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Interface Screw

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"Where's the wiper button?!"
— Samus's visor after being hacked by a Rezbit, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

Note: For best reading, rotate head 90 degrees.

An event in a video game where the controller buttons are switched around, or the player's display is interfered with.

This may be one of the Standard Status Effects. When it's done well, it can be entertaining or funny. However, done poorly, it may break game immersion and cause frustration. If it makes the game noticeably more difficult to play, then it can be considered a form of Fake Difficulty. If such a status effect is available for the player to use on enemies, expect for it to either do nothing at all due to the lack of an interface between the AI and the game, or cause deliberate Artificial Stupidity to compensate for this. Sometimes used as an intentionally created glitch. Can be utilized by Multiplayer-Only Items. If this is done because the player character has been injured in some way, that's Injured Player Character Stage. If the player's controls have been temporarily limited in order to focus their attention on exposition, that's Expository Gameplay Limitation.


Compare Camera Screw. Some of the examples will overlap. Justified if the game uses a Diegetic Interface.


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  • The Super Game Boy for the Super NES allows you to do this to yourself by choosing the Graffiti option and selecting the option that lets you draw over the game area, as well, instead of just the border. The Super Game Boy guide encourages players to do this for extra challenge: drawing a star over Mario's probable position in Super Mario Land or covering the top of the pit and the Next box with hands in Tetris, for examples. Also, since you can change what color each of the four shades becomes, you can deliberately (or accidentally!) choose a color scheme that makes things harder to make out, or even invisible! Say, a game of Dr. Mario in which two of the pill colors are invisible...

    Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • When fighting Ganon at the end of the storyline of The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, halfway through the fight he will magically change the room you are fighting into a nauseating pulsing-blue theme. The side effect is that all of Link's directional buttons are reversed.
    • In Wind Waker, one of the things a Poe can do, including King Mook Jalhalla, is to reverse the direction your Control Stick makes you go.
    • In Majora's Mask, the screen gradually shrinks when the morning of the next day approaches in order to heighten the tension of the time limit. The screen shrinks to only half the normal size which can often get in the way of what you're trying to do. However, the effect isn't active inside dungeons.
  • The Metroid Prime Trilogy includes various ways to impair your vision.
    • In all games, static fills the screen if Samus is too close to electrical enemies or is hit with some static-inducing attack; during one boss fight in Metroid Prime, destroying the enemy's weak spot causes it to explode with such brilliant lighting that Samus's visor overloads, requiring her to switch visors until it recovers.
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes:
      • The game has an enemy that actually uploads some sort of virus effect directly into Samus' suit, causing the game to lag like hell, turn off all displays, and fill the screen with snow static. Luckily, you can "reboot" with a button combination input.
      • The Rezbit hacks Samus's visor and completely crashes it. The color goes black and white and half-static-filled, the framerate goes completely bonkers, the visor computer spews a wall of gibberish text up on-screen, and nothing works. Handily, the game tells you the buttons to press to reboot the visor, which still takes a moment before it's operational again... by which time the Rezbit may just hack your visor again.
      • The level boss Quadraxis has a laser attack which, upon successfully hitting Samus, causes the HUD to vanish and the screen to go blurry.
    • In Metroid Prime: Hunters, Kanden's charged Volt Driver scrambles your visor for a bit when hit.
    • In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, one of the Visor modes turns into static if an enemy goes into hypermode ... which happens a lot in higher difficult settings. Which makes for some rather annoying encounters when the visor is required if you don't want to shoot blindly.
    • The Metroids latching onto your head cause Samus's visor to fade in and out of static. Also, when it's not in static, you see a large jellyfish-like creature sucking the life force out of your face. Thank goodness for Morph Ball.
  • Castlevania:
    • Barlowe in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia not only has a freezing attack, but said attack disables the pause feature as long as you're frozen, preventing you from, for example, busting out potions if your HP is running low. Argh!
    • Also present in 1994's Castlevania: Bloodlines. In stage 5-1, if either John or Eric gets hit by the pollen, then the player's horizontal control are reversed, and in stage 6-3, the entire stage is upside down, and the player's vertical controls are reversed. Another endgame stage also has disconnected top and bottom halves, meaning that everything above the midway point of the screen (most of the time, this includes the upper torso of your character) appears several character widths to the left of their actual location, making for some exceedingly hard jumps even without any enemies to bother you which you'll invariably run into regardless.
  • Aquaria has several.
    • Some octopus and squid enemies can give you the "Blind" status effect, making a black inky blur to cover your screen.
    • You can also deliberately inflict this on yourself by cooking and consuming hallucinogenic soup.
  • Cadaver by the Bitmap Brothers reversed your directional controls when you drank an alcoholic potion.
  • In Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future, one of the boss fights, Mutaclone, contained a number of egg-shaped stones filled with yellow smoke, and the player is required to break them in order to take down the boss's force field and proceed with the fight. Each time you break one of the stones, the smoke is released, which for a few seconds turns the screen dark and cloudy and reverses the player's controls.
  • The final Boss Battle of Beyond Good & Evil starts off relatively normal, but as the battle progresses the screen blurs, the controls are reversed, and everything happens in Slow Motion, representing the effects of the boss's More Than Mind Control on her.
  • The Winnie-the-Pooh game Piglet's Big Game has many examples:
    • The game involves getting rid of Heffalumps and Woozles using disturbing "Brave Faces" at them, which is apparently scary to them. In order to do said "Brave Faces", you have to press a certain button combination. Some of the Heffalumps and Woozles are able to mess with you so that they can get to you before you get the combination right. For example:
    • The Mirror Woozle rotates the screen clockwise or counterclockwise 90 or 180 degrees every few seconds.
    • The Jackpot Heffalump hides a few of the button pictures when a combination first appears.
    • The Road Sweeper Heffalump sweeps its broom and covers up your combination with a cloud of dust, making the button pictures shaky and blur in and out every few seconds.
  • BlancLand in An Untitled Story is an area where the screen swings left and right. It gets more severe the further you get.
  • In Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat, the Witch Doctor boss has an attack that will screw up your controls. When you first encounter him, that's the first thing he does to you. There's nothing you can do about it, and it doesn't go away; your only choice is to turn your controller upside down and book it out of there. Later, once you've completed a quest for another character, you can come back better equipped to handle the Interface Screw. The Witch Doctor will still mess up your controls, but this time it can be dodged and only lasts for a few seconds if you are hit.
  • In Pokémon Rumble, the Confusion status effect will rotate the player's movement directions randomly... for every three seconds it's active.
  • Shining Wisdom has the Mirror dungeon, which true to its name reverses left and right.
  • In Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey, Clockwork Bogs slow everything and turn the screen green.
  • Near the end of Outcry, everything’s getting increasingly surreal. This even manifests in the loading screens, which will get blurry and begin to swim before your eyes.
  • In Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, equipping the Convex Glasses accessory will zoom the screen in, making it harder to see around you.

  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, one stage has several flying enemies appear right in front of the camera behind Pit, obscuring the player's view. Pit even tells them to get out of the way.
  • When Lara gets poisoned in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, the screen goes all wibbly. To players of the game, this is just a cool effect, but for Level Editor users it's a NIGHTMARE. It sometimes causes the game's graphic engine to collapse and triggers with enemies that aren't supposed to poison you, like bears and dinosaurs.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum:
    • Getting hit in the head with a blunt object (usually a metal rod or pipe) will give you "double vision" for a few seconds until it clears up. Electrocution also messes with the display.
    • Scarecrow's second Mind Screw starts when you enter a hallway that you've already passed through before. Everything looks the same at first... except that the text pop-up that tells you the name of the room now says "Wayne Manor".
    • Scarecrow's third and final Mind Screw, where he forgoes screwing with Batman and screws with you directly. Your game appears to crash, and start over from the beginning, except Batman and the Joker have Swapped Roles and you control Joker as you lead a raving, insane Batman through the facility. Then you switch back over to Batman and are locked in first-person POV as Joker puts a bullet in your head. The tip on the following Game Over screen advises you to "use the middle stick to dodge Joker's shots" (or "tilt the mouse" if you are playing with mouse and keyboard on the PC).
  • Bomberman has the classic skull 'upgrade', where switching the left/right and up/down control is one of the random effects. Makes it twice as hilarious as you can pass this onto another player.
  • Contra Rebirth's final boss fight will rotate the screen, depending on which attack it's doing (fortunately, not your controls), but the gravity works as though you're still right-side up.
  • In Hotline Miami there's That One Level where your character is trying to escape a hospital while barely conscious, and as a result walking too fast causes the screen to go pale, static to take over the edges, the character to sway as he walks and screeching sounds to play exceedingly loudly. If you don't stop moving every now and again your character will be stunned completely for a second or two. To make matters worse, it's an unarmed stealth mission, something that doesn't happen anywhere else in the game.
  • There is an older computer game from around 1990 called Captain Blood (not based on the film; the title's based on a Shout-Out instead). It's space-themed, and the Interface Screw is used to make the game essentially a Timed Mission. It's explained pretty explicitly: you're in a cyborg body because several clones have been made of you which have since run off with your precious bodily fluids. Your condition is deteriorating, so as time passes, your cursor (which represents your hand) will start to jitter, making precise clicking more difficult. Finding the clones and rendering them back down stabilizes you and buys you time to find the next clone.
  • Treadmillasaurus Rex: Later Party +1s add spotlights or flashes which are likely to obscure the action.

  • Early in A Tale of Two Kingdoms, the antagonist sorcerer curses you with inverted mouse controls.
  • In Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, an alien machine causes you to lose your mind, which gradually blanks out all the command buttons on your interface.
  • In Peasant's Quest, when the bucket falls over your character's head, blocking out his vision, he walks backwards everywhere and your cursor controls are shifted around (but not reversed — pressing left makes your character go down, etc.).
  • In Dark Fall: Lost Souls, the cursor's responses becomes sluggish and erratic in a segment where you enter the memories of an alcoholic actress. These effects can be corrected by clicking on an ice bucket, which presumably makes her soak her head in ice water and sober herself up.
  • Inn AMBER: Journeys Beyond, while controlling the ghost of a drowned child, navigating the frozen lake he fell into is made excessively difficult by a heavy bank of winter fog that makes it hard to tell where you're standing, combined with an extra set of diagonal-jump cursors that do nothing but disorient you further.
  • Fantasy World Dizzy:
    • The game features a sequence where Dizzy falls down a well and comes out on the other side of the world, where the game continues, only upside down.
    • The game also contains a bottle of whiskey which Dizzy will drink before setting down. This simulates drunkenness by making him spontaneously roll around every so often.
    • In Magicland Dizzy he walks into a magic mirror, where he moves backwards and the controls are reversed.
    • In The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy, the controls are temporarily reversed whenever you touch a butterfly. The same happens with touching the red bee in remakes of Treasure Island Dizzy. This trope seems to be kind of a favorite for the series.
  • Played for Laughs in one section of Nightmare Ned. Upon activating a puzzle, Ned finds himself buried in dirt in a giant ant farm, and ends up flattened against the screen, which squeaks as he moves along. He even begs the player for help. Pushing a lever with his yo-yo solves the puzzle and removes the dirt.
  • At the end of Episode 4 of Tales from the Borderlands, should you go against Jack and refuse to rule Hyperion with him, he straps you into his control chair and plugs the override port into Rhys' temple to download himself into the mainframe of the station. The four-option dialogue format comes up as you try to call Fiona for aid over the radio, but all the options begin to glitch back and forth, switching between telling her that you're in trouble to assuring her that everything's fine, since Jack is hacked into Rhys' brain. No matter which option you choose or how carefully you try to time your button-press to select dialogue when it's glitched back to alerting her for help, Jack hijacks the speech center of Rhys' brain and speaks through him, forcing him to say that nothing is wrong.
  • The Infocom game Zork I has the Loud Room. Until you figure out what to do do do ... every command you enternote  is ignored ignored ignored ... with a mysterious echoing of the last word word word ...
  • Ad Verbum goes a step further and ignores the out-of-universe commands, if they do not comply with the current rule. A Safe Word (which does comply with the current rule) is given to you by a sonorous voice before entering the constrained rooms so that you can abandon the room without quitting entirely.
  • In Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards, when you drink an alcoholic beverage at Lefty's Bar, the directional controls will randomize of a few seconds making Larry stagger around the bar.
  • There's an in-universe example in Riddle of the Sphinx, when you direct the little robot inside the narrow air shaft. Any time it gets hung up on debris or cracks in the stone it's traversing, you need to keep trying out different buttons on the in-Verse control panel until it moves again.

    Driving Games 
  • In Mario Kart DS, Wii, 7, and 8 the Blooper will dump ink in the face of your driver... and on your screen, partially blocking your view of the road until it drips away. Thankfully this also affects computer players, more so than human players — CPU racers blinded will weave about the track like a drunken clown. The DS and 3DS games allow you to use the touching screen's map to keep track of your driver's current position during this situation. Using a mushroom or speed boost ramp will also clear this effect.
  • In LEGO Racers, one of the power-ups is a "Mummy's Curse" trap that reverses the left and right controls of those caught in it, and slows the cars. If they stop, they'll start backing up. It also tints the screen green and rapidly contracts and expands your view.
  • Occurs twice in racing game Slipstream 5000 — One weapon makes the controls reverse for a short time (or until you suffer a serious crash) and one booby trapped powerup has the same effect.
  • Carmageddon 2 featured the "drink driving" negative powerup, which inverted your controls and did screwy things with the perspective.
  • The final level of Uniracers has the boss uni doing several evil things, including flipping controls, flipping the screen upside down, and slowing down to "Hedgehog Mode".
  • Wipeout Pure's disruptor bolt weapon afflicts the target with one of several random effects, the most infamous being the controller reversing. Especially aggravating if you're hit in the middle of a turn (especially one with no guardrail!) and the fact that computer controlled opponents suffers no ill effect from this whatsoever. This specific effect was eventually removed with a downloadable content patch.
  • Nascar Kart Racing has a power-up that can be used to block another driver's view, which consists of an ad for the driver who used the attack.
  • Iggy's Reckin' Balls: The "Reverse" item inverts all directional controls for about five seconds. How much of an issue this is largely depends on whether you are currently trying to make a tricky jump; in most other situations, you can simply stop and wait it out.
  • Sega Superstars:
    • In Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing the Pocket Rainbow item obscures the victim's view with rainbow-colored slime. Presumably for fairness, CPU Racers will spin out upon being hit by this and the Confusing Star. Beat's All-Star has a similar effect, where he skates up to the other racers and covers them in graffiti.
    • In Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed the Twister item inverts the victim's controls and turns them backwards if they're in a car or boat or upside down if they're in a plane.
  • Getting hit by Electromagnetic Pulse or similar weapons in Need for Speed Hot Pursuit or Need For Speed Rivals temporarily zaps the player's interface, even more so in the latter where the whole display goes corrupt for a few seconds.
  • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 has Extreme VS mode, which is similar to standard VS mode, but, among other things, the distance remaining and distance from opponent counters are obscured, the race length is not shown (the only HUD indicators of a race nearing its end are the "Remaining: 1.5 km" and "___ m till goal / rival crosses finish" displays), and all turn and hazard alerts are replaced with a catch-all "!" alert.
  • Banjo Kazooie: Nuts And Bolts has a really hard mission where you must pilot a large, clunky ball-shaped car through a course... with the controls reversed.

    Fighting Games 
  • One of Thanos's super moves in the Marvel vs. Capcom series reverses his opponent's controls — pressing Left makes the character walk right, etc. However, The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, so CPU opponents will be totally unaffected, rendering this move useless unless you're fighting another player.
  • In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, MODOK's Jamming Bomb will also reverse the opponent's controls.
  • Caffeine Nicotine had a move like this in Samurai Shodown 2; so did unplayable boss Mizuki. In Mizuki's case, being hit by the attack while suffering from it reverses the reversal.
  • Shiki from SNK's SVC: Chaos also has a grapple move that reverses the opponent's controls. As usual, computer opponents are not affected by the control screw.
  • One of Seth's DMs does a piddling amount of damage in exchange for reversing the opponent's controls. And, like all previous examples, it has no effect on AI opponents.
  • This happens with a couple of supers in Melty Blood — for example, Hisui's Last Arc. If successful, the opponent has their controls mixed up temporarily.
  • Xavier the warlock had a "Confusion" power that completely scrambled his opponent's controls (even the directional inputs got mixed up!) in Eternal Champions. Xavier's ranged attacks were almost all bizarre status effects that could qualify as a form of interface screw (like changing the target to a different character or turning them to gold) but the computer almost always blocked them (and since they did no damage, if they were blocked, they had no effect whatsoever).
  • Tosen's bankai in Bleach cuts off all of an opponent's senses. In the DS game, Blade of Fate, it blanks out the screen for everyone except the user. Sadly, it's no good against the computer, because the computer doesn't ''look'' at a screen.
  • Lieselotte's Crimson Gaze attack in Arcana Heart switches up the controls of her opponent if she connects, which can prove to be quite deadly in a Fighting Game.
  • In Digimon Rumble Arena 2, one character's special attack mixes what every button does, including movement. The effects are not consistent from time to time, however. And in the same game, there is an item that mixes who is controlling which character. Damage done will be given to the original characters when the effect ends. Said character with the special attack is MaloMyotsimon/BelialVamdemon, and is probably the only thing that makes him difficult to fight, despite being on the hardest end of the final boss scale in one player mode (Even though middle-scale bosses like Diablomon and Duskmon are several magnitudes harder). Probably heralds back to him being such an Anti-Climax Boss in the show...
  • The Super Smash Bros. have dozens of items which screw with the screen somehow. Annoyingly, none of these Interface Screws have any effect on computer players. There is one exception though....
    • One of the hazards on the Spear Pillar stage in Brawl is the screen being flipped and/or inverted by Palkia. Some people actually practice on that stage just to ensure they will win when the flip happens.
    • Or when Togepi uses Night Shade, and NOTHING happens to the CPU characters. You can't see even if it was your Poké Ball. Very much a killer on aerial stages.
    • The worst offender is the invisibility power up. If the player picks it up you can't see your own character, and if an NPC picks it up you can't see the enemy. Either way the NPC is unaffected and the player is at a huge disadvantage. Oh, and like all power ups, the NPCs know exactly where they are when they spawn even if they spawned off screen. The one advantage is that you cannot take additional damage while invisible.
    • When summoned from a Poké Ball, the Pokémon Manaphy pulls a "Freaky Friday" Flip using the move Heart Swap. You better have learned how to play as the other character!
    • There is an assist trophy introduced in Brawl and also seen in 3DS & Wii U that summons a Nintendog to block the screen in just the cutest way possible. There's also one only in Brawl that summons Mr. Resetti, whose ranting fills the screen in the form of a chat bubble.
    • Brawl and 3DS & Wii U also have an assist trophy of the Devil from the game Devil World that moves the screen's alignment in different directions, or changes its size. This can also KO players who were on-screen, but got cut off.
    • Ultimate added a new effect that centres the camera and causes it to zoom in gradually, tightening the blast lines along with it. It happens naturally during Sudden Death, or the Squid Sisters assist trophy causes it in normal gameplay. When fought as a Dual Boss, Master Hand and Crazy Hand can make a Finger Framing gesture that abruptly crunches the screen down, leaving the player with far less visibility and breathing room.
    • Also in Ultimate is the Ramblin' Evil Mushroom, which, when picked up, will spray spores outward. Any opponent who comes in contact with the spores gets their left and right controls reversed temporarily. How long this lasts depends on how many spores they were exposed to, which is indicated by the size of the mushroom growing out of the character's head. Like most of the other examples on this list, computer players don't seem to be affected much by it.
    • 3DS & Wii-U and Ultimate also have the Nightmare assist trophy, which causes the screen to become completely dark for a few moments.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Mortal Kombat: Armageddon features auto aim for your fireball attack, usually useful. One level features enemies that fire at you from above, only give you a small opportunity to attack them without being attacked yourself, and frequently have enemies appear on the ground next to you to grab the target of your fireball.
    • Rain and Noob Saibot in Mortal Kombat Trilogy. Rain can actually psychokinetically control his opponent for a few seconds, and as for Noob, he can make it so all attacking or blocking is disabled.
  • In X-Men: Next Dimension, Phoenix has a confusion attack that can reverse all of the opponent's controls. Of course, this doesn't really work on AI opponents. Several characters have moves that can prohibit the user from doing super moves, in attempt to correspond to the actual story's weapons that prohibit all mutant abilities.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy has the Ultros summon, which prevents the opponent from seeing both characters' Braverynote .
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:

    First-Person Shooters 
  • Many games (notably Rainbow Six, Counter-Strike and SWAT 4) have flashbang grenades that will disrupt the sound for players near the blast, and cause gradually fading whiteout and/or afterimage of the screens of players looking towards the grenade. Unfortunately, in multiplayer it can be extremely common (especially with less skilled/experienced players) to affect as many or more teammates than enemies. Griefers in Counter Strike often deliberately throw flash grenades at their teammates to mess them up.
  • In Bz Flag, there is are two power-ups that do this. One that increases your FOV, causing a disorienting wide-angle effect, and the other reverses controls.
  • In Clive Barker's Undying, being attacked by a Sil Lith Inhabitant (a bird-like monster first seen in the Oneiros level), will severely distort the protagonist' vision, and the crosshair will move around the screen instead of staying at the center, making it hard to hit anything with your weapons.
  • Downloadable WiiWare FPS Onslaught had a rather clever, if gimmicky version; if you blast one of the bugs at point blank range with a gun, their ichor would splatter all over your helmet's visor, severely impeding your vision and damaging you over time if you don't wipe it off (by swinging the nunchuck controller). Initially you wonder why your melee laser whip doesn't cause this effect despite spilling bugs blood everywhere, until you realize it was probably implemented mainly to let you avoid this condition in the first place.
  • Alien vs. Predator has facehuggers. In the Marine campaign, they're instant death, whereas in the Predator campaign they're more of an annoyance. Either way they will make you absolutely shit your pants.
  • Duke Nukem 3D also does the "monster latched into your face".
  • Rise of the Triad has a "mushroom" powerup that causes a Mushroom Samba: Enemy sprites flash vibrant colors while the player's view moves and sways randomly, for about 30 seconds. The registered version of the game includes a level aptly named "The Vomitorium" which has no shortage of the mushrooms (and jump pads) and can only be accessed via the level-selection cheat.
  • In Death Rally, picking up a mushroom will make the entire track portion of the screen ripple madly until it wears off. Unsurprisingly, this makes driving in the race considerably harder than normal. Unlike most games, the mushrooms do affect the AI. If you can ram their cars into the pickups, they're actually affected worse than human players.
  • Project: Snowblind, a Spiritual Successor of Deus Ex, puts you in control of a soldier enhanced with nano-machines. If an EMP grenade explodes near you, it disables the nano-machines, making your screen fills with static for a short moment.
  • In Left 4 Dead:
    • The screen will get really blurry (and green) if you get vomited by the Boomer or stay near it when someone kills it. In both the cases, the Horde will become frantic to kill that person.
    • After being incapacitated for the second time, the screen goes black-and-white, hazy around the edges, and you can hear your amplified heartbeat.
    • The textures glow a little bit when you take painkillers.
    • Left 4 Dead 2 adds a few more. Using an adrenaline shot will blur the edges of your screen and distort the sound, and taking hits from Mudmen will partially cover the screen with mud. Also, killing enemies with a melee weapon will cause a bloodsplatter effect that can obscure your vision a bit (though this can be disabled by turning the "gore" setting to low).
    • There is also an uncommon infected of Jimmy Gibbs Jr (the racer whose stock car you steal at the end of the campaign) in the final stage of the Dead Center campaign which has a very low chance of spawning. Its normal attacks have the same effect as the mudmen. (Though it is assumed to be motor oil instead of mud.)
    • A particularly odd case is the Hard Rain campaign of the second game. In the second half of the campaign, the area is hit by storms. When the storm is at its peak, visibility is reduced, and voice chat between the players is heavily muffled.
  • Half-Life 2:
    • If you get repeatedly shot with an automatic gun, prepare to see nothing but white. And if there are two people shooting you? Forget about hoping to see. Standing too close to an exploding grenade will also cause a brief ringing sound to play, mimicking the effects of tinnitus.
    • On several occasions in the episodes, Gordon and Alyx get mind raped by a Combine Advisor. Your HUD all but disappears and the framerate intentionally slows down while the frames themselves leave a motion blur as you look around. Definitely a chilling experience.
  • In Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, you'd occasionally encounter jamming devices that would screw with the Head Up Display your character - A US Special Operations Soldier wearing extremely advanced equipment - uses, making it hard to see the closer you got to the jammer. Explosions or artillery fire will also cause this along with temporary deafness. Also, in the Sequel, there's a level where you barely escaped a jeep before it was destroyed, and now your fancy HUD is damaged. This is also used as a warning that you're leaving the battle zone.
  • Blood has tiny spiders that bite the character, making the screen tilt randomly, the movement controls screw up, and the ammo and health counters on the HUD randomly jump between their actual number and a much higher one; this lasts for a few seconds. Blood II has Thief spiders which attach to the back of the character's head and give the same effects, as well as bone leeches that cover the screen near-entirely, though they have to be shaken off.
  • Team Fortress Classic:
    • The Spy carries gas grenades that make enemies exposed to the gas see and hear imaginary explosions, gunfire etc.
    • Additionally, the Scout and Medic both carry concussion grenades, which affect any players caught in the blast by slowly moving their viewpoint in a figure-eight pattern, making it exceedingly difficult to aim.
    • If you are set on fire by the Pyro, your vision is blocked by 2D flame sprites. Good luck if you're playing as the Sniper.
  • Explosions going off near the player in Battlefield 2 will blur the screen, amplify the player's heartbeat, and put in a ringing sound for your hearing.
  • EMP weaponry in Battlefield 2142 is intended to stun vehicles, but also affects your character's advanced helmet optics. (Computer-controlled bots aren't bothered at all, except to the degree that they were aware of your presence.)
  • In Battlefield 3, bullets whizzing past blur the screen, which makes suppression fire effective. The HUD of tanks will also malfunction somewhat when the tank gets hit. Also, getting knifed from behind wrenches the viewpoint from whatever you were looking at right at the enemy who stabs you in the neck or chest then takes your tags.
  • Perfect Dark:
    • The Tranquilizer hopelessly blurs your screen, rendering you more or less completely helpless, for a good 30 seconds and doesn't wear off even when you die, often resulting in five or six quick deaths before the effect finally wears off.
    • The Crossbow (which has bolts laced with tranquilizers) and Throwing Knives (which are laced with poison), which not only induced the blurry effect, but also kept damaging you until you died. The fact that the Crossbow could also kill you instantly in its secondary mode didn't help matters.
    • N-Bombs. A grenade that emits a crackling sphere of dark light that makes your screen look like your eyeballs just exploded. At least you could dodge the tranq darts.
    • Try fighting a DarkSim while it's unarmed. It will punch you so quickly it induces the blurry effect on command. Oh, and then it steals your weapon and kills you a few times for the heck of it.
    • For the same reason do not let a FistSim hit you, or tag-team with a PeaceSim to steal your gun, blur your vision, then blur a lot more while beating you down.
    • In Perfect Dark Zero the Psychosis Gun makes you think your allies are your enemies in the multiplayer mode if you are hit with it. This gun is also available in Perfect Dark but it can only be used in one of the Campaign levels [unless you get the cheat code that lets you use it in ANY level].
  • Halo:
  • In Return to Castle Wolfenstein getting hit by a ghost would completely black out your screen and all you could hear was your characters breathing...
  • In Dirty Bomb, being in the proximity of an explosion will cause your screen to grime up and as your health gets lower, the edges of your screen gets bloodier.
    • Thunder's concussion grenade blinds players in a flash of white light. Those who were lucky enough not to look directly at the grenade, but were in its radius will have their vision gray-scaled and distorted.
  • Common in the Call of Duty series. Close explosions will momentarily slow you down and replace your sound with ringing, flashbangs deafen you and white out your screen, stun grenades blur your vision and render you nearly unable to move, EMPs disable your HUD and other electronic equipment, flares will burn into your vision and leave an afterimage for a few seconds...
  • In Star Wars: Republic Commando:
    • The Flashbang Grenade blinds the enemy for a few seconds, allowing you to shoot it at will. Of course, if you forget to turn away from the blast, you have a hard time targeting a pure white enemy on a pure white screen...
    • Scav Droids and jammers also cause static and HUD glitches whenever you're in close proximity. The former would also attach to your face and drill into your visor, making it hard to see until the repair-wipe thing fixed it.
  • BioShock has several of these:
    • Drink two or more alcoholic beverages in quick succession and your view will become blurry and wobbly. The effect clears after a few to several seconds, depending on how much you've had.
    • Walking under a water leak will cause a gush of water to momentarily run down the screen as if it were a camera.
    • Then of course there is the level late in the game where you've injected the first dose of Lot 192 (the antidote to Fontaine's mind control) and it has the side effect of giving you only one available plasmid at a time, and which one it is changes frequently. Every time it changes, you automatically switch to the plasmid even if you were holding a weapon. The effect doesn't stop until you've found the second dose. And if you think you can limit the effect by only having a couple of plasmids (say, fire and ice), think again: you're switched between all plasmids available in the game, and if you didn't have it before, you only have the level 1 version.
    • Being hit by a Bouncer's Ground Pound attack temporarily blurs your vision and immobilizes you.
  • In Team Fortress 2:
    • Getting hit with the Sniper's Jarate causes the screen to go yellowish and warped until the effect wears off.
    • The Pyro's fire was at first supposed to obscure the victim's screen, but as it is now you can barely make out the flames around the screen edges. In fact, if it weren't for your character's aim shaking and some rather loud exclamations of "I'm burning! I'm burniiiing!" you may not even notice that you are on fire! Ironically, the flamethrower is very good at obscuring the vision of the character playing as the Pyro. Pumping out flames often obscures roughly 25% of the center of your screen, more depending on how much you wave the thing around.
    • The Spy's Dead Ringer and Eternal Reward screw with the enemy kill feed and, in some cases, give out completely legitimate achievements and dominations for kills that never really happened. It's even possible for the spy to disguise as another member of his OWN TEAM, and upon his "death" with the Dead Ringer, it will drop the corpse of the class he was disguised as and provide the name of the particular teammate he was disguised as in the kill feed, leaving the enemy completely clueless that they had even "killed" an enemy spy.
    • Pyroland mode is a form of voluntary interface screwing. When visiting Pyroland (activated by wearing a special item), all of the textures on supported maps become psychedelic and pastel, everyone speaks in Helium Speech, pain sounds and death screams become laughter, and the game overall becomes Lighter and Softer in terms of aesthetics, but harder to play because most people are used to a different look and sound to the game.
    • Players under the effect of bleeding will have their screen turn red and their vision repeatedly jerk slightly from taking damage.
    • In the "Freak Fortress 2" mod (a variant of VS Saxton Hale where players team up to fight a memetic TF2 character like Painis Cupcake or Christian Brutal Sniper), some of the freaks' special abilities do this. For example, Demopan can fill his opponents' screens with fake trade requests.
  • System Shock:
    • The last battle against SHODAN involves trying to shoot her in virtual reality while she tries to take over your mind. This is represented as the screen slowly being replaced with a picture of SHODAN and your crosshairs continuously veering away from SHODAN herself, with the effect getting stronger over time. If the screen completely fills with SHODAN's picture, then you have about 3 seconds of frantic, completely blind firing to try to squeeze out a win before you lose.
    • The Berzerker patches cause your field of vision to go all psychedelic (hallucinations) and reverse your controls. The Reflex patches slow time and movement, which can make you overshoot or undershoot movement and targeting. The Sight Vision Enhancement patches make everything fully visible, as if you were in bright light, but when they wear off, everything becomes as dark as possible while still technically being lit (even activating the headlamp isn't much of a help, though Nightvision is still 100% effective).
    • Also, the player has a cybernetic interface installed, which reacts poorly to EMP explosions. Your vision glitches out and takes a few seconds to get back to normal, which can be deadly in a firefightnote .
  • In later Call of Duty games, every weapon's aiming is affected when looking down the sights; every gun has an "accuracy" rating that doesn't affect where the bullet lands, which is always where the sights are, but rather, how much the sights wobble around. Adding an ACOG to any gun severely reduces this rating. Adding an ACOG to the AK-47 makes it wobble around as much as a sniper rifle. It has the added downside that at least a proper sniper rifle comes with the option to hold your breath, reducing the sway for a bit. While the ACOG is close to a sniper scope, it doesn't let you hold your breath, so if the sights swing around a lot, good luck being accurate!
  • MAG has scope sway for every single weapon. There are various skills to reduce the sway, but even at maximized sway reduction while shooting prone, you'll still have scope sway. The only way to eliminate it entirely is with a bipod, which introduces a new problem when you can't move while the bipod is extended. Red dot scopes don't seem to have scope sway, but bullets don't always go to the exact center of the red dot to make up for that.
  • Descent:
    • After destroying the reactor at the end of each level in the game, you have to navigate to the exit. The whole time your pathfinding is hampered by large random movements of the controls.
    • The sequel has flash missiles which blind the victim by causing a massive whiteout. The battle against the boss which uses homing flash missiles is supremely annoying because of this. And they blind you for longer than regular flash missiles.
    • Earthshaker Missiles. Exactly what it says on the tin. To distract you from the five homing bomblets it spawns, each as lethal as the first game's Mega Missile.
  • In Far Cry 2, your character is infected with malaria at the beginning of the game. Every so often during gameplay, your vision will thusly go all sickly yellow and faded. The only way to fix it is to take pills to suppress the disease; you get the medicine through special side missions.
  • In Dystopia, the EMP grenade and GreenICE deactivate all of your implants and cause a static effect on your screen and sound.
    • Which makes it all so much pleasant to be EMP grenaded by your teammates because "they wanted to deck too", not only having to put up with having your spot in Cyberspace stolen by someone who's usually noob incompetent, but also having to listen to your teammates distorted speak through voice chat, which can sound incredibly annoying.
  • In Bulletstorm, the main character (Grayson Hunt) is an alcoholic who tends to drink any booze he can find. During the game, you can pick up and drink random bottles of liquor, which will momentarily impair your vision and cause you to sway from side to side for a short period of time. Interestingly, there are several achievements and Skillshots (namely, shooting enemies while drunk) you can only obtain by doing this throughout the game.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon:
    • In the games, being near Alma will have this effect, causing static to sound in your radio earpiece and hallucinations to appear. It gets worse in Project Origin, as certain sequences will cause Becket's vision to turn blurry and monochrome, and feedback to sound, indicating that Alma is close.
    • F.E.A.R. 3 has a subtle but very disturbing screw when the Creep attacks. Normally, your health regenerates after a few moments - except for when the Creep hits you. The only way to heal damage is to get out of the area the Creep is lurking in.
    • Additionally, in that game, your vision becoming blurred and/or monochrome is generally an indicator that something bad is about to happen, usually but not always the Creep attacking you. Also, black spiderwebs dancing around the edge of your screen is an indicator that the Creep is close.
  • Red Faction II had EMP effects that turned the screen bright blue and inverted your movement and aiming controls. The EMP supposedly screws with your super-soldier nanotech enhancements. Volition (developer of the Freespace and Red Faction series) seems to love the Interface Screw-by-EMP ploy.
  • Blacklight Retribution looking at the "smoke screen" caused by the Digi-Grenade causes you to get a digital distortion over that area (a whole bunch of various shades of grey boxes with the word Error written on them) and if you get hit by a EMP grenade your vision has a BSOD (which thankfully recovers).
  • In Syndicate (2012), when you're in the AOE of a jammer, your HUD turns fuzzy until you get out or remove the offending source. If you get hit by EMP, the HUD disappears entirely for a short while. When Jack Denham tries to shut your CHIP down at the end, your HUD also goes haywire.
  • Medal of Honor: Airborne has your vision gray out when hit by a melee attack. Being close to an explosion or low on health results in both a Red Filter of Doom and Shell-Shock Silence.
  • In E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy, if you fail to hack a target, they may hack you - plastering a giant smiley face on the center of your HUD. Or by just overloading your implants. Anything that you fail to hack, can hack you back, which includes normally harmless doors.
  • Borderlands and Borderlands 2:
    • The games make use of this in several ways. Status effects, the UI being loaded or having a function enabled, taking damage to shield or health, shield breaking, being covered in web, you name it. The second game, however, has a sidequest that requires you to crash a wake while being drunk.
    • The visual effect of using an Action Skill or the sway of a weapon with very low accuracy.
    • Gaige can have a 1050% damage bonus but obtain -1050% accuracy due to 600 stacks of Anarchy, which means a Gaige player can miss a target at point-blank. But her victims should pray to God they don't get hit by her. And all those stacks causes her view to jerk so hard she may end up facing the opposite direction after a shot.
  • In Goldeneye Rogue Agent, being hit with a Venom Gun causes the screen to flash (and stay) a sickly dark green, while your movement slows. The OMEN X-R causes the screen to flash white as you rapidly dissolve into a little pile of ash.
  • Unreal Tournament turned your screen highly red for every big hit you receive, plus with the "Screen Flashes" option enabled, every time you fire, your screen flashes, and it's particularly annoying with rapid-fire guns such as the Minigun. It's one of the most common tweaks for Competitive Multiplayer to actually disable this screen flashing.
  • Xonotic blurred your screen whenever you are shot.
  • In Space Hulk: Deathwing, the Diegetic Interface on your ancestral Terminator Powered Armor will go haywire when you use Power weapons like the Power Fist, causing your radar and status readout to temporarily go blank.
  • Raw Data's "Soul Decrypt" level takes place in a garden where the very air is psychoactive. The player will start seeing rainbows after a short time, and if they stay in unsafe areas for too long they'll begin to hallucinate enemies who aren't there.
  • In Overwatch, Sombra's Play of the Game animation consists of her taking over other character's Play of the Game.

    Hack and Slash 
  • In No More Heroes, the Rank 4 boss can either invert your controls, your screen, or, if you're really unlucky, both at the same time.
  • In the Dungeons Of Daggoroth fantasy game for the Color Computer as your character over-exerted himself (as represented by the increasingly faster beat of the heart reflecting your stress/exhaustion levels) the screen would start to fade out until if you didn't rest it would go blank as you passed out and couldn't do anything until you recovered (if you didn't die outright from a heart attack from overexertion).
  • In NieR: Automata, when 2B is infected by the Logic Virus, she takes herself to a location to isolate herself so that she doesn't infect the server. As you make your way there, her pod warns you of the level of infection and your screen & sound gets increasingly static. When you reach the bridge, your pod warns you that your head is overheating, which is immediately followed up by your screen going black for a second, then 2B's head exploding in flames (her head is still fine).
    • A more minor example occurs when 2B and 9S battle Eve: towards the end of the fight, their combat functions start to malfunction, and their health bar (which normally takes up a small portion of a screen) stretches until it goes off the far edge of the screen and wraps back round onto the other side.

    Hidden Object 
  • At one point in Dark Realm: Queen of Flames a dragon tells the main character to run because it's "more fun that way." When you click on the magic boots icon to try to get away by turning invisible, it scorns her mother's "cheap magic tricks" and knocks all of the icons off the screen, making you play a simple mini-game to get them back again.

  • EverQuest has two examples: The Blind spell, which blacks your entire screen, causing many a frantic player to think their video card just crapped out; and Booze, which causes your character starts to wobble even when standing still and the entire screen to fisheye horribly.
  • Everquest 2 has a few. If you are drunk or hit with an effect, your screen can blur and if you get drunk enough/hit enough, you will eventually be seeing quadruple. Some mobs also have abilities that give you Sonic Vision, also known as Piss Vision. Finally, in the Estate of Unrest there is an interface screw towards the end as the boss of the zone tries to come out the screen at you.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, a boss named Oktopode can apply the Inked debuff on the entire party, which covers the HP indicator of the party members with a black ink, while giving their attacks a chance to miss.
  • Granado Espada's Wizard stance, Darkness has a skill called Gloomy Darkness that thins down the visibility of your screen for a number of seconds.
  • In World of Warcraft:
    • Drinking enough alcohol will get you into various stages of inebriation, affecting your motor skills and making your character veer off slightly in different directions as they walk, as well as blurring your screen (lower graphical settings excluded). If you get "completely smashed," enemy NPCs will be displayed to your character as having much lower levels than they actually do. And most amusingly, the game will mangle your text chat to others by slurring and misspelling your words. Not that it stands out, however. You shtart talking like thish when you get drunk...hic. Fortunately this does not affect Real ID chat or whispers to other players. This effect led to a very amusing change in one of the earlier patches to the game: "Your character will no longer spout profanity when talking about sitting while drunk." It comes into play during the Brewfest event where getting smashed allows you to see the Wild Wolpertingers scattered about. In the 2007 version of this event, being drunk was required to catch them for a quest.
    • There's also one group of Ogres in the Blade's Edge Mountains that are drinking when you start fighting them. Their attacks consist of hitting you with their (large) mugs of booze, which gets you progressively more drunk as you fight them.
    • The Zul'Gurub Spider has a charge poison attack that takes you instantly to the highest level of drunken-ness.
    • Note that the lower level displays is a bit of Fridge Brilliance. While the other effects like the blurred screen and walking in different directions simulate the effects alcohol has on a person's motor control, the lower levels simulate the overconfidence of drinking. You want to attack that ogre? Why not, right? He's three levels lower than you! Pay no attention to his size...
    • In late January 2011 a lot of players would suddenly hear the Old Gods' voices while they were doing archaeology. But in this case, Blizzard could look them in the eye and tell them they didn't have anything to do with it: it was caused by Deadly Boss Mods, a fan-made add-on.
    • The end boss of Ahn'Kahet: The Old Kingdom has an attack that causes the player to become unable to differentiate friend from foe, leading to them being attacked by illusions of their teammates. Defeating them returns you to normal.
    • One of the mechanics of the Yogg-Saron fight was the sanity meter which starts at 100 and drops slightly when suffering certain specifics attacks of this Eldritch Abomination. You will be Driven to Madness if it goes to zero at which point your character loses control and starts attacking the raid and must be killed. To the player being affected by this though, everyone in the raid suddenly starts looking like faceless minions of Yogg-Saron.
  • Getting drunk in Guild Wars also has similar (but much more severe at higher states of drunkenness) graphical effects, with the added bonus of the drunk player character shouting typical drunk phrases ("I love you, man!"). Not only is there a special title for those who spend a certain amount of time drunk, but there's also a particularly infamous quest that has you performing various acts while ascending up the drunkenness ladder, culminating with having to herd several pigs into a pen while barely able to stand.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online has the Inn League reputation quests. They consist of going to every bar in the Shire and getting progressively more drunk, and other drinking-related debauchery. Eventually, you can black out and wake up in places that one should not be - including on top of a massive stone spire in the middle of the Misty Mountains, with no obvious way up and no pain-free way down. And in snowy areas you can encounter white-outs which make everything onscreen nearly invisible, and at least one monster type can create much the same effect by raising a cloud of dust.
  • Achaea:
    • There are several drugs in Achaea and the other Iron Realms games, with differing effects on the interface. Possibly the worst are drugs that cause the "Amnesia" status effect, where the game occasionally ignores a command after it's entered. Annoying in normal play, deadly in combat.
    • A few other status afflictions do this with the interface. Notably, aeon, which causes a sort of artificial lag, stupidity which replaces some commands with random emotes, and the rather aptly-named recklessness, which causes the player's health and mana to always appear full, no matter their actual values.
  • In Cosmic Encounter Online, the alien species Dork has the power to Annoy by filling an opponent's play field with distracting, bouncing graphics during their turn.
  • Ragnarok Online has 2 of these, but they're thankfully both used rarely enough and for short enough durations that they aren't overdone.
    • Hallucination causes the entire screen to blur in a wavy pattern, making it hard to read anything, see where you're going, or target the enemy you want to hit. It also grossly misreports damage taken (though your health bar will still be correct.)
    • Very often it'll cause your game to run at an amazing 1 frame-per-second for its duration, even on the strongest computers.
    • Chaos screws with your controls in a subtle way - you move the distance you clicked, but not the direction. It's often impossible to tell when it first hits if it's the status effect or just plain lag, especially when making a very small movement.
    • Star Gladiators have a skill, Demon of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, that causes a permanent one of these. It boosts your attack speed by 30% when leveled completely, but each level causes you to slowly lose the ability to see the screen properly. When fully leveled up, you can see nothing but the character itself.
  • Neopets:
    • The old "Secret" version of Meerca Chase (basically Centipede) would switch the right and left direction buttons every time you collected a Negg.
    • Advert Attack takes a fairly standard racing idea, then adds an increasingly relentless parade of in-game pop-up windows that the player must fight their way through.
  • When your health gets critically low in Rift, colors desaturate, normal game sounds fade out, and the Heartbeat Soundtrack starts.
  • Phantasy Star Online has the "Confuse" status effect. When affecting a player, this causes any movement they make to suddenly change directions several times a second (thus making the character all but impossible to control). This can range from annoying (if no enemies are around) to fatal (if any enemies with Megid are nearby). Luckily, it only lasts a few seconds.
  • The Panic status in Phantasy Star Online 2 randomizes your movement controls when it's applied (Making right become down and left become right, for instance), but you can still move properly once you've figured out which direction is which. However, it lasts much longer the aforementioned status.
  • Obscure old kid's Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game Castle Infinity had Brainsuckers, which if you touched them, ate a piece of your character's brain. Which, to the player, translated as dropping a splotch of paint over a random section of your screen. Get hit too a few times, your screen would be entirely covered over and you wouldn't be able to see anything (though a consumable item existed to fix this state.)
  • Taken to extremes by Star Trek Online if your captain gets assimilated by a Borg drone. The screen turns gray, your captain sprouts Borg implants, and you lose control of the character who immediately starts attacking the rest of the away team until either you or they die. Only then do you get to respawn.
  • The now-offline Glitch had Purple Flowers and their distilled form, Essence of Purple, which when imbibed would blur the screen slightly and make text pop up in random places. Additionally, drinking a Pumpkin Ale would temporarily make your character moonwalk whenever moving.
  • On April Fools' Day 2014, Kingdom of Loathing introduced "Australia Mode", in which every image was flipped upside down.
  • Patching And Skinning (that is, making your own graphics) for Furcadia is part and parcel of the whole experience. That being said, Dreamweaver Graphite took this to its most extreme levels with his dream Cold Fusion—which was essentially a game of Atomica built on the Furcadia platform. His dream showed just that Furcadia could be altered beyond all recognition through these means.

    Party Games 
  • Whacked!! has BRBs (Big Red Buttons) that have a variety of effects that either help you or screw you, including 'Fish-Eye Lense'.
  • The fourth volume of the You Don't Know Jack series, "The Ride", had a literal example: When using the series' "Screw Your Neighbor" option, forcing them to answer a question they might not know the answer to and thus "screwing" them out of money (at the possible cost of losing the same amount yourself if they answered correctly), you could repeatedly hit the key to fire a multitude of screws into the onscreen image, forcing someone to answer a question obscured by screws. Naturally, it worked best if you didn't give your opponents time to read the question.
  • The Mario Party 2 minigame Dizzy Dancing. It also pops up in a Bowser minigame in Mario Party 6 that is called Dizzy Rotisserie.
  • In Ultimate Chicken Horse, the Dance Party level renders all characters and objects as black silhouettes, and also has black bars moving across the screen in various patterns, making it hard to see.

  • Done unintentionally in Sir Basil Pike Public School - at one point, your adviser mouse pops up to talk to you... and a game of tennis occurs at the same time, forcing you to look past the mouse to win the match.
  • NES Remix does this in its Remix levels. The levels feature NES games with some oddity: The picture might gradually pixel out, be upside down, be in shadowbox mode (all objects are black), gradually zoom out, or other forms of screw. There are a few levels where you must take Luigi through a mirrored version of a level, left to right. It's harder than it sounds.
  • The Android Scrabble app will sometimes have the controls go beneath the advertisement at the bottom of the screen making them impossible to use. Of course Electronic Arts doesn't seem keen on fixing this as it means if you're not paying attention you'll be tapping the advertisement.
  • Nocturne's ultimate in League of Legends makes the entire enemy team blind and removes their shared vision, setting up the team for a devastating team attack.
  • Some bosses in The Desolate Hope have the "Hackworm" attack, which causes static to completely hide the screen and only disappear for a few split-seconds at a time, making it hard to give commands or view your status to decide what command to give. Since the boss battles are turn-based with ATB, the boss can get in several free turns while you wait for the screen to clear up.
  • In Angry Birds Fight!, Stella's sabotage causes large pink bubbles to float up from the bottom of the screen and obscure the gameboard.
  • The game Emily Is Away involves the game screen becoming an Instant Messenger from the early 2000s. Throughout the game, you write messages to Emily by just typing randomly on the keyboard with the messages you choose appearing. Occasionally, the character you're playing as is too shy to type something, and will change the message. This becomes especially heart wrenching at the end, when the player tries to reach out and ask Emily how she's really feeling, but the player character keeps changing the message until you have no choice but to say goodbye.
  • When The Storyteller character is selected in Crossy Road, the playing field is flipped horizontally, the perspective changed to be similar to the one from Monument Valley. It may seem like a subtle change, but it really changes how one notices obstacles coming into play.
  • Done in Code 7. Since the Alex is a A.I., the entire game is played as a text adventure. Being attacked during hacking will cause the screen to shake and lights to go off. When the narrator gets too agitated, the letters will go crazy and sometimes turn into Wingdinglish. And when S.O.L.I. hacks Alex, the entire screen is oddly coloured, shaking and filled with binary.
  • One of the challenge modes of Warioware Gold is called "Wario Interrupts", where every third microgame, Wario messes with the interface in some way to try and screw the player over. The player can, however, clear most of the obstructions away, such as by blowing into the mic to get rid of Wario's cloud of fartillery. And if the player does well enough, they can instantly clear the current obstruction by sending Lulu after him.
  • There is one status condition in the video game version of Gregory Horror Show titled Confusion, in which the game's controllers becomes reversed, becoming very difficult to move The Guest.

  • One of the first examples was the ZX Spectrum platformer Cauldron II, which featured purple disembodied hands that, if you collided with them, would reverse the right/left controls. These were, in turn, a Shout-Out to the purple flowers in Sabre Wulf, which have the same effect.
  • The Contessa's mind control gaze in Sly 2: Band of Thieves, which puts the player character under hypnotic stupor.
  • Yoshi's Island:
    • The game contains a level called "Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy," in which Yoshi can collide with cotton-ball enemies that cause the stage to warp and Yoshi to stumble around. In the German version, that level is called Lustiges Sporen Drama.
    • If a Grim Leecher hits you, you lose Baby Mario and it starts riding you. Until you get Baby Mario back, your controls are reversed. Fortunately, they're a rare enemy, and not terribly hard to defeat.
  • In Super Mario Maker, one of the sound effects also comes with a visual effect reminiscent of "Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy". It looks like this.
  • Psychonauts has confusion bombs (and confusion rats), which will cause your screen to turn green and fuzzy, and flip around into a mirror version. The left-right keys flip with the screen, and your attack keys switch to three random PSI powers, whose icons you can't see.
  • Prince of Persia:
    • Prince of Persia and Prince of Persia 2 each had a level with a pair of strange potions you could drink to flip the screen upside down and then back up again.
    • Prince of Persia (2008) has The Hunter, a boss who, in every encounter after the first one, has a tendency to spit black crap on the camera/screen so you can't see the battle. It eventually fades, but hitting the boss makes it fade faster.
    • The Concubine boss fires a pink bolt that reverses your controls, causing your attempts to retreat to impel you toward her for a thankfully short time. The Alchemist seems to do this as well.
  • Donkey Kong:
    • In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Kaptain K. Rool has a gun that shoots various status effect "clouds" in addition to cannonballs. The purple clouds reverse left and right, which is problematic because Rool also can suck the player toward him using the gun — so pressing the wrong direction results in rapidly crashing into him. On the other hand, it's less dangerous than the cannonballs, because at least if these hit you you have a chance of not getting hurt. The red and blue clouds induce "slow-mo" and "frozen in place" effects.
    • Poisonous Pipeline in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! swaps the left/right movement of your D-Pad whenever you're in water. This makes the level even more infuriating, because the moment you step out of the water, the controls are reset to normal, meaning getting back on terra firma is a bit of a challenge.
    • Rocket Rush, the final level of the Lost World. The D-pad controls not the rocket itself, but its thrusters; pressing Left activates the left thruster, forcing the rocket to the right, and vice versa, essentially creating reversed controls. The first half, where you're burning Buzzes with your rocket burners, isn't so bad. And then when you reach the midway barrel, the stage goes straight to hell. Your rocket is launched at a ridiculous speed through a corridor. Not only are your controls reversed, but you've got various rock walls blocking your way as you boost your way up. In addition, you've got a limited amount of fuel to get to the top — so limited that one crash into the wall means that you won't make it.
    • In Donkey Kong 64, one of the objectives on the Gloomy Galleon level is for Chunky Kong to go down under the deck of a ship (the sailing one) and retrieve his Golden Banana. Once the player reaches the banana and Chunky does his dance, the whole screen constantly distorts itself in different ways, Chunky's walking animation has him leaning backwards with his arms down, and the walking direction controls are reversed, implying seasickness.
    • A Mini-Boss in is a giant spider (that only Tiny can fight) who shoots globs of webbing which can reverse the controls or freeze Tiny.
  • Jak II: Renegade features an unlockable option to mirror the world and your controls to match. This doesn't translate to the Whack-a-mole minigame, where your d-pad and your buttons (which normally map directly to the 8 holes) are flipped.
  • In Jazz Jackrabbit 2, getting hit by the caterpillar's smoke rings in the Alice in Wonderland levels will make you dizzy (switch around your controls).
  • Kirby:
  • Snake Rattle 'n' Roll: The Reverse power-up inverts the controls, found on levels 3 and 5.
  • ToeJam & Earl has cupids that shoot little arrows at you. When you're hit by one, a bunch of hearts float above your character's head and your controls are screwed up. In addition, there are hula girls throughout the levels that will distract the player characters with their dancing, causing the player characters themselves to dance for a half second here and there as long as they're nearby.
  • In Sonic Rivals, Silver's Psychic Control momentarily flips the left-right controls of your character.
  • The Coral Cave boss from Rush Adventure sprays ink all over the place, and later on in the fight some of that ink is sprayed onto your screen. Just before you get the final hit in, it shoots one last glob of ink at the screen; that time, you can wipe it off with the stylus, but since there are some clean areas at the edges of the screen and you're about to win anyway, cleaning it off isn't particularly necessary.
  • In the multiplayer mode of Sonic Adventure 2, when playing Treasure Hunt mode, Rouge (or possibly Knuckles) can use a special attack that makes the other player dizzy and will mess up their controls.
  • In Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts' Logbox 720, running into the video or sound card will make the screen or sound staticy respectively. It doesn't actually make the game harder to play, it's just a nice touch. It also has a time trial in the Jiggoseum where your rival Trophy Thomas (irritated that you keep besting his times) flips the controls for the custom vehicle.
  • The online game Transformice features some stages that are rotated 180 degrees along with your controls, so left moves you right, right moves you left, and up makes you jump down.
  • Flash developer Nitrome is something of a specialist in these, having used them in quite a few games since its beginnings. As a general rule, the more recent ones are clever (Chained Heat impairs your movements), and the older ones are just irritating (you have to drag yourself along by your teeth.)
  • The freeware game Punishment is all about this, featuring both items that flip the left and right controls until you touch another one and eyeballs that rotate the screen, to say nothing of levels that rotate the screen on their own in a variety of often seasickness-inducing ways.
  • P.P. Hammer And His Pneumatic Weapon, a German puzzle-platformer for the Amiga, had one level in which the controls were reversed. Why? Here's the description of the level: "Tasting the winecellar had made you a little drunken".
  • The Adventures Of Rad Gravity has a planet, Turvia, where the screen image is flipped (hence the name), as well as the controls. Can be frustrating when jumping over Bottomless Pits, especially the ones in the beginning with the Goddamned Bats, aka flying sharks.
  • In Actraiser 2, the last segment of the King of Lovaous' mind before Lust/Deception is an area where you must navigate a maze of harmful blue jelly. When the screen rotates, your controls rotate along with it.
  • The hidden "Null Driver" in Iji randomly and thoroughly screws up all the game's graphics in the most dramatic possible ways. If you're lucky you can still see the floor. And it can be used repeatedly until you get an effect you "like". It also had the side effect of being permanent until the game itself was exited and restarted, which can make things ridiculously irritating when you realize it can disable upgrade stations altogether.
  • Mr. Dark from the original Rayman inflicts various effects on you throughout the final level, such as reversed controls and disabled abilities. Fortunately for the gamer, the keyboard mappings can be flipped in the options menu (right is left and left is right), which the game will then reverse to the correct orientation, allowing normal play.
    • RaymanLegends features the infamous 8-bit Remix series, figurative and literal Remixed Level editions of the Musical Levels. Compared to the regular ones, they feature massive amounts of interface-screwing (ranging from a fisheye lens camera to the screen splitting into 64 smaller screens) and no checkpoints. Some of them make the screen practically unusable, though thankfully the Musical Gameplay present in those levels means you can simply ride the beat to the end goal.
  • Braid does this by introducing a new time-travel game mechanic in each world. For instance, one world has time go forward when you move right, and backward when you move left.
  • In the Super Mario World hack Super Kusottare World, the start of the third level has a section involving swimming through an underwater maze of deadly spikes. Which would be fairly okay, except the water is completely opaque. You can't see where Mario is at all in the water, just solid color. See for yourself.
  • In The Simpsons: Bart's Nightmare, if you touch the music notes coming from a flying sax, you'll moonwalk for what feels like a minute.
  • In the Karoshi games, there are many levels that involve an Interface Screw, for example: Zooming in on the character, rotating screen, making you unable to jump, clicks spawn the player character, restarting the level creates a clone, going in the menu kills you, going in the menu makes the character appear in the menu (you can and have to control him), being unable to go left, jumps get less effective with every jump, jumps get more effective with every jump and much, much more.
  • Purple features a glowing green skull touching which will result in reversed controls, a tilting screen, being unable to enter doors and a green-tinted character.
  • Secret Agent has the question mark "powerup", which reverses the left and right controls for a while. "You feel a bit confused!"
  • In Rockman 4 Minus Infinity, Rock/Mega Man had to explore a pyramid. When he was inside the pyramid, Mega Man was affected by the curse of the pyramid. The curses are chosen as Mega Man progresses through the pyramid:
    • Reverse: Up/down, left/right, B/A, even select/start are switched
    • Hopping: You can't jump on your own, but it jumps for you every couple seconds.
    • Berserker: You shoot as if you have turbo fire pressed.
    • Roulette: It selects one of your items at random every few seconds.
    • Minimum: One shot on screen at a time. The shot also travels slower.
    • Fidget: You won't stop moving in the direction you're facing.
    • Slipping: You'll continuously slide except when you jump.
    • Fetter: You can only jump and shoot.
  • In Super Marisa World, this is the gimmick of the fight against the Moon Rabbit, Reisen. As she takes more damage, the screen steadily begins to warp, making it more difficult to place your jumps.
  • In Vexx, one Wraitheart in the Under is collected by completing a simple platformer segment...while the screen is upside down.
  • Speedy Eggbert 2 has numerous signposts with the main character on it which cause him to moonwalk temporarily.
  • The purple stars in Jumper Redux and Jumper Two Editor reverse Ogmo's movement until he catches a yellow star.
  • Indie game Perspective does this at its finale. After you finish the final room, your only option is to select "Exit Game" from the menu. After doing so, your desktop pops up, seemingly ordinary. However, attempting to do anything reveals that the game is still running, and has modeled the Very Definitely Final Dungeon after your desktop. After a few seconds "your desktop" collapses, revealing the final portal; as you walk towards it the credits roll, and once you enter it you're taken to the main menu and can exit for real.
  • Rogue Legacy has a variety of random traits your character can be "born" with. If they have dyslexia then all text, including the area names is scrambled, while vertigo means that all rooms, everywhere are mirrored vertically.
  • The Mario fan game Revenge of the Walrus has this in both the 'drug' themed levels, with the Cannabis Creek level having the screen slowly spin 360 degrees non stop after you accidentally touch one of the bushes in the level, and the Divide by Zero like level has the lights go on and off Blackout Basement style when you touch the drug warning poster (and then stop once you reach the next one). Both are rather disorienting.
  • In Super Paper Mario, a spell that inverts the d-pad of the Wiimote is seen.
  • Pepsiman has sequences where Pepsiman gets a garbage can stuck on his head, which inverts the player's right and left controls.
  • Clustertruck, when connected with a Twitch account, has the "Inverted" event, which flips your controls for a short period of time.
  • Me (2017): Touching "Drink" makes the game and platforms seem shakey.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Tetris:
    • Heboris Unofficial Expansion's Versus Mode has a number of items that fall under this trope. "X-Ray" turns the field invisible, with a scanner running through it to give you a brief glimpse of the screen. "Hide Next" turns off your preview pieces. "Grandmother Block" turns your blocks into black-and-white (or green-and-white, depending on your rotation system) "[ ]" blocks a la the original Tetris and Tetris: The Grand Master 3 Shirase Mode's last 300 levels.
    • The Premium Missions in Tetris Friends sometimes have these too. For example, in "Gorilla in the Minos", there's a gorilla standing next to the game area, and clearing lines will hurt the ape. He will hold out a banana to obscure the next Tetrimino to be sent out into the matrix, or he will throw it onto the hold queue, obscuring which piece you're withholding temporarily. Occasionally, the gorilla will get enraged and attack the game area, screwing up the hole placement in the lines. Once his health is completely empty, he will finally run away and you can continue your game normally.
    • Tetris: The Grand Master has a code you can enter before starting a game to turn the playing field upside-down. It makes the game much harder.
    • The entire gimmick of Lockjaw: The Overdose, a homebrew Tetris clone for Game Boy Advance, is the playfield doing a Mushroom Samba.
    • An unintentional one in Tetris 99: the game will display garbage attacks to opponents in the form of bunches of stars and sparkles. Though not normally a problem on their own, they can really clutter the screen and your playfield if the attack is big enough and you've targeted enough opponents, especially since they emanate from whatever lines were cleared to start the attack.
  • Roll Away has two: Lethargy Pills cause everything to slow down except the timer, which ticks much faster, and also messes around with the camera. Elastic Pills force you to jump continuously until the level is cleared (usually these will be necessary, though, as if you jump forward under the effect of one, you'll jump three spaces instead of just two.)
  • The flash game Invisibility is entirely about this trope. In each level, you have to click on the start button, then, without touching the walls get to the finishing button and click on it. The problem? Once you press the Start button your cursor turns invisible. To top it off, most levels are Nintendo Hard by themselves anyway. At least you could cheat...
  • Played with in the online game This Is the Only Level. In fact, the whole game revolves solely around Interface Screw.
  • Another online game, Disorientation, also revolves around interface screw.
  • In Eets there are anti-gravity aliens and marshmallows.
  • In MariAri, a Mario & Wario Touhou-themed clone game, Sakuya's ability is to stop your mouse movement for a short period of time (along with setting some knives on the stage), being dangerous and potentially driving Alice to her death.
  • In Superior Software's Ravenskull, two levels have traps that reverse your direction controls. In the PC remake, Level 4 of the new scenario "Castle Danube" contains a trap that reverses every second keypress, which is confusing as hell. If you play as the wizard, you are immune to both effects, but the game never tells you this.
  • The final boss in Zuma's Revenge has an attack which reverses directions on you. Not too bad since you're using a mouse and the only directions are left and right, but still fairly annoying.
  • In LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, getting hit by Blackbeard's projectiles reverses the target's directional movement.
  • The Apple Macintosh game Diamonds (and the clone Go Bonkers on the Sega Genesis version of Action 52) has bricks that reverse the controls.
  • Jardinains 2! has the Paddle Scrambler powerup, which reverses the controls of the paddle. Catching another one will set things right.
  • Yoshi's Cookie has three different effects you can inflict on your opponent to mess them up. Blind causes the center portion of the playing field is covered up by ? panels in a 3x3 grid. Panic causes all cookies in the playing field to constantly scramble and disables the player's inputs. Slave has the victim lose control to the player who caused the effect, causing the victim's movements and cookie shifting to mimic the "master's" movements and inputs.
  • Pony Island revolves around a satanic arcade machine that is constantly breaking down. The main goal of the game is to work out how to undo the interface screws that are breaking the mandatory minigames. Asmodeus.exe, the game's third boss, screws things up even more by trying to trick the player into looking away from the screen by faking Steam messages, social media notification sounds, and even temporarily "freezing" the game.
  • The Witness:
    • Objects such as trees and rocks can block panels depending on what angle they are looked at, preventing one from drawing lines through the obstructing objects and forcing the player to find the proper angle to observe the panel from.
    • The endgame area features increasingly broken puzzle panels whose grid rotates or moves, panels that flash rainbow colors and make it hard to discern the true color of symbols, and a set of panels which you control simultaneously and must solve all at once.
  • In Disney Emoji Blitz the final challenge for Halloween 2018 involved this. Bugs would perodically crawl across the screen, keeping you from swiping emojis or activating power-ups if the bug was on it.
  • Puyo Puyo 15th Anniversary has a mode like this, which can be disorienting if the roulette wheel lands on it unexpectedly: Searchlight. In said mode, everything in the play area is completely dark, aside from the piece currently being placed and whatever the titular constantly-swaying searchlight is currently illuminating. It's up to the player to try and remember where the pieces they've already placed are.
  • Catherine has the Immoral Beast boss in the final night of the third stage, who can rain down an attack on Vincent that, if he's hit, causes your controls to temporarily reverse themselves.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • In both the Star Trek: Armada games, the Borg diamond has a special weapon, nanites, which, if used successfully upon another player, will cause all of their interface elements to float around the screen for a few minutes. Not really a serious gameplay tactic (though it disables the hotkeys of affected players; which slows down their usage of special attacks), but often garners funny reactions — perhaps just as much for the in-game reactions as much as the player's reactions. Says one Klingon, "Ack! Borg nanites!"
  • Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising has your Battle Room interface glitch out during an early mission, making issuing commands harder. It's mostly meant to convince the player to try out the alternate method of issuing commands.
  • Deadnaut has three ways of doing this, tied to three signal levels that the enemies in the game can interfere with. If the AUD meter goes down, your crew probably won't receive orders. If VID goes down, the viewport starts glitching up. If DATA goes down, every other part of the interface glitches up.
  • In Battlezone II: Combat Commander, approaching an enemy Scion Jammer will cause your Enemy-Detecting Radar to malfunction, blanking out any enemy or friendly contacts and causing the wireframe terrain display to glitch and vibrate. In the campaign, it also causes messages from Mission Control to become almost indecipherable.

    Rhythm Games 
  • Guitar Hero 3's battle mode revolves around doing this: The goal is to make the other player screw up badly enough by, for example, making his notes blink annoyingly or reversing the button order.
  • Dance Dance Revolution Mix has the Trick course in Oni / Challenge Mode. The first stage is on Boost, which makes arrows start slower and accelerate as they move up the screen. The second stage adds Reverse, which makes the arrows move top-to-bottom instead of bottom-to-top. So far, fairly reasonable, and both modifiers are selectable normally as a Self-Imposed Challenge. But the third stage swaps out Boost for Brake, which makes the arrows slow down. To almost a halt. Which makes it hard to tell exactly when you're supposed to hit them. Then the fourth stage ditches the previous modifiers for "Fuwa-Fuwa", which pulsates between 0.25x and 1x scroll speed, making the arrows squish together and then move back apart in an accordion-like manner. Then the final stage is MAX 300 on 0.25x scroll speed, which results in runs of 10 arrows per second being smushed together so that the 10 arrows span about 1/4th the height of the screen. This shows up again later in the DDR series, and in the fan-tribute/spiritual successor to DDR, In the Groove.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin:
    • There's a battle mode where each player has a bomb, which grows bigger and bigger, covering more of the screen and blocking your view, until one of you makes a mistake. The mistake triggers the bomb, causing that player to lose.
    • The second installments feature boss battles, in which the bosses use different kinds of methods to block your view. Most annoying is Botan's, which covers the screen in black.
  • In the Gitadora series, starting from V6, there is now a "Quest Mode" which imposes various interface screw challenges like the above mentioned Trick Oni DDR course.
  • Several of Konami's BEMANI series games (DDR, DrumMania, Guitar Freaks, IIDX, etc.) allow the player to toggle self-imposed interface screw challenges. Things such as speed mods, hidden mode, sudden mode, stealth mode, reverse, shuffle/random, etc. Depending on the game and the song, sometimes these mods make the game easier, other times, harder.
  • When you run low on health in Brütal Legend, your screen goes red and the sound goes really really faint, with only your heartbeats perfectly audible. Good thing Eddie has Healing Factor though.
  • Stepmania:
    • Much like the aforementioned Dance Dance Revolution, stage modifiers are avaliable. In addition, the game supports scripts of "attacks" (either within Nonstop courses, or attached to a song) that allows the modifiers to be activated with different timings, strengths, and so on. This feature was introduced for the SM-based In the Groove, which dubbed it "Marathon" mode. Naturally, people started seeing how far they could push it.
    • A restored bug handled negative-tempo designations oddly, causing the arrow sequence to skip forward immediately. Several stepchart writers have had some fun with this. (The second video shows both negative-tempo tricks [see 4:50, when the circular "mines" turn back into arrows] and what is essentially the game itself throwing predetermined Battle Mode attacks at the player.) Here's said bug taken to its logical extreme.
    • The branch of StepMania that In the Groove 2 used (popularly known as 3.95), and to a greater extent, StepMania 5, support Lua scripting (either within XML-based actor files for the former, and all actors using Lua scripts on the latter). Normally, this is used with an API for themes to build screens and add interactivity. However, the system for doing background animations for songs also uses the same actor system and hooks, and because just about everything on-screen (including the arrows themselves) are an actor, and can thus be grabbed and manipulated by these scripts, this, naturally, has already been experimented with and abused by many people. More than once.
    • WinDEU's "Cloud" track may as well be called "Interface Screw: The Simfile"!
  • Pop N Music has the "Dance Ojama" modifier, in which the song's character, instead of appearing in their box on the right side of the screen, appears on your playfield instead, doing their "dance" animation and blocking your view of the screen. The distractiveness of this modifier ranges from song to song; one song could just have the character in the center of the screen dancing, while another could have something going on across the width of the screen. As if a colorful-looking game with Surprise Difficulty wasn't Nintendo Hard enough...
  • Rhythm Game In the Groove has a Marathon game mode which lets the player play a set of 4 or so songs one after the other. Most all of these come with gratuitous screws to how the arrows are displayed, some worse than others. Here's a video. Yes, it is easier to read that (after learning some rhythm) than it is to memorize it.
  • UK Sight Reading Tournament, which uses a modified version of In the Groove's Marathon mechanic, takes this trope Up to Eleven. Behold, "Dying Breath of Stokesia". Some of the mod effects include parts of the interface becoming the notes, while still changing in real time, and the notes becoming notes from other rhythm games. All this pales in comparison to the song's bridge: the notefield displays on one screen in a pile of televisions and is skewed accordingly. The correct TV changes every few seconds, and the last two are rotated.
  • Techno Kitten Adventure not only has several objects and flashing colors thrown in the background to throw you off-guard, but there are also moments where, for instance, your scores fly through the background and several sections of one map literally renders the entire screen reversed for a few seconds.
  • Some of the games in the Rhythm Heaven franchise will obscure the action at certain parts, to encourage players to follow the music instead of the visuals.
    • "Freeze Frame" from Rhythm Heaven DS has a crowd of spectators blocking the view of oncoming cars, as well as a few folks walking across the camera directly in front of the player.
    • A lot of the games in Rhythm Heaven Fever do this as well: "Samurai Slice" not only uses falling snow, leaves, and cherry blossoms, but obscures the whole screen at one point with transparent slides explaining the mini-game's Excuse Plot.
    • Some of the challenges in Rhythm Heaven Megamix feature a variant called "Monster Run". As you play one of the mini-games, the screen slowly zooms out to show a monster that will eat the play field and earn you a game over if it zooms out too far. The only way to reverse the zoom out is to score "Aces" by timing your button presses perfectly.
  • Upon fulfilling specific requirements in Arcaea's World mode, when you attempt to play the track "Axium Crisis", the game appears to glitch out, with the sound going haywire, the note track changing angles, and the background image breaking up into pieces. The track then cuts out to introduce the game's Final Boss track, "Grievous Lady".
    • A similar thing happens when certain requirements are met while playing "Ether Strike". The screen will gradually fade to white during the song, making the notes harder and harder to see, with your life meter gradually decreasing. Surviving this long enough causes the music to fade entirely and cut out to the other Final Boss track, "Fracture Ray".

  • In the Chocobo's Dungeon games, confusion will make Chocobo attack or move in a random direction. Fortunately, the effect is brief, and if you're not in danger, you can remedy it by walking in place.
  • The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series has the Confusion status, which functions in the same fashion as the aforementioned example, and the Blind status, which blacks out your surroundings and causes any items or Pokemon in the vicinity to appear as question marks or substitute dolls, depending on the game.
  • In Baroque:
    • The Confusion status effect makes directions to change wildly, making it all but impossible to move.
    • Being affected with the Lust status effect turns everything into the same floating kimono-wearing figure : items, enemies, traps and the main character all look the same.
    • Darkness will turn your screen black, and Silence will make it so that the only sound you hear is the background music, although the latter is mostly harmless. As a matter of fact, both of these status effects are necessary to get the "I Am The World" Baroque, where you must fuse with the Absolute God while blind and deaf.
  • NetHack has a Rogue level, a Shout-Out to the game that started the Roguelike genre. For the duration of the level, all the graphics are changed to be as close to the original Rogue as possible. Even if you're playing with graphics mode, everything is in Rogue's ASCII.
    "Welcome to experience level 4. You hear the studio audience applaud!"
    "Your sacrifice sprouts wings and a propeller and roars away!"
    "The possessed waffle iron hits!"
    • WazHack, an all-graphics variant, makes the background go a glowing, wavy yellow and the monsters, including your pet, turn into random geometric figures when you're hallucinating.
  • Rogue itself had the hallucination effect and and the blindness potion ("A cloak of darkness falls around you"). Also an Umber Hulk's gaze could confuse you, shuffling your directional keys.
  • In Liberal Crime Squad, there is a minor example: if free speech laws go Arch-Conservative, swear words and pickup-lines are replaced by Gosh Dang It to Heck! vocabulary and lines that makes no sense, respectively.
  • Crypt of the NecroDancer:
    • The game has some effects like this. They are worse than usual since this game, unlike other Roguelikes, does not leave you with much time to think (unless you are playing as Bard).
    • Picking up the Sunglasses will give you +1 damage, at the cost of making all enemies into silhouettes.
    • Liches and Confusion Traps in area 4 can cast a confusion spell on you which flips your controls.
    • Cadence of Hyrule has some enemies use deafening magic or riff loudly on guitars; this deafens you to the beat. This is a bad thing, since acting in time to the beat is at the core of the Necrodancer experience.
  • Golden Krone Hotel has the Delusion status effect, which randomizes the appearance of everything. The effect is permanently applied in the Pharmacopeia level, making it hard to distinguish normal enemies from the boss.

    Role Playing Games 
  • In addition to making it likely you'll hit your friends, if the person leading the party in Breath of Fire III was Confused, your controls flipped. Thankfully, you could rotate them out of the position until the effect eventually faded.
  • Ōkami: During one boss fight, the enemy can take control of your paint screen to paint its own attacks. This happens if you take too long doing your own brush strokes. This is the only enemy capable of this and prevents the player from using the brush screen to pause and strategize.
  • EarthBound:
    • The game features one of the Status Effects — Mushroomization — that, once outside of battle, will randomly change Left, Right, Up, and Down on the D-pad to other directions, always in relation to each other. This will change every 20 seconds until the mushroom is removed.
    • MOTHER 3 does it again with "Feeling Strange". Outside of battle, your party winds up walking in the opposite direction you intended to go. Luckily, this fades very quickly.
  • Survival Kids for the Game Boy Color has an effect (referred to as "Confusion" in-game) which rotates the primary directions clockwise (left -> up, up -> right, and so forth) that kick in if the player eats the right (wrong?) type of mushrooms.
  • Terranigma has a confusion status which changes the directions of the D-pad. The direction change every time the confusion message shows up.
  • In several areas of Odin Sphere, your minimap is unavailable.
  • Pokémon:
    • The underground areas of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl have a "Confuse Trap" item, which scrambles your movements so you go in a random direction. For example, up goes up, left goes down, right goes up also, and down goes left. Which is a crippling disadvantage as it's used in Capture the Flag.
    • Platinum also has a form of Interface Screw when you encounter Rotom in the Old Chateau. The screen will be embossed and jiggle around before the fight itself, suggesting that the Rotom took control of your DS, effectively also making this an example of The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You.
    • There's also what happens when you've got a Pokémon in your party with a Poisoned status effect inflicted on it; every few steps, the game's graphics go haywire for four seconds and there's a very unpleasant metallic screeching noise. Your Pokémon loses 1 HP every time this happens. But from Generation 4 and on, if this would cause the Pokémon to faint, the poison miraculously goes away. It's worse when you're moving very fast, especially with the Mach Bike in R/S/E.
  • Secret of Mana has a Confuse effect that reverses your controls (up is down, left is right, etc) until the end of the effect, which wears off with time. (Confuse can be remedied by going to the controls section and pressing L or R to reverse the D pad. Or holding the controller upside-down...) Its West-Coast cousin Secret of Evermore has the identical Confound.
  • Headless Prisoner has the Death Corridor. While walking through it, the game begins to stutter and stop, finally popping up a 'the game has crashed' window, except Erina's footsteps can still be heard. It's all a trick. Fortunately, the preceeding room has a sign on it that tells the player to keep walking, no matter what happens.
  • In Wild ARMs 1, if the lead character became confused, they would respond incorrectly to the controls outside of battles. This could be easily remedied by changing the lead character, which could be done in three buttons (start, down, X), making it not so annoying.
  • In a fourth-wall breaking moment of Super Mario RPG, Bowyer pulls out representations of your controller's Y, X, and A buttons. When he shoots an arrow at one of the buttons, its function gets disabled until he hits another button, which re-enables the previously disabled button while turning off the one he just hit.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Iggy Koopa, rather than simply start the boss battle right there, spins around Mario and Luigi to make them dizzy, then has them navigate a path like that. If they run into a fireball, they have to start over. And the effect lasts until you reach the end of the path. And it's different every time. And also, you can't jump for some reason and you're slowed down to like half speed.
    • In the remake, he also screws with Mario and Luigi's stats, swapping them around by casting magic on the menu itself.
  • Chrono Cross had the Flu status ailment, which would cause a slight amount of this when moving on the overmap, as an incentive to, you know, cure it.
  • In Boktai, confusion scrambles your D-Pad, EarthBound style, while poison and stomach ache causes the screen to pixellate like crazy whenever your character is moving.
  • Confusion happens somewhat often in Radiata Stories. When a character is confused, the controls switch constantly, enemies and allies alike become targets, and not even locking on can save you. Mercifully it wears off. In addition, when the Player Character is hit with Blind, the screen becomes incredibly pixelated.
  • The more you drink in Fable and its sequel, the more the camera will start to swim. Literally, it basically turns to water, rippling and eventually dripping down the screen. Drink way too much, and you can't even tell what's going on, except through sounds.
  • Tales of Hearts adds the Reverse status to the series list. It inverts the up/down and left/right directions on the D-pad, and for some reason is the characteristic status of the Light element. Its version of Blind also makes everything black and invisible except the affected character.
  • Xenosaga Episode 2: The fight with Albedo contains an attack where he hides your status window. Luckily he'll reveal it for certain before he gets serious, and won't hide it after that. Before that point, his attacks aren't all that dangerous, and you can still check your character's health by trying to use healing items on them and hovering the cursor over them, it's just a little more inconvenient.
  • Confusion status in Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean made the magnus numbers start rotating, causing you to have to try to get the number you wanted (and often fail, which would mess up your combos). The Headache status just shifted the numbers from the corners over to the edges, which was a minor nuisance at most. Strangely, it was also possible to inflict these conditions on the enemy (even though they had no interfaces to screw with) causing them to either use half as many attacks or skip every other turn.
  • Ultima:
    • In Ultima VI, drinking alcohol causes the party to go in random directions when travelling instead of straight ahead.
    • Ultima VII and Ultima VII Part II replace NPC dialogue with gibberish when the Copy Protection questions are answered incorrectly.
    • Mushrooms in the Ultima Underworld games cause the graphics to go psychedelic.
    • In Ultima VIII: Pagan, if you drink too much beer, you stumble around drunkenly. Eat the wrong mushroom, and the same thing happens, plus everything changes colors.
  • Deus Ex had both alcoholic beverages, zyme (a narcotic), and tranquilizers shot by some opponents.
    • In the original game, zyme just caused massive and long-lasting vision blurriness. In the fan-made mod Shifter, a dose of zyme induces a short period of increased strength and Bullet Time-like speed, and then you suffer the comedown.
    • In the original game, if you drink enough you'll notice that the alcohol also super-zooms the player's vision... its possible to use it as substitute for binoculars or a scope as it doesn't restrict your vision as much, just don't get involved in a close fire-fight while doing it as it can take several seconds to pan across to something that would normally sit on the edge of your crosshair.
    • Deus Ex: Human Revolution includes a sequence in the third Tyrant fight where if you got the biochip upgrade earlier in the story, your HUD goes through massive glitches over the course of the entire fight. It also has alcoholic beverages that mess with your vision. Getting too close to an EMP effect, assuming you haven't purchased the upgrade that renders you immune, will knock your Diegetic Interface offline for a few moments and force it to reboot. Similarly standing too close to a concussion effect (translation: a flashbang) will blind you unless you buy an upgrade. Finally, the screen tints red if your HP gets low.
    • The spin-off Deus Ex: The Fall does this too with the EMP grenades and such, and when Ben is having neuropozyne withdrawals.
  • Two mods for the original Deus Ex also feature this.
    • The Nameless Mod has one level when you upload an insane AI to your brain. He'll spin around your vision as you frantically try to find a computer to dump him into.
    • 2027 features two examples. The ending of the first mission has this start up before fast forwarding two years afterwords. After the end of the Paris lab mission, this will come up, which makes it even worse if choices made up until then have resulted in an ambush outside the labs.
  • In Fallout 3, if your head gets "crippled" from taking too many hits, (described on the Pip-Boy as a concussion) your vision will go slightly blurry, and there'll be an annoying ringing noise. It will also make it ever so slightly impossible to walk in a straight line (you'll drift left and right just a little bit). Luckily, it's easy to cure.
    • Also, the screen will start to bloom excessively from the outside in, making everything blurred. Luckily, this goes away after a few moments, but it repeats until you get yourself fixed up or use a healing item (which you can apply directly to the limb, or heal yourself to heal the limb slightly). The concussion blur is also present when you pull up your Pip-boy, making it rather difficult to find the right item.
    • Any time one of your injected chems stop working, the screen will get the same excessive blur and oversaturation to indicate the feeling. Another screw effect occurs if you become addicted to a chem. Nearby explosions makes the view shake and glow more than if you see the same explosion from a distance. And more regularly: Getting shot causes the view to get a very brief blur and occasionally some slowly-fading and very blurred blood spots to appear.
    • In Vault 106, the atmosphere is injected with a psychoactive drug that causes hallucinations at certain points, including apparitions of James, Amata, and Butch. The apparitions can be targeted and killed, but with loss of karma.
    • Another hallucinatory sequence occurs in Point Lookout when you are drugged with Punga seeds and given a lobotomy by Tobar.
  • Fallout: New Vegas gives us the message "you are feeling a little woozy". Congratulations, you've been stung by a bark scorpion. (If you're lucky. Because if you're not, it'll be a Cazador.) The next thirty seconds or so will be interesting, as you try to fight off the effects of a surprisingly potent poison, as well as the scorpions that caused it in the first place - all without being able to see properly.
    • In addition to poison, the miracle drug Fixer will purge your body of all your current addictions. In exchange for two minutes of sudden visual and audio blurs that occur without warning.
    • In the Courier's Mile from the Lonesome Road DLC, the background radiation scrambles your Enemy-Detecting Radar, which can be fatal with the many Irradiated Deathclaws in the area.
    • Honest Hearts has you undergo the Mushroom Samba treatment once again when you go to fight the Ghost of She, and you encounter several tough enemies along the way while your vision is impaired.
  • Mass Effect:
    • This happens when your character is too close to an explosion. Additionally, when your health starts to decrease in Mass Effect 2, blood vessels appear on the edges of the screen and sounds become distant and distorted, and getting drunk causes blurring and random swaying of the screen.
    • In the first game, usually when geth are attacking, the minimap in the corner of the screen becomes 'jammed'. This signals the presence of geth Stalkers who have the ability to jam your radar.
    • Flashbang grenades, either from Kasumi or the enemy, generate a hyper-bright light before shaking the screen and causing you characters after image to be superimposed for a brief time.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days has two. Flip-foot, which reverses the D-pad controls, and Radar Zap, which temporarily disables the map on the touch screen. Thankfully, they only last for a short while.
    • Kingdom Hearts coded reused the Flip-foot effect. The Trickmaster will also occasionally rotate the camera, along with the D-pad controls, during the third stage of his boss battle.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep has the Blind stats ailment which coat's the target's face with a dark cloud. The visual side effect of being on the receiving end of this is that most of the screen blacks out with only a small circle to barely see your own character through. Especially problematic during the boss fight with Vanitas Remnant. You can also cast this effect on other players at the Rumble Arena using the Blackout spell or other various darkness commands.
    • In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, just like in the film, during Rinzler's battle the gravity randomly flips... but the controls and camera do not. This effectively makes you a sitting duck, desperately trying not to blunder into Rinzler (who is very fast, very hard-hitting, has a weird attacking style, and is generally That One Boss), until the the gravity switches back to normal.
  • Mega Man:
    • In the VideoMan arc of Mega Man Battle Network 4, the D-pad configuration is completely inverted. You also have to carefully navigate the field, because stepping on certain tiles resets you to the beginning of the area.
    • The NaviCust program, when improperly used, can result in MegaMan.EXE acquiring random bugs, good or bad. This can make him confused, invert the controls, cause him to move two whole spaces on the field instead of one, cause HP drain, a sudden infliction of damage with the start of every turn until the HP meter drops to the bare minimum of 1 point, make Poison Panels generate, give Mega Man a protective Barrier, or even tamper with the amount of Battle Chips Mega Man can use. In MMBN3, there is the Bug Style that harnesses a luck-of-the-draw deliberate set of bugs, and in MMBN4 and MMBN5, using Dark Chips can trigger bugs as well. There is a NaviCust program called BugStop which can effectively remove the presence of negative bugs and allow the player to break the rules of the NaviCust system or take full control of Bug Style.
    • Furthermore, in the 5th game, Cross-fusing with a Dark Chip allows Mega Man to use it as a Charged Shot, but it will only work if the shot is released when glowing purple and becomes progressively harder to time correctly as the player spams it. Otherwise, the Cross Fusion comes undone and a Darksoul version of Mega Man appears on the enemy field and unleashes a barrage of attacks on him
  • Mega Man X7 is horrendously guilty of this in Snipe Anteator's stage. At certain points in the stage your point of view and gravity get flipped, but your controls remain as they are. Makes navigating some parts of the stage a right pain in the ass.
  • Final Fantasy XII has a few areas where the Mini Map doesn't exist or is disabled or squiggly. In the Pharos at Ridorana, where you need to sacrifice one of your 'skills' (Map, Items, Magick/Technicks or Attack), you can sacrifice your map. Also there's a certain attack from the enemies which cause the whole screen to blur and the Battle HUD to bend in unusual directions.
  • In SaGa Frontier, during the Tarot Quest, getting the Grail Card requires asking a series of brewers where it is. At each one, your character takes a swig. When you actually head for the Grail Shrine, your character is plastered, and takes random steps in various directions (even if you aren't moving) — often directly into enemies depending on your luck. In battle itself, your party gets hit with random status effects at the start of battle due to being drunk.
  • In Vagrant Story, the New Game+ Bonus Dungeon, Iron Maiden B2, wreaks havoc on your map display. This is done deliberately to throw the player for a loop, as the dungeon has teleporters that loop around the area, there's near-zero visibility due to pitch-darkness, and all corridors look exactly the same. The only way to progress without getting hopelessly lost is to set the camera straight ahead and never ever touch it.
  • When your "party level" reaches 6 in Eternal Sonata, the attack, special attack and guard buttons will start to randomly switch in the middle of battle.
  • Shadow Hearts has the Judgement Ring - a Quick Time Event-esque mechanic requiring you to press X in time to a spinner rolling over specific segments of a ring. A number of enemies can inflict status effects upon you which can either add fake segments to the ring, remove the segments altogether, make the ring spin either faster, slower, in the opposite direction or erratically, or simply shrink the ring so small that you can barely see it (made easier if you have a mahoosive television, incidentally). There are also some accessories that do the same, but with good tradeoffs. One removes the visual indicator of where you're supposed to hit, but doubles the amount of damage you do. It's not too hard to learn where to press X, so it's a fairly good accessory to use. Another (not present in the first game) triples your damage, but you not only can't see the hit segments but also can't see the needle showing where you're even hitting. Needless to say, this is much harder to use properly.
  • The Force Unleashed featured a download pack mission, in which the character literally confronts his Dark Side (fighting a dark version of himself). His special ability is pseudo-randomly changing the function of each keypad, which increases your chances of hurting yourself more than him significantly.
  • The Pokémon virtual pet site GPXPlus has weather conditions that affect how Pokémon and eggs mature. During foggy conditions, players are unable to see the berries they feed to other players' Pokémon. Seriously? If the fog is so bad you can't see something you're holding in your hands, maybe you should just stay inside.
  • Dragon Quest III has arrow pointed floor tiles that will change the direction of the D-pad walking on one which can be frustrating when pressing the wrong arrow will lead you down a hole. The changed directions are fixed depending where the tile arrow is pointingnote .
  • Live A Live had the Drunk status ailment, which would randomize your movement controls, in addition to locking off most of your attacks.
  • Two bosses can and will pull this in Mana-Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy. Tetri, from Ulrika's route, can grow roots over the bottom-right of the screen which completely disable the swap-in mechanics and, by extension, the Intimate Strike/Guard. The final fight with Reicher in Raze's story involves a slightly different headache; about halfway through the fight, he'll use a move that buffs him with haste (three actions per turn) and blanks out the game's Visual Initiative Queue, which makes it almost impossible to plan moves ahead. Fortunately, a Heavenly Juice item will clear up both at once.
  • Breath of Fire I:
    • A recurring enemy named Mote transports the party to the Dream World practically every time he meets them, in which many rooms and areas tend to look like minus levels. Not too bad, until you reach the Dream Tower, which has several maze-like floors. There are certain hidden switches, which are very easy to accidentally step on, which turn all the walls invisible. Not a fun level.
    • The Spyre, a tower that's twice as long as it should be, thanks to the fact that Mote is waiting for you inside where he will trap you in the Dream World again and screw with you for a while. There's one room that's notoriously bad: glass bridge suspended above a black abyss. There are multiple branching pathways, dead ends, no landmarks, and many switches you are forced to step on which spin the maze around and make it frustratingly difficult to keep track of where you are. Easily the worst puzzle in the entire game. Solid candidate for worst puzzle in any RPG, ever.
    • When you finally find Mote inside the Dream World inside the Spyre, after slogging through several more pseudo-Minus Levels, he challenges you to a fight... and appears as an unintelligible blob of random pixels. You can't hit or damage him at all. After the fight, he laughs and taunts you.
  • A joke mod for Baldur's Gate II allows you to join the Cult of the Unseeing Eye, whose members gouge out their eyes in worship of their god. Once you agree to join, your screen goes black.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, the 'blind' effect darkens the player's screen a percentage based on the effect's magnitude. The effect, of course, has no impact on the performance of NPCs.
  • Shadow Baofu in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment has an attack that hides your party's status windows for a few turns.
  • In Arx Fatalis, having Paralyse cast on the player will not only prevent them from moving, but also freeze the cursor in place.
  • In Sanctuary RPG, enemies with <BLINDING>, <SHROUDING> and <NUMBING> affixes revel in this. The former will temporarily prevent your move list from displaying (you can still pick attacks, you just can't see what you're doing), <SHROUDING> have their health hidden from view, while <NUMBING> hides your HP.
  • Undertale does this several times.
    • Papyrus's special attack gives your soul its own gravity, so the bullet hell sections become platform bullet hell sections.
    • Undyne freezes your soul in place, so you have to block rather than dodge. This also disables the "flee" command until it wears off.
    • Muffet sticks you to her web, so the only way you have to dodge is to jump from strand to strand.
    • Asgore outright destroys the Mercy option on your menu bar, disabling your access to the "flee" and "spare" commands.
    • The final boss of the Genocide route, Sans the Skeleton, has several different interface screws. Unlike every other encounter in the game, he attacks first rather than giving you the first turn; he leads with his most powerful attack, averting the Sorting Algorithm of Evil; he takes advantage of the fact that the selection cursor is your soul icon to attack you in the menu during your turn. Towards the end of the fight, he ultimately decides simply to never end his turn, keeping you locked in the fight screen forever until you screw with the interface yourself to attack him in the middle of his turn, then attack twice in the same turn to take him out.
    • The final boss of the Neutral path, Photoshop Flowey, really takes the cake. It has the same abilities you do — specifically, the ability to reload an old save. It'll often save before an attack, and if you manage to dodge it, reload the save to get another shot at you. It will also "crash" the game just before the fight starts. It also attacks continuously and never ends its turn, meaning you can't even get to the menu to do anything (until pieces of the menu start mixing with its attacks).
  • In Nocturne: Rebirth the Bonus Boss can use the Burn skill to hide both sides' ATB gauges, making it hard to tell who goes next in battle.
  • Exit Fate has the entire Spiritual Plane dungeon. It is a teleporter maze with several sections that are upside-down (your movement controls are inverted to match), as well as a moving, tiled background in fights, when in every other part of the game the battle background never changes at all.
  • The World Is Your Weapon: Zigzagged. At the 100th floor of the Back World Dungeon, Weaco can obtain the status window as a weapon. While this makes it harder to view her current status due to the weapon being held at an angle, it does make it easier to see the bottom left part of the screen.

    Shoot 'em Ups 
  • In Dragon Heroes, water enemies are likely to cause a confusion status, reversing the left and right movement.
  • In the time-traveling top-down arcade SHMUP Sky Soldiers, a boss in one of the 1974 Soviet Union stages releases capsules that discharge electricity which reverses the movement controls of your ship, leaving you a helpless target against the boss' regular projectile attacks.
  • The Touhou series, mostly consisting of vertically scrolling shooters, doesn't typically use this trope, but there are some examples:
    • Various portions of the HUD literally shatter during the final boss fight of Immaterial and Missing Power. First goes the super meter, then the spirit meter, and then the health bars, leaving nothing on the screen except you and the boss by the end.
    • The second stage boss from Imperishable Night blacks out most of your screen during her last few spellcards. One of her explicitly stated powers is causing night-blindness in humans.
    • Marisa in the same game also tends to shake the screen when she fires her sparks, which is apparently something of a problem for some players.
    • Phantasmagoria of Flower View introduces Medicine Melancholy, who places poison clouds on the screen that slow the player down, and, more relevant to the trope, slightly obscure the view. Though the Interface Screw potential is used more in Shoot the Bullet.
    • In Scarlet Weather Rhapsody and its expansion Hisoutensoku there's also the Mountain Vapor weather, where in the former it hides the spellcards both players have, and in the latter not only hides it, but shuffles on the player's deck.
    • In Undefined Fantastic Object the Bonus Boss has a few spellcards that cover her bullets with blackness.
    • In Double Dealing Character, Seija Kijin has this power as her stated ability, the ability to "overturn" things, starting with a spellcard that flips the playfield horizontally, reversing your horizontal movement. The next one has her flipping the playfield vertically, reversing your vertical movement. Then her last spellcard has her flipping the screen 180 degrees every few seconds!
    • Marine Benefit uses five basic colors during certain moments of the game: red, green, blue, white, black. Why is this important to know? Some bosses creates projectiles that turns completely invisible when crossing a harmless mist of the same color. And the extra boss abuses this in her spellcards! One has her create clouds of three primary colors and pellets to cross those clouds, but those pellets are of the same color as the clouds, which means 1/3 of those will be invisible at some point. Then there's this one where she "darkens" the area and uses black pellets, which becomes invisible through most of the play area. And then there's the worst nightmare: a white mist starts to spread along with WHITE PROJECTILES and, unlike the previous situations, it can cover even the player!
  • When you get hit by a missile in H.A.W.X. the screen goes fuzzy for a bit, which can compound matters if the attacker who landed the hit isn't the only one going after you. There's also a few missions where your ERS system is jammed by the enemy, which results in static all over everything on-screen. Even worse, sometimes this jamming affects your ability to target or even launch missiles.
  • Space Giraffe uses this trope a fair bit. The entire game takes place in a music visuliser, so the background is reacting to the music (and the harder levels put fairly harsh filters onto this, never so much that you can't see what's going on if you teach yourself to, but sufficiently that your immediate reaction is to panic). Then there are the rotors, which rotate the environment your playing on while they exist, and the feedback monsters. Which explode in a cloud of visual feedback when shot. In a partial inversion, there's at least one level that the visual feedback caused by them makes it easier to see.
  • Various strange effects happen during Tyrian; one of the bosses has an effect that reverses the screen vertically (and the controls!), and at several other times the screen is temporarily coloured strangely, which generally makes it harder to spot bonuses/enemies by reducing the contrast.
  • The battle against Lost Property 771 in Hellsinker has the screen invert colors.
  • In Twilight Wing, one of Discord's abilities reverses the controls along with the colours of the screen.
  • Thunder Force V's Final Boss starts off with the usual boss alert screen and text ("ALERT! The enemy is approaching fast! [...]"), except all of the boss's parameters, such as name, weak point, weapons, etc. are "Unknown", and then the entire screen is flooded with "ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!"
  • Cuphead: Ink droplets dropped by squids summoned by Captain Brineybeard are one of the very few things that don't do damage when they hit Cuphead or Mugman. Instead, they darken the screen for a few seconds, especially around the edges. Getting hit by more of them during this time causes black splotches to appear on the screen.
  • In Star Strike for the Atari 2600, a fireball that hits your ship can cause your controls to be temporarily messed up, leaving you at the mercy of your controls.

    Simulation Games 
  • In Robinson's Requiem, there are enemies that will put your eyes out, obscuring that part of the screen. If you lose both of your eyes, you can't see the world around you anymore.
  • In the MechWarrior series, Interface Screw is somewhat of a gameplay element. Damaged sensors can end up having your radar, targeting or vision impaired. PPC hits temporarily scramble the HUD, and excessive heat buildup can interfere with it as well. In Mechwarrior Living Legends, interface screw is one of the easiest ways for BattleArmor players to tell how close to death they are - PPC hits scramble the HUD and cause snow to appear over the suit's visor. Armor breaches cause the visor to permanently crack, and causes suit sealant to splash onto the visor, temporarily distorting one's vision. Taking health damage causes blood to get splattered onto the visor, along with diagnostics and warnings popping up on the sides of the visor, usually telling you USER DEATH IMMINENT.
  • Used in the X-Wing and TIE Fighter PC simulation games, powerful hits will sometimes destroy some of your cockpit displays, such as your sensors, or power readouts.
  • Wing Commander:
    • In all of the games, the cockpit reflects damage your fighter takes once the shields and armor are penetrated, including destroying video displays used to show important information, and internal components.
    • Wing Commander III and IV up the ante with cracked cockpit glass, affecting the player's ability to look outside the cockpit.
    • A conversation option between missions in Wing Commander III lets the player choose whether or not to take an extra drink. If the choice to drink is made, then during the next mission, the controls for the player's starfighter will randomly reverse themselves periodically, making the mission intensely difficult to complete, although the only real mission requirement is to survive for a period of time, until the Behemoth is destroyed.
    • Wing Commander IV has a few missions where the odds are against you due to a jamming ship that screws over most of your instruments, including your shields and your missiles, which will not lock. What makes it even more of a kick to the face is that the enemy fighters are not affected at all by the jamming due to frequency-agile avionics and tempesting (as per the novelization), so they have working shields, and missiles that lock. On the upside, though, salvo-firing off all of your "dumbfire" unguided missiles will put a quick end to the jammer ship, once you locate it.
  • Ace Combat:
    • Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception made the screen shake whenever a Shock Cannon was fired or a SWBM detonated. Results may prove deadly if flying near the ground.
    • One mission of Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War shakes the screen and leaves your Heads-Up Display fuzzy for the rest of the mission after a nuke goes off nearby.
    • Getting struck by lightning in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown will also mess up your HUD and leave you unable to lock on to targets for several seconds. Flying through clouds is a great way to lose a missile, but staying in them for too long will cause your plane to ice up and stall. There are also wind gusts and crosswinds that can push you wildly off course if you don't fight them, and can be a death sentence with low-level flying, which is naturally where they are most likely to occur.
  • FreeSpace: Silent Threat had EMP disruptor missiles that, when detonated near the player, would screw the HUD and make the ship pick random targets — effectively disabling any aspect-seeking missiles the player is carrying. And makes the radar useless. The missile doesn't seem to work very well against the AI (friend or enemy). Freespace 2 ups the ante with a mission in the middle of a nebular storm that induces EMP effects every five seconds, where the only things guiding you are navigation buoys that are placed at intervals barely inside the effective radar range.
  • In the original Star Raiders, a damaged long-range sensor will display the original image and a mirrored copy; the player needs to reconcile which image is "true" to navigate.
  • In some Harvest Moon games, you can get hit with confusion gas while mining that changes what the directional controls are. If you're lucky, it's a mere reversal, but in at least one of them, the controls are rotated at random.
  • In F/A-18 Hornet, your vision will black out if you pull too much G-forces, and red out with excess negative G's. Blackout also occurs if your oxygen supply is damaged while at altitude. The HUD and radar screen can be knocked out by damage as well.
  • Euro Truck Simulator will start to black out the screen if your driver has been on the road for too long without resting, as he's literally falling asleep at the wheel; the longer he's been driving, the more frequent and long the blackouts are. Amusingly, it doesn't actually screw with controls, allowing you to drive your Big Badass Rig while "asleep" if the roads are clear.
  • Elite: Dangerous has subsystem damage that can cause all sorts of problems, including losing attitude control and thrusters, or your power generator getting disabled. However, the most debilitating and scariest is if you take enough damage to your ship that your cockpit glass starts to crack. The cracks will distort the heads-up display, and if you continue to take damage, the glass will shatter, removing most of your HUD, exposing your cockpit to vacuum (prompting your life support system to go into emergency mode), and dimming before ultimately muting all sounds that cannot be conducted through your shipnote . You also have a limited emergency life support system: at best, you'll have 30 minutes to get to a dock and repair the damage before you asphyxiate. At worst, with the stock life support module? Three. Minutes. Did we mention all of your navigational references are projected on the cockpit glass that just shattered?

    Sports Games 
  • In NCAA Football 2005 and 2006, the "Homefield Advantage" feature would kick in when you played on the road in the more notoriously loud stadiums. Before big plays, the defense could tap a button to rile up the crowd, which would blur the screen and shake your controller furiously. It would also affect QBs and WRs, who if rattled (determined by their skill, or lack thereof), would have the route pattern outlines wriggly and messed-up if you looked at the line-of-scrimmage play art, or WRs could also run the wrong route should the QB call an audible (as the Wide Receiver cannot actually hear the audible over the stadium noise), indicated by the WR moving towards the QB and tapping at his helmet. Truth in Television for the big conferences, such as the Big 10 and Big 12. Later games in the series added the ability for the home team, when on defense, to try to quiet the crowd, so that the defense could talk to each other.
  • In Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, there is a mission where you play Bobsleigh with the controls reversed.
  • Throughout the Blitz series, the Fake Field Goal and Fake Punt played bring up the field goal or punt interface as if you're actually going for either, when you're really just doing a regular play. Obviously the computer isn't fooled, it's mainly to fake out human opponents.

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • Metal Gear:
    • During the fight with Psycho Mantis in the first Metal Gear Solid, he will occasionally make the screen turn black except for the word "Hideo" in the top right corner of the screen, in an apparent attempt to make you turn off the game. In addition, he is extremely difficult to damage unless your controller is plugged into controller port 2. Otherwise he just "reads your mind" (your controller input). These particular effects actually return in MGS4. Kojima loves that joke, apparently.
    • The colonel drops a doozy of a mindscrew, which could be considered an interface screw depending on how obedient you are.
    Colonel: Turn the game console off. Now.note 
    • The normal game over screen in Metal Gear Solid 2 is a "Mission Failed" screen with a small window showing your character's death in the top-left. Once the game's Gainax Ending is in full swing, you start getting "Fission Mailed" screens that look like game-over screens with bad spelling, while the game is still going on inside the "death window".
      • If you happen to crawl over sea lice, they will get inside your kit and slowly consume your spare rations. You can shake them off by cycling through your gear.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, once Naked Snake loses an eye during the storyline, depth perception is screwed with during first-person view, forcing you to re-learn how to aim. On the 3DS version, 3D is permanently disabled from this point on.
  • In Metal Gear Rising after Raiden loses an arm and an eye during the Hopeless Boss Fight with Jetstream Sam you get a few minutes to shamble around and weakly swing your sword while Sam taunts you, during which the screen flickers and the audio is distorted. It's not meant to add to the difficulty; just look cool.
  • Yandere Simulator:
    • If Senpai is in close proximity to Yandere-chan, the screen will turn pink, her heart will begin to race, her moving speed will be reduced to a slow trudge, and she will drop whatever item she's currently holding to try and still her fluttering heart.
    • If the player tries to look up info on Info-chan, she will hack the phone, filling it with static and chastising the player for trying to dig up dirt on her.
    • If the player attempts to exit school before the day is over, the screen will fill with static and a message will appear stating "No... I must not".
    • If Yandere-chan's sanity is low, the screen will become smudged and desaturated, she'll lose the ability to perceive other students as anything but silhouettes (or interact with them in any way besides murder), and begin to hallucinate herself murdering Osana.

    Survival Horror 
  • In The Consuming Shadow, as the player's Sanity Meter decreases...
    • A temporary static effect may appear, combined with an ominous sound effect and a lowered field of vision.
    • An effect similar to vision spots may appear, distracting players.
    • The screen may flash as the player enters a room, distracting them.
    • When entering a dungeon, the objective list in the ticker may suddenly turn into messages such as "imsorryimsorryimsorry" or "ithurtsithurtsithurts".
    • When driving, images of random and completely pale faces or hands may suddenly appear before disappearing.
    • Investigation options may suddenly turn into a button reading "Shoot yourself".
  • Silent Hill: Downpour adds a fisheye lens effect to the camera during the Otherworld segments. It's surprisingly effective at making these areas creepy as hell by how unnatural it makes everything seem.
  • In Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth if you are doing something particularly dangerous (especially up high) or spend too long looking at any given monster, you actually begin to panic. The screen goes blurry and your coordination starts to go. And if you wait for too long, and manage to survive otherwise, your character will eventually shoot himself.
  • Many of the sanity effects in Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, from Blue Screens of Death to "To Be Continued..." and "Controller unplugged" messages. One particularly involved example pretends to restart the console, letting the player attempt to load his save only to find all his saves deleted. Occasionally the console restarts with a different loading screen. "But I'm not playing on an Xbox..."
    • There are also Green Horrors which when they hit you with their lightning attack it both drains your Sanity and reverse your controls for a few seconds, often resulting in you running straight into the monster.
  • Parasite Eve featured the Confusion status in battles, where the directions were swapped with another direction, while Parasite Eve 2 did this in battle at random. These were annoying in both games since you could potentially run straight into an enemy's attack while you're trying to figure out where the hell the "Up" button was mapped to.
  • Clock Tower:
    • The main character in Clock Tower 3, Alyssa, has a Panic Meter that fills when she encounters ghosts, undead serial killers, or other scary things. If the meter fills completely, she goes into Panic Mode — the visuals flicker and become distorted, the character becomes harder to control, she's incapable of using her only defensive weapon, and she'll periodically freeze where she's standing and shiver uncontrollably. (Since this is the only time during the bulk of the gameplay where Alyssa can be killed, and the ghost or monster is usually close by when she goes into Panic Mode, this freezing-and-shivering bit is particularly vexing.)
    • The first game in the same series has a much milder version. When Jennifer's panic meter is blue, she's normal and can probably take a hit from most traps (not counting instant kill ones, or any member of the Burroughs family). As her panic meter changes color (from blue to yellow to orange to red), she becomes weaker. Once it's red, not only is she likely to die instantly from the different traps in the mansion, she also starts tripping when she runs. If Bobby is near when this happens...
  • In a similar vein, the "Panic Mode" featured in Haunting Ground, the Spiritual Successor to the above. When the game screen is clear, Fiona is healthy and isn't scared. Checking the wrong objects or getting attacked by enemies (or staying around a Chaser too long) causes her extreme distress. The screen will blur and you can hear Fiona's heart race. When she reaches her breaking point, the screen becomes monochrome, blurred and Fiona just starts running like hell. She is mostly uncontrollable in this state, and she'll run into walls, eventually reduced to crawling away. Full Panic also disables you from using items, and commands to Hewie are all cries of "Help!" It will go away if you manage to evade the pursuer long enough, but getting caught and hit by an enemy means it's curtains for Fiona.
  • Penumbra: Black Plague hits you hard with this. Your interactions with strange, inhuman artifacts results in having a fragment of an alien Hive Mind hitchhiking in your brain. One with limited control over your senses, capable of making you hallucinate on a whim, and actively trying to kill you.
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent has a few of these when your sanity gets low, ranging from Daniel grinding his teeth to tinnitus (that ringing noise) to - subtly - cockroaches crawling across the screen. If your sanity drops to dangerous levels, occasionally Daniel will stumble and go into a fetal position for a few moments, granting just enough time for Mr. Face to eviscerate you.
  • SOMA contains one tied into the backstory. The enemy creatures in-game are enhanced with structure gel created by the WAU, causing them to give off an EMP effect which results in Simon Jarret's vision becoming pixellated. It's revealed later on that Simon has no body of his own at Pathos-II. It's someone else's, jammed inside a diving suit reinforced with structure gel, and a cortex chip fitted with cameras where the head should be.
  • The iPhone Interquel for Dead Space does this after the penultimate Brute battle. As more Brutes pour into the room, a battery indicator enacts as if the iPhone is about to run out of battery power. It's hard not to find a player who rushed to their nearest iPhone charger in their fear of losing progress.
  • The Last of Us has an "listen" ability that gives you the ability to see people as white outlines through objects. Then late at the game you need to fight multitudes of enemies in a blizzard, where everything that isn't about five feet in front of you is lost in a comple wall of whiteness.
  • The Five Nights at Freddy's series features a few instances of your interface getting screwy, and in almost all cases, the interface acting up means you are screwed.
    • In the original game, if the light and door switches stop working, it means an animatronic managed to sneak its way into your office. Better hope you're at the very tail end of your shift.
    • In Five Nights at Freddy's 2, if Balloon Boy manages to get into your office, he'll disable your flashlight, the only defense you have against animatronics coming through the front door.
    • In Five Nights at Freddy's 3, if the ventilation system malfunctions, you'll start to suffer blackouts and hallucinations, giving Springtrap more opportunities to home in on you. Hallucinations of the Phantom Puppet are worse still, since they last longer and render you unable to bring up either the camera or maintenance controls.
  • In FNAF fangame Fredbear and Friends, one of the cameras has writing on the lens, obstructing the view of the prowling animatronics (though it provides a clue of its own).
  • In Friday the 13th: The Game, Jason can use this to his advantage while hunting the counselors. Using Morph or Shift in close proximity to counselors makes their screens go blurry in a similar fashion as tracking errors on a VHS tape, while the Stalk ability mutes the music, allowing him to better sneak up on his prey. In addition, as fear takes hold of counselors, they will suffer from impaired vision, the loss of their minimap, and increased tripping.
  • The Slender Man in Slender: The Arrival and many other Slender games causes the screen to distort whenever he goes near you, because the whole game takes place from the perspective of a camera, which Slender Man is known for fucking with. Also, you cannot pause when there is static on screen; this was added in as a way of preventing Jump Scare rage quitting.
  • In the Fatal Frame franchise, specifically Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly, one of the unique ghosts fought includes Chitose Tachibana, a crying girl who can disable the flashlight, therefore making the room dark. Of course, you won't be able to see anything in your camera's viewfinder in the total darkness.
  • Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion seems to love this trope. Some examples include:
    • Some rooms naturally have a fog or lack of light in place to limit your vision.
    • Specimen 4 doesn't do anything special to your screen in the base game, but her other 2 forms in Endless Mode repeatedly covers your view in static that gets thicker until you literally can't see, before immediately going away and soon coming back again.
    • Specimen 5 makes up for its begrudgingly slow speed by covering your screen in fog and warping the game textures to confuse you.
    • Specimen 8 covers your vision in static throughout the entire chase.
    • Specimen 10 puts a weird alienesque flesh on the sides of your screen, which turns your screen more and more orange every time it hits you.
    • Unknown Specimen 4's area is constantly covered in thick blue fog throughout the chase.
    • Unknown Specimen 5 makes every room redder and redder as they begin to loop, mirroring her actions in the game she is originally from.
    • Monster 5 tints your screen red and turns the walls into bars.
    • Monster 6 is a secret, insta-kill monster in the Karamari Hospital DLC, but in Endless Mode is an actual chasing enemy that obstructs your screen in thick black fog.
    • Monster 7's chair messes with your vision and flashes hallucinations the longer you sit in it.
  • The Final Boss of D2 takes away your senses one by one as you fight it. First sight (black screen, although the interface is still there), then hearing (muted audio), then movement (controls locked).

    Third-Person Shooters 
  • In the story campaign mode of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, you find out that your partner occasionally suffers hallucination attacks. Midway through the game, you and your partner rob a bank, when all of a sudden your partner goes nuts and starts shooting at all the hostages, essentially screwing up the robbery. Your character asks him what the hell he was doing, and he replies that they were attacking him (you clearly saw that they weren't). If you had played the campaign mode in 2 player coop mode, then the second player controls the partner, and on that player's screen, the hostages are actually rendered as police officers firing guns at you.
  • In the Reservoir Dogs Licensed Game, you play one level as Mr. Brown driving the getaway car when he's just been shot in the head. The effect is created by Painting the Medium, having Mr. White keep telling you it's okay and to calm down, and making the car get harder and harder to drive as your character is dying under your control and there's nothing you can do about it.
  • In Vanquish Sam's HUD starts to glitch up when he is critically injured, accompanied by Heartbeat Soundtrack.
  • The Suffering had a particulary sinister example, being partly a horror game set in prison. The game has an insanity meter that rises as Torque takes damage, when filled the player can choose to temporarily transform into The Creature until the meter is depleted. The more the player transforms, the more likely they will get the evil ending (amongst other factors). So if you're literally gunning for the good ending, you'd want to ignore than Insanity meter altogether, right? Well, hope you don't mind gruesome images and loud screams to randomly cover your television screen with anywhere from 10 seconds to 5 minute intervals, only ending once the Insanity meter is no longer full. Just try not to take damage at all!
  • Warframe
    • Taking Magnetic damage gives your screen a mildly debilitating scrambling effect. It used to be much worse, to the point that some players were suffering actual physical side effects from the flashing lights. Even when players didn't have that problem, the fact remained that it basically made the game unplayable while it was active, since you couldn't see anything, even your interface. Eventually, it was toned down.
    • One variant of Corpus bursas can toss flashbang munitions that temporarily cover your screen with white light and make you hear nothing but a buzz.
    • Grineer make use of drones that in additional to boosting the surrounding troopers with propaganda also scramble your minimap.
  • In Monday Night Combat, getting hit by the Tank's Product Grenade means advertisements will plaster your view and assault your ears for a few seconds. The higher the grenade's level, the longer the effect.
  • In Splatoon and Splatoon 2, losing health causes the sides of your screen to distort and get covered in enemy ink, reducing your field of view. Getting the camera caught on a solid surface behind you also hampers your visibility, making it more difficult to aim forwards.
    • During the monthly Splatfest events, all the maps, with the exception of the Gimmick Level Shifty Station, take place at nighttime, causing enemy players to blend in with their ink (which is made more neon-bright compared to their appearance in daytime) more easily.

    Turn-Based Strategy 

    Visual Novels 
  • The final puzzle of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors requires you to flip the DS upside-down. It's actually justified in-story: Flipping the DS signifies that you are playing as Junpei and sending the answers to Akane in the past.
  • Danganronpa:
    • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, the opponent in Bullet Time Battles can activate "Nega Time", which blocks the bar and makes it harder to hit the rhythm markers.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony adds an extra element to this mechanic, where sometimes an image will move around the screen, obscuring the markers.
  • In Her Tears Were My Light, Nil can prevent the character Time from rewinding. This means that your mouse wheel and the "Rewind" button become useless, and you are forced to try other options to escape her traps.
  • In The House in Fata Morgana, after entering the fourth door, text in the backlog starts getting obscured and text that never showed onscreen appears in the backlog.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: In the final segment of "Rise from the Ashes," Damon Gant interrupts the final cross-examination in order to try and cut the trial short. The scenario played out as if it was going to be a traditional cross-examination, complete with green text and the cross-examination music, but Gant's "Objection!" causes the theme music to abruptly cut off.
  • DRAMAtical Murder: When Aoba uses Scrap on Noiz in his route, the game screen begins going wonky and replaying events from Noiz's perspective with the colors and graphics glitching in and out before blacking out completely with only white text on the screen asking you if you want to give up.
  • Tokyo Dark: If any of your meters get too low or if Neurosis gets too high, the way you will see the world will change for the negative.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • The first boss of Destroy All Humans! 2 — the hippie commune leader Coyote Bongwater — has a hallucinatory rainbow ray gun, which causes your screen to wobble, turn multicoloured, and has colourful flowers pop up for no reason.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • Vice City and San Andreas use a slight version of this to simulate substance abuse, whether alcohol or marijuana. Vice City features a mission where your friend exposes you to some extremely potent moonshine and then manages to blow himself up. You have to drive him to the hospital whilst your vision and motor control are still severely affected by the booze fumes.
    • This is more pronounced in Grand Theft Auto IV: When Niko gets drunk the camera wobbles, the screen blurs, and the character responds very vaguely to your controls. This could be annoying, if it weren't a completely optional form of gameplay (although if you avoid it you do miss out on some entertaining dialogue). A less optional example comes when a kidnapping victim keeps trying to wrestle control of the car Niko's driving, causing it to veer sharply and randomly, until he mercifully punches her lights out. There's a dose of Fake Difficulty as well since, with some practice, you are able to control a car decently while drunk yet cops will still chase you down when they spot you. Yet, when sober, you can drive far worse without a peep from the cops.
    • And in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, you have at least one mission which messes with your radar map for a specific reason. One of these missions involve you tracing scramblers by looking at how distorted your map is; the closer you are to one, the more unrecognizable the map is.
  • In Bully, if you stay up really late, like 1:00 am, then the screen goes all blurry, the music is now freakishly sluggish and your character's response is decreased. If you don't get to your bed in your dorm before 2:00 am, you faint. When you wake, you may have lost some of your possessions (usually your shoes). Needless to say, if you actually are playing late at night and you start to notice Jimmy's head dropping and the creepily distorted soundtrack very subtly start to creep in, it's pretty unnerving.
  • Stalker's Controller will suddenly drag your perspective right up INTO ITS FACE.
    • Also, if you drink too much Vodka your character will start swaying and see bright flashes in front of his eyes... Which makes aiming with a weapon, really difficult.
    • In Shadow of Chernobyl, when you enter the Yantar factory complex, you'll come under the effects of Lab X-16's psy-emissions. Your screen will get a whitish-yellowish tint, a strange sound will play every few seconds, and all other sounds (including your own gunfire) will be a little drowned out. The effect is lessened if you have the calibrated psy-protection helmet— it's more pronounced if you have the non-adjusted helmet, and it's even worse if you don't have the helmet at all. Additionally, staying near a Controller or Psy Dog for too long will cause blurred and double vision as you are influenced by their psy-fields.
  • Saints Row:
    • In the original Saints Row, getting drugged makes everything look wobbly. Good thing you've got plenty of ammo...
    • In Saints Row 2, if you drink too much (which is required for some side missions), your vision is blurred, your character's movement becomes worse, and they'll start saying random drunken phrases. The mission "Bad Trip" has the Boss escaping from the Sons of Samedi after being heavily dosed with Loa Dust, and having to fight his way back to the Saints HQ and fend off waves of Samedi goons while stoned.
    • In Saints Row: The Third, the Boss spends most of the mission "Pimps Up, Hos Down" tripping (and naked) after infiltrating a Morningstar brothel. Also, during the final showdown with Matt Miller (the leader of the Deckers gang) in "http://deckers.die", Miller shuts down your character's connection to his network, causing various error screens to show up before you are patched through again. This is particularly jarring if you are playing on the PC.
    • In Saints Row IV, during Shaundi's loyalty mission she, her stoner self from SR2, and the Boss all get high on alien drugs that make the screen wobbly and pixellated, and also give the two Shaundis super-powers.
    • In the "How the Saints Save Christmas" DLC for SRIV, if you shoot Clawz with the BB gun too early, it will ricochet and hit Playa in the face, and half of the screen turns red and black temporarily.
  • Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City and San Andreas have multiple timed car missions. The timer ends up being splayed across the part of the screen you most need to see. Also, the angle of the camera obstructs a good portion of the road you need to see to drive it without constantly moving the camera up.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, as in GTA IV, you can get absolutely rip-roaring drunk at the bar, to the point where you can't even make John Marston walk a straight line.
    • Red Dead Redemption II continues this, but also has a sequence where Arthur Morgan gets completely soused and then tries to find his friend Lenny in the saloon, made difficult because he sees everyone as Lenny. In addition to being forced into a first-person beer goggles perspective, the normal dialog interface is jumbled up and misspelled; the bartender is labeled "Bartedner", "Greet" becomes "Grete" and "teerG", and the option to call for Lenny cycles between "Lemmy?", "Lneny?" and "?ynneL".
  • Dead Island has Alcohol. Drinking it once will blur your vision (which gets worse as you keep drinking). Twice, and your movements start to become slightly unresponsive. 3 times, and your controls get screwed up, making every direction you try to move in respond with a random direction. 4 times and you can no longer stand up, constantly falling down and getting back up again.
  • In Retro City Rampage, getting Drunk on Milk or consuming certain mushrooms makes the screen go wavy.
  • In X Rebirth, the Albion Skunk's Diegetic Interface will begin to show glitches when the ship is damaged. It is most prominent in the "Hawk" cockpit configuration that replaces the Skunk's glass canopy with a panoramic viewscreen display, where excessive damage causes sections of the window to show heavy static.
  • We Happy Few
    • One of Arthur's main story quests requires him to gather parts for Doctor Faraday, then return the next day. However, as soon as Arthur leaves Faraday's house, he's knocked onto his back as a giant wormhole opens in the sky, and the quest marker changes from "Come Back Tomorrow", to "Never Mind Tomorrow, Check On Faraday".
    • Whenever you're close to death, your view will become black and white, and the music will change to a heartbeat and the ticking of a clock. All sounds will be muffled, except the pained noises your character makes, which change from their usual groans and yelps to quiet death rattles.
  • Minecraft has a voluntary example. If you go to the Settings menu and hit the "Super Secret Settings"-button, a filter will be placed over your character's view. Clicking the button multiple times will cycle you through the filters. Some filters are barely noticeable and might even look nicer than the base game, others disrupt your view so much they make the game nigh unplayable.

Non-video game examples:

    Comic Books 

  • In general, things that are damaged will result in a massive screw to the interface. Messed up DVDs, DVD players, VHS tapes, or broken screens will give you this result. It can also be invoked if you outright try to seek this result.
  • End of Evangelion's opening menu seems normal, but leave it on too long and the options begin decaying before your eyes, the screen starts flickering blood red with accompanying screams taken from the movie. All while calm, classical music plays. In Death and Rebirth, the options change from the normal 'start, scenes, options, extras' into questioning the existence of the viewer.
  • On one of the Red vs. Blue DVDs, if you leave the DVD sit at the title screen too long, O'Malley will recite a short rhyme, ending with a number, and then remove a menu option to leave that many options left on the screen. This goes all the way down to only one left, then it resets and starts again.

    Fan Works 
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged the second Kai Abridged episode includes the Adobe player plug-in crashing due to Vegeta's rage, and then the crash report exploding due to said rage.
  • A Brighter Dark: After her head injury, Azura has a hard time focusing and remaining conscious whenever there's loud noises or if she's being moved around to much. Whenever this happens, the text will become italicized or boldened or both at random points, sometimes even in the middle of words.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Unfriended, the vengeful spirit of Laura Barns screws with the computers of her victims and the internet, including (but not limited to) inserting herself a Skype call and not allowing herself to be kicked from it, keeping herself on Blaire's Facebook friendlist, preventing her own Facebook profile from being reported or memorialized, and posting pop-ups for live webcam girls.

  • The Hero Is Overpowered But Overly Cautious: The setting is an RPG-Mechanics Verse where characters can use the Scan spell to read each others' statuses. However, there's a Fake Out skill that can cause any Scan attempts to return a false status or an annoying message if the Scan skill isn't at a high enough level.
  • Pac-Man is a fun game. In Ready Player One, a fun unit is added when a Diegetic Interface popup (for a scoreboard alert on an ongoing contest) blocks view of the Pac-Man display near the end of a perfect play run.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Among the common means of how Kamen Rider Ex-Aid abuses its interface is jittery, spasming editing, unnatural lighting and throwing an old tv static filter over shots. Fittingly, it's a video game themed series about game characters invading reality and these effects often accompany them.
  • Person of Interest:
    • The series uses Idiosyncratic Wipes of cameras from the Machine's network (the Machine is, in essence, the show's viewpoint character). After a virus is uploaded into it, glitches begin to appear during the wipes, which become increasingly frequent and severe over time.
    • The season three episode "Beta" and at least the first episode of season four, "Panopticon", uses a completely new interface, representing that a new AI, Samaritan, is online.
  • When Sherlock is drunk, as seen in the episode ''The Sign of Three'', his Sherlock Scan is slurred, blurry and inaccurate.
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000, Cambot, the robot who actually recorded the show, interacted with the show twice:
    • Added fake ESPN style overlays during a scene in The Sidehackers
    • Started crying in the final host segment of Danger!! Death Ray due to the security cameras destroyed in the climax of the movie. This is represented by water running down the screen.

  • In The Simpsons Pinball Party, the flipper controls are reversed during "Springfield Mystery Spot".
  • Done unintentionally in Stern Pinball's The Avengers; it's bad enough that some of the ramps block the view of the playfield lights, but it's worse that the HULK lights aren't even aligned with their targets.
  • Zen Studios' Spider-Man pinball game reverses the flipper controls during the Mysterio mission, due to his hallucinogenic gas.
  • One of the key gimmicks in Black Hole is its embedded inner playfield, which is slanted away from the player, causing pinballs to fall "up" the table during play. Players were guaranteed to be confused the first few times they played it.
    • This was repeated in its Spiritual Successor Haunted House but takes it one step further: There is an upper playfield with flippers that face away from each other. The left flipper button operates the right one and vice versa.
  • Bally Midway's Black Belt has a flipper in the upper-right that similarly, flips toward the player and can be used to send a ball up a ramp.. that goes to the other upper flipper on the left which, like most other flippers, flips away from the player. This is guaranteed to confound players the first few times they play.
  • Data East's The Who's Tommy has Blinders that unfold from the bottom of the playfield, completely blocking the player's view of the flippers.
  • Q*Bert's Quest has two sets of flippers at the bottom of the playfield, arranged in an X-shape. The lower flippers are operated by the controls on the opposing side, and is guaranteed to confuse newcomers.
  • Game of Thrones will temporarily freeze one of your flippers during the Winter Has Come multiball if you allow the boss in that mode to attack you.


    Web Animation 
  • Some Flash applications can "hijack" your pointer. A particularly cute use of this are digital pets that pounce when you hover too close.
  • The Animator vs. Animation series of flash animations does this in a pretty awesome way: the interface is used by both animator and animation for weapons.
  • 1 Minute Melee: the fight between Sakuya Izayoi and Dio Brando lasts for over a minute because, during the last second of the fight, both combatants freeze time.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Bill's third forms Pixel Crush attack...which somehow does huge damage by giving the screen a blocky jittering effect for a moment.

    Web Comics 
  • A Running Gag in MS Paint Adventures:
    • In Problem Sleuth, each character has an item that toggles between something harmless, like a pair of keys, and weapon of some sort (e.g. Problem Sleuth's pistol/keys). Usually, referring to an item as its counterpart works except when it would be funnier for it not to. (The wiki refers to such items as "innocuous doubles".)
    • The Midnight Crew in Homestuck, as criminal counterparts of the cast of Problem Sleuth have the same issues with decks of cards/storage items.
    • There's also the greater comic's Running Gag "What Pumpkin?" in which a pumpkin appears in a scene but retroactively vanishes ("There is no pumpkin there, and there never has been...") as soon as the players/audience attempt to do anything with it.
    • Early comics made a point of the overcomplicated nature of the kids' inventory methods. John was unable to reach anything not at the top or bottom of the stack, and managed to vandalize his room while he tried to flush needed things out of it. Dave's hashmap modus which had numbered slots for each item would throw things at him whenever he accidentally put things in an occupied slot, something which he was prone to doing a lot since the slot each item would be stored in was determined by a complex formula based on the item's name. Rose's tree modus was only accessible at the root, and would constantly collapse and drop everything if that item was accessed. Once the full extent of humor had been milked and the story grew more serious, though, the troubles were phased out.
    • Doc Scratch has the power to control the appearance of the site; then, as a result of Andrew Hussie literally Breaking the Fourth Wall and entering the comic to confront Scratch, he temporarily appeared at the top of the screen above the main panel and narrated over the action. Then, of course, the interface goes completely insane any time Lord English is around, sometimes shifting to Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff style .gifs.
    • There was also a period after Terezi scratched the second disc of Homestuck (as in the story, somehow) where all the text came out as partially-intelligible gibberish.
    • When Caliborn takes a crowbar to a structure broadcasting the site in-story (It Makes Sense in Context), the site's layout is knocked around accordingly - the banners, ads and links all bounce off each other and settle crooked. The comic itself is so meta it hurts, but this takes it to a new level.
    • After Caliborn stuffs Special Stardust and Candy Corn into the Act 6 Act 6 cartridge and then plugs it into the MSPA interface, the first flash stutters and skips until it eventually crashes.
    • One time, Bro did this to Dave's Strife menu by cutting it with his Unbreakable Katana.
  • This Tale of Fiction strip, representing a particularly impressive high.
  • The final page of Chapter 4 of morphE is the paradox event. Text boxes move, speech bubbles are out of alignment and on the previous page the control arrows are moved.
  • Used in Awful Hospital when The Door is trying to mind control Ms. Green. He hijacks the section where user input goes to put only his commands, and then even vandalizes the user comments screaming at Ms. Green to resist into looking like they're agreeing with him.
  • As it's an Affectionate Parody of video game tropes, Cucumber Quest does this sometimes. Whenever Glitchmaster is around, the panels become pixelated and weird things happen to the URL in the bottom corner. In Chapter 3, Rosemaster UnPersons two characters by erasing them from others' memories. Then the author took down their bios from the character sheet and would answer "who?" whenever readers asked where they'd gone.
  • During a plot arc in Bob and George in which history was being undone due to a Time Paradox, the strips themselves were erased—first corrupted (along with the author's notes), then replaced with blank images. The effect started at the beginning of the archives and progressed increasingly quickly during the arc; the heroes therefore had to make things right before history (i.e., the comic itself) was completely erased. Once the problem was solved, the archives were restored.
  • During three strips of Darths & Droids, the panels get increasingly skewed as the realization of Obi Wan's death sends Boba Fett off the edge.

    Web Original 
  • Google:
  • Destroy the Godmodder: Used lightly on occasion, and also lampshaded with the Glitch, which at one point became so bad players had to type in a specific font to keep their posts from being obliterated.
  • Shimejis can cause this due to being displayed in front of any windows you're using. Some can even grab and move windows that aren't maximized.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Control Reversal


Rhythm Heaven Megamix

One of the challenges has the camera slowly pan out to reveal the minigame screen clutched in the jaws of a monster. The speed of the panning increases the worse you do, with it slowing/zooming in slightly for every ace you hit. If you don't get enough aces, eventually the screen will get so small you can't see it properly any more, the monster's jaws will slam down on it, and you'll fail the challenge. (Footage by Japancommercials4U2)

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / InterfaceScrew

Media sources:

Main / InterfaceScrew