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Pressure Plate
"Please place the Weighted Storage Cube on the 1500-Megawatt Aperture Science Heavy Duty Super-Colliding Super Button."
GLaDOS, Portal

Sometimes they're used for Block Puzzles. Sometimes they're to make sure you need two people to get through an area. Sometimes they just mean you don't have to press the use button. And sometimes they're just barely discernible and you really don't want to step on them. Whatever the case, a surprising number of mechanical doors are hooked up to pressure plates. Common in puzzle platformers. Often, there are two distinct types: one that stays pressed and active when you step off, and one that doesn't and needs to be held down by a box or something else.

Examples

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    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons players dread the activation of a pressure plate, because nine times out of ten, it will set off a nasty trap that will ruin your whole day.
    • Subverted in one of the Grimtooth's trap books for d20 systems, which features the "Click Plate", a pressure plate that gives an ominous click when you step on it... And does nothing else. No problem... unless you intersperse them in a trapped dungeon with other plates that go click just before the trap goes off...

    Video Games 
  • On your way to the Red Queen's domain in American McGee's Alice, you need to retrieve an insane child (who ran off the pressure plate) back to stand on it to open the gate to the portal.
    • The sequel, Alice: Madness Returns, has a number of these, although the first couple are of the variety that seem to give you as much time after the plate is pressed as you remained on the plate. After you get the Clockwork Bomb, most take the form of "Drop a Clockwork Bomb on the plate, then hurry-up-and-do-the-thing-that-that-enables-before-the-bomb-detonates". When they raise switches that you have to platform over to a good spot to then aim for and shoot until they turn green, they can be the most frustrating non-combat parts of the game.
  • Portal has many of these, usually involving the Companion Cube.
  • Dwarf Fortress has plates with triggering conditions adjustable at the construction time and whether your own citizen and pets must avoid it.
    • Usually instead of pressing them yourself to do things, you get others to press them. One example is a pair of pressure plates that open and close doors or bridges, then chain up an animal on either end, load it with automated traps, and get goblins to run down it. When they hit a plate, it closes the bridge they're running towards, preventing them from pathing to the cat chained on that end, so they reverse direction and head the other way. Over the traps. Artificial Stupidity can be fun as well as !!FUN!!.
    • Pressure plates also react on the weight of water (or even magma, if made of materials that heat-resistant) or more recently added minecarts, and currently are the only sensor other than levers that can control mechanisms. Thus these are included in all automation assemblies, whether running functions useful in the game (flood safeguards, defences, drowning-safe timed flush swimming rooms, weight-sensitive automated cattle butchery, etc) or assembled in "dwarfputers" as a Self-Imposed Challenge. Plates can control floodgates, hatches and bridges used as valves, which opens great possibilities for hydraulic automata and other contraptions — whether creature logic elements using pathfinding routines or mechanic elements activating water pumps or minecart-controlling components.
  • There is a simple Block Puzzle in the last level of Perfect Dark which is needed to reach the final boss.
  • La-Mulana features placing bags of sand on pressure plate pedestals as a primary game mechanic. There are also the tiles which you have to push blocks onto, several of which cause other blocks to appear out of thin air. There are also the old standby "step on it and something happens" type, although they're relatively rare.
  • The Legend of Zelda games use pressure plates as switches to open doors.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and the little-known Game & Watch game, are exceptions.
    • Some Zelda games take this trope further by including some floor switches that cannot be tripped with Link's weight alone. For example, a couple of floor switches in the "Inside Jabu-Jabu" dungeon in Ocarina of Time require Link to be carrying Princess Ruto while stepping on the switch. In Majora's Mask some switches can only be tripped by the heavy Goron Link.
  • Evil Genius has them too.
  • The old Eye of the Beholder games have doors (and various other mechanisms) triggered by pressure plates in the floor. Some were activated by you, others by monsters, and yet others by items (and sometimes very specific items).
  • The 2-D Prince of Persia games made extensive use of pressure plates to open or close distant doors; they could be held down permanently by killing a Mook over them or dropping a Temporary Platform on them.
  • The Simpsons Game parodied this among many other videogame tropes.
  • The map WAR-TankCrossing in Unreal Tournament III has pressure plates for tanks. They are necessary to take down the Cores.
  • Fallout
    • Fallout 3 has traps that can be set off by a pressure plate. With a high enough Repair skill, you can disarm the plate before stepping on it- if you notice it. There's also a perk called Light Step which means that your character can jump up and down on the plate and still never set it off.
    • Earlier Fallout titles used pressure plates for a variety of traps ranging from the classic spear-thrower to explosive mines. Players could use the Trap skill to detect and defuse traps for a small amount of XP. A Critical Failure when attempting to defuse a trap usually set it off.
  • Bloodwych, which includes puzzles where you have to either leave a party member behind on a pressure plate, or (if playing multiplayer) have the other player's party stand on the pressure plate.
  • Thief: The Dark Project has pressure plates, used both for triggering traps and activating mechanisms such as doors. Weighting them down with junk can be useful for both kinds.
  • In Resident Evil 5, the Ndipaya tribe are apparently very fond of these as even their heavily-guarded ancient uins feature these.
  • First-generation Pokémon games and their remakes featured these in Victory Road, in the form of a Block Puzzle.
  • In one of Tales of Symphonia's many Block Puzzle areas, one of them (in an Absurdly Spacious Sewer) had a Pressure Plate you had to slide a block onto. There were other instances similar to this, but only the sewer one was a blatant Pressure Plate.
  • Soul Reaver beat the Christ out of this trope as part of its beating-the-Christ-out-of the Block Puzzle.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has them as trap triggers.
  • These show up in the Edutainment Game Math Blaster 2: Secret of the Lost City.
  • Golden Eye uses a puzzle like this in the Aztec level, based on The Man with the Golden Gun.
  • The Sims 3: World Adventures: There are two types of these in the tombs you traverse on your adventures: the kind you just need to step on once to (unlock a door/disable a trap), and the kind that requires constant weight (like say, from a moveable statue in the room).
  • A staple of Tomb Raider games. Many of them require a block to keep the plate pressed down so a door or other mechanism stays active.
  • A few puzzles in Gish feature this.
  • King's Quest: Mask of Eternity had these. You're meant to hold them down with rocks, but you can avoid this if you manage to kill a monster so that it falls on the plate.
  • Rise of the Triad uses "touchplates" a lot; on the easy difficulty, the game tells you when you have triggered them and what they just did.
  • Jumper and Jumper Two feature several such puzzles.
  • The Wii version of A Boy and His Blob has them all over the place.
  • Minecraft allows the player to craft two kinds of them: stone plates, which can only be triggered by the player or mobs, and wooden ones, which can also be triggered by dropped items.
    • There are also two more kinds of pressure plates that are only triggered by dropping items on them. One of the plates will only activate after a certain amount of items are dropped onto it and the other kind sends out varying strengths of a red stone signal based on how many items are on it.
  • Terraria also has these, either purchased from the mechanic for 20 silver a pop or found naturally in caves hooked up to a Booby Trap.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines features these as trap buttons to ensnare the unwary during the endgame.
  • Patapon 3 has pressure plates in some of the dungeon levels to open gates and stuff.
  • Stealth Bastard has pressure plates as common puzzle elements which can be pushed down by platforms, player, blocks and robots.
  • Pressure plates are found throughout Legend of Grimrock, used to raise/lower gates and activate trap doors.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Skyrim use them as trap triggers. Like Fallout 3, Skyrim has a perk which prevents the Player Character from setting off pressure plate traps, but said perk doesn't apply to your followers, meaning that, if you're not careful, you can still die a horrible, spiky death as a result of your follower haplessly stepping on the trap trigger you presumably deftly avoided.
  • Pokémon XD has pressure plates that you keep activated by pushing boxes of Poke Food onto them. Now if some of them didn't reset every time you left the room....
  • In The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, one hallway in Zone IV includes hidden pressure plates that activate slot machine-like spinners. The result determines what falls from the ceiling: prizes or enemies or bombs.

Power Up MotifVideo Game TropesPress X to Not Die
Potty DanceAdministrivia/Needs a Better DescriptionRam by Braking
Present PeekingAdded Alliterative AppealPressure Point

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