Obvious Rule Patch

Yes, this is an actual Magic card.note 

"That said, you can’t create a focus item that helps you create other focus items. It’s... uh, it’s a magic thing. Just doesn’t work."

When game designers block Loophole Abuse by corking the loophole with a new rule, instead of eliminating or changing one of the rules that leads to the loophole.

Games, of various types, are about rules. They may have intricate backstories, multi-layered plots and other such. But in the end, they're about rules. Rules define what are legal moves and what aren't (even Calvinball, which just doesn't have the same rules all the time). Rules create fun.

Sometimes, rules can interact in ways that developers didn't intend, allowing players to play the game in ways the designers did not intend. This is called "Emergent Gameplay" and is typically considered a good thing. But at other times, it leads to Gameplay Derailment in the bad sense.

The obvious answer is to change the original rules, but this isn't always possible. Say your game is two weeks from shipping. One of your testers has just come to you with a horrifically game-breaking scenario, a way for a player to game the rules so that their powers spiral out of control and Curb-Stomp Battle everything in their path. And the rule interaction is very complicated; you can't just tweak a few things to bring this back into balance. In order to truly fix the problem, you would need to rebuild a number of rules, test those rules and so forth... and miss your ship deadline. What do you do?

Or maybe your game is out there already. Thousands, maybe millions of people are playing and enjoying it. Then some Power Gamer figures out how to game the system and auto-win with some horrific combination of moves. You certainly can't "uncreate" the game once it's out there, nor can you radically modify the rules so that particular combo doesn't work, because that would fundamentally change the game and honk off millions of customers. What do you do?

Make an Obvious Rule Patch. That is, create a completely arbitrary rule that forcibly prevents the particular interaction from happening, while having as little effect on other rules as possible. Doesn't matter if it sticks out like a sore thumb even to someone who hasn't played the previous version.

Note that issuing an Obvious Rule Patch for a competitive multiplayer game too soon can damage the evolving Metagame, which can often bring potential Game Breakers back into balance. And just so we're clear, "Obvious Rule Patch" refers to the rule that obviously exists solely to patch up something rather than the something that "obviously" needs a rule patch. "Rule" here is a simple adjective - the Patch is the focus, and the Obviousness is what makes it this trope. For the obviously needed patches, see There Should Be a Law. Sort of.

This sometimes is a result of Executive Meddling - showing once more that despite the negative press it gets, the trope is not always a bad thing.

Compare and contrast Nerf, a decision that waters down a too powerful element in the game instead of forbidding its use or access to it. May, if the situation is enough of a corner case, result in That One Rule. May also be used to avert Misapplied Phlebotinum by expressly banning certain applications. This is the eternal nemesis of the Rules Lawyer.


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  • Almost as soon as pinball was invented, players shook, jostled, and even lifted the machines to score more points. Hence, the now-famous tilt mechanism was invented to penalize players who were too rough on the machines. Pinball machines nowadays weigh up to a quarter of a ton, so a grade above that, a "slam tilt," was created later to more severely punish a player who plays so vigorously that it could harm the machine or bystanders (including the player).
  • There is a technique that can prevent a ball from draining that, if a ball is headed down there from the side, involves holding one flipper up and banging on the underside of the machine. Doing it right causes the ball to pass back up through the gap created by the flippers, allowing the player to continue a game, indefinitely if mastered. Manufacturers responded by installing nails at the bottom of the machine to give anyone who tried this a nasty and bloody surprise. Safety regulations now prevent this, but this technique is one of the few that will immediately disqualify a player in all major tournaments (the other one being the aforementioned slam tilt).
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean, the pirate ship and Kraken on the playfield are surrounded by two large transparent plastic shields (dubbed "sneeze guards" by some players) to prevent airborne pinballs from landing in the mechanisms.
  • In KISS (Stern), the ball rolling out of Gene Simmons's head is designed to drop out in a random direction, with some horizontal spin. There were so many complaints when the game first came out about the ball taking an unpredictably curved path into a drain that the game was patched to return the ball to the plunger with no consequences if the ball drains in the next three seconds after coming out of Gene's mouth.
  • In The Avengers, the Black Widow ramp makes a steep incline, then a sharp 90-degree turn to the left at the start. Getting the pinball through this turn was soon discovered to be an amazingly difficult task, as the ball was far more likely to bounce back down instead of making the turn. In 2016, Stern distributed a patch that made it such that simply triggering the switch at the beginning of the ramp counts as making the full ramp.
  • People playing Star Trek (Stern) were letting the timer run out in the timed modes, due to how the game counts a timed mode as being complete when time runs out, even if the player does absolutely nothing the entire time. A patch in 2014 made two changes to discourage stopping and waiting: First, the timer would freeze if there has been no attempt to score for five seconds, then unfreeze when the ball gets moving again; and secondly, the game now has a medal system, where bronze, silver, and gold medals are given out with the player's third, sixth, and ninth successful shot for each mode, with a large point award given out for each medal after the ball drains. Additionally, any medals earned will have significant scoring implications for the game's wizard modes, encouraging players to actually attempt to play the modes out to reap their dividends later.
  • The original code of Ghost Busters allowed ghosts to be collected during Mass Hysteria multiball, which is awarded at 100 ghosts. Also, some machines shipped with a defect that made accumulating ghosts relatively easy. Mass Hysteria could then be restarted within itself, as well as Loopin' Supers and PKE Frenzy, which are huge scoring modes themselves. This lead to having minutes' worth of multiball ballsavers, and scores that could easily exceed 10 billion. The very next patch simply decided to stop allowing ghost progression during Mass Hysteria.
  • Tournaments sanctioned by PAPA (Professional & Amateur Pinball Association) have point values given to the top finishers, with the people with the most given invitations to the World Championships. Initially, each event provided a fixed point value for the winner, the runner-up, and so forth, with anyone getting sanctioning as long as they had machines to play them on and the organizers filled out the paperwork. But there were some places, most notably in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, where pinball can be found in multitudes of public locations, some of which hold weekly and even semi-weekly tournaments, all of them PAPA-sanctioned. This meant someone could enter dozens upon dozens of tournaments through the year and get an invitation even though they might only be the best players at the local level. Through 2014 and 2015, there was a big overhaul of the PAPA points system, one of which was that points would be given out directly proportionally to the number of players in the tournament. This meant someone could be the best in their neighborhood, but they had to seek out a major event, like Pinburgh or MAGfest, where the world's greatest players would be, and go toe-to-toe with them to get the big points.
  • All machines made in the past 50 years have the "three-switch rule": If your ball drains before hitting the third switch, the machine will spit out another ball and pretend the previous one didn't happen. Over time, some players have discovered that these first two switches can be used to progress towards modes, point awards, and multiballs on certain machines, and by letting the ball drain, they can keep doing this until they get what they want. In response, manufacturers, starting in The New '10s, have released software patches that add exceptions to the three-switch rule if it can be exploited to play risk-free like that.
  • In Star Wars (Stern), the end-of-ball bonus includes all modes that the player has completed — but it also counts modes that the player automatically gets credit for at the start of the game (which differs by character). This caused end-of-ball bonuses to be disproportionally huge, especially if the player had a poor ball otherwise. It wasn't uncommon for a poor (~10 million) point ball to be rewarded with a bonus of nearly 100 million. The latest release no longer counts these "freebie" modes, making bonuses more reasonable.

    Reality Television 
  • The Amazing Race
    • Limits on how many Roadblocks a racer could perform were instituted after Season 5, after the three women who made the Final 3 that year performed a total of three Roadblocks combined.
    • In Season 1, teams were only allowed to buy one set of plane tickets, and weren't allowed to switch, even if they found a faster flight or their original flight was delayed. This was changed on the very next season, and multiple flight bookings has become an important part of the Metagame ever since.
    • The first two seasons had no rules in place for when a team's car broke down. These were instigated in Season 3 after several time credits were issued in Season 2 (including one that saved Blake and Paige from an elimination, which they received after Paige threatened to sue).
    • After Season 3, it became standard on selling tasks, where teams had to reach a certain amount of money made, for each individual item to have a minimum amount it could be sold for. This was after Ken & Gerard completed such a task by selling massive amounts of fruit for what would average out to be very low prices, and repeatedly going back to the stall to get more to sell.
    • After All-Stars, where two teams horribly exploited the ability to take locals along on the leg with you to help with navigation and other tasks, bringing locals along in your vehicle was made against the rules.
    • Up through Season 15, the penalty for not completing either side of the Detour was 24 hours (which pretty much ensured elimination). But when Maria and Tiffany were physically unable to complete either end of the detour, it was shortened to 6 hours in Season 16.
    • After Nat & Kat on Season 17 took detailed notes throughout the race in anticipation of the Final Exam Finale, Season 19's Final Exam Finale instructions specifically forbade the use of notes. (There was no Final Exam Finale in Season 18.)
    • Other minor changes were made to keep teams from taking advantage of loopholes, such as buying cellphones from locals (which Rob & Brennan did in Season 1) or switching their damaged car for another team's car at the Pit Stop (Dustin & Kandice in Season 10).
  • Survivor:
    • The hidden immunity idol mechanics were changed. First making it so that you could play it after the vote. Then, putting the limitation that you couldn't use it beyond the final six because it more or less gave Yul a free ride to the final three, since everyone was afraid to cast a vote against him for fear of the idol being played. Then, changing how the clues were hidden due to Russell's obsessive idol hunting. (Except they appeared to have forgotten it in Redemption Island and later; or later players were just that good to have found them in the first couple episodes.)
    • After "Purple" Kelly and NaOnka quit in Nicaragua, the rules were amended so that quitters can be banned from sitting on the jury if production felt it was appropriate. And typically, you can guess that unless you're trying to pull a Thanatos Gambit or are having a severe physical or mental breakdown, that'll probably be...never.
    • Reducing the eligible age to 18. (Although this hasn't really affected gameplay; several contestants have been below 21 in the game since China.)
    • Not using the "purple rock" tiebreaker (where, in the event of unresolved tie, elimination is by random chance with everyone but those voted for at risk and those with immunity) in the final four, because the one time it was used in Marquesas, Paschal was eliminated without having a single vote cast for him in the entire game.
      • Tiebreakers in general; although the spectre of drawing rocks (Blood vs. Water confirmed that they do still use it outside the final four) causing people to betray their alliances to avoid it. You'll notice that for some reason, people are quite afraid of forcing a tie outside of the final four that can't be solved by a simple re-vote (such as John changing his vote for Laura in Samoa, Russell being voted out first from his tribe in Redemption Island, and Cochran turning on his tribe in South Pacific).
    • Supposedly, someone smuggled something into the game in their luxury item (or used their luxury item in a rather creative way) to have fire.
    • In Season 2, Australia, contestants could bring a personal item. Colby brought a Texas flag that doubled as a tarp... It, along with all the other shelter items, got snatched mid-season.
    • The Final Two became the Final Three. While not all fans like this, Probst says that this was so people would have to face a competitor and not just drag The Load into the finals. Chances are, everyone's thoughts towards Courtney in Exile Island (intending to bring her to the finals because everyone hated her) made the producers think. Probst has pointed out there have been plenty of seasons where everyone complained the final two was a wash anyways, one of them conveniently being Exile Island. This didn't stop Earl from claiming the first unanimous victory against two disliked players in Fiji and Boston Rob from pulling the two dumbest and laziest players to the finals in Redemption Island, but most other seasons have had closer votes in the final three.
      • This was also done as a result of Fan Dumb complaining about "Blowout" final twos because people had on many different seasons said that the winner was pretty obvious, nobody would've voted for [insert second place winner here], and the final tribal council was essentially just Padding because it was obvious that [insert winner here] had it. Or people just pulling What Measure Is a Non-Badass? when the fan favorite or most likely winner finished fifth-third place and a person deemed "undeserving" won.
  • In the American Big Brother:
    • After Season 3 where the jury voted 9-1 in favour of Lisa, the Jury was reduced to 7 and sequestered away from the game and unable to watch the show. The reason the jury voted in such a way was that they saw what Danielle was saying about them in the diary room and was angered.
    • The Power of Veto was made into the Golden Power of Veto note  permanently after Season 3.
    • Another veto example - Backdooring. In season 5, the houseguests realized that you had to pick the veto players yourself so you had full control over the players in the competition. So in order to get rid of Jase, the houseguests made up a plan and nominated two people who would have used the veto on themselves, or their other alliance members who'd have used the veto anyways. They then proceeded to pick players for the veto who would use the veto on their friends or were in on the plan and would use it anyways and evicted Jase without even letting him have a chance. The rule change was that Houseguests actually had to draw names out of a bag and only if they picked a "Houseguest's Choice" Token could they choose themselves.
      • This has been changed again as of Season 15. Houseguests now pick players out of a box instead of a bag, presumably after Frank was accused of intentionally dropping the bag of chips & palming the "Houseguest's Choice" Token in Season 14.
    • This happened with Season 15's big twist. The idea of the twist was that each week, the public could vote for one person in the house to become the "MVP" for the week and have the special power to nominate a third person for eviction. In theory, this was a great idea that would lend itself to drama, the only problem was that one of the houseguests was the sister of a former fan favorite. After the sister was voted to have the MVP title 3 weeks in a row, and the twist was changed so that the audience was now the MVP and they would choose the third nominee.
      • This led to an amusing situation during Week 4 where the sister was nominated by the public because fans didn't realize the rules had changed, and kept voting for her.
      • By the time Season 18 rolled around, the producers seemed to have learned their lesson. This season had a similar twist where each week the audience could vote to give one person an advantage. However, once one person had been given an advantage they were no longer eligible to be voted for, presumably to prevent a fan favorite from being rewarded week after week.
    • A very subtle example, but notice that the houseguests are cutting with plastic knives. This was because of a Season 2 incident where Justin held a knife to another houseguest's throat and said "Would you mind if I killed you?"
    • If someone is expelled or leaves when evicted players go to the jury, their vote at the end is given to the viewers and is used as a tiebreaker.
  • In Top Shot, if one team has more contestants than the other team due to eliminations, the weaker team can choose who to bench from the stronger team. This inevitably leads to the stronger team's perceived best shooter being benched. There's a rule that the same shooter cannot be benched twice in a row specifically to avoid making a strong shooter sit out most of the series.
    • In one season, one team was losing so badly, they had to alter the rules to ensure the game was still equitable, because one team outnumbered the other 2:1 before the green team revamp was scheduled.
  • RuPaul's Drag Race:
    • Seasons 5 and 6 had Coco Montrese and Trinity K Bonet, respectively, both queens whose main strength was their lip syncing ability. Problem is, the only time a queen is required to lip sync on the show is when they're in the bottom 2 for a challenge. Because of this, the two struggled on the show, rarely placed high in a challenge (combined, they only had one challenge win), but ended up going far in the competition simply because nobody could beat them in a lip sync. Starting with Season 7, every season has had one challenge involving a group lip sync performance simply to give similar "lip sync assassins" a chance to prove themselves on the show.
    • Starting with Season 6, immunity from the following week's elimination is no longer given out as a reward for winning a challenge. This was after several instances in Season 5 where a queen would have likely been up for elimination if they weren't immune.
    • Season 9 had a finale patch. After several subpar lip sync performances throughout the season (Charlie standing in place, Nina giving up, Valentina and the mask), Ru announced that rather than the regular finale, where Ru picks a winner from the remaining Top 3 queens based on their performance throughout the season, there would be a Top 4 going into finale night, where the winner would be decided through a bracket-style lip sync tournament. An effective, if extreme message on the importance of lip syncing in the show.

    Web Original 
  • TV Tropes:
    • The admin notes on BFG and BFS say not to write "Big Fucking Gun" anywhere in the article. After some Rules Lawyer put "Big Freaking Gun" instead, a second line was added saying, "Obvious Rule Patch: Or 'Big Freaking Gun'. Or 'Frigging'. Or any other such expansion of the acronym." A second patch had to be applied later after another Rules Lawyer added a paragraph Backronyming it.
    • After a troper adds a list of all the puny characters that Hulk will smash, many tropers who edited the page edited it for the sole purpose of expanding the "Puny character list" to the point that the other entries pertaining to him such as his tropes along with his appearances in other medias are forgotten in favor the former. Thus this entry is eventually removed to prevent the continuous decline of his own page quality.
  • Common in Nuzlocke Runs when done in generations past generation three (where the run originated), particularly when those generations add features that would trivialize certain aspects of the run, such as the Dex Nav in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire making it easy to get ideal first encounters.

Fictional Examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the original Dragon Ball series, one of Goku's opponents in the 21st Tenkaichi Budokai, a Kaiju named "Giran", almost throws Goku out of the arena. However, Goku manages to save himself from "loss by ringout" because he gets Kinto-un to save him at the last moment. This causes a problem because Giran, of course, claims this was an unfair move, and the referee is having trouble deciding whether or not this should be allowed. The referee consults with the overseers of the rules off-screen, and the referee returns and finally says...since clouds are a natural part of the environment, it wasn't illegal for Goku to use one to stop his own ring-out. However, Goku is forbidden to use the cloud again (and the implication is that this is now a new rule; no future fighters can use clouds to stop being thrown out of the ring). Giran is disappointed at not being immediately given the victory, but upon learning Goku can't use the cloud a second time, he smirks and says, "That sounds good. I can live with that."
  • During a filler episode of the Davy Back arc in One Piece, the Straw Hats are pitted against the Foxy Pirates in a game of Pirate Dodgeball, which comes with an absolutely massive rulebook full of an absurd amount of rule patches (including a rule for accidentally swallowing the ball.)
  • In High School D×D, Rias voluntarily bans Issei from using his personalized spells during a Ratings Game. Not because they're overpowered, but because Dress Break and Bilingual (which allows Issei to communicate with a girl's breasts via touch) are humiliating for the victim.
  • In Death Note, if a name is misspelled four times in a Death Note, the person whose name is misspelled will forever be immune to the Death Note. If a Death Note user attempts to misspell someone's name four times in a Death Note on purpose, in order to protect them from the Death Note, instead that Death Note user will die.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, while being a Killer Game Master, Bakura initially cheats by rolling his ten-sided dice so that they spin like tops, greatly improving his odds and allowing him to control the result to a degree. When Dark Yugi responds by copying him, Bakura creates a new rule (applying to both of them) that they have to roll dice by sliding them off their hands and dropping them, with spinning being prohibited, and resolves to cheat in a different way from now on.

    Fan Works 
  • In Reaching for a Dream, after Naruto cheats in the first round of the Chuunin Exam by punching out another examinee and stealing his test, Ibiki declares anyone else who does it will be failed automatically. His reasoning is that Naruto had the balls to come up with it himself, everyone else would just be copying him.
  • In Wind Lord Naruto is banned from using his Sempuken in the prelims after his first use drills a massive hole all the way to the outside. There may be no actual rules but no one is interested in having the building come down on their heads.
  • In Zero Interface after a trio of students accidentally cause Ranma (and via their bond, Louise) to enter Neko-ken and go on a rampage, a notice is sent out that "Any student caught antagonizing anyone's familiar will be immediately expelled. Also, all feline familiars must be left in their owners' dorm rooms. No exceptions." Given that both Ranma and Louise proved capable of cleaving through steel while using Neko-ken, it's hardly surprising.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, trainers are allowed to face a special challenge when they fight a gym leader of facing the team they use against trainers with seven badges. If they win, the resulting badge functions as eight badges so they can skip straight to training for the region's Pokemon League. After gym leaders had to deal with endless trainers thinking they can take on the challenge with untrained low level Pokemon, a new rule was added so that if a trainer enters such a challenge and loses, they can't challenge any gyms for a year. As a result, the only trainers who do said challenge are generally veterans of other regions who don't want to waste time gathering another eight badges, or skilled trainers unable to travel around their home region for whatever reason.
  • In Fate Revelation Online a concern among more savvy players is that Cardinal will increase the game's difficulty in response to Shirou and Ilya's game-breaking streength. To avoid this and encourage other players to become just as broken Kayaba introduces the "Titled Players" rule, which grants especially powerful players perks and excludes them from balancing.
  • During the Chunin Exam prelims in One Eye Full Of Wisdom, Sakura notes that nothing in the rules states the fights have to take place in the room where everyone is waiting, so she sprints out of the room and performs a running battle against Shino using ambushes and hit-and-run tactics. Immediately after her match, the officials announce that leaving the room will result in an automatic forfeit.
    • As a result of Sakura's tactics, the arena for the finals is modified to have a multistory building in it as officials realized the previous completely open setting turned most matches into little more than slugfests and didn't allow much use for traps, ambushes, or other tactics beyond being a superior fighter.
  • In The Infinite Loops, a lot of additions have been made to "Da Rules" from The Fairly Oddparents thanks to looper antics. For example, there is now a rule against wishing that Vicky and Mr Crocker were fairy godparents, thanks to Cosmo and Musa.

    Films — Animation 

  • In Ender's Game, Ender's final battle as commander pits his Dragon Army against two armies combined, in an entrenched position. Ender discards all combat strategy and has his boys move as quickly as possible to exploit an Instant-Win Condition: the game ends when one army unlocks their opponent's gate — regardless of whether the opposing army is still active. Since nobody had considered doing this without defeating the opposing army first, the other team(s) doesn't manage to stop him. Ender is promptly told that starting in the next battle fought at Battle School, it will not be possible for an army to perform the victory ritual without first defeating or disabling everyone in the opposing army. Ender doesn't mind; he only expected it to work once.
  • Discworld
    • The Assassin's Guild Diary has School Rule 16: "No boy is to keep a crocodile in his room." Followed by rules 16a to 16j to counter various forms of Loophole Abuse, from the obvious ("16a. No boy is to keep an alligator or any large amphibious reptile in his room"; "16c. Nor in the cellar.") to the outlandish ("16h. No boy is to convert to Offlerism without permission in writing from the Head Master." [Offler is the Discworld's Crocodile God])
      • At around the time of the Diary, the Assassins' Guild School became co-ed, as seen in Night Watch. To avoid situations such as girls keeping crocodiles in their room and pointing to Rule 16's use of the word "boy", they added "For boys read girls, and vice versa" as a note to the list, which led to this:
        School Rule No.145 : No boy is to enter the room of any girl.
        School Rule No.146 : No girl is to enter the room of any boy.
        School Rule No.147 : (provisional) : It has been pointed out that our injunction to 'read boys for girls, and vice versa', can, if taken together with the two previous rules by someone with little to do but argue, mean that no pupil is to be in any room at all. This was not the intention. No pupil is to be anywhere except where they should be. A girl is defined as a young person of the female persuasion.
        School Rule No.148 : Regardless of how persuaded he feels, Jelks Minor in Form IV is a boy.
        School Rule No.149 : Arguing over the wording of school rules is forbidden.
      • This is surely a Historical In-Joke referring to Lord Byron. He wanted to keep a dog when he was at Cambridge, but college rules forbid it. He inspected the rules carefully and found there was nothing prohibiting pet bears, so he got one. It's unknown when Cambridge applied the highly-necessary patch. It is now a college legend that in that particular college, if a fellow wants to keep a dog, it will be defined as a cat.
    • In Unseen Academicals, since the rules that distinguish street football from association football are being written in one swoop, Ponder Stibbons finds himself adding a lot of obvious patches, including the offside rule. We're also told that one of the oldest rules in the street game, "The Ball shall be the ball that is known as the Ball" (i.e. Whichever object is deemed, by popular consensus of the players, to be the object being used as the ball, shall be officially regarded as The Ball, until such time as a new Ball is designated), was a patch added when someone scored a goal with an opposing player's head. Subverted in that the rule was to allow it retroactively (the head's owner was credited with the winning goal and nobody had the heart to take it away).
  • In the Harry Potter-verse, there are around 700 different possible fouls in Quidditch, but Quidditch Through the Ages only lists the eleven most commonly seen. Most of the rest are obvious rule patches such as, "It is illegal to hit your opponent with an axe." It is stated in-universe that the complete list of fouls is kept private to prevent people from "getting ideas".
    • Quidditch Through The Ages also lists patches onto Quidditch, including the introduction of a standardized scoring hoop size. This was because the hoops replaced wicker baskets, which were tricky to standardize and led to teams deliberately putting grape-sized baskets on one end and "great wicker caves" on the other, or setting the baskets on fire.
  • Inverted in Animal Farm. The original commandments are altered to add loopholes so the pigs can indulge in the forbidden behavior. For example, the rule "No animal may drink alcohol" is changed to "No animal may drink alcohol to excess", and "No animal may sleep in a bed" is changed to "No animal may sleep in a bed with sheets". Then they claim the commandments always said that. Ironically, even the "patched" commandments are still broken; the pig who changed the one about alcohol was in a virtual stupor at the time. The film version also implies that one of the commandments was initially "Whatever goes upon four legs is a friend", but had "or has wings" added when the birds got annoyed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine informs us that the 24th Rule of Acquisition is "War is good for business", whereas the 25th is "Peace is good for business". It's never specified how much time elapsed between the two rules, but one can only surmise it was a very eventful period in Ferengi history.
    • Alternatively, it's not a patch but just two well placed reminders. War Profiteering is not frowned upon in Ferengi society... But wars do disrupt supply lines and make business untenable do to the inability to move goods from one place to another in retaliative safety. Basically, the two rules amount to "It's okay to profit off a war, but peace can be profitable as well, so don't start trouble."
  • Yes, Dear invoked this trope. One character asked another why she wasn't watching The Jerry Springer Show. The second character quipped that it was not fun since they started bolting the furniture to the set.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Whenever wish-granting genies are brought up in fiction nowadays, "No Wishing for More Wishes" is a frequent rule (such as in Aladdin.)
  • In The Bible a rule given a few times is "do not boil a baby goat in it's mother's milk", which otherwise doesn't violate any of the dietary rules. Apparently this was an issue, but nobody really remembers why. Many observant Jews avoid mixing meat and milk just in case.

  • In Mornington Crescent, the Offside Rule was added to the game to prevent people saying "Mornington Crescent" as an opening move, which was taking some of the fun out of it.

    Video Games 
  • The Wipeout series has an in-universe example. Triakis systems, entering the FX350 series with a re-purposed hovertank, did very well and won the last season handily, thanks to Reverse Inertial Dampening system that gave the fast, heavy craft disproportionately good handling. Race officials decided after the series that the RID system would be outlawed, and applied the ban retroactively, stripping Triakis of the title. Since the system was designed to give hovertanks the control fidelity to practically tap-dance, they accepted this with grace.
  • The Mass Effect franchise has another in-universe example with their version of Faster-than-Light travel. Several times in the backstory, and during the games, it is proposed to use spacecraft flying at relativistic speeds as devastating suicide-bombers. When experiments are made, however, the turians discover in-built failsafe mechanisms in the titular Mass Effect technology that make collision courses impossible, and cannot be bypassed. The block was put in by the Reapers to prevent their Mass Effect technology being weaponised against them.
  • During the course of Dangan Ronpa, Monokuma will add new rules to his Deadly Game to keep the misery going for as long as possible. The most blatant example being when someone asks what's stopping someone from simply killing everyone and thus becoming the winner by default. Monokuma apparently genuinely didn't think of that and immediately declares that anyone who kills more than two people at a time will be automatically executed.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Virtue's Last Reward, the Nonary Game's rules are so vague and general that they need a lot of obvious patches. To name a few:
    • Zero III himself states that the fact that the Secondary Chromatic Doors can't be unlocked until after the Primary ones close serves solely to prevent easy cheating.
    • Anyone can go through Chromatic Doors back and forth, but first they must escape from the puzzle room that's beyond the CDs. This prevents the nine players from returning to the warehouse empty-handed: the AB games would be pointless if no one had the keycard to enter the rooms.
    • Zero III forces all nine players to play the AB game in the first round, but later on you find out that you can in fact not participate, which will make your vote default to ally. Sure, it puts you at a disadvantage, but it frees you from voting. Except it turns out that at least 1 out of 3 people who go through the CDs has to vote, or else the 3 of them die. This serves the obvious purpose of preventing everyone from not voting, which would grant them 9 BP after three rounds.
    • Anyone who has 9 BP or more can open the number nine door. So if you haven't enough BP, you just have to sneak out when someone else opens it, right? Wrong. If you cross the door and you have less than 9 BP, you die. So only people who have 9 BP or more can actually escape safely. This scenario is specifically addressed in-game.

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue, the Director of Project Freelancer argues that the outright torture he inflicted on the Alpha AI does not break any laws regarding ethical treatment of AI's, because the Alpha AI is a copy of his mind, so it can be argued that he was torturing himself, which there is no law against. The Chairman investigating him replies that that may be the case, but the laws are being extensively revised to take that into account, and he suspects the Director will have an entire section of the new laws named after him for this.

    Web Comics 
  • In Chasing the Sunset, the rules are automatically patched.
  • This xkcd panel.
  • Penny Arcade parodies this with Scribblenauts. Tycho explains how the goal of the game is to get Starites, and you do so by writing the names of useful items (over 22,000 are available), which then appear. Gabe picks up the game and immediately writes "Starite". One appears and he wins. Note that in the actual game, doing this produces a fake Starite that's worthless. Except for the very last level.
  • Erfworld: The free casters of the Magic Kingdom will very rarely declare specific artifacts "OP," forbidding their use, forbidding anyone associating with anyone who uses them, and walling up the portal of anyone who uses them. The worst part is that they have no problem applying this retroactively; when the Arkentools are declared OP during a trial, the defendant is sentenced to death despite the fact that she hasn't used them since she was captured.
  • The Order of the Stick: According to Word of God, the spell "Protection from Law" is illegal in most places.

    Web Original 
  • During one episode of Achievement Hunter's Let's Play Grand Theft Auto V, the gang is playing a game where they're supposed to hold on to a "flag" while flying for a few seconds to gain a point. During one round, Michael Jones gets his plane's wing clipped off and he crashes into the water below, survives and gets the point. The very next round, Ryan Haywood gets the "flag" and immediately dives into the water, in this case a lake bed. Geoff Ramsay allows the point to go through, but tells them that after that, no diving into the water. Though, to be absolutely fair, Ryan is the master of Loophole Abuse in the team. He will force the others to enact this trope if there's even the possibility that he could bend the rules.
  • "Okay, new rule - no singing opera in detention, got it?"

    Western Animation 
  • In The Legend of Korra, there is a sport called pro-bending, in which two teams made up of one waterbender, one earthbender, and one firebender compete (there aren't enough Airbenders in the world to be included in the rules). Korra, as the Avatar, is the only living person capable of bending more than one element. When she joins a pro-bending tournament as a waterbender but reflexively earthbends to block a shot, the referee calls "Foul!... I think." After a brief recess, the officials apply the patch: the Avatar can compete, but may only bend one element.
  • Rocket Power:
    • One episode has the group play a game that Otto thought up. Otto repeatedly makes up rules on the fly, eventually causing Reggie to snap and call him out in front of everyone else. This also shows the downside to this trope, because eventually everyone else stops playing because of the "rules" and eventually leaves Otto and Reggie basically trying to play "HORSE", which she uses as a distraction while making Otto do a complicated move to piss off and go surfing with Twister and Sam.
    • Another episode involved the school principal catching Otto, Reggie, and Twister playing street hockey on school grounds and plans on punishing them. Sam (who was the hall monitor in the episode) comes to the rescue by showing that the rulebook has a specific list of activities not allowed on school grounds, but that hockey is not on the list. After the principal realizes Sam's in the right, he lets the kids go, but says that the next day the rule would be rewritten to include hockey.
  • The Fairly OddParents! has at least two examples of this:
    • In the first Christmas episode, Timmy wishes that everyday was Christmas, which eventually messes things up since fairies lend their power to Santa for the holiday. Once everything is fixed, a new rule is added to Da Rules that forbids an "Everyday Christmas wish" from ever being granted again.
    • In Fairly Odd Baby, it's discovered that fairies are no longer allowed to have children after Cosmo was born (since Jorgen Von Strangle feared there being another idiot like Cosmo). Timmy decides to wish that Cosmo and Wanda would have a child. Jorgen intervenes in order to stop the wish, but as it turns out Da Rules doesn't have a rule forbidding wishing for fairies to have a baby. Jorgen allows the wish to be granted, but from that day forward Da Rules now states that such a wish can no longer be granted.