Video Game Examples:
- First-Person Shooter
- Platform Game
- Role-Playing Game
- Survival Horror
- Turn-Based Strategy
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- Infocom The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- At the very beginning, you want to get the toothbrush. Once Earth's destroyed, of course, you're sunk.
- In the Vogon ship, if you don't manage to get the Babel Fish before the Guard drags you away, you might as well quit and restart, all that happens next is a lengthy lead up to Game Over. The reason you need the Babel Fish is to get the atomic vector plotter. You only have a few turns to grab it, too, and you need to put down your towel as part of the convoluted method of getting the Babel Fish. But you also need to have the towel with you later in the game,to be able to survive. If you don't remember to pick up your towel once you've got the Babel Fish, you're screwed.
- Hotel Dusk: Room 215 features a sidequest in which you can earn a prize from a vending machine. There is only one very short point in the game in which you can exchange your cash for change; after that, it's permanently missable. There is also no warning. There is a kind-of New Game+ mode after completing the game with an extra puzzle and ending, but the scavenger hunt item you get out of the machine changes, making the original permanently missable unless you start a clean game. In addition, the original scavenger hunt vending item can be given to two different characters, but the only way to give it to one of them is to randomly guess the vending machine number, because there is no opportunity to give it to her after legitimately completing the scavenger hunt.
- There's also an item that you practically need for when you get trapped in the basement late in the game that's completely missable and never mentioned. While it is possible to get through it without the item, prepare for a lot of trial and error and game overs.
- The text-based game of The Hobbit required Bilbo to get assistance frequently from either Gandalf or Thorin—most notably, getting out of the goblins' dungeon (you had to be carried out the window) and getting into Smaug's cave via the side entrance (the key broke if Thorin died). The game also depended on the elves' butler to periodically open the door to the wood elves' dungeon. If these parties were killed, various areas became unreachable, and randomly spawning enemies like goblins and the vicious warg often killed them while Bilbo was elsewhere.
- Return To Zork. If you cut instead of dig up the bonding plant at the very beginning of the game, thereby killing it, you're screwed. Even worse, it's very late in the game when you find this out. Additionally, there are many ways of killing it by accident even if you do dig it up. A new Bonding Plant grows in the original location if you completely destroy the cut one by incinerating it in the furnace, so depending on where you are in the game it's possible to recover. It isn't always possible to get back, though.
- ''Enchanter'' Trilogy:
- Any scroll that can't be added to your spellbook can be used exactly once, after which it's gone forever. If you used it in the wrong place, the game is now Unwinnable by Design.
- Spellbreaker has a plant that needs to be dug up rather than cut. If it is cut, it dies. To make matters worse, the game placed a pair of shears by the plant.
- In Maniac Mansion, pouring film developer on the Man-Eating Plant will kill it, preventing you from climbing into the observatory for the rest of the game. If a character is up there when the plant keels over:
"The plant's gone. I'm stuck up here!"
- Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within is a huge point-and-click game, six discs large. If you forget to pick up a certain item in the chapter on disc two, you will get stuck at the end of the chapter on disc four.
- In King's Quest V, there is a moment where you MUST throw a boot at a cat chasing a rat, so that when your character is trapped later, the grateful rat will free you. The cat-and-rat chase moment happens quickly, and the game gives no obvious cues that you must throw the boot. If you don't, your character will not be freed, thus culminating in a game over.
- Eco Quest: Didn't notice the oil-eating bacteria at the start? Guess you're plumb out of luck.
- Leisure Suit Larry 2 throws one requirement after another at the player, with no real discernible cue that any of them are going to be needed later in the game, leading to a plethora of Unwinnable situations, especially since the game has absolutely no qualms with you saving your progress while a doomed scenario is already playing out.
- Luigi's Mansion:
- There are two bonus enemies hidden throughout the mansion: Gold Mice and Speedy Spirits. Speedy Spirits appear in the blink of an eye in certain dark rooms and vanish just as quickly; if Luigi doesn't catch them in one go, they'll vanish forever. Gold Mice are similar, but instead of just vanishing, they move really quickly, and can be vacuumed up in one hit. Both types will disappear if all other enemies in the room are beaten first, because beating the enemies turns on the lights in the room. Both of them drop the same thing: Lots and lots of money, and, in the case of the Speedy Spirits, gems. There is a blackout partway through the game, however, giving Luigi a second chance to catch any Speedy Spirits he missed previously, but there are no more chances after that, and to make matters worse, there are several Speedy Spirits that can only be gotten in random, out-of-the-way rooms during the blackout.
- It also has a plant in the Bone Yard that can be watered after every chapter. Miss it once, and the plant dies, meaning you lose the chance to get one of the giant diamonds worth a lot of money, and a huge amount of assorted coins and bank notes.
- Myst III: Exile has a snag quite late in the game: if you get the sequence of actions wrong when you confront Saavedro, he'll toss the Releeshan book off a cliff... and you'll never get it back.
- The Pajama Sam series is known for including collection sidequests as an extra activity. The first game has a chance of placing one of the socks in Sam's room, the very first screen of the game. As soon as you leave this screen, there is no turning back, though since the sock is really easy to notice, it's unlikely. The third game pulls this off twice in the boxtop sidequest, and unlike the first game, both are very easy to miss since they're tiny and are as far from the middle of the screen as possible. Top it off with the fact that they always appear no matter what are on the second and third screens, they're really easy to miss, and once again, if you do so, there is no turning back. This is especially annoying since the box tops are the hardest items to notice in the series, leaving you running around frantically looking for the last one.
- Simon the Sorcerer: An awful LOT of dialogue in the first game is missed out depending on what choices you make about your response. The player can miss out on some potentially hilarious gossip and satire this way. The only way to get these exchanges is to start over from the beginning.
Card Battle Game
- In Digimon: Digital Card Battle for the PS, you get to choose a partner Digimon at the very start of the game, and you get two more later in the story. What nobody told you is that you have to choose them from a pool of six, and that the decisions are permanent; the three partners you didn't choose are permanently missable unless you cheat. To make matters more aggravating, the plot is set so that you're only offered one of them once, so if you didn't choose him when you first saw him, you'll never get another chance.
- Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Legendary cards Gelbin Mekkatorque and Elite Tauren Chieftain may be crafted like any other card, but the golden versions were only available as promotional items (Golden Gelbin Mekkatorque was available by spending real money in the in-game store during the beta, and Golden Elite Tauren Chieftain was only available by buying a ticket to Blizzcon 2013). These golden cards cannot be crafted, meaning they are now likely forever unavailable to players. However, the cards are soulbound, preventing their owners from deleting them and losing them forever.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, if you fail to activate the Robot Monkey sidequest, it's gone forever from that playthrough, and you can't duel the monkey in the Game Shop. Thankfully, any cards they would give you can still be obtained normally.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Troubadour, due to a glitch in the JP and NA versions, Pegasus disappears from the game permanently after you defeat Odion, and you cannot get his Imperial Order trade before he leaves. The EU version fixed the bug.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! World Champion Ship 2008, Voltanis the Adjudicator and Airknight Parshath are unlocked as opponents in the World Championship mode if you defeat Voltanis in the main story. The problem is that Voltanis is the only opponent in the story that cannot be rematched, so if you lose to him (which is very possible considering how powerful his deck is), you don't get to unlock either of them for that playthrough.
- In Fate/Grand Order, several of the Servants are limited-release and event-specific, leaving no way of obtaining them when the event ends.
- Anything related to Norahike in Choro Q HG4 after you beat Otto's grand prix. This includes loads of synthesis parts obtained from him which require you to spam on entering his house until you get everything.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune:
- Many special titles (e.g. those based on mileage and those based on how many wins) are only offered once.
- In the first two games, your Story Mode "undefeated" status, represented by hollow "stage cleared" icons. Lose a single race and you'll have to get a new card if you want it again. 3 remedies this by giving you a second chance on your card after clearing Story Mode.
- Maximum Tune 4 had an event that let you transfer 3DX+ data to 4. This event ended on October 24, 2013, even though Maximum Tune 4 is only available in Eastern and Southeastern Asia, making the temporary nature of the card transfer event a huge slap in the face since the previous games in the series were released worldwide. Players outside of these regions will have to start all over again with none of their old data if Maximum Tune 4 is ever exported to the worldwide market.
- Mortal Kombat: Deception has a chest with one of its unlockable fighters, Kenshi, in the small village where your character begins the game as a child. Leaving the village causes a time-lapse sequence which spans many years and causes your character to grow older, so the game prevents temporal anomalies by locking you out once you've left. If you leave before finding the chest containing the Kenshi unlock, it will be permanently missable - the only way to get it is to start a new save file.
- Punch-Out!! for Wii:
- The secret Champions Mode, a submode of Exhibition that can be unlocked by winning ten fights in Mac's Last Stand. Problem is, should the player lose three times there before the tenth victory, the game will end and not only will Last Stand be locked, there won't be another chance to unlock Champions Mode.
- A hidden character can be permanently missable if he doesn't appear as an opponent before the player loses three times, since Mac's Last Stand picks opponents randomly (including Guest Fighter Donkey Kong). Fortunately, if you encounter him, he is automatically unlocked in Exhibition mode, regardless if you beat him or not.
- If you never train in Exhibition Mode against wireframes before reaching Mac's Last Stand in Career mode, the second movie will be locked on that file.
- Portal 2 There's an achievement called "Professor Portal" that you get by beating the co-op mode, and then going through the co-op mode's tutorial with a Steam friend who has never played the co-op mode before. Because of how it works, it's mathematically impossible for every player of the game to get the achievement, because once all but one player has it, they've all played the game before, so the one remaining player doesn't have anyone left to play with to get the achievement. And in practice, even fewer players will be able to get the achievement, since not everyone started playing co-op with a Steam friend.
- In Puzzle Quest: Challenge Of The Warlords, every enemy (and learnable spell) can be attained at leisure... except for the Imp spells (Burn, Taunt, and Zap). The Imps only appear on one spot of the map, which only unlocks after you've completed "The Marriage" subquest in Enmouth, and will disappear the moment you return to report to the Queen. You have to stay there and defeat three Imps in a row before capturing one, and the aforementioned spells turn them into Demonic Spiders if you're playing as a Fighter or Wizard.
- World of Goo: A Bragging Rights Reward known as an "OCD". There's a glitch in the game preventing the gamer from getting the OCD Achievement in the level "MOM's Computer" after completing that level once. (The glitch has been fixed through patches in most versions of the game.)
- Professor Layton:
- Almost every game has certain areas where you can never go back past a certain point, so if you happen to miss any of hint coins (and in Miracle Mask, collectibles) that are in those areas, they're gone for good. However, if you happen to miss any puzzle this way, they will be sent to a puzzle keeper, who will keep those puzzles safe for you to solve whenever you speak to them.
- After Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection ended, if you didn't download all the puzzles in the earlier Layton games, you're not getting them. Fortunately, these were only optional in the first place.
- Antichamber: The first pink cube is only accessible at the very beginning of the game. After you've completed a few rooms, the layout of "There's No Way In" changes and you can't access the area where it is anymore. It's particularly bad because it's precisely one of the most Guide Dang It cubes (it requires you to walk among darkness through a passage that you won't learn of its existence until after the point where the layout has changed).
- McPixel has four Mind Screw bonus rounds (one made entirely out of the title character, one set on the rainbow trail of Nyan Cow, one set in a sewer underneath a toilet, and a crazily glitched up one) that can only be accessed a limited number of times while doing the initial runthroughs of each of the official stages note . Once all of the stages are finished, there's no way of accessing these rounds ever again.
Real Time Strategy
- In Medieval II: Total War, generals can sometimes gain Ancillaries, technically characters following them around but essentially a stat boost. Most of them are gained through specific but generic actions like winning battles or being in a town/castle when a given building is completed. However, some of the most powerful ancillaries are historical ones like William Wallace or Machiavelli, and those can only be gained in very specific circumstances that aren't revealed to the player note . Joan of Arc, for example, can only be gained during a 20ish year span (1 turn being 6 months in the game), only for French players, only if France and England are at war late in the game (which is unlikely, since both countries are in each other's way, and one usually destroys the other in the early game) and only if the given general wins a battle against the English in which the odds were against him, but not too much.
- DJMAX Technika's Weekly courses. Each one was available for one week, then was gone permanently, replaced by the next Weekly course. Furthermore, Technika's Platinum Crew service went permanently offline in December 2013, which means nobody will be able to use songs or other items requiring unlocking ever again.
- Rock Band:
- Challenge rewards can only be obtained one time per band. While the "impossible [instrument] challenges" clearly show what the costumes look like (before coloring), the "Impossible Marathon, part 2" challenge has a reward of ONE (not a set. ONE) "crazy instrument" for each active player, corresponding to whatever instrument that player cleared Painkiller with. In order to get all 4 crazy instruments on one character, the entire challenge ladder must be gone through four times, each one in a different band. The amount of time one such run takes is comparable to the time it takes to clear Endless Setlist II. Remedied in Rock Band 3 - unlock once, use on every character you want for that profile.there are a couple of songs
- There are a couple of songs that were pulled from the store due to copyright issues. One Rock Band World goal required pulled songs (the three Metallica songs) and was gone when they were pulled.
- Sound Voltex II has POLICY BREAK songs, straight ports of songs from other BEMANI series in a series that otherwise does not allow non-remixed/arranged ports. The catch is that you can only unlock them for up to one week from the unlock date each, and then you cannot unlock them anymore.
- In Roguelikes (Angband, for example), items are usually unidentified when you first find them, and they can always be generated again later. This includes unique "artifact" items, but only if you don't identify them, since artifacts are only generated once per game. If you ID an item and it turns out to be an artifact, it is permanently missable when you leave the level and you're not carrying it.
- To ME has a few dungeons with special named levels, which are different in that they aren't randomly generated, and thus the same in every game. They also have the same unique monsters and artifacts in every game. They also disappear if you leave (for example via the down staircase) and if you attempt to go back to it, you'll just get a randomly generated level instead. So, you only get one shot at grabbing those artifacts (whether found on the floor or dropped from a unique) before leaving the level, or they're permanently missable. Make sure to have some free inventory space when you get there.
- ADOM has too many to count. Two Bonus Dungeons, the Pyramid and the Minotaur Maze, are only open to characters of certain levels (13-16 for the Pyramid, 22-30 for the Minotaur Maze). If you haven't found and killed the Bonus Boss inside when you reach that level, then they close up for good and render everything inside permanently irretrievable. And if you so much as talk to Khelavaster without giving him an Amulet of Life Saving, he'll die a Plotline Death, rendering the Trident of the Red Rooster and the Golden Ending unavailable all at once.
- In Sword of the Stars: The Pit, don't activate something unless you're sure you're going to use it immediately. Some of the devices lying around have only one use and will be unusable afterwards even if you don't do anything with them.
- In Star Wars Tie Fighter you can be inducted into the Secret Order of the Emperor and progress through multiple ranks within the Order by completing bonus objectives in levels. However, you cannot replay campaign missions outside of the Flight Simulator, and completing bonus objectives in the Flight Simulator does not count towards nabbing a higher rank in the Order. In other words: if you don't complete the bonus objectives the first time you finish missions, you won't be able to progress all the way through the Order's ranks.
- In Freelancer, there is a very good ship called the Anubis that you have exactly four opportunities to obtain: if you don't get it (which is frankly rather silly, as it's dirt cheap) within those four chances, or sell it afterwards, it's permanently missable.
- Harvest Moon:
- Many of the older games have items and characters that will become unavailable after a certain amount of time. Most famously is Harvest Moon 64, where Cliff and Karen will leave town if you do not get their relationship levels high enough - depriving you of two potential rival marriages and 100% completion on your recipe list. The death of Ellen is avoidable, if you know what to watch out for (if she's sitting on the side of her house, instead of the front, DO NOT APPROACH). But if she dies, she'll take her recipe with her and knock a good chunk of points off Elli's affection levels.
- Another particularly nasty one is the Hot Springs in Harvest Moon DS and its Distaff Counterpart Harvest Moon DS Cute, which can only be found by befriending or partially wooing Flora (regardless of whether or not you intend to marry her), since finding it is one of her Heart Events. The problem? If Flora marries her partner Carter, you're locked out of the event forever. In the girl version, it's based on Friendship instead of Affection, but you're still locked out of the Hot Springs-discovering event if Flora or you marries Carter, for seemingly arbitrary reasons. What do you miss if you don't get the Hot Springs? A different Hot Spring in another area of town, a shippable item (the Spa-Boiled Egg), and a huge chunk of Harvest Sprites, making 100% Completion of the Harvest Sprite teams impossible. On top of it all? The whole thing is a Guide Dang It.
- Flight Rising has its exaltation mechanic, where a user can permanently remove a dragon from the game (replacing its page with the dragon's image, lineage, and a generic message about how the dragon is now serving the exalting user's deity) in exchange for some treasure (rarely gems, the site's premium currency, as well) and points towards that week's dominance standings. The mechanic is necessary to keep the dragon population in check, but it can still cause a stir among people who associate exaltation with killing, despite the lore saying otherwise. While most exalts are replaceable, dragons with low IDs (6 digits or fewer) or with interesting ID numbers are both extremely sought-after and can't be replaced once they've been exalted. There's also a person's progenitors (the dragon that users create when they start the game and the random dragon that joins them immediately after), which are not only irreplaceable due to them being account-locked, but don't provide treasure or dominance points when you exalt them.
- In Hometown Story, Sunny the tailor at some point gives you an outfit and suggests that you wear it on a date. You will register of having done this if a bachelor asks you out while you are wearing the outfit and you accept. That will trigger a cutscene if you visit Sunny later on, in which she's pleased you wore it but suggests you to choose your own outfit next time. However, it's possible to go on all dating events before you even get the outfit, thus eliminting the possibility of seeing the cutscene.
Stealth Based Game
- The Metal Gear series often averts this. For instance, if the player misses the SOCOM pistol at the start of MGS1, he will have one sitting in front of him during the first major firefight. In MGS3, if the player fails to locate the Night-Vision Goggles in the cavern, EVA will simply hand him a set in a later cutscene, etc.
- There are still some items that can be permanently missable, particularly optional items, if they are not picked up as soon as they are available. Examples include the torch from MGS3 (find in the cave before The Pain boss battle or never again) and AKS-74u silencer in MGS2. Neither are overly necessary and both actually require more effort than just leaving them, but for 100% completion...
- Metal Gear Solid The Twin Snakes has a silenced, tranquilizer-shooting M9. On the lower difficulty levels, it's stored in one of the lockers in the opening docks area. The cargo elevator at the back of the docks is a one-way trip.
- In Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions, if the player completes all the training missions, the game will show a concept artwork of Metal Gear RAY from the then-upcoming Metal Gear Solid 2. However, there's no way to view picture again once the data has been saved.
- During Chapter 2 of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, there is a mission titled "A Quiet Exit", which means exactly what you think it means. Upon completion, Quiet can no longer be selected as a buddy for missions. What's worse is that she goes missing upon completing the previous mission, so even if you've heard that Quiet leaves, you'll have to hold off on two missions if you want to keep her around. The game itself can last for over 100 hours if you're going for full completion, so starting over is less than desirable. This was only an issue with the launch version of the game though. From the Ver. 1.06 patch and onward, she can recruited back by repeating the "Cloaked in Silence" mission seven times, which changes the mission tag from "replay" to "reunion".
- In Yandere Simulator, you can only join a club once in a single playthrough. If you quit or are expelled from the club, you will not be able to join it and reap its benefits again. Clubs can also be shut down if too many of its members, or its leader, die.
Turn Based Tactics
- In X-COM:
- The plasma (sniper) rifle, one of the most devastating weapons if put in the right hands, quits spawning around April or so. If you haven't cannibalized and manufactured your own plasma rifles by then, you're up a creek. Your troops will be stuck with the low-power, less accurate laser rifle or the very inaccurate Heavy Plasma.
- Terror from the Deep: The Sonic Pistol is phased out by the aliens after a few months. This can screw you over if a) none actually ever spawned during that time, or b) you sold all the ones that did because you didn't know about it. Researching the Sonic Pistol is tremendously important, because it's both the best assault weapon in the game, and a required prerequisite for the Sonic Oscillator, the best craft weapon. It is possible to win without these, so it isn't unwinnable, but it's a lot harder.
- This game also has a couple of research tree bugs:
- These two items, the MC Reader and the Sub Construction store item, are special in that they will only become available for research if and only if a sample is available in your general stores before completing research for their prerequisite technologies.
- Live Deep One, which should only be researched after you have met the other prerequisites for Ion Armour. Without Armours you won't get to research advanced subs; without advanced subs you can't reach T'leth and defeat the aliens once and for all.
- in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, it's possible to miss the plasma pistol research if playing without the Enemy Within expansion. The plasma pistol is carried only by Sectoids, both types of which are phased out of regular missions after a certain point (they DO have an extremely low chance of still showing up late-game, but only once in a blue moon). If there are no story missions to give you a shot at capturing them, then the only guaranteed chance is in the finale, which is too late to actually put them to use. With Enemy Within, however, Mechtoids continue to show up consistently through the whole game, and are always accompanied by regular, plasma pistol-bearing sectoids or sectoid commanders, whom all drop Plasma Pistols; the best sidearm for your high-rank Snipers.
- In Odium, combats and exploration are done on separate maps. Sometimes, combat maps contain a crate with goodies or two. If you do not open and empty a crate before killing all the enemies, everything you failed to grab will be permanently missable.
- Cecille from Luminous Arc has a particularly plot-relevant Class Change that resets her Relationship Values and opens up a new set of related conversations. Any items you didn't get from raising her Relationship Values before her class change are permanently missable, along with the special CG for maxing them. Really forever, since her class change is retained going into the New Game+. The items can be acquired by other means, but the CG can't. Also, any equipment she has on when she leaves will also be lost; when she comes back with her new class, it'll have been replaced with other things.
- In Fate/hollow ataraxia if you don't see some of the filler scenes before moving to the plot scenes, they're no longer available. And if you don't get 100% completion you can't unlock a bonus scene.
Wide Open Sandbox
- Entire missions in the original Grand Theft Auto (and its GTA: London expansion packs) are permanently missable if you fail them. When the jobs you're offered start getting... challenging (think assassination attempts on politicians protected by machinegun-wielding bodyguards), let's just say it's a good thing that level completion is tied to your bank account, not storyline missions.
- In Grand Theft Auto III:
- It's incredibly difficult to complete the police vehicle missions once you leave Portland because all the members of the Mafia that eventually betrayed the protagonist shoot at your vehicle, usually destroying it in a matter of seconds. Since those missions are required for 100% Completion, this screwed many gamers who decided to procrastinate on doing them.
- Missions where you work for Kenji can be permanently missable, if you don't complete them before doing a mission for Donald Love where you kill Kenji to start a gang war. However, players surprised that killing somebody makes it impossible to get missions from them should consider the possibility that they've been playing too much Grand Theft Auto III. Same with the entire Leone family; any missions from them that are still hanging around after you off Salvatore are gone for good.
- There was a bug in the PC version that made 100% completion impossible forever on any new games you save. There is a mission on Shoreside Vale where you have to do a drive by on X amount of enemies. If you had completed all the missions for the guy at the phone and attempt to do this particular mission in a new game after saving, the enemies NEVER spawn!
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has a katana hidden in a cafe that is blown up as part of a mission, rendering it inaccessible for the rest of the game. The player can't even cheat to get it after this happens; if a trainer or similar cheat is used to walk through the rubble, they will simply fall through it, as the interior is no longer solid.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas:
- The game has several vehicles that can only be obtained in the main missions, such as a Volkswagen bus with a retro hippy paintjob, an armored car, and several modified cars, or cars with vanity license plates. This creates the odd situation where the game plans for you to lose these vehicles forever — the only way to hold onto them id often to park them in a garage, then fail the mission and restart it.
- The player can start over with most of CJ's girlfriends if they are killed during a date, as they will respawn in their "meeting point" in the map. The only exceptions are Denise Robinson and Millie Perkins because they meet CJ through the storyline missions, which means that they can't be met again if they end up dead.
- Grand Theft Auto IV has what can only be a very intentional variation of the above and for once an interesting twist: there are certain missions where you are presented a choice of whether or not to kill someone. The game is even nice enough to tell you that "your choice has consequences for the future." What it doesn't tell you is that the person whose life you're playing with also has missions for you to do should you choose to spare them; if you choose to kill them, well, that means no extra side-mission for you (and that you're a cold, cold bastard).
- Grand Theft Auto V:
- There is an optional Random Event that is unlocked by bringing four people in certain other Random Events to the Altruist Cult's fortress as Trevor. If you play the applicable Random Events as Michael or Franklin, or you haven't brought the required amount by the time you've played through them all as Trevor, then this mission becomes permanently inaccessible.note
- A more insidious example happens if Packie McReary gets killed in his Random Event. Seeing as how he's a Disc One Nuke when it comes to heists, you'll want to avoid this by any means possible.
- There's also player characters. Ending the game with the "Kill Michael" or "Kill Trevor" missions renders them and their assets permanently unavailable in the postgame. This doesn't intentionally lock you out of 100% Completion, but the knock-on effects make it very difficult and any content exclusive to that character is gone for good.
- Online, special events are occasionally held where unique items particular to that event can be won or purchased for a limited time. These can range from t-shirts to fireworks and weapons to car horns.
- Bully. Chapter 1 features "The Big Prank" side mission, available only during Halloween night. Unlike every other mission in the game, this one's gone for good if you don't do it the minute it shows up (ie. sleep during Halloween). Luckily, it doesn't count for 100% Completion. Also, the game literally texts the uniqueness of the mission and leaves very little margin for the player to miss it.
- In Minecraft, killing the Ender Dragon nets you a lot of experience and the purely decorative Dragon Egg. It can only be collected in a certain and rather tricky way, and if accidentally touched it will teleport in a spot at random, potentially falling off the floating terrain the fight took place on and being destroyed by the Void. In older versions of the game, you couldn't fight the Ender Dragon again.
- No More Heroes. The collectible cards scattered around in each of the ranking matches are permanently missable once you finish that level. The first time through is not a problem, since they're just trading cards of fake Mexican wrestlers, but in New Game+, you lose concept art of the assassin from the current stage, so there's no chance for 100% Completion. Of course, you can always just start another New Game+.
- In The Godfather: The Game there are Thief Bags with cash in every mission that will disappear after the mission is over. Fortunately, it's just cash, which you can easily earn elsewhere.
- Some ships in the X-Universe series can only be obtained at certain points, and are impossible to get afterwards without cheating, such as the #DECA CPU ship.
- Just Cause 2 has the MV Command vehicle, which is only guaranteed to spawn in one main mission. If you don't ride it there, your only other chance is one of the faction missions, but it is not a guarantee. Miss out on it, and you're locked out of the achievement unlocked by driving every vehicle at least once.
- In Starbound, the Protectorate uniform, flower, and cape can only be found during the prologue; once you leave Earth, you can't get them anymore. The cape is particularly tricky since it's tucked away in an out-of-the-way area during a part where you're urged to leave as quickly as possible. Thankfully, none of them have any use beyond appearances.
- Many items used to be severely limited—notably, loot from floating island and dungeon chests. The 1.3 update added several varieties of loot crates, obtained by fishing in the associated biome, specifically to avert this. Items exclusive to chests still apply, especially the rarer ones. Lava Charms in particular can be difficult to find.
- Worldgen might be cruel and leave you with a Jungle with only a single Beehive, or even make you a world without giant Living Trees. As for the Giant Pyramids, small worlds have a very high chance of generating without a single pyramid to raid. Even if one is generated, the single chest within will never contain the full range of loot. What's worse, pyramids don't have a fishable crate associated with it.
- The Spider Banner drops from Wall Creepers for every 50 kills. Once you enter hardmode, Wall Creepers are completely replaced by Black Recluses, who have their own banner, which means you can't get one if you didn't get it prior to hardmode. Somewhat fixed in 1.3.1, as Wall Creepers can be spawned using statue farms, although you must first find a Wall Creeper statue, and they're quite rare.
- WarioWare D.I.Y.'s medals for entering a contest. Since the game no longer holds said contests though they're gone. Same goes for the games that won these unless you had them.
- The most salient point critics of the download-only PSP Go raised about its lack of a UMD drive was what owners were supposed to do about games that for whatever reason were no longer listed on the PlayStation Store. The answer, obviously, is that they're screwed as far as getting a legit copy is concerned; these games can still be had with an unauthorized firmware update and quick internet search, but there's no way to obtain copies by legally paying for them anymore.
- The same applies to Nintendo e-Shop, what with how Nintendo gradually shut down previous generation console's online capabilities.
- This also raises concern of how the contents of PlayStation and Xbox digital download are handled. While some games are taken down in per-title basis, games for legacy platforms may, someday, no longer be supported due to the necessary shutdown. This has been partially alleviated by Microsoft's attempt to update Xbox 360 games by making them backwards compatible with the Xbox One.
- Smite has Limited Edition skins, which are only available for a limited period of time, and once obtaining them is disabled they can no longer be obtained through conventional means.
Non-video game examples:
Choose Your Own Adventure-type books
- Fighting Fantasy could be particularly bad about this. In "Black Vein Prophecy" and "Creature of Havoc", you could miss useful items or powers on a dice roll. ("Black Vein Prophecy" was particularly grim, since the dice roll in question was failing a Luck Stat roll.)
- In the Lone Wolf books:
- The Sommersword is the best weapon in the entire series and has many important plot-points tied to it. If you skip book 2, you'll never get it.
- The same thing goes for the Dagger of Vashna from Book 4, which is permanently missable automatically in Book 16 anyway. Likewise for the evil sword Helshezag in book 12.
- The Silver Helmet, which can be missed in Book 3, grants +2 combat skill and (unlike many similar items) can be kept for the entire series. If you miss it in book 3, or skip that book, you'll never get it.
- Similarly, the Jewelled Mace, Bronin Warhammer, and Silver Bow of Duadon are all unique weapons that grant constant or situational advantages in later books, all of which you only have one opportunity to find. On top of this, the Silver Bow and Bronin Warhammer are on mutually-exclusive paths, and the contest you need to win to get the Silver Bow is nearly unwinnable if you are anything but completely perfect at archery competitions.
- Dungeons & Dragons adventure WG6 Isle of the Ape. Near the end of the module six jewels worth a total of 300,000 gold pieces float to the ground. If the party doesn't pick them up within one round (1 minute) they vanish forever.
- Official Pathfinder Society play limits players to a small list of core races for characters, though participating in events may earn the players "boons" which allow them to play certain non-standard races. However, only players at a small number of events in 2014 were offered the boon to play as a goblin. Of the boons distributed, all have since been put to use, and the overwhelming majority of goblin player characters have since been slain. Barring another official event offering the same boon, players are no longer able to make history with goblins.
- The social photo sharing app Snapchat uses this as one of its main gimmicks. When you receive an image from another user and then open it, you can only view the image for how long the sender specifies, up to 10 seconds, and then the image is deleted from your device. Taking a screenshot notifies the sender. If the sender permits, the image can be "replayed"—that is, viewed again, but only once a day. However, Snapchat also has Stories, the images of which are viewable by all users on the poster's friend list for 24 hours each.
- The franchise in itself is set in a fictional MMORPG that regularly gets updates over the course of the story. The novel and comic version have mentioned ephemeral quests that are only available for a limited time before or after a given update and secret quests whose outcome affects the game's plot and apparently can't be repeated.
- Noob: La Quête Légendaire reveals that this is the case for the beginning of the questline to learn forbidden spells. The player needs to Hold the Line in a Multi-Mook Melee without getting any kind of assisstance. If the player fails, the forbidden spell master won't give them a second chance.