2D platformers often have a very straightforward start-to-goal direction; usually, you travel to the right. Much of the time, however, there are some options in your path, leading to this video gaming axiom: When All Else Fails, Go Right. In some games (say, ''VideoGame/KidIcarus''), it's occasionally recast as Go Up; much more rarely, it becomes Go Left or Go Down.

Games of the {{Metroidvania}} set tend to slip around the edges of this trope from time to time; much of the time, the goal is to the right of the starting point, but it does occasionally find itself on the left hand side of the map as well. In the more level-based games of the genre, this can vary with the stage; in the more free-form games, expect some serious variation.

While there might be something stopping you, at least temporarily, you ''know'' (because you're GenreSavvy) that your goal is on the right side of the obstacle.

This may be partially a result of cultural indoctrination, with the assumption that, as text usually progresses from left to right, so should progress through a game stage.

Exploited by many savvy platformer designers who build hidden collectibles into their levels. A collectible is often hidden ''just'' [[OffscreenStartBonus to the left of the starting position]].

[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qaVhzJLfag This video]] gives examples of the trope through the years. Set to music.



[[folder:Action Adventure Game]]
* Averted for a time in ''VideoGame/BunnyMustDie''. At the very beginning of this very {{Metroidvania}} game, you are ''unable'' to move right at all. Only until you find a specific item known as the 'Gears to the Past' can you move right. Though, there are some gamers who have attempted to do a [[SelfImposedChallenge 'no gears' runthrough]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHHzhelkNnc&p=69D45BADC89ED493 and at least one has succeeded]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Metroid}}'', it's traditional to {{avert|edTrope}} this trope where possible.
** The original ''Metroid'' and ''[[UpdatedRerelease Metroid: Zero Mission]]'' put the Morph Ball to the left, and you need to get that to progress beyond the first couple of screens in the game. This was deliberate to teach players that, unlike [[VideoGame/SuperMarioBros1 other popular games on the NES]], going left [[RatchetScrolling wasn't impossible]] but rather a ''necessity''.
** ''VideoGame/MetroidIIReturnOfSamus'' plays this straight -- at least until lava blocks your progress and forces you left; after that, you'll generally be travelling ''down''... until the late game starts forcing you back up.
** ''VideoGame/SuperMetroid'' blocks off the right path from your ship until after you beat Kraid, dig through Norfair, and get the Speed Booster.
** ''VideoGame/MetroidFusion'' doesn't even have a path to the right from the starting point.
* All levels in ''VideoGame/{{Iji}}'' start on the left with an unbreakable, uncrackable door behind the protagonist, and have their exit on the right of the map.
* ''VideoGame/AxiomVerge'', as an obvious ''Metroid'' homage, places the obligatory first weapon off to the left of the starting room.

[[folder:Action RPG]]
* In ''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'', Link enters all the boss rooms from the left. Most are considerable distances to the right of the dungeon entrance. However, all the treasures in the temples are to the left. So in order to get everything, you have to go left first, then go right.
** All temples also have you entering from the left, so the first few steps you make are always to the right (and then down an elevator).

* The final stage of ''VideoGame/StreetsOfRage'' has you going down a hall to the left.

[[folder:Edutainment Game]]
* Inverted in the mansion maze at the end of ''VideoGame/PeppersAdventuresInTime''. The maze seems nightmarish at first, but if you go straight until you reach a fork and then take the left turn every single time you'll reach the goal quickly with no detours or problems (though the {{Easter Egg}}s behind some of the doors along other paths can be worth exploration).

* Most maze games with {{randomly generated levels}} tend to start at the left side and have the player trying to cross to the right.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Glider}} 4.0'', the game engine all but forced every house to put a wall on the left side of Room 1. Each successively-numbered room was to the right of the previous room, at least in theory. This was not necessary in ''Glider PRO'', but the player's glider always starts facing right, and only one of the houses on the ''Glider PRO'' CD, "Titanic," makes the player move left at the start.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Karateka}}'', the player starts with a cliff to his left, and has no other option but to keep going right.
* ''VideoGame/{{Nidhogg}}'' plays with this trope. The game locks two fencers in a bout of "tug-of-war-fighting"; the yellow fencer needs to go left, the orange fencer needs to go right. The game substitutes area being covered for "health", as the two fencers kill each other to gain the rite of passage. Passing the final screen results in victory.

[[folder:Platform Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Action 52 Owns}}'' has ''Non Human'', where the player can ''only'' face right, most enemies can only move or attack leftwards, and in order to advance, they have to move right, although it's possible to move left, there's nothing special.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Bug}}!'', it's more like "when all fails, go 'into the screen'". It's still averted in many levels.
* ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'':
** ''VideoGame/{{Castlevania|I}}'' for the NES definitely fit this -- though in ''Vampire Killer'' going left was often not only counter intuitively possible, but could be a quicker way to get the stage key.
** Invoked in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaIISimonsQuest'': If you go left from the start, you hit the BeefGate. And then you die. Don't worry, it won't be the last time.
** ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaIIIDraculasCurse'' for the most part.
** ''VideoGame/SuperCastlevaniaIV'', as well.
** Most of the 2D games avert this when you head up to Dracula's quarters -- you almost always climb a staircase going ''left''.
** The {{Metroidvania}} titles generally start you on the extreme west side of the map. Of course, once you get going, this falls apart pretty quickly.
* The first trilogy of [[VideoGame/CommanderKeen Commander Keen]] tends to follow this rule more often than not, but the second trilogy inverts it about half the time: the levels are just as likely to proceed to the left as they are to go right.
* Inverted in the "Down The Hole" level of ''Franchise/CrashBandicoot: The Huge Adventure''. The stage plays the trope straight at first, and then subverts it when you actually go underground by placing the exit on the far left (the only instance in this game). However, whoever remembers "Dino Might" from ''VideoGame/CrashBandicoot3Warped'' has nothing to cringe about, as this time there's nothing to run away from. "Down The Hole" is still ThatOneLevel.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Eversion}}'', the LevelGoal is always towards the right, though much backtracking is required to get all the {{Plot Coupon}}s. The revised World 8 actually prevents you from going left at the loop points.
* All ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry'' levels direct you to the right. As the games also like to hide bonus games and items all over the place, it's generally worth your while to check to the left of the starting point anyway. One level in the [[VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry1 first game]] actually has a shortcut to the ''end of the level'' just by walking in the door to the left of the starting point!
* Discussed in ''VideoGame/FancyPantsAdventures: World 3'' when an enemy comments how Fancy Pants Man won't get past the BrokenBridge because level designs standardize this trope. Of course, heading left from the start of the level leads him to an underwater tunnel where he can collect the weapon that allows him to progress.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Jumper}}'' games, where the goal for every level is to literally reach the right side of the screen.
* In ''VideoGame/KidIcarus'', it's often [[ItsAllUpstairsFromHere When All Else Fails, Go Up]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Kirby}}'''s games tend to proceed "eastward" across Dreamland.
* Usually played straight in most ''VideoGame/LittleBigPlanet'' levels, but some actually ''avert'' this, and not just in the community. Examples from Story Mode are "Endurance Dojo" (where you're going left) and "Tutu Tango" (where you zig-zag as you go down).
* From the beginning, ''Franchise/MegaMan'' has the general case of starting the player at the extreme left of a level and sending him to the right. The ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' series in particular likes to play around with this, though.
** In the first ''VideoGame/MegaManX1'', the Heart Tank for Storm Eagle's stage is directly above the player, unreachable from the starting point. You have to go right and up, then leap left and back down. In Armored Armadillo's stage, you need to go right to get away from a death machine, then go back left to get a Sub Tank.
** ''VideoGame/MegaManX6'': As the second part of Infinity Mijinion's stage opens, you ''do'' have to go right to progress. But directly to the ''left'' of the starting point (BehindTheBlack) is one of the game's upgrade capsules.
* ''VideoGame/PacManWorld'' usually requires Pac-Man to go right to win the level, though there is some occasional backtracking in some areas with switches and unlockable doors. ''VideoGame/PacManWorld2'' and ''VideoGame/PacManWorld3'' both avoid this with dynamic camera angles.
* While it's possible to do this in ''VideoGame/{{Pitfall}}'', the manual recommends that you go left. The rolling logs roll from right to left and when you die, your next life drops from the left side of the screen.
* Cleverly subverted in one stage of ''VideoGame/RosenkreuzStilette''. [[spoiler:In Schwer's stage, if you go to the right like in any other stage, you get treated to an inescapable deathtrap disguised as a typical level starting area. If you go to the ''left'' at the start, which isn't normally possible, you enter the stage proper. This is only the first of many such devious tricks and traps in this stage.]]
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' is almost always traveling from left to right across the various zones; it's understood that, even in the more maze-like sections, the intention is to go to the right.
** There are many examples in ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2'' where you go up or left. Particular examples are Chemical Plant Zone and Mystic Cave Zone, which involve you having to go up, down, left and right several times to reach the end.
** In the Death Egg Zone of ''VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles'', the intention is still ''mostly'' to go to the right, but much more important than that is going up.
** The UsefulNotes/SegaMasterSystem[=/=]UsefulNotes/GameGear games were not very different. Only two levels in the first ''VideoGame/{{Sonic the Hedgehog|1}}'' involve climbing, and ''Sonic Chaos'' features one special stage where the [[PlotCoupon Chaos Emerald]] is above you. One act in ''Sonic 2'' has the goal at the left of the level.
** ''VideoGame/SonicAdvance'' also has the priority "up, then right" in the launch rocket.
** In ''VideoGame/SonicColors'', exactly one of the bonus collectible Red Rings is directly to the ''left'' of the starting point, in one act in Aquarium Park. Several others have the player turn around, jump into the bottomless pit, or avoid the finish line.
*** In a similar vein, the UsefulNotes/SegaMasterSystem[=/=]UsefulNotes/GameGear version of ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog1'' had a [=1UP=] [[OffscreenStartBonus hidden in plain sight]] directly to the left of the start point of Bridge Zone Act 3.
* ''VideoGame/{{Spelunky}}'' employs the rare philosophy of "when all else fails, go down".
* ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'':
** ''VideoGame/{{Super Mario Bros|1}}'' provides an early example that actually ''[[RatchetScrolling prevents you from going to the left]]''; the sequels were often more forgiving.
** ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros3'' has only one level where the pathway goes to the left and downward -- although the last section of the level goes to the right. It's also the one level with Kuribo's Shoe.
** ''VideoGame/SuperMarioMaker'' requires the goal to be right from the starting point. This hasn't stopped some level makers from making open or maze-based levels, however.
* This trope is referenced in ''VideoGame/ThetaVsPi7'' as part of the game’s official history which says “Theta doesn’t know exactly where or when the final confrontation will come, though the law of side-scrolling platformer games tells him it will be somewhere on the right.”
* Hiding something immediately to the left of the starting point also happens in VideoGame/{{Trine}}.
%%* ''VideoGame/{{Xexyz}}''
* ''Rastan'' begins with a big wall preventing the player from going left.

* ''VideoGame/FTLFasterThanLight'' has you fleeing from an [[AdvancingWallOfDoom advancing Rebel fleet]] coming from the left to the right side of each sector, and the sectors are laid out with you going from sectors on the left to ones on the right. In vanilla ''FTL'', the final sector has you going ''left'' to intercept the [[FinalBoss Rebel Flagship]], averting this trope, but in ''FTL: Advanced Edition'', this trope continues to be played straight, having you start on the left and the Flagship on the right.
* ''VideoGame/OneWayHeroics'' has you escaping an ever-encroaching darkness from the west, moving east as it advances upon the world.

[[folder:Role-Playing Games]]
* In many [=RPGs=], entrances to sub-maps (towns, dungeons, and the like) are in the west while the goal or some point of significance is in the east. The common exception is to travel south to north, often because of two-dimensional graphical limitations which force "northward" and "upward" to be the same direction; thus the king's castle, which needs "height" to be displayed properly, cannot be placed on the map anywhere but at the north end of town. The ''VideoGame/{{Ultima}}'' series and the early ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games do both of these frequently.
* ''VideoGame/AncientDomainsOfMystery'' starts you in the East side of the map, but you do cross towns from West to East.
* ''VideoGame/EarthBound'' [[LampshadeHanging hangs a lampshade]] on this trope in the Dungeonman dungeon, where a sign informs the player that, when given a choice, almost all video game players will go right. Also, there's an inn just out of sight to the left, so if you follow the trend...
** ''VideoGame/{{MOTHER 3}}'' has a section in Chapter 6 [[spoiler:(actually, the entire playable part of it)]] where you must walk left for a length of time.
* ''VideoGame/{{Final Fantasy|I}}'' starts by sending you northwest to the Temple of Fiends. Then it sends you northeast across the bridge to begin the game proper. After that, you go pretty much every direction. In dungeons, however, you frequently go right (except in Mt. Gulg, where you go ''left'' on every floor). Another location is largely a matter of northeast ([[spoiler:The Temple of Fiends Past]]).
* Done in many of the dream worlds in ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam''. Except [[spoiler:Dreamy Somnom Woods, where the solution to the maze is to go left at the start and through a secret passageway, taking advantage of this trope]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'', you begin in the westernmost area of the explorable world and travel generally east, with the endpoint of the game being in the northeast.

* Averted in ''VideoGame/EtherVapor'' with the first boss of Scene 6, who is fight while facing ''left.''
* Most {{Horizontal Scrolling Shooter}}s progress from left to right.
* Averted in ''Choplifter'', where every level starts out heading left from the base.