So it's the middle of the night, you're being chased by mangled oversized toddlers with knives through a Kafkaesque take on a dark and twisted elementary school
, and you realize that in all the chaos you've completely forgotten to change the batteries in your flashlight. Sounds like a problem, right? Wrong! Your portable light source will never run out unless the plot dictates otherwise
Of course, many games don't take enough in-game time to complete for four D-cells of battery power to run out. But even if you can take weeks or even months
to complete the main plot, the flashlight will never run out. Definitely an Acceptable Break from Reality
Commonly, the Infinite Flashlight has a dimmer output than its contrasting counterpart, the Ten-Second Flashlight
, the usual result when developers try to avert this one.
Such things do exist in some form in real life, but typically require shaking to provide kinetic energy to charge a capacitor to power a feeble white LED (granted, you're probably shaking hard enough as it is because of the fiendish killer knife toddlers). More usefully, "survival" flashlights use a crank mechanism and generator to recharge a battery, which is powerful enough to power medium-power
LEDs. A more recent development, "firefly"/"moonlight" mode sets the flashlight to give off a minimum
of light (low enough for any nearby light fixture to make it useless), in exchange for battery life. Even the small and gaunt AAA batteries can last almost a week, while burlier ones that run voltages closer to the 3 volts of LED's can put out light for months
Compare and may sometimes overlap with Nuclear Candle
, where a tiny matchstick is all that is needed to fully illuminate an entire room.
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- Dante from Devil May Cry uses a nugget of Luminite as a makeshift lantern in the first game, and the light never fades.
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has a lantern that consumes magic to light Ten-Second Flashlight torches, but always lights up the area in front of you just fine.
- Luigi's flashlight in Luigis Mansion never runs out throughout the entire game. Admittedly, the game isn't supposed to take that much time, but you still use the flashlight a whole lot.
- The flashlight in Tomb Raider Legend lasts a few seconds, while the flashlight in Underworld is indeed infinite.
- In Adventure (the text game from 1976) your first set of flashlight batteries will run out fairly quickly. After you replace them, the fresh batteries last forever.
- The obscure 1984 computer game Below The Root (based on Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Green-Sky Trilogy) had an underground area that was pitch-dark. It was possible to obtain honeylamps that would provide light for a short time, but to fully explore the area and beat the game, it was highly recommended that you obtain an item called the spirit lamp, which provides light for as long as you hold the item.
- In Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, Nancy Drew can use her flashlight as much as she likes in the one area it's necessary. But of course, when she finds another dark space, the batteries instantly die and she needs to head off for more. After that, the flashlight works perfectly for the rest of the game.
- Not only that, but judging by the icon in the inventory, the flashlight's turned on all the time...
- Possibly justified in Rama, which takes place in the distant future. Arthur C. Clarke did hope that we would tap into zero-point energy someday.
First Person Shooter
- Left 4 Dead. You have the ability to turn it on and off to to sneak past the regular zombies and witches, both of which are less aggravated when they're not being blinded.
- Doom 3. The in-game description even says that it has a static power source. It does get knocked out at one point in the game by some annoying electromagnetic pulses, but it's a temporary thing and it only happens twice, when you are not in immediate danger. The BFG Edition Updated Re-release has a shoulder-mounted Ten-Second Flashlight instead.
- In Bungie's Pathways into Darkness, you only have five days to complete your mission before the Sealed Evil in a Can awakens to destroy ordered reality on earth, your flashlight can last for a week. Although there is a set of nightvision goggles necessary to get past evil creepy-crawlies that are attracted to your flashlight.
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, at least before you get the titular character's 'eyeshine' ability.
- Except for one level—and what a level it is. At one point, Riddick tackles a guard, dropping both of them down a very, very deep well and into the sewers. Riddick thus loses all his weapons and is forced to use the guard's shotgun. The shotgun has a built-in flashlight, as do most of the weapons, but it's been damaged in the fall and flickers continuously. What's more, it'll fail completely in exactly eight minutes, as the computer voice (in the shotgun) helpfully informs you. So you're down in the deep, dank sewers with only a few minutes until you're left in the dark forever. Oh, and did I mention the crazy sewer mutants who pop out of nowhere?
- Averted in the first Halo game, where the flashlight can indeed run out. The flashlights in Halos 2 & 3, however, are infinite, though this is handwaved as drawing power from your new suit's fusion core. It will however turn off on its own in lighted areas.
- F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin uses a headlamp with an infinite battery that flickers specifically during supernatural scare sequences. The previous generation (the first game and its expansions) instead uses a Ten-Second Flashlight, which only flickers lightly when the Point Man and the Sergeant receive an "unknown origin" radio signal and, in the expansions, may be shut off entirely during paranormal setpieces. When either is over, the light goes back to working without issues.
- Team Fortress Classic still has the flashlight from Half-Life in the code, but because the power gauge was removed it now shines indefinitely. If you're curious, you activate it by hitting the ~ key and typing: bind <key> "impulse 100"
- In The Nameless Mod, using a (somewhat rare) augmentation upgrade on your default light enhancement results in this. As a Deus Ex mod (where gameplay pretty much required dark areas), this comes in handy.
- In Bioshock 2, your suit will automatically turn on in dark areas. Given that you're playing a not-quite-human ''thing'' that can change what color its body to express its mood, it's less of an "Infinite Flashlight" and more of "Making Yourself More Bright When You Need It".
- In Bioshock Infinite the Police in the Soldiers Field Carry flashlights that won't go out after they're dead.
- In Vietcong the player has a flashlight that never runs out of power - mainly useful for the mission segments when you must traverse through the tunnel systems of your enemies. However, some players never actually realized they had a flashlight during those missions since they'd never used it previously and ended up negotiating the tunnels in near complete darkness. A case of read the manual in those cases.
- In Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light, Artyom's headlamp and the night vision goggles share a power source, which can be charged with a universal charger. That is only really vital for the NV, though, which stops working altogether at zero power; the flashlight simply doesn't shine as brightly. But this doesn't mean that charging the power to use the flashlight is pointless - some enemies that live in the dark such as the plated nosalises and the spiderbugs will shrink back in a daze if confronted with a full-ish beam, which gives the player a few precious seconds to introduce their faces to a magazine of military-grade rounds or their bellies to a knife.
- Downplayed in Unreal. A powerful, permanent searchlight is one of the last items you get, far into the game (before that you depend on a good number of sixty-second flashlights and twenty-second flares), but it is not in fact infinite: simply, its charge is so high, no sane player is likely to run out of power for it, but if you take long enough to finish the game, it's likely you'll see its charge bar diminish a fair bit before the end. If somehow you manage to deplete it, a task that can happen in the expansion pack (you get the Searchlight about halfway through the plot), that's it, you're back to the crappier light items.
- Painkiller and its expansion Battle out of Hell both have infinite flashlights. In the first game it is literally a flashlight that emanates inexplicably from Daniel's chest (you never see the light itself, but it does flicker, make electrical noises and has a distortion in the center like a normal flashlight). in Battle out of Hell, the light has been replaced with a strange glowing yellow ball in the bottom left corner of the screen. Presumably, this is supposed to represent a lantern or candle instead of an electrical torch.
- Black Mesa, the Fan Remake of Half-Life, removes the power gauge entirely, allowing the flashlight to shine as much as you want. Which is good, as the mod is a lot darker than any of the official games, and the light isn't particularly bright.
- Cry of Fear ditches the traditional Half-Life flashlight for the light emitted from the player character's phone. It lasts as long as the player needs it to until the battery goes dead for a plot event, forcing them to go through a section using flares that are not quite as permanent or portable as the phone until they can find a replacement battery. The optional Glock-mounted flashlight, the electric lantern you find after the train crash robs you of your phone and the conventional torch you find at the basement of the hospital all have likewise infinite batteries, justified in that they are implied to be LED-based. The night-vision gas mask you can unlock through "Doctor's Story" mode also applies as a straight example, with the added bonus of not taking up inventory space.
- The first two Alien vs. Predator first person shooters avert this trope for the Marines - their shoulder lamps will only last several minutes, and their nightvision drains power way faster (although the power recharges over time, and rather quickly at that).
- For Aliens and Predators, this trope is played straight, but it's justified by the species abilities and high-level technology respectively.
- Far Cry features an angle-head torch (several, in fact, but you can only grab one). It's bright, throws a decent distance, and covers most of the screen when turned on, with the downside that it gives your position away.
- In S.T.A.L.K.E.R., you can use the headlamp or whatever Night-Vision Goggles at your leisure. The low-tier NVG's flicker often, but it's more of an indication that, well, they're low-tier, than any battery use. But that doesn't make the headlamp very useful: when it's on, other stalkers can detect you faster from idle state and see you easily when alerted, and it isn't bright enough to navigate in the darker hours. The goggles outclass it fairly fast, especially the high-tier ones that don't blur the image and don't flicker.
- In NetHack, lamps and candles are available as quite rare light sources. Now normal ones burn out eventually (though lamps can be recharged with a potion of oil), but Magic Lamps last forever. Likewise, the Spell, Scroll, and Wand of Light create permanent fields of light.
Role Playing Game
- The Pip-Boy 3000A wrist computer in Fallout 3 can also be used as a lantern with an unlimited power supply by brightening up the screen to max. It's not explained how the light from a single screen shines in a full 360ş angle, though.
- An interesting variation: in Final Fantasy Legend II there's a cave where it's too bright to see anything inside, aptly named Bright Cave. You need the TrueEye MAGI to see normally in the cave, but it never wears off, making the MAGI an Infinite... Flashdark?
- Mass Effect 3 gives the crew muzzle flashlights, but it's plausible to presume they're run off whatever absurdly high-capacity battery is flinging minuscule slugs at absurd muzzle velocities all day out of the gun, and they're never on for very long anyway.
- Sword of Vermilion has a Ten Second Flash Light in the form of candles, but lanterns and the Luminos spell last until you leave the current dungeon.
- The move 'Flash' in Pokémon games lasts until you leave the cave or use a ladder to a new room,but otherwise needs no refreshing.
- In Neverwinter Nights, one torch is all you ever need (if you're even worried about illumination, as Hollywood Darkness is in effect even where there are no obvious light sources otherwise). Ironically, about the only light source in the game that will eventually die down again on its own is the Light spell, and that becomes obsolete by the time you find or make the first permanently glowing magic item at the latest.
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption has got not only an infinite flashlight, available in the Modern Days, but also an infinite torch, that you use throughout the Dark Ages, that lights up when you get it and stops burning as soon as you put it in your pack.
- Every game in the Silent Hill series except for 4. The first game even had an infinite lighter at one point. In Silent Hill 2, the battery only dies twice: once when you enter a specific room midway through in the game and you have to change the battery for it to work again; the other happens by the endgame and it's permanent, but thankfully the environment is lit up enough for you to see just fine. In all games featuring it, however, the flashlight's beam attracts monsters like moths while having it off allows for a quite effective Optional Stealth, and with the exception of Origins, it's mandatory to have it on to pick up items or read the map, so some light management/discipline is necessary for a high-scoring run on the harder difficulties.
- One of the last chapters in Eternal Darkness has a character with one of these. To be fair though, he's a firefighter, so it's probably less "infinite" and more "heavy duty" (or, as the game calls it, "equipped with long-life battery"). Either way, if you sit in a safe room with it on, and then just leave the game running for days, it'll still be happily shining when you come back.
- Used throughout the Fatal Frame series. The one exception occurs in the second game, when the flashlight's temporary failure is used to indicate that there's something very wrong with the particular house the protagonist has entered.
- Notably, in Dead Space 2, it's shown that Isaac's plasma cutter is actually a flashlight combined with a surgical tool. It keeps working no matter how many enemies he beats to death with it.
- Slender: The Arrival, your flashlight doesn't run out until the final level where it dies.
- In Unturned, your flashlights will last forever. Batteries exist in the game but only as a crafting material to make the handlamp.
- Dungeons & Dragons has a few, thanks to magic.
- Everburning Torches, which are Exactly What It Says on the Tin. They're so inexpensive, almost every adventuring party above level 1 has at least one packed.
- The Continual Light spell, which when cast on any random handy item will turn it into an example of this trope, hails back to the earliest versions of the game.
- Played straight in a lot of tabletop games, out of Rule of Fun. It's much easier to mark down "flashlight" on a character sheet than "flashlight and 500 AA batteries". This also allows GM's to shut off the flashlight when dramatically appropriate.