'':
*** The [[RingOfPower Moon-And-Star ring]] given to you by [[spoiler:Azura in recognition of your status as the Nerevarine]] also mildly boosts your Personality attribute and Speechcraft skill. It's a good item to wear when you need to persuade a NPC.
*** The tools of Kagrenac (Wraithguard, Keening, and Sunder) are a gauntlet, dagger, and hammer respectively, needed to [[spoiler: tap into and/or sever the enchantments on the [[CosmicKeystone Heart of Lorkhan]]]]. However, each is also one of the best pieces of equipment in it's class available in the game. Once you complete the main quest, you get to keep them.
*** In the Morag Tong questline, you'll be tasked with [[CollectionSidequest recovering all]] of the "Threads of the Webspinner," special enchanted items of clothing and jewelry which each increase one skill in particular. It's recommended that if you find one you like, save it and turn it in at the end.
*** The [[CorruptChurch Tribunal Temple]] questline includes several quests that task you with locating and retrieving a lost relic of the Temple. These relics take the form of powerful enchanted weapons and articles of clothing, which you lose once you turn them into the quest giver. In particular, the Robe of St. Roris gives you a constant effect HealingFactor, making it a borderline GameBreaker in the unpatched version of the game.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'':
*** You are the [[IAmWho Dragonborn]]. What does this mean in terms of gameplay? You can [[YourSoulIsMine eat the souls of the dragons you slay]] and [[InstantExpert instantly understand the words of the]] [[MakeMeWannaShout Thu'um]] you may have picked up on your travels; a process that takes normal people not given such divinely gifted powers years to achieve.
*** What really makes the Dragon Shouts fit the trope are two in particular, [[spoiler: Dragonrend and Ohdaviing]], which end up being not only required to advance the main plot but ''extremely useful'' during ordinary gameplay.
*** In the ''Dragonborn'' DLC, you need all three words of the Bend Will shout to dominate a dragon so you can ride him to confront Miraak. Bend Will lets you turn your foes against each other and, if you have the full strength version, lets you use dragons to fast travel to locations you haven't visited yet.
*** In the Thieves' Guild quest line, the Skeleton Key is a major plot item. In your hands, it is an unbreakable lockpick. Players have been known to put off completing the quest line indefinitely just to keep such a handy item around.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'':
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'', the shattered fragments of the CosmicKeystone crystals are the justification for the Job system.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'', likewise, with Magicite.
*** The first half of the game revolves around Magicite, and Terra's abilities. First it's her natural magic ability, and then it's her Trance form, which turns her into her Esper self.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', the Huge Materia, not only can you get a Summon from one, but they can be used to create Master Materias which take up only a single materia slot but grant the abilities of ''all'' the materia of the related type.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'', [=GFs=] are the reason that [[spoiler:none of the main party remembers having lived in an orphanage together]].
*** The Draw ability is also integrated: Selphie heals an unconscious Zell in a cutscene by pulling a cure spell out of his body.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'': during the first bulk of the game, TheDragon's goal is to master the Eidolons, the game's SummonMagic. [[spoiler: For the last half of the game, he tries to master Trance, the game's {{Limit Break}}s]]
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'': The Aeons.
*** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' also has a much more subtle one. One of the recording spheres you find of Braska's pilgrimage shows him stopping to touch a Save Point as he's talking to Jecht and Auron.
*** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2'': Dress Spheres.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'': Nethicite and the Espers.
*** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIIRevenantWings'': [[SummonMagic Yarhi]].
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXV'': The Ring of the Lucii and the Royal Arms. A few, but not all, of these double as a SwordOfPlotAdvancement as some of the Royal Tombs are located in optional dungeons and aren't necessary to advance the plot. The blessings of the [[SummonMagic Astrals]] arguably count as well.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' and its sequel: Judges.
* ''VideoGame/{{Geneforge}}'' has a twist with the "canisters" you're using, as [[HeartContainer Heart Containers]] and [[UpgradeArtifact Upgrade Artifacts]] affect you as well as the [=NPCs=] you're fighting. [[ParabolicPowerCurve Too many]], and you start picking fights and talking like a psychopath. Way too many, and you may get a DownerEnding. And heaven help you if [[spoiler:you use the Geneforge]]...
* In ''VideoGame/GoldenSun: The Lost Age'' for the GBA, the heroes need to gather the pieces of a trident in order to harm Poseidon, but the trident can be used in any battle to do damage to a selected enemy.
** Most of the PlotCoupons in any of the games are items that grant a Psynergy that has both uses in battle and for puzzle solving.
*** This grows incredibly silly as increasing numbers of these powers are just things you can already do, but applied to a different obstacle (the number of powers that use the cartoon glove signifying Generic Telekinesis is ridiculous in and of itself).
* The divine artifacts in ''[[VideoGame/{{Gothic}} Gothic 3]]''. Finding all five is necessary to complete the game and they are pretty much the best armor and jewelry items in the game.
* ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'' has the Spirit Monk amulet as a PlotCoupon. As you collect more pieces, you are able to utilize gems that enhance your abilities. [[spoiler: By the time Sun Li steals it from you, it turns out to be a MagicFeather - you're now powerful enough to use the gems without the amulet]].
* Some PlotCoupons in VideoGame/LegendOfLegaia are actually accessories you can equip. One such item gives you infinite AP.
* In ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork 6'', [[spoiler:Wily]]'s EvilPlan is for the purpose of extracting a SealedEvilInACan Cyber Beast from [=MegaMan=]. Said Beast is basically [=MegaMan=]'s SuperMode.
* With each of the Seven Needles that Lucas pulls in ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'', his PK Love attack gets upgraded, as the result of the magic from [[spoiler:the Dark Dragon that sleeps beneath the earth]] awakening the ability within him. It is possible that the same thing is happening with [[EnigmaticMinion the Masked Man]], as he reaches three of the Needles no matter what you do, and can use all levels of PK Love.
* ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'' gives us the shards of the Sword of Gith, each of which gives you a different bonus while you possess them and get reforged into a really powerful sword, as well as opening the gate to the Fuge Plane, by the time Mask of the Betrayer rolls around.
** The original campaign also has powers granted by the Ritual of Purification, which was designed to destroy the BigBad. They are actual battle abilities and can be used outside the FinalBoss fight, though most aren't very useful due to their CripplingOverspecialization.
* In ''VideoGame/PaperMario64'' and ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'', your Star Powers are tied directly to the {{Plot Coupon}}s -- Star Spirits or Crystal Stars, respectively. When you collect a coupon, you receive one additional unit in your Star Power meter, and learn a new ability (which might heal you, buff your stats, or attack your enemies).
* In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'', some skills are CastFromHitPoints, requiring a set percentage determined by your maximum HP. You can't use them if you don't have enough, of course. [[spoiler:The EleventhHourSuperpower used against Nyx in the final battle costs ''all'' of the main character's hit points, as he's using his soul to seal her. He dies in the ending.]]
* Games from the ''VideoGame/PhantasyStar'' series are riddled with these. In P-Star 2, there is an item called a "Mogic Cap" which appears to be useless as it is found in a labyrinth which also contains a "Magic Cap", which in turn allows the player to communicate with the cats that are running around the labyrinth, but its uselessness for talking to the cats is a red herring, for the plot is stuck until the "Mogic Cap" is worn into a village on the Ice Planet Dezo, and serves as a translation device with the people.
** In ''End of the Millenium'', the Eclipse Torch is a holy artifact the party needs to get past a forest of carnivorous trees, and which they have to retrieve after it's stolen. Once they do, though, the Eclipse Torch is in the party inventory and can be used in battle to produce the same purifying holy flame used to incinerate the trees in the cutscene.
* Played with in ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment''. The player is forced to seek out a small, bronze sphere to get information from a stubborn old man who collects cadavers. The item seems completely useless, and yet the servants of the opposition are seen immediately killing the old man. The player doesn't need to get the MacGuffin at all, not even to get the GoldenEnding, but if he goes back for it, it lets him talk the Big Bad to death and makes achieving the GoldenEnding even easier. [[spoiler: The protagonist is immortal but forgets himself; he gave the MacGuffin to the old man in one of his past incarnations, claiming it granted immortality, so that the old man would keep it safe when the protagonist's corpse turned up. Sure enough, the current incarnation of the protagonist doesn't know that, and the sphere contains the protagonist's memories of his TrueName. Learning his True Name also grants the single-biggest gift of Experience Points ever seen in a D&D setting: ''Two million''.]] So it seems to be a PlotCoupon which anchors a BatmanGambit, only to turn out to bestow EleventhHourSuperpower.
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}''
** The Gym Badges have three uses. They actually gave a slight stat boost (don't ask us how) to your {{mons}} in the first three generations, they act as "licenses" for [=HM=] field moves (though in some games, like [[VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite those of the fifth generation]], this isn't the case), and they force obedience from all {{mons}} below a certain level, above which they will disobey you if they are traded. In ''VideoGame/PokemonSunAndMoon'', there aren't any badges- instead you earn Z-Crystals for clearing trials (and at other points in the game); the level limit is instead enforced based on how many grand trials (major boss trainers) you defeat. They can be equipped to Pokémon to give them access to a powerful FinishingMove.
** Also, in both [[VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl Generation IV]] and [[VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite Generation V]], the level and quality of items available in shops is dependent on how many badges a player has (basically the same progression as the old games, but neatly [[AvertedTrope averting]] the odd issues with some stores selling much more advanced items than others).
** The introduction of innate abilities in ''VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire''/''Emerald''. The three "mascot" OlympusMons (Groudon, Kyogre and Rayquaza, respectively) in these games have their abilities be pivotal to the story: awakening the first two are the goals of the two villainous teams, while the last one is needed to calm the ensuing battle. The first two have abilities that act as though Sunny Day / Rain Dance respectively is always in effect. This applies out of battle as well, as you need to stop them once they are awakened. Rayquaza's Air Lock prevents weather conditions from taking effect, and is shown as the only way to nullify the world-ending powers of the former.
** Every Pokemon game has useless Key Items that serve no purpose outside of clearing a specific obstacle needed to advance. The most notable exception being the Pokeflute, a plot item used to wake up a giant sleeping Pokemon that's blocking the road so you can get to the next town. What many players never realize is that the item can also be used in battle to heal the Sleep status condition, completely obsoleting the one use Awakening item.
* ''[[Franchise/SaGaRPG SaGa]]'' series (aka ''Final Fantasy Legend''):
** The first major quest in ''[[VideoGame/MakaiToshiSaGa The Final Fantasy Legend]]'' is to gather a legendary sword, shield, and suit of armor to restore a statue. These items turn out to be extremely powerful this early in the game, but the player only gets to use them for as long as it takes to return to town where the statue is.
** The MAGI in ''[[VideoGame/SaGa2 Final Fantasy Legend II]]'' is used to upgrade your characters, sometimes even granting bonus attacks to the limited 8-slot system, but are also central to the plot as they have a bad habit of turning evil people into pseudo-Gods.
* The magic system in ''VideoGame/{{Suikoden}}'' is based around rune fragments, the "true runes" that these fragments come from play an important part in the plots of each game in the series.
** In the GaidenGame ''VideoGame/SuikodenTierkreis'', the characters get abilities by touching magical artifacts (mostly books) called Chronicles. Since they ''also'' [[spoiler:allow you to [[RewritingReality change the True Chronicle]]]], a lot of the plot involves racing the antagonists to try to get to them first.
* Any game of the ''VideoGame/TalesSeries'' where a portion of the game revolves around collecting the Summon spirits. Phantasia, Eternia, Symphonia, for starters. ''Especially'' Eternia, where the entire game was about the Summons, and they underpinned the ''entire'' magic system, not just one character's spells.
** In '' VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny'', Swordians are pretty important to the development (second only to the MacGuffin proper, the Eye of Atamoni). While they aren't actually necessary to combat, they enable magic spells and magical attacks.
*** Swordians also level up and have equipment, basically making them additional (albeit immobile) party members.
** Also, '' VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'''s Exspheres follow the "special variant" variety with the Cruxis Crystal.
** The Jewel of Lorelei in ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' can be equipped as an accessory for Luke, giving him a large amount of HP and TP recovery over time. Unfortunately, you must give it up in order to get the SwordOfPlotAdvancement.
* The [=ARMs=] in the ''WildArms'' series inevitably have something to do with the story, and the fact that one of the main characters can use them (or use particular ones, or in a particular way).
** Another example from ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs 3}}'' would be the Dark Mask and the Tear Drop, amongst others. While it looks like just any other plot coupons, Virginia's unique item using ability can turn said items into usable piece of items. For example Tear Drop, containing the essence of Filgaia itself, heals any character it is used on.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' has the [[SaveGameLimits Save Points]] being integrated into the story. It turns out that the save points were created by the bad guys & they've been using them to track the main characters' progress. At one point, you even get to visit the factory where they're made!
** Its SpiritualSuccessor ''[[VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}} Xenoblade Chronicles]]'' has the Monado, the SwordOfPlotAdvancement that gives the wielder visions of the future. As well as being important to the plot, it also occasionally warns the player of attacks that will incapacitate or severely injure a character . The player can take steps to weaken or even stop the attack from happening, or straight-up warn the victim-to-be to use a move to counter it.


[[folder: Simulation Game ]]

* The side missions, the reputation system, and the WideOpenSandbox in ''VideoGame/{{Freelancer}}'' are a direct result of Trent being a freelance pilot, going from boron trader to LSF operative, [[spoiler:to outlaw exiled in Bretonia, to freedom fighter in Kusari, to defender of the Sirius system with the Order]].


[[folder: Stealth Based Game ]]

* The ''Franchise/MetalGear'' series always had UnusableEnemyEquipment, {{handwave}}d or justified a different way every game. In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'' guns are "ID Locked", and this time, the plot is centered around a struggle for control of this ID system. The local arms dealer Drebin can help for a fee by... er... [[BreakingTheFourthWall "unlocking"]] guns for you.


[[folder: Turn Based Strategy ]]

* ''VideoGame/MakaiKingdom''. Writing wishes in The Sacred Tome is not only what the whole story's about (Zetta using it to recover his netherworld) but is also a central part of the game as it's used to create new facilities, random dungeons, reincarnate characters and unlock bonus content.