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"There is one feature I will happily abase myself before: mid-boss checkpoints. This is a game where a boss can be the size of the moon and have eleven health bars. Chipping the first ten away only to be killed by a casual elbow to the face is frustrating enough without having to take it from the top."
Anti-Frustration Features are instances in a game where the established rules of the game are suspended/modified under certain circumstances, or a particular effect that happens when the game deliberately helps you out during a specific situation.
Usually an example of an Obvious Rule Patch
to prevent Unwinnable
situations from developing, such as if a given Boss Battle
mandates the use of one specific weapon with limited uses (be it Breakable Weapons
, Cast from Hit Points
, or a simple lack of Bottomless Magazines
It can also occur in other situations, but those are fairly rare.
See also Acceptable Breaks from Reality
for when it is the rules of reality that are changed, and Player Nudge
for when the game helps you out only in times where the solution isn't obvious
. Can sometimes lead to some slight backlash
, and take the form of Suspicious Videogame Generosity
. Not to be confused with Mercy Mode
. Direct opposite of Classic Video Game Screw Yous
. Mercy Invincibility
is the subtrope where the player is immune to damage for a few seconds after getting injured.
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- The Batman Arkham Series has a few.
- Several times in predator encounters, enemies that should notice Batman don't, either because he's too far away, or in the middle of a special takedown.
- In City and Origins, after using a gadget to create a platform in the water, Batman will automatically aim straight for it if you glide at it.
- City featured Riddler informants that could tell Batman where Riddler trophies were hidden, as long as the informant was the last enemy taken out in any encounter. This made battles with the informants frustrating, since the player would have to avoid targeting them until they were done. Origins fixed this problem by making the informants automatically go down and surrender when beaten, as well as being immune to Batman's instant KO attacks, so the player no longer has to beat them last.
- In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood one of the Lairs of Romulus requires you to cut down counterweights with a projectile. The counterweight you find at the end of a long platforming sequence has a few chests nearby which infinitely replenishes your throwing knives, crossbow bolts and bullets in case you got all the way up there with no ammo left, or have really atrocious aim — they're the only such chests in the entire game!
- In Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, if you have several hostile ships around you, they'll stop firing at you when you board one to take it as a prize. Same goes for forts if you initiate a ship boarding mini-event near a hostile fort.
- When you die in Beyond Good & Evil, you're usually sent back to a checkpoint near the start of the room or the area you're in. You'll have half your regular health, and any items you may have used in the interim will be gone. There are two exceptions, however: The Looter's Caverns and the Final Boss. When you lose a Looter's Cavern, you're sent back to the start with whatever health you had when you entered (full, if you're smart) and any items you used during the challenge are returned to your inventory. Since the Looter's Caverns are... annoying, this is quite a boon. The Final Boss has a checkpoint halfway that's the same way.
- Iji gives you a pre-made Resonance Reflector for your tennis date with the final boss, just in case you didn't have one yet. More acceptable than usual, since otherwise it would be impossible to win on the hardest difficulty level.
- In The Last of Us enemies won't detect your escorts during sneaking sessions, just you. Appropriately, they sneak around corners as well as you can, but if you're careful you may notice a few times when the bad guys ought to be noticing your escorts but don't. We are not complaining, though. The alternative would be insufferable.
- In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, during the third boss fight, which can only be killed by hitting it with arrows, then feeding it bombs, if you run out of either of them, the machine will "sneeze" out a few extras to compensate. Justified in that this particular boss is merely testing your ability to be a hero, which, as we all know, has nothing to do with how much you can carry.
- In Ocarina of Time, the boss in the Shadow Temple drops arrows and magic jars every time you shoot its hands, since you need the Bow and Arrows and the Lens of Truth during the fight. If you happen to run out of magic and arrows at the same time, you can still use your Hookshot to attack the hands so they drop items for you.
- This is true for most post-NES Zelda games; if you need a particular weapon (such as bombs or arrows) to beat a boss battle, you can count on them being available during the boss fight in case you run out.
- King Dogongo in Ocarina of Time (Bomb flowers) or Odolwa in Majora's Mask (Arrows) - in fact, Odolwa has plants that drop arrows and hearts, and they regrow.
- Trinexx, the boss of Turtle Rock in A Link to the Past, can initially only be hurt by attacking his fire-and-ice-spewing heads with their opposite elements. If you run out of magic power to use the Fire and Ice Rods, however, his elemental breath attacks will have a chance of leaving a small magic container behind.
- Subverted with Kholdstare. You need to use the Fire Rod to thaw him and properly fight him. If you run out of magic before fully thawing him, there's no magic containers around, but that's where another Anti-Frustration Feature comes into play: At that point in the game you are bound to have the magic mirror. You can use it to return to the beginning of the dungeon (so you don't have to die). The Mirror not needing magic power may be such a feature in itself.
- In Twilight Princess: While escorting Telma and Ilia to Kakariko you fight King Bulbin for the second time. You will need arrows for this round; every time you run out of them (or didn't have any to begin with) Telma will give you some.
- If there's any area that requires the use of bombs to continue in Skyward Sword, you can bet that there will be a bomb flower or two nearby so you can replace the bombs you lose.
- In A Link Between Worlds, any and every item in the game either (A) runs off your Energy Gauge, which refills upon being left alone for a while, or (B) has no depletable source whatsoever.
- Likewise, in the Sega Genesis version of Aladdin, the last two bosses can be killed only if you throw apples at them, and more apples appear every time you run out. In addition, if you fail the Rug Ride level enough times, the game will automatically skip you, giving you a "Nice try" message.
- Similarly to the Rug Ride thing, losing all your lives to the inexplicable buzz-saws and acid pits (and the floor itself, if you fall off the trolley) in one of the early levels of Mickey Mania will not earn you a Game Over, as the game will Hand Wave you to the next area with a message to the effect of "Mickey has broken all the trolleys so he walked instead". Why didn't he just walk to begin with? It had the apple thing too, but with marbles.
- Fail enough times at any of the Oni Island races in Ōkami and the game will start going easier on you. This can include changing the timing of the obstacles, slowing your opponent, or putting platforms over spikes. There is a reduction in the reward for winning each time, but it does help those that are less proficient at this sort of thing.
- Another Zelda example, Spirit Tracks will have your train magically flip in the direction you want to go when exiting a station or a portal.
- Whenever you die in Zelda II, you usually start at Zelda's palace, however, this doesn't apply to the Great Palace; die there and you just have to start at the beginning of the dungeon instead of trekking through the lava and lizardmen infested Valley of Death.
- Uncharted makes liberal use of checkpoints, especially in platforming sequences and gunfights. Typically if you do a "milestone" of sorts, the game will mark it as a checkpoint. Unfortunately, gunfights are likely to kill you more often than the platforming sequences.
- Among Thieves played this rather oddly at times. Sometimes it was inverted (arbitrarily losing your gun after a chapter transition, despite having no reason for your character to do so), sometimes it was accidental (skipping ahead to another checkpoint after death even if you hadn't quite reached it) and sometimes it was unnecessarily played straight (like in the part where you have to fend off the first Yeti/Guardian and your gun has unlimited ammo for no apparent reason).
- In Goof Troop, if you get a Game Over, the Password Save system will remember the last password you obtained, allowing for a quick continue.
- The Time Travel powers in the Prince of Persia: The Sands Of Time trilogy include Rewind, which allows the player to rewind time just enough to reverse a fatal mistake. It's also designed to prevent abuse, though, with the use of sand tanks and a timer that needs to recharged in-between time power usage.
- Ghost In The Sheet has two arcade sequences; you can use a command to skip them if they're too difficult for you (the rat one you should probably be able to get on your own; good luck with the fireflies though).
- Modern-day interactive fiction not uncommonly comes with an 'undo' command, allowing the player to simply take back moves if desired. (This is for example the default in games written with Inform 7 unless explicitly disabled by the designer.)
- In the edutainment Super Solvers game Treasure Cove!, you use bubbles to attack things and move around the level. To obtain bubbles, you have to shine your flashlight at the bubble station a few times to pay for them, and bubbles could in turn be used to capture starfish, who reward correct answers to questions with more flashlight energy. Since you could, if you tried very hard, waste all of your bubbles and light, the game would place electric eels on the next screen you swam to to give you a free energy boost, rather than leave you to swim around a now-Unwinnable game.
- This also applies to all Super Solver games. Treasure Mountain! and Treasure Math Storm! have the same thing, if you swap flashlight for coins, and electric eels with coins laying on the ground.
- The otherwise insanely-powerful-even-for-an- SNK Boss of Arcana Heart 3 score attack, Parace, starts with less life each time you continue. After losing to her a dozen times or so, she'll start with about a quarter of full health and can be taken out with a single blaze - if you can hit her.
- In Battle Fantasia's story mode, continuing after defeat will start you with a full level on your MP bar. This continues up to level 3, after which you are given infinite MP.
- The campaign mode of Dissidia: Final Fantasy is set up almost like a board game: You move your character's piece around the various boards, expending 1 Destiny Point per move, interacting with Mooks, bosses, treasures, and the like. Destiny Points are depleted, though some boards give you opportunities to recover some, and are linked to bonuses for clearing the board and for Story Points, the overall score at the end of the board. Story Points are awarded based on the percentage of the character's remaining HP (90% health is worth 90 points), number of engagements (10 points per) and number of remaining Destiny Points (again, 10 per) and penalized based on number of retries (minus ten per) and a Destiny Point total in the negative numbers (again, minus ten per). The final boards of the game's final story mode have neither Destiny Points nor Story Points, meaning that the player can challenge the Final SNK Boss as many times as they need to in order to finally win without great penalty. Nice of them.
- The The King of Fighters series, starting with KOF 98 allowed you to continue with a slight advantage upon losing (such as reducing the enemy's health to 1/3 its normal length or starting you off with a full Super Meter)... though that's little help against the final boss.
- In the remakes of '98 and 2002, failing any combination of the challenge games 100 times unlocks everything in the game automatically.
- Skullgirls has the Infinite Prevention System, a feature that detects when a player is trapped in an infinite combo loop and lets them burst out of it in an instant.
- Street Fighter III has the AI in a particular fight become gradually easier with each loss, until it's practically handing you the win on a silver platter out of pity.
- Ditto for Mortal Kombat 9, whose AI will ease up on repeated losses even with final boss Shao Kahn (to the point where he'll mostly just taunt over and over).
First Person Shooters
- The Borderlands games have ammo chests are weighted slightly to what you're low on.
- Running out of health puts you into a "Fight for your Life" mode that lets you get back on your feet if you manage to kill an enemy within a short time, undoubtedly a useful feature given the amounts of damage a lot of the enemies can dish out. However, this can arguably make the frustration worse in a few instances, for example if you managed to kill the only nearby enemy a nanosecond before you went down due to afterburn or something. Fortunately, Death Is a Slap on the Wrist thanks to the New-U stations scattered about.
- In a mid-game mandatory Escort Mission where you have to protect a beacon from Hyperion robots for a certain time the beacon cannot be permanently destroyed; its health depleting only halts the timer until you repair it. If you fail to do it and have to repair it enough times, the Big Bad himself will remark on how much you're sucking at the job. Afterwards, the beacon becomes completely invulnerable. The Difficulty Spike said mission presents in single-player means that, to a first-timer, it makes completing the mission possible.
- If the player loses enough times in a Brothers in Arms game, the player is given the option to replay last checkpoint with full health, instead of whatever health the player left off with. In the Road To Hill 30 game, it even tells you "War isn't fair, but a game should be."
- During the boss fight against the Giant Venus Maneater in Bulletstorm, you never run out of PMC ammo. If you happen to run out, you instantly spawn another full clip.
- If you find an infinite ammo crate in Half-Life 2, expect to use it liberally.
- Also in Half-Life 2, The Very Definitely Final Dungeon upgrades your suit to allow it to heal much faster and more energy (as well as HP) from the wall-mounted recharge stations.
- In the one battle that doesn't have an infinite crate for the one type of ammo you need, infinitely-respawning allies will provide you with the ammo you need.
- Cherish those times when the Combine takes away all of your normal weapons, because the process "accidentally" supercharges your Gravity Gun. Not only are its normal abilities much more effective, you can grab and throw other people like dolls. The raw power is... heady.
- A more minor example is the supplies dropped by crates. They're dependent on the player's current status, so someone low on ammo might get a few more rounds, while someone with low health could find a medkit. It's done subtly enough that it's not really noticeable in-game—you just know that you managed to find that crate at just the right time!
- When fighting the Anticlimax Boss of Halo 3, Sgt. Johnson gives you a Spartan Laser, which at the time is the only weapon capable of doing damage to said boss. It doesn't matter if you brought in a fully-loaded rocket launcher or fuel rod cannon, they're useless here. Luckily, the laser has infinite ammo, so you don't have to jump off the edge when you run out of charge. Though if your aim was so bad you would've shot all six blasts a Spartan Laser usually has while trying to take down the final boss (who is even weaker than the Grunts), you might as well have jumped.
- Halo 2 does this for Legendary mode if you get caught into death loops at any point (i.e., if you die too fast after reloading your auto save point many times). Normally, such cases require reloading the entire level from the start, but Bungie throws a merciful bone to players who're stuck at any tricky section by reloading the game from two checkpoints ago.
- Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy make any enemies who are carrying key cards somewhat immune to certain Force powers (i.e. Push and Pull will still knock them over, but they won't actually change position) to prevent players from accidentally throwing that key card down the nearest bottomless shaft and promptly locking themselves out from an item crate or the path out of the level.
- Developers' commentary for Left 4 Dead states that it's a major feature of the Director AI: It will try to estimate the survivors' stress levels and give them breathers if they seem to be fatigued by constant combat. Conversely, it'll also spawn hordes of the Infected if they try to Take Their Time.
- When you go down, your survivor pulls out a Pistol to defend themselves until someone helps them up. In Left 4 Dead 2, you can discard your Pistol or Magnum for a melee weapon. If you happen to go down while having a melee weapon, your character will pull out another pistol from nowhere, allowing you to defend yourself until you get help. This lets players have less worry about incapacitation, knowing that they will have something to fight with even if they hold a melee weapon. This rule also applies to Chainsaws, which will be tossed away and traded for a Pistol once the Chainsaw runs out of gas.
- The rule also applies for players in Left 4 Dead 2 who have died, but are revived from a Magical Defibrillator. Upon death, the player will drop all weapons and items they were carrying except for their secondary weapon (Pistols, Magnums, or a melee weapon) so that when they get revived on the spot, they will have a weapon to defend themselves with should their fellow survivors loot their body beforehand.
- Left 4 Dead 2 has two finales that require the survivors to fill something with gasoline. Normally, you have to collect all the cans in the map, but if you are playing in single player mode, you need fewer cans to escape instead of having to collect all the cans. This is to compensate for the limitations of the survivor AI where they can't pick up or use gas cans at all.
- In Medal of Honor: Warfighter during the single-player portion, the player gets infinite secondary weapon magazines, and also has the option of holding the reload button near an allied NPC to get more primary weapon ammo from them.
- Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has the Light, Dark, and Annihilator beams that require ammo to use. Some enemies are only vulnerable to certain beam weapons, and some doors only open with those weapons, too. Even if you run out of ammo, you can still fire the beams by charging them up, but they shoot normal shots instead.
- Also, if you happen to run out of ammo while fighting the third form of Emperor Ing, he'll gracefully summon a bunch of cannon fodder mooks that drop health and ammo when killed.
- Syndicate (2012) has checkpoints during the Agent Tatsuo boss fight. Also, in the fight with Agent Tatsuo, there will be drones flying about that dispense guns when you Breach them, just in case you run out of ammo. On La Ballena, there's a part where you have to shoot down drones with the Swarm missile launcher, which has many ammo stock-up points for when you run out.
Hack and Slashers
- Dantes Inferno gives you health back slowly if failing repeatedly.
- The Devil May Cry series invokes this in later games. In the third game, dying a few times on normal mode unlocks easy mode; in the fourth, dying to a boss three times in a row automatically gives it a handicap in future fights.
- Which can actually feel pretty insulting to some players, especially since the fourth game doesn't tell you it's handicapping the boss until after you beat it and doesn't allow you to refuse. This can ironically frustrate some gamers even more.
- In Diablo II, when you die, you respawn in the nearest town with no equipped items or gold. To get your items back, you need to go back to where you were killed and recover your own corpse. This is often unfeasible, especially on higher difficulties, because the enemies that killed you are still hanging around your corpse and now you have no weapons to defeat them or armor to survive them. Thankfully, you can restart your game and your corpse will appear in town with all the items intact and only the gold gone.
- This was a consequence of not having this option in the first Diablo in multiplayer mode. Imagine your prized gear on the floor surrounded by monsters right at the entrance of the level waiting to chomp down on you.
- In the third game, some bosses spawn weak monsters whose sole purpose seems to be to drop health orbs when killed. This is so the game is not by definition over should you run out of potions during the fight. The respawn rule is even more lenient: you just go back to the previous checkpoint. Inferno difficulty seems to be tuned with endless respawns in mind. Game also picks up gold when you walk over it, and you can now remove gems from their sockets, so they aren't Lost Forever as soon as you use them.
- Any time you die in Drakengard 2, you're allowed to keep whatever experience points and gold you acquired before dying — the Game Over screen outright tells you "Select 'Yes' to retain your experience points."
- The God of War games will traditionally offer you a chance to drop down in difficulty if you're consistently dying in the same area again and again...which falls apart when the difficulty levels only change combat difficulty, and you're far more likely to die repeatedly on the platforming sections. If you continue from the same checkpoint enough times in a row with low health, it also begins respawning you with slightly more health each time.
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance often has rocket launchers conspicuously placed (even on the harder difficulties) right before encounters where they might make things a bit easier. Emphasis on '''might'''.
- Since the game as a whole averts Mook Chivalry on any difficulty higher than normal, you're completely invincible while doing the Zandatsu animation and for long enough afterwards to leave you plenty of leeway to parry attacks enemies were already winding up.
- Most of the boss fights have something that makes them drop health or health packs, the only one that doesn't is Sundowner, and you really shouldn't need healing for him.
- Warriors Legendsof Troy gives your health back after three failures, or rather gives health back to the guy you have to protect in a mission when he acts as a suicidal coward.
- In Bomberman 64, before the big boss fights, Sirius provides you with Remote Control bombs to make the fight easier.
- That's until you get all 100 Gold Cards from the first five worlds, and Sirius reveals himself as the real villain. From that point on, in the earlier big boss fights you'll have to bomb open a little container to grab the Remote Bombs.
- In the first three Bomberman Land games if you lose in a minigame too many times the employee will eventually ask you if you want to skip the minigame and get your price instead.
- In the often maddeningly difficult Atari Lynx/computer game Chip's Challenge, it's actually stated in the Windows version's Help file (not sure if it's stated anywhere else) that Melinda, the one giving Chip the titular challenge, likes persistence and will let him go to the next level if he fails enough times. Given that many of the game's levels require just the right combination of speed, skill, intelligence, and plain dumb luck, it's nice to have something to keep you from pulling out that last clump of hair. However, this feature is smart enough to know when a player is killing himself repeatedly to move to the next level. In order to get the offer to skip, Chip must die 10 times in a row, yet he must have played for at least 30 seconds each time. Persistence indeed.
- There is also a level where you must build a bridge over a river by using blocks, which you need to navigate all through the level to get them to the water. However if you start with the blocks farthest from the water, you'll discover a pair of swimming fins underneath one of them; alleviating the need to build the bridge!
- In City of Heroes, the XP Debt that you accrue from dying is temporarily suspended during zone invasion events when an area of the gameworld is overrun by hordes of aliens, zombies, etc. Also deaths that occur inside the Rikti Warzone only give half as much debt as in any other zone.
- The addition of the Patrol feature, where you gain a double XP bonus based on how long you are logged out, helps even more. Now, when you
die are defeated, some of that bonus is taken away instead. If the bonus runs out it's business as usual.
- There's also the streakbreaker feature, which prevents missing too many attacks in a row (if your tohit is high enough, it will kick in after one miss).
- The phone feature meant you could call in a quest when it was done, and get the new quest, rather than traveling back to the quest-giver and then back to the quest location for the next step.
- In the Korean-made MMO driving game Drift City, if you fail a mission, trying it again slightly lowers the requirements. Failing again lowers them even more, and so on. Useful for those who aren't yet able to afford enhancements to their car to pass the time-limited missions.
- In Dynasty Warriors Online, each time you enter a new senario, you go back to guard rank which allows you to do the rank up quests again. On the chance you don't have a weapon that's level 2 or below (which you need the higher rank to be able to use), you get a spear the second you start up again, allowing you to use it until you can use the higher level weapons. Also, it will always provide you with a generic partner if you haven't requited one. (Although, some plays may see that as a problem)
- The Gaia Online minigame Gaia Cards has you playing blackjack against different dealers. Each of them have their own cheat: one dealer can pull out an ace out of nowhere, one can redraw her hand, etc. Fortunately you, as the player, have a frustration meter that, when full, allows you to cheat by looking at the dealer's hand.
- In Grand Chase, even if you lose all of your lives and don't continue, you still get to keep your GP, EXP, and quest items (and complete quests).
- An extension of the Me and My Nemesis Quest in Kingdom of Loathing has a fiendishly difficult volcano puzzle that requires a lot of patience and careful mapping to work out. Fortunately, there's an option to skip it for a loss of 10 adventures if you don't want to go through all that trouble, though you miss out on two of the quest rewards if you do that.
- The Twin Peak area, released with the revamped level 9 quest, has three (actually four) puzzles that are atrociously hard to solve, and that may be impossible depending on what items and buffs you have available. Once you've spent fifty turns in there, however, an adventure will appear that finishes the entire area, though you miss out on the reward for clearing it the hard way.
- Especially in the newer quests, Runescape has a tendency to have quest givers give you small items that you need to complete the quest. This is especially nice when you've trekked out ten minutes to the dungeon and only then realized that you forgot to grab a hammer or a chisel. Also, if they ask you to go to a location some distance away, they'll frequently offer to teleport you there, saving some teleport runes or the need to walk that whole distance.
- In the mid-to-high level quest Monkey Madness, the player has to solve an infuriating sliding puzzle early on - however, if sliding puzzles aren't your speed, you can bribe the former gnome glider commander to unlock the hangar remotely and save you the trouble.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic implemented a whole list of these in patch 1.2, including being able to access vehicles in certain areas, being able to jump right past orbital stations when returning to your ship, and in general cutting down on the Fake Longevity.
- World of Warcraft has several of these:
- In the Burning Crusade expansion, Blizzard introduced a "dynamic respawns" system which scales respawn rates to the rate that mobs/items are killed or collected. This backfired somewhat as it often caused mobs to instantly respawn on top of players, especially in the first weeks of the expansion, preventing them from resting or looting and making crowded areas an exercise in Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!. Still, it beats the old days when crowding made certain quests a matter of racing other players for infrequent spawns.
- One of the reasons that quest items cannot be sold to vendors is that they often look identical to Vendor Trash items, and no one wants to try to complete a quest only to learn that they accidentally sold their "Pristine Bear Tooth" and are trying to hand in an ordinary animal tooth.
- Dungeons. In the original game going to a dungeon involved finding five people on your server willing to go. Then every one of you would have to make your way to the dungeon, for the first forty levels by foot. This dungeon could be located on a different continent. If someone dropped out after you'd arrived, a lot of time was wasted. If you had a warlock only three people had to come themselves, and the others could be summoned. Many of the dungeons were also surrounded by labyrinthine tunnels, often full of elite units. Eventually meeting stones were introduced, located near to dungeons, and allowed two players to summon the rest. The newer dungeons also tended to be located in less inconvenient places, and the final boss was located near an alternate route to the exit so players didn't have to go all the way back through the often very large dungeons to leave. All of this pales beside the changes worked during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. It introduced the "dungeon finder" system. A player puts their name on it as their character type, and the game automatically searches through everyone in the system on all servers in the same geographical area, enabling players to sign up and then carry on with other tasks until a group is found. Once that's done, it gives party members the temporary ability to teleport between the dungeon and wherever they were.
- Several of these were implemented to cut down on the Fake Difficulty present in "Vanilla" and Burning Crusade, Not that people who played during those times are willing to admit it:
- Allowing people to purchase gear that can get them ready for the current raid everybody wants to run. Because we learned the hard way the playerbase has a tendency to declare themselves "Done" with content regardless of whether or not their friends still needed something, a lot of people would be stuck asking around to do the raids they needed when the people who were more than geared to do it wouldn't lift a finger to help because they were sick of it or didn't need the gear and having to get lucky and hope a group forms. Vanilla and Burning Crusade had a problem with this, when players would be accused of being The Load on Serpenshire Cavern or Black Temple because they weren't geared enough but nobody wanted to run Karazhan to help them get the gear they needed, resulting in them having to sit around cities asking for help or bribing guild-members to run.
- Reducing the requirements for Heroics. In Burning Crusade, the heroics required you to run the dungeon enough so that you are revered with the appropriate faction and can purchase the heroic key. Sure enough, players declared themselves "done" with the Normals and decided that the people who still didn't have their heroic keys didn't need their help, resulting in them getting stuck, being unable to get gear that guilds would accept before letting them even step in Karazhan but requiring on random groups to be forming in trade chats or having to be rich enough to bribe people to run normals with them. Cataclysm brought back requirements for heroics, but even then, it was far more doable than in Burning Crusade, thanks to the addition of the Dungeon Finder. (That, and you can get qualified for heroics by simply running normals a few times)
- Updating PvP Gear so newly made PvP Characters can purchase up-to-date PvP Gear.
- Removing attunements. Surprise surprise...attunements were toned down or flat out removed so people wouldn't have to stand around cities for months asking for help or bribing people to go through as...surprise surprise, players declared themselves "Done" with them.
- Reducing the number of people that are run by raids in general. Anyone who says they liked 40 man raids better has clearly never tried to corral 40 people through Molten Core and had 40 people living in different time zones syncing their weekly schedules up so they can all run at once.
- In patch 3.2, the drop rates of quest items were made dynamic so that players would be guaranteed to eventually find the items they're looking for.
- In patch 3.3, Blizzard finally caved to all the players who used addons that marked the map with the locations of quest givers and objectives by implementing a system for this into the core game. Never again was "Where's Mankrik's wife?" heard in the Barrens...
- In patch 3.3.3, quest items in your bags/bank are highlighted with an orange-yellow border so you can find them among dozens of other items, some of which have the exact same icon.
- In the Cataclysm expansion, most new dungeons were given a teleporter that allowed you to skip to various points in the dungeon if you wipe and have to run back in, and this feature was also present in some raid dungeons. For example, in Grim Batol, once you defeat the second boss, the drakes near the entrance will fly you to the end of his hall, and after defeating the third boss, the drakes will take you to where you fought him.
- In some Mists of Pandaria dungeons, if you wipe and re-enter the dungeon you will appear at the location of the last boss you defeated, obviating the need to have teleporters. On the other hand, that can be frustrating in and of itself, as there might not be an exit near where you come in, thus meaning you will have to teleport out if your gear is broken, no one is nearby to repair it, and the exit is far away.
- Many bosses in various dungeons have a mechanic to reset them. Normally, hostile NPCs in dungeons will pursue fleeing players until the players are dead or have left the dungeon. If a group gets wiped out to the last man by a tough boss, regrouping can be a slow, annoying process. Fortunately, some bosses will not pursue fleeing players to the ends of the earth. Instead, they'll despawn when pulled out of their throne room and reappear in their starting point a few minutes later, so any surviving players may have a few minutes to resurrect their fallen teammates in peace, saving a lot of time and aggravation. Note that some bosses don't do this, and some bosses trap players in with them when the encounter starts, meaning that there's no middle ground between victory or death, so this may be a Good Bad Bug.
- The total lack of any anti-frustration features is why the archaeology secondary profession is so loathed. There is no ability to focus on digsites you want, save for an item that increases your chances of getting Mantid digsites after the Mantid archaeology branch was introduced. You only get 4 digsites a continent and what site you get after clearing one is determined purely by RNG, no relation to how many rares or commons you have completed of a race even if you have all of them it won't stop them from appearing just as frequently. The digsites you get on a continent are selected from a handful of preexisting sites so on a continent that is "balanced" toward a particular race this can be aggravating. There are only 4 continents and each continent has at least one race exclusive to them (Outland has Draenei and Orcs, Northrend has Vykrul and Nerubian digsites which exist off Northrend but are exceedingly rare, Kalimdor has Nightelves which again are exceedingly rare outside this continent and Tol'vir and Eastern Kingdoms has Dwarves) so you don't have an option to leave if you want a particular race. Also Troll digsites are common enough in Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms and Northrend that they just get in the way.
- Archaeology has received several anti-frustration measures over time. Individual artifacts now give you between five and nine fragments instead of three to five, allowing you to complete projects quicker. Each dig site lets you dig up six artifacts at a time instead of three, meaning that you spend more time actually at the dig sites instead of flying between them. Completed Mists of Pandaria projects can be traded in for fragments for another race of your choosing. Most importantly, the chance of getting a dig site for a faction once you have already completed all of their projects is significantly reduced. However, since the chance of receiving a rare project is still low you can easily be stuck collecting Night Elf fragments from all over Kalimdor because it never gives you to last project that you need...
- In the Looking for Raid feature, starting with Patch 5.2, there's a "Determination" buff that gives you a stack that increases your damage dealt, healing and maximum health by five percent every time you die against a boss after fighting for at least two minutes, a feature intentionally designed to encourage players to persist. This can help in raids in which some players are undergeared, although many will quit in frustration before getting more than a few stacks.
- In Final Fantasy XIV, dying during scripted story battles will have your character blessed by the power of "Echo" which increases your health, damage, and healing while reducing the damage you take. Dying further will stack it more to the point where you eventually can flatten the event.
- IOS game Video Game/Badland has liberal use of checkpoints and dying automatically reloads you back to the last checkpoint within a second. The death itself is also very relaxed: instead of showing gory splatter and playing "You Lose" tune, the game will simply Fade to Black with a quite rustle of the leaves.
- Similarly, freeware Binary Boy for PC. It's short, but has to be completed in one sitting. As such, there are checkpoints after virtually every obstacle in your path and when you die, your character simply drifts down from the screen like a falling leaf until he lands right before the current obstacle.
- Enemy bullets are ordinarily white in the classic NES version of Contra. For the almost entirely-white Snow Field stage, enemy bullets are changed to red so the player can still see where they're coming from.
- In the first three Crash Bandicoot games, if you failed at a level a certain number of times, the game would give you a free Aku Aku mask (an extra hit point).
- Continued failures also sometimes turned some of the '?' crates into checkpoints, or made new, steel checkpoint crates (so as to not mess with the 100%-boxes rewards).
- Distorted Travesty allows you to change the difficulty level whenever you die...unless you're playing on Distorted difficulty, which locks you into it for the rest of the game.
- If you run out of ammo in Earthworm Jim, the ammo will slowly refill, but only up to 100 shots, which translates to about a second or 2 of rapid fire, the only possible firing mode.
- In Epic Mickey, Mickey's reserves of Paint or Thinner will slowly refill to one-third of their maximum if they ever fall below the amount.
- In I Wanna Be the Guy and its spinoffs, it is usually very easy to accidentally save in an Unwinnable situation. Unless you regularly backup your savefiles or use the savefile editor program a fan eventually created, you're out of luck. However, one fangame—Pickory—automatically backs up your old saves and lets you undo a bad save just by pressing backspace.
- While not actually a game feature, the creator of the original I Wanna Be the Guy will fix any unwinnable saves for you.
- I Wanna be the Boshy gives you an extra jump if you reload after saving in midair. This is actually needed to progress in some sections.
- In Kirby's Return to Dream Land, if you die during the second phase of the Final Boss, you'll completely skip the first phase upon re-entering the boss room.
- This gets inverted while in the sub-stages marked by the star-shaped portals. Throughout this game (and the series in general) a door is usually a checkpoint, but not the ones that separate the obstacle course and mini-boss areas. If you lose to the mini-boss, you get kicked out of the sub-stage entirely.
- Most Metroid games in general tend to bias Random Drops items in favor of items that you need: If you're low on health, you'll see more health pickups. In fact, in some of them (such as Super Metroid), if you are full on a certain item such as missiles, it will no longer appear at all, allowing other items to fill its place. This was not the case for earlier games such as the original Metroid.
- Averted in Metroid: Other M. There are no Random Drops at all and the only way to restore health and ammo outside of the Concentration mechanic is to find a Save Point.
- In Metroid: Fusion, missiles are required to kill a Core-X (everything else will go down to the Charge Beam eventually). Fortunately, just shooting a Core-X with a beam weapon will cause both health and missile X's to fly out of it like candy. This is near-essential in a 1% Run, as you only get one missile expansion.
- Realizing that "Nintendo Hard Platformer" is a frustrating enough formula, the developers of Mirror's Edge added completely unnecessary and impractical (for the enemy) visible-to-naked-eye laser sights to all enemy-wielded sniper rifles, giving the player at least a vague idea where they should run without being one-hit-killed by an enemy they could neither reach, nor even see.
- Fail a mission in Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus enough times, and you'll start it with a 'lucky horseshoe', moving you from a One HP Wonder to a Two HP Wonder. Later games used a Life Meter, making it unneeded, although at times if you died in a mission with a 'Do Something X Times' theme, it would let you keep the ones you did already. Sometimes.
- One case in particular: in the second game, there's a mission where you must steal blueprints from Raja by feeding him drugged melons and then picking his pocket. He has a really annoying habit of waking up just after you pick his pocket and catching you, making you fail the mission. However, the game always counts your successful attempt when it starts the mission over, which is probably the only reason anyone's finished the game. (That, and Bentley automatically escapes when he gets the last one.)
- One of Sonic the Hedgehog's signature abilities, the Spin Dash, came about because of one of these. In the original game, the only way for Sonic to gain speed was to run forward, which made some stages frustrating, as the player would have to backtrack through the level if they didn't have enough speed to clear an obstacle. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 fixed this by giving Sonic the Spin Dash, which allowed him to accelerate to full speed from a standstill. The Spin Dash has been used by every Sonic game since then.
- Sonic Heroes: During some boss fights, the players can gain level 3 with one orb container.
- In the Game Gear/Sega Master System version of Sonic The Hedgehog 1, the labyrinth boss battle takes place completely underwater, but you cannot drown on the stage. Instead there are no air bubbles and the drowning timer has been turned off.
- Sonic Erazor has the Hard Part Skipper, a device that's placed before especially difficult parts that will skip them, though you lose all your rings and power-ups in the process.
- Super Meat Boy, being the Nintendo Hard twitch-platformer it is, has very quick, automatic respawns after death. No more "PRESS R TO TRY AGAIN", yay! The levels themselves are short, from 15 seconds to 90 seconds, so that after you die, you don't have to go through too much again.
- Various little side-quests when you get too frustrated with the main game, like beating past levels in record time, collecting bandages to unlock new playable characters, or playing through retro-styled "warp zones".
- When you finally do beat a level, the game then shows you a replay of all your past lives doing the level simultaneously, which is good for showing you where the hardest parts of the level were. It's also kinda hilarious to see a cloud of Meat Boys get shredded to half their number by a giant saw.
- The 7th Guest features a hint book in the manor's library. The first two times you use it, you're given hints on how to beat the puzzle you last encountered. Using the book a third time simply solves the puzzle for you. While the game says that using the hint book too often could prove dangerous, you can use the hint book without penalty on every puzzle except the last one.
- There have been countless versions of Breakout, a game in which you attempt to destroy a brick wall by bouncing a ball off your side-scrolling paddle against said wall, taking out a brick with each hit. One version will let a player try to get the very last brick on each level, but will eventually destroy the thing automatically and move on to the next level.
- One variant of Breakout is called Baku Baku Block. There are many different versions of it, but the basic idea is, instead of having blocks, it has a picture, which you "destroy" to reveal a different picture behind it. (Naturally, this lends itself to H-games.) Almost all versions automatically detect when a part of the scene is unchanged and consider those parts to be pre-destroyed, to prevent it from being impossible to see where certain blocks are.
- Hyperballoid makes a special bonus float repeatedly down if three or less blocks are left in the level; catching it instantly teleports you to the next one, so you don't have to repeatedly try to send the ball exactly right to hit the one remaining brick. There is a small points bonus if you avoid the teleport drops and break all the blocks anyway.
- Magic Orbz eventually zaps the last few blocks in a level with lightning if the player is unable to hit anything with the ball within one minute.
- Alpha Bounce has the Javelin, a weapon that is normally accessible via a power-up that destroys an entire column of blocks. When you get down to the last few blocks, however, it becomes freely accessible after a charging period, which gets shorter as you get closer to zero blocks remaining.
- One Looney Tunes Game Boy Color game had a slider puzzle (the kind where you have to slide a bunch of tiles around to make a picture). After enough tries, you could ask another character to do it for you.
- Portal makes use of AFFs throughout both games in ways such as guiding you towards open floor portals that you'd otherwise slightly miss and allowing you to move yourself out of an infinite fall in a way that would not be possible in real life. The main character is also equipped with leg springs that protect her from fall damage, you can't slice yourself in half by placing a new portal when you're half way through one, etc.
- The second game also has one specific instance near the end of the game where you need to keep one end of a portal open on an excursion funnel and fire the other portal at a critical moment to avoid a trap. Normally if you accidentally fire the portal that the funnel is projecting through the funnel would be cut off entirely and you'd fall to your death. For this one particular instance, if you accidentally fire that portal, the other one will silently take its place, keeping the funnel open and avoiding a plummet to your doom because you forgot what colour portal you opened earlier.
- It does this twice, actually. The second time is with the most awesome portal ever. You know the one.
- The game will bend thermal discouragement beams to account for portals that are just a little bit off, either between the source and the in-portal, or the out-portal and the target. In the main game, these fixtures are usually on opposite sides of the room from portal-supporting surfaces or travel over long distances, masking the effect, but it can be very pronounced in some custom maps.
- Tetris Blast's Contest mode will give you a break if you managed to destroy almost the entire stack of blocks. If only a few blocks remain, the next several pieces you get will be made entirely of bomb blocks, enabling you to quickly make a big bomb and finish the level.
- In the Tetris The Grand Master series, the first piece of each game will never be an S, Z, or O, because an S or Z on the first piece forces an overhang, as well as an O followed by an S or Z. The games also heavily bias the randomizer against dealing a piece that has occurred in the last four pieces, so droughts of a single piece (such as the ever-crucial I) are rare. The second and third games also initialize the history to ZSZS, so that an S or Z in the first three pieces is also exceedingly rare. While the series is still very much hard, it's also very fair.
- The rewind feature in Forza Motorsport 3 takes this trope and runs with it. Are you getting to the end of a long endurance race, only to take a turn wide and crash into a wall? No problem! Just hit the back button, rewind, and take the turn again instead of restarting from scratch.
- In Gran Turismo 3, if you fail a License Test requirement enough times in a row (I don't know how many, but it was an ungodly number) they'll give you an unlisted prize called "Kiddie Prize" lower than Bronze that would let you technically pass that portion of the test, albeit with a horrendous score.
- If I remember correctly, this also happened in Gran Turismo 2.
- The Mario Kart games are quite well known for this. In general, better items are given to those at the back of the pack. First-place characters mostly receive Mushrooms and bananas, whereas 8th place characters mostly receive Stars, Boos, and the dreaded Blue Shells. However, this usually applies to human players much more strongly in order to help them catch up. A human in 8th place will likely receive a game-breaking item each time, but a CPU player probably will not.
- The fourth Time Crisis game moves away from hard science fiction by including bioengineered monstrosities as opponents. The termite-like things rush at you in a line and are almost impossible to beat without using a machine gun, and the literal Goddamn Bats appear in swarms and can only be handled with a shotgun. Fortunately, your NPC ally will give you his extra ammo if you run out during those fights.
- In any such game, especially games like Dungeons & Dragons, resurrection. At lower levels, if your character dies, he's dead and you probably aren't all that attached so you roll up a new character. Once you've worked up to mid levels, you probably don't want your character to stay dead but fortunately by this point you usually have some means to get your character raised.
- Pathfinder added Anti-Frustration Features to Resurrection spells. In Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, all core resurrection abilities carried a fundamental drawback, causing permanent loss of either levels or stats to the resurrected character, or else costing the caster experience points. There was an exception printed in a splatbook called "Revivify," that a level lower than the lowest level core Resurrection spell. It's only drawbacks were that it cost 1000 gold up front (which was affordable for a 9th level party) and had to be used within 1 round of the character dying. In practice, this led to high level casters preferring Revivify to the higher level resurrections as it had much smaller strings attached. For Paizo Press' Pathfinder revision of 3.5, the level losses were replaced with negative levels, which are a significant debuff but can be cured relatively easily, meaning that being resurrected is still a pain but no longer puts one party member behind the others.
- Negative Levels were a huge anti-frustration feature. Before third edition, monsters inflicted a permanent removal of one or more levels with an energy drain attack with every hit. A vampire who tagged your character twice would rip four levels away immediately - and items and spells that could stop it were rarer than rare. Given that four levels could amount to months of adventuring, this would set a player back and likely make it so that character was nowhere near as capable as the other Player Characters. Negative levels replace this with a deadly but removable and temporary debuff.
- Speaking of Pathfinder, losing XP for casting spells and creating items was removed, as were wonky favored class XP penalties, which were replaced with a simple bonus for sticking to your favored class.
- Before 3rd edition, your chance to survive resurrection was based on your Constitution, and if you failed the roll, you were Deader than Dead. The party could invest in bringing you back just for one bad roll to ensure you never came back and that their efforts were in vain.
- Also, the presence of a Game Master is meant to be a built-in Anti-Frustration Feature as they can rule differently on anything that unduly kills the fun, if they're doing their job correctly.
Real Time Strategy
- League of Legends reduces the gold an enemy gets for killing you when you are on a death streak so he stops getting even stronger and stomping you even harder.
- Starcraft II has a few cases of this kicking in. Forgot to evacuate your SCVs on Redstone during a lava surge? Raynor lets 5 new ones airdrop to get things running again. On a more general note, the defeat menu lets you easily restart a mission on a lower difficulty, and the game saves progress automatically quite often.
- The Heart of the Swarm singleplayer campaign tweaks the Zerg faction significantly to make it much more player-friendly. Injecting larvae is removed, instead letting them spawn much more quickly and numerously by themselves. <Hero> Must Survive is averted except in special cases, making Kerrigan Awesome yet Practical rather than a liability. Numerous passive powerups make base management less fidgety. The list goes on, and while this leaves it pretty far disconnected from the multiplayer faction, it's a lot of fun.
- In the single American version of Beatmania IIDX, if you are playing on
Hard Challenge mode and your Life Meter falls below 30%, the penalty for BADs and POORs will decrease.
- This has been used since 9th Style in the Japanese releases, and applies to Hard, Expert Courses, and Dan'inintei Mode. Of course, Konami seems to have used this as an excuse to make the Dan'inintei courses use harder songs.
- In the DJMAX series, beginning with DJMAX Portable Black Square, if you hit the wrong key for a note, you will still get the full percentage for it, but only get 80% of the points. The inclusion of this has proven very controversial among fans, because now you can full-combo or get 100% on a song without even hitting the right buttons at all.
- Later Guitar Hero and Rock Band games have a "no fail" feature, so you can finish the song no matter how badly you screw it up.
- DJ Hero, unlike the other "Hero" games, never featured a meter showing the general quality of your performance, making failing a song impossible.
- LEGO Rock Band, a game meant to be inclusive to young kids, includes a "Super-Easy" mode where not only can you not fail out of a song, you don't even need to finger the correct buttons on the guitar, match vocal pitch, or hit the right drum pads (you only have to strum at the correct time, sing at the correct time, or use the kick pedal at the correct time).
- If you fail a song in jubeat, but are in a linked match in which at least one other player clears the song, you'll be "Saved" and allowed to play your next stage, if any. You can also be "Saved" on your first stage...but only if you're playing without an e-Amusement Pass.
- A new feature added in the sequel to Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan was the ability to continue a song once after failing, rather than having to start over from the beginning. However, this can only be done on the easiest difficulty, and not on the final song.
- Newer releases of Pop N Music and Pump It Up will always give you a second stage even if you fail your first onenote . This allows you to utilize the first stage to practice more difficult songs or songs that you are not confident that you will clear.
- This is also true for Drummania, Guitar Freaks (as of V6, at least, but probably earlier) and IIDX (at least as of Sirius, and again, probably earlier).
- In DJMAX Technika, you can run out of Life Meter on the first stage of Pop Mixing and still get a second stage. On the second stage, running out of life won't end the game immediately, but you won't get a third stage. On stage 3, running out of life is an automatic Game Over. The same, however, cannot be said of Technika 2.
- beatmania IIDX, but only if you play on a Level 6 chart or below on your first stage.
- If you fail a minigame in Rhythm Heaven enough times, you can talk to the barista, who will let you skip that stage and go on to the next one.
- The Binding of Isaac has deep pits, but doesn’t let you fall into them: they just act like barriers, much like rocks. Speaking of rocks, you can fill these pits in by blowing apart adjacent rocks.
- Despite its punishing difficulty, Dungeon Crawl will stop you from executing a staggering amount of foolish actions. The game will stop you from doing certain things that would otherwise outright kill you (walking into deep water, auto-moving while starving), and will ask for confirmation on potentially risky actions (moving adjacent to deep water while confused, stepping into dangerous traps while badly injured). You're still likely to die for a thousand other reasons, but at least the game is rooting for you.
- In FTL: Faster Than Light, it is possible for your ship's teleporter to get disabled while the entirety of your crew is on board the enemy ship. Should this happen and your boarding team emerge victorious, your boarding team will take a shuttle back to your ship so as to prevent an Unwinnable state.
- In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time, if your team or client is defeated or otherwise fails to clear a dungeon, their money and/or items in the team's Treasure Bag are lost, but any items stored with Kangaskhan and money deposited with Duskull are safe.
- Any game that has you managing multiple party members but features auto-leveling. You want to go through planning and optimizing your character's builds? Great. You think that's a waste of time? We'll provide you a serviceable default build.
- In the Baten Kaitos games, dying to a boss will allow you to modify your decks and start the boss fight over from the beginning, as opposed to kicking you to the title screen like normal deaths do. You'll be thankful for it; bosses in these games are hard and tend to have long-winded Exposition Breaks before the fight.
- In Origins, the guardian spirit (that is, you, the player) has this power. The guardian spirit can manipulate the draws you get from your deck according to your needs. If you are setting up a combo, the spirit's effect helps you draw magnus to complete that combo. If a party member is at low health, the effect makes drawing healing magnus much more likely. The better the relationship Sagi has with his spirit, the more this effect kicks in.
- Also in Origins, the final dungeon has 4 block puzzles where you must fly through several blocks without running into any wall or otherwise stopping as you go from one safe spot to the next. Failing results in you being sent to the start. Fail too much, and your party will add their power to yours, greatly increasing the amount of time you can fly in the area.
- In Chrono Cross, you can run away from literally any fight in the game. If you're losing to a boss, you can escape, and while some of them will just draw you back into the fight, it'll at least reset your elements and give you a chance to heal.
- Custom Robo lets you give your opponent an HP handicap if you lost to them repeatedly. If that's not enough, losing even more lets you give them even higher handicaps, up to taking away 75% of their health from the get-go.
- In the GCN game this overlaps with Easy-Mode Mockery in the epilogue, as it lowers your score twice (you get penalties for losing and having to retry and for using a handicap, and beating the high score in each area unlocks some stuff).
- The original Deus Ex. A laser sensor blocking a section of the hallway in an underground tunnel: I could lockpick the hatch to the canal that bypasses it or... oh, hey, is that an EMP grenade in the sewage pipe? An army of military drones patrolling an airport cargo yard: I could just elegantly sneak past them or... oh, hey, is that a multi-shot guided missile launcher on the guard tower table? Long stretches of water: you're guaranteed to find rebreathers nearby. This made some of the more specialized nanopowers pretty useless, since you could always count on the designers to cut you some slack and provide helpful gear—to the point of being patronizing.
- Dragon Age: Origins has a lot of these. An early example would be in Lothering, when you can pick up Sten, a powerful warrior who joins you without any equipment for plot reasons. This early in the game, you can hardly afford to buy any armor for him, so he looks pretty useless... right up to the point when you loot an entire set of decent heavy armor during an unrelated side quest.
- A more prominent example is in Orzammar, which is widely seen as one of the toughest sections of the game. Since you can and will be attacked in the street, even in what would be a safe area in any other of the game's cities, the game autosaves every time you come out a doorway, so on the off chance you get wiped, you won't lose too much progress.
- Dragon Quest IV has an Iron Safe, an item which can be obtained by Torneko during chapter 3. It prevents a regular 50% money loss when being wiped out during battles, but you can't carry it over to latter chapters: the reason it exists is due to the heavy emphasis on getting enough money to finish the chapter.
- Dragon Quest VIII does not have such safe, but unlike other games, all four characters will be revived and completely healed after you've been beaten, making a game over less painful as you don't need to spend more money reviving them.
- Dragon Quest games in general tend to have banks, which take deposits of 1000 GP at a time. If you die, you don't lose any of the gold stored there. A definitely nice feature where deaths normally cost 1/2 of your total GP.
- In Final Fantasy XII you can go after the Elite Mark Yiazmat, who has fifty million HP. The battle can take hours. But don't despair! Unlike every other battle, you can use a nearby Crystal to save your game. In addition, as long as it didn't cast Regen before you left (which would basically reset its health to max - unfortunate if you dropped it so far it Turns Red), you could grind your heart out elsewhere and it would remain at the same HP it did as when you left. An easier boss Hell Wyrm works in the same way
- Final Fantasy VI allows you to retain all EXP earned since your last save (but not stat point increases from Espers) if you are defeated in battle; in all the other Final Fantasy games, you just get kicked back to the title screen. This is actually somewhat necessary in this game to avoid an Unwinnable situation; some saves are in one-way locations, particularly the save before the Mag Roaders. The characters must hop on an unstoppable cart and kill six random encounters plus a boss in a row, with no way to save in between, and no random encounters to level up on in the save area. Low-level characters could be fucked if not for this situation which allows them to gain EXP on one of the cart enemies, die, then repeat.
- When you're infiltrating the Shinra Headquarters in Final Fantasy VII, you have to try and sneak past several patrols of armed soldiers. If they see you, you're forced into a fight. However, if you botch it four times, you'll have ended up killing all the guards and you can just continue on.
- Losing any fight in Final Fantasy Mystic Quest gives you the option to just start the fight over again right then and there. If you were killed in an ambush, it even turns it into a regular encounter for you. Furthermore, every single party member is capable of casting Life, even non-mages Tristam and Reuben.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, normally, a loss is a loss, whether the normal enemies or the bosses take you out. However, in certain boss battles (Xaldin being one of them), you're given an option to continue the battle with Mickey Mouse taking over for your party temporarily. He can't actually defeat the boss, though, as he lacks a combo finisher: instead the main purpose is to initiate an Action Command to revive Sora at full HP. If Mickey gets defeated, Sora will revive anyway but at partial HP. Mickey can intervene multiple times (even during the same boss battle), but the chance of him showing up decreases each time, with the fourth and beyond having the lowest probability.
- Knights of the Old Republic give you to ability to switch party members almost anywhere, avoiding the need to return to your base.
- In Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, the DS remake of Lufia II, whenever you get game over, you have the option to either continue with the levels you had when you died, or to continue with the levels of your entire party raised by five.
- In Mass Effect 3, there are several weapons and upgrades that you can pick up during missions, as well as items required to complete minor Fetch Quests. If you miss the opportunities to get these items, then they become available to purchase on the Citadel, so they are not Lost Forever or Unwinnable by Mistake (with the exception of a few secret weapons).
- Related to the above, you have a requisition officer on your ship who can get you the items from any shop you've visited at only 10% higher price. Of course in Mass Effect 3, all the shops are on the Citadel so it’s not that hard to visit them all anyway.
- The Vanguard class gets an upgrade allowing players who don't like the slow methodical gameplay of cover-based shooters to charge about the field slamming and shooting and regenerating mid-slam.
- In Ōkamiden, ink doesn't regenerate over time, unlike the previous game. Instead, they gave you twice as much ink, an item to restore three full bottles (Spirit Ink, and it restores more at larger sizes), and put things that drop ink restoring pickups everywhere, some of which respawn, as well as making bosses drop said pickups. It's still possible to get into an Unwinnable situation, so they gave you a redo option on the pause menu, which returns you to a nearby place.
- In Pokémon Colosseum, if you fail to snag a Shadow Pokemon from an enemy trainer, you had to refight that trainer - in the case of bosses, with noticably improved teams. In the sequel, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, a failure to snag resulted in said Shadow Pokemon being stolen by Miror B, a preferrable fight because a) his team was considerably weak throughout the entire game, save for what is essentially a Bonus Boss fight for 100% Completion, and b) his battle music was one of the best tracks in the series.
- In Resonance of Fate, losing a battle gives you the choice of restoring your last save, restarting the battle over for a modest fee, or (where this trope kicks in) restarting the battle with a full Hero Gauge for ten times that fee. Ponying up that amount of money can smart, but when the alternative is running an entire dungeon again and hoping you don't lose as many bezels this time, you'll be happy the option is there.
- Riviera: The Promised Land allowed you to retry a boss again and again, cutting out some of their HP until they reached 25% of their original life. A family of Palette Swap Bosses also blow you away if you anger them in the battle... And you can go back and engage them again after walking back to their screen, with the HP you whittled away from them never regenerating, and only your rank and reward suffering.
- Fail a (fairly simple) multiple-lights puzzle enough times in Shadow Hearts: From The New World, and Johnny will simply kick in the doors it was locking.
- The various Shin Megami Tensei games have as a central mechanic the fact that you can fuse demons together to get new, more powerful demons. However, in Devil Survivor, you can look up fusion combinations for certain demons instead of working it out with a fusion chart and a guide. You can also choose inherited skills instead of leaving it up to the whims of the Random Number God.
- In the Golden Ending version of the second Kudlak/Kresnik battle, Kaido joins you as an NPC ally. However, you have to let Mari (also an NPC ally) deal the finishing blow to the boss, or he Comes Back Strong and kills her in an unavoidable cutscene later. If Kaido would deal the finishing blow, he instead beats him down to 1 HP, making it very easy for Mari to finish him off.
- Persona 3 Portable gave the player selectable difficulty levels, with a second one new to this version: There's still Easy for those familiar with the game who didn't want too much of a hassle, which gave you 10 items that revive your party and restore all your HP and SP upon death, and in addition to that, there's also Easier Than Easy Beginner, which gave you 30 of them.
- In Super Mario RPG all EXP gained before death is retained to cut down on Level Grinding, but everything else is reverted to their original states since your last save.
- Super Robot Wars has you retain all exp and money earned on gameovers while bringing you to the intermission screen with a few variations in parts depending on the game. One of which is a possible penality of missing out the SR Point/Battle Mastery for the level, with games without such things, you can retry all you want until you finally beat the level. It's also well-known some players intentionally abuse it to do some Level Grinding.
- Tales of Hearts has several "light up all panels in a 4x4 grid by walking on them at the right order" puzzles you need to do in a row. If you take too long to solve any of them, your party members will offer to do them for you. They'll be happy to demonstrate that they're smarter than the protagonist for the first 2 times, but from the 3rd time onwards, they'll mutter angrily about your incompetence while solving it.
- Similarly, Tales of Phantasia has a puzzle that challenges you to hit a series of switches at the same time as your computer controlled ally, who just refuses to walk straight at a consistent pace and keeps stopping, speeding up and slowing down randomly. If you, playing as Cless, fail to hit the switches with Arche enough times, your other two party members will take over, hitting all the switches in record time.
- In Tales of Legendia, the party comes across many puzzle chambers where they must make use of the Sorcerer's Ring to solve them. Whenever they feel like it, the player can ask a party member to solve it for them. Doing so at any single puzzle room locks a Title away from you, however, but hey.
- Moses offers similar help in a forest maze but getting the help loses you a title for Senel.
- Also present in Tales of the Abyss, where at one point you must sneak through a forest without being spotted by enemy guards. Failing this five times, the game gives you the option of simply attacking said guards.
- There is also the short "re-draw the fonic glyph" minigame, where Tear will do it for you if you fail. Unlike the above example, however, you rob yourself of 100% Completion this way (at least unless you do it right the next time).
- In Tales of Symphonia too, you have to do an ice puzzle across a geyser. If you mess up, the character with the highest affection will save Lloyd, and then Kratos will do the puzzle for you.
- In the Macintosh RPG TaskMaker, you can invoke a hidden spell to toggle certain options, such as the stepping sound your player makes when moving, the "ooph" sound for running into a wall, and the appearance of random monsters. You can also toggle whether or not the game automatically saves whenever you enter or exit a dungeon or town, which can be helpful for a quick revert if you die. The Tomb of the TaskMaker makes those options more easily accessible, and adds a further feature in that you can buy hint scrolls to help you if you're stuck on any task in the game's Fetch Quest.
- Vagrant Story has some rather fiendish Block Puzzles in the late-game areas and the Bonus Dungeon. Fortunately, the game includes an item called Faerie Wing which, when used, boosts Ashley's running speed and jump height, allowing some of the puzzles to be made easier or bypassed entirely.
- The World Ends with You has difficulty levels that unlock as the game progresses, and that you can switch between whenever you're out of battle. Great for if you're just trying to beat the game, but switching between different difficulty levels is also necessary to get some of those Rare Random Drops. Additionally, if you get a Game Over, you have the option to retry on Easy so you can complete the battles easily without the punishment of escaping (which results in a drop in Sync Rate if done consecutively) or going back to the title screen (which erases any unsaved progress).
- Mega Man starts with three items and Rush Search in Rockman 4 Minus Infinity. In addition, dying three times on the final Escape Sequence causes the spikes to turn green and only do one damage, in addition to giving you more time.
Shoot 'Em Ups
- The Flash Game Bubble Tanks had Level Drain as a mechanic- when you killed enemies, you collected their bubbles as experience points. However, if you took any form of damage, you would lose experience points depending on how strong the attack was. Thankfully, if you get hit one too many times in an area, the next unexplored area will usually contain harmless Pinata Enemies who cannot attack and tend to drop a lot of experience bubbles.
- Radiant Silvergun lets you keep your weapon upgrades when you die or continue. Saturn mode in the Sega Saturn version will even keep your old weapon upgrades when you start a new game.
- In Star Fox 64, the boss of the planet Zoness can only be beaten with Nova Bombs. Ran out of bombs on your flight through the level? No problem-the missiles the boss shoots at you each produce a bomb when shot.
- The Scarlet and Netherworld teams in Touhou's Imperishable Night have special abilities that help prevent wasted bombs: Scarlet drops an extra bomb item if you die while still holding one or more, and Netherworld gives you an extra bomb if you finish the stage with fewer than the starting three. Normally, bombs held at death are just lost.
- Undefined Fantastic Object and Ten Desires from the same series do something similar for all characters: if you die with more than the starting two bombs, you keep the extras (including pieces).
- Several examples in the Animal Crossing series:
- In the original game, in order to change the tool you're using, you have to open up the inventory screen and manually unequip and re-equip your equipment. Later games allow you to quickly switch between tools by using the D-Pad.
- Also in the original game, watering all of your flowers can be difficult if you have a lot and can easily lose track of which you've already watered; the later games have flowers sparkle after they've been watered.
- Again in the original game, fruit isn't stackable. Since you can harvest a lot of fruit at once, this means that you'll be making a lot of trips to and from the shop. Later games allow you to have up to 9 pieces of fruit in one slot.
- Three of the four town ordinances in New Leaf are anti-frustration features, allowing the player to slightly modify the game in order to make it more convenient for them (note that you can only have one ordinance in effect at a time, to prevent the game from becoming completely broken):
- The "Keep Your Town Beautiful" ordinance makes your town "decay" more slowly when it's not being played (flowers don't wilt, weeds appear less often, no cockroaches, etc.), lessening the pressure to Play Every Day.
- The "Early Bird" ordinance has stores open and villagers wake up earlier (e.g., Re-Tail opens at 6 AM instead of 9 AM) for players who can only play or who prefer to play early in the morning.
- The "Night Owl" ordinance has stores close and villagers go to bed later (e.g., Re-Tail closes at 2 AM instead of 11 PM) for players who can only play or who prefer to play late at night.
- The "Bell Boom" ordinance is the only one which doesn't fall into this category; it increases buying and selling prices by 20%, allowing a player to make more Bells more quickly.
- In Crimson Skies, if you fail a mission repeatedly, you get the option to skip it.
- In the original The Sims, advancing up one's career ladder requires your Sim to have a certain number of friends. For example, reaching the level ten job in the politics career track, Mayor of Sim City, requires a whopping seventeen friends. This is made even more difficult by the fact that relationships degrade by a few points every day regardless of what you do, and once the relationship score falls below a certain threshold, the friendship ends and must be restored. It's very difficult for a working Sim to have enough time to form and maintain so many friendships. However, the friends requirement is actually household friends, not personal friends, meaning that the friends of all the people in the working sim's household count toward his friend total. A classic strategy is to have one Sim work and a second to do all the socializing.
- In The Sims 3, fulfilling your Sim's daily wishes earns you Lifetime Happiness points which can basically be used to buy anti-frustration features. You can make it so that your friendships decrease much more slowly over time, or various other needs of your Sim do not decline or decline much more slowly, among numerous other perks. Essentially, you are rewarded for keeping your Sim happy by making it easier to keep them happy in the future.
- During one mission in the first Trauma Center that requires you to work on five Kyriaki patients, if you've got at least three of them done and run out of time, the backup team takes over and you move on... so long as the patient who you were working on when time expired survives. If that patient dies, you don't get this relief and the Medical Board will be notified.
- Also when you to work on a Pempti patient, you're given a special laser that is justified as being higher powered than normal. Gameplay-wise, this means the laser never breaks or needs to cool down, you can fire it for as long as you like. Given how much you need to use the laser on Pempti, this definitely qualifies.
- Punch-Out!! for Wii features an interesting rule: if Little Mac loses 100 matches he is allowed to fight with protective headgear. Unfortunately, this rule applies to all boxers—and after KO'ing the 1-99 Glass Joe for your first fight, guess who your first opponent will be when you're defending your title?
- In Cold Fear, saving takes the form of scripted checkpoints that occur right before a Difficulty Spike or That One Level. Chances are that if the player gets a Game Over, it's never too far away from the last save.
- Tom gets 50% of his health back before the Final Boss so that the arduous fight is not rendered Unwinnable by arriving with low health.
- In boss battles of Eternal Darkness, sanity effects that would interrupt your chances of survival don't activate.
- Resident Evil 2 has Sherry Birkin, a 12 year old girl that has only a First-Aid Spray and nothing else to defend herself with against zombies and zombified dogs. On the plus side, Sherry has the most health out of all the playable characters to compensate for her lack of weaponry and slow running speed.
- Resident Evil 4 features different difficulty levels, and the game will change this difficulty depending on how well you're doing. If you consistently die in the same area, the game will get easier until you pass it. Conversely, doing well in these areas without much trouble makes the game harder. It's designed so you'll eventually find a difficulty that's not too easy, and not too hard.
- Resident Evil 5 has Quick Time Events become easier if you fail them. For example, a button mashing sequence can turn into a simple one time button press.
- If you messed up a Quick Time Event enough times in Resident Evil 6 by pressing the wrong buttons, it will silently accept the wrong button press so long as it's pressed in time. Easy mode always does this for you.
- In Silent Hill 1, if you run out of bullets at most times, you're in trouble, but if you run out of bullets in the last boss fight (or simply enter with none in the first place) the boss keels over dead straight away.
- Ditto for Silent Hill 2. Upon entering the boss without any ammo, the game then becomes a timed battle, with the boss dropping dead upon the timer running out.
Third Person Shooters
- In Gears of War 2, there are parts where you have to use your lancer's chainsaw bayonet to cut through obstacles blocking your path. No worries if you drop your lancer to pick up another gun, though, as there is always a lancer on the ground somewhere near the obstacle.
- Also found in the first Gears of War game, where any time you absolutely need a Hammer of Dawn to progress, one will be found somewhere nearby. This is made even more obvious by the fact that two will be found side by side. This is even more required to avoid headaches than the obstacles in the sequel. The Lancer actually has some motivation for you to keep it, but the Hammer of Dawn is a worthless piece of trash when you're out a boss fight that needed it, since the satellites always seemed to be out of alignment shortly after completion (or you had to go indoors).
- On the other hand, when you do get the chance to use the Hammer on ordinary Mooks (for example, when a Seeder is protected by a Mook Rush) it is awesome.
- Cleverly subverted in Kid Icarus: Uprising. If you die in a level, hearts put into the fiend's cauldron will spill out, lowering the difficulty by a single level. However, this also means that the items you find or have found in treasure boxes get weaker and less useful.
- The final scene of Max Payne is unwinnable without a Grenade Launcher (or any other explosive) and a sniper rifle. And just in case you run out of ammo, the final group of Mooks has two guys who wield just those two weapons. You'd wonder what use are they in THAT situation...
- In the third game, in some cases your health will reset to full if you die and need to go back to a checkpoint, even if you were on the verge of death when you trigger it. Keep dying and you'll get additional painkillers and ammo, just in case ammo shortages are the problem. Also, for most of the Achievements/Trophies where you have to kill a certain number of people during a scripted Bullet Time sequence, there will be a checkpoint immediately beforehand, allowing you to retry immediately rather than slog through part of the level first. Said sequences will also give you Bottomless Magazines with no need to reload, but rate of fire remains the same so you're SOL if you only have a slow-firing handgun.
- Also during the third game, Last Man Standing ignores body armor or ammo straps. You can shoot at an enemy anywhere to get back up, as opposed to needing a headshot as Max is falling.
- In the tanker chapter of Metal Gear Solid 2, if you have 4 out of the 5 photos Otacon needs, but the timer is nearly expired, Otacon tells you to forget about the last photo and get out.
- Also, on some difficulties, Snake will offer to shoot down the drones that are attacking Emma while she makes her way across the water, as long as you have them in your rifle sights.
- There's also an anti-frustration feature built into the guards' AI. When an enemy spots you they will run off to take cover and call for backup, at which point Alert Mode is activated and reinforcements arrive. Running into a loading screen (like transitioning between maps) before the enemy finishes his call to HQ resets the map as if nothing happened. Since the game grades your sneakiness on the number of times you enter alert mode, and not the number of times you are caught, some speed-runners use this as a shortcut. However, getting caught by a CYPHER or surveillance camera would instantly activate Alert Mode.
- Unfortunately, Metal Gear Solid 3 changed it; enemies will instantly go into Alert Mode if they spot you and delaying the call to HQ only affects when backup will arrive.
- Throughout the entire series, starting from the first Metal Gear, you can always get unlimited ammo by getting said ammo, leaving that part of the map and go back in for more. You never really run out of ammo unless you decide to just keep going.
- The Ratchet & Clank series lets you retain all the experience for your weapons and maximum HP if you die. Plus, you've got an infinite number of lives, so dogged persistence will eventually get you through any part of the game.
- But it doesn't help that at times, the last checkpoint was five minutes ago and you have to go through a sequence again.
- A Crack In Time features puzzles that make you use several versions of Clank to stand on multiple switches to open the door to the next section. If you fail enough times, the game will give you the option to skip the puzzle, but you won't get any bolts.
- Whenever a situation arises in Sniper Elite V2 that requires a lot of bullets to solve, you will always have nearby a box with a full refill for your sniper rifle, just in case you've managed to run out to get to that point.
- In the first Splinter Cell game, the final step of the final level requires you to snipe the Big Bad with a head shot. Fortunately, there is a magazine of rifle ammunition conveniently placed on the railing of the balcony from where you need to take that sniper shot, and his may be the only body the player doesn't have to worry about hiding.
- In Conviction the Sam has infinite pistol magazines, and picked-up weapons "magically" gain any upgrades that the player's already bought for them.
- While Sam may only have one Mark and Execute token (granted by performing a melee takedown) at any given time, in several areas with multiple enemies there's often a lone enemy guard in the vicinity or earlier in the level whose position is relatively isolated, allowing for a stealthy takedown before having to deal with those remaining guards. For example, the second level practically frontloads them: a guard in the nearest corner of a low wall surrounding the mansion may be taken down from above without the two guards at the front door noticing, while soon afterward a guard looking out of an open window can be dragged out to his death without the guards in the adjoining rooms overhearing the kill... and quietly opening the door nearest to the middle of the room reveals another lone guard leaning over a railing with his back to the door, who can be taken down quietly without any of the guards downstairs or in the adjoining rooms noticing.
- Finally, the Persistent Elite Challenges do not have a difficulty requirement, so for example there's no in-game penalty for attempting a "no detection" run or a "no firearms use" run on the lowest difficulty setting instead of a higher one, and there are only two co-op challenges but while other challenges are mode-agnostic.
- At the very end of the single-player story, if you actually want to hear the Big Bad give a Motive Rant, he'll walk into melee range least three times and strongly hint on the third one that he's about to wrap it up and execute Sam if you don't take that last chance.
- In Warframe, if you fall into a Bottomless Pit, you will be automatically brought back up.
- In Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, when your game autosaves it doesn't save your health. If you die with a sliver of health left after the autosave, you revive with full health.
- The final boss in The Warriors can only be defeated by throwing a knife at him after you get his health down a certain amount. If you managed to fudge it up, the boss will send mooks after you with knives.
- In the Uncharted games, during the segments where you have to shoot while hanging from something, if you run out of ammo, the game will give you enough for another clip. This way, you're never helpless.
- The seishin search menu, first added in SRW Gaiden, lets you select multiple pilots with the same seishin and activate them all at once in Shin Super Robot Wars. This is a big improvement over past SRW games where you could only activate one seishin at a time.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies has your partner give advice if you keep screwing up a cross examination and they may even flat out tell you which part of the testimony is false, but you still have to use your own brain to figure out what piece of evidence contradicts the testimony. If you happen to lose a trial, you can opt to try again on the part you screwed up with a fully restored life bar, which helps curb on Save Scumming.
Wide Open Sandboxes
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim you have a limited inventory—it is loosely based on the amount of stuff your character could feasibly carry, divided into units—so your character starts with a capacity of 300 units, and gold ingots "weigh" one unit, a heavy armor helmet weighs maybe five units, so on and so forth. Every item in the game you can put into your inventory has a weight—including bees, flowers, and butterfly wings (thus making Skyrim a place where steel ingots and five butterflies weigh the same). There are only four exceptions to the weight rule: Lockpicks, of which you'll burn five or more per high-level lock, easy. Arrows are also weightless, so being a bad shot isn't so painful. Thirdly notes, maps and other single paper objects are weightless as well though books do have weight. And lastly, the game's currency is also weightless. Thank Divines.
- Most quest items also weigh nothing despite having a weight value (particularly helpful as quest items cannot be dropped), although some quest items can lead to problems. If you pick up a common item that's also used in a current quest, you can't drop any of them until the quest item is removed by the game (for example, returning the item to its owner), and these objects DO weigh you down. It is quite possible to end up with 200 heavy Giant Toes in your inventory with no way to get rid of any of them short of using the console and little hint as to how to remove their quest item status.
- L.A. Noire has an option to let you skip an action sequence if you fail it three times in a row, along with letting your partner drive to a destination you set to avoid bad driver penalties, or as a form of fast travel.
- Red Dead Redemption is quite open-handed with its autosaving, automatically securing any sidequest you may have completed. Finish a Stranger mission and then get mauled by a cougar on the way back to town? When you respawn, you'll see that the mission is still complete. As a bonus, if you don't like what happened (for example, if you unwittingly made a really bad moral choice), the autosave is on a different file in the HD than your manual save.
- In the "Veteran Child" mission in Saints Row 2, you have to use flashbangs to separate the eponymous boss from his human shield Shaundi. Don't have enough? Well VC was kind enough to leave some lying around.
- In Saints Row The Third, in the one mission Oleg (who can't ride in most cars) joins you that involves vehicular travel, the game is very generous in spawning utility trucks. Even then, it will waive the normal failure condition of abandoning followers, having him catch up and rejoin you at the next objective without penalty.
- In The Simpsons Hit & Run and The Simpsons Road Rage, if you fail a mission five times, it lets you skip it. However, Hit and Run doesn't allow it for the final missions though, preventing many from finishing the game. Unfortunately, doing so also skips the cutscenes you see after completing the mission, resulting in some confusion (for instance skipping the last mission of the first stage of Hit And Run will make you have no clue why everyone stopped suspecting Mr. Burns or the black vans).
- In Sleeping Dogs, when Wei Shen is at less than half of his original Health/a quarter of his maximum possible Health after using all Health Shrines) and not taking damage, he will regenerate Health until it reaches half of his original Health/a quarter of his maximum possible Health. Filling the Face Meter in combat and/or consuming foods can regenerate his Health past that point, while entering one of Wei's apartments will immediately break off combat and sleeping will immediately restore Wei to full Health.
- A common feature in many computerized Pinball games is the "ball saver", where the game will automatically load or launch another ball at no cost if your original one drains soon after launch. This feature can sometimes be abused by attempting to score as many points as you can before the ball saver timeout expires, but some programs will negate any score you might have received during a saved ball.
- F-14 Tomcat was the first pinball game to have this feature, called "Flight Insurance".
- After multiball ends in Williams Electronics' Earthshaker!, the player can shoot the ball into the Shelter within 15 seconds to start Aftershock, giving another chance to score the jackpot.
- In Elvira and the Party Monsters , if you score poorly on the first two balls, the Extra Ball light will be activated at the start of the third ball.
- This is also used in Sega's ''Pinball/ many Sega pinball games
- The ball saver in Pokémon Pinball is activated at the beginning of a new ball and for the first 60 seconds of the Catch 'Em and Evolution Modes.
- In No Good Gofers, the bumpers on the left side of the table will occasionally direct the ball(s) toward the left outlane. Thankfully, there's a kickback that will propel the ball back to the playing field, even when it's not lit.
- Space Shuttle has the "Airlock", a gate on the right outlane that opens to redirect balls to the flippers, and the "Heat Shield", a pop-up post between the flippers to prevent drains.
- The original release of Star Wars (Data East) didn't have a ball saver at all, but one was added in a 2012 software update.
- In Sega's Star Wars Trilogy, if you start X-Wing Multiball but drain two balls without even one attempt at shooting for the Jackpot, the ramp and the X-Wing saucer will light for 15 seconds; hit either one, and the game will automatically launch a ball to resume multiball.
- In general, Zen Studios' digital pinball games (Zen Pinball and Pinball FX) tend to have very generous ball save timers, sometimes up to a minute after a ball is launched.
- Theatre of Magic not only has a ball saver, but hitting the "Hocus Pocus" target enables two magnetic ball savers near the outlanes, which automatically catch any wayward balls.
- In addition to a ball saver, Gottlieb's Gladiators lets a player stop the pop bumpers by holding down both flipper buttons. This is useful if the ball is in the pop bumpers when a Timed Mission starts and he wants to quickly get the ball to the flippers.
- Related to this, many pinball games freeze mode timers when the ball is in the bumpers.
- Airborne Avenger has a ball save gate in the rightmost outlane to return potential drains to the launcher.
- In 3-D Ultra Pinball, if you launch a ball and fail to score before it drains, the game gives you a "bozo ball" for another go.
- In Kirby's Pinball Land, getting a Maxim Tomato will temporarily block the gap between the flippers.
Non-Video Game examples
- In the book Heir Apparent, there's a 'cheat' in the game that makes the game easier to play, and the characters act out of character to help the main character if the main character starts to cry.