It's extortion, that's what it is!"
Cousin to a Solve the Soup Cans puzzle, a Guide Dang It is any part of a video game in which that correct action or set of actions is so difficult to figure out from the game's own clues that, effectively, the only way to know what to do (aside from spending countless hours of trying every remote possibility until something happens) is via a Strategy Guide or an online Walkthrough. For example:
Inventory decisions must be made with extrasensory perception? - Check.
Cannot tell when Mission Control is Off Its Meds and when it's helping? - Check.
Cryptic puzzles that betray what you've learned to expect, like resetting the game to move on when normal logic would dictate that doing so means losing all your progress? - Check.
Instead of doing things within the actual game, the player has to mess around with the game interface itself? - Check plus.
After you get used to seeing a menu or message pop up as part of the game, a deceptively phony version of it pops up to catch you off guard and and you might overlook it, causing a disastrous outcome? - Check plus plus.
Do note that quite a few of these examples may have been placed as interesting finds for players that accidentally get into obscure situations or curiously muck around with the game, especially in older sandbox titles where groping around in the proverbial dark was an intentional part of the experience. Examples that are required to complete the game are still nasty, however.
Most of these examples are basically just poor design, where the manual or in-game instructions just fail to elaborate on some things. There were also some more sinister versions where the developers wanted you to spend money by calling their hotline or buying their hintbook or Magazine. Now that GameFAQs, walkthroughs, forums, and even dedicated wikis are ubiquitous and easily accessible, this practice has died out.
Contrast with Player Nudge, when the Devs are aware how complicated the game might have become and try to subvert it. Compare Moon Logic Puzzle, where the game does provide the information you need, but most players will still require a walkthrough to put it all together. Often overlaps with Metagame, which has new rules that are not written in the official books, making the game very annoying for new players.
- Eastern RPG
- First-Person Shooter
- Platform Games
- Puzzle Games
- Simulation Games
- Survival Horror
- Western RPG
- Wide Open Sandbox
- Visual Novels