"...we're not killing off any of the companions because everybody did. And then everybody cried... People test as they're playing the system and they go... 'I wonder if they're going to let me do this. Oh no! My healer is gone forever'!"
Also frequently referred to as being "missable," the dreaded Lost Forever is a game play component (such as an item, weapon, Side Quest
, or plot event) that can become permanently inaccessible after a certain point in the game, therefore being "lost forever" if you miss them during the period in which they are available. A close relative and often an example of Guide Dang It
. The bane of gamers everywhere, especially those shooting for 100% Completion
, as it often forces them to start the entire game anew if they're not willing to accept a less-than-perfect run.
These items frequently appear in areas that can only be accessed once, or are rendered unavailable after a certain plot event occurs. The early town that is destroyed
, the mountainous area that caves in once you leave it, the village that you're banished from, the Load-Bearing Boss
's hideout that goes boom
after you beat it, the ship that departs after your trip is finished, never to be boarded again, the one-shot place that you're never given the option to return to
, and so forth.
More rarely, things are completely random and arbitrary. For example, perhaps once you finish disc two and acquire the airship
, the random shopkeeper you needed to talk to in order to acquire the Infinity+1 Sword
suddenly closes up shop and disappears without explanation.
Forgiving developers will sometimes provide an alternative means to reach what would otherwise be Lost Forever. However, reaching it with this second-chance method is usually much more time-consuming or difficult than if you had just gotten it the first time around. If a player knows such an item is coming, a common tactic is to save immediately beforehand, and restore repeatedly from that save until they manage to get it
. This is often true when getting the Lost Forever is based on luck
, such as when a boss Randomly Drops
a unique piece of equipment.
This is infamously present in MMORPGs
or any other game with online connectivity, due to one-time events, patch updates, and irreplaceable quest reward items (such as consumables that become Too Awesome to Use
) distributed from an online source. While you can simply restart an offline game for another shot at the content, online items that are Lost Forever really can be lost forever
. (When it comes to patch updates, however, players who still have the old items are usually allowed to keep them, often displaying them as a badge of honor.)
Due to their tendency to induce great frustration, smart developers tend to avoid implementing these, and allow players to collect items or do sidequests at their leisure
, whenever and in any order they want. Sometimes, this can result in silly situations where the player is presented with the option of returning to a location where there would be no logical reason to return to, such as, say, the site of a nuclear explosion. But, really, it's the lesser of the two evils.
Occasionally, a Lost Forever is intended
to be just that: you get a one-shot item or spell that would completely unbalance the game
if used elsewhere. You're not supposed to hang on to it
, and the game either takes it away immediately or kills you if you try to run away with it. For some, the challenge then becomes cheating or glitching your way out of this restriction. Also see Guest Star Party Member
Conversely, while most Lost Forevers are defined by the limited opportunity to acquire
one, sometimes a particular item is acquired readily during a game's progress, but is irreplaceable once it is used up — should it get lost, stolen, or destroyed, you cannot acquire another one. See Too Awesome to Use
for examples of some of these.
This trope is not to be confused with Final Death
, where a character permanently dies and cannot be resurrected. If it's an item deliberately taken away from you, it may be Awesome but Temporary
. If something vital to the plot becomes Lost Forever, the game is Unwinnable
. Lost Forever should also not be a Point of No Return
, where the game cuts off your access to prior areas. Bonus Stage Collectables
can always be put in a Lost Forever situation since they are placed in Bonus Stages
(unless the stage can be attempted an unlimited number of times). Missable items tend to be found in a One Time Dungeon
. If the player has the choice of one item resulting in the others becoming Lost Forever, they are Mutually Exclusive Powerups
Not to be confused with Ruined FOREVER
, although it can generate degrees of it.
See also Keep Circulating the Tapes
when this applies to films and videos that are out of print. Please don't Sink Hole to this page when listing something that is, well, lost forever.
Video Game Examples:
open/close all folders
Card Battle Game
- In Digimon: Digital Card Battle for the PS, you get to choose a partner Digimon at the very start of the game, and you get two more later in the story. What nobody told you is that you have to choose them from a pool of six, and that the decisions are permanent; the three partners you didn't choose are lost forever unless you cheat. To make matters more aggraviating, the plot is set so that you're only offered Wormmon once, so if you didn't choose him when you first saw him, you'll never get another chance. At least the developers had the courtesy of letting the player use "borrowed decks" from certain NPCs in order to get a chance of getting the card data of the partner Digimon you didn't choose, and their respective Armor Evolution data. It's not stated anywhere in the manual or in the game, and you still can't keep the actual cards outside the one duel you'll be lent the deck in question.
- In Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, it is impossible for most cards to be lost forever, since they can always be crafted again if you disenchant them, and the otherwise unavailable basic cards and rewards from the expansion are soulbound and cannot be disenchanted. Legendary cards Gelbin Mekkatorque and Elite Tauren Chieftan may be crafted like any other card, but the golden versions were only available as promotional items (Golden Gelbin Mekkatorque was available by spending real money in the in-game store during the beta, and Golden Elite Tauren Chieftain was only available by buying a ticket to Blizzcon 2013). These golden cards cannot be crafted, meaning they are now likely forever unavailable to players. However, the cards are soulbound, preventing their owners from deleting them and losing them forever.
- Anything related to Norahike in Choro Q HG4 after you beat Otto's grand prix. This includes loads of synthesis parts obtained from him which require you to spam on entering his house until you get everything.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune:
- Many special titles (e.g. those based on mileage and those based on how many wins) are only offered once.
- Maximum Tune 4 had an event that let you transfer 3DX+ data to 4. This event ended on October 24, 2013, even though Maximum Tune 4 is only available in Eastern and Southeastern Asia, making the temporary nature of the card transfer event a huge slap in the face since the previous games in the series were released worldwide. Players outside of these regions will have to start all over again with none of their old data if Maximum Tune 4 is ever exported to the worldwide market.
- In the bizarre spinoff to The Oregon Trail called The Amazon Trail, you can catch a pirarucu, a fish that's as long as a bus in the Fishing Minigame. It only swims by once, but it takes up half the screen and if you don't catch it, that's your problem.
- Mortal Kombat Deception has a chest with one of its unlockable fighters, Kenshi, in the small village where your character begins the game as a child. Leaving the village causes a time-lapse sequence which spans many years and causes your character to grow older, so the game prevents temporal anomalies by locking you out once you've left. If you leave before finding the chest containing the Kenshi unlock, it will be Lost Forever - the only way to get it is to start a new save file.
- The Wii version of Punch-Out!! has the secret Champions Mode, a submode of Exhibition that can be unlocked by winning ten fights in Mac's Last Stand. Problem is, should the player lose three times there before the tenth victory, the game will end and not only will Last Stand be locked, there won't be another chance to unlock Champions Mode.
- In December 2013, Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age Of Heroes and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and its Downloadable Content was pulled from Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network services. While both titles are available on discs and other systems, the DLC for the latter will no longer be able to be bought ever again.
- In games featuring a magic system that involves getting enemies' skills (such as Final Fantasy's Blue Magic), there will often be spells that can only be learned from bosses. Kill them without learning the spell, and it's Lost Forever.
- Games that use achievements that are tied to online play can fall under this. Game servers are not kept up forever and if you didn't get any achievements based on an online action when the severs are shut down for good, the achievement will never be unlocked. This gets worse if the achievement requires an action from another player and they keep doing things to prevent you from getting the achievement. For example, Left 4 Dead 2 has Strength in Numbers, which is unlocked by starting a Team VS/Scavenge game and winning. Since the game is known for having people Rage Quit all the time, many people will probably never get this achievement.
- Time based achievements. If you weren't around for a specific event to get the achievement, you lost your chance to get the achievement forever.
Hack And Slash
- The developers of Diablo III are considering introducing a setpiece revolving around a collapsing dungeon full of treasure that players have to make a decision on whether to run and save themselves or collect the loot and potentially die. Given the random nature of the game, whatever items are in the dungeon will probably be lost if not picked up then. Please, somebody stop them.
- Considering that all loot in the Diablo series is randomly generated, any items that get lost when the tomb collapses could probably be found anywhere else. Based on experience with the actual dungeon at Blizzcon, the true value was that the tomb was extremely abundant in Resplendant Chests (like, 2 in every room), which are guaranteed to drop a rare item and 2-5 magic items. Plus everything resets when you quit and come back, so you have a chance to go again if the entrance randomly appears.
- In the majority of Hack and Slash games with a Random Number God, any piece of gear with a specific combination of stats can be considered Lost Forever if the player fails to notice it while sifting through Vendor Trash or accidentally gets rid of it, due to the chances of the same stat rolls lining up being less than one-in-a-million. Wonder why hacking is so attractive in online play?
- Portal2 provides an interesting example of an achievement that doesn't involve servers going down. There's an achievement called "Professor Portal" that you get by beating the co-op mode, and then going through the co-op mode's tutorial with a Steam friend who has never played the co-op mode before. Because of how it works, it's mathematically impossible for every player of the game to get the achievement, because once all but one player has it, they've all played the game before, so the one remaining player doesn't have anyone left to play with to get the achievement. And in practice, even fewer players will be able to get the achievement, since not everyone started playing co-op with a Steam friend.
- In Puzzle Quest: Challenge Of The Warlords, every enemy (and learnable spell) can be attained at leisure... except for the Imp spells (Burn, Taunt, and Zap). The Imps only appear on one spot of the map, which only unlocks after you've completed "The Marriage" subquest in Enmouth, and will disappear the moment you return to report to the Queen. You have to stay there and defeat three Imps in a row before capturing one, and the aforementioned spells turn them into Demonic Spiders if you're playing as a Fighter or Wizard.
- World of Goo has this in a much smaller degree in the form of a Bragging Rights Reward known as an "OCD". There's a glitch in the game preventing the gamer from getting the OCD Achievement in the level "MOM's Computer" after completing that level once. The glitch has been fixed through patches in most versions of the game.
- Professor Layton zig-zags with this trope, depending on the content:
- Almost every game has certain areas where you can never go back past a certain point, so if you happen to miss any of hint coins (and in Miracle Mask, collectibles) that are in those areas, they're gone for good. However, if you happen to miss any puzzle this way, they will be sent to a puzzle keeper, who will keep those puzzles safe for you to solve whenever you speak to them.
- After Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection ended, if you didn't download all the puzzles in the earlier Layton games, you're not getting them. Fortunately, these were only optional in the first place.
Real Time Strategy
- In Medieval 2, generals can sometimes gain Ancillaries, technically characters following them around but essentially a stat boost. Most of them are gained through specific but generic actions like winning battles or being in a town/castle when a given building is completed. However, some of the most powerful ancillaries are historical ones like William Wallace or Machiavelli, and those can only be gained in very specific circumstances, not known to the player unless he has peered through the game files. Joan of Arc, for example, can only be gained during a 20ish year span (1 turn being 6 months in the game), only for French players, only if France and England are at war late in the game (which is unlikely, since both countries are in each other's way, and one usually destroys the other in the early game) and only if the given general wins a battle against the English in which the odds were against him, but not too much.
- Salvaging in Homeworld is tremendously powerful because it allows you to exceed the arbitrary build limits for your fleet. For example, you can build only four heavy cruisers, so any that you fail to capture in the missions they appear are Lost Forever. Due to Cosmetically Different Sides, heavy cruisers are not a true example because you only miss out on extras. Antoher example occurs with the Gardens of Kadesh missions, where the enemy units are unique. Multi-Beam Frigates pack a meaner punch and a much cooler attack than your ion beam frigates. You can nab at least 18 of them, which in a wall formation will make short work of any ship.
- Quite a few in either Tomba! game, but the most unpleasant is in the sequel. To complete "Hide and Seek", you have to get a girl out of a hole in a wall. To do this, you throw a snowball into the hole under her, which slingshots it into her and knocks her to you. Capture the Ice Evil Pig before you do this? The snow melts... and you can never get her out. Doing this prevents you from doing "Who's the Liar?", which prevents you from entering one of the Secret Towers, which keeps you from getting one of the best weapons in the game. A hat-trick of Lost Forevers from one misstep!
- DJMAX Technika's Weekly courses. Each one is available for one week, then is gone permanently, replaced by the next Weekly course.
- Technika's Platinum Crew service went permanently offline in December 2013, which means nobody will be able to use songs or other items requiring unlocking ever again.
- Rock Band:
- Challenge rewards can only be obtained one time per band. While the "impossible [instrument] challenges" clearly show what the costumes look like (before coloring), the "Impossible Marathon, part 2" challenge has a reward of ONE (not a set. ONE) "crazy instrument" for each active player, corresponding to whatever instrument that player cleared Painkiller with. In order to get all 4 crazy instruments on one character, the entire challenge ladder must be gone through four times, each one in a different band. The amount of time one such run takes is comparable to the time it takes to clear Endless Setlist II. Remedied in Rock Band 3 - unlock once, use on every character you want for that profile.there are a couple of songs
- There are a couple of songs that were pulled from the store due to copyright issues. One Rock Band World goal required pulled songs (the three Metallica songs) and was gone when they were pulled.
- Sound Voltex II has POLICY BREAK songs, straight ports of songs from other BEMANI series in a series that otherwise does not allow non-remixed/arranged ports. The catch is that you can only unlock them for up to one week from the unlock date each, and then you cannot unlock them anymore.
- In Roguelikes (Angband, for example), items are usually unidentified when you first find them, and they can always be generated again later. This includes unique "artifact" items, but only if you don't identify them, since artifacts are only generated once per game. If you ID an item and it turns out to be an artifact, it is Lost Forever when you leave the level and you're not carrying it.
- To ME has a few dungeons with special named levels, which are different in that they aren't randomly generated, and thus the same in every game. They also have the same unique monsters and artifacts in every game. They also disappear if you leave (for example via the down staircase) and if you attempt to go back to it, you'll just get a randomly generated level instead. So, you only get one shot at grabbing those artifacts (whether found on the floor or dropped from a unique) before leaving the level, or they're Lost Forever. Make sure to have some free inventory space when you get there.
- ADOM has too many to count. Two Bonus Dungeons, the Pyramid and the Minotaur Maze, are only open to characters of certain levels (13-16 for the Pyramid, 22-30 for the Minotaur Maze). If you haven't found and killed the Bonus Boss inside when you reach that level, then they close up for good and render everything inside permanently irretrievable.
- In Sword of the Stars: The Pit, don't activate something unless you're sure you're going to use it immediately. Some of the devices lying around have only one use and will be unusable afterwards even if you don't do anything with them.
- In StarWarsTieFighter you can be inducted into the Secret Order of the Emperor and progress through multiple ranks within the Order by completing bonus objectives in levels. However, you cannot replay campaign missions outside of the Flight Simulator, and completing bonus objectives in the Flight Simulator does not count towards nabbing a higher rank in the Order. In other words: if you don't complete the bonus objectives the first time you finish missions, you won't be able to progress all the way through the Order's ranks.
- In Freelancer, there is a very good ship called the Anubis that you have exactly four opportunities to obtain: if you don't get it (which is frankly rather silly, as it's dirt cheap) within those four chances, or sell it afterwards, it's Lost Forever.
- Many of the older Harvest Moon games have items and characters that will become unavailable after a certain amount of time. Most famously is HM64, where Cliff and Karen will leave town if you do not get their relationship levels high enough - depriving you of two potential rival marriages and 100% completion on your recipe list. The death of Ellen is avoidable, if you know what to watch out for (If she's sitting on the side of her house, instead of the front, DO NOT APPROACH). But if she dies, she'll take her recipe with her and knock a good chunk of points off Elli's affection levels.
- Another particularly nasty one is the Hot Springs in DS/Cute, which can only be found by befriending or partially wooing Flora (regardless of whether or not you intend to marry her), since finding it is one of her Heart Events. The problem? If Flora marries her partner Carter, you're locked out of the event forever. In the girl version, it's based on Friendship instead of Affection, but you're still locked out of the Hot Springs-discovering event if Flora or you marries Carter, for seemingly arbitrary reasons. What do you miss if you don't get the Hot Springs? A different Hot Spring in another area of town, a shippable item (the Spa-Boiled Egg), and a huge chunk of Harvest Sprites, making 100% Completion of the Harvest Sprite teams impossible. On top of it all? The whole thing is a Guide Dang It.
- The hot springs actually unlock automatically after your child is born as an alternative method. Of course, in order to get that far you have to get married, which you can't do before finding 60 Harvest Sprites and freeing the Harvest Goddess. As the Hot Springs is required in order to find a decent portion of said Harvest Sprites, it's needless to say that this task is much easier to accomplish if you already have the hot springs, which makes doing all of this just to unlock the hot springs you know what my head really really hurts now.
- You have four years in which to woo Flora to Blue Heart level, which is easily achieved in a year if you are giving her gifts she likes every day and completing the first two Heart Events correctly, which boosts her affection towards you a lot. By making Flora like you, you block off the rival marriage (since she has to be below a certain level of affection for you for the rival events to trigger). It's also absurdly easy to befriend Flora in the female version, as you can show her one of your pets repeatedly to reach the amount of friendship points needed. If in four years you have not managed to trigger her Blue Heart Event/Friendship Event, you're probably better off resetting and trying again, or having a child (if you've managed to get 60 Sprites).
Stealth Based Game
- The Metal Gear series often averts this. For instance, if the player misses the SOCOM pistol at the start of MGS1, he will have one sitting in front of him during the first major firefight. In MGS3, if the player fails to locate the Night-Vision Goggles in the cavern, EVA will simply hand him a set in a later cutscene, etc.
- There are still some items that can be Lost Forever, particularly optional items, if they are not picked up as soon as they are available. Examples include the torch from MGS3 (find in the cave before The Pain boss battle or never again) and AKS-74u silencer in MGS2. Neither are overly necessary and both actually require more effort than just leaving them, but for 100% completion...
- The Twin Snakes has a silenced, tranquilizer-shooting M9. On nearly all difficulty levels, it's hidden somewhere in the Cave area. The cargo elevator at the back of the Cave is a one-way trip.
- In Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions, if the player completes all the training missions, the game will show a concept artwork of Metal Gear RAY from the then-upcoming Metal Gear Solid 2. However, there's no way to view picture again once the data has been saved.
- The Fatal Frame games contain quite a few ghosts that only appear once, for a very short period of time, and are often very difficult to capture on film unless you know exactly where and when they will appear and have a lightning-fast shutter finger.
- Rule of Rose is episodic in nature and as such anything you don't pick up during the current chapter/month you're playing becomes lost forever. This becomes particularly aggravating since many items are part of bigger Chain of Deals that can be easily broken. And then there's that part of the game where the player can choose to play the following three months in any order, yet if you play them in any order but one in particular, the Infinity+1 Sword becomes lost forever.
- Lots of stuff you can cook through alchemy in Haunting Ground can be lost forever if you don't luck out during the alchemy sections.
- In Silent Hill, there are many points of no return that can render items and weapons missable, for example, during the fight with the Twinfeeler (caterpillar, which later becomes a moth) boss, there is a rifle (may be required for the Final Boss) in one of the corners of the fighting arena. If you didn't happen to notice it and pick it up, it will never be available again. Similarly, there is a sledgehammer in the Nightmare Hospital boiler room, which will be Lost Forever once you go back to the "normal" world. And God help you if you passed a Point of No Return without enough ammo or health to fight the upcoming boss.
- The first game will actually reward you for entering the final boss fight with no ammo.
- And if you didn't get the red liquid in the bottle in the hospital, kiss Cybil and the Good+ ending goodbye. If you didn't unlock the motorcycle gas tank in the motel before you traversed the Point of No Return into the nightmare resort area, say goodbye to the Good ending too.
- In Silent Hill 2: There's a pipe in the hood of a car at the gas station, and if you're rushing around a lot or don't know to pull it out, you can easily hop down the hole in the Silent Hill Historical Society and not have anything to smash a hole in the bricks.
- You can break the bricks in the well with the wooden plank, meaning the situation isn't unwinnable. The steel pipe is still unobtainable from that point, though.
- Silent Hill 3: if you missed the stungun in Heather's apartment or the submachine gun in the hospital basement, ya missed 'em for good.
- Silent Hill 4 completely averts this by supplying halfway into the game the 'Ever Downward' spiral staircase, which vertically connects all levels in the game, allowing for all the backtracking it takes to retrieve missing items such as the Swords of Obedience and all two Silver Bullets.
- In Resident Evil: Code: Veronica there's a section of the building that is initially only accessible through a functioning metal detector gate which essentially puts the area on lockdown if you don't get rid of any metal items from your inventory. Fortunately there's a sort of baggage check compartment built in. This container is not connected to the other chests throughout the game. Remember to take everything out when you're done with that part, because "leaving town" doesn't begin to cover it. Of surprising significance: an empty fire extinguisher.
- Near the end of Code Veronica, Claire becomes playable until you encounter Steve for the last time. Whatever items or weapons she's carrying will be lost forever when you switch back to Chris near the end of the game.
- In RE 2, any optional item before the Laboratory is missable, such as the Sparkshot(Claire) and Shotgun Parts (Leon), which are found on a corpse in an easily-missed dead end, the Weapon Box Key found by lighting an easily-ignored flare gun (with the Lighter that Claire doesn't automatically carrynote ), and finally, the Sidepack and Submachine Gun(which you either find in the Weapons Room, or the Culture Experiment Room that you have to unlock with both characters).
- Resident Evil Outbreak had an online mode hosted on Capcom servers. Because the game was a commercial flop, Capcom closed the servers and much of the game's features are Lost Forever. Fans later recreated a private server that would host online play for both Outbreak games. But, this only works for the Japanese version.
- Resident Evil 4 features missable treasures in various parts of the game. While any treasure becomes lost forever if you move on to the next section of the game, the combine-able treasures (beer stein, crown, and golden lynx) in particular are likely to be missed as well as their smaller parts. While this doesn't make the game Unwinnable it does prevent you from making lots of money and thus delaying your weapons progression.
- Resident Evil 5 averts this by allowing the player to select any chapter for replay, which if fortunate considering how difficult it can be to shoot all 30 BSAA Emblems. One of them cannot even be seen except for a second during a cutscene!
- Eternal Darkness had runes et cetera that would not be necessary in one level, but would be needed in another, the Lost Forever rune made the game Unwinnable. Most notably, the game has three different colors of magick - red, green and blue, which beat each other in a Rock-Paper-Scissors cycle. There actually is a purple magick color, the rune of which can very easily be Lost Forever, and any purple magick defeats any other color.
- Deadly Premonition averts this. Many of its sidequests and collectible items appear and disappear throughout the games at important plot points. However, the game allows you to replay any chapter you've beaten, sidequests included. Some sidequests are even considered easier to finish this way than during a normal playthrough (in particular, Emily's cooking sidequests).
Turn Based Strategy
- In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance the morpher class requires captured monsters to learn skills from. The goblin and thunder drake monsters become Lost Forever if not captured early on as they only appear in non-random storyline missions and so become "extinct" after those missions are completed.
- Doesn't help that they're two Lost Forevers in one - not only do they need to be captured so that Morphers can become them, but they also teach Blue Mage abilities - and they can't be learned from Morphers.
- Thanks to the limit of holding only 64 mission items, it is possible to keep throwing away extra mission items when you are full (most of them you can get again and again) and wind up accidentally tossing away an item that cannot be obtained again. What's that? Two missions need Black Thread and you tossed one of the two away? Can't complete all 300 missions and can't recruit Cid. Oops!
- Thanks to enemy thieves, mog knights, and snipers, you could potentially lose some of your exclusive equipment forever due to it being broken or stolen. The purple turtle enemies also had the ability to break your equipment by eating it.
- Final Fantasy Tactics generally averts this trope, since many unique weapons and items that appear early on in the game can be acquired later through poaching, or by catching thrown items. However, there are items that can only be obtained by having a character with the Move-Find item skill land on a certain space. Depending on your character's Bravery level you may either find a rare item or a common item. Since an item can only be searched for once, finding the wrong item in battle may result in the item becoming lost forever. Also, since some maps can not be revisited, you may have the chance to miss the item altogether.
- One of these in particular is a Guide Dang It. The Escutheon II is a super version of the first shield you can purchase. However, in addition to only being available on one map, on top of a pillar which can only be accessed in a particular manner. The character with Move-Find Item, must have a sufficiently high jump stat, and bounce off of a large creature, such as one of the cats or a dragon.
- One of the most insidious Lost Forever items is the Snakish sword in Phantom Brave. It can only be accessed once: during the tutorial. And, thanks to the game system, you can't just pick it up and leave with it. You have to confine a spirit to it and wait until the spirit is removed from the board, and even then you're not guaranteed to get it. There is a more sure-fire way to get it, but it's by getting a hidden character, and the opportunity to get that character is all but impossible after that section, making that a Lost Forever too.
- In every game of the Suikoden series, while most of the 108 recruitable characters either join automatically over the course of the story or can be recruited at any time, some have limited windows of opportunity, after which they're Lost Forever. Since recruiting all of them is required to get the best ending, and on top of that these characters tend to be very easy to miss, the result is the definition of a Guide Dang It situation.
- One particular example in Suikoden II is the Clive subquest. He's chasing after a woman. Easy enough, let's help him out. If your total play time is too high, then he loses the trail and will never find it again, giving him the "bad" ending for his character (he chases her for the rest of his life). The problem with this is two fold: first, there's no indication that this will happen at any point, meaning if you lose the trail, you'll have no idea why without a guide. Second, in order to fully complete his quest, you have to reach the last possible village in the game (which is, itself, optional) in less than twenty hours play time (not the easiest accomplishment even if you know from the start to try for it). For most gamers without a specific guide for recruiting characters and level building, this is all but impossible.
- Thus, most players either don't bother with Clive's subquest (as it's immaterial to whether you get the best ending for the game as a whole), or they cheat.
- The same thing is true of the old Genesis Shining Force games, including one character that you have to speak to over several acts, who never says anything back. However, these characters are not necessary for the overall story or endings, but the characters you could prospectively lose include Joke Character, a defied examplle of Squishy Wizard, the game's best Tank and the two best characters in the game, who are difficult to find without the help of a strategy guide
- Another batch of potential things to Lose Forever was introduced in the GBA remake...cards. Some cards are tucked away in inconspicuous places; Anri's is in a bookcase, and most bookcases in the game simply call up useless flavor text when examined. Others, however, are nicknamed "Friendship Cards" in that you have to build rapport with certain party members to get them. How do you build this rapport? Simple: bring the character in question with you into battle and make sure they never get KO'd; this unlocks more and more of their monologues in headquarters between missions, and eventually they say something to the effect of "take this; we're friends" and reward you with their card.
- Certain enemies have to be finished off by certain characters. A particularly Egregrious example is Balzack, who has to be defeated by a knight named Earnest (who, it should be noted, you just recieved prior to the Balzack battle. Granted, this makes sense, since Earnest exists to Wangst over his beef with Balzack; on the other hand, the mission immediately before that asks you to eliminate a random Hellhound with Guntz.
- Several of the best (or coolest) characters (and one Joke Character) could be missed without ever being seen if you took the direct route over the scenic route. These included the Ninja, Samurai, magic-wielding centaur, healer/monk, mutant egg creature, and a hamster.
- In Advance Wars 2 and Advance Wars Dual Strike, certain levels have cities that, when captured, unlock a bonus mission. If you clear said certain levels without capturing said certain cities, the bonus mission - and the prize for completing it - is Lost Forever...until your next playthrough at least. While the game hints at which levels have these cities, you don't know which city out of several is the one you need to capture. Although...it's up to the player whether or not the prize for completing the bonus missions (The ability to deploy Neotanks) is actually worth the work.
- Since you cannot replay missions in the Fire Emblem series, this goes for everything and almost everyone that is not automatically given to you. Often in ways of Guide Dang It. Watch out for items hidden in deserts or for chests in stages with enemy thieves.
- In Genealogy of the Holy War, not pairing up the 'right' people in the first half of the game can result in certain weapons becoming unusable or downright lost.
- There are only three characters over the course of the series (read: Twelve Games!) whom you have more than one chance to recruit. You have two chances each to recruit Amelia in Sacred Stones and Percival from Sealed Sword. Cath/Cass from Sealed Sword will appear in every indoors map until you recruit her, but Roy must talk to her over three chapters for that to happen.
- In Sacred Stones, you only get the second chance at Amelia on Eirika's route, and only if you didn't kill her on the first attempt. If you are playing Ephraim's route and fail to recruit her or kill her the first time she appears on Eirika's route, you lose all chances at recruiting her.
- They pop up on occasion in Battle for Wesnoth. Capturing certain villages or visiting certain areas in campaign mode will give you free units which usually have no upkeep cost. These can be very useful in some campaigns. On a couple of occasions (the three Heavy Infantry and Burin from the Rise of Wesnoth), missing them renders the whole campaign basically Unwinnable.
- In both versions of Yggdra Union, every item save for starting equipment is missable. Everything requires you to have done a lot of searching and hope that you can find something before you run out of turns.
- To top it off certain items can only be acquired through various means. Many items require you to have fought and killed them with higher luck, others require you to steal it (your luck should not be high enough to force a drop), others still require you to have done something in previous maps and the oh so impossible to find Fanelia weapon which requires you to have acquired the Hyper drill by collecting 7 hard to find duds (and in the process missing out on certain equipment in the old game unless you saved and reloaded) and stepped on a space 3 times to having to kill an enemy with a specific card ability.
- To make things even worse, in order to even equip Hyper drill(a requirement to get fanelia), Durant must be at the max level in the game(not an easy thing to do)
- Star Control 2 is full of these. One of the most effective ships in the game is piloted by a race of abject cowards and if you fail to get a supply of them immediately when able, they all disappear under a force shield. Unfortunate and irreversible stuff keeps happening as time goes by and ultimately, if you don't get things done, the Kohr-Ah will genocide every sentient race in the game one by one.
- Some of the dungeons in Eternal Eyes cannot be accessed after you defeat their respective bosses. While in some cases this doesn't seem so bad, some of those dungeons contain randomly dropped equipment that you might want. In particular, Villee Fort (which gets replaced in the tenth and final chapter) has the excellent Ninja Suit in it, which is one of the few equipment that can increase your Movement Points and let you travel farther.
- Super Robot Wars loves this trope. Every secret in the game is missable, and you aren't ever really told about them... however, most of them are logical and there aren't a lot of variations on how to get secrets, so it usually becomes a matter of trial and error. Also, in the games with Skill Points, it generally becomes a matter of having really high or really low Skill Points.
- In Warhammer 40,000: Rites of War, it is possible to find valuable artifacts or other war-gear on the various scenario maps of the campaign. But if you complete a scenario without first finding all the available wargear (and there are scenarios where, given the limited number of turns you have to finish, you simply will not be able to look everywhere), that artifact or piece of gear is Lost Forever.
Turn Based Tactics
- In X-Com: Terror from the Deep, the Sonic Pistol is phased out by the aliens after a few months. This can screw you over if a) none actually ever spawned during that time, or b) you sold all the ones that did because you didn't know about it. Researching the Sonic Pistol is tremendously important, because it's both the best assault weapon in the game, and a required prerequisite for the Sonic Oscillator, the best craft weapon. It is possible to win without these, so it isn't unwinnable, but it's a lot harder.
- This game has a couple of research tree bugs:
- These two items, the MC Reader and the Sub Construction store item, are special in that they will only become available for research if and only if a sample is available in your general stores before completing research for their prerequisite technologies.
- Live Deep One, which should only be researched after you have met the other prerequisites for Ion Armour. Without Armours you won't get to research advanced subs; without advanced subs you can't reach T'leth and defeat the aliens once and for all.
- In Odium, combats and exploration are done on separate maps. Sometimes, combat maps contain a crate with goodies or two. If you do not open and empty a crate before killing all the enemies, everything you failed to grab will be Lost Forever.
- Cecille from Luminous Arc has a particularly plot-relevant Class Change that resets her Relationship Values and opens up a new set of related conversations. Any items you didn't get from raising her Relationship Values before her class change are Lost Forever, along with the special CG for maxing them. Really forever, since her class change is retained going into the New Game+. The items can be acquired by other means, but the CG can't.
- Any equipment she has on when she leaves will also be lost; when she comes back with her new class, it'll have been replaced with other things.
- In Fate/hollow ataraxia if you don't see some of the filler scenes before moving to the plot scenes, they're no longer available. And if you don't get 100% completion you can't unlock a bonus scene.
Wide Open Sandbox
- Entire missions in the original Grand Theft Auto (and its GTA: London expansion packs) are Lost Forever if you fail them. When the jobs you're offered start getting... challenging (think assassination attempts on politicians protected by machinegun-wielding bodyguards), let's just say it's a good thing that level completion is tied to your bank account, not storyline missions.
- In Grand Theft Auto III, it's incredibly difficult to complete the police vehicle missions once you leave Portland because all the members of the Mafia that eventually betrayed the protagonist shoot at your vehicle, usually destroying it in a matter of seconds. Since those missions are required for 100% Completion, this screwed many gamers who decided to procrastinate on doing them.
- Additionally, missions where you work for Kenji can be lost forever, if you don't complete them before doing a mission for Donald Love where you kill Kenji to start a gang war. However, players surprised that killing somebody makes it impossible to get missions from them should consider the possibility that they've been playing too much Grand Theft Auto III.
- Same with the entire Leone family; any missions from them that are still hanging around after you off Salvatore are gone for good.
- On top of that, there was a bug in the PC version that made 100% completion impossible forever on any new games you save. There is a mission on Shoreside Vale where you have to do a drive by on X amount of enemies. If you had completed all the missions for the guy at the phone and attempt to do this particular mission in a new game after saving, the enemies NEVER spawn!
- In Minecraft, killing the Ender Dragon nets you a lot of experience and the purely decorative Dragon Egg. It can only be collected in a certain and rather tricky way, and if accidentally touched it will teleport in a spot at random, potentially falling off the floating terrain the fight took place on and being destroyed by the Void. You can't fight the Ender Dragon again.
- Many guides stress the role of renewable resources, as while it's possible to expand one's range of exploration to find more non-renewable resources, they will eventually run out if the player stays in the same zone.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has several vehicles that can only be obtained in the main missions, such as a Volkswagen bus with a retro hippy paintjob, an armored car, and several modified cars, or cars with vanity license plates. This creates the odd situation where the game plans for you to lose these vehicles forever — the only way to hold onto them id often to park them in a garage, then fail the mission and restart it.
- Grand Theft Auto IV has what can only be a very intentional variation of the above and for once an interesting twist: there are certain missions where you are presented a choice of whether or not to kill someone. The game is even nice enough to tell you that "your choice has consequences for the future." What it doesn't tell you is that the person whose life you're playing with also has missions for you to do should you choose to spare them; if you choose to kill them, well, that means no extra side-mission for you (and that you're a cold, cold bastard).
- "The Lost and Damned" expansion has an even more egregious example. When Brian betrays you and shacks up in an abandoned house, Jim will suggest that you bring along Terry and Clay to help you kill his faction. If you do so, they will set up behind the house and tell you to throw a grenade through the front window. If you do this, you lose the option to spare Brian and play his later missions. You essentially have to ignore the game's directions in order to see this option.
- Grand Theft Auto V has an optional Random Event that is unlocked by bringing four people in certain other Random Events to the Altruist Cult's fortress as Trevor. If you play the applicable Random Events as Michael or Franklin, or you haven't brought the required amount by the time you've played through them all as Trevor, then this mission becomes permanently inaccessible.note
- A more insidious example happens if Packie McReary gets killed in his Random Event. Seeing as how he's a Disc One Nuke when it comes to heists, you'll want to avoid this by any means possible.
- Inverted in Bully. Chapter 1 features "The Big Prank" side mission, available only during Halloween night. Unlike every other mission in the game, this one's gone for good if you don't do it the minute it shows up (ie. sleep during Halloween). Which isn't advisable, if you're looking for 100% Completion. Fortunately, the game literally texts the uniqueness of the mission and leaves very little margin for the player to miss it.
- No More Heroes. The collectible cards scattered around in each of the ranking matches are Lost Forever once you finish that level. The first time through is not a problem, since they're just trading cards of fake Mexican wrestlers, but in New Game+, you lose concept art of the assassin from the current stage, so there's no chance for 100% Completion. Of course, you could always just start another New Game+.
- In The Godfather: The Game there are Thief Bags with cash in every mission that will disappear after the mission is over. Fortunately, it's just cash, which you can easily earn elsewhere.
- Some ships in the X-Universe series can only be obtained at certain points, and are impossible to get afterwards without cheating, such as the #DECA CPU ship.
- WarioWare D.I.Y.'s medals for entering a contest. Since the game no longer holds said contests though they're gone. Same goes for the games that won these unless you had them.
- BUT, you can still get all 90 diamond records. Heck, you can do this without internet. So kinda not as important now, eh?
- Any achievement or unlockable tied to online play. If the servers are turned off, then say goodbye to 100% completion!
Non-video game examples:
- Parodied with the Blacker Lotus from Magic: The Gathering Unhinged, which has a cost to activate its ability of "Tear Blacker Lotus into pieces". It also says to exile the pieces afterward, showing a lot of forethought for a card in a joke set that is never tournament legal.
- Quite a number of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are only released as short print in some areas. Usually these are magazine promos for the likes of Shonen Jump, which just went all digital and means its last few promos got even less time to saturate. If you're in the US, good luck getting Slifer, Obelisk, or Ra without forking out some serious cash.
- Y: The Last Man: Done via Continuity Nod. During the One Small Step arc, Escape Artist main character Yorick is stuck in unpickable handcuffs designed by Mossad of Israel's Secret Service. A couple of arcs later, we see a flashback of a magic store owner offering him the only skeleton key that works on those cuffs. Yorick must have been kicking himself.
- De Kiekeboes: In the album "De Zaak Luc Raak" the only existing copy of a Laurel and Hardy film in color is destroyed when a thief escapes with it, crashes against a tree, causing his car and the film to go up in flames.
- The original episode 2 of Eddward Wright: Ace Attorney. It was written years before the fanfic was published to Fanfiction.net (the description for the story hints to this) and the only reason as to why it wasn't released sooner was because the author never wrote episode 1 (until now).
- The Higurashi Abridged series by animanga211, which Youtube deleted. Much lulz was lost.
- Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose features a murder mystery whose solution hinges on the contents of Aristotle's lost second book of Poetics (dealing with comedy).
- The Da Vinci Code builds its central theme around a fictional account of the apochryphal and partially lost Gnostic Gospels.
Choose Your Own Adventure-type books
- Absolutely endemic.
- Fighting Fantasy could be particularly bad about this. In "Black Vein Prophecy" and "Creature of Havoc", you could miss useful items or powers on a dice roll. ("Black Vein Prophecy" was particularly grim, since the dice roll in question was failing a Luck Stat roll.)
- If fans didn't tape the original airing of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode from the KTMA season, they're probably NEVER going to see it, since Best Brains considers the KTMA season an Old Shame and won't release the episodes.
- Dungeons & Dragons adventure WG6 Isle of the Ape. Near the end of the module six jewels worth a total of 300,000 gold pieces float to the ground. If the party doesn't pick them up within one round (1 minute) they vanish forever.
- A number of older Transformers figures are lost forever and cannot be reissued due to the original molds being either lost, damaged, or destroyed. Notable examples include the G1 Dinobots, Mirage, Sunstreaker, and Wheeljack, and Robots in Disguise Prowl, Side Burn, and X-Brawn. Some toys such as Jetfire, Shockwave, and Omega Supreme cannot be rereleased due to legal issues (these toys were not produced by Takara, but by various other toy companies).
- There is a specific error code for Web resources that are this: 410, otherwise known as "Gone". Unlike error code 404, which is simply used for files or pages that can't be found, 410 is used for things that are intended to be gone and never coming back.
- Any website that doesn't allow the Internet Archive to search its old pages.
- Additionally, websites tend to get archived imperfectly, meaning that some files and even whole pages can be perpetually lost in the sands of time.
- Suspended and cancelled Twitter accounts also qualify.
- In the TV Tropes Wiki, due to The Great Crash, certain examples and Made of Win articles were Lost... Forever...
- From That Guy with the Glasses:
- A video by That Dude in the Suede that ranted against Youtube's takedowns of The Nostalgia Critic episodes which caught the interest of Doug Walker and in turn was responsible for That Guy With The Glasses/Channel Awesome becoming a showcase for more contributors other than Walker is lost and gone forever. The reason? Suede said he'd delete the video when the dispute between Walker and YouTube had run its course and Suede had saved the video on a now long-gone college computer.
- The website itself used to have a section dedicated to written articles. In May 2011, this section was removed from the site with no record or archive of these article placed anywhere on the site.
- Every single video that Daniel "That Aussie Guy" Rizzo made for the site.
- The Nostalgia Chick's controversial Dune review.
- Many a YouTube video has become Lost Forever due to the creator deleting their account, or, more often, the video being taken down due to copyright infringement. This is becoming far less common with the increasing accessibility of software and browser plug-ins that allow fans to download videos. Any single video (or even a channel's entire video library) with even a modest amount of popularity will likely be downloaded by somebody somewhere along the way. And more often than not, when a popular channel ends up biting the dust, at least one fan will step up and repost one, some, or all of that dead channel's video library.
- Several writers of the original Darwin's Soldiers RP on Furtopia played out scenes via private messaging. Those scenes were never released, not even to the GM.
- Fanfiction.net never lets any Fan Fiction remain on the site forever. Which is sad, since the Wayback Machine can't archive anything there.
- Public user photo site Fotopic went into administration in 2011, taking with it 8 years worth of images, websites, galleries, etc. And with the Wayback Machine unable to save anything from it, it's all gone for good. There was a reprieve of sorts in 2013, when the server was reopened to allow users to retrieve their pictures, only for access to be rationed when the server was overloaded by said users.
- There was a wiki for this trope, but it was in its early days and needed some Wiki Magic. Since then it's gone, rendering it and everything it contained Lost Forever.
- When Megaupload was shut down in 2012 due to legal issues, tons of people have lost irreplaceable files and have yet to get their files back. The high costs of maintaining the servers and the US government being difficult don't help things.
- Following a hacking incident, everything on the BZPower Forum Archive spanning 2001-2011 was lost, leading to the Forum Archive shutting down for good. Tons of fan works on the site, ranging from Fanfiction to Artwork to Play By Post gamesnote , were lost forever, except for what little is salvageable from the Wayback Machine.
- The social photo sharing app Snapchat uses this as one of its main gimmicks. When you receive an image from another user and then open it, you can only view the image for how long the sender specifies, up to 10 seconds, and then the image is deleted from your device. Taking a screenshot notifies the sender. If the sender permits, the image can be "replayed"—that is, viewed again, but only once a day. However, Snapchat also has Stories, the images of which are viewable by all users on the poster's friend list for 24 hours each.
- The Simpsons: Happens to Chester Lampwick, the original creator of Itchy & Scratchy in the episode "The Day The Violence Died". He shows the only existing copy of an original 1919 silent cartoon starring Itchy. Unfortunately the film burns up after Bart and Milhouse saw it, thus diminishing Lampwick's chances to prove he's the sole creator of the character Itchy.
- A fossil of the prehistoric Peking Man has been lost since World War II.
- The only known fossils belonging to the sauropod Amphicoelias fragillimus (which was possibly the largest dinosaur ever) have disappeared, and their fate remains unknown. It has been theorized that the bones were fragile and had crumbled.
- The legendary Ark of the Covenant is still lost and this has caused some archeologists to doubt whether the actual object actually existed at all.
- The Ancient Seven Wonders Of The World have all vanished, except for the Great Pyramids in Egypt.
- The noses of the Egyptian sphinxes. (If they were there in the first place...)
- The Buddhas of Bamyan statues, which were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 under huge international protest.
- The arms of the Venus Of Milo statue by Praxiteles.
- The final portion of the Bayeux Tapestry was deliberately removed at some point and is now lost.
- A lot of ancient frescoes and mosaics have vanished forever.
- The world famous Ancient Roman road system which made it possible to travel quickly from one part of their Empire to the other was mostly removed in the Middle Ages. The reason? They could use the stones to build churches and houses!
- The lower left panel of "The Just Judges" painting by Jan and Hubert Van Eyck was stolen in 1934 and to this day nobody knows its whereabouts...
- On his death bed Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder told his wife to destroy some of his drawings and paintings, because they could cause problems for her if the authorities discovered them. And she did.
- There are quite some artworks whom we only know about because someone else made a copy from it. In those cases it remains a mystery whether the copy closely resembled the original or whose simply a deviation. Famous examples are a huge portion of the Ancient History writings from Ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome, to name a few, that were copied by Medieval monks.
- Many Catholic church statues were destroyed by protestants during the "Beeldenstorm" in the mid 16th century.
- Many paintings from previous centuries were often cut shorter if the buyer thought that their size was too enormous. A notorious example is Rembrandt Van Rijn's "De Nachtwacht" ("The Nightwatch"), which used to be far larger. Those missing parts are again lost forever. However, the missing panel of De Nachtwacht, cut because the painting was too large to fit between columns of the Amsterdam Town Hall, was copied by an understudy beforehand and the original painting, with the cropped panel, can be recreated.
- After the Marquis de Sade's death in 1814, his son destroyed all of his unpublished manuscripts.
- Many of Johann Sebastian Bach's works are lost, including a number of concertos, which survive as harpsichord concertos and reconstructions, and a few church cantatas. It didn't help that Bach was known more as a performer than as a composer until the early 1800s.
- Most paintings that inspired Modest Mussorgsky to compose "Pictures At An Exhibition" are also lost. If you hear certain eerie portions of it, like "The Gnome", it's probably for the best. Only a few survive.
- Four complete volumes and around seven pages of text by Lewis Carroll were destroyed by his family for reasons frequently debated.
- The entire ancient Belgian city Ieper was destroyed during the First World War. It was later rebuilt, but nothing what you see today is authentic medieval architecture.
- The German city Dresden was bombarded by the Allies during the Second World War "to shock the German people into surrendering". Almost nothing of this medieval city survived the fierce attack. It took almost fifty years before Dresden was finally restored.
- This is also the reason why Gustave Courbet's painting "The Stone Breakers" doesn't exist anymore. It was kept in a gallery during the attacks. We still know how it looked though, because we have photographs.
- Many paintings by Vincent van Gogh in Rotterdam were destroyed during bombardments in World War Two.
- A lot of artwork from famous early 20th century comic book authors is lost forever. Copies of their original drawings and stories still exist, of course, since they were all print copied for publication, but the original works themselves were usually thrown or given away, since the creators didn't value them that much. Back then comic strips were seen as cheap kids' stories and held in very low esteem.
- A notorious example was Carl Barks, of whom hardly any original comic book pages exist. To compensate for this he painted scenes from his original scenes and sold those paintings to collectors for high sums.
- The Honjo Masamune, probably the most famous sword made by the swordsmith Gorō Nyūdō Masamune, was by and large considered the single finest katana ever made and was a personal treasure of the Tokugawa Shogunate, as well as a Japanese National Treasure. In 1945, Prince Tokugawa Iemasa entrusted the Honjo Masamune and 14 other swords to a Police station in Mejiro, only for them to be given to a sergeant of the 7th Air Cavalry of the United States Military one month later. Since then, however, the whereabouts of the sword are completely unknown.
- Many films, especially from the silent cinema and early 'talkie' era, were not well archived, and as such they either vanished into the dustbin of history or had missing scenes. And the earliest methods of copying the films for distribution actually degrades the strips that's being copied from.
- The presumably lost horror movie London After Midnight (1929) is a famous example.
- Large parts from Erich Von Stroheim's cinematic masterpiece Greed were cut and thrown away, because the 8 hour film "took too long". This was not the directors' choice, but his producers decided to treat it that way. If an original full length copy of this film could be found today it would be worth millions!
- In Japan a 1930s monster movie based on King Kong was made, but all copies were destroyed in the American bombardements during the Second World War. Mind you that this would be the first Japanese monster movie, years before Godzilla!
- Laurel and Hardy's most successful (and considered the best of that era) silent short, Hats Off, has currently never been found. Only a few stills and a poster, along with the title card and the script have been recovered. The rest of the film remains lost.
- The Magnificent Ambersons: Up to 45 minutes from Orson Welles' masterpiece were cut and thrown away by producers while he was abroad.
- Nowadays every DVD must have some sort of extras about how a certain film or TV series was made. Film crews know this and therefore they keep a lot of deleted scenes and other footage. But many films from the first half of the 20th century hardly have anything to show, apart from trailers perhaps, because back then people just made their film and all the unneccessary stuff was thrown away. There were no documentary crews present to record how certain films were put together, simply because there was no market or proper viewing place for it. Therefore it mostly remains a mystery what kind of techniques were used to make the special effects or lightning in many of these old movies.
- Many episodes from 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s TV series, game shows, talk shows, news reports, sporting events,... are lost forever. Back then television was still young and most archivists didn't think many of this stuff could be of historical interest. It specifically happened to a lot of live shows, who just went on air without the network videotaping it. Part of the problem was that the home video recorder only became widespread at people's homes near the end of the 1970s, beginning of the 1980s. Some people did own a personal video recorder, but since taping shows off the air was considered illegal in those years they kept their possessions secret for many years. Apart from that, videotapes were often recycled to tape newer stuff over it, because of low budgets. This almost happened to Monty Python's Flying Circus in the mid-seventies, but thanks to a court case and the unexpected interest for the show in the United States the entire series were saved! (See also Missing Episode and Keep Circulating the Tapes)
- The same rule applies especially for old underrated shows that networks never care enough about to re-release on VHS or DVD (but will have them swiftly removed from the internet and threaten to sue), yet the people who do/did watch them never know how unpopular their favorite show is or how long they have to tape all the episodes before they're indefinitely cancelled and never heard from again. In fact, there are certain shows that don't even get repeats and only air once. This goes especially for one-shot television specials/events.
- Thankfully there are a few dedicated independent video companies that rescue some of the more obscure titles from the vaults.
- There are 97 missing episodes of the longrunning BBC science-fiction Doctor Who, destroyed to make room in the BBC.
- Doctor Who is relatively well-represented in terms of British Shows of the time. Most of the episodes from the 1960s still exist. Only one episode seems truly lost forever, the only copy of Episode 7 of the Daleks Master Plan was destroyed. However the audio for every Doctor Who episode exists and animated versions of Missing Episodes are being created.
- In one of the ballsiest moves in the history of modern music (from a band that made their entire career on being ballsy), anti-establishment electronica duo KLF celebrated their departure from the music industry by deleting their entire back catalogue. If you want to hear their music now, good luck finding old copies of their records on eBay. To clarify, the term "deleted" means no longer in print by request of the artist. This happens a lot, but the artist usually only "deletes" an album/single or two, not their entire discography. It's pretty easy to find their discography on the internet, minus a few releases that may or may not exist. Whether or not the master tapes still exist is up for debate.
- Any time a species goes extinct.
- Doubly so for any prehistoric species that went extinct without leaving a convenient fossil record behind that then managed to survive to the present. Barring the invention of some appropriate form of Time Travel in the future, we won't even know that they were ever there...
- All those ancient civilizations like the Mayas, the Aztects, the Incas, the Etruscans, the Celts,... All gone forever!
- It's a pity that film, photographs and audio recording were only invented in the late 19th century, otherwise we might have had recordings of people and other beings who lived in previous time periods. Imagine how interesting it might have been to see and hear footage of actual historical characters, societies, deeds or extinct animals. Most historical stuff we know is derived from writings, paintings and archeological discoveries, but a lot of it is highly subjective. It generally centers on all the politicians, royals and famous people of those eras and we hardly know anything about the daily lives of all those anonymous people who were born and died but never did anything remarkable in the ideas of the historians who lived back then. Facts, legends, myths, anecdotes and blatant lies were all mixed together in one confusing mess. So in a nutshell, we'll never exactly know what happened back then.
- Any dreams that you don't record. And every thought or vision you've had will eventually be lost forever if not recorded.
- Any time you forgot to save your computer document. Written documents as well. Throwing away a drawing, essay, etc. without replicating it would generate this effect.
- Most of the stuff that happened in your life between your birth and your pre-teen years. You only remember certain events and most of the time you have to rely on what people older than you saw happen, which isn't always trustworthy...
- Ever tried to remember the content of those TV shows and films you watched as a young kid, but never saw again ever since? It's mind boggling: you watched all those episodes intensely, but as you grow older you can hardly remember what happened in most of these episodes unless you're able to rewatch them again. Which, thanks to Youtube and DVD releases, is more prominent than a few decades ago. Fortunately this is a Downplayed Trope as, unless they're elsewhere on this page, those works still exist, it's just that you yourself haven't seen them in a while.
- Albert Einstein's final words. He spoke them in German, but the person with him didn't, dooming his final words to be a mystery.
- Boxer Harry Greb had over 300 professional boxing matches and is considered by boxing historians as one of the top five greatest boxers of all time, and there is absolutely no film of his fights. The only things to confirm his existence are old newspaper clippings and pictures, and those are starting to degrade.
- Author George Orwell has never been recorded on sound tape or film. Documentaries always have to relie on photographs or actors who portray him to provide audio or video footage.
- The Cherry Sisters were a late 19th century singing group who were notorious for their lack of singing talent. Unfortunately and despite their reputation no recordings of their voice exist, so we can only guess how awful they must have sounded.
- Virginity. Once it's been taken, it can never be regained back. Some regard loss of virginity as a rite of passage, others see it as shameful, especially under particular circumstances.
- Yesterday. Once it's past, it's gone. It's, quite literally, history. Every second is lost as well. The time you took to read this sentence is, literally, gone forever.
- Eventually, the entire universe, as seen here.
- Word of God says that the source code for the highly-acclaimed Panzer Dragoon Saga has been lost, sinking any chances of a port. Meaning that, unless Sega decides to remake the game from scratch, the only way to play it outside of emulation is to purchase one of the rarest and most expensive games on the Saturn (as of this typing, it's currently going for $280 used and $1300 new on Amazon.)
- One day, you and everyone you love will be dead, and unless the transhumanists have their way, can never come back to life.
- Most of the stuff that gets lost on the ocean bottom. In can be found, technically, but in most cases you have to able to locate it first. And even then, it's difficult and expensive to retrieve it to the surface, especially in the deep sea.
- Things that land at the very bottom of deep oceanic trenches, however, really can get lost permanently in surprisingly short times, because subduction (slipping of one tectonic plate beneath another) moves along at the rate of several inches a year in some trenches and the stuff at the bottom of trenches is literally buried under a whole continent. There have even been proposals to dispose of nuclear waste this way.
- During the Watergate scandal president Richard Nixon was forced to give audio tapes of his conversations in the White House to the commission that investigated the affair. Nixon kept most of the tape content intact, except for 18 minutes of conversation that he had erased. Of course, this let people wondering what on Earth was said on those tapes that was so controversial that Nixon didn't want anyone to know about? If you listen to some of the stuff that he DID leave untouched on those tapes it must have been really heavy and/or offensive stuff that could damage his reputation immensly! In 2011 some forensic experts tried to recapture what was hidden on those tapes, but were unable to solve it.
- During the Irangate scandal near the end of the 1980s Oliver North shredded several documents to prevent Congress from being able to read them. These are also gone forever.
- Many, many works of literature throughout history, including the following attested works (some have survived in part but not in full):
- Aeschylus: The Myrmidons; The Phrygians; Niobe
- Archimedes: On Polyhedra
- Aristotle: Poetics (Book II)
- Sir Richard Burton: The Scented Garden
- George Gordon, Lord Byron: Memoirs
- Gaius Julius Caesar: Letters to Cicero
- Geoffrey Chaucer: Of the Wretched Engendering of Mankind
- Claudius: Dictionary of the Etruscan Language
- Confucius: Classic of Music
- David ben-Yeshai: The Annals of King David
- Euclid: Conics
- Homer: Batrachomyomachia (War of the Frogs and the Mice)
- Abraham Lincoln: Bloomington, Ill. speech of May 1856
- Molière: The Three Doctors
- Pindar: The Complete Odes
- Jean Racine: Amasie
- Sappho: The Alexandrian Collection
- William Shakespeare: Love’s Labours Won; Cardenio
- Sophocles: The Three Theban Tetralogies
- Sozomen: History of the Christian Church
- Various authors (incl. Homer): The Complete Epic Cycle of Troy