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Hints Are for Losers

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Real men also don't read captions, you nerd.

"Tough luck kid. I've been told to keep my mouth shut, as they want to keep all the good stuff for a money-making strategy guide. I'm sure some of it will appear on the newfangled 'internet' thing as well, so I suggest you take a look-see there. You could also ask your friends, assuming of course you've got any. If all else fails, you'll just have to play better."
Cranky Kong, Donkey Kong 64 instruction manual

A Video Game trope related to Easy-Mode Mockery, this is when a game (or related media, such as the instruction manual) taunts players trying to find help, either by inserting useless "hints" sections that only insult the player, by not providing help at all or by telling you to play the game like a real man if it does provide some sort of tips.

Especially common in older games, where it would be followed by an invitation to check out the new fancy Strategy Guide for only $50!

Contrast Annoying Video Game Helper, when you're sick of the game giving you hints all the time. See also Easy-Mode Mockery.


  • The cartridge version of Sutte Hakkun offers hints via the pause menu. However, if you so much as use a hint one time, your final score is slashed in half, and you're given a mark of shame in the form of an X on the map screen, and text signifying that you used a hint on the file select. At the very least, the game gives you a warning beforehand, even going as far as to default the first confirmation prompt to "No".
  • The manual of Brataccas intentionally leaves several details vague, instead telling you to check a specific page for more details. However, when you get to that page, it only says, "This page was intentionally left blank."
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth pokes fun at this. Clyde will offer tips and rumors for $2.00, if paid, his response will be only him giving this advice of "Don't spend money for tips and rumors."
  • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest has a section in the manual called "Cranky's Hint", but there, Cranky just laughs at you and tell you to buy the Nintendo Power guide instead. Within the game itself, the last hint you can buy from Wrinkly Kong is "All but one of my hints are useful to you." Her hint for the final boss battle is "Make sure you have plenty of lives!"
  • Donkey Kong 64: The back of the instruction manual has Cranky Kong poke fun at the Hints sections usually put in the back of game manuals by refusing to give you any hints.
  • Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit! infamously didn't come with a proper manual, but instead a joke "manual" which just opens up to a huge fake sticker stuck over everything with the sentence "real men don't need instructions" on it.
  • Scarab of Ra offers hints on request, but makes you confirm the request four times per hint. Note that clicking Yes to the third question will force you to start the process over.
    Do you really want a hint?
    [long pause]
    You really should try to solve this on your own. Still want a hint?
    [longer pause]
    Wouldn't it be more fun to figure it out by yourself?
    [short pause]
    Last chance to be a hero. Still want that hint?
  • Played with in Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, where one of the hints shown on loading screens tells you that if you haven't gotten any better from reading the hints, you should just stop being so rubbish.
  • In Push-Over, you get hints if you stay on a level for too long. The hint for level 19 is "Figure it out yourself".
  • Early on in Crystalis, you learned the Telepathy spell, which could be used to contact one of the four Sages for a hint, though every now and then the "hint" you got would be along the lines of "Leave me alone, figure it out yourself!" (especially if you chose to contact Kensu).
  • The tutorial for the Spider-Man 2 video game has a voiceover that tells you to do Spider-Man-like things (like jump off buildings) and then mocks you for jumping off a building just because someone suggested it. Amusingly, he'll stop his insult partway through and say a different line if you put out a web-line before he finishes his insult. And if you crawl down the building, he'll berate you for not following along and reset your location, though that also means he won't mock you for jumping afterwards.
  • If you consult Dr. Wright too often in the SNES SimCity, he'll get fed up and tell you to make your own decisions.
  • The Dr. Brain series has the ability to get hints for the puzzles, but it'll count against your end of game score if you use them. In the case of the third game, it'll reduce the value of that puzzle if the hint is specific enough, meaning you'll need to solve an extra puzzle to complete the region.
  • Infocom's InvisiClues — a clue book with (yes) invisible clues, to be developed as needed by the player with an invisible ink pen — used this to avoid spoilers. The clues came in the form of visible questions with several invisible answers, each more specific than the last — but some of the questions were completely irrelevant to the game, and accordingly, came with answers to the effect of "maybe you should play the game before reading the hints". Some of them can be read on the Quote page.
  • In Infocom's Text Adventure games Sherlock: Riddle of the Crown Jewels and Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur, you could ask Sherlock and Merlin, respectively, for hints, but they'd express disappointment in you if you did ("*sigh* Very well, Watson; if you must").
  • Plants vs. Zombies has a hint screen written by the zombies. The game has a proper tutorial.
  • In Runescape, using guide mode in dungeoneering skill will yield you less experience per floor completed.
  • Borderline example: In Batman: Arkham Asylum, progress far enough in the Riddler's fetch quest, and he'll start accusing you of looking up the locations on the internet.
  • The hint books for Space Quest series contain several fake hints; if the player looks them up, he is berated for spoiling the game for himself by reading ahead. The hint books can be read at SpaceQuest.Net.
  • In killer7, a remnant psyche named Yoon-Hyun offers cryptic hints for some of the game's puzzles. You can also shoot his mask and give him an offering of blood, after which he'll give you a much clearer hint...and becomes much more rude, calling the player a loser and flipping them off with both hands.
  • Claimed to be the case by the manual in The 7th Guest, but ultimately averted: in spite of a warning that using the in-game hint book (which, will, if consulted enough, automatically solve a given puzzle) will lead to dire consequences, such as having vital doors in the house locked and making the game Unwinnable, the only penalty incurred is being unable to view the cutscene related to the puzzle in question.
  • Splapp-Me-Do has posted a rich text walkthrough of The Impossible Quiz available for download. Be prepared to be called a cheater if you open it, though.
  • An old Freeware game called Maze Maker had a hint option, but using it too often would cause Maze Maker to warn you. If you used it again too soon, it would disable hints altogether.
  • Occasionally Professor Layton puzzles will do this, though this is usually only the case for puzzles where it would be hard to come up with a good hint anyway.
  • One of the hints on the extremely long loading screen of Duke Nukem Forever is oh so helpful: If you're having trouble, avoid bullets (paraphrased).
    • Or that if you're having trouble, you could always just look up a guide on the internet.
  • Sonic Adventure games:
    • In the original Sonic Adventure, the B-rank missions of Knuckles' levels involve him getting the Master Emerald Shards without using any hintballs whatsoever. Touch one hintball and you're immediately disqualified from earning the Emblem.
    • The Master Emerald Shard hunts were retained for Knuckles and Rouge's levels in Sonic Adventure 2. Finding the Master Emerald Shard (or Door Key or Chaos Emerald) in a short amount of time without using any hint monitors would earn you a Perfect 2000-point bonus. In Rouge's Mad Space level, the hint monitors are reversed, as the hints either say the opposite of where the Emerald Shard really is, or are literally written backwards.
  • Freeware MS-DOS game Modern Problems had a hint for most levels, but for the last Worm level, it says sorry, but you're on your own.
  • Blazblue has a segment called 'Help Me, Professor Kokonoe!' intended to take the piss out of itself and provide a hint for the players who got the bad ending of their story. Professor Kokonoe starts off the intro by telling the people who will look for flowcharts online to piss off.
  • Double Subverted in Mother 3, at the start of Chapter 2. You assume control of Duster, and Wess, his adopted father and mentor in the thief arts, instructs him to steal the treasure of Osohe Castle. He initially refuses to give a description of the treasure in question, stating that a true thief would know the value of what they were going to steal. However, he has a change of heart and offers to give a hint, which you can't actually refuse... only to describe it as being 'a VERY important-looking item', and that it's 'like... all shiny'. In the end, when you do find an object that fits the description and bring it back to him, it turns out that he meant a different item entirely (which you have no way of obtaining at that point in the game), causing him to become enraged, call you a moron, smash the thing you brought him into pieces and join you in finding the actual important item he meant you to get.
  • The Braid website has an "official walkthrough and cheats" page. After describing how to get the first puzzle piece, the page ends abruptly, chewing out the player for using a walkthrough instead of striving to complete the puzzles on his own.
  • In Copy Kitty, dying to the World 10 boss Fortress Virs will trigger the usual complaint from Boki and ask for a hint from her uncle Savant. Instead, he bluntly tells her she's on her own for this one. This isn't as mean as it sounds. The boss, while long and difficult, does have obvious tells in its attacks and careful play above any specific hint is what gets Boki through.
  • Piczle Cross Adventure offers a Hint Roulette (uncovers the answers to one or more units on the puzzle grid) and Autocorrect (fixes any wrong guesses you've made). Completing a puzzle with either of these mechanics on will not count towards 100% Completion, though you are allowed to try the puzzle again later as many times as you'd like until you can clear it without said assistance.
  • Escape Lala: Both games have coins you can use to gain hints, but using them will deduct from your final score.