"Wait, I'm sinking—oh! ...I can't believe I fell for that obvious Video Game trap, the sinking platform."
Lots of video game makers want to incorporate puzzles into their games. They give you time to relax your fingers and stretch your brain. Sure, they don't always make sense
, but hey, these are video games, right? They're allowed to break from reality
now and again. However, certain puzzles are... far more common than others. How many times have you seen a door flanked by two switches and a block?
How about a door that will only open if you complete an arbitrary
tile-flipping puzzle? Probably a million times, right? These are the Stock Video Game Puzzles
. Almost every adventure game in existence uses at least one of them somewhere.
This is not to say they're bad
; far from it. However, a savvy
gamer isn't going to get caught up on one for long.
Tropes that are also Stock Video Game Puzzles include:
- Block Puzzle
A puzzle that requires pushing blocks to create a path or hold switches in place
- Control Room Puzzle
The player is shown an array of toggle switches, and only one configuration will allow him to continue.
- Enter Solution Here
Puzzles that only exist so that you can enter the answer that you have received in another place.
- Frictionless Ice
A place or puzzle where every step on an ice patch makes you continue in that direction, unable to move or stop.
- Light and Mirrors Puzzle
Contains a light source and a number of mirrors; the mirrors must be positioned so the light ends up in a particular spot.
- Lock and Key Puzzle
You collect an item from somewhere and bring it somewhere else, where it is used.
- Locked Door
The item is a key, and you need it to unlock a door.
- Mad Marble Maze
Roll a marble to the exit.
- Magical Mystery Doors
A puzzle where a room with a set of doors leads to another room with a set of doors, and you have to find the right path.
- Metal Detector Puzzle
An item is buried somewhere, and you need to figure out where so you can dig it up.
- Moon Logic Puzzle
A puzzle immune to standard logic; you have to look at the problem in a completely unintuitive way.
- One of These Doors Is Not Like the Other
The exit to a maze can be detected by the one path that's somehow different from the others.
- Set Piece Puzzle
Some sort of device whose controls must be operated in a particular way to solve the puzzle.
- "Simon Says" Mini-Game
A Mini-Game that presents the player with a sequence of buttons and challenges them to memorize it and repeat it back.
- Trick Shot Puzzle
A puzzle where you have to shoot a projectile from a specific position and angle to detonate or trip something that is well out of manual reach.
- Two-Keyed Lock
Two switches, two characters under your control. Hmmm...
- Waiting Puzzle
Just wait around for a while, and it's solved.
Other types of Stock Video Game Puzzles
- Weighted Switch Puzzle. Switch A is a Pressure Plate which opens Door B. However, Switch A will only keep Door B open if weight is continuously put on it. This sometimes involves pushing a block or other convenient heavy object on top of the switch. Sometimes you need to use an item—for example, an ice-based power to freeze a local puddle of water or enemy; then you push the resulting ice block over to the switch. Sometimes a party member or NPC ally must stand on the switch.
- Water Level Puzzle. You are in Watery Area A. You need to get to Dry Area B and Submerged Area C. You could do that if the level of the water in Watery Area A was a bit higher or lower—luckily, you can manipulate the water level, and must do so to reach where you need to go. Generally rather unpopular.
- Current Flow Puzzle. Related to the above, this kind of puzzle requires you to redirect the flow of something (frequently water, but it can also be air or electricity) to somewhere else. Generally comes in two forms: The "switch" variety, where you can hit a variety of switches to change the flow of water/electricity/whatever, and usually must find the right combination to hit (Control Room Puzzle), and the "pipe" version, where you must use a (usually) limited number of pieces to create an unbroken path for the water/electricity/whatever to take.
- Tile Flipping Puzzle. Or a "switch light puzzle," on occasion. Hitting a switch or Ground Pounding a tile causes it and two close (or related) tiles to turn over. You must flip them all over, sometimes within a time limit. This also covers all variations where you must set all members of object X to state Y, when action Z causes nearby members of object X to switch states.
- Timed Switch Puzzle. Switch A causes Thing B to happen; usually causing a door to open or a Plot Coupon to materialize. However, you only have a limited amount of time to get it. The puzzle usually comes from finding the quickest route to the item, generally trying to get around a Space-Filling Path.
- Quick Switch Puzzle. Related to above, you must find a way to trigger a number of quickly-deactivated switches within a time limit. The solution can involve everything from an attack that hits multiple targets at once, moving faster than usual, or getting an NPC ally to trigger switches at the same time you do. This can also involve other things than hitting switches—there's also things like lighting torches.
- Remote Switch Puzzle. Another form of Timed Switch Puzzle where it's intentionally impossible to get from the switch to the target within the time limit - in this case you have to find a way to activate the switch from closer to the door, or on a time delay.
- Rube Goldberg Device Delivery Service. You need to get Object A to Point B to fulfill some purpose. However, lots of things stand in your way—things that can harm what you're carrying, take it away, et cetera. You have to find a way to get Object A to point B, frequently involving a long, convoluted device or series of actions. Kind of an object-oriented Escort Mission.
- Conveyor Belt Puzzle. Similar to Frictionless Ice and the Current Flow Puzzle, but instead of ice, you have a series of conveyor belts, force fields or fast flowing water, which can only move you in one direction. May use blocks or switches to change the direction of flow. Often solved simply by using Sprint Shoes or Nitro Boost to overcome the opposing force.
- Hamiltonian Path Puzzle. In short: a puzzle where you have to step upon all of the unlit tiles in a particular grid, but you can only step on each tile exactly once. This usually results in you spending a ridiculous amount of time experimenting or just going and looking up the answer.
- Invisible Floor Puzzle. You have to cross a long chasm, but you can't normally see the strangely maze-like bridge. Usually, this means that you have to look at a map at the entrance to the room and memorize the correct path. Alternatively, you might have an accessory or spell that reveals the floor, but it only lasts a short while or can't be used while moving, resulting in you having to stop constantly to reactivate it.
- Counterweight Puzzle. You have two connected objects (cages attached to a pulley system, a see-saw type contraption, etc). One end could allow you to climb onto the platform above, but whichever weighs more will fall and cause the other to rise, meaning that when you stand on it it lowers, preventing you from jumping to said platform. So in order to progress you must fill end with something heavy to use the other as a platform. Off course, if the level designer wants more of a challenge, then the platform will be too high to jump on when it's risen, so you must also find a way to weigh one platform down while you stand on the other.
- Big Block Puzzle. A sub-puzzle of the Block Puzzle. There's a big object in your way. It looks like you can push it, but it's too big to budge. Sometimes this signals that you're going to get an item that increases your strength or an explosive to blow it up with, but if this is a game where you have an NPC assistant or something similar, you'll have to collect all of your allies and have them push the giant block with you.
- Stepping Stone Puzzle. The player must cross a pit or climb a cliff by carefully creating a bunch of platforms to walk or (more likely) jump over. This may involve freezing enemies that would otherwise cause Collision Damage into blocks that can be safely jumped on.
- Spelling Bee Puzzle. You have to spell out something, usually the name of an important character, with unconventional means. Usually you have to trigger switches with letters written on them to spell out the name, often in a time limit. Sometimes part of the puzzle is realizing what it is you need to spell.
- Rendezvous Puzzle. You have two characters who must meet each other, and you must get them to each other. You will be able to control both characters, and this sometimes means using characters you don't normally get to play as. Sometimes involves a Double Play, and sometimes it even involves solving one of the other Stock Video Game Puzzle types above!
Not to be confused with Stock Puzzles
, which are riddles or logic/math problems that often appear in video games, but don't necessarily have
to; a Stock Video Game Puzzle
is something you wouldn't see outside of a video game or, rarely, a novel or movie.
, while a few have graduated to become a Stock Video Game Puzzle
, are not quite the same thing. See also Solve the Soup Cans
, Alphabet Soup Cans
, and Video Game Objectives