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Paradiegetic Gameplay

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When a game asks you to do something outside of the game

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
BreadBull on Mar 15th 2018 at 10:01:37 AM
Last Edited By:
BreadBull on Apr 5th 2018 at 11:16:07 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Paradiegetic (noun): From Greek para- meaning "Beyond" and diegetic meaning "The confines of the medium".

Most games you can beat without having to get up from your chair, provided you don't need to use the bathroom. Sometimes, though, a puzzle's solution involves something that isn't in the game itself, and beating it will require you to something that isn't just pressing buttons on your keyboard or controller. Maybe it involves a phone number you have to call, or you need to fiddle with the date and time in Windows settings, or press the "eject" button on your CD drive. This is where this trope comes in.

These types of puzzles may lead to Guide Dang It! since most people often don't expect this sort of gameplay.

Sometimes these types of puzzles are done as a form of Copy Protection, having Feelies bundled with a physical copy of the game with an answer to a puzzle to prevent those who downloaded the game on the Internet to solve it and continue.

See also Breaking the Fourth Wall and Logging onto the Fourth Wall, which is similar however is simply Played for Laughs or as an Easter Egg. The Other Wiki calls it a pervasive game.


Examples:

  • In Doki Doki Literature Club! you defeat Monika by deleting her character file. Monika is also doing this in-universe; she rewrites the game's script to make her romantic rivals seem undesirable or deletes them entirely if she considers them too much of a threat.
  • In Fez you have to use a smartphone with a QR code reader to solve certain puzzles.
  • Hotel Dusk: Room 215 had a puzzle you solved by closing and opening the DS.
  • One level in Karoshi 2 involves putting a music CD into your CD tray so that an in-game radio would push the crate towards you.
  • In the Famicom Disk System version of The Legend of Zelda 1, the Pol's Voice enemy is killed by yelling in the microphone in the Famicom's second controller. Each Japanese rerelease changes it so Pols Voice can be killed with a different method, such as pressing Select 4 times in the GBA version, or pressing L and R to virtually "switch" to the second controller and yell into the 3DS's microphone in the 3DS version. In all English releases, including the NES version, the enemy is instead weak to arrows.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, at one point you're required to transfer a seal on the DS's top screen to its corresponding location on the map on your lower screen by closing your DS and reopening it.
  • The Nintendo DS version of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors has an upside-down Sudoku puzzle that requires you to turn your DS around. Throughout the game, the top screen represents Junpei's perspective and the bottom represents Akane, who is the actual protagonist. Turning the DS indicates that you are temporarily taking control of Junpei so that he can solve the puzzle.
  • Two of the bosses in Merry Gear Solid 2, The Milkman and The Postman, are beaten by, respectively, setting your computer clock forward by a week, and dragging a file from the game's directory into the game window.
  • Metal Gear Solid:
    • The first Metal Gear Solid had you get a person's contact frequency from the back of the CD case.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2 had a boss who hijacked your controller input and thus could read your actions, so you had to move the controller to a different port.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, you can "kill" The End by saving the game and then waiting for one real-life week (or, more commonly, fiddling with your system's date). When you load your game, The End will be dead from old age.
  • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire: The infamous puzzle to get all three of the legendary golems has a lot of this. In addition to needing very specific pokemon, which have to be in specific places in your party, you need to be able to read braille in text form to follow the clues in each of the chambers.
  • Save the Date will always result in a bad ending unless you edit one of the game files to make yourself a "hacker".
  • At the end of Simon the Sorcerer 3D you find a computer where you are supposed to insert a CD. However, within the game you cannot interact with the computer to open its CD drive. The solution is to open this on your own physical computer.
  • Takeshi's Challenge involves singing Japanese karaoke three times, in addition to a treasure-map puzzle where the player is either supposed to let their gameboy sit out for at least five minutes (but no more than ten!) after soaking the map in water or leave the gameboy sitting for an hour to let the map sit in the sun.
  • In the flash web game This Is The Only Level, several stages require going to the credits or refreshing the page in order to continue.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit there's a 1-800 number that you're supposed to call. There's no telephone in the game though, and you're supposed to actually call the number using a landline or cell.
  • The X-Men game for Sega Genesis requires you to perform a soft reset on the console before you can enter the final level.

Index: Video Game Tropes

Feedback: 20 replies

Mar 15th 2018 at 10:07:57 AM

Psycho Mantis was in the first Metal Gear Solid. Unless that same trick is in the second game too.

Gonna edit your OP to fix the Fez link.

The first Metal Gear Solid also had you get a person's contact frequency from the back of the CD case.

See also Copy Protection, which often uses these sorts of tricks to keep people from playing pirated copies of games.

Mar 15th 2018 at 10:25:50 AM

^Cool. I haven't played some of these games myself so I'm only going off of what others said, correct me if something's wrong.

Mar 15th 2018 at 11:00:57 AM

  • At one point in Hate Plus, *Hyun-ae will ask you to go into your real-life kitchen and bake a real-life chocolate cake. There is an achievement for actually doing this, taking a photograph at one specific point (with both your monitor and the cake visible), and sending the photo to the developer.
  • The Nintendo DS version of Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors has an upside-down Sudoku puzzle that requires you to turn your DS around. Throughout the game, the top screen represents Junpei's perspective and the bottom represents Akane, who is the actual protagonist. Turning the DS indicates that you are temporarily taking control of Junpei so that he can solve the puzzle.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater, you can "kill" The End by saving the game and then waiting for one real-life week (or, more commonly, fiddling with your system's date). When you load your game, The End will be dead from old age.
  • In Doki Doki Literature Club you defeat Monika by deleting her character file. Monika is also doing this in-universe; she rewrites the game's script to make her romantic rivals seem undesirable or deletes them entirely if she considers them too much of a threat.

Mar 15th 2018 at 11:18:42 AM

Laconic has a missing word: When a game asks you to do something outside of the game

Mar 15th 2018 at 11:33:03 AM

  • Nintendogs is a dog owner simulation where you can use the DS' (and 3DS') internal microphone to interact with your dogs. It's not obligatory except for the when you first buy your puppies. You must repeat their name several times and (in the case of your first puppy) teach it to "Sit".

Mar 15th 2018 at 12:05:58 PM

  • Takeshis Challenge involves singing Japanese karaoke three times, in addition to a treasure-map puzzle where the player is either supposed to let their gameboy sit out for at least five minutes (but no more than ten!) after soaking the map in water or leave the gameboy sitting for an hour to let the map sit in the sun.
  • Pokemon Ruby And Sapphire: The infamous puzzle to get all three of the legendary golems has a lot of this. In addition to needing very specific pokemon, which have to be in specific places in your party, you need to be able to read braille in text form to follow the clues in each of the chambers. One puzzle makes you sit and wait for two minutes without moving your character at all.

Mar 15th 2018 at 12:10:41 PM

Not sure if the Nintendogs examples counts. It's still using the microphone in the game itself.

This Is The Only Level has a work page.

Also, this article should go on Metafiction Demanded This Index.

Mar 15th 2018 at 1:05:42 PM

Yeah, I'm not counting the Nintendogs example since it's essentially voice input.

Mar 15th 2018 at 1:19:05 PM

Forcing the player to do nothing for a certain period of time is a Waiting Puzzle.

Mar 15th 2018 at 1:35:34 PM

Two of the bosses in Merry Gear Solid 2, The Milkman and The Postman, are beaten by, respectively, setting your computer clock forward by a week, and dragging a file from the game's directory into the game window.

Mar 15th 2018 at 2:37:19 PM

I feel that the Extrinsic Go First Rule is related, since it determines something in-game (who goes first) based on something outside of it.

Generally, though, this kind of gameplay is characteristic of pervasive games, i.e. games that transcend the classic magic circle confines in one of several ways.

Mar 15th 2018 at 2:38:35 PM

I'm not sure if this counts, but in The Legend Of Zelda Phantom Hourglass, at one point you're required to transfer a seal on the DS's top screen to its corresponding location on the map on your lower screen by closing your DS and reopening it.

Mar 16th 2018 at 1:36:35 AM

Any game with Copy Protection based on feelies could be an example.

  • One level in Karoshi 2 involves putting a music CD into your CD tray so that an in-game radio would push the crate towards you.
  • One of OFF's many "Enter Solution Here" puzzles is solved by checking the readme file for an answer.

Mar 16th 2018 at 2:59:22 AM

Mar 16th 2018 at 3:31:45 AM

I'm not adding examples involving checking a readme or a manual, by the way. I'm going more for creative puzzles rather than "this is the best DRM we can come up with at the time". If it's unusual/unorthodox I'll add it.

Mar 16th 2018 at 6:43:19 AM

  • One Shot makes repeated use of this trope, usually by getting the player to refer to game files in order to find the solutions to puzzles.

Mar 16th 2018 at 8:17:13 AM

Save The Date will always result in a bad ending unless you edit one of the game files to make yourself a "hacker".

Mar 16th 2018 at 8:32:41 AM

  • Hotel Dusk had a puzzle you solved by closing and opening the DS.

Mar 16th 2018 at 10:32:27 AM

Takeshi's Challenge is on the NES, not the Game Boy.

  • In the Famicom Disk System version of The Legend Of Zelda 1, the Pol's Voice enemy is killed by yelling in the microphone in the Famicom's second controller. Each Japanese rerelease changes it so Pols Voice can be killed with a different method, such as pressing Select 4 times in the GBA version, or pressing L and R to virtually "switch" to the second controller and yell into the 3DS's microphone in the 3DS version. In all English releases, including the NES version, the enemy is instead weak to arrows.

Apr 5th 2018 at 11:16:07 PM

Some examples, like the Doki Literature and the Metal Gear Solid ones still involves the game itself. Just that they involve the stuff that aren't in the story/lore of the game and mostly thought as a gameplay mechanic without any story connection.

Meaning, the wording of the description has to change.

I think Undertale also has something like this.

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