Sometimes when playing a game, you'll encounter people who aren't doing anything in the game. This can be a problem if it's an arcade game where being idle means less people are paying to play the game or a passersby can play the game without paying for it, as well as an online game where an idle player is hindering their team by not doing anything. Arcade games usually combat this by imposing a time limit that forces the game to progress if a choice isn't made and letting the game kill the idle character to prevent someone from playing the game for free. Online games will either give players the option to kick the idle player or kick the idler automatically if enough time passes.
Note that to qualify for this trope, the player literally has to be doing nothing. If the game punishes the player for staying in the same area for too long even if the player wasn't idle, that's Stalked by the Bell.
- In The Adventures of Cookie & Cream, if either Cookie or Cream spends too much time standing still, an enemy will try to land on them, causing time to drop more quickly if the the player doesn't avoid it. What makes this troublesome is there are some obstacles where Cookie or Cream has to wait for the other to do something before they can continue, meaning the player needs to have the idle bunny constantly jump in place or run in circles to avoid attracting enemies.
- Board Game Online has a timer going during each turn. If a player takes too long to make their move, the game will allow other players to make their choices for them, potentially getting the player killed or sent backwards.
- In Chess, a chess clock limits the total amount of time a player can take to make his moves. If the player takes too much time he loses the match.
- Since battles in Pokémon are turn based, if people are playing online, each player has a limited amount of time to pick a move before the game picks a move for them.
- Players who remain inactive in Overwatch for about 2 minutes are automatically removed from the match. Players who remain inactive in the menus will eventually be logged out.
- When item drops were added to Team Fortress 2, some people decided to use an idling program so they could obtain items without having to play the game. Valve retaliated by removing all of the items people obtained this way and gave everyone who didn't use an idling program a hat called the Cheater's Lament. Valve also changed the item drop system so only a limited amount of items could be obtained per week, then made an additional change where people could only get one item at a time until they accepted the item in-game.
- Zombidle (despite being an Idle Game) did this in a much-disliked update. Where several items gave Bob the Necromancer bonuses to damage and money while sleeping, the update caused him to wake up if he used his ability (despite being called Sloth's Form). This was especially annoying since most players went with a (very expensive and Level Grinding-intensive) strategy allowing Bob's abilities to last longer than their cooldowns, which now made these sleep-boosting items completely useless since Bob would no longer sleep.
- Final Fantasy XIV: Being idle too long will eventually log you out of the game automatically. This is so idle players don't end up clogging the server and causing long queues for other players trying to log in.
- The TurboGrafx-16 video game adaptation of Darkwing Duck crushes Darkwing with an anvil if the player takes too long to move.
- Knuckles Chaotix: Idling for about a minute unpaused will cause Metal Sonic to divebomb the player.
- Sonic CD: If Sonic is left idling for 3 minutes, he will get bored and leave, resulting in an instant game over.