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Anti Idling

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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. If the game tells a player (who may be idling, or who may just be doing different things from what the game wants) to hurry up when they don't need to, that's Continue Your Mission, Dammit!.

Contrast Rewarding Inactivity, Idle Game, and Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing.

Has nothing to do with Anti-Idle: The Game.


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  • Most arcade games are timed (including the menus) in an attempt to prevent another player from walking up and taking a free game in the event the original player walks away.

  • 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 Games 
  • 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 their moves. If the player takes too much time they lose the match.

    Driving Games 
  • In Codemasters F1 games, beginning with F1 2016, stopping on the track will start a countdown. (i.e. STOPPED ON TRACK - 10) Not moving after this countdown reached 1 would mean disqualification.

    Eastern RPGs 
  • Since battles in Pok√©mon 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.

    First-Person Shooters 
  • 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.

    Idle 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 has several anti idling measures in place:
    • When Square Enix expects the game to have a lot of traffic (usually due to a new expansion being released), 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. This eventually gets removed once traffic settles down to something more reasonable.
    • If you or your guild purchase a house in the game but don't visit it at all within 45 days of the last visit, the servers will automatically demolish the home and your character or guild will lose the plot it was on. This is so someone else can have the spot. To compensate though, you're refunded a partial amount of the house and whatever furniture was in it.
    • When running a dungeon or raid, you're automatically kicked out of the duty if you sit idle for 10 minutes. Players can also vote kick others who are idling.
  • Trove will log the player out if they've been idle for about 15 minutes.

  • The TurboGrafx-16 video game adaptation of Darkwing Duck crushes Darkwing with an anvil if the player takes too long to move.
  • The Game Boy video game loosely based off of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York has a safe that crushes Kevin if he idles in one spot too long in the Chase level.
  • Knuckles Chaotix: Idling for about a minute unpaused will cause Metal Sonic to divebomb the player.
  • Pac-Land: Sue (the purple ghost) slowly chases behind Pac-Man to keep the player moving forward. If she's eaten with a Power Pellet, she'll respawn off-screen as soon as it wears off.
  • Sonic CD: If Sonic is left idling for 3 minutes, he will get bored and leave, resulting in an instant game over.

    Rhythm Game 
  • In Arcaea's Course mode, in which the player plays a set of four songs in a row, the player can only take a 60-second break between songs. Furthermore, there is no pause button, and if you unfocus the app, a 30-second timer starts counting down. Fail to resume play within 30 seconds and the course is abandoned.

    Shoot 'em Ups 
  • Time Bandit: Both in levels and in the overworld:
    • In a level, the score you get for shooting enemies is based on how quickly you've been moving; if you stand still for long enough, it will go down to 0.
    • In the overworld, after you've completed a couple levels, indestructible flying saucers spawn. Shooting them will knock them back, but will not stop them. If they touch you, they drop you into a random gate.

    Real Life 
  • A restroom in a Shinjuku bar has a giant sumo head that faces the toilet, and activates when a patron sits on it: it begins singing obnoxiously while slowly inching towards the patron until it kisses their knees, then backs up while singing even more obnoxiously. If there is a practical reason for this device (besides scaring the crap out of patrons), it's to keep them from spending too much time on the toilet.
  • Vehicles, especially larger ones, tend to have systems in place to make sure the operator is paying attention. This is notable in trains where the operator has to regularly "check in" and failure to do so causes the train to stop and could invoke serious punishment for the operator.