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Waiting Puzzle
"Wait. Wait forever... The seal for No.3 will be removed."
Hint room, The Guardian Legend

The waiting puzzle is a Stock Videogame Puzzle which the player solves by simply remaining in a certain area for probably at least 15 seconds. This often turns into a serious Guide Dang It if no hints are given that the room is special and it's not obvious what impasse would be removed.

Some versions of this puzzle involve an NPC inching slowly across the screen, whose actions will set the Event Flag, while the player stands by.

Closely related is the balancing act puzzle, in which the player must remain within a demarcated but unstable area for a certain time period while struggling to counteract gravity or other forces.

The inverse of Timed Mission, and a form of Fake Longevity. Sheathe Your Sword is related, as it's essentially a Waiting Puzzle translated into a Boss Battle format.

If waiting is your primary means of collecting resources and making progress, then you most likely have an Idle Game.

A form of Rewarding Inactivity. See also We Wait and You Were Trying Too Hard.

Examples:

  • La-Mulana has a bunch of these:
    • Unlocking Baphomet's ankh requires waiting around in the Twin Labyrinths room diametrically opposite (and not directly connected) to the Boss Room.
    • The most annoying part of a multi-part puzzle in the Confusion Gate requires waiting for a Mook to random-walk into a conspicuous piece of scenery.
    • Getting the Ocarina requires pausing the game in a certain spot while holding the pregnant statue and waiting for Lemeza to go to sleep.
    • Near the end of Brutal Bonus Level, one must wait about a minute to get a colored block to appear. It must be done 3 times.
    • This is how the ankh jewel in the Temple of the Sun is obtained. The player idles underneath the eye of Udjat.
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (the game): In the Japanese Rock Garden, you have to not do anything, not even move the cursor, for like a minute. Then a hand appears from the sand to give you an item. You must not take it. The hand goes away. You have to continue to be idle for another minute, then the hand reappears and you can then take the item. If you continue to do nothing after that, the game will complain at you for not doing anything.
  • The Puzzle Boss fight against Gogo in Final Fantasy V. He is, well, a mimic — if you attack him physically, he'll counter with an overwhelming physical attack. If you attack with magic, he'll counter with an overwhelming magical attack. The only way to beat him is to do absolutely nothing for nearly a minute... made all the harder from the fact that you're fighting underwater and have a timer counting down to when you drown.
  • Several of the hunts in Final Fantasy XII require you to stay in one area for a set amount of time before the marks appear— generally long after you've had enough time to clear the area of enemies several times over and leave.
  • Braid has a hidden secret that involves a cloud drifting for up to two hours to get from one side of the level to the secret.
  • One of the branching pathways in Wario Land II is unlocked when the player, rather than hitting a button to wake up in the first level, stays asleep for 10 seconds and having the villains carry Wario out of his house.
  • A puzzle in Riven: The Sequel To Myst requires you to slowly advance on some seal-like creatures. Since movement in Riven is punctuated, not continuous, this means you wait ten seconds... then click... then wait ten seconds... then click...
    • Luckily it isn't entirely necessary for the plot that you complete it, it only gives you an extra hint to another puzzle (there is an immobile hint in the same area for the same puzzle).
  • The climactic puzzle in the single-player version of Uru: The Path of the Shell requires that you stand on a particular spot without moving for fifteen minutes. There are only very subtle clues that this is what you need to do. The multiplayer version has a different path to this ending which doesn't involve waiting.
    • There is another puzzle in The Path of the Shell which also requires that you wait fifteen minutes while some pellets cook. But at least you can explore the rest of the game while you are waiting. However, the multiplayer version dials it up a notch, requiring you to wait four hours.
    • Another multiplayer-only puzzle requires you to wait for an event which happens approximately once every 24 hours! At least in that case, the puzzle is about figuring out when the event happens, so you can go to the right place just before the expected time.
  • There's a level in Monster Party where one of the bosses consists of two dancing zombies that don't attack and can't be killed. If you wait long enough, they'll disappear, and then you can move on.
  • In The Guardian Legend, one of the corridors is unsealed this way.
  • In Chrono Trigger, Crono gets arrested fairly early in the game. You can either wait three (in-game) days until your execution or you can attempt to escape by ticking off the guards. It is considerably easier to wait three days due to some well-timed intervention.
    • An earlier example: While Marle is getting candy at the Millennial Fair, don't move. Specifically, don't move away from her, but it's way easier just to wait 15 seconds.
  • At one point in Chrono Cross, while you are infiltrating Viper Manor, a guard asks for a password and a dialog box pops up with a few plausible-sounding choices. The correct, choice, however, is to not pick any of the options and just wait a few seconds instead, as the correct password is silence.
  • In the original Resident Evil, Barry will accidentally drop the rope he was using to hoist up Jill and leave to find another. If you played through Chris' game first, you might be tempted to just move the tombstone and head into the basement, but that guarantees Barry will not survive the game. If you want him to live, you must wait; he'll come back.
  • To return to the tutorial level in Dark Souls, the player has to sit curled up in a bird's nest for thirty seconds. A giant crow will then pick the character up and fly away.
  • Almost any time you're captured and imprisoned in a Metal Gear game, one of the options to escaping is to wait for someone to bust you out.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3, you can defeat one boss just by waiting out the battle due to the boss being so damn old. Alternatively, just save, change your PS2's internal clock to a week in the future, load your save, and pat yourself on the back.
    • Similarly, you can "defeat" a later boss by just waiting while underwater, thus drowning yourself. It's a Mind Screw boss, but it's expected given the series title.
  • One of the microgames in the WarioWare Inc. stage of Super Smash Bros. Brawl requires you to stand completely still to receive a bonus. It is a re-creation of a genuine microgame from the series proper.
  • One of the three penultimate bosses in Neverwinter Nights Shadows of Undrentide is invincible unless you wait for its magical defenses to go down. If you walk too close to it before that happens it starts spawning zombies and is still invincible.
  • The final stage in Depict1 puts the player back at the start of the game. Entering the level goal nets you a Bad Ending, but if you wait near it for a short while, it will disappear and you will be able to proceed to the game's real finale.
  • Final Fantasy VI has one of these as well. You can leave the Floating Continent as soon as you reach the airship... and you'll leave Shadow behind on the falling island. He arrives at the airship with 5 seconds remaining in the clock.
  • In EarthBound, the 'password' to Belch's base is standing in a waterfall and doing nothing for three minutes.
    • Later on, the only way to complete Poo's Mu training is to sit in one spot and ignore the NPCs urge you to get down. Fitting, as "Mu" means "Nothingness".
  • In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, in order to get to Regice, you examine a wall that has a message in Braille, and then wait for two minutes.
    • For this one, you may even open the door while decoding the riddle itself.
  • In Alundra 2 this puzzle existed in a cave about halfway through the game, and was required to move on.
  • The DOS-version of Prince of Persia has an odd waiting puzzle, and considering the whole game is a Timed Mission you generally don't want to spend time loafing around. At then end of the twelfth level, you first have to Sheathe Your Sword to defeat your own shadow, by some considered a Guide Dang It. Directly afterwards, you have to walk or jump straight into thin air, which appears to be sure death, if not for ground materializing beneath you. How is this a waiting puzzle? If you make this jump before the melding is complete, you will instead simply fall to your death. Of course, you'll have to trial and error this at the end of a fairly long level.
    • Another level has a more straightforward waiting puzzle, where you have to wait for the princess' pet mouse to open a door for you. At this point, there isn't much else to do, though, except start exploring and possibly dying in the process. The timing is really tight, such that it's actually possible to get out without any help if you don't waste time, and you might figure you are supposed to restart the level and do it quicker. At least, the mouse's intervention is foreshadowed in a cutscene which you might or might not have skipped and the wait isn't terribly long.
  • While it isn't required to complete the game, you can get an achievement in Prince of Persia (2008) if you wait for a minute without moving or pressing any buttons while holding Elika's dead body.
    • Same thing in Portal 2—you get an achievement for waiting in Wheatley's first puzzle room and refusing to solve it.
    • And in Batman: Arkham City you get an achievement for waiting a minute while paying your respects at the site of his parents' death.
    • Similarly, in Journey, you get a trophy if you and your companion sit down facing each other and meditate for 20 seconds at any point in the game.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne there is a variant of this in the Fourth Kalpa of the Labyrinth of Amala. There is an old man inside a maze, and he asks if you want to hang out for a few minutes and slow down for a bit and wait. Answering either 'Yes' or 'No' will make him kick you out of that section of the Kalpa. Waiting three minutes, then answering 'Yes' will make him thank you, and let you through to get a very nice item.
  • In the video game based on The Darkness, there's an achievement for sitting on the sofa with your girlfriend until she falls asleep, and another for watching the entire movie on the TV.
  • You get thirteen achievements in Achievement Unlocked for not doing anything after starting the game.
  • However, even that is topped by Don't Shoot the Puppy Flash game, in which any interaction with the PC (no even involving the Flash object in the browser) will shoot the eponymous puppy for an immediate Game Over.
  • In Anachronox, to get PAL-18's best weapon, you have to let him play in the Moon Burger ball pit for FOUR HOURS. And even longer (seven hours total) for the Shadow Bracers. And since you can't leave the area while he's playing...
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, there is a minor waiting puzzle in one of the later dungeons. There is an Armos Knight blocking the way forward, but as a nearby Owl Statue advises, if you just sit there for a bit he'll move.
  • In Spiritual Warfare, there's an old woman on the casino strip who quotes a Bible verse about how you should wait patiently if you want what you don't yet have. If you take her advice and stay put for about 15 seconds, a car will pull out and drive off, revealing a hidden shop where you can get more Mighty Grapes.
  • Metal Gear Solid has a set of VR missions including mystery investigations where you have to pick out a murder suspect out of a lineup based on evidence in the room. The last mission only has the victim's corpse and no suspects. Wait for ten minutes and the victim will just stand up, showing that there's no mystery to be solved.
  • The Newgrounds game OCD+ is based on taking this to its logical extreme: K requires the player to hold the K button and do nothing else for a full hour, while SHUT is a 14-hour timer. Well 15-hour, it did say estimated time of arrival
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion contains a few. One mission requires you to wait and do nothing while a huge bear is attacking you. Also, a master of Alteration magic requires that you wait underwater near him for three in-game hours (six minutes of real time) before he will offer training. Although if the player is an Argonian he will give the training for free since Argonians can breathe underwater without needing to use magic
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim also has a few. One of the Thieves Guild missions involves taking the Skeleton Key back to Nightingale. After getting to her inner sanctum you have to fall into a death trap hole and wait for two or more minutes until finally the game pulls out the key and unlock the floor.
  • In Professor Layton and the Last Specter, Luke warns you that you can't do anything to solve his puzzle. The trick is he means it literally; don't do anything.
  • In The Tower of Druaga, revealing the item on Floor 21 requires standing still for several seconds.
  • To get Mordack's wand in King's Quest V, you must wait in the library adjacent to Mordack's bedroom (out of the line of sight of the door) until you see him get in bed and go to sleep, at which point you can return to his bedroom and steal it off his end table.
  • In Takeshi's Challenge, the Treasure Map could only be read without ruining it either by exposing it to sunlight and not touch the controllers for an hour, or by dipping it in water and shouting into the microphone no less than five and no more than ten minutes later.
  • One of the secrets in Hydorah requires you to randomly wait in a particular boss room for a while after you defeat the boss.
  • Fez has a clock with four hands, which take one minute, one hour, one day, and one week, respectively, to complete a revolution. Each hand nets you a prize when it hits "12:00". Good luck with that.
  • The fanfic Hitman Miami, written as a walkthrough for a fictional game, parodies this by having the player wait at a bus stop "for thirty-five real-time minutes". Later on, this is parodied again:
    The player must now watch the warehouse for hours on end, waiting for when the non-stereotypical Sikh businessman named Eddie Smith comes around. This may take anywhere from five to eight hours, so it's in the player's best interest to buy a good novel before playing this mission.
  • A variation occurs in Kingdom Hearts II, during the Duel Boss fight against Xemnas. The battle begins with Sora and Xemnas running up/down a building towards each other, mirroring how Roxas and Riku did the same in the "Another Side, Another Story" secret movie. A Reaction Command "Clash" will pop up, which will do no damage to Xemnas when used. Wait a second, though, and the command will change to "Break Through", which deals a little damage. Wait another second and it changes to "Finish", which causes Sora to slam Xemnas into the side of the building and do quite a bit of damage. Since most players will hammer Triangle as soon as they see the prompt, this counts as a Waiting Puzzle and a bit of a Guide Dang It as well.
  • Getting 100% completion in Final Fantasy X-2 requires you to allow Mr. Exposition to finish telling a very long, not especially relevant story. If he senses you're losing interest — for instance, if you press the button to hurry his dialogue — he stops. You have to put down the controller and wait him out.
  • There's a quest in The Lord of the Rings Online where a character asks you to look for boars in a certain area. A 30 minute timer starts ticking down when you accept the quest. Usually, if you don't complete a timed quest in the allotted time you fail and can't try again for a while, so you might be worried if you haven't found any boars when time is about to run out. However, there are no boars, and you're not supposed to find any; you just have to spend 30 minutes in the area to convince him you tried.
  • One of the quests in the Ancient Arabia section of Legend MUD involves giving a belly dancer a bottle of perfume in exchange for a status award and some pretty decent basic equipment. Unfortunately, you have to give her a bottle for each item in the five-piece set and it can take up to several hours for her to randomly make an offer to trade. Savvy players tend to set up a macro triggered by a phrase from her offer dialogue, "follow dancer" and then go read a book or something.
  • One level of Karoshi traps you in a pit you can't escape from; you must wait one minute before a block falls and crushes you. It's fine in the original game, but its sequel has a 'speed run' in which you complete the first game's levels as quickly as possible, which turns this level from 'filler level' to 'absolutely maddening'.
  • In Goemon's Great Adventure, one entry pass is collected via standing under a waterfall in a certain town for a certain period of time. Just do that, and it appears.
  • RuneScape: The quest Recruitment Drive has one of these. But rather than simply waiting in the one room, you need to wait without moving at all. And there's an hourglass on the nearby table just begging to be picked up.
  • Mass Effect 3 gets an optional one in the Citadel DLC when James Vega challenges Shepard to break his record of 182 pull-ups; the player is totally welcome to do this with an interrupt for each one. The reward is a short cutscene, and that's it.
  • Unlocking the last five tracks in the sound test (basically the Final Boss theme and all the tracks that only play during the ending) in Baten Kaitos requires the player to get the Shampoo magus and then hold onto it for 336 hours of real time (when you could easily finish the entire game in less than a quarter of that unless you're trying to go for 100% Completion.) Obviously, the best solution is to just leave the game running for two weeks. Or you could just look up the tracks on YouTube if you're that desperate to hear them.
  • In Harvest Moon: Magical Melody, getting one of the notes requires you to remain still for five minutes of real time.
  • One of the endings of The Witch's House involves this. To get it, after the game starts, simply wait where you are for one hour. The roses will wither and die, and you leave.
  • Idle RPG chatrooms are counterintuitive chatrooms,where you gain experience (and levels) for not saying or doing anything in the chat room. Typing anything in the chat room will typically cause you to lose all experience you've gained since the last level.
  • To get the good ending of the online game Seven Minutes, you have to wait seven minutes in the starting room without touching that cool-looking blue flame. Touching it or trying to leave the starting room at any point locks you into the bad ending no matter how many rooms you try to clear after that.
  • This is half of a puzzle early in Illusion of Gaia. One room in the Larai Cliffs has a floor of gold tiles, and when Will plays his flute, one tile glows. Will must then stand on that tile for several seconds before a door opens in the southern wall.

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