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Infinite Flashlight

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So it's the middle of the night, you're being chased by mangled oversized toddlers with knives through a Kafkaesque take on a dark and twisted elementary school, and you realize that in all the chaos you've completely forgotten to change the batteries in your flashlight. Sounds like a problem, right? Wrong! Your portable light source will never run out unless the plot dictates otherwise. Of course, many games don't take enough in-game time to complete for four D-cells of battery power to run out. But even if you can take weeks or even months to complete the main plot, the flashlight will never run out. Definitely an Acceptable Break from Reality.

The infinite flashlight shows up just as often in horror games with very poor lighting as it does in games in general where use of a light source is less involved in the game design, especially short indie games. This can be either as an Anti-Frustration Feature, or for pragmatic reasons: it's easier to program a dynamic light source that just exists than it is to code in a dynamic light source governed by a counter that decreases over time at a rate to be determined by the programmer, and replenished by means that also have to be coded in.

Often overlaps with Nuclear Candle, where a tiny matchstick is all that is needed to fully illuminate an entire room. Hollywood Torches are more often than not infinite as well. Curiously, tactical gunlights will be infinite 99 times out of 100note . On faster-paced games like shooters on the classic end of the Fackler scale (especially older ones), these tend to also be a Hands-Free Handlamp. Guaranteed to see extensive use on a dimly-lit level, and moreso on a dimly-lit game.

Commonly, this variety has a dimmer output than its contrasting counterpart, the Ten-Second Flashlight, the usual result when developers try to avert this.


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    Action Game 

    Action Adventure 

    Adventure Game 
  • In Adventure (the text game from 1976) your first set of flashlight batteries will run out fairly quickly. After you replace them, the fresh batteries last forever.
  • The obscure 1984 computer game Below the Root (based on Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Green-Sky Trilogy) had an underground area that was pitch-dark. It was possible to obtain honeylamps that would provide light for a short time, but to fully explore the area and beat the game, it was highly recommended that you obtain an item called the spirit lamp, which provides light for as long as you hold the item.
  • Played straight with the flashlight in Kholat. It's extremely helpful, as it's Always Night after the starting area, and the farther you are from the center of the map, the darker it gets. You also use it to read the notebook entries and the map.
  • The flashlight in Maniac Mansion comes with old, corroded batteries, that inexplicably last forever – unless you are in the one room where the game actually requires you to have a light source to do something, and a Pixel Hunt in the dark won't cut it.note  In that case, the batteries will burn out instantaneously, forcing you to find fresh batteries somewhere, which last you the rest of the game.
  • Missing Children: There's no kind of indicator that shows Sato's flashlight's battery life, nor are there flashlights to find and collect. So, it's quite likely this trope's in play.
  • In Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, Nancy Drew can use her flashlight as much as she likes in the one area it's necessary. But of course, when she finds another dark space, the batteries instantly die and she needs to head off for more. After that, the flashlight works perfectly for the rest of the game.
  • The Radio Station: The flashlights you collect in the game are always on and shining brightly when you use them.
  • Played straight in Rama. It takes place in the distant future, and Arthur C. Clarke did hope that we would tap into zero-point energy someday.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Left 4 Dead. You have the ability to turn it on and off to to sneak past the regular zombies and witches, both of which are less aggravated when they're not being blinded, which is a feasible tactic with the combo of Hollywood Darkness and Chiaroscuro that the game favors allowing for some fairly decent night visionnote .
  • Doom
    • The DarkDoomZ Game Mod is intended to make the game as dark as the player wishes. Additionally, it includes a flashlightnote  that you can customize in several ways, including the type of beamlist ; however, the battery is always infinite.
    • Doom³'s flashlight has infinite battery; the in-game description handwaves it, saying that it has "a static transfer power supply, so battery replacement is unnecessary". It does get knocked out at one point in the gamewhere?  by some annoying electromagnetic pulses (that are also the reason why there's absolutely zero light in the location), but it's a temporary thing and it only happens twice, both when you are not in immediate danger. The same goes for game mods that add flashlights as Gun Accessories. The BFG Edition Updated Re-release, on the other hand, swaps the handheld torch for a shoulder-mounted Ten-Second Flashlight.
  • In Bungie's Pathways into Darkness, your flashlight will last for a week, but you only have five days to complete your mission before the Sealed Evil in a Can awakens to destroy ordered reality on Earth. Although there is a set of nightvision goggles necessary to get past evil creepy-crawlies that are attracted to your flashlight.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, at least before you get the titular character's 'eyeshine' ability. At one point, Riddick tackles a guard, dropping both of them down a very, very deep well and into the sewers. Riddick thus loses all his weapons and is forced to use the guard's shotgun. The shotgun has a built-in flashlight, as do most of the weapons, but it's been damaged in the fall and flickers continuously. What's more, it'll fail completely in exactly eight minutes, as the computer voice (in the shotgun) helpfully informs you. So you're down in the deep, dank sewers with only a few minutes until you're left in the dark.
  • Halo: Averted in the original Halo: Combat Evolved, where the flashlight can indeed run out. The flashlights in Halo 2 & 3, however, are infinite, though this is handwaved as drawing power from your new suit's fusion core. 2's will however turn off on its own after a handful of seconds in areas with a light level any higher than "pitch black and underground", making it for all intents and purposes a ten-second flashlight that simply recharges fully and instantly upon running out.
  • F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin uses a headlamp with an infinite battery that flickers specifically during supernatural scare sequences. The previous generation (the first game and its expansions) instead uses a Ten-Second Flashlight, which only flickers lightly when the Point Man and the Sergeant receive an "unknown origin" radio signal and, in the expansions, may be shut off entirely during paranormal setpieces. When either is over, the light goes back to working without issues.
  • Team Fortress Classic still has the flashlight from Half-Life in the code, but because the power gauge was removed it now shines indefinitely. If you're curious, you activate it by hitting the console key and typing: bind <key> "impulse 100".
  • In The Nameless Mod, using a (somewhat rare) augmentation upgrade on your default light enhancement results in this. As a Deus Ex mod (where gameplay pretty much requires dark areas), this comes in handy.
  • BioShock
  • In Vietcong the player has a flashlight that never runs out of power - mainly useful for the mission segments when you must traverse through the tunnel systems of your enemies. However, some players never actually realized they had a flashlight during those missions since they'd never used it previously and ended up negotiating the tunnels in near complete darkness. A case of read the manual in those cases.
  • In Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light, Artyom's headlamp and the night vision goggles share a power source, which can be charged with a universal charger. That is only really vital for the NV, though, which stops working altogether at zero power; the flashlight simply doesn't shine as brightly. But this doesn't mean that charging the power to use the flashlight is pointless - some enemies that live in the dark such as the plated nosalises and the spiderbugs will shrink back in a daze if confronted with a full-ish beam, which gives the player a few precious seconds to introduce their faces to a magazine of military-grade rounds or their bellies to a knife. If you have enough time and battery power, you can just keep the light on a dazed spiderbug and it'll burn up until it dies.
  • Downplayed in Unreal with the Searchlight. It is not in fact infinite: simply, its charge is so highnote  that no sane player is likely to run out of power for it since you get it so late in the base game; if you take long enough to finish the game, it's likely you'll see its charge bar diminish a fair bit before the end. If somehow you manage to deplete it, a task that can happen in the expansion pack, the game doesn't even have tailored a message specifically for itnote . Another big difference from the regular example is that its beam is far brighter than the common flashlight.
  • Painkiller and its expansion Battle out of Hell both have infinite flashlights. In the first game it is literally a flashlight that emanates inexplicably from Daniel's chest (you never see the light itself, but it does flicker, make electrical noises and has a distortion in the center like a normal flashlight). in Battle out of Hell, the light has been replaced with a strange glowing yellow ball in the bottom left corner of the screen. Presumably, this is supposed to represent a lantern or candle instead of an electrical torch.
  • Half-Life
    • Black Mesa, the Fan Remake of the first game, removes the flashlight's power gauge entirely, allowing it to shine as much as you want. Which is good, as the mod is a lot darker than any of the official games, and the beam isn't particularly bright.
    • In Half-Life: Alyx, a key item early in the game is a flashlight that Alyx mounts on the back of her left Gravity Glove. It has infinite juice but only turns on automatically in dark areas, as explained by Russell.
  • Cry of Fear ditches the traditional Half-Life flashlight for the light emitted from the player character's phone. It lasts until the battery goes dead for a plot event, forcing Simon to go through a section using flares that are not quite as permanent or portable as the phone until he can find a replacement battery. The optional Glock-mounted flashlight, the electric lanterns you find in the forest after a train crash robs you of your phone and all your other items and the conventional torch you find at the basement of the hospital all have likewise infinite batteries, Hand Waved in that they are implied to be LED-based and therefore very efficient. The night-vision gas mask you can unlock through "Doctor's Story" mode also applies as a straight example, with the added bonus of not taking up inventory space, and as such not being taken away with the rest of your inventory in the aforementioned train crash.
  • The first two Alien vs. Predator first person shooters avert this trope for the Marines - their shoulder lamps will only last several minutes, and their nightvision drains power way faster (although the power recharges over time, and rather quickly at that). For Aliens and Predators, this trope is played straight, but it's justified by the species' natural abilities and high-level technology respectively.
  • Far Cry features an angle-head torch (several, in fact, but you can only grab one). It's bright, throws a decent distance, and covers most of the screen when turned on, with the downside that it gives your position away. This is in contrast to the later "CryVision" goggles you can pick up, which let you view things in a funky infrared mode without giving yourself away, but have limited battery life in return.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
    • In the vanilla games, you can use the headlamp or whatever Night-Vision Goggles is in your suit at your leisure. However, that doesn't make the headlamp very useful: when it's on, other stalkers can detect you faster from idle state and see you easily when alerted, and it isn't bright enough to navigate the Zone's great outdoors in the darker hours. The goggles outclass it fairly fast, especially the high-tier ones that don't blur the image and don't flicker.
    • The MISERY Mod for Call of Pripyat has the option of averting this with the battery drain option. Both the vanilla game's headlamp (that must be purchased from a trader and equipped, you don't start off with it) and the handheld flashlight you start off with in its place drain the batteries in them if the option is enabled, and they don't recharge, you have to buy new ones.
  • Flashlights, torches, candles and Night-Vision Goggles in 7 Days to Die work indefinitely with no tending to necessary. The mining helmet is also infinite, and will work even if it's technically broken (hit points at 0 and offering no armor protection at all); same goes for any helmet with the helmet light mod installed.
  • In Contagion, one thing you don't have to worry about in the Zombie Apocalypse is battery changes. All flashlights (be them gunlights, the phone's flash or the pocket light) will run forever. The beam is also visible to other players, which can be good for allies with lightless weapons or a danger in a PvP setting.
  • Both flashlights (armor-mounted and handheld) in Empyrion Galactic Survival are infinite.
  • Doom mods feature this quite a bit.
    • The Adventures of Massmouth has the Zippo Lighter "weapon", used to light up the dark areas in the mine level. It can be used indefinitely, but you can't use your guns while holding it.
  • DUSK: The flashlight has unlimited runtime, although you constantly have to find new ones because they always break after long falls.
  • Your basic headlamp in Deep Rock Galactic is powered indefinitely (presumably via your suit battery) but its range is pitiful and its light circle is anemic. By comparison, your throwing flares are much brighter and can light up larger areas, but fizzle out in a mere thirty seconds.
  • HROT: You start off with a flashlight, and batteries for it are never a concern.

    Platform Game 

    Puzzle Game 

  • In NetHack, lamps and candles are available as quite rare light sources. Normal ones burn out eventually, though lamps can be recharged with a potion of oil, but Magic Lamps last forever. Likewise, the Spell, Scroll, and Wand of Light create permanent fields of light.
  • In Candies 'n Curses, flashlights and lanterns of any kind will shine indefinitely. They even last through multiple playthroughs.
  • In Death Road to Canada, flashlights have unlimited juice and remain working so long as they don't break from being used as melee weapons. The unique Tacticop Lite(TM) is unbreakable and can be swung about at will.
  • The Binding of Isaac: the Night Light is a passive upgrade, meaning its effects are permanent rather than reliant on charges. That said, its use as an actual light source is very limitednote ; its main utility is slowing down enemies and projectiles caught in the beam.

    Role Playing Game 
  • The Pip-Boy wrist computer in Fallout 3, New Vegas and 4 can also be used as a lantern with an unlimited power supply, explained in-game by brightening up the screen to max. It's not explained how the light from a single screen shines in a full 360º angle, though. In 4, this also goes for the mining helmet headlamp, presumably because the Sole Survivor uses the Pip-Boy as the power source.
  • An interesting variation: in Final Fantasy Legend II there's a cave where it's too bright to see anything inside, aptly named Bright Cave. You need the TrueEye MAGI to see normally in the cave, but it never wears off, making the MAGI an Infinite... Flashdark?
  • Mass Effect 3 gives the crew weapon-mounted flashlights, but it's plausible to presume they're run off whatever absurdly high-capacity battery is flinging minuscule slugs at absurd muzzle velocities all day out of the gun, and they're never on for very long anyway.
  • Sword of Vermilion has a Ten Second Flash Light in the form of candles, but lanterns and the Luminos spell last until you leave the current dungeon.
  • The move 'Flash' in the Pokémon games lasts until you leave the cave or use a ladder to a new room; otherwise, it needs no refreshing.
  • In Neverwinter Nights, one torch is all you ever need (if you're even worried about illumination, as Hollywood Darkness is in effect even where there are no obvious light sources otherwise). Ironically, about the only light source in the game that will eventually die down again on its own is the Light spell, and that becomes obsolete by the time you find or make the first permanently glowing magic item at the latest.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption has got not only an infinite flashlight, available in the Modern Days, but also an infinite torch, that you use throughout the Dark Ages, that lights up when you get it and stops burning as soon as you put it in your pack.
  • Averted in Dungeons of Daggorath for the TRS-80 Color Computer, where you have three variety of torches (Pine, Lunar, and Solar) that will eventually burn out, requiring replacements. They start to dim as they near the end of their lifespan.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has the Pilgrim's Lantern, found in the underground caves beneath Ebonheart, which will burn infinitely as long as you don't take it into water. This is in contrast to other light sources, which burn out after (fairly short) durations of use.
  • The Pokémon games have dark caves (depending on the gen you either see nothing of the layout at all or a very small area around the player) that can be completely lit up by the move Flash if a Pokémon in the party knows it. The effect doesn't go away until you leave the cave and re-enter, at which point you need to reuse Flash. Ironically, this fits a dual meaning of "infinite", as in earlier games Flash's status as a Hidden Machine (HM) means it could not be unlearned once taught.

    Survival Horror 
  • All Is Dust (2015): The lantern that Thomas Joad carries never seems to need re-lighting.
  • Basingstoke: The flashlight you collect has an image to indicate when it's on and off, but it never shows if the battery's low or not.
  • Blood Breed: You can turn your flashlight on and off at will, but it never needs new batteries.
  • Bram The Toymaker: The Player Character holds a flashlight in their right hand throughout the game, which stays on and always shines brightly.
  • CLOWN (2020): Your flashlight never seems to need new batteries.
  • DON'T LOOK AWAY: The flashlight each of the survivors carry works for as long as the match goes, only flickering as a warning that one of the mannequins has entered a rage state.
  • Michael the firefighter has a large handheld floodlight with during his chapter in Eternal Darkness. It does not dim or even flicker at all no matter how long it stays on, and not due to magick eithernote ; all the game does to explain it is calling it "heavy duty" when you examine it.
  • Eldervale: Ophelia finds a flashlight early in the game that never seems to need new batteries.
  • Fatal Frame series has two examples.
  • You have access to one of these in Five Nights at Freddy's 4, which is justified in that it's not real - the main gameplay is heavily hinted to be the child having nightmares after getting his head chomped in by Fredbear, which sent him into a coma. In the other games... ha, you wish.
  • Forewarned: The flashlights in the game never need new batteries. If they turn off, it's meant to be a clue to help identify the Mejai in the tomb.
  • The Dead Space series plays it straight with the weapon lights on Isaac's guns. Notably, the Dead Space 2 version of the plasma cutter is actually a flashlight combined with a surgical tool. It keeps working with no breaks, no matter how long it stays on or how many enemies he beats to death with it.
  • Livestream: Escape from Hotel Izanami: The girls' sources of light never seem to need recharging.
  • Lunch Lady: The students' flashlights never seem to need any new batteries.
  • The Night Way Home: Rina finds a flashlight on the subway restroom floor after regaining consciousness, and picks it up. Said flashlight never seems to need new batteries.
  • The Maglite in No More Room In Hell, unlike the lighter, produces endless light. Also unlike the lighter, it lights up reliably in one click, doesn't go out while on the move, and can also be dual-wielded with a one-handed melee or ranged weapon with no drawbacks. The tradeoffs are that the beam is not very wide, it's not available by default and must be found, and it takes up about the same inventory space as a one-handed melee weapon; the Maglite itself serves as a melee weapon, but it's even worse than the fists. It's better for lighting on the move through a dark area and for spotting threats, while the lighter is more suited to scavenging the environment. Also, like in Contagion, the beam is visible to other players, so only one person has to have a Maglite out to light the way with, and since there's no PvP, it's purely beneficial.
  • Onryō (2020): Your flashlight never seems to need new batteries.
  • Penumbra
    • The glowstick plays this straight for every game that features it, providing illumination in a wide arc at close range, contrasting with the Ten-Second Flashlight's narrow and far-reaching beam.
    • The flashlight is infinite in the third game, Requiem, although it's implied that this takes place in a surreal, out-of-body experience; in the previous games, it's an old, battery-hungry piece of junk.
  • Phasmophobia: the three different flashlight varietiesnote  all have unlimited juice. They go dim and flicker when the ghost is in Hunt mode, but never outright turn off unless clicked off intentionally - even when dropped on the ground they stay lit, so they can serve as stationary lighting for rooms you do not want to use the light switch on so as to not overload the circuit breaker. UV glowsticks glow indefinitely and being non-electronic, don't flicker during Hunts. The candle is a zig-zag case: when held by a player it has unlimited burn time, but once it's placed down, it only lasts a minute before burning out and becoming unusable.
  • Resident Evil
  • In Silence of the Sleep, Jacob carries a flashlight with him that'll never run out and is his only means of illuminating dark areas to interact with items, as well as to detect monsters sneaking up on him.
  • Every game in the Silent Hill series except for 4. The first game even had an infinite lighter at one point. In Silent Hill 2, contrary to the usual examples, the light dies twice: once when you enter a specific room midway through in the game and you have to change the battery for it to work again; the other happens by the endgame and it's permanent, but thankfully the environment is lit up enough for you to see just fine even in enclosed areas. In all games featuring it, however, the flashlight's beam attracts monsters like moths while having it off allows for a quite effective Optional Stealth, and with the exception of Origins, it's mandatory to have it on to pick up items or read the map, so some light management/discipline is necessary for a high-scoring run on the harder difficulties.
  • Skinwalker Hunt: The Player Character has a flashlight that can be turned on and off, but never needs a change of batteries.
  • The Skeleton: The flashlight neither has any sort of meter, nor does it show any indication of needing new batteries.
  • Sleep Tight (2021): The Player Character's flashlight can remain on indefinitely, with no need to shut off. This is good, considering you need it to fend off the monsters you face each night.
  • In Slender: The Arrival, your flashlight doesn't run out until the final level, where it dies.
  • Slide in the Woods: After your third trip down the slide, everything is pitch black. Luckily you can find a flashlight with some battery life still in it... except said battery life never runs out no matter how much you lollygag.
  • Simon Jarret spontaneously finds one during the first third of SOMA. Turns out, later on, that it's simply grafted into the electronic components of the suit he's wearing as a body.
  • Song of Horror outright tells you in a tutorial message that your light source — be it a flashlight, a lighter or a candle, depending on the character you pick — will never run out, so you're free to use it as much as you want or need.
  • ThanksKilling Day: After the pilgrim killer attacks his family, the boy can find a flashlight that never runs out of power in his house. It was apparently left behind by a repair man.
  • The flashlights the investigators use in White Noise Online never seem to run out of power.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • X-COM: UFO Defense: Electro-flares are lightweight throwable light sources that'll work for the whole mission as long as they're not caught in an explosion or hit by a laser or plasma shot. They can be picked up and thrown again as needed to illuminate the map. The Mission-Pack Sequel, X-COM: Terror from the Deep, has an exact equivalent in the Glowsticks.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Spirit Hunter: NG, Akira carries with him a flashlight that never runs out of battery, regardless of how many dark areas he uses it in. It's even noted in its description that it lasts for an unusually long amount of time.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Played straight in Mist Survival. Not that you'll want to be out when visibility is bad enough to require it.
  • In Subsistence, you start with a glowstick that lasts indefinitely, but gives off very little light and the angry blue color is hard to see by. Much later on, you can craft a proper flashlight, but it can only be used when attached to a gun, and the batteries have limited life.
  • In Unturned, personal light sources all last forever. In the first two builds, batteries did exist in the game, but only as a crafting material to make the handlamp, a variant of the regular flashlight with a wider and more cool-tinted beam that could in turn be crafted into a tactical light. In Unturned 3.0, the infinite battery applies also to headlamps and Night-Vision Goggles. Car headlights used to be a straight example until the battery system was implemented; leaving a vehicle with the lights (and/or sirens in certain vehicles) on will drain the battery, driving around will recharge it, and if it reaches 0% charge, it'll disappear altogether and you'll need to find a new one.


Non-Video Game examples:

    Interactive Fiction 

  • The Famous Five: This trope is averted in that batteries sometimes do run out in the Five's torches. In Five go off in a Caravan, Julian and Nobby briefly get lost underground when the battery in their only torch runs out. In many of the other books, the Five decide that they had better only use one torch to save the batteries, or use candlelight or moonlight instead.
  • Prince Caspian: When the children fail to use long sticks as torches, they use Edmund's electric torch. The trope is averted when it is mentioned that they must save the battery. In the very last line of the book, Edmund laments that he left his new torch in Narnia.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has a few, thanks to magic.
    • Everburning Torches, which are Exactly What It Says on the Tin. They're so inexpensive, almost every adventuring party above level 1 has at least one packed.
    • The Continual Light spell, which when cast on any random handy item turns it into an infinite light source, hails back to the earliest versions of the game.
  • Played straight in a lot of tabletop games, out of Rule of Fun. It's much easier to mark down "flashlight" on a character sheet than "flashlight and 500 AA batteries". This also allows the GMs to shut off the flashlight when dramatically appropriate.

    Real Life 
  • A truly infinite flashlight is obviously impossible. That said, modern day technology allows certain light sources to last a pretty damn long time, possibly even outlasting an emergency situation or extended power outage.
    • Mechanically rechargeable lights can vary. Faraday "shake" flashlights are on the ten-second end of the scale, but crank or dynamo models can stay lit for as long as you keep pumping the internal generator.
    • The advent of high-power LEDs as a substitute for incandescent bulbs was already a great step-up in battery life given the efficiency of the LEDnote , but they have another advantage: the minimum amperage threshold for an LED to provide useful light is much lower than a tungsten filament's, so they can be run at very low currents without problems, with extremely long runtimes as a result. The logical extreme of this is Firefly or Moonlight mode, a brightness level low enough for any nearby light fixture, even natural moonlight, to make it useless, but bright enough to see by with eyes well-adjusted to the dark. Even the comparatively small and gaunt AAA batteries can last almost a week, while burlier lithium-ion ones that run voltages closer to the nominal 3 volts of standard flashlight LEDs put out light for months. Thow a good quality LED drop-in in place of the bulb on an incandescent 3, 4 or 6D work light and forget about changing batteries regularly, especially if the drop-in is only moderately bright.
    • Power banks have very high battery capacity by design. The models with a small white LED can work as an emergency flashlight for a long time with a single charge.