[[quoteright:350:[[WebAnimation/HomestarRunner http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/flask.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:"And there's no precious graphics to help, either."]]

->''"Dammit! So let's recap: there are four directions that I can move in and none of them work. What the fuck am I supposed to do?"''
-->-- '''[[http://www.sydlexia.com/mysteryhouse.htm SydLexia]]''', reviewing ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystery_House Mystery House]]''

An annoying aspect of oldschool TextParser-based {{Adventure Game}}s, especially InteractiveFiction, was a limited ability to recognize command inputs. Additionally, the error messages would frequently lack clarification as to what you were ''supposed'' to do, often making you want to [[ComputerEqualsMonitor put your fist through the screen]].

For example, let's say the command to look at a monster was "look monster". If you typed in "look at monster", the game might say something like "I don't know how to do that" or "I don't see an 'at' here". This got better over time, but never completely disappeared before command-line interfaces went out of style. Still, the text parser remained a staff favorite, as it allowed them to anticipate what the player might type in a given situation. Should the player's input be totally off-the-wall (such as 'pick nose'), [[DevelopersForesight they would create a suitably off-the-wall response]].

The name of this trope is a reference to ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner''. In the Strong Bad E-Mail [[http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail94.html video games]], Strong Bad imagines himself as a character in a text-based adventure game, and imagines the problem above:

-->'''Strong Bad''': And you'd be all like "get ye flask", and it'd say "[[TropeNamers You can't get ye flask]]", and you'd just have to sit there and imagine ''why on Earth'' you can't get ye flask! Because the game's certainly not going to tell you.

InteractiveFiction aficionados claim that this problem was rarely all that bad except in the earliest and worst examples of the genre, and they get really cheesed off that [[NeverLiveItDown it's the one thing about the format that people still remember]]. Of course, the fact that it ''is'' the one thing they remember is telling... but then, the company most widely known for their TextParser adventure games (Sierra, of ''VideoGame/KingsQuest'' and ''VideoGame/SpaceQuest'' fame) is also the one with one of the worst parsers ever, that didn't improve much in the six years they used it before switching to a [[PointAndClickGame point-and-click]] mouse interface.

The modern InteractiveFiction hobbyist community includes this trope among its list of things to avoid. Called 'Guess the Verb' bugs, such errors are universally accepted as a sign of sloppy programming. It's now accepted as a standard that every object with any kind of use must have at least ''one'' 'archaic' or 'unusual' descriptor -- 'stopper' in reference to a bathtub plug, for example. Of course, nowadays, we have context-sensitive adventure making programs like Inform7 programs that can make this process as simple as typing ''"Understand "Plug" or "stopper" or "thingy" as the bathplug'', making the whole item-creation process take seconds instead of days or weeks.

Another option is to give a list of all the possible words. One small game, used to demonstrate features of the C programming language, listed its 6 verbs and 12 nouns in the help screen. Chris Crawford's ''Storytron'' engine has you choose each variable part of the sentence from a drop-down list, and then adds or replaces the next part of the sentence as appropriate.

Examples of games with actual ''good'' parsers include ''VideoGame/{{The Hobbit|1982}}'' and anything by Creator/{{Infocom}} or Creator/{{Legend|Entertainment}}. Ironically, that includes some of the ''oldest'' adventure games; many of the newer ones tried to reinvent the parser wheel. The TADS (Text Adventure Development System) runtime is particularly good at such reinvention -- not only can you actually ''get'' ye flask, TADS allows to choose between ''multiple'' ye flasks, and will ask which one thou actually ''wantest''.

Sometimes called "Guess The Verb" or "Guess The Syntax". The "ye" comes from YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe. The equivalent frustration in non-parser PointAndClick games is the PixelHunt. Contrast DevelopersForesight, if you are working with an exceptionally good text parser.

Contrast UnexpectedlyRealisticGameplay, where the solution is something you ''shouldn't'' be able to do in a game, but can.



[[folder: Adventure Game ]]

* ''Deathmaze 5000'', for the UsefulNotes/TRS80 and UsefulNotes/AppleII, contained ([[http://www.platypuscomix.net/applepalooza/deathmaze.html among other things]]) a pit in the first level containing an item you needed to complete the game. Once you stepped on it you were stuck in one place, and your only clue was "[[Literature/TheBible To everything there is a season.]]" In case you didn't pick up on the clue, it would shout "To everything, [[Music/TheByrds TURN TURN TURN]]" after a few minutes. Typing in "Turn" did nothing. Physically turning by hitting the move keys did nothing. None of the items you got on that level were "turnable". The only way to know what to do was if you bought the Deathmaze 5000 Hint Sheet from the software company in the early 80's (and whoever you are, you don't have it).
** The item in the pit was a calculator that displayed 317. If you cleaned it, it displayed 317.2. Typing "HELP" at this point gives the cryptic instructions "Invert & telephone." The player had to think of turning an old-fashioned square-digit calculator display of 317.2 upside-down, which would resemble "2LIE", and then look at the buttons or dial on a telephone to turn this into "2543". This leads to the actual solution, [[http://www.swobi.at/asylum/dm_hints.html shown on the hint sheet:]] turn right 2 times, then left five times, then right four times, then left three times.
** At one point in the game, you have to ''fart''. Yeah. You just type "fart." There are no hints that this would do anything useful, naturally. (Although if you'd experimented with typing "fart" earlier, you'd have been rewarded with being propelled down the hallway on a jet of your own exhaust.)
* 8-bit adventure ''Heroes of Karn'' required you to extinguish some smouldering ashes with the water you were carrying. None of PUT WATER ON, DROP WATER ON, POUR WATER ON, USE WATER WITH, QUENCH, DOUSE, EXTINGUISH, COOL, DAMPEN, MOISTEN, SOAK, DRENCH, FLOOD, WET or IMMERSE ASHES would work. Figuring out you had to "WATER ASHES" was by far the hardest part of that game.
* Parodied in ''VideoGame/HugosHouseOfHorrors'':
-->->open bolt
-->Please say "undo bolt".
* In many adventure games, the player was safe with the generic verb "{{use|Item}}" applied to any object or situation. Some games, however, would not make that leap. Especially frustrating when you're given an item and you're not sure what it is and ''how'' you're supposed to use it, such as being given a crank in ''VideoGame/LauraBow 1'' which you're not sure what to do with. "How do you want to use the crank, Laura?" ''Aaaaarrrrgghhhh!!!''
* {{Averted|Trope}} in ''VideoGame/DetectiveGrimoire'''s sequel, where there is a mix-and-match question-asking function displayed in one of the trailers.
* As pointed out by Syd Lexia, in the very first Creator/{{Sierra}} game, ''Mystery House'', the game will accept PRESS BUTTON, but not PUSH BUTTON.
* ''[[VideoGame/PeasantsQuest Peasant's Quest]]'' has many funny responses to incorrect (as well as correct) commands.
* Pretty much the entire point of ''VideoGame/PickUpThePhoneBoothAndAisle'' is trying different verbs to see what ending you get.
* Creator/{{Sierra}}, creator of ''VideoGame/KingsQuest'' and ''VideoGame/SpaceQuest'', never got beyond " " phrases in almost a decade of parser design. Their most infamous example, however, is the end of ''VideoGame/LeisureSuitLarry 2'', where the player has to make a bomb using an airsick bag as the wick. The problem is that "bag" is not considered a synonym for "airsick bag" - despite there not being a different bag in a five-mile radius. As a result, many walkthroughs in magazines and on the internet ''falsely'' claim that the input here has to be a full sentence (including the word "the" several times).
** This one isn't actually Al Lowe's (creator/programmer) fault. There was an unrelated bug that needed fixing, so Lowe, pressed for time, had someone else fix it. He assured him everything was fine, and the code seemed to check out. The only problem? The programmer changed "bag" from a noun to a verb. Lowe never noticed, as the policy for testing was to use the longest sentence possible, which bypassed the error. More info can be found on [[http://www.allowe.com/Larry/cluescheats.htm#Larry2 Lowe's site]].
** In ''King's Quest'', most locked doors can be unlocked by a variety of phrases, such as "open door with key", "put key in key hole", "use key to open door", etc. Except for the magical door in ''VideoGame/KingsQuestIIRomancingTheThrone'', which only accepted "unlock door".
** As part of its copy protection, ''VideoGame/KingsQuestIIIToHeirIsHuman'' included several spells the player needed to cast. Rather than an easily-copied phrase, each spell consisted of several steps requiring advance preparation. Unfortunately, several of those steps required a specific verb or the entire process would fail.
*** From the same game, a key item is located on top of a wardrobe. Unfortunately, while "look on wardrobe" is accepted, it only gives the player a description of the wardrobe itself. This can cause the player to then walk off assuming that they have already tried looking on top of the wardrobe. "Look ABOVE wardrobe" is the command actually needed.
** In the first ''VideoGame/SpaceQuest'' game you have to INSERT the keycard. No synonymous or rephrasing of that unusual and unnecessarily technical term will be accepted.
** Parodied at one point in ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryII'', where the "proper" command is "[[UseItem use lamp]]", but the game will not only accept "put down lamp" and "drop lamp", but gives you funny messages if you do (having you verbally abuse the lamp for the former and break up with it for the latter).
** ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryI'' allowed one to type "Pick Nose" (mentioned in the description), which would allow a thief to train his lock picking skills (and get a message saying "Success! Your nose is now opened!). Having too low a skill would cause one to [[TheManyDeathsOfYou jam the lockpick up one's nose into their brain and die]]. The really funny bit is that later games (and remakes) kept this EasterEgg (sans the dying part) even when the series abandoned the text parser. The game would then play the "door unlocking" sound, and simply display "success", meaning that players who had not played the original and clicked on themselves with the lockpicks by accident were rather confused as to what just happened.
* Among the many frustrating puzzles in ''VideoGame/StarshipTitanic'' is obtaining one of Titania's (the ship's AI) broken eyes. It's one of four similar-looking globes (the others are lightbulbs). You can't just reach out and grab it, even though you can poke it and the game will tell you what it is. You have to summon the Bellbot, hold your cursor over the correct one and type: "Get the broken eye". "Get the eye", "Hand me the eye", "Give me Titania's eye", or "Give the eye to me" will not work. Worse, "Get the broken bulb" also works.
* On a game based on the Spanish comic books "ComicBook/ZipiYZape", apparently you had to [[ItMakesSenseInContext drop a nail so that your father sits on it and wounds himself with it and drops a patch]]. The thing is, people tried lots of variations of "drop nail" or "put nail near father" without any progress. It took SEVENTEEN years until someone with programming knowledge hacked the game files and found out that the exact code had to be "throw nail under tree". As if nails had to be thrown, or anything could be put under trees. Let's all play nail throw! You can find the whole thing explained, if you can read Spanish, in [[http://lineadura.wordpress.com/2006/03/01/derribando-el-mito-%c2%bfquien-mato-a-la-aventura-conversacional here]].
* Referenced in ''VideoGame/HeroinesQuest'' (a point-and-click game) where trying to take certain flasks from the herbalist's shop tells you that you can't get ye flask.


[[folder: Interactive Fiction ]]

* Creator/ScottAdams' 1978 ''VideoGame/{{Adventureland}}'' required the player to enter the unintuitive UNLIGHT LAMP in order to prevent a lamp from using up its fuel, and would not recognise the verb EXTINGUISH (and certainly not the phrases PUT OUT or TURN OFF).
* WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd provides the following example of a flawed parser interface in his attempt to play ''The Count'' on the UsefulNotes/VIC20:
-->"Okay, so I went north? What'd that do?"\\

[[folder: >go east ]]

[[folder: OK. What shall I do now? ]]

[[folder: >go east again ]]

[[folder: Use 1 or 2 words only! ]]
"Oh, okay, I'll give you two words!"\\

[[folder: >fuck you ]]

[[folder: Don't know how to "FUCK" something. ]]

** And this was after he sooner found a way to eat his pillow than he did find a way out of the room he was in.
** The game ''Asylum'' knew those words... use them once and you get a warning, use them again and it boots you from the game!
* ''Bureaucracy'' uses this as a game mechanic: you get penalized for inputting an incorrect command, by an increase in "blood pressure". If blood pressure becomes dangerously high, your character dies.
* The otherwise excellent ''VideoGame/{{Curses}}'' by Graham Nelson had a section where you had to cram a voice-operated robot mouse into a mouse hole and then give it instructions - only the standard commanding language explained in the instructions ("mouse, go north") didn't work. Trying every verb on every object randomly might bring you to the correct solution: you have to address the hole, not the mouse ("hole, go north"). It also freaked out completely if you just gave it the following simple command:

[[folder: >dance ]]

[[folder: (with yourself) ]]

[[folder: Yourself does not wish to dance with you. ]]

* The ''Literature/{{Fahrenheit 451}}'' text adventure was a nasty example. [[TheManyDeathsOfYou You could be killed for something as simple as crossing the street at the wrong times of day]], [[LuckBasedMission there were several times you had to fight off a Hound or Fireman...and the result was based on if the computer felt charitable]], and you advanced the plot contact members of the [[LaResistance Underground]] using literary quotations as pass-phrases. However, the parser system was pretty craptastic, and if you so much as left out a punctuation mark, then you lost your chance to use the phrase, and had to leave the building and come back to try again. Worse, it had plenty of GuessTheVerb moments as "Talk to man" worked sometimes, while others you had to use "Ask Man" with no indication as to what. Top it all off with a DownerEnding with a side order of FridgeLogic if you managed to put up with the game's quirks long enough to reach a conclusion.
* Satirized in ''Guess the Verb'', an IF game containing several scenarios, each revolving around an uncommon verb.
* In the ''VideoGame/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' text adventure, you're actually ''expected'' to input an incorrect command at one point, which has an effect later in the game.
** If you never input a senseless command, the game will eventually take a certain correct command (which you need to complete the game) and use that as the deadly insult. You get kudos for timing it right and saying the actual quote ([[spoiler:"I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle"]]).
** One PC magazine described this kind of thing as "toying with various ways of saying PUT BABEL FISH UP ZAPHOD'S JACKSIE".
** Also in ''The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'', there is a cup of "tea". If you type GET TEA you are told that you can't do that. After a tremendous amount of frustration, you'll finally figure out to type GET CUP. That's, of course, because it's ''not'' tea, but an "Advanced Tea Substitute", which the game abbreviates to ATS (hence, GET ATS also works). As a running joke in the series, it is "almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea". You also start the game with "no tea" ''listed'' in your inventory. (When you finally do pick up the cup of real tea, instead of saying "Tea: taken", the game says "No tea: dropped". This becomes important later, because [[spoiler: in order to be let into Marvin's room, you have to prove how philosophically deep you are by carrying tea and no tea at the same time]].)
** There's also a puzzle early in the game, on the Vogon ship, where you have to [[spoiler:remember a particular word from the Vogon poetry and then type it in while in the airlock]]. Catch is, you need to use quotation marks. And [[UnwinnableByMistake not all of the ports of the game supported them...]]
* The ''[[VideoGame/TheSpellcastingSeries Spellcasting 101]]'' series was both an example of and aversion of this trope. On the one hand, you had to use specific verbs for many situations , but all of the verbs in the game (as well as your entire inventory) is displayed in a menu on the left side of the screen, allowing the entire game to be played with the mouse. (Picking up items required clicking on a picture field.)
* Infocom's ''Shogun'', based on the novel by JamesClavell, involves the protagonist in trying to communicate with the Japanese by searching for a common language. However, you can't actually input lines in any of the foreign languages you know... and trying to type anything like "Say 'where am I' in Spanish" crashed the parser.
* ''VideoGame/{{Zork}}'' games suffered from this to some extent, but they ''did'' also have some rather amusing responses to bizarre lines the player typed:
-->''It is dark in here. You may be eaten by a grue.\\
"Hello, grue."\\
It is a known fact that only schizophrenics talk to grues.'' \\
''"Eat self"\\
Autocannibalism is not the answer.''\\
''"Eat grue"\\
I doubt the grue lurking in the dark would agree with you.''\\
Very good. Now you can go to the second grade.''
** All things considered, the ''VideoGame/{{Zork}}'' parser is pretty forgiving. It allowed for articles and for multipart commands ("pick up the box and put it on the table") and had a pretty big vocabulary.
* The foulest, evilest, most likely-to-drive-the-player-mad game was by far ''Murder in the Museum'' found on the ''BigBlueDisk''. It deliberately invoked this trope and required players to guess the NOUNS. What was described as "a leg bone" could only be obtained by typing "Get FEMUR", a "small gun" was "DERRINGER" and on, and on. There were no hints as to what you were actually supposed to call an object to pick it up, the text parser was more pedantic than Sierra's, and if you weren't fast with the pencil the game would actually delete the text of the piece of dissolving spy paper from the screen, thereby causing you to lose a critical and random code which would make the game unwinnable. Not that it was possible to figure out what was in the space probe and thereby even progress with the game.
* The original 'ADVENT', also known as ''VideoGame/ColossalCave'', had something that looked like a snappy comeback, but was actually a question to answer:
--> [[/folder]]

[[folder: > kill dragon ]]
With what? Your bare hands?
** To kill the dragon, you actually have to [[RhetoricalQuestionBlunder answer that question]] [[BluntYes with "yes"]].
--->Congratulations, you have killed the dragon with your bare hands! (Unbelievable, isn't it?)
* The EdutainmentGame ''Voices of Spoon River'' several times explicitly tells the player to "place" something on something else... but the verb "place" isn't implemented. It's not too hard to figure out that you have to "put" instead, but it's still weird.
* ''Ad Verbum'' makes an art of this--for instance, one room is described entirely in words beginning with S, and will only accept commands beginning with S (of note: the only exit is to the '''north'''). On the plus side, the parser's willing to accept a large number of words that wouldn't appear in a normal game.
* "The Six Foot Tall Man Eating Chicken" has a pretty big one. There is a cork. There is a bucket with a hole in it. Putting the two together? "Plug" doesn't work. "Use" doesn't work...[[spoiler: Solution is PUT. Which is never mentioned.]]
* Infocom's ''VideoGame/{{Enchanter}}'' at one point places an essential scroll (essential as in "the game cannot be successfully completed without it") inside a mouse hole. Retrieving the scroll is complicated in that "get scroll" doesn't work, and neither does "get all from hole," or any permutation thereof. The only command that will work is "reach into hole," which wouldn't have been so aggravating if "reach" was used anywhere else in the game.
* This sort of problem, among others, is heavily parodied in the Adrift games featuring Clueless Bob Newbie, text adventure "author" and legend in his own mind.
* Apple II adventure game [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mask_of_the_Sun Mask of the Sun]] featured a battle against a skeleton which could only be defeated by using a magic amulet picked up earlier in the game. Unfortunately, the only phrase which would allow you to successfully battle the skeleton was the non-intuitive "FIGHT AMULET". Computer game developer Dan Spitzley described the anguish this generated within his family on IGN's [[https://web.archive.org/web/20051230085426/http://rpgvaultarchive.ign.com/archive/19990822.shtml RPG Vault]] in 1999.
* One puzzle in the UsefulNotes/ZXSpectrum game "Danger! Adventurer at Work!" is to [[Franchise/{{Frankenstein}} animate a monster using electricity]]. The only commands which will do this are 'ATTACH ELECTRODES' followed by 'THROW SWITCH'. Reasonable alternatives such as 'CONNECT WIRES' or 'TURN ON POWER' don't work.


[[folder: MMORP Gs ]]

* Parodied in the screenshots of [[http://paragonwiki.com/wiki/April_Fools%27_Day#2009 this]] ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' (AprilFoolsDay) announcement.
* ''VideoGame/{{Everquest}}'' tends to suffer from this trope. When talking to {{NPC}}s you will find [certain words] in brackets, indicating they have more to say on the subject; you need to type those words into the chat log in order to continue down that line of conversation. [However, there is a catch] "What, however there is a catch?" Sometimes it's not quite as simple as just typing the words again, and you need to put it in the form of a question; most commonly by adding ''what'' to the words in brackets with blatant disregard for syntax.
** And sometimes, the developers made it obvious they were just being mean. For example trying to ask Bootstrutter about "jboots" earns a response something like "What nonsense is this about jboots? Speak to me of Journeyman's Boots!"
** Somewhat related to this trope: you needed to activate the chat text field to talk to [=NPCs=], otherwise, pressing letters on the keyboard would result in activating hotkeys for game commands. Standard fare, sure, but then you take into account that the default key for "Attack" was 'a' and it was possible to attack friendly [=NPCs=]. Forgetting to press Enter before typing could be lethal as you'd get three letters into "What" before the NPC flattened you for what seemed like no reason.
* In one storyline mission in ''VideoGame/ForumWarz'' you have to complete a text adventure game and tell the character who gave you the mission how you did it. In the mission ending conversation, you tell him you have to enter the command "push button", not "press button"... but while playing the text adventure itself, you can complete that section with the command "use button".
* There is a part in ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'' known as the Leaflet Quest that is a ShoutOut to the ''VideoGame/{{Zork}}'' games. Since it's not too large, a ''lot'' of detail was put into putting smart-aleck responses to random commands not facilitated by the usual {{Infocom}} queue. For example:
** An incorrect "throw" command yields: "Your request to throw something, presumably at something else, made no sense to me. Perhaps you're trying to throw an item you don't have, or throw an item at a target that doesn't exist, or perhaps those objects simply aren't intended to interact in that way. For more information on the proper throwing of objects, send your name and address to "Throwing: A Guide For Beginners", Pueblo, Colorado, 80019."
** Trying to go up when you can't yields: "Up? Isn't this maze annoying enough for you with just the four directions? I suppose next you'll want to go north-by-north-east."
** It does have some of its own Ye Flask moments, though. Typing "enter house" makes you go inside the house, but "leave house" or "exit house" doesn't work; you have to "(go) west" to get back outside. This can be especially confusing for text-quest newbies, because the house is right next to the starting point, so they may get stuck inside the house before figuring out that "go [direction]" commands exist.
* To this day, LPMUD still can't parse ''look '' without admonishing the player to "Look AT or IN something."
** Apparently even some DikuMUDS still hold to this convention. Even though ''examine '' can be abbreviated to ''x '', ''look'' won't be accepted without a preposition.
** Creator/{{Infocom}} and Legend games likewise do not accept "look " or "use " on grounds that they aren't meaningful sentences. Nitpicky, nitpicky.


[[folder: Role Playing Games ]]

* Oddly enough, this was a reason the answer puzzles were so reviled in ''VideoGame/TalesOfRebirth'', despite coming out in 2004 when such problems should have been long fixed. Instead of having a list of choices to input, one had to write out their answer to the puzzle... And it was very fussy about the specific wordings it would accept, taking almost no synonyms. No other ''Franchise/TalesSeries'' game uses this system, instead offering several dialogue options. Several of these puzzles were dropped in the remake, and this may have contributed to the game [[NoExportForYou not being translated]].


[[folder: Survival Horror ]]

* ''[[VideoGame/OperatorsSide LifeLine]]'' on the [=PS2=] plays similarly to a text adventure, albeit one controlled by the player's voice than with a keyboard. Aside from the [[FakeDifficulty joys of iffy voice recognition]] causing much frustration and the genre standard Guess the Noun portions, there are several instances in which very specific phrases must be used to get the proper effect. [[CollectionSidequest One chip]] is particularly difficult to acquire, merely for the fact that said chip was located behind a bag of some sort, and telling Rio to "check behind bag" didn't work for some reason.

!!Non-video game examples:


[[folder: Film ]]

* Creator/{{Phelous}} points out that the website in Fear Dot Com seems to run on this sort of interface.
* ''Film/IRobot'' shows Detective Spooner speaking with Dr. Lanning's hologram several times, and is frequently frustrated at the rather shallow pool of questions that it has been programmed to answer.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Parodied in [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TancpHm4f4A an episode]] of the ''Series/LimmysShow'' sketch "Adventure Call" (part adventure game, part premium-rate phone-in game show), when a contestant encounters a troll. He attempts both "Get troll" and "Put troll in {{bag|OfHolding}}" to no avail, before attempting "Get troll" again, learning that Falconhoof doesn't understand how to "get" the troll. But then...
-->'''Caller:''' What is a troll?
-->'''Falconhoof:''' A troll is a creature. Remember, you have a spear!
-->'''Caller:''' Get creature.
-->'''Falconhoof:''' ''({{beat}})'' [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere Game over. Game over, you have been killed!]]


[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* One would *think* this would always be averted given you have the ability to talk to a real live person and explain what you are attempting, but it still happens. This is often due to the PC having an idea and the GM either completely baffled despite several attempts to explain it, or understanding it wrong (which can lead to hysterical and/or catastrophic results).


[[folder: Web Animation ]]

* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'': In addition to the {{Trope Namer|s}} example, this became a running joke, appearing in ''VideoGame/ThyDungeonman'' ([[LoadBearingBoss as the dungeon caves in on you]]), and appearing as a point-garnering command in ''Thy Dungeonman 2''. In ''Thy Dungeonman 3'', getting ye flask becomes the object of the game. And ''VideoGame/StrongBadsCoolGameForAttractivePeople'' features the "ye flask" again, and an extended rant about people insensitively leaving "ye flasks" out without letting people get them.
** ''Thy Dungeonman 2'' contains two minor examples of this, where to reach two particular rooms you must go "roughly westish" and "eastward" as opposed to the normal directions. However, the game will explicitly state that "west" and "east" won't work for those spots.


[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* This (along with other early AdventureGame tropes, especially their tendency to be NintendoHard) is played with in ''Webcomic/DinosaurComics''. [[http://www.qwantz.com/index.php?comic=778 One strip]] sees T-Rex wondering what life would be like as a text-based adventure; Utahraptor points out that no one would ever be able to get out of bed until they found the right command:

[[folder: get up ]]

[[folder: I don't see "up" here ]]

* At one point the cast of ''Webcomic/OkashinaOkashi'' gets trapped in an alternate dimension based on these games. It was a dark void where the girls had to shout out commands based on the old text adventure games. Bad parsing jokes abounded, shouting "WHY can't I get ye flask!" and crying.
* Taken UpToEleven with ''Webcomic/ProblemSleuth'' and ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''.
** [[Webcomic/{{Jailbreak}} What]] [[RunningGag pumpkin?]]
** However, you can get ye flask. In a published edition, WordOfGod says that he didn't know the reference at the time.
* [[http://www.thenoobcomic.com/index.php?pos=199 This]] page of TheNoob.
* [[{{Pun}} uni.x]][[Webcomic/{{xkcd}} kcd.com]] ([[http://uni.xkcd.com/ viewable here]]) is all about this:
-->$ where am i
-->Unrecognized command. Type "help" for assistance.
-->$ help
-->That would be cheating!
** Command Spoiler [[https://github.com/chromakode/xkcdfools/wiki/commands here]], or [[https://github.com/chromakode/xkcdfools/blob/master/src/xkcd_cli.js in the source]]


[[folder: Web Original ]]

* Website/{{Cracked}} has "[[http://www.cracked.com/blog/revisiting-old-school-text-adventures-as-a-jaded-modern-gamer/ Revisiting Old School Text Adventures as a Jaded Modern Gamer.]]" It has the AI reacting with shocked horror to the insane player's sadistic commands, and eventually feeds him to a swarm of monsters out of spite.
* ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'': [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-603 SCP-603-44]] is an InteractiveFiction game in which almost all commands players have tried to input have resulted in messages saying that there is no such object here or that "you cannot [do X]." "Die" is the only command known to have an effect, and it affects the actual player.
* Parodied in ''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation's'' review of ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy2'':

[[folder: You are a greasy Italian spaz standing on a platform unsupported in the middle of the yawning void of space. ]]

[[folder: What Now? ]]

[[folder: > DIE OF ASPHYXIATION ]]

[[folder: [[Batman Can Breathe In Space You can't do that [somehow]. ]]
* In the ''LetsPlay/MarioPartyTV'' series: after several incidents where correctly guessing a certain fruit during Mic Mini-games was treated as a mistake, the guys realized that they were saying ''grape'', not ''grapes''.
* Parodied in the famous "[[http://www.oldmanmurray.com/features/77.html Death of Adventure Games]]" article of Website/OldManMurray.

[[folder: You are on a pirate ship! ]]

[[folder: >Go north! ]]


[[folder: You can't go north! ]]

[[folder: >Examine ship! ]]


[[folder: I don't see a ship here! ]]


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Many text parsers are modelled off UNIX command lines. UsefulNotes/{{UNIX}} in general is precise, arbitrary, and ''case-sensitive''. "/Home" would be interpreted as a different directory than "/home". Also doubles as a DamnYouMuscleMemory if you're used to another command-line interface like DOS (used in Windows Command Prompt). A simple arithmetic operation alone like "2+2" in many shells will result in a "Command Not Found". What's the correct syntax to output 4 in the terminal? ''echo $((2+2))'' And shell scripts are considered one of the ''easier'' programming languages...
** UNIX doesn't quite know how to cope with spaces in filenames, making "Some File.jpg" fall victim to this trope. The solution? Rename it using underscores, entering the input as you just saw, '''with''' double quotes so UNIX can read multi-word input as a single string. Thus to fix the problem, you would enter ''mv "Some File.jpg" Some_File.jpg''. When in doubt, use underscores (or CamelCase) in filenames to represent spaces.
** What's the command to print the contents of a file to your terminal? It's not ''read file1'', ''print file1'', or even ''echo file1'', but '''''cat''' file1''. "cat" stands not for a furry friend, but for '''"cat'''enate" - a somewhat esoteric term referring to the program's ability for sequential linkage and printing to stdout of multiple files - even though it's used much more often to print the contents of just a single file. Its touted sequential linkage functionality is useful for shell scripts, however.
** If you try to close a Python session by typing ''exit'', it will not work. However, the parser '''will''' understand what you wanted to do and helpfully inform you that you should type ''exit()'' instead. [[SarcasmMode Gee, thanks.]]
** Command Lines in general have a reputation for this trope, which is why they aren't used as much today. Windows started off as a graphical shell for MS-DOS, and has left the latter in the dust for more than a decade. Linux and BSD have a reputation among non-geeks as hard to use for exactly these kinds of errors.
** Luckily, the command ''man command'' (''command'' of course replaced with a [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment command of your choice]]) will print an extensive [[AllThereInTheManual manual page]] for the command/program in question, detailing proper syntax, [[BillionsOfButtons listing optional flags]], and even troubleshooting information. The Linux Community is known for its excellent documentation... that is, [[MindScrew if you can decipher]] [[ViewersAreGeniuses the developers' cryptic technical documentation]].
* The UserNotes/XboxOne's voice recognition can feel like this sometimes, due to the unintuitive nature of some of the commands and the fact that a list of commands is not included with the console (though one can be found on the official Xbox support forums). For instance, the command to play a game. Xbox, play game? No. Xbox, start game? Nope. Xbox, launch (name of game)? Not happening. What's the command, then? "Xbox, GO TO (name of game)". Which it's doubtful anyone would think to say without looking it up. Another thing: you can say "Xbox on" to power the Xbox up, but saying "Xbox off" doesn't turn it off. You have to say "Xbox, ''turn'' off", which isn't all that logical.