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Missing Secret
It's not a sidequest. It's just a bad translation.

So you have a game with lots of hidden areas, secret stashes of powerups, and generally all kinds of rewards for exploring and busting down walls. You're at the end of the game and have every powerup you've seen, but.. why is there still an empty slot in your inventory? Why hasn't that bridge been fixed? What did you miss? Where is this undiscovered item? How do you get to that area?!

Turns out, it... doesn't exist. There isn't an item for every box in your inventory screen. That Broken Bridge was just there for flavor. Not every type of weapon has an ultimate variant. There's no reason to be paranoid because of Interface Spoiler. The game just never tells you this, so you're left to wonder what you're missing out on.

This is often spawned from an Empty Room Psych or something that was Dummied Out, and often creates an Urban Legend of Zelda. For those into 100% Completion, this can end up as a form of Fake Longevity. Last Lousy Point is when it really is just that well hidden.

Can be considered a video game-specific subtrope of Riddle for the Ages. See also Interface Spoiler for another videogame meta-trope based on expectations, that often overlaps with this one, or would, if the thing it "spoiled" existed.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Action Adventure 
  • Rare Ltd. developed title, Grabbed by the Ghoulies has quite a few secrets just beyond reach and nearly-unlockable features like it's GoldenEye counterpart. Touring the game you'll manage to pick up 100 secret collectible 'Rare' tomes called 'Bonus Books', collecting a set number will allow you to unlock certain features and bonus content - so imagine the rancor of players who manage to stumble across a pile of Bonus Books just beyond a thick gate arranged into a question mark. It doesn't help that the 'Jukebox' feature seen in the manual was dummied out in the final game, leading players to believe that if there were some way to get beyond the grate they could unlock the hidden audio feature.
  • Literal example in the second Harry Potter PC game. Each level features "secrets" of any kind, but for some reason the Chamber of Secrets level announces one more secret of what you can actually find.
    • Likewise, in the Xbox Chamber of Secrets game, you are told that the alohomora spell will allow you to `unlock all kinds of things'. So long as they're prize chests and not the numerous temptingly locked doors scattered throughout the game.
    • The PlayStation version of the second game has some doors in Hogwarts that can't be unlocked no matter what.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Near the beginning of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Link's wounded uncle tells him "Zelda...is...your..." before passing out. Apparently, many players assumed the missing word was "sister"- since this is never brought up again over the course of the game, people have searched for some hidden sidequest that reveals their relationship. In fact, the line was intended to be "Zelda is your destiny", as stated in the manual.
    • Also in A Link to the Past, there are a number of cracked walls. Some can be blown open by bombs while some can be knocked down by being rammed into with the Pegasus Boots, but others aren't affected at all by either of those. Some players have wasted many hours searching for a bomb upgrade to blow these walls open. The closest thing to a bomb upgrade is the red bomb, which opens up a specific location, and is never a standard inventory item. These cracks are merely for decoration. Generally speaking, if cracks aren't positioned on the center of the wall in any given room, they're just decoration, and the decorative cracks are only seen in dungeons, anyhow. However, there's a cave somewhere on Death Mountain that has a noticeable cracked wall, in a relatively obvious spot, but it can't be broken opened in any way. This is the only instance of this happening in a cave.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap gives you bonuses for finding homes in the village for two of three female travelers to your village. There is no way to get the third one a home. This was apparently an obtuse reference to the planned trilogy of "Oracle" games for the Game Boy Color, of which only two were completed.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is known for this as well:
      • That Triforce-shaped engraving in your inventory doesn't get filled with anythingnote , Zora's Domain never gets unfrozen (unlike every other bad effect Ganondorf causes upon the world)note ... and the Running Man never loses.
      • In addition to being permanently frozen, Zora's domain also houses two underwater tunnels. One of these tunnels is a shortcut that takes the player to Lake Hylia. The other is inaccessible through normal gameplay, and even if you use hacking tools to reach it, it doesn't lead anywhere. This has caused much speculation about it being the planned door to some Dummied Out content.
      • There's also a hidden staircase inside the windmill in Kakariko Village, which is only reachable by hookshot from a single rooftop. The only thing inside is a Cuckoo at the top to let you get down without dying of fall damage.
  • Tomb Raider 1 and 2 (and maybe later games too) each have one medikit in a location that's inaccessible (outside of bugs anyway), in the first game's case someone contacted Core and found that it was originally going to be accessible in a part of a level that was removed. The original game also has a literal example, as the very last secret in the game (stated as such from strategy guides) does not register on the counter due to a missing trigger-confirmed by people checking in an editor-which of course led to hunts for if there was something else (which was stopped after people got the tools to check the triggers in levels).
  • In LEGO Island, the box screenshots, included comic/instruction manual, and map all show a red car somewhere in the mountain area. Needless to say it isn't there.
  • There are some doors that are just not meant to be opened at all in Iji. Also, you can get a maximum of 60 level-up points unless you use the Null Driver, just three short of the number required to max out all your stats. Lampshaded in one instance where using The Nuke to get accross a certain gap triggers a response from Iji that there is nothing there.
  • Inverted in Tomb Raider III, where the Coastal village level has an extra secret. Each branch of the level has its own unique second secret; if you do some backtracking, you can get both, earning you 4/3 secrets. Played straight with the Cathedral Key, which itself counts as a secret, but doesn't unlock any doors. However the name implies that the key is used to access All Hallows, your reward for finding all of the game's secrets.
  • LEGO Star Wars 2's different versions:
    • The Game Boy Advance version features a % completion meter that literally stops at 99%. There is no kind of victory screen or end credits rolling, but as far as anyone knows, there's nothing else.
    • A subversion for the consoles and PSP versions: in December 2006, a code was given on an old StarWars.com page (that if not for the help of Wayback Machine, would be Lost Forever) for Disguise 3. But there's no Disguise 2! ...Until March 2007, when Disguise 2's code was finally revealed. However, at the time, players had to donate to Comic Relief for Red Nose Day in order to find out.
    • In the first LEGO Star Wars game, there's a brick wall behind a sealed door in one level. There's no way of getting past it.
  • In Darksiders, a bug causes one chest to never register as opened. If the player returns to the location with an item that reveals collectibles on the map, that chest will still show up, even though it's no longer there. Doubly annoying since there are actually a few chests that are marked on map but only appear when some action is performed.
  • In Illusion of Gaia, there's a little hole next to the second dungeon's entrance, just the right size to Psycho Slide through — but you don't get that ability until rather later in the game, and at that point, there's no way back. Using a cheat device to give Will the ability early reveals that the hole is just decoration, as solid as any other wall.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, there were a series of AR Cards that you could use with the game, generally distributed at events. A total of 412 cards are programmed into the game, but cards #405 and #411 were never released. That said, they are still in the game's data...
  • In the main waterway of the City of Canals in Beyond Good & Evil, there's a secret side-waterway you can get to by hopping over a laser barrier. There are a few twisty passageways back there, as well as what appears to be a lowered gate that, if opened, would lead to another side-area. The camera even pans over to it as if it's supposed to be important, but there's no way to open it. However, it is possible to glitch you way through it—revealing that it still contains a working warp, which teleports you to a glitchy, unfinished map there's no way to escape from. Whatever was meant to be back there was Dummied Out long ago.

     Adventure Game 
  • An episode in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People has one area where your metal detector will beep slowly even when you've cleared out the area.
  • Phantom 2040 has a few examples of this. Though due to its obscurity, maybe the secrets ARE actually that well hidden.
    • Most weapons you missed early on can be acquired in a later chapter. A few, however, simply are Lost Forever.
    • There are three multiplier items you can find in the game. One doubles the damage you do, one halves the damage you take, and a third halves your ammo consumption. The incoming damage multiplier has a stronger and incredibly well-hidden variant that reduces incoming damage to one fourth. There is no such upgrade for either of the others. There is also a second ammo multiplier, and it reduces ammo consumption to one fourth. It's hidden about as half as well as the second incoming damage multiplier, and only accessible if you return to one particular level as soon as you complete it. There is no upgrade for the remaining multiplier.
    • Even in the Golden Ending, one of the two major villains still manages to escape.
  • The Journeyman Project has one more Bio-Chip slot than obtainable Bio-Chips.
    • Lampshaded at certain points: "This floor/the room behind this door was neither modeled nor rendered".
  • Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales includes a card game with five promotional cards. These cards were distributed wirelessly, but could also be unlocked by entering button codes. However, while all the codes were released in Japan and Europe, only one was released in America. Two and a half years after its release, nobody has found the codes for the other cards.
  • Maniac Mansion featured a broken staircase. You could not fix it, even though you had tools and you just KNOW there would've been something awesome up there. There was also a cabinet you couldn't unlock, and lots of useless items.
    • In the same game, there is also a chainsaw that doesn't work because it's out of gasoline. So you'd figure there would be a cannister of gas to be found somewhere, wouldn't you? It's in Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders on Mars, where you can find a can of gas labeled "for chainsaws".
    • In the edited NES release there's a bit of a secret—there's a keypad hidden on the second floor directly to the left of the Steel Security Door that leads back down to the 2nd Floor Landing. (The sprite is missing, but it's in the second column of the wallpaper, just off the floor. It has a hotspot.) No matter what you enter on the keypad, the mansion will blow up a minute or so later; there is no right code. It's possible that this was the copy protection from the computer versions, though in such an extensive port that would be odd indeed. Alternatively, it could be tied to the abandoned Pepsi promotion (before release, there would have been a Can of Pepsi in the fridge, and it would have had a code on it to win prizes, but Pepsi backed out and the code was excised).
  • The Secret Of Monkey Island has the door at the back of the alleyway next to the circus poster. This door is locked for the entire game and you never use it. The sequel LeChuck's Revenge has an area open up onto that door, but the way out of the alleyway is blocked off for space reasons. It was made clear years later that Ron Gilbert originally intended the second game's ending to be used in the first game - the door would have taken you down to the basement area where you face LeChuck, who in the first game would have been meant to have brought Elaine down there. This is the same reason why Fester Shinetop LeChuck in disguise calls you back there - the player would likely not notice the area otherwise.
  • In Loom, there is a room in the first village where you are shown a certain draft. However, the game requires you to get further in the game before you can get the right notes to cast it, and because you can't return to the first island until the very end of the game (where you are basically locked in the room with the Loom in it) it is impossible to find out what this draft does. There is a possibility it would have been used in the game's cancelled sequels, but nobody knows for sure.

     Fighting Game 
  • Mortal Kombat Deception's Konquest mode has a ton. The most notorious is likely the Shaolin Temple at the beginning of the game, where attempted entry yields a box of text saying that only a Shaolin monk may enter. Even worse, the "Lightning Staff" sidequest, which leads nowhere and ends with Kung Lao proclaiming they are going to "strike down Shao Kahn", but there's nothing to do to follow up on that.
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee had the weird situation of having 29 playable stages, and not 30. You could say there's a 30th stage (not counting the three trophy stages which are in Event Mode only), but it's the debug stage accessed via cheating.
    • A Fire Emblem stage called "Akaneia" can be found using Action Replay, but it was scrapped. A Fire Emblem-based stage finally appeared in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, however, under the name of Castle Siege.
    • Brawl's event matches come in Easy, Normal, and Hard flavours, but use the same icons as are normally used for a 5-difficulty scale, which might make one think that the events can eventually played on Very Hard and Intense.
  • Rotating Tanya's character box in Mortal Kombat Gold reveals a question mark, but nothing is actually unlocked here. It is rumored that this was for the deleted character Belokk.
  • Mortal Kombat has one in the character select screen (in the Xbox 360 version only). The game only has a few unlockable characters, all of which become selectable in the bottom row of the character select screen when unlocked. The PS3 version got the console-specific Kratos in the bottom right corner; the Xbox 360 version gets nothing. The space on the character select screen is always unselectable, and shows a duplicate picture of Cyber Sub-Zero, who is selectable in the bottom left corner. In an odd twist, during multiplayer matches the player on the right can only select the bottom right corner, and the player on the left can only select the bottom left corner (especially odd since these corner spots then expand to show the downloadable characters, which as a result show up mirrored in each corner).

     First Person Shooter 
  • Doom: In some versions, the Percent kills/secrets/items count at the end of the level will always display 0% if the level doesn't have anything of that category. This gives the impression that the secrets are there, but you just didn't find any of them.
    • Some old level-design books actually suggest making a "secret area" trigger that can't be reached, so that players will continue to search for it.
    • There are also some official levels where it is impossible to get 100% secrets. In Ultimate Doom maps E4M3 and E4M7 due to bad map design; the former has secret sectors with torches on top of them, the latter an invulsphere that you can't reach and a door that's too thin for the secret to register. And in Doom II Maps 15 and 27 due to a peculiarity of the engine; the secrets are on teleport pads, but a teleporter activates when the player crosses the edge, which means you can never enter the sector and trigger the secret. All can be triggered by noclipping, though. It's also impossible to get 100% items on Map 27 in the original Doom 2 engine (though not in some sourceports), because there are two Computer Maps and you can only pick up one.
    • The console ports of the early Doom games, which used somewhat redesigned levels, often didn't bother redoing the secret flags, making tons and tons of non-existant secrets still count as "not found" on the secret counter. Grr.
    • There are also several instances where 100% items isn't possible due to said items not being flagged as multiplayer only in deathmatch areas. Map 6 of 'Requiem' for example has two berserker packs unobtainable in single player mode because of this
    • One of the many, many, many console versions of DOOM sometimes did this with enemies. In one level of the 3DO port had a hidden Imp in one level you could only kill by shooting into a blank wall.
  • Golden Eye 1997 for the N64 had 23 unlockable cheats, not the symmetric 24, generally assumed to be due to a missing level which would give a cheat called "line mode." This is accessible by a button press code, but has no legitimate unlock method in the final game.
    • Goldeneye also has the infamous far-off outpost inside the water behind the dam in the first stage. It sits there fully rendered not doing anything, no enemies on it, and no programmed items. It was revealed by the Goldeneye team that it was supposed to be used, but they ran out of time to find a use for it. Rumor has it this is where you were originally supposed to retrieve the bungee jumping equipment.
  • People have not yet found the elusive Item 3 in Gravity Bone.
  • Duke Nukem 3D uses a sector-based engine, like Doom, and this has led to at least one instance of having more than one secret-flagged sector in the same hidden location, and confusing players trying to figure out just where to find all the secrets. Examining the map E2L2 in the BUILD editor shows that two adjacent sectors both have the secret area tag. The line they share also happens to be one used for splitting the area for shading purposes, so given how the BUILD editor handles tagging sectors which have been split (both get the tag of the parent sector), this instance is a clear oversight on the part of the developers.
  • In the Marathon levels "Colony Ship for Sale" and "Low Flying Defense Drones" there are rooms full of weapons and ammo that are inaccessable and just there to tease the player. Also, the rumored "A Good Way To Die" level. There are also many locked doors that never open; looking in a map editor reveals that there's nothing behind theme.
  • Due to a few broken triggers, some secrets in Serious Sam - The Second Encounter don't exist but the secret counter still shows like they're there. It also shows up that the game's intro has one stage despite not being playable at all.
  • The Quake II level "Pumping Station 2" technically has four secrets, but one of them is lacking a trigger and therefore won't register.

     Maze Game 

     Platform Game 
  • Banjo-Kazooie:
    • Stop 'n' Swop one-upped this: You were supposed to be able to collect items in the first game to use in the second, but Rare failed to anticipate changes to undocumented N64 behavior, and the planned means of unlocking the items (power off, switch cartridges, power on) had to be abandoned. Apparently, the developers had forgotten about the N64 Controller Pak. The Xbox Live Arcade rereleases fixed this. Of note is the fact that all the secret eggs and the ice key CAN be obtained in the N64 version of the original Banjo-Kazooie, by going into the sand castle in Treasure Trove Cove and inputting a VERY long code for each of the eggs/key. The codes were most likely going to be given in Banjo-Tooie.
    • When you enter the room in Gruntilda's Lair where Tooty was imprisoned you can see a closed door, but there's no way to open it and it doesn't seem to be linked to the Stop 'n' Swop.
    • In Banjo-Tooie, it had its own share of oddities, both having to do with Bottles. The multiple-choice quiz sequence close to the end of the game uses different character text mugshots, with accompanying voice sounds. These mugshots were chosen randomly, but among them was an angry red mugshot that looked like Bottles and had his sound. Players tried to find this new Bottles to no avail until hacking found it to be part of a Dummied Out Counter-Op mode. The other supposed secret dealt with Bottles' house. During the endgame, a party is held there and the characters won't let you in until you finish the game. However, upon entering the file again afterward, it's obvious the party is over, but the entrance is still blocked off. This connected to the Stop 'n' Swop rumors, but hacked entries would reveal nothing had changed in the house and the continued sealing was most likely a programming oversight.
    • Banjo-Tooie also includes a text string for the title of a supposed 'Ridiculously Secret Area.' No such area has ever been found, and some hackers suspect that Rare included this as a red herring, knowing that gamers would dissect the game.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog series has a couple of examples.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 3 lists Sandopolis, Mushroom Valley (Mushroom Hill) and Flying Battery in its level select, though you can't choose them. Like the wealth of Sonic and Knuckles tunes heard in the Sonic 3 sound test, these are merely leftovers from before Sonic and Knuckles became its own game. (For the record, Dummied Out versions of these levels do exist in the game's data - and so does Lava Reef Zone.)
    • The Scrap Brain Zone, Act 3 in the 8-bit version of the original has only 99 rings.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 had music from a Dummied Out level (specifically, Hidden Palace Zone) left in the Sound Test. More than that, a pre-release feature printed in EGM had a brief description of all levels, including the supposedly secret Hidden Palace Zone, which they promised to give hints about in the next issue. (They didn't.) None of the other beta levels are detailed here, which is not surprising, as Hidden Palace was cut very close to the game's final release, which would explain why its music is in the sound test, as mentioned above.
    • In Sonic Lost World, you can receive optional mini-quests from Omochao on the world map. These missions range from accumulating a certain number of rings as you play to doing certain stunts with the Wisps or parkour actions to doing no-damage runs of levels and bosses. The prizes for completing a level range from free items to new vehicles and upgrades for Co-Op mode. After you complete all 100 missions, Omochao says "Congratulations! You did them all! I have a present for you!" You then receive absolutely nothing whatsoever.
  • Mega Man 7 has an empty spot in the weapon inventory menu, it cause quite a few Urban Legend of Zelda before it was proved there's nothing to fill the spot.
    • Mega Man 9 also has an empty spot in the weapon inventory menu.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Despite the star symbol to denote 100% completion, Super Mario World maxing out at 96 exits had people looking for four more, just in case. It doesn't help that, according to The Mushroom Kingdom, the star is only in the North American release, so for Japanese players before the likes of GameFAQs, the confusion is understandable.
    • The deleted level pictured on the back of the Super Mario Bros. 3 box, which isn't even Dummied Out in the ROM.
    • In Super Mario Sunshine, during the Red Coins in a Bottle Challenge in Noki Bay, if one sinks to the bottom of the bottle and looks at the structure from a certain direction, you can spot a mysterious book in the center of it, but can't reach it at all.
  • Conkers Bad Fur Day has two:
    • A gated cave near the entrance to the Uga Buga chapter, where you pay the toll, that looks like it can be entered but never opens
    • The top of the windmill looks like it has a path to a pressure switch on top of it, too bad it gets destroyed before you reach it. Lampshaded by Conker saying "The windmill's been destroyed! I thought for sure that was the final level!"
    • Inside the Poo Cabin there appears to be a rather large grate with a piece of chocolate just beyond reach through the bars. It looks as though the tunnel continues off to the left as well, leading players to scour the level to find some way to open the grate and gain access to the tunnel beyond. The grate even managed to appear in the remake, Conker: Live & Reloaded, and once again could not be unlocked to gain access to the chocolate and whatever wild secrets might have been waiting just beyond the corner.
  • Space Station Silicon Valley has a secret trophy in each level, however you're unable to pick up the one in "Fat Bear Mountain", making it impossible to 100% the game and unlock the extra spaceship mini-game.
  • In Flashback, Restricted Area 1 is never accessible.
  • In some version of Rayman2, a counter will always stay at 99% even if you've found everything in the game.
  • Donkey Kong 64 has a number of these - the most prominent being Cranky's mention of a secret level named Great Girder Grapple in the game's instruction booklet, which fans have hunted for for years. This was most likely a joke reference to the original Donkey Kong game, which is a crucial element of this game. Another example is a barn with a number of doors in its loft, except one door that never opens. Before deciding on infinite lives, Rare intended to hide a 1-up balloon behind this door.
  • Vexx has the mysterious floating tower that appears in the background in nearly every level. Supposedly the player was supposed to be able to go there eventually (there was even an extra level shown in the trailer,) but it was cut out of the game.
    • In one area of the ring of land surrounding the main bubble in The Under, there's a strange pipe that hangs above you. You can wall jump a little ways into it, but usually, you'll just fall. There's nothing up there, you.

     Puzzle Game 
  • One door in the kitchen of The 7th Guest never unlocks because it would lead outside, and leaving the mansion just isn't in the cards; same reason the front door never lets you out.
  • Many players tried in vain to open the "vitrified" doors that appear in several of the "old Aperture" levels in Portal 2 because they look a lot like they could be opened if you can find the just the right tool or switch... (Using the "noclip" cheat shows that there's nothing behind the doors, though.) Unsurprisingly, when the level editor for the game was published, several people created their own visions of what's behind those doors.

     Racing Game 
  • In Rage Racer, there are several blocked-off roads and tunnels that are not used by any of the courses. Rumor has it that there was a planned fifth track that was Dummied Out.
  • According to the manual for LEGO Racers, every track in the game has a short-cut. This left people searching and searching for one on Knightmare-athon, only to fail. There was intended to be one there, but it was removed. There is a screenshot that shows it though, and there are still power-ups intact from where it originally was.
  • In Gran Turismo 2, it is impossible to get 100% Completion, due to the planned drag racing mode that was Dummied Out of the final game.
  • Despite what the manual says, the driving subgame of Die Hard Trilogy does not have a dump truck or 18-wheeler, nor skaters in Central Park, nor a West Side Highway level.
  • In Mario Kart 64, there is a Thwomp stuck behind a cage in the Bowser's Castle stage. A yellow light shines on it, making it appear green. It is the only Thwomp in the game to not slam down on the floor as an attack, preferring to hover in place indefinitely. Naturally, rumors about this supposedly-green Thwomp spread like wildfire, both about what it could do if set free and why it was caged in the first place. There is still no official explanation for that Thwomp. It even returned when the course was brought back for Mario Kart Wii.
  • If one accesses the sound test in Diddy Kong Racing, there is one song that never shows up anywhere else in the game. Players searched for one last racetrack in the game where this could be used. It turns out the song was originally to be used for an already-accessible racetrack whose music was replaced with another one late into production.
    • Spaceport Alpha, in Future Fun Land, features a very conspicuous nook hidden near the beginning of the racetrack, which most players would nevertheless only notice if they did a U-turn out the starting gate and started driving backwards. In all four previous worlds, there's one racetrack per level that features a key hidden away in a similar nook, which unlocks a hidden mini-game for that world. Future Fun Land, however, has no such mini-game... and despite the nook seeming to suggest that one did exist at one point, it's completely gone from the final game.

     Rail Shooter 

     Rhythm Game 
  • Due to a glitch in one of the dance minigames of the original Raving Rabbids, it's impossible to get 100% Completion, despite rumors it grants a better ending.
    • Similarly, the 8th hidden figurine in Rabbids Go Home. Codes for the other 7 have been released, but nobody has been able to figure out what unlocks #8.
  • There's a subversion in the American Version of Dance Dance Revolution Extreme, released in 2004. In other games, there was a congratulatory message for completing all the songs in the game on a difficulty, but this one only had it for the Challenge difficulty. Without any official word, it seemed like this was just a bug. However, in 2006, Konami had a cross promotion with Burger King - and as part of that promotion, the secret code to unlock a secret song (Memories, which doesn't contain a Challenge chart) was finally released. Completing this song along with all the others gave the congratulatory message.

     Role Playing Game 
  • Golden Sun:
    • The first game has a door just poking out of a lake. The player would assume that the lake would be drained and the door could be reached, but it never is.
    • The Lost Age has a cellar in Mikasalla, where you can evaporate the water. Usually this leads to treasure or a secret room, but here, you get nothing. Another is Taopo Swamp; the locals tell you it's dried up, but you can't do anything about it. Finally, in the first Golden Sun, you can't take the boat back, so all the tourists are stuck on the other side of the sea. Even worse is that as you sail the boat along the coast of the continents, you can see towns from the first game, but you can't reach them. They look like you should be able to visit them, but even if you use a certain glitch to get across the mountains, you can't actually enter the towns.
    • In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, the Mercury Lighthouse from the first game is visible while sailing the heroes' ship on the world map similar to the case from The Lost Age, but it cannot be accessed at all. In addition, the country of Bilibin, despite being mentioned often early on, is also never visited (the Broken Bridge in the second town and the closed border in the border town with Morgal both end up past points of no return) even though the game gives the impression the heroes will travel through there to get to their destination of the country of Morgal (instead they are forced to take a detour through a completely different part of the continent to reach said destination). (Using a glitch or cheating device to get to the Mercury Lighthouse or Bilibin reveals that there is nothing there in the latter and that the former cannot be entered, and also reveals a non-functional Venus Lighthouse not visible during normal gameplay, also from the first game).
  • Light Crusader: Gloves, swords, and body armors are all in separate lines in your inventory. However, after finding every possible sword and armor, you find that the "glove" line has a gap right in the middle. That set of gauntlets was never placed in the game.
  • In the Super NES and PlayStation versions of Final Fantasy VI, there is one more Esper slot than there are Espers. A lot of players took this to mean there was a hidden piece of Magicite somewhere out there that they'd overlooked. In reality, the empty slot was just there to allow the player to de-equip an Esper after obtaining all of them. Upon hearing the above explanation, some people continued to believe in this nonexistent Esper, insisting that they wouldn't need such a blank space because you have to lose Odin to obtain Raiden. It's there in case you cheat in all espers.
    • Triangle Island: Home of That One Mook, or something more? It's true that it is in the World of Ruin, where there's a Side Quest to get Gogo to join the party. However, in the World of Balance, it's just an island that pretty much only has That One Mook.
  • Secret of Mana:
    • You can find seven hidden orbs (to reach level 8) for each of the weapons lying around... except the axe and glove, which mysteriously only have six. Turns out that monsters in the Very Definitely Final Dungeon drop weapon orbs randomly, and this is the only way to get the axe and glove up to level 8. Then it does it again: Using those final dungeon random drops, it's possible to bring any weapon to level 9 (despite most of the game revolving around the number eight)... except the sword, because no monster randomly drops a Sword Orb. The ninth level sword is actually the fully-powered Mana Sword, which can only legitimately be attained by casting two different temporary buffs on an eighth level sword. (And it's the only weapon that can defeat the final boss, naturally.)
    • This game could also cause a lot of frustration for players because each spell caster could only get seven kinds of magic. Which meant each of the characters had an empty slot on the spell page. Cue many Epileptic Trees and even a hoax that circulated for a while online suggesting that it was possible to reseal each seed a second time to get a ninth magic.
    • One of the dungeons has what appears to be a sealed door in the northern wall. Nothing the player can do will open it.
  • In Devil Survivor a Kudlak X Kresnik fusion has unique dialog (appearing only in this fusion) by the components, but has the normal fusion results for demons of their race and level. Making this stand out more is that Shiva is always made by fusing the similarly opposing Barong and Rangda.
  • In Final Fantasy IX, examining a fountain in Lindblum yields the message "There's no place to insert the medal". This appears to be a Shout-Out to Resident Evil 2, which featured a fountain that the player had to insert a medal into, but that didn't stop eager item collectors searching for both the "medal" and a place to insert it...
  • Breath of Fire has the infamously Dummied Out bar in Nanai, as well as other stuff that is inaccessable and unfinished, although you can view parts of it by hacking the Dr Warp into your inventory.
  • Breath of Fire II has the game dropping loads of hints that Patty is actually Ryu's lost sister Yua. Before the final dungeon, she's tossed into some tall grass, never to be seen again. Some of the hints are dropped after that part. Cue players looking for a way to actually get any kind of acknowledgement from the game. There is none. No cutscene. No way to ever talk to her again.
  • In the North American and PAL Releases of Wild AR Ms 4, two of the monsters were removed from the game, therefore making 100% Completion impossible.
  • Dragon Warrior VII has a four character party. You lose one of the characters fairly soon. And then you stay that way for a very long time. You do eventually find another fourth party member, but not before you've unlocked many islands, killed many bosses, and probably assumed you missed something and checked a guide.
  • The North American version of Dark Cloud has a key to the Back Floor of every dungeon...except the Gallery of Time. The entrances (rugs on staircases) are perfectly intact, able to be examined, and like every other dungeon they give you clues as to what item to look for, but the actual item doesn't exist. Why? They forgot to include it when they dubbed the game into English. The Back Floor key is supposed to be a feather duster but it's not even in the game's coding, so any player unlucky enough not to read the web FAQs will wonder why the hell it never shows up.
  • In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Mr. Backlot's mansion consists of a hallway with doors to five rooms and the back garden (which is the only important part anyway). At each end of the hallway, there's a door blocked by a maid who says that the rest of the mansion is private and off limits. They never leave or let you through. The reason for this is probably to demonstrate that the mansion (which does look like a mansion from outside) consists of more than five rooms.
    • Also, one of the rooms contains a statue that you're not allowed to touch. The security guard who won't let you in front of it works 23 hours a day. If you go there between 5 AM and 6 AM, you can touch the statue, but there's still no point in doing so.
    • And the truck in Vermilion Port in Pokémon Red and Blue. In a game with sparse decoration, and where almost nothing else—not even legendary species of Pokémon—has a unique overworld sprite, there is exactly one truck that, unless you get creative, you can't get to, or even see! Many people thought that it was special when, nope, it in fact does absolutely nothing.
    • Also in Pokémon Red and Blue there appears to be a pathway behind Bill's house that leads somewhere but is impossible to reach. This has been linked to one of the many myths of where Mew lurks, the belief being that if you get there you reach "Bill's Secret Garden" and can catch Mew there.
    • Also in Red and Blue, two large patches of grass parallel to Route 1 are never accessible. This had many people guessing as to what could possibly appear in that grass...
    • A simple Walk Through Walls code for emulators/game cheat cartridges reveals the secret! Your game crashing and you having to manually restart. It makes perfect sense for nothing to be programmed in an area that you weren't supposed to access, so the game freaks out instead.
    • The Unown Dex in Pokémon Gold and Silver used an interface that places all caught Unown as symbols. After catching all 26 Unown, there seems to be a vacant spot at the end, which lead to rumors of a 27th Unown called the Unown King.
    • There were also rumors about being able to get the GS Ball and catch Celebi in non-Japanese versions of Pokémon Crystal, fueled by the fact that the Celebi event was fully translated and still functional. No such thing is possible; hacking is the only way of accessing the event in international versions.
    • In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, there are a total of 69 trainers that you can register in your Trainer's Eyes PokéNav feature that will battle you again after a while. Yep, 69. Not 70, 69. Really.
    • FireRed and LeafGreen, to implement a feature from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, have a room on one of the Islands with a box blocking a doorway. In the Japanese versions, scanning a battle card for the e-Reader would unblock the door leading to a battle with the Trainer the card is for. However, international releases of everything past Ruby and Sapphire (including their Updated Re-release, Emerald) removed e-Reader functionality due to poor sales in North America and a lack of a European release, but oddly enough the door is still there and due to the removal of the e-Reader features it is always blocked. Interacting with it says that there's wind blowing from behind it, but that's all.
    • Then there's Altering Cave in FireRed , LeafGreen and Emerald. Normally it only contains Zubat, but the game's code reveals that several other Pokemon, mostly ones from Johto that can't be obtained in FRLG normally, can be found there. Turns out there were supposed to be live Mystery Gift events to change the Pokemon there... which was never held, not even in Japan! And given that the game itself frequently alludes to the mysterious nature of the cave and... you get the idea.
    • The Azure Flute, an event item that remains the only way for players to legitimately battle and catch Arceus in the wild, was never distributed, and given two generations have passed since then, it most likely never will be. (While Arceus itself was distributed several times, it was given directly, without the need to catch it) This sadly renders Arceus' battle theme a Long Song, Short Scene situation.
    • Similarly, Pokemon Heart Gold And Soul Silver had the Lock Capsule (containing the TM Snarl), which is even more notable since it would have required a quest spanning 2 games of different generations to unlock, and the NPC who opens it keeps insisting he'll be seeing you later. To add insult to injury, the sequels simply give the player the TM directly, rendering the Capsule completely useless even if it was released.
    • In Pokémon Black and White, a post-game area known as Challenger's Cave is said to have a legend associated with it of a master and student Pokemon. This seems to indicate a connection with the Musketeer Trio and Keldeo, but none of the events involving them have anything to do with Challenger's Cave, and as the area is removed from the sequels, it's unlikely there will be any follow-up on this, and Keldeo doesn't seem to be involved because the sequels in question added a location where Keldeo changes into its Resolute Forme with the assistance of the Musketeer Trio, with said location being located near a completely new town, far from where Challenger's Cave was.
  • Final Fantasy VII has a few of these: the 1/35 Soldiers and the Custom Sweepers items both seem to indicate they have some purpose at some point, but don't. For those wondering, 1/35 is the scale of the item, not a note that there's anything significant about having 35 of them ("Collect all 12!"). They still apply, though, as they're prominently hidden, are handed out as rare prizes, and are good for absolutely nothing whatsoever. Selling for one gil a pop, they don't even make worthwhile Vendor Trash.
  • The identity of Yan Angwa in Exit Fate is never revealed. A comic made does reveal some of his backstory. He once searched for the secrets of demons and in that pursuit Clint's master ended up dying.
  • Gwen in Guild Wars was originally this. She was a little girl who followed you around in the tutorial area, and would give you a tapestry shred marked as a quest item if you gave her enough flowers. After the tutorial, the player never saw her again, nor found a use for the tapestry, even though one could meet her dead mother in the underworld or find items of hers scattered throughout the world. This was never intended to be expanded upon, but so many players demanded closure that Gwen was eventually reintroduced. She now has more backstory than any other character in the game, most of which the player gets to experience first-hand.
  • Neopets, the online site, has an odd example. There is a Game called NeoQuest that you can play. In that game, there is a door that is locked. It has been 10 years since the game was released, yet no key has been found. The Neopets team that runs the site has made numerous jokes about people being unable to find it, yet these jokes cause users to believe that there is no key and/or it was forgotten.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has the infamous sunken chest item. It's a common item, definitely, and it IS used in conjunction with other items to make a spooky pirate skeleton. However, it still does have an annoyingly alluring "use" link and the text given when it's used almost gives a hint that it should be opened, but the damn thing just will. Not. Open. The game's designers love trolling the users about it, frequently claiming it's the longest-standing undiscovered secret in the game. The worst thing is, they may be telling the truth - or eventually add a use - in which case it isn't this trope.
  • In Quarterstaff: The Tomb of Setmoth, a hollow sound when knocking on a wall indicates a secret room on the other side. One such secret proves unreachable—and examining the game code shows that there's actually nothing there.
  • There are so many plots that dead end in World of Warcraft that a list of them would double the length of the page. There are also quests and areas only available in earlier versions of the game; the plot has moved on and those quests are officially already over.
  • Persona 4 has "The Eye", which is a blinking eye that appears mysteriously at the status screen of a party member after maxing his/her Social Link. Apparently, it does nothing, but considering the heavy emphasis of the game on finding out hidden truths, this hasn't stopped the fans.
  • Tales of Symphonia has the lighthouse in the Palmacosta docks. There's a man standing outside it that tells you that anyone who goes in gets sick, which any remotely Genre Savvy player will recognize as a sidequest waiting to happen. Palmacosta is fairly early on in the game, so it's easy to think that you'll come back later and do something with it, but it never happens. Most likely this was something dummied out because they didn't have time to finish it.
  • In Star Ocean Till The End Of Time, about a quarter of the way through the game, you reach the Trading Town of Peterny, which has four gates. Three of them lead to different locations that you will traverse, but the fourth is inaccessible, leading to the Kingdom of Greeton. This region can never be accessed at any point in the game or post-game, and the gate serves only to note that yes, the kingdom does exist in a different part of Elicoor.
  • In Mass Effect 3, there are several areas of the Citadel that appear as if you should be able to enter them - you can see things like door-opening icons and the like - but they are blocked by locked doors, desks, etc. and at no point in the game (or any DLC) do you actually get the chance to enter them. One example is the area behind the security checkpoint in the cargo bay area where the refugees make camp.
  • In the original English version of Chrono Trigger, the Guru of Time tells you of things that are happening around the world in different time periods. It quickly becomes obvious that he's telling you about the sidequests you have left. The problem is, there was one statement that persisted no matter what you did: "One of you is close to someone who needs help. Find this person, fast." This was a translation error; in the Japanese version, Gaspar simply told the party to speak to its members at the End of Time in order to learn about events or sidequests in their respective eras, and later translations made it clearer that he wasn't talking about another quest.

     Simulation Game 
  • Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life has a small building on your farm with a locked door. You're never able to open it.
    • Furthermore, there are characters mentioned to be 'away' - Duke and Manna's daughter Aja, and Lilina's husband - who never return. This is despite Lilina's husband going to search for a flower that blooms in the desert every seven years, suggesting to many that if one played for seven in-game years, he would return with the flower and heal her.
    • In Harvest Moon: Magical Melody, the cover of the game's box shows a number of animals around some of the characters. All of the animals show up in the game, except for the Labrador. Also, one little girl who moves into the town constantly alludes to being frightened of something, considers herself evil and not going to heaven, and has a profile that says she has "some skeletons in her closet". It's never revealed what her deep, dark secret is.
  • Despite Twisted Metal 2's manual listing Santa Claus as a pedestrian, he's nowhere to be found anywhere in the game. Sorry kids, but due to a programming oversight you'll never get to run Santa over in this game.

     Stealth Based Game 
  • In Hitman 2, there was going to be a weapon which would have served as an alternate fiber wire on replays of the game- a rosary (crucifix!). It was taken out at the last minute, but the space for it in the weapon collection area was noticable in the final version of the game.
  • Metal Gear Solid had one leftover space on the codec menu, but there's no one to fill it.

     Survival Horror 
  • In the first Silent Hill game, there's a finite amount of pickups, and the game will tell you how many you got at the end. However, following any official guides will still leave you missing one item, according to the game. At least one person on GameFAQs has reported getting a full score after going through the game clicking at every location. If so, the item may still be in the game, just invisible due to a programming error or Dummied Out.

     Third Person Shooter 
  • Jet Force Gemini housed a secret level called the Abandoned Space Station which tasked players with descending through its charred husk to the floors below. At the final deck, you'll find a mysterious door that slides open to releal a thin alcove and nothing more. Keep in mind, an entire floor is dedicated to this grand reveal, which seems rather underwhelming when the door offers up little more than a bit of closet space. The developers later stated that "[The Abandoned Space Station] was one of the first levels we prototyped. We abandoned it, then put it back in late on as a hidden level."
  • MDK 2 has one point in Stage 3 where the doctor finds a fish bowl and a lighter. he then remarks "Now some more jelly and a blowdryer. If only I could find that monkey". This makes the player assume that three items: a jar of jelly, a blowdryer, and a monkey can be found, however none of those three items exist anywhere in the game. Not in stage 3, stage 6, stage 9, or stage 10. Many people believe it may have been an outtake audio file they never removed.
  • In Ratchet & Clank, when you have done all the side missions there still is an empty slot in the items menu. That slot is there to hold a Fetch Quest item until you turn it in, after that it is removed from the menu. This leads to some confusion. You can however fill it again in the New Game+ which lets you keep the reward for said fetch quest.
  • The Killer 7 magnum in Resident Evil 4 doesn't have an Exclusive upgrade when every other upgradeable weapon does.

     Turn Based Strategy 
  • Every class (Both humanoids and monsters) in the first Disgaea game has its basic form and five recolored upgrades, except the Prinnies, which only have 4. The final Prinny class shows up as a Bonus Boss in the game - so the class exists but you can't have it in your party. NIS added in a way to get the next tier in the sequels.

     Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Don't try to find more than six "secret" locations in Assassin's Creed II if you didn't buy the game from GameStop and don't use Uplay. Of course, there's nothing in the game that would tell you about that.
  • The yellow marble in Riven's fire marble dome puzzle does nothing but throw you off, there is no hidden sixth island.
  • In Fallout 3, the Vault-Tec computer in the Citadel mentions a Vault 76, but it does not appear in the game, or any other Fallout games to date.

     Non Video Game Examples 
  • A probable urban-legend college prank involves releasing three piglets (or chickens, or whatever) with the numbers "1", "2", and "4" painted on their sides. The pranked quickly find all the animals, but continue searching for the non-existent one marked "3".
  • In the very first Magic: The Gathering set, Alpha, the cards Volcanic Island and Circle of Protection: Black weren't printed due to an error, which meant there was a Circle of Protection for each color but black and a dual land for each two-color combination but blue/red. This was fixed in the next set, Beta.
    • Mark Rosewater has mentioned on occasion that he deliberately tries to avert this trope, but sometimes he either doesn't notice a pattern or is overruled. In the case of Goatnapper, which temporarily steals a goat, the card was supposed to be a sly reference to the changelings note . Cue angry letters from fans asking why there weren't any goat cards. Tower of Calamities was printed about a decade after the four Mirrodin towers just so people would stop asking where the fifth tower was.
  • The Planescape Campaign Setting had several of these. Comparable creatures could often be found on each Inner or each Outer Plane, but there were some gaps. For instance, there were mephits on each Inner Plane except the energy planes, except that there was no Vacuum mephit, and Steam had both Steam and Mist mephits. This led to in-universe (or in-multiverse) rumors that there were Inner Planes that were either hidden or lost, and that there had once been a race of Void mephits that had been wiped out. A later sourcebook actually referenced in passing a unique creature that might have been the last void mephit.


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