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Fast-Forward Mechanic

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"Did you try to play the Sun's Song? Like I told you before, with that song, you can turn day to night or night to day whenever you want."
Royal Composer Brother, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

When an In-Universe Game Clock forces the player to wait for several minutes in the game to progress to the next task, you're going to have angry gamers. How do you solve this issue? Add a time skip device! One use and the wait time will pass in an instant.

Frequently a spell or a song, the player needs only to punch in a sequence or click on the designated object and the clock will skip ahead (or sometimes, even backwards) in increments that are convenient to time-oriented missions. Sometimes RPGs may offer your party a "rest" or "sleep" command which allows you to fast-forward the game clock (and regenerate some HP in the process). This is often a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation, since time usually doesn't pass in any other sense.

Often accompanied by Spinning Clock Hands. Compare Warp Whistle, Sprint Shoes and Zip Mode for passing over pointless space. Related to Time-Passes Montage. A subtrope of Anti-Frustration Features.

Video Game Examples

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    Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The "Sun's Song" in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time moves time to the next dusk/dawn.
    • The "Song of Passing" The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker does the same, and is actually the same tune as the Sun's Song, just under a new name.note 
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is all about time manipulation, so not only is there a song to skip ahead ("Song of Double Time"), but slow it down ("Inverted Song of Time") and reset time ("Song of Time"), which also doubles as the way to save your game. In addition, you can talk to a scarecrow and ask for it to dance. Dancing with the scarecrow turns day into night and vice versa. Useful early in the game, when you don't have the ocarina yet and you need to skip to the night of the final day after you've looked into the telescope at the Astral Observatory.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, you can make Link sleep in a bed either until morning or night. Your hearts regenerate as you sleep. Unlike in most Zelda games, this is the only way to access nighttime at all.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Link can progress the time to morning, noon or night by sleeping in a bed or inn, or by resting at a campfire or cooking pot. The latter doesn't restore hearts, however.
  • Ōkami features brush techniques to bring day and night. The technique to call the sun is learned in the first hour of gameplay, the one to call the moon is learned only after about a dozen hours of gameplay.
  • In Trials of Mana, if you stop at a Trauma Inn during the day, you have the option to be awakened in the evening or next morning, though this is rarely a concern for progressing through the Story Arc.
  • In Castlevania 64, the Sun and Moon cards can be used to advance the current time so you can (among other things) have certain timed encounters and battle vampires during the day when they're weaker. but abusing them isn't recommended because after so many days cycles pass it gives the vampire hunter Vincent time to try and fail to kill the fake Dracula, leading to an optional boss fight and the bad ending.

    Action Games 
  • In The Last Stand 3 Union City, when your character finds a bed in a building you can sleep for a specific number of hours to increase your Sleep stat.
  • This is one of Joe's powers in the Viewtiful Joe series.

    Adventure Games 
  • Quest for Glory allows you to rest your Hero in intervals from 10-60 game minutes, or "until morning" (in the first game, this could easily trigger Have a Nice Death on the assumption that some monster killed you while you slept if you did so out in the wild).
  • In Deadly Premonition, York can smoke cigarettes to make time pass more quickly. Also, any bed will allow him to sleep for three, six, nine, or twelve hours at a time.
  • In the Endless Ocean games, a location is provided to allow the player to move rapidly to another time of day and forwards in time with regards to things like missions.
  • The Adventures of Willy Beamish has the ability to skip ahead an hour at a time. This allows the player to get to events when nothing else is new. However, be careful with this function, as it is possible to fast forward yourself into a Have a Nice Death.
  • Spectacle: The "Saf" spell advances time by six hours, which is used frequently for puzzles that can only be solved during a specific time and the player wouldn't want to walk from place to place 12 times to pass the six hours.

    Eastern RPGs 
  • The Breath of Fire series gives the main character a spell to do this.
  • Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny lets you fast-forward the game with the press of a button. It starts at 2x speed, and you can increase the fast-forward speed by passing some very expensive bills at the Dark Assembly, up to a whopping 32x speed.
  • Dragon Quest features time skips in some installments:
    • Dragon Quest III had the 'lamp of darkness' that instantly turned day to night.
    • Brey/Borya in Dragon Quest IV learns the Day-Night spell (Tick-Tock in the remakes) that turns day to night or vice versa when cast.
    • In Dragon Quest VIII and Dragon Quest IX, you can stay at an inn until either sunset or sunrise, in case you wish to interact with NPCs who only appear during the day or night.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 1 allows the player to skip to any time in-game by an option in the menu. This greatly helps to find the Non-Player Characters that show up at specific times for the Loads and Loads of Sidequests as well as giving them an easier time at changing the weather to their liking, which is necessary to get some of the rare monsters to appear.
  • Persona: Time periods (e.g. Evening, Afternoon) that can be skipped to by entering your home base or going to bed, in the following games in the series:
    • Persona 3
    • Persona 4
    • Persona 5. It also lets you "fast forward" through dialogue, and imposes VHS fast forward effects on the screen when doing so.
  • Chrono Cross gives the player the ability to speed up and slow down the gameplay once they've beaten the game at least once.
  • The World Ends with You: During cutscenes, simply hold L or R.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In the international version of Final Fantasy XII, there's a "speed up" button that simply causes the game to play at double speed. The remastered HD verizon also adds quadruple speed.
    • Final Fantasy XIII-2: Once the player collects all the fragments. This also applies to ingame voices, and despite what the game claims, all non-FMV cutscenes as well.
    • The Steam version of Final Fantasy IX and the HD remaster of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 has a feature where you can double the game speed.
    • Final Fantasy XV:
      • There's a lot of driving in the car. After you've been to a parking spot before, you gain the ability to fast travel. However, time still progresses. It's been joked that this mechanic is just Noctis falling asleep in the car while Ignis is driving.
      • There's an option to wait until sunset when accepting hunts for creatures that appear at night. A patch added the option to "Wait" at a haven/campsite to skip to sunset or sunrise.
  • Pokémon Stadium and its sequel has the Game Boy Tower where you can play your plugged in Pokemon Game Boy cartridge to play said game on the TV screen. The Tower has a double and quadruple speed up feature, but they have to be unlocked first.

    Edutainment Games 
  • In WolfQuest, you have the option to make your wolf sleep until a different time of day.
  • In the educational commercial transportation/geography PC game, Crosscountry USA, there was a feature that allowed you to "wait" any number of hours, automatically passing the in-universe clock to a later time.

    First-Person Shooter 

  • In Chulip, sleeping would automatically put you at 8:00 in the morning the next day until your alarm clock is fixed; then you can awaken yourself at some other time. Reading comics also fast forwards time.
  • Mortal Kombat: Deception's Konquest mode has an option that lets Shujinko meditate to pass time much more quickly. Useful because certain goodies only appear at certain times of the day.
  • In Angry Birds 2, once you complete a stage or use your last bird, you can fast-forward to the next stage or the "failure" screen, complete with VHS-era screen distortion.
  • South Park: The Fractured but Whole has a fast forward mechanic through the New Kid's farting powers, though it is only used a few times. In order for the kids to get access to Mephisto's lab, where he offers a tour, they have to go there at night. The game doesn't have a passage of time mechanic (and the kids opt to just wait six hours until the appointed time), so the New Kid uses his farts to speed up time and advance it to night. Later on, there's a boss fight where you have to the farting time skip power to force the boss to waste his turns, allowing you to freely attack him, and then using your fart powers to make time advance so rapidly that it kills him. This causes time mto advance by one week, which allows Cartman to become Mayor of South Park.
  • Twelve Minutes allows you to skip to certain points in the loop by falling asleep on the bed. You can also skip directly to the cop's arrival by picking the right dialogue options with the Wife or hiding in the bathroom closet.
  • Most Idle Games (where the "cash" resource flows in every second) have a mechanic that lets you gain X amounts of production instantly. Sometimes this is in exchange for in-game currency or watching an ad, and sometimes requires actual money.

  • In Donkey Kong 64, the level Fungi Forest can be played at day as well as night. At the start there is a clockwork with two buttons. The one currently pressed tells the current time. Whenever the other button is pressed, the time of day moves 12 hours forward. This is important because there are places that can only be accessed at certain hours.

  • The Talos Principle has a button for doubling the game's speed, which is incredibly useful as some puzzles require a lot of waiting, whether for slowly moving mines to get where you want them to be or standing in one place during a recording to give yourself some breathing space during playback, or just getting from point A to point B.

  • Castle of the Winds has two different rest commands: a 'light rest' automatically ends when your Hit Points are full or a monster comes into view, and a 'heavy rest' automatically ends when your Mana is full or a monster attacks you. Hit points and mana naturally regenerate over time (though at different rates), so these commands are mostly for accelerating turns.

    Simulation Games 
  • In APICO, you can sleep on benches or beds to speed up time, making plants grow faster and ending the current weather. However, it doesn't speed up production time of your beehives.
  • In Black & White 2, A God Is You, and you can adjust the in-universe day/night cycle at will, but that ability doesn't actually cause events on Earth to fast-forward; NPC Scheduling just picks up at the new time of day.
  • Frontier versions of Elite has time scale buttons. Aside of long interplanetary travel, you may use them to check Newtonian mechanics of the game — if your ship is on a proper elliptical orbit, it's quite visible under high time rate.
  • Kerbal Space Program: Time can be sped up anywhere from 2 to 100,000 times, although it's not possible to control a ship or use engines if the time acceleration is greater than 4x. Very much justified, as the realistic spaceflight model means that ships can take real-world years to reach their destinations.
  • Orbiter features buttons for accelerating and decelerating time by a factor of 10, which is going to be necessary unless you want to spend hours performing orbital maneuvers or days on interplanetary transits.
  • In Project Hospital, you can fast forward time by 4x or 10x to make procedures go faster.
  • The X-Universe games through X3: Albion Prelude have a ship add-on called the Singularity Engine Time Accelerator, which increases the speed at which time passes in-game. It also exaggerates ship guidance stupidity. This is mostly for travel purposes and is removed in X: Rebirth, which uses Hyperspace Lanes called "highways" between planets instead.

    Western RPGs 
  • Arcanum: Like Fallout before it, the game lets you wait/sleep (but not in dungeons) to regain health and stamina or for townsfolk to go to/get out of bed/refresh their inventory. The adventure modules are particularly difficult simply because they lack this mechanic, not only preventing free healing but also ensuring merchants won't restock health potions/run out of cash for Vendor Trash.
  • The Elder Scrolls series has the act of waiting, which allows the player to skip up to 24 in-game hours at one time. You can also choose to rest or sleep in a bed/bedroll/hammock/etc., which has the same effect but also allows you to level up (throughout the series through Oblivion) or gain temporary bonus perks (Skyrim).
  • The Fallout series has a "Wait" command that can pass time, including a "Rest until healed" option that can last several days if used at a bad time since most character builds have single digit HP regeneration per hour.
  • Fable has the Golden Carrot and the Moonfish. Eating these will move the game time forward to morning and evening respectively.
  • Wizardry makes time run fast when the party rests, with visibly accelerated day and night cycle. Since the faster ticks are correctly applied to all effects and random encounters alike, regenerating mana you need to heal poison or disease can be tricky.
  • In Dragon Age II, there is no time pressure, but some quest locations are only accessible during day or night, so the game allows you to switch between those.
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance has the standard sleep and wait mechanics for passing time. Waiting simply passes time but also causes Henry's energy to decrease considerably. If it deplete fully, he'll pass out. Sleeping on the other hand restores Energy and (for certain beds) allows you to save your game without having to consume Savior Schnapps.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Terraria has an enchanted sundial that allows you to skip to the next dawn, but can only be used again after seven in game days.
  • Minecraft's beds can be slept on to set your spawn point and skip the nighttime, but only nighttime and when there are no monsters around. Also, you can't use them in the Nether – they blow up as soon as you use them.
  • In Grand Theft Auto games, starting with III, saving skips the clock six hours ahead.
  • Horizon Forbidden West lets you shift to a preset time of day at the new Campsites (the ones with a Stash and Crafting Bench). This can make machine hunting a lot easier during the day with improved visibility, or help you pursue Apex machines that are far more common at night.
  • Valheim: Sleeping skips time until morning and advances progress for things like growing crops, smelting ore and making coal. It also lets you avoid deadly nighttime. However, it's only possible to go to sleep in the latter half of the day, and there's no in-game clock to tell when it's possible.

Non-Video Game Examples

Live-Action Television

  • An episode of El Chapulín Colorado has the titular hero against a guy who thinks he's a vampire. At the end, Chapulin remembers that vampires are weak to light, but there's still a couple hours before dawn, so he spins the clock's hands forward to speed up time. It works.