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Event-Driven Clock

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In most Video Games time seems to be based around the main character's progress, rather than any sort of actual time. This leads to the Fridge Logic of you apparently going through an entire night in the course of a few hours. This also goes the other way in that if you stay still for several hours nothing will change at all. Very much among Acceptable Breaks from Reality, as the time of day has an large effect on the mood and atmosphere of specific scenes, along with the massive technical difficulties to which the alternative leads.


In-Universe Game Clock is another form of this, and Take Your Time is a version of this.

As this trope is omnipresent among video games, please list only aversions.


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     Action-Adventure Games  

     Adventure Games  

  • The Last Express is (in)famous for being one of the few Adventure Games that take place entirely in real time. From the moment you get onto that express and until you either get off or die, the time keeps ticking. If you aren't on the right spot at the right time, it's over, your train is gone.
    • It's not exactly real time. Time runs about 5 minutes game time to every 1 minute of real time, and there are time skips(such as when you sleep). Furthermore, you can't accerate time, but if you miss a key event, you can rewind the clock to an earlier point, at the cost of not being able to undo the time reversal after about 30 seconds.
  • Dark Seed. There's a game clock that runs independently of the player. You need to sleep at nights and be on certain appointments on time. If you miss one, you're screwed. If you miss an action in a day, you're screwed. Thanks to this, the game was almost impossible to complete without a guide.
  • Most Quest for Glory games have several timed events that occur a fixed number of days after the start. (Elementals and caravans in II, Igor's disappearance in IV, scheduled competitions, poisonings and assassinations in V, etc.) Though the games are rather relaxed in that regard — the player either has time to prepare, gets advance warnings, or has 3-7 days to figure what to do. Still, timed disasters lock portions of the game or end the game if the player does nothing. Unrelated to that, the games have a day-night cycle, which determines what the hero can do and who he can encounter.


  • City of Heroes has the entire day/night cycle occurring in under an hour. Also some groups of villains only appear on the street during the night in some areas.
  • EVE Online has a term alarm clock op. Since everything in EVE is real time, sometimes that tower comes out of reinforced at 3am local time, Tuesday. Also Eve time is GMT. So Daylight saving time changes can really screw things up.


     Role-Playing Games  

  • Mount & Blade averts this, you may complete quests or just run around in circles, but the wars between AI factions will carry on.
  • In Final Fantasy VII plays this straight most of the time, but an early mission sees you setting up the bomb with a timer set up to go off in five minutes. You have to get out within those minutes, and the timer keeps ticking even in combat, even during the cutscenes!
  • Final Fantasy V pulls it twice, once in an exploding castle and once in an underwater dive. In the former, the challenge was less getting out in time and more fighting some minibosses for bonus items while getting out. In the latter, one had to stall out a Puzzle Boss.
  • During the first full moon in Persona 3, you get about nine minutes to get to the front of a train and destroy the Shadow controlling it. The clock only stops when you're in the menus. Oh, and the boss is a Mook Maker. Good luck.
  • Pokémon Gold and Silver, then again in Pokémon Black and White. Like in Animal Crossing, real time is game time; the time of day has a factor on what Mons you can capture as well as some other game-related events, as does the day of the week. Pokémon Sword and Shield goes both ways- the Wild Area always runs on real time, but the other areas of the base game stay at fixed times of day based on story progression. After beating the game, the entire game world starts running on real time.
  • Devil Survivor makes this about as explicit as you can get—in the main navigation menu, options that take up time have a clock symbol next to them. You can run around Tokyo to your heart's content, and it still won't take any time, but stop to chat with someone along the way, and you lose another half-hour.
  • Ōkami is a partial aversion; it isn't completely real-time, but day and night come and go every few minutes, and the world (i.e. characters, quests, and conversations) changes accordingly. Once you learn the brushstrokes, though, you can force day or night to occur or continue and keep the world in perpetual day/night as well. The only time you can't Take Your Time is when you must make it to Oni Island before sunset, or else the island will disappear. And it will disappear if you take too long, making you start the whole sequence over.
  • Don't Escape: You start the game with a limited amount of time (until nightfall in the first two, oxygen supply in the third) to perform various actions to prevent your escape. Most of these actions consume small amounts of time (mixing ingredients, digging traps, etc.), others extend the limit. Moving from room to room doesn't consume any time, though the second game as you move from different locations (even with a car it's reduced to a few minutes).

     Simulation Games  

  • A central gimmick of the Harvest Moon series is that a day's passage happens in a set amount of real time, regardless of the player's actions, significantly limiting what you can do in one day, even with healing items.
  • In the world of Animal Crossing, real time is game time. If it's 10pm on the clock on your wall, it's 10pm in the game. It's a central gimmick of the game, in fact.
  • Kerbal Space Program models a quite realistic solar system, meaning you have to think about launch windows if you want to send missions further than Kerbin's moons.
    • However, anything done in the vehicle editor(the Space Plane Hanger or the Vehicle Assembly Building) pauses time, so you can build anything and have it ready to launch with no time passing in the real world.

     Wide Open Sandbox  

  • Dead Rising. The game is going to end in 3 days. Your actions affect what ending you get but not when it comes. Other game events also happen on time regardless of player action, though on a sliding window of opportunity rather than an exact time. As long as you arrive within that timeframe the event happens and it's Always Close.
  • Grand Theft Auto averts this trope; time and weather change and march on regardless of progress. You can have the same mission twice, once at night in heavy fog, and another at noon in full sunlight. This can even make missions harder: try flying a plane (San Andreas) in a sand storm. At night.