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Player Nudge
Lots of games are hard. Some of those are Nintendo Hard, and some games are simply impossible. And, every now and then, the dev team takes notice and decide to give the player a little help. These would be situations in which the Devs actually try to subvert Guide Dang It.

For example: let's say The Hero MUST use the Sword of Plot Advancement on the Final Boss in order to avoid Gameplay and Story Segregation. Simple enough, right? However, some players won't catch on, and instead use the Infinity+1 Sword on their final duel with the Big Bad, prompting a Curb-Stomp Battle by That One Boss as a result. The players instantly cry out "BULLSHIT!!" and get ready to start over...

Oh, wait? That is not the Game Over screen? Wait, why is the screen showing the spirit of The Obi-Wan now? What does he mean, I was supposed to use the Excalibur against the boss... Aaahhh, crap.

Pay note that in order to qualify as Player Nudge it must be something that the player would otherwise easily miss. Telling the player to stock up on Fire Spells because the opponents on The Maze are all weak to it does not count because it will become obvious in a matter of seconds (or at least hopefully). To qualify, it needs to be something that will make you go "Oooh, snap. I should have done that instead," preferably after you get a Non-Standard Game Over.

Contrast, naturally, with Guide Dang It. Compare Hint System, Notice This.

Examples

  • In Devil Survivor, if you pick Yuzu's Route,, you end up fighting Loki, who chastises you for picking the "easy route" and not taking into account Naoya's suggestions to open up to the other people inside the lockdown. This is done so that lazier players realise that to open up the other Multiple Endings, they need to stop and talk to the other characters instead of simply zooming through the game. And if you let Haru die the one time the game doesn't instantly give you a Game Over for it despite the forewarning, the game does not stop reminding you that this was a bad idea.
  • In Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, if you do not equip a certain piece of equipment prior to entering a certain room, the Downer Ending ensues. Afterwards, a short scene appears with Julius and Genya outside the castle. Genya laments, saying: "I had assumed he would have equipped the talisman from Mina...". Cue Face Palm by the player.
  • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, if you don't rescue all the villagers, you get the bad ending halfway through the game. This bad ending pans over all the villagers you failed to rescue, although since only the room they're in is shown and some of them are in hidden rooms behind breakable walls, it's largely up to player to remember where exactly they ran into rooms with such a design.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, a puzzle requires you to enter the Konami Code. If you fail, the game prompts you to concentrate a little harder. Similarly, dying against the Tower guardians gives the player five increasingly blatant hints on the key item to use against them. This can get annoying if the only reason you failed to use the item is because that damn Black Cat keeps batting it out of your hands.
  • If you die to a boss in Iji and choose to retry, you'll generally get some sort of hint message in the dialogue right before the fight starts again.
  • In Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, the Dark Prince gives the player nudges during boss battles.
  • Not so much after a Game Over, but if you fall off the platform when fighting Ganon in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, you see a telepathic tile telling you that you need Silver Arrows to defeat him; it's possible to not even have Silver Arrows yet.
    • One of the more infamous puzzles in the Water Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time involved jumping down a gap that you can only see during a cutscene, which many players missed and got frustrated over. In the 3DS remake, said cutscene now makes that gap glaringly obvious so players didn't miss it again.
  • In Makai Kingdom, getting any ending other than the good ending will give you a hint telling you how to avoid that ending. It's also the only Nippon Ichi game that does that, the rest going into Guide Dang It territory at times.
  • There's one mission early in Modern Warfare 2 where you are supposed to jump into a humvee in a convoy. If you don't catch the none-too-subtle hint (the humvee pulls up in front of you and the Afghan trooper inside opens the door for you), you get sniped as you try to run across the bridge, and the Non-Standard Game Over will tell you that it'll be safer if you stay with the convoy.
  • Every time you die in Batman: Arkham Asylum, you get a game over screen with a hint about the section you died in.
  • If you get stuck for a while in Telltale's Sam and Max games, someone (usually Max) will mutter a vague hint or two about your next move.
    • In another of Telltale's games, Tales of Monkey Island, Guybrush will occasionally say something about what the player should be doing if you take too long.
    • Another Telltale game, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, hanging around for a while will cause Strong Bad to drop a hint as to what the player should be doing. It's actually possible to adjust the frequency/blatancy of the hints in the options menu.
  • If you die in Tsukihime, you'll get a little lesson from Ciel giving you a hint about how to do it right the next time.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, the "Bad End" drawn by Haruna in the Battle For Mahora arc parodies this.
  • If you're having trouble with one of the battles in Shadow of the Colossus, the Voice of the Legion starts to drop cryptic hints. If the fight continues to drag on, the tips get less cryptic and more blunt.
  • Metal Gear series features NPCs giving hints via the codec if a boss battle starts to drag on.
  • BioShock will generally pop up a little message offering hints if it looks like you're dragging your feet on any goal. The game more or less hands you the answers to any puzzles you may encounter. And the whole thing is Justified and possibly Deconstructed by your character being mind-controlled into advancing the plot for the majority of the game.
  • Metroid Prime's hint system basically highlights the room you should be heading towards if you take too long to reach it, usually with a clumsy Gameplay and Story Integration computer analysis.
  • Sonic Adventure 2 has Omochao giving more and more obvious hints every time you respawn against a boss. Sega did their homework, and let you throw it at the boss For Massive Damage.
  • Mitsumete Knight has a Hint System that works this way. When failing to score a girl and getting the Bad End, a Hint screen will appear after the credits, giving you slightly veiled hints on the things you could have missed. A good example of this system is Linda's Hint Screen:
    If you couldn't form a couple with Linda, it could be said it's because of bad luck. After all, she's a nouveau riche, and the heiress of a conglomerate... If she doesn't fall back to a low social status, it'll probably be impossible to be with her. Well, if something like a bomb explodes and her conglomerate crumbles, you may have a chance.
    • Since most players go for the easy first girl heroine in their first playthrough, and her storyline contains a major Event where there's a terrorist attack on the Theater, this is the hint for the players to replay the game with said heroine in their girl roster, so they can get to see this Event and thus get Linda's Ending.
  • The Descent series had a lot of these. Usually they were subtle, the devs might put e.g. a Smart Missile in a place where using it would be a good idea. This worked best when the player was already full on Smarts. A good example was level 22 of the original game, in the shaft leading to the red key.
  • In Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and its sequel Last Window, if you get a Game Over, usually Kyle will flash back to the conversation that triggered failure, unless it's an interrogation scene.
    • There's also a subtle hint during interrogations: if you are asking questions that will lead to a game over, the character will have a red shadow slide over them. You get the choice of either continuing to press them or to backtrack.
  • In Final Fantasy IV The After Years, there's a late game boss fight that turns out to be hopeless unless you have a certain character in your party - a character which any sane player would have kept out of their party. So the average player will fight the boss, lose, and get a Game Over. But right before the game ends, they'll get a brief hint about what party member they need to bring, once they reload an old save. But wait! We're not done yet! There's another required character for this fight, though at least in this case, it's one of the better characters, so many players might have them anyway. But if not, they'll face another Game Over and get another nudge to bring this character along as well. At this point, the boss fight finally becomes winnable. But even after all this, in a straight Guide Dang It that's hinted at nowhere in the game, the only way complete the boss fight without Golbez suffering a Plotline Death is to bring yet two more characters along for the fight. (If you're curious, bring along Cecil and Golbez to complete the fight, and also Ceodore and Rosa for the best outcome.)
  • Radiant Historia handles this reasonably well: After getting a bad end (and you will), the children in Historia explain your mistake and offer some advice to improve your odds. Incidientally, a Downer Ending does not mean Game Over, and in most cases the way to proceed either involves picking the other option in the most recent Dialogue Tree and/or hopping over to the other timeline until you figure out what you need to do to proceed in the current one.
    • In a few cases, it's literally impossible to continue without seeing the Downer Ending and getting instructions on how to avoid it first... which makes sense, in a game about Time Travel and repeatedly setting right things that go wrong.
  • LucasArts adventure games would do this sometimes, as opposed to the alternative.
  • Hotel Mario loved this trope.
    Mario: It's hard to see through those clouds! I hope we can get rid of them! Get the hint?
  • A non-gaming example: on Wheel of Fortune, host Pat Sajak will sometimes do this. The most frequent variant is if a contestant asks to buy a vowel and still has enough money to buy another, at which point he will say "You can buy another" if the puzzle still has at least one vowel unrevealed. Also, if a player calls a right consonant on the highest dollar amount and is holding a Wild Card, he will often remind them that they can use the card to call a second consonant for the same amount.
  • Similarly, if a contestant hits a Daily Double on Jeopardy, Alex Trebek will usually say "You have $x more/less than your opponents" to give a hint as to how much they should wager on it if they feel confident enough in doing so (particularly if they want to go "True Daily Double" and wager all their winnings). He also drops similar hints leading into Final Jeopardy! This is as much to prompt large wagers and therefore more drama as it is to help the contestants, however.
    • Alex sometimes subverts it for laughs as well, by jokingly suggesting that a contestant with a commanding lead go True Daily Double.
  • In the Rhythm Heaven games, if a player's having trouble following the music's rhythm, they can usually track it via one of the objects on screen. In addition, while the game is known for covering the visuals, several of the stages that do this will move the blockade out of the way if the player misses a beat.
  • In TaskMaker, if you return to the title ruler without having picked up the latest item in his Fetch Quest, he will demand that you try again, and drop a hint or two on how to find it.
  • The Tales of... games sometimes use the skits to give hints either on what the player should do next (or outright tell you) or about any sidequest they have the opportunity to do at that moment.
    • In Tales of the Abyss, if you die on a boss, you get an extra option on the Game Over screen that lets them view a skit where the characters lament over their failure and then try to think of a strategy for when the player tries again. You don't need to fight the boss this way, but it helps a lot.
  • In Demon's Souls, the Stormruler is a gigantic, gigantic flying manta ray. If the player is smart, they would be armed with either magic or arrows to beat it and its spawn. If they are melee-only, there will be developer-placed messages on the ground pointing to a specific sword that has exactly the kind of power required to beat the boss.

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