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Ghost Leg Lottery

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Known in Japan as 'Amidakuji' and in Korea as 'Sadalitagi', Ghost Leg is a lottery game used in a similar fashion to Drawing Straws. In a ghost leg lottery, one of several vertical lines is assigned to or chosen by each participant, and horizontal lines, "legs", are randomly connected between each vertical line. Or the ghost leg diagram is already drawn, but the portion with the legs is covered so participants cannot see them, and they choose vertical lines arbitrarily. Once each participant is assigned to a starting point, they must follow a descending (or ascending, if the starting point is selected at the bottom) path where a turn is taken at every leg until they reach a point at the other end.

The Ghost Leg is often used to distribute things among people, since unlike random chance games such as Rock–Paper–Scissors, the format ensures each person will be matched to one item at the other side of the board. Any arbitrary number of things will always have a corresponding thing at the opposite end.

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In some Video Games, the Ghost Leg plays out like the lottery: the player can only select one starting point, and only one of the paths is revealed to be the correct one while all others lead to a dead end or some other punishment. Other times, the Ghost Leg is a puzzle: the entire board is shown, and the player must choose a winning path or take actions based on the movement of an entity on the board.

Has nothing to do with Fog Feet or any of the other ghost tropes.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, Terada (manga) and Mizuki (anime) uses the ghost leg to select students' roles for a school play.
  • One time in Cromartie High School, Class 1-2 is riding a train and there's a furious line of students waiting to enter the toilet. "Protagonist" Kamiyama leaves the toilet and figures he's the only one with a cool head and no biases to decide who gets to go next. So he puts everyone's names on a ghost leg... and gets his own as a result and nonchalantly enters the toilet again.
  • Digimon Frontier: Episode 12 has a scene where the Digidestined find the ghost leg game in the middle of a forest. They play it and Takuya and Tommy win, while the rest fall into a mud trap set up by their enemy Grumblemon.
  • Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure: When one of the female leads has to run an errand in the middle of the night, the protagonist Kazuki offers to walk with her for her safety. The other three girls in his Unwanted Harem then demand to go, but one of them will need to stay and watch over the home. In a Blink And You Miss It shot, a sobbing Yayoi is shown holding a finished Amidakuji page, where her name is chosen.
  • In the 'Counting' Godzilland OVA, Godzilla, Anguirus, and Baragon have one of these to determine who would get a turn on the swing set, with Godzilla going first.
  • In Fena: Pirate Princess, Yukimaru draws up a ghost leg lottery in the 3rd episode to determine who stays behind to guard the ship while the others head to shore. He seems to have drawn himself to stay 5 times in a row.
  • In Fruits Basket, Tohru makes one so Kisa can help select dinner.
  • In Round V of the Liar Game tournament, the remaining contestants' player numbers are determined by having them draw legs on a ghost leg screen and then choose a start point.
  • In Episode 10 of Magic-kyun! Renaissance, the characters use a ghost leg lottery to assign rooms at the beach villa.
  • In the Pokémon XY episode "An Undersea Place to Call Home", Clemont creates a computer program that draws up a ghost leg to determine which two of the four of them would get to occupy the two empty spots on-board the researchers' mini-submarine and go investigate the ship wreck underwater. Ash and Serena end up winning.
  • At a beach trip in School Rumble, the guys have to choose which girl they're going to teach for swimming lessons. Harima wants to pair up with his crush Tenma, so he organises a ghost leg and instructs the other guys which line to choose so that he will "fairly" choose her. Unfortunately he messes up and misses Tenma by one line, resulting in him ending up with Eri... aka the girl he accidentally flashed earlier, and is thus the last person he wanted to be with.
  • In the Time Bokan series Otasukeman, the heroes have multiple mechs. Which one they use in each episode is chosen via a Ghost Leg game on their ship's main computer.
  • In YuruYuri, Sakurako draws a ghost leg diagram on the ground, which includes a loop-de-loop and several other nonstandard lines.

    Literature 
  • In Book 15 of A Certain Magical Index, Kakine Teitoku compares Aleister's plotting to a game of Ghost Leg.
    Even if you stop his crazy plans, he'll switch to some alternative scheme, then back to the original plan. Terrible guy. It's like a game of Amidakuji — he goes to a different line for a bit, but he ends up right back on the track where he started.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Running Man, the ghost leg will be used on occasion by the Running Men to make randomized pairings or distribute prizes... or duds.

    Music 
  • The SCANDAL song "A.M.D.K.J." compares life to Amidakuji, since you never know where the path you're on is going to lead.

    Video Games 
  • The 1981 arcade game Amidar is one of the earliest uses of this trope in video games, working in a similar fashion to Qix, but for the fact that each rectangle is predefined and movement is mostly governed by the rules of this lottery type.
  • The "Pathfinder" game in Big Brain Academy has a number of animals (more as the game gets more difficult) at the top of the screen. The player must draw one or more legs connecting the vertical lines so when the animals follow the paths downward, they all reach their partner of the same species waiting at the bottom of the screen.
  • Centarumon in the aptly-named Amida Forest in Digimon World will snipe at you for half of your partner Digimon's total HP if you don't follow the rules of the lottery as you move through it. The sign in the previous screen that showcases the layout of the forest ahead is a clue to the format and rules, though players unfamiliar with Amidakuji may not find it helpful. You don't know if you're taking the right path until the very end, and reaching either of the wrong ones will send you back to the start.
  • The final boss of the Gate of Wisdom in the first Dragon Quest Monsters is Skydragon, and his boss arena resembles a Ghost Leg Lottery. Both your position and the Skydragon's are visible at all times, but Skydragon's starting position will change based on which legs you choose. The arena is a reference to Fifer's Spire in Dragon Quest III, the fifth floor of said dungeon using a similar layout.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Trinity Avowed, the fifth boss of Delubrum Reginae, has a recurring mechanic where she messes with your body temperature, forcing you to deliberately take hits from the right avoidable attacks to neutralize yourself and avoid instant death. One variant of this mechanic herds the raid into a small strip at the end of the arena, then launches variously-temperatured arrows down a ghost leg path, and the players need to quickly figure out where to stand to get hit by the right arrows.
  • One of the 1V3 minigames in the first Mario Party game, by the name of Pipe Maze, is essentially a Ghost Leg lottery. Here, the screen quickly scrolls up from the player characters at the bottom, briefly showing the turns in the pipes until the treasure chest is revealed at the top. The 1 player of the 1V3 must quickly determine which path leads to them, and select the pipe that would ultimately drop the treasure chest and its coin bounty to them. However, if they select any of the wrong pipes, then one of the other three players wins coins.
  • The BoSpider in Mega Man X (and its remake Maverick Hunter X) descends in this pattern during your battle against it, and can only be damaged in a short window right after it reaches the ground. You have to quickly read its randomly-generated path and evade it while getting in position to shoot it.
  • Super Mario Bros.
    • "Mario's Slides", a minigame in Super Mario 64 DS and New Super Mario Bros., has you drawing the horizontal lines as a face of Mario descends towards the Power Star. The game ends when Mario gets bitten by the Piranha Plants. Things get tricky fast when you have to last several rounds without clearing the board. The latter game also has a 1v1 variant where Mario travels back and forth between players.
    • Super Mario 64 DS has a second minigame of this type called "Connect the Characters". The puzzle is drawing horizontal lines so the character's heads on top matches their bodies. The game starts with Mario and Yoshi with Luigi and Wario added in later levels. For added challenge, the lines clear after a set of rounds, so new lines have to be drawn to accommodate the new placements.
    • In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, a horizontal version is used as a puzzle in Mt. Pajamaja. Mario and Luigi use blocks that turn the bars of a corresponding color on or off, to determine a path to a prize. Playing this for the first time is required to unlock the way to some of the Pi'illos in that location.
    • In Paper Mario: Color Splash, Prize Pipe Paths - the minigame that plays when a Spinning Door is colored yellow - is this: the player is shown prizes of varying worth on top of five different pipes. The camera then quickly descends, showing the different branching paths, and the player has to chose a single pipe to enter.
    • Super Mario Land has a bonus game in this format, in which both Mario and the connecting line are moved around rapidly until the player stops them.
    • In Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, one of two bonus games is an Amidakuji where you pick one of four fuses to trigger, and a spark will run down the wires and reach an item. Complicating the setup are two rats who land on and chew two horizontal lines, causing the spark to skip that line.
  • The mandatory New Year minigame in Pawapoke Dash displays a group of fortune-telling results atop a bunch of tall poles and then the screen quickly scrolls aaaaall the way to the bottom, where you must make your decision. What makes it even harder to judge is a bunch of monkeys set up over the path which will block or crap on the protagonist, which also causes him to swap paths.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 has Emergency Code: Judgement, a bomb-defusing minigame. Each bomb has glowing lines running across its side connecting an unlit node to a lit node on the other end via tracks. The player must follow the correct path leading to a lit node.
  • In the 4th generation remake of Pokémon Gold and Silver, Bugsy's gym in Azalea Town uses this mechanic as the mandatory gym puzzle. Fashioned after a spider's web, you have to raise and lower connecting cables to craft your path, and choosing the wrong path will force you into a trainer battle.
  • Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has at least two variants on the Ghost Leg game. One involves eliminating colored vertical lines until each character at the start of the board can reach their corresponding castle.
  • A Ghost Leg featured as a bonus game in Psycho Fox, where you don't see the whole board and place a bet on one of the starting foxes, and its Spiritual Successor, Decap Attack has a similar game.
  • In Super Monkey Ball 2, the seventh level in the Advanced-Extra difficulty is named "Amida Lot" and features an Amidakuji-like floor. The player must travel along the legs toward the moving goal without hitting any of the bumpers, which will knock them off their path.
  • WarioWare:
    • One of the minigames in WarioWare Inc.: Mega Microgame$! utilizes this lottery mechanic, where you select between pipes in which to pour boiling water to direct it into a cup of instant noodles below.
    • In WarioWare: D.I.Y., the goal of a wire microgame is to choose one of three buttons that will lead to the dancing man.
  • The NES version of Kid Dracula uses this method to determine which of the four bonus games you play after each level. Extra lines are drawn after you choose.

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