"Grrrr!! Not again! This is the 75TH time! I could have SWORN Caelin was in this direction!"
A character who has no idea where he's going, and tends to get lost easily.
And not just the regular kind of lost either. They could get lost in a walk-in closet. This person simply has No Sense Of Direction.
A little like the Flying Dutchman
, except that this character wanders not because of a curse but because he can't find where he's trying to go. Often becomes one of those Achievements in Ignorance
when the character somehow
arrives at the right place despite their utter inability to get there.
Also see Directionless Driver
, when the character actively refuses navigation assistance. Contrast with The Navigator
, someone who's skilled with directions.
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- One commercial for a mobile phone's GPS mapping feature shows Ozzy Osbourne needing the device to find the bathroom in his mansion. Hilariously enough, it shows he didn't even know he had said bathroom.
- A series of radio commercials for a Southern California tire store had two characters trying to tour the world and constantly mixing up remote locations for more local ones — assuming they were in Ontario (the Canadian province) when they were actually in Ontario (the California city), for example.
Anime & Manga
- The outdoor humorist Patrick McManus often writes about his ability to get lost. He even invented the "Modified Stationary Panic", (jumping in place and screaming) which keeps you from running blindly into 1) a tree/rock/lamppost or 2) the next county/state/country when you realize you're hopelessly lost.
- Mortadelo y Filemón: Mortadelo's level of disorientation is legendary. Instructed to drive to Córdoba, Argentina (M&F are playing the 1978 FIFA World Cup with the Spanish team) he makes it to the Córdoba of Spain. After fording the ocean thinking it was a very wide river.
Films — Live-Action
- In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy says that Marcus Brody "once got lost in his own museum".
- In Joe Versus The Volcano, the Waponis are renowned for having no sense of direction. Some of their ancestors were the crew of a Roman galley that got so lost that it sailed deep into the South Pacific and discovered their island.
- This Is Spinal Tap: During one gig, the members of Spinal Tap managed to get lost between their dressing room and the stage.note
- The Muppet Movie: On their way to California, Kermit and Fozzie get epically lost, meandering through such places as the state of Rhode Island and Saskatchewan, Canada.
- Blackadder: Captain Redbeard Rum (a one-shot character played by Tom Baker) managed to discover Australia 200 years early while trying to sail from England to France. His usual method of sailing is to spin in circles until everyone gets sick, then go home. Except that by "everyone", he apparently means himself — he doesn't believe a crew is a necessary part of a sailing expedition.
- The Closer: Brenda Johnson is a brilliant interrogator who can see intricacies and loopholes in a case that no one else would even think of, but she couldn't find her way out of a paper bag... which is why Sgt. Gabriel usually does the driving.
- Maxwell Smart in Get Smart gets lost in the Pentagonnote . Note that "would you believe..." is one of Max's Catch Phrases, involving an epic overstatement of what's actually happening that gets pared down as he's called on it.
- One Monty Python's Flying Circus skit featured "The 100-yard dash for people with no sense of directions". At the boom of the starting gun, they scatter every which way.
- Top Gear
- Co-host James "Captain Slow" May is reputed to have no sense of direction. Undoubtedly some of this is played up for comedic effect. His second nickname is even Captain Sense-of-Direction. May claims that his mental mapping is off and his mental picture of England is flipped north/south. He did start the Botswana challenge by driving towards the wrong border.
Clarkson: To make sure we aren't accused of bias towards the car, it will be driven by [...] a man with no known sense of direction. Him!
(cut to the back of May's head, as he is facing the audience instead of the camera)
Meanwhile, James managed to get lost... on an oval.
- Michael Schumacher is apparently afflicted with this, as he did a lap around the track and had no idea where he was going. He eventually started going the wrong way, then got lost before the second-last turn. We're talking about a seven-times Formula One world champion here (go figure). Then again, it is Top Gear, and where Rule of Cool isn't in play, Rule of Funny usually is.
- A character named Wrong Way Feldman, played by Hans Conreid, appeared in two first-season episodes of Gilligan's Island.
- At least one team a season on The Amazing Race gets eliminated after getting tragically lost. Has led to a few Shocking Eliminations.
- NCIS gives us Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard, ME. He always seems to blame his assistant, Palmer, but it's Ducky whose giving the directions.
- Two characters from the Noob franchise display this: Sparadrap among players and Non-Player Character Jack Céparou, who's sometimes seen looking for his compass.
- The chaos of sports can sometimes induce this...
- 1/1/29: During the Rose Bowl, California Bear Roy Riegels picked up a fumble and began running to his own end zone before he was stopped by a teammate at his own 1-yard line. The following punt was blocked and recovered by the Yellow Jackets for a safety — the ultimate difference in an 8-7 Georgia Tech win. Riegels picked up the nickname "Wrong Way" ever since.
- 10/25/64: Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall picked up a fumble and ran to the end zone (his own, that is), giving the 49ers two points on a safety when he tossed the ball away thinking it was a touchdown. Thankfully for Marshall, his team still won the game, in part because he made a critical defensive play later on.
- 9/30/12: Kent State player Andre Parker recovered a muffed punt, only to run in the wrong direction. He returned it 58 yards, going the wrong way, until he was stopped by 2 Towson players who had grabbed the Idiot Ball themselves. Fortunately, college football rules state that a muffed punt can't be advanced (or retreated), so Kent State didn't lose any field position and they would go on to win handily.
- When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were an expansion team in 1976, their first game was played in the Houston Astrodome. They couldn't find their way from the locker room to the field, and almost missed the kickoff. Keep in mind that expansion team rosters are stocked with players from existing teams: a couple of the Buccaneers had formerly played for the Houston Oilers, whose home stadium was the Astrodome, and who played seven games there every season. Even if one considers that they only knew how to find their way from the home locker room, that doesn't excuse the ten or so former Cincinnati Bengals on the team, who as division rivals played a game there every season. Plus, the Bucs were held scoreless in the game, meaning that once on the field, they couldn't find the end zone.
- Miami Dolphins defensive end T.J. Turner was nicknamed "Wrong Way T.J." after flipping his vehicle at a highway exit ramp in West Palm Beach. He apparently took a wrong turn at Miami's confusing Golden Glades Interchange, where several- err, too many major highways intersect. Easy enough mistake to make...but he went on for another 80 miles before trying to turn around, and was not able to execute said maneuver without turning his truck upside down.
- Wallace in Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword. To the point that, after he sets off adventuring after the tutorial levels, he may somehow manage to run into your party again while lost, and rejoin you. It is hinted, however, that that one may have been less related to his lack of direction sense and more to him singlehandedly hunting down the Taliver bandits that killed his lady in liege Lyn's parents and tribe. After the end of the main story, he tried to go back to Caelin but he got lost and somehow ended up in Ilia, which is all the way on northern Elibe even though his destination was at the southern end of the continent.
- Sammar in Sonic Unleashed. She starts out lost in Apotos, and after you help exorcise her demons, she thinks she's able to get back on her way home, only to get lost again a few more times.
- Pulled twice in the Suikoden series, with Raura in II and Hortez VII in III. Konami plays with this trope a bit with Hortez, actually. He seeks to make a scroll-making shop in the army's home base, but every time your character gives him the directions, he ends up in a completely different town. After doing this 3 times, you're given the option to give him the wrong directions. Naturally, doing so will result in him getting to the base and officially being recruited.
- Masaki Andoh in Super Robot Wars tends to get lost easily, whether it's in a battleship or flying around on his Humongous Mecha. A brief list of his "accomplishments":
- In Super Robot Wars 4and F, he flew around the Earth ten times and failed to find Japan. In Alpha, the record became twenty times.
- In Super Robot Wars Original Generation he gets lost when someone is giving him an guided tour◊.
- In Alpha Gaiden, they actually resort to using the ZERO System, an advanced combat analysis computer from Gundam Wing, in order to find him, and Heero remarks that even with ZERO it was a tough job.
- At the end of the Nintendo DS remake of Super Robot Wars Gaiden, he gets more lost than he's ever been before. How lost? So lost that he actually ended up in an entirely different video game — Another Century's Episode: R. A video game that takes place on another planet, in Another Dimension. Ironically, at the end of the game when everyone is sent to their home dimensions, Masaki shows up fine but his friends Ryusei and Kyosuke get lost somewhere in transit, a Sequel Hook for Original Generations 2
- In Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia, this is hilariously played with by Shurelia, who easily gets lost in her own tower, not to mention, everywhere else. Also referenced to in Cross Edge, where Misha and Aurica are suddenly worried and go into a panic when they realize that Shurelia is missing.
Gets parodied even further in Cross Edge when she goes missing again, and Meu goes to look for her. They both end up getting chased by monsters and getting even more hopelessly lost. Zelos puts it best: "Those two need GPS devices tagged on them or something." And within the same game, both Whim and Lily supposedly get lost, and as Raze points out, they were both right behind the camp.
- Pavel of Professor Layton is an explorer who has no idea which way he's supposed to go. In The Curious Village, he somehow gets from the sewers into the sealed tower. One result of this is that he drops every foreign language he knows into his speech, because he's apparently ended up in a lot of countries this way.
- Atelier Annie has Beaux, who somehow managed to cross an ocean without even knowing how he did so. He goes missing for a week while delivering a package next door to Annie's workshop, and even with a globe and a compass he still gets lost. He was in denial until he gets the compass fixed.
- Metal Slug has the Aikawa siblings, Rumi and Madoka, both of whom are in the supply division. Before each mission, they load up their bags with useful items and try to deliver them to the player characters. Unfortunately, the both of them are horrible with directions, which lead to them getting the nickname "The Wandering Ghost."
- In Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale, you run into a girl named Nagi who got lost in the Amber dungeon on the way home. After the third time you encounter her, Recette eventually tells Nagi where her shop is... and has to stop for breath twice in the process until Nagi says she gets it. It gets better: she never even realizes she's in a constantly-shifting dungeon until it's pointed out. Recette and Tear are genuinely shocked when she finally makes it to the shop. And to cap it all off, the game goes on to imply Nagi got lost while going from point to point in Japan. The game is set somewhere vaguely European.
- In RuneScape, during one quest, you can run into an NPC named Olaf. Eventually, you get a map from him, but he warns you that he could never decipher the mysterious and runic symbols on the map. It's a map of the immediate area with a big X about fifteen steps away.
- Just about anyone playing a Metroidvania for the first time, without any guides. Or the original Metroid, which early on has paths leading everywhere that in turn have more paths leading everywhere. And no in-game map.
- The Idolmaster: Azusa Miura is not only a ditzy easygoing girl, she is directionally challenged. When not really escorted, she could easily get lost.
- Dragon Age II:
- According to her ingame profile, Merrill has ended up at a dog racing track in Darktown, the Chantry (think church) in Hightown, and the Viscount's airing closet while trying to get home—it's gotten to the point that one of your other party members, a dwarf named Varric, mentions that he has given her a ball of string in party banter and has recommended that she stick it somewhere in her destination so she can backtrack and try again. She mentions how it drives the merchants in the markets crazy—but she gets home! One has to wonder how she gets the string back...
- Played for Laughs in the Mark of the Assassin DLC, when your party is separated and Hawke and Tallis get incarcerated. The other two party members (whoever you brought with you) try to break you out but get hopelessly lost in the (not really that expansive) dungeon. Merrill, of course, doesn't see anything unusual in the situation, and several references are made to her spool of twine (which she conveniently forgot to bring along). Varric, in the meantime, alludes to Hawke's impeccable visual memory and sense of direction.
- In Valve's commentary for Half-Life 2: Episode 2, they noted that during playtesting, one of the players literally spent an hour walking in circles in a cave area. This made Valve redesign the level a bit to help players find their way.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Plautis Carvain and Salonia Carvain, two Imperial nobles who are on their way from Cyrodiil to Solitude to attend a wedding. You can encounter them all over Skyrim, except near the place they need to be. In fact, they'll never make it to Solitude and instead end up in Windhelm, which lies in the northeast of Skyrim, while Solitude lies in the northwest. Quite the accomplishment, because while Skyrim is a big place, sticking to the main roads and following the signs normally gets you where you need to be.
- BlazBlue: Chronophantasma gives us Celica A. Mercury, who takes this trope and runs with it. It is made clear from the word go that she can get lost on a straight road with a map, and many characters have to functionally escort her for this very reason. At one point, Kokonoe has to give her step by step directions to get back to her without Ragna at her side, and even Hakumen worries that she'd "starve in an alley" without a guide.
- Chelsea Arcot of Shukufuku no Campanella, who was still pacing outside of the Clan Oasis homestead where she was headed, not knowing if she's there yet. Lampshaded by her childhood friend Shelly Maycraft after being ushered in and introducing herself. Interesting for such a person to become a Holy Knight.
- The Visual Novel Happiness! has Shinya Kamijyo, who has such a terrible sense of direction, that when he intends to go to school (even when accompanied by his twin sister Saya), he always ends up elsewhere (such as the sewers), but no matter where he is, whenever Saya is in any danger, he instantly knows where she is and comes rushing towards her exact location within seconds.
- In the Dating Sim Princess Debut, Prince Luciano is notorious for his total lack of navigation skills, and gets angry if anyone calls him on it. In one instance, he confuses the local lake for an ocean.
- In Katawa Shoujo, Hisao is a subtler example than most, but still fits. In Shizune's route, it takes him an hour to get back to the school from the Shanghai, which students often visit at lunch. In Act 1, while looking for the library, he wanders into the tea room and meets Lilly for the first time.
- Masaomi Hibiya of Serendipity Next Door not only has no sense of direction, he can't even read a map to save his life. The protagonist has to guide him from their apartment building to a nearby convenience store on several occasions, as without someone to show him the way he tends to end up wandering helplessly around outside the building trying to figure out which way to hold the map.
- Donut of Red vs. Blue tends to wind up at the opposing Blue base due to this, those times he doesn't wind up at the cliff wall, instead. This apparently extends to spatial awareness as well.
Donut: What? You're leaving us out here without any transportation? We'll die!
Church: Die of what?
Donut: Exposure! We're stranded! This is murder.
Church: Your base is right there, I can see it.
Donut: You may as well just feed us to the buzzards right now.
Church: You could have walked back to the base in the time we've been discussing this.
Donut: Go. Just sign our death warrants.
- Black Belt in 8-Bit Theater has gotten so lost he breaks the laws of physics. Once, he managed to create a copy of himself by bending space-time while getting lost in a straight hallway; another time, he managed to cross a lava pit by following the rope that he was holding up on one side.
Black Belt: You try walking a straight line without bumping into wave functions of neighboring realities!
Black Mage: We do it all the time. It's called not being so stupid it warps the universe!
Fighter: Univarse. It's pronounced "univarse".
- In Gone With The Blast Wave, it appears that everyone without a map is completely lost, and those that do have them tend to either lose them or misread them.
- Featured in "The Detour", a Buttersafe comic.
Demon: You ended up in the Twelfth Plane of Torment on your way to the kitchen?
- Saffron of Fetch Quest: Saga of the Twelve Artifacts is especially prone to this. For example, Ambrosia gives us:
Ambrosia: One time when she was a kid, she got lost in the castle for several hours trying to find her room.
- Zoro's lack of direction is also present in the webcomic One Piece Grand Line 3 Point 5. As part of his Min-Maxing, Zoro's player took the "Super Directionless" flaw. Whenever he wants to move without help he has to roll a 100-sided die and see where he winds up, making it essentially a random teleport.
Nami: Are you on another island?
Zoro: Well, I have a swim speed, so technically it is possible.
- "Mr. Lost" from the SCP Foundation is wholly incapable of being transported or directed to any destination. He himself can't choose a destination and just wanders aimlessly everywhere. If anything does try to transport him, random events such as radar malfunctions and earthquakes will render transportation impossible. Even worse, his lousy sense of direction is contagious. For instance, if he's forcibly stopped and a building is constructed around him, anyone attempting to find the building will become lost.
- YouTube star Tobuscus suffers from this in any game he plays that doesn't have an obvious linear path forward. Particular examples include Minecraft and Skyrim. In the former he has a mod that provides a minimap plus waypoints and completely ignores it 95% of the time; and in the latter he regularly ignores his compass and the quest markers that appear on it, often spending half an episode wandering off in the entirely wrong direction.
- The trio from HAT Films tend to either go in circles or simply not pay attention to what they are carrying whenever they play Minecraft.
- In the "Moses vs. Santa Claus" episode of Epic Rap Battles of History, Santa's elves offer Moses a GPS wondering who could possibly get lost for 40 years. Of course, given that Moses is shown high, this could be justified.
- Red in Twitch Plays Pokémon, thanks to the Mind Hive's conflicting directions.
- One of Battlefailed's claims to fame is such ridiculous Bizarchitecture that it repeatedly broke the pathfinding of fallen beasts and other threats, leaving them wandering around the lower levels of the fortress for years. In fact, one of the fortress's room is impossible for the players to locate.
- Rocky and Bullwinkle: Captain Peter "Wrong Way" Peachfuzz. He's so bad that his crew keeps him in a fake control room while the ship's real controls are elsewhere. But then he loses his way, goes into the real controls by mistake, and Hilarity Ensues.
- Bugs Bunny can end up anywhere in the world, after missing that left turn in Albuquerque. At several points (ironically when his wrong turn was somewhere other than Albuquerque), Bugs would somehow get so lost he winds up travelling through time.
- In World Of Quest, Way is a living direction finder, able to locate and display a route to absolutely anything, anywhere. The rest of her people can't go two blocks without getting lost.
- Played with in Avatar: The Last Airbender . Zuko is tracking Aang to capture him, but the records of his positions show his movement near impossible to predict. Zuko comments that he must truly be a master of evasion. Cut to Sokka saying, "You have no idea where we're going, do you?" as Aang is literally going wherever he wants to have fun at, e.g. a place to go surfing before heading off to a different location.
- In the Finnish political satire Itsevaltiaat Kuningasmusikaali, two Finnish ministers got lost while trying to find a dragon's lair (It Makes Sense in Context). Their path goes trough a farm, a tropical island and the moon until accidentally finding a dragon's lair.
- Garfield and Friends: Somehow it once took a whole day for Jon to find the way out of a tunnel. Garfield can't understand how it happened.
- Lavender Castle: Sproggle, who tends to have trouble telling apart his left and his right. Ironically, Captain Thrice ends up making him the navigator of his spaceship.
- Famed aviator Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan: Denied permission to fly the Atlantic by the FAA in 1938, he took off after angrily declaring his intention to return home to Long Beach, California. He landed in Ireland 28 hours and 18 minutes later, claiming he'd flown the wrong way. Wrong Way Corrigan lived until 1995 and never once admitted that his transatlantic flight was anything other than an accident. Several fictional characters on this page were named in his honor.
- There is a Russian saying for No Sense Of Direction meaning "to lose one's way in a three-pine forest". There are many more colorful idioms out there for describing the trope.
- In Japanese the word "houkouonchi" literally means "directionally tone-deaf", and is used more idiomatically to call someone an idiot.
- This is the reason why turn-by-turn GPS units are so popular.
- One of the common reasons that people fail the driving test is that they may drive fine but find it hard to follow directions, especially while nervous and under pressure.
- Developmental Topographical Disorientation is a cognitive disorder which causes people to literally have no sense of direction — not just being bad at finding new places, but being unable to orient themselves in their own house or neighborhood.
- People who are not one side dominate often have trouble telling left from right because of the "wiring in the brain" is criss crossed. They frequently have trouble with directions that include turn left, or will give directions like turn towards the old red barn.