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Always Check Behind the Chair

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So, you've just made it through the latest ancient ruins or abandoned mansion, filled with rooms of oddly-present furniture at every turn. Along the way, you've killed monsters, triggered a cutscene or two, and picked open every treasure chest you could find. You could call it finished and head back home—or, you could turn those seemingly empty bedrooms upside down in your search for more loot. (And whatever else is there.)

Always Check Behind the Chair is the process of examining inconspicuous objects, such as furniture or walls, in case the developers placed something there. When this trope is applied kindly, there will be some sort of general oddity or subtle deviation to show a secret's presence. Used in a more cruel manner, however, and it tends to dive into Fake Difficulty and/or Guide Dang It!, especially when the item is plot-important or has literally no business being there. Such an example is placing the Infinity +1 Sword by a common bush.

What's behind the chair can be a number of things, but items, paths, monsters, switches and Easter Eggs are common. How they react to being discovered, however, is less concrete: switches may turn something on or off, but they're just as likely to unleash the Brutal Bonus Level's boss ramped up, start a mini-game, or provide some snark on particularly Willing Suspension of Disbelief-breaking events.

Some games feature a set of reusable locations for housing secrets, such as garbage cans and dressers, with the frequency of their placement capable of being a dead giveaway.

If the area becomes inaccessible after some point, the treasure may be an example of Permanently Missable Content.

Though primarily a Video Game trope, it can occur in other media, usually invoked by The Klutz or someone Genre Savvy.

The inverse of Notice This, where the game gives a clear, well-defined meaning to specific things to draw you in. Related to Pixel Hunt, which is the equivalent of this in point-and-click games. Often a case of Gotta Catch Them All. May overlap with Goodies in the Toilets, if the definition of "chair" is broadened to include that type of seat.

May become "Die, Chair, Die!" if you have to destroy said chair to look behind it.



  • The Munchkin's Guide to Power Gaming notes, in explicit detail, that the munchkin method of searching a dungeon does not only restrict itself to looking behind chairs, but actually breaking apart the chair to search for loot and/or magical items inside. As well as destroying all other furniture, breaking open the floor, walls and ceiling, as well as searching each monster corpse to the point of running their corpse through a sieve. After looting potentially valuable organs, of course.

Video Games

  • ANNO: Mutationem: Every various items can be found in numerous spots consisting of containers, trash bags, and small boxes. Certain Classified Documents are scattered in lab areas and found on computers holding their data.
  • Avalon Code. Every aspect of the game revolves around recording data into the Book of Prophecy, apparently to influence the 'new world' (as the current one is due to end). Whether it's simply exploring 100% of a map for completion's sake, or scanning that flower which gives you the code to upgrade your sword, this isn't an optional extra so much as a necessity for survival. Particularly as you can never tell which map/item will net you a crucial bonus, and some are really obscure (Rocks, grass, the ground, etc...)
  • Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden has this throughout the game, and it's specifically lampshaded with the trash bins in the Spalding Building.
    "Found 0 nothings!"
  • Blue Dragon: Not only do some objects contain items you can take, but many more hold "Nothing", which is apparently not the same as actually having nothing inside. Finding enough Nothings will let you get items from a certain NPC, including unique items not available anywhere else. The “Six Treasures” Downloadable Content includes a pair of glasses that places markers on top of things that are hiding Nothing.
  • Breath of Fire series:
    • Chests or drawers, on more than one occasion. The first two installments also had some treasure hidden in statues and pillars, under pushable objects, and even some random sections of wall, propelling this right into Guide Dang It! territory.
    • In the first installment you get several Infinity Plus One Swords this way. The Life Armor? In a dragon statue at the top floor of Agua. Don't forget the Ice Dagger in the other statue. The Tri-Rang? Search behind Pagoda either before it is activated or after it is ruined. The Empire Sword? Search the left side of Jade's throne. Oh, and check for the Star Hammer behind the right pillar in the same room while you're at it. If you know where to look, some of these become Disk One Nukes.
  • Borderlands 2 is advertised as a shoot-and-loot game; every single area is filled with barrels, boxes, lockers, and treasure chests (some of which are repurposed bathroom stalls that gush... fluid at you when you open them). It's a good thing all the other bandits keep so many openable containers lying around, because they almost all contain ammo or money.
  • Chrono Trigger has tabs, inconspicuous objects hidden throughout the landscape that occasionally glint to announce their presence. Other secrets are usually obvious.
  • Cobra Mission has this in spades. You can find some loot almost anywhere, even on the floor.
  • Danganronpa often hides Monobear Coins in or behind furniture in the background.
  • Dark Souls has useful things behind containers, furniture, walls, and even illusory walls. In fact, two entire areas and a Covenant are hidden behind an illusory wall, behind a chest, behind another illusory wall.
  • Dead Rising and its sequel tend to love to hide useful, rare weapons in just-out-of-sight areas, like the roof of a magazine stand in the center of a mall, or a katana on the awning of a bookstore.
  • The Dragon Quest series has hidden items in barrels, pots, hanging bags, drawers, coffins, crosses, just lying on the floor... Most of the games after Dragon Quest III let you potentially learn a spell that lets you sniff out how many treasures are hidden in an area (while another reveals their whereabouts with a telltale sparkle).
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness: There are three locations inside the Overlord's Castle that must be examined to unlock Etna's diary—two switches and a corner. One switch is hidden behind the Overlord's throne; another is the skull on the RosenQueen shops' counter; finally, there's the corner of the pit in the room with the music merchant. In the PSP and Nintendo DS Updated Rereleases, the corner is made somewhat more obvious by a Prinny who comments that he "feel[s] a breeze, dood."
  • Doki Doki Universe has many presents hidden behind background objects, and picking up these objects forces these presents to pop out.
  • In the Doom games and their many, many custom levels, hidden switches frequently lead to secret areas and goodies. A favorite location for such switches is on the easily overlooked backs of chairs, columns, freestanding switch panels, etc.
    • Doom Eternal even does have an item directly behind the King's throne, since a cutscene starts when you enter the room and has you walk out of it you could easily miss the item if you don't immediately go back and explore the throne room.
  • Dragon Ball Origins 2 takes this to a literal example, to where the last mandatory level in chapter 3 has a room where you literaly have to push a chair to open a section in a wall which reveals an upgrade for Goku's Kamehameha.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online has lots and lots of breakable objects, but aside from a couple spare Cure Light Wounds or Resist Fire potions, you'll only find a pittance of coins.
    • The are a few dungeons where the boss does, in fact, keep a gigantic treasure box behind his throne.
    • Add-on content areas can have weapons and armor hidden in those same crates. In particular, Sorrowdusk Isle has one crate near the questgiver ogre that has a high chance of dropping equipment.
  • EarthBound (1994) generally uses conspicuous gift-wrapped presents in lieu of treasure chests, but items can also be found in coffins and trash cans.
    • "Ness dug around in the trash can. Well, let's see here... There is a Hamburger inside! Ness takes it."
    • WHOAAAAAAAAAAH! There's a Bottle of water inside!
    • Most cabinets, tables, shelves, etc in the game don't hold anything at all, but one particular one in Threed's hospital does. In keeping with the quirky humor of the game, it's an "insignificant item" that doesn't actually do anything other than put up some jokey text when used, and only sells for $1. However, it can be given back to its owner in Twoson's hospital in exchange for a Magic Truffle, a rare PP-restoring item that you wouldn't otherwise see until much later in the game.
    • Searching behind the couch in the for-sale house in Onett uncovers a rather humorous journal.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • For the series in general, starting with its 3D Leap and transition to hand-crafted environments in Morrowind, the developers adore this trope. Thorough players can find everything from helpful stashes of items like gold and potions to flat out Disc One Nukes by checking every little nook, cranny, ledge, tree stump, and waterfall they come across. Some specific examples:
      • Morrowind: In the starting village alone you can find a (minor) enchanted axe hidden in a hollow tree stump, and it goes on from there. In addition to treestump and hollow log stashes all over the island, you can pick up a Sword of White Woe tucked under a bunkbed, the legendary Fists of Randagulf (the best heavy armor gauntlets in the game) shoved behind a sarcophagus, an enchanted tanto that the last guest at a particular inn tucked behind the bed, coins that have rolled into the cracks of a shack floor, a magic ring underneath a mushroom in a cave, skill-boosting books hidden on a shelf lined with regular books, five One-Hit Kill arrows tucked in another treestump in the Bloodmoon expansion — not to mention various "Propylon Chamber" keys that can be found dotted around the world as paperweights. And people tend to misplace their normal keys a lot, too.
      • Skyrim: In addition to items, levers to open dungeon gates and the symbols needed to solve runic puzzles are now often hidden as well. In at least one case, the lever to open a door is LITERALLY 'behind the chair'.
    • Game Mods for pretty much all of the moddable ES games play this as maddeningly straight as possible in many, many cases — such as one that puts a gold retexture of Ebony Armor on a follower you can legally slaughter right outside the first town you get to after the tutorial. And what is said follower doing there? Camping. Ten feet from the town gate. For the entire game (if you never bother to pick him up).
  • While ENIGMA: An Illusion Named Family lets you locate important items easily with matches, items that aren't plot-important — like other matches — don't benefit from this, and can be hidden in all kinds of objects. However, you never know which things might randomly break or make noise when you investigate them, which can attract the murderer's attention.
  • Fallout 3 can become this if you're low on health items, ammo, guns or certain quest items. Not helped by almost every item that isn't nailed down being potentially collectable, and getting in the way of an item you actually want to pick up.
    • Bathrooms often also hide valuable loot (often chems) in the bowl or water tank of toilets. This means that each time you find a bathroom, you throw open each stall, run in and jump onto the toilet seat to get a better look. Each time.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • The Godfather: Missions in the Wii version (and possibly others) have money bags hidden with varying degrees of visibility. If you don't get them while you can, they're Permanently Missable.
  • Golden Sun and its sequel Golden Sun: The Lost Age did this. The items were mostly small, HP healing items or a few coins. But occasionally you lucked into a Lucky Medal, a rare item used to win other rare items later on. For the first half of the game you just have to stumble through and hope, but at a certain point you learn a skill that lets you examine an area. Pots, etc., with items in them sparkle. You still have no way of knowing what it is, and it takes forever if you want to check every pot, but it's better than nothing.
  • In Half-Life: Alyx, supplies are much more concealed than in previous games of the Half-Life series. They're typically hidden in lockers, desk drawers, crevices, and other out-of-the-way spots, so you'll have to do a bit of rummaging to find them.
  • Harvest Moon
    • Harvest Moon: Animal Parade: You can often find recipes around people's kitchens, if you're willing to walk around pressing the A button for about two minutes.
    • A New Beginning: Music sheets get hidden in similar way, sometimes literally behind a chair.
  • Infinity Engine games often had useful loot hidden early on. Originally, this required a pixel-hunt for sometimes extremely tiny lootable containers, but eventually the option to press a button on the keyboard to reveal all loot and containers on the screen, taking the difficulty out of it.
    • Baldur's Gate had an insanely powerful Ring of Wizardry hidden in the hollow of a tree in the third map (assuming you followed the recommended path). Other such hidden gear includes the Helm of Baldur behind a painting in a room at an inn, and Wand of Frost in a tree stump.
    • Icewind Dale largely averts this, as most gear is either looted off enemies or placed in obvious containers. However, the best sword in the game, Pale Justice, is found on a corpse hidden behind a hole in a wall.
    • Planescape: Torment has this in spades. Pharod's stash has all kinds of hidden items in the bookshelves, many of them either valuable or powerful. The grand prize, though, goes to the Ancient Scroll, hidden in a crack in a wall that's roughly one pixel in size. Given that it's a scroll of Wish and therefore insanely powerful (especially if you know the exploit that allows you to use it as often as you want), it makes sense that it would be hard to find.
  • Jed: Several robots are hidden past where the world seems to end, usually separated by a concealed passage or a low roof that can be walked on. Some of these are hinted at by inexplicable empty blocks inside the wall.
  • King's Quest IV: There's an island where you have to check behind a ship's detached front, which is lying in the sand. Rearward of the wreckage is a golden bridle that: 1) has no business being there; 2) is completely necessary to win the game. The island is only accessible at one point during play, and after leaving, you can't go back. Oh, and using “look” on the shipwreck only works when you're standing in exactly the right spot.
  • La-Mulana likes to hide ROMs this way.
  • The Legend of Dragoon and its notorious Guide Dang It! Stardust sidequest. Notable in that they're the only items that work like this; others are either stowed away in treasure chests or are otherwise incredibly easy to spot.
  • It is wise to do this in any LEGO Adaptation Game if you want to get True Adventurer status, minikit pieces or red power bricks, although it's not so much checking behind the chair as it is destroying it with your fists.
  • LunarLux: There are many hidden pickup events for bytes and astrotech hiding in seemingly mundane objects. However, consumables and more limited items like skill boosters, health boosters, and shield boosters are represented with their own unique sprites or red antimatter clusters.
  • Luigi's Mansion (Series):
    • Luigi's Mansion: Played straight. In several rooms, including the Study, there are hidden lumps of cheese behind or under chairs. Examining them will cause a golden mouse to appear, and catching it will reward the player with lots of treasure. If the room is cleared and the Mansion blackout has already occurred, you will never be able to get the treasures again.
    • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon has lots and lots of treasure and Gold Greenies hidden in things like furniture, walls and other random decorations. And once you've done that, get out the Dark Light Device, because it turns out a lot of treasure is invisible unless you shine the light on it for a while and then vacuum the Spirit Balls that appear. It's especially true of the ScareScraper, in which every room has at least two invisible objects, a whole bunch of hidden money and goodies and likely a key or two in completely random locations.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man Battle Network: multiple ports and chips are hidden in the over-world. And most of the bosses can only be rematched for a chance to get their battle chip by walking to a specific, unmarked part of an area (Usually a dead end) which will initiate a battle against them.
    • Mega Man Star Force mostly follows in the footsteps of Network in its application of this trope.
  • The Metal Slug series will often hide items and hostages in the damndest places. Often places you wouldn't know there was anything there unless you shot it (like in the smoke coming from a Train's smokestack) or read a FAQ.
  • Monster Racers loves to hide Star Crystals in such places, like in front of TVs or between cushions in a race lobby. Although most of them will, if you wait around, give off a telltale twinkle.
  • The Myst series revels in this. Especially Riven brings it up to Guide Dang It! levels. ALWAYS check behind the door you just opened.
  • Ni no Kuni has hidden treasure chests. Although they can be revealed with the Seek Fortune spell, you can sometimes figure out where some of them are located due to conspicuous object placement in the overworld. They're also often hidden at the very ends of pathways or beside cliffs.
  • Pokémon: Standards of the series are patches of grass with a darker shade than others, inexplicable patches of no grass in the middle of a grassy area, trash cans, the centers of plateaus, dead-ends, and rocks; later games also add little hills of sand/dirt (although these can also be hidden trainers). Thank Arceus for the Item Finder when they're anywhere else.
    • And in the third generation games, accessing the Trick House challenges requires you to find where the Trick Master is hiding in a room. The first few times, his position is made obvious by a glint just as you enter the house.
    • The Item Finder only detects invisible items hidden in the overworld. Sometimes items can be tucked away behind trees, buildings, etc. and remain out of sight for the player because of the fixed perspective camera, but because they technically have a visible sprite, the Item Finder won't detect them.
    • In Black and White, all of the trash cans are empty. Except one.
  • In the Monopoly-based video game Richman 8, one of the secret character, James, is unlocked by finding all 11 magnifying glasses across the maps. The problem is, it is always hiding somewhere around the maps, even behind background buildings! Even worse is that only specific characters can find them in specific maps in Story Mode.
  • Secret of the Stars has plenty of innocuous furniture: bedside tables, cabinets, etc. that may or may not contain valuables. And there's a lot of furniture in that game...
  • Seiklus: Though there's usually an eye-like marker along walls with hidden goodies, the haunted crypt notably doesn't for a couple places.
  • Shadow Complex does this a lot. Some expansions are hidden behind crates. Failing that, they are hidden just out of sight of the camera angle.
  • The Shadow Hearts series is very guilty of this. On the plus side, you'll get a little ? over your head when there's an item hidden nearby. If it's important to the plot, you get a !.
    • And if you find Roger Bacon's missing pornography, you see a <3
  • The Shining Force games suffer from this on occasion. In the Japanese version of the first, Optional Party Member Hanzo was hiding in a shrub in the last town (the US version had a note on the correct one), while the second game had Mithril.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In Sonic Adventure on the SEGA Dreamcast and Sonic Adventure: DX, the remake for the Gamecube, when you're on the Egg Carrier, in order to change the position of the wings you must first sit on Eggman's chair in the control room so that it moves forward, and then press the button which was hidden under the chair.
    • Parodied in The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog: The Player Character insists that there is always evidence in the trash can in a murder mystery. You can check the trash can in every room you investigate, and of course, never find anything. At least until the second-to-last room, where you actually do find evidence, and the PC is finally vindicated. Should you attempt to check the trash can in the last room, the PC will decline, saying they'd rather go out on a high note... unless you try checking it again, in which case they will be unable to resist their compulsion and check it anyway, and are utterly devastated when they once again don't find anything.
  • Snailiad, being a Metroidvania, obviously has this to some extent.
  • If you find yourself playing one of the latter two S.T.A.L.K.E.R. titles, and you see a house, or a train car, or any kind of man-made structure or object, your first move should be to make sure there's nobody currently occupying it, before searching it top to bottom. There will be something at least vaguely useful in the attic or hidden in some sort of container. And you're going to need it. In the third game, every loose item in the game can be found from the word go, meaning that knowledgeable players can run around the map to areas nobody else would think to check (inside an abandoned steam shovel's cabin, next to a burnt-out house) and pick up high-end weaponry and loads of useful items. In all three titles, looking on shelves, under tables, and in vents in the many abandoned buildings and tunnels you went through could net you ammo and medkits right when you needed them most.
  • Suikoden II has some items hidden in patches of grass, bonsai, and random crates.
  • In Suikoden IV, one of the recruitable characters is behind a chair, and thanks to the camera angle when you enter the room, you won't realize it until you actually go behind said chair.
  • Super Metroid: Some expansions and pickups are well-hidden in unsuspecting areas, enticing the player to check corners and passageways (and the most paranoid player will inadvertedly check the same spots twice) until Samus finds the X-Ray Scope (which reveals fake walls and bombable spots; this even comes handy to return to a previous area after defeating a certain boss).
  • Tales of Symphonia has some treasure chests completely hidden behind furniture or terrain features, particularly in the final dungeon; there's nothing plot-relevant about any of them, but they're necessary for 100% Completion. Fortunately, the "examine" command still pops up when you stand next to one.
  • The Thief series was all about this. Finding every last piece of valuable loot in each level involved thoroughly checking every nook and cranny, and that's when there were no weird secret passages involved. The very first level of Thief II: The Metal Age for example included 3 gold coins left on a shelf that could only be seen by looking up while going down the back stairs to the mansion's kitchen (or turning around midway while climbing up the stairs).
  • Ultima VII has a few instances of this as well. Clicking a switch hidden behind a statue (just barely visible) on the Isle of Fire will open a hidden room containing nine glass swords and a Death Scythe, while another similarly hidden switch in Skara Brae will open a small room containing a dresser with a lot of great goodies, as well as some plot-relevant items you shouldn't actually have yet.
  • An Untitled Story: Very, very, very present. If you're aiming for 100% Completion, it's smart to check every corner big enough to hide a Heart Container. Averted once you find the crystal ball in SkyLands: it will give you vague hints for an ever-increasing cost.
  • Unturned takes place during a Zombie Apocalypse, and supplies and items can be found behind or under furniture in abandoned houses.
  • A Vampyre Story: You have to check under your bed for an item in order to proceed. No one prompts you.
    • Fortunately, the developers decided to include a command (the tab key, specifically) to make a mark appear over everything you could examine. A couple puzzles, including the one mentioned here, appear to have been designed with the expectation that you're going to use this.
  • Which: You'll need to be very thorough in your searching if you want to find the Heart key.

Web Comics

  • At the beginning of Darths & Droids, Jim and Ben's very first act of going Off the Rails involved searching a room for items rather than waiting for the negotiators to arrive. As punishment, the GM retroactively decided that this action was responsible for the Trade Federation attacking them.
  • In this Gunshow comic, you can get a dollar by finding the duck hidden behind a plant in your hotel.
  • One strip of abandoned fantasy webcomic Zogonia has the three heroes receive a message from the master of the tomb they had just conquered, congratulating them for using all the gold and artifacts he left behind, treasures our heroes never found. They spend the next dungeon literally digging up the floor and melting candles to ensure they don't miss anything valuable.