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"The term used a lot for this concept is conveyance, and I think that's a fitting name. I mean haven't you ever been playing a game and you're just like: What do I do!? Where do I go?! That's what I'm talking about. That's bad conveyance."

Role-Playing Games and Adventure Games take a long time to finish. However, games cannot really predict how long you plan on playing, and so they allow you to save your progress and continue later. The trouble here is that a player may save at point A but, by the time he returns to the game, forget he was going to point B. Saving midway between the two, or even mid-quest, is also disturbingly common. This can be especially nasty when the savepoint itself is in a distracting place.

After a few days, it dawns on the poor player that he has no idea where he is or where he should go. Some games may log the player's progress and quests in some way that can be referred back to later, a very good way to counter this. Other games put in an Exposition Fairy character that constantly reminds the player to Continue Your Mission, Dammit!.

Some games avoid this by establishing artificial borders in the game world at different times, while other gamers think the deliberate wandering is worth it for a quicker if more difficult level grind.

Unfortunately, this isn't strictly limited to RPGs, as many action games and older first person shooters would leave the player wandering about for hours on end looking for an unintuitively-placed key or switch.

Any measures to combat this are an Anti-Frustration Feature and may fall into Acceptable Breaks from Reality due to their importance for gameplay.

Compare Quicksand Box - when a Wide-Open Sandbox doesn't give you a clear way to look up what it was you were doing at first (or give you some hints on what you can do) making it easy for players to wind up lost.

Examples (and deliberate aversions):

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    Action Adventure 
  • When continuing a saved game in Batman: Arkham City, the loading screen will display images from the most recently seen story-related cutscene, along with expository dialogue regarding your current objective. In addition to this, there's a compass on the top of the screen always leading you to the main storyline's next goal. Active side-quests can be accessed from the menu, where you can set a waypoint to their goals. Even collectibles can be shown on the map if you interrogate Riddler's goons (all of whom can easily be seen from quite a distance in Detective Vision, as they always shine green). It's pretty much impossible to get lost in this game.
    • Batman: Arkham Knight has all of the above (and a nicer case menu to track progress), but ironically The Joker will occasionally remind you about active cases in the city. Maybe he just wants all the competition out of the way.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The fact that the first The Legend of Zelda game has nothing like the below 'assistance' is partly why much the game is such a huge Guide Dang It!, it's often pretty hard to figure out even what dungeons you've cleared in said game without a personal diary or strategy guide.
    • The fortune teller in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past provides hints concerning the main plot, and refills your Life Meter, for a few rupees. The game provides plenty of easy money anyway, so go right ahead.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening there are periodic phone booths (yes) you can use to get a hint. The Switch remake adds in the "Memories" function, which allows you to reread some important dialog, usually of the type that tells you where to go next.
    • There are three main methods for determining where you're supposed to go next in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
      • First, Navi the Exposition Fairy shouts 'Hey! Listen!' about every ten minutes to remind the player where they should head for the next step of the main quest. Even if you're trying to perform unrelated sidequests at the time. Even if you just got sidetracked for a moment and really are on your way back to the main quest. She tends to get on a less goal-oriented player's nerves.
      • Second, once you learn Saria's Song, you can talk to her any time you want. This is particularly weird when Saria is a prisoner within the cursed Forest Temple, and after she has Ascended To A Higher Plane Of Existence.
      • Third, just pause the game and look at the map subscreen. The locations you should probably be going to next appear as blinking dots. This game may be Nintendo Hard in the dungeons, but you can't claim to not know where you're going.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask isn't as big on this as other games. During your first three-day cycle, Tatl chimes in even more frequently than Navi to remind you of what you should be doing, but once you get your ocarina back, she'll only pipe up once you've finished each area and returned to Clock Town to tell you where the next one is.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games, you can consult the Maku Trees of Holodrum and Labrynna for a reminder about the next locale you should head for. You can even read their most recent bits of advice by checking your map.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Ezlo reminds Link of the next objective when resuming a saved game.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: The King of Red Lions (that's the boat) clues Link in to the next objective whenever he is spoken to.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: For ten rupees, the fortune teller will consult her Crystal Ball on one of two topics: Career (where to go next) or Love (heart piece locations). Midna (who literally shadows you) is also happy to chime in with some Tatl-like snarkiness whenever you tap the "Z" (up on the + Control Pad for the Wii version) button.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword:
      • Sparrot will give hints on either the next plot device or the location of treasure (though the two are often one and the same) for the same rate, and this game's Exposition Fairy, Fi, will remind you where to go if asked.
      • On the file select screen, it gives a brief description of the last major thing you accomplished, where you are, or where you need to go next.
    • Skyward Sword and the 3DS remakes of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask include special Gossip Stones that will play short clips of what major task you're supposed to do next.
  • Ōkami logs your quests broadly, and you can buy hints off of a fortuneteller.
  • An idiot button or text description will pop up if you take too long to figure out the next objective in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

    Adventure Game 
  • else Heart.Break() runs on a clock, and it doesn't remind you of anything when you load a save. Luckily, at least scheduled events only happen when you have a conversation that schedules them, and are limited to things like "talk to (person) at (hour):00 tomorrow at (place)".
  • Ace Attorney falls into this, mainly during the investigation sections, but also during the trials as well. Good luck working out where to go or what to do if you leave the game for a good while. Considering the game is all about using the recent plot to progress, the game pretty much becomes impossible to continue if you can't remember what you were doing before you stopped last time.
    • The cases themselves fall into this also. Considering the game is about solving murder cases, if you go to play it without the memory of what the case was about, you'll have a hard time. It's not impossible to progress, but it makes trying to follow the game and its dialogue is completely impossible. Somewhat subverted in that a lot of information about the case is there for the player to look over, such as info on people, how the victim died and the like. But when the cases start going deep into the events of what'd better not be thinking of taking a break from playing for too long.
    • Completely subverted in Dual Destinies, the first game in the series to have a check-list to mark your progress, and your current main goals.
  • The Another Code games, made by the same company as Hotel Dusk, fell into the same habit of providing hints the second time out. The first game didn't give you hints when you started it up again, but the second game gives you a quick recap of your current objective when you load a file.
  • Discworld Noir uses the journal not only as a means to remind the player on what he has to do next, but also as a gameplay mechanic. Namely, the journal entries can be used to question the characters. Appropriate, considering that the protagonist is a Private Detective is in a skewed Film Noir fantasy game.
    • But also occasionally irritating, as the other characters almost always get annoyed when you ask them something that's not relevant to their case, and sometimes even if it is. Trying to figure out which questions are the right questions to ask, and who to ask them to, can be a Guide Dang It! in and of itself.
      • Especially at least one instance where you have to realise that you have to question a character in relation to a note that he gave you. Especially annoying as you can continue on for quite some time without doing this before you are no longer able to progress, giving you no reason to think that you need to talk to him at the moment!
  • God help you if you pick up Hotel Dusk: Room 215 after you haven't played in a while; the game offers absolutely no clues on where to go next or even the objective unless you wrote it in the virtual notebook or something beforehand. The sequel, Last Window, was a little better about this by allowing you to review recent conversations for a hint.
  • The Monkey Island games often involve forcing you to complete one quest and limiting your ability to anything else until it's done. For example, in The Curse of Monkey Island, every character you meet will refuse to talk to you and tell you to see the Voodoo Lady until you find her.
  • Policenauts has a "summary scene" option whenever you load up a game from the main menu. This is probably more so you don't forget the plot, as it's usually obvious where you should be.
  • In the Professor Layton games, the good professor keeps a journal that often tells you your next goal. This is good, as it lets you know what to try to avoid until you find as many puzzles and hint coins as you can manage. Also, every time you continue the game a "The Story So Far" screen recaps recent plot developments. Not to mention the fact that while you're wandering around there's an instruction on the top screen telling you what you need to do and often an arrow showing you the next direction you need to go in. Really, it's hard to get lost while trying to follow the plot in these games. (Of course, if you're looking for all the puzzles and hint coins, things are a bit more troublesome.)
  • Zigzagged in Shenmue. Any time you learn some new important piece of information, Ryo writes it down in his journal. You can check the journal at any time, and the most recent entry is shown every morning to remind you what you need to do that day. Usually, however, the journal only tells you what your objective is, but not how to do it or where you need to go to do it, leading to a lot of Guide Dang It!. Learning a lot of this information in the first place relies on talking to specific NPCs at specific times, and good luck figuring out which ones. There's also a fortune-teller in Dobuita who, for 300 yen, will give you a hint about the next part of the storyline, but usually that hint isn't very helpful either.
  • In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, Strong Bad will start talking to himself about what he should be doing every once in a while. The frequency of these hints can be adjusted.
    • Ditto Guybrush in Tales of Monkey Island. Depending on the setting, sometimes another present character will make the comment instead (in both games).
    • This feature was actually first introduced in Sam & Max Season 2. Season 1 also tried to introduce a system where you could ask Max about things, during the later episodes (5 and 6). Despite the success of the Season 2/Strong Bad/ToMI system, there's apparently a new one upcoming in Season 3.
  • Ever since Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures, Telltale Games has put a recap of the plot up to that point on the Load Game screen.
  • Return to Monkey Island averts this with its Framing Device of Guybrush Threepwood telling a story to his son. If the player returns to a save after several days of not playing, he offers an opportunity for a recap of past events, though the player can choose to simply get back to the game.

    Driving Game 
  • The open-world Cars games struggled with this for a while, often telling the player about new events being unlocked but giving little idea of where to find them. The third game, Cars Race-O-Rama, finally addresses this by displaying the current objective on the pause screen, hinting at where the next story mission can be found.
  • The more recent titles in the Driver series show a short "Previously on… Driver..." cutscene whenever you load a game. It's mostly for flavor, since only Driver: San Francisco has non-story missions, and even then you can almost literally see the critical mission marker from orbit.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Along with the current mission objective that can be accessed from the pause menu, BioShock provided a compass on top of the HUD that would automatically point in the direction of your goal. BioShock Infinite swapped this out for a glowing arrow that would appear on the ground and point you to your destination when you pressed Up on the Directional Pad.
  • As mentioned, early First-Person Shooter games often had this issue, even over the course of a single level. Take Doom for example, and the increasingly-complex games built on its Game Engine. Hexen in particular had rather involved puzzles that required multiple trips to and from the resident Hub Level, and generally only completing another piece of the puzzle would give any reminder as to the overall goal. Also within the same game engine, Strife alleviated this somewhat by having actual NPCs and a plot that unfolded over the course of gameplay, instead of being All There in the Manual or only outlined in between episodes. It also had a display for listing your most immediate objectives.
  • In addition to its map function, Doom (2016) provides another, slightly more subtle indicator of where to go in the UAC facility: if you get lost, follow the green lights. Ledges and pathways that lead to progress more often than not have green marker lights on them.
  • Metroid Prime Trilogy:
    • Metroid Prime: Samus's Chozo suit will frequently supply information about "incoming scans" that pinpoint the room where the next element of the main plot will take place. You can turn this off, however, if you don't want to be bothered.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is more subtle about it, with the "incoming scans" replaced by intelligence from the Galactic Federation being sent to you. The effect is exactly the same, but it's better integrated into the story.
    • Metroid Prime: Hunters has no such hinting, and once all four main locations are available it can get quite messy if one takes a break from the game only to return later. It becomes much more apt once there's absolutely nothing to hint as to where to go.

  • Many MMORPGs not only feature a Quest Log, but also the ability to click on the name of whatever you need to interact with, and then auto travel there while you go get a soda.
  • Final Fantasy XI has a quest log...but most of the descriptions are vague, it never updates beyond the first description, and sometimes a quest doesn't show up on the log until you're partway through. While you might be able to get hints from relevant NPCs, chances are you'll run into Guide Dang It! territory. Some quests don't even appear to be quests until you finish them. Particularly noteworthy is the quest to unlock the Bard class: you have to speak to a particular NPC once you've reached level 30, who mentions that he is heartbroken after his girlfriend broke up with him. Another NPC nearby mentions a tablet on a beach that has some song lyrics. From this, you are expected to know to take a piece of parchment to the beach, find the hidden location where the lyrics are, use the parchment on them, and return them to the heartbroken NPC. Which completes the quest and shows it in your quest log for the first time. And then, you have to discover that there's another set of lyrics in another hidden location, and travel there with no prompting, at which point you will unlock the Bard job. Guide Dang It! doesn't even begin to cover it.
  • Final Fantasy XIV not only has a Quest Log, but also a list of recommended things to do based on your level and location. That list is displayed whenever you log in.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, one of the features at your campsite is a "Quest Log"... a literal wooden log that contains reminders of the quests you're currently engaged in. In which you're currently engaged.
  • In addition to its robust mission log (which displays mission objectives on the main map; if the player has to pass through zone transitions to reach the mission, those transitions are also highlighted, although this aspect isn't infallible), Star Wars: The Old Republic features a short recap of the player's current class mission whenever the player logs in, in the style of the traditional opening crawl.
  • Zig-Zagged in World of Warcraft. During Classic, (pre-Burning Crusade even) there wasn't much to indicate what were some good zones to go to next; other than a couple quests that could be easily missable. The starting zone quests were all pretty good, leading you to the next owned-zone, but after you completed those, the next place to go was anyone's guess. When you hit level 40 or so, it got even worse because there weren't as many zones to go to, and there weren't as many dungeons available to you (in part due to Uldaman being poorly-designed and not many people going to Maraudon unless they were doing a "Princess Run", which was more or less late 40s-early-50s anyways.) Things got better at 50 because there were more zones available to you; but not much to indicate you could go there. Before quest-tracking was incorporated into the base UI by Blizzard, you basically had to poke around the zone to find where the quest takes place. Some quests were just terrible, veering into Guide Dang It! territory (where in the world is Mankrik's wife?), but this is much less of a problem now.
    • Even before it was incorporated into the base UI, it got better with Burning Crusade. Burning Crusade was a lot more straightforward in where you should go next, since a lot of quests would tell you "Hey, I hear someone over in this zone needs some help - why don't you go check it out?" or "Can you deliver this thing to someone over in the next zone?" and then you conveniently find a bunch of quests next to the person you turn the quest into. You didn't run into a "choice" until you were much higher level (Shadowmoon or Netherstorm, though a fair number of people chose Netherstorm, especially on PvP servers.) Wrath of the Lich King was more or less the same.
    • It became really averted in Cataclysm, which basically made it pretty hard to forget what you were doing. Every capital city had a bulletin board. Alliance ones are called “Hero’s Call”. Horde ones are called “Warchief’s Command”. These boards give quests for the player do. They lead to a region that is roughly the same as the player. Basically it was the same kind of errand quests, except that their starting location was much more convenient. Starting with Cataclysm, Blizz has also started putting the intended level range for a zone on the map.

    Platform Game 
  • Mushroom Men gives you a log of all the important NPC conversations you've encountered in the current stage.
  • In Psychonauts, you can get hints on what to do next (or how to defeat certain enemies) by waving bacon in front of your ear. It Makes Sense in Context. Sort of. You also have a journal that tells you your objective.
  • When you continue a story in Sonic Adventure, the character you selected gives you a rundown of the most recent events. Pretty much the same thing happens in Sonic Adventure 2 when you choose a story, only it's the character whose level is coming up (or Amy Rose in the Last Story). This is different, however, because SA2 puts you in the level with no Adventure Field to go through to find it.

    Puzzle Game 
  • In DROD: The Second Sky, when you reach the end of the game and unlock the RCS, there are still a couple of required levels to go, but at the same time a host of optional levels have opened up. It's extremely common for players to start the printing-plate quest, do some optional levels, tackle Ore Refinery (the level that gives you the printing plate) and then forget where they're meant to be taking it.

  • Dwarf Fortress:
    • Fortress Mode can get like this at higher populations; the more vertical levels colonized, the more jobs queued, the more disorienting it can be to sit back down to it. And there's no easy solution for it like Adventurer's mode journal since the game has no way of predicting what your layout plan is, which stuff you want shifted to which stockpile and why, or why you might have the magma running. In a big enough fortress, it's possible to forget which rooms and workshops you already built and where. And those levers that might do anything from flood channels to collapse walkways to open your front gates to the enemy could have been labeled, if you got around to it...
    • "Succession" games have it worse; this is a game format where, every in-game year, control of the fort is passed on to a new player who has little to no idea what's going on. It's not uncommon for a succession leader to load up the fort and find it abuzz with activity for no discernible purpose. Half-completed megaprojects, especially those involving aqueducts or magma ducts, are especially prone to this.
    • In some cases, this extends to the dwarves themselves; it's not uncommon for a dwarf with a status aliment (say, Thirst) to drop their job in order to alleviate the problem, only to completely forget what they were doing beforehand. Dwarf mothers can misplace their baby when switching gears between tasks—then launch into a panicked "looking for baby" task.
  • Step away from a game of NetHack for awhile and it's very easy to forget what you were in the middle of. The game can be so deadly that if you are wielding a dead cockatrice—able to petrify monsters with a touch, capable of accidentally petrifying you in a million ways—and make even one move before checking your inventory, it could be game over. Luckily, you can name your inventory and use that to provide yourself with helpful reminders.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • The Famicom (and only playable as a Rom outside Japan) The Adventures of Musashi has a fortune teller who, with a "little fee", will tell you a hint for the plot. The problem here is his vague hints are about the plot, not the way to the objective. Certain events are not very clear, and the Daimyo of the villages (your save point), it's not a great help. Plus, the world is VERY HUGE.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura allows you to ask Virgil about what you should do next. When he eventually leaves the party to pursue personal matters, you're left up a particular creek sans paddle.
  • At any save point in Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia, there is a "current objective" option where a character will tell you what to do next.
  • The Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights series all include a journal which records important information regarding quests both completed and active. This is a huge boon due to the sheer number of side-quests a PC can pick up when you Talk to Everyone. Most Bioware RPGs also feature a similar mechanism.
    • Many Black Isle/Bioware games also allow you to speak to your party-members at any time the exact same way as you speak with any other character (they're also happy to randomly start up a conversation/catfight with you or each other about random personal issues). Baldur's Gate 2 even allows you to do this with your summoned animal familiar!
    • The first two Mass Effect games and all of the Dragon Age games have carefully organized journals so you can separate plot-central quests from sidequests and companion quests; Dragon Age: Origins even sorted sidequests by location.
    • However, the third Mass Effect game abandons this organized system and represents every quest with a short explanation of one or two sentences. This text never changes, regardless of what stage you are at, so you can never be sure whether you need to return to the original quest giver to hand over the Plot Coupon or whether you never actually got around to finding it in the first place.
    • Fan mods for Neverwinter Nights tend to have this problem if the designer didn't set up journal entries correctly.
    • Baldur's Gate II, however, has a bad habit of periodically forgetting your recorded sidequests when you transition between chapters.
  • Betrayal at Krondor had no mercy towards the player in this department - pen down those interesting bits about tasks, quests and hints yourself lest you forget everything. The only thing that the game would keep track of and tell you was the overarching objective of the current chapter.
  • All the conversations in BloodNet are recorded and can be played back at any time. Unfortunately, this also includes every single irrelevant conversation with non-critical NPCs, which means your log can get truly chaotic.
  • Bravely Default has your Fairy Companion Airy pop up on the touch screen when you're on the menu. She reminds you of your next destination, which is also clearly indicated by an orange arrow on the map. Agnès serves a similar purpose in the sequel, Bravely Second; in that game, you can even ask her further info on your objectives; it's not always useful, but it's still fun to hear what she has to say.
  • Brave Story lets you recall your current objective with the push of a button. However, if your (mostly mute) hero is the only one in the party, it won't work.
  • Most of the Breath of Fire games feature the Camp option, which lets you pitch a tent on the World Map, primarily used for resting and saving your game, and a few other options. While camping, you can speak with your fellow party members, which will usually give you a good idea of what you're supposed to be doing.
  • In Chrono Cross, you can get vague hints of where you're supposed to be going by looking at the description in your save file.
    • Its predecessor Chrono Trigger had Gaspar (the old man at the End of Time) remind you what needed doing if you talked to him. Before that, and once you were wherever you needed to be, events usually conspired to keep you moving in the right direction.
  • Darklands is horrible about this. You can get random quests from any of a thousand leaders in various cities, and unless you personally write each quest down in its entirety you will have no idea what you're doing an hour down the road.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest VII introduced this feature - which had the party members respond to almost everything. The 3DS version also changes it to be more like this (wherein the characters will mention that you should probably go to this area or that they've done all they could for this town). Like most other Dragon Quest games, you can visit a priest for divination to give you a hint on where to go next... and if you needed to find a tablet, you can just use a feature from the menu free of charge and it will tell you where the next piece is, as well as another helpful (But not direct) hint on where. (Such as say, "It is inside this town, check the buildings" or "In this dungeon, on the floor".)
      • Ironically, since the statements of fellow party members are based on where you are in the plot, and if you're in a non-standard area they'll just respond with a line of dots, it's possible to just wander into the wrong area and get no answer!
    • Dragon Quest VIII has a pause screen variant which allows you to converse with your party members, usually resulting in a reminder of the last quest objective you've received.
      • In addition, the characters will sometimes talk about entirely unrelated things, such as Jessica asking if her low-cut dress looks alright and is appropriate for adventuring, to which the male party members emphatically answer YES!
      • Generally speaking, the very first time you talk to the group upon loading a save game, they will auto reply with the hint to your next objective. Any conversations after that will then follow the previous examples: either non-sequiter conversation or a line of dots.
    • If you're really desperate, you can also talk to the soothsayer Kalderasha (met in the first town and first quest), who'll look in his crystal ball, giving you hints about where to go next.
    • The Nintendo DS remakes of Dragon Quest IV, Dragon Quest V, and Dragon Quest VI have a "Talk" option similar to the one used in the seventh and eighth games, should you forget where you're supposed to go. Though IV's was only in the Japanese version.
    • Dragon Quest IX, also on the DS, has an entire button dedicated to bringing up a "The Story So Far..." screen, which summarizes the previous plot point and usually hints at where to go next. For example, after being told to go to Zere (a small village north of Stornway) to learn the location of Brigandoom, The Story So Far straight up tells you, "You were told that someone in Zere knows where Brigandoom is. Zere is located north of Stornway."
  • EarthBound (1994) has the Hint Stall, which nudges you in the right direction... for a small fee, of course.
  • Elden Ring takes care of the problem with the Guidance of Grace, trails of gold motes that lead in the general direction of Plot.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Morrowind lacks quest markers and the Journal in the vanilla game can be cumbersome and confusing. The expansions added new features to the Journal, like the ability to sort entries into active and finished quests. This is an incredible boon for keeping track of your goals, and makes level-appropriate progression through multiple factions at once infinitely more practical. This, unfortunately, doesn't help the instances where the directions given are incorrect or when the directions are correct, but were recorded incorrectly in the Journal.
    • Oblivion has so much to do that most players forget the plot entirely. Thankfully, there are quest markers and the character automatically keeps a log of everything he/she's done and should do, for each quest he/she is currently undertaking. "Thank god I have a split personality who always knows exactly what I need to do!"
    • Skyrim is even worse, because the game is SO huge it's ridiculously easy to just wander off into the wilderness and after going through three forts, four bandit caves, two barrows, and a couple of Dwemer ruins, remember wait... didn't I have a quest I wanted to complete? And if the quest takes place somewhere you haven't been before, and therefore cannot fast-travel to, the temptation to stop at numerous places along the way is hard to resist. Fortunately the journal is rather detailed, and gives you not only the general description of a quest but the stage you're currently on and optional map markers to help you find it. Your worst problem is usually going to be having so many map markers up that you can't see the map. (In which case you may need to "deactivate" a few quests.)
  • Excelsior Phase One Lysandia was made before journal systems became popular, so it behooves the player to take careful notes. If you're lucky, you might be able to figure out your next task based on certain items in your inventory.
  • All the Fallout games contain some form of quest-log inside your handy-dandy Pipboy unit, with Fallout 3 also showing it as one of the many random messages you see during a loading screen.
    • It's still possible to miss crucial details that aren't automatically listed in your quest log. For example, the location of Vault 112 in Fallout 3 is never revealed in the "Scientific Pursuits" info; you have to listen to the very end of one of the "Project Purity" logs for it. (You can get a quest marker pointing to the area if you set "Scientific Purisits" as your "Active Quest", but it's not very obvious.)
  • Final Fantasy II for the NES is infamous for not having this. There's practically no clue where you're supposed to be going, no in-game hint system, and going to the wrong area at any given time tends to be instantly deadly.
  • Final Fantasy IV for DS lets you see your characters thoughts' on the situation at hand when on the menu, which more often than not reminds what you were doing or drops a hint of where to go.
  • Final Fantasy VII: The game has no journal or quest log, so if someone says (for example) "We have to go south to Junon," then the player just has to remember it. Also, none of the locations on the world map are named, so if the party has to go back to Junon later, then the player has to remember where Junon is.
  • Final Fantasy VIII: The game has no journal or quest log, so if someone says (for example) "We have to go south to Dollet," then the player just has to remember it. At least major locations on the world map are named.
  • The Map Screen in Final Fantasy XII displays your next objective at the bottom as a short sentence in Vaan's perspective... sometimes. If you just so happen to leave a dungeon or similar location for whatever reason and forget that it's the place you're supposed to be in, God help you.
  • Final Fantasy XIII keeps a detailed log of your actions and marks your next destination on the map screen. When you load a save, it automatically shows you the latest log entry in the loading screen. All that makes it easier to remember what happens in the plot, if you're interested. You won't need it for the gameplay because, except for one open area mid-game, there is No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom. And that one open area? You just need to walk from one side to the other, everything you can actually do there is optional and not part of the plot guidance.
    • The sequel tends to have Serah and Noel explain exactly what they're on their way to do to each other whenever you approach a new time gate. Helpful if you've been away for a long time, doing side-quests, level grinding or catching Mons. A tad annoying if you've run straight to the gate from their last location.
  • The Game Boy Advance remakes of Pokémon Red and Blue - Fire Red/Leaf Green - add in an automatic "Previously on… your quest" message when you load up your saved game, which even includes replays of you running around.
    • In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, you have a journal that lists what you've done in the last few days, and automatically pops up when you load the game if you haven't played for a while.
      • However, this feature doesn't seem to have anticipated the ramifications of the DS's feature of pausing the game when closed. For example, if you play the game from May to July without turning it off (even if you save the game frequently), the journal considers it a single "day" in May, and will tell you just ten things that you did during that period. It also gives routine activities such as capturing common Pokemon the same weight as story-important events such as beating gym leaders.
      • The remake Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl does away with the diary and instead tells you what to do next to advance the plot whenever you bring up the menu.
    • In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 there is a new feature. A player can call several characters any time for information and advice. The rival says what task is there to be done, like gym challenges. He really helps when the player loses track.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon give you a Fairy Companion in the Rotom Pokédex, who will comment on your next objective when it's not displaying the map.
  • The nameless hero's journal in Gothic is organised by quest, and helpfully moves completed quests to different sections depending on whether the player succeeded or failed. The hero's comments can be very helpful hints about what to do next.
  • The Inazuma Eleven games display a one-line message below the top screen's mini-map telling you what you're supposed to do next. If the exact location was previously mentioned in the story (for example, "meet character X at location Y"), there will also be a flag on the mini-map at that location if you're nearby, or an arrow to point you in the right direction if the flag isn't on-screen. On top of that, Aki keeps a blog which you can read from the menu at any time. Between the massive amounts of optional content and the fact that the games let you roam freely around places you've already been (except in rare situations, primarily when the characters' presence somewhere would open up a gigantic plothole), you WILL need some of these features unless you have a photographic memory.
  • Some reviews note a flaw of Infinite Space is because of this trope. There's no journal log, so if you put down the game for a while, it's easy to get lost. Even if you play the game constantly, finding where to go next can still be a problem since sometimes the game barely tells you where to go next, or that you need to perform some other, possibly unrelated actions to trigger the next story event.
  • The Kingdom Hearts games have a similar journal, by none other than Jiminy Cricket.
  • You have a quest log for all sidequests in The Last Remnant but you can always go to Athlum Castle to find out where to go to advance the main story.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky averts this thoroughly. Party members, usually Estelle and Joshua will talk with each other briefly when you've entered an area where the plot dictates, usually justified as them going over a plan. If it's an area where you need to stay to advance the plot, they'll stop and remind each other what they should be doing. If you're still lost, Estelle will update her Bracer Notebook after every step of both main and side quests as a reminder. It's particularly helpful if you've accepted multiple jobs from the Guild at once and going through some plot between sidequests. Being The Ditz to a certain extent, it's perfectly in-character.
  • Given that Legend of Mana consists of about a hundred quests, only some of which are related, it's often impossible to say what you should be doing "next". However, trying to unlock or finish these quests is extremely frustrating since there's often no indication whatsoever of where you need to go next to do so. There is a fortune-teller in Domina who purportedly helps in this, but often her fortunes are nonsensical or too vague to be of help. (However, part of the draw of the game is that there's never really anything to do "next". You have things to do, it's just that most of them are optional and nearly all of them can essentially be done whenever.)
  • Super Mario Bros. RPGs:
  • This can be a serious problem in Mass Effect, although less so in the later games, which made the levels somewhat more linear. Particularly during your first trip to the Citadel, it's very easy to load a saved game, look at the dozen different odd jobs you had open or were about to pick up or close, and have no idea which one you had priority on or what you were doing before.
    • It's especially a problem in Mass Effect: Andromeda, where you can only add a tracking marker to one mission at a time, which leads to a lot of backtracking.
  • The Mega Man Battle Network series allows you to press L at any time to speak to Mega Man (if you are in the real world) or to his human counterpart Lan (if you are in the Cyberworld as Mega Man) to receive a short hint of what should be done. If you are revisiting a boss stage or in a secret area, the message will change to a comment about the area.
  • MS Saga: A New Dawn is a perfect example of a game that does NOT give you ONE SINGLE HINT as to where you are supposed to be going if you save and quit for too long a period of time late in the game. The game features no actual log of any kind, and only by walking around every town you can and talking to everyone can you even HOPE to figure out what you are supposed to do next. Then again, this is one of the easier problems in the game to deal with overall.
  • Octopath Traveler has a fairly comprehensive setup to help avoid this. There is a journal feature that displays just how far along their story each respective protagonist is, which includes a visual display of how far along that story is. The journal also has a section devoted to how far along a given sidequest is (including whether or not it's completed), for players who are wondering just how far along they are on any of those. Moreover, the map marks objectives not yet met in green, making it easier to tell where to go next. Finally, the tavern in every town will note when a particular story sequence is active by highlighting the Required Party Member for that particular part (if nobody is highlighted, it's time to find new quests).
  • Persona and Persona 2 allow you to talk to party members by entering basically any shop. Not every comment will get you back on track... unless you go to the omnipresent Velvet Room, where they're all about what happened and where you're going.
    • Persona 3 takes measures to avert this. You have a calendar in your room that shows what events happened on certain days, and which Social Links you worked on leveling up. The menu screen will list your Social Links, where and when you can find them, who they are, and what you did last time. There's also a glossary that defines important story terms.
    • Persona 4 reminds you of your current objective (or lack thereof) every day after school.
    • Persona 5 shows the next objective(s) at the top right screen. Such as how many days left until deadline for the current mission, where you should go next, search key items to proceed, etc. Your friends will also occasionally call you or send text messages to remind you what to do next. The outro screen after leaving a palace will show what you've done in it so far, and what you accomplished on the last visit. There's also a story summary in the menu, which describes important plot moments and goes back to the beginning of the game.
  • Phantasy Star IV had a menu option that made the party talk amongst themselves about what they needed to do next. If you had just the protagonist, you could still opt to "Mumble" your objectives.
  • Radiant Historia actually integrates this into gameplay. Because the whole point of the game is mercilessly abusing the timeline, everything that happens gets recorded so you can Time Travel back to it. So, when in doubt, you can just go into the "Story" section on the menu to refresh your memory about what you're supposed to be doing.
  • If you've forgotten where you were when you last left off in Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army, going back to the Narumi Detective Agency and listening to Narumi's comment can help you remember what you're supposed to do. Also, since there are points in the game when he isn't there, he also keeps a case file, one page per episode, though this isn't as helpful.
  • Rogue Galaxy recaps the recently completed parts of the plot when loading a saved game, with a hint as to what the heroes are supposed to be doing now. Still comes out to be occasionally less than useful during parts of the game where there are two or more equally important tasks that need to be completed.
  • SaGa Frontier Remastered adds a "Story" section to the party submenu, summarizing what plot has already transpired as well as giving the current chapter's goal.
  • Sea of Stars tells its story through cutscenes, and lacks a journal or plot summary. It's a fairly linear game, so if you forget where you're going, then keep on and you'll get there soon enough. If you forget why you're going, better hope that the next cutscene jogs your memory.
  • The remake of Secret of Mana downplays this. When you stay at an inn, the party members will sit at the table and talk about what has recently gone on in their journey, which may or may not involve the next step(s) to take to continue their given task.
  • God help you (even if you're not Messian), if you put down Shin Megami Tensei I for any significant length of time. It's hard enough trying to figure out what to do while playing normally sometimes.
  • Shin Megami Tensei II has fortune tellers in various places, who will, for 100 makka, tell you where you must go to further the plot.
    >Ask the Fortune teller in Holytown where to go. "Go to Holytown"
  • Skies of Arcadia has both a journal and the option to stop the Global Airship you're flying to talk to the other party members.
  • Entering or leaving a random town in Star Ocean: The Second Story triggers a cutscene where a character mentions the town they should be heading to so they can continue the plot. Typically only when the player initiates a Private Action.
    • This breaks down later on when you're on your way to the Bonus Dungeon. An NPC sends you to a virtual reality simulation of the first planet, and the event flags are just all over the place, such that you can do private actions in all the available cities and still not peg down where you're "supposed" to be going in disc one's story.
  • Suikoden V provides you with an onscreen bodyguard whom you can talk to whenever you need to know the location of the next plot point.
  • Tales of Symphonia has an in-game journal that records the party's quest, including where the game last told them to go. It's possible to carry over this journal into a New Game Plus; while this means you can effectively read a summary of the entire game's plot whenever you want, it does render it useless for figuring out what you were doing last.
    • Tales of the Abyss has a journal as well, written from the main character's perspective (except when he has a Heroic BSoD), where it's done by Mieu.
    • Other Tales games, like Tales of Eternia, give you hints on what you should be doing via a button press on the world map, usually delivered by characters in your party talking to you.
    • Tales of Hearts goes for overkill; it has a journal, skits usually appear to tell you what your goal is, and a mark appears on the World Map telling you what area you should be in.
    • Tales of Graces goes a step further than all of them. In addition to the aforementioned journal, simply holding down a button on the overworld will tell you what your objective currently is.
    • Tales of Xillia is even better than Graces, giving you the same button hold to tell you your objective, as well as a journal detailing the steps/story of the quest thus far. It also has a fast travel system to let you complete sidequests quickly.
  • Touhou Mother suffers from this; it can be very difficult to figure out where Reimu and her party are meant to go next.
  • Trials of Mana: Loading up a save game gives a quick "last time on..." montage that catches the player up to what went on before they stopped playing, but the game itself also has quest markers that can be turned on (or off).
  • Ultima IX has a fairly decent journal. In fact, the Avatar is so good at keeping one he can sometimes write down information he was never given. In at least one instance this is the only way to get critical information on your objective.
    • The earlier Ultimas, however, were so open ended it was frequently pretty easy to lose track of what you were in the middle of. Fortunately you can almost always find something worth doing.
  • Wasteland precedes all such amenities, and since there's no railroading, you can literally go anywhere.
  • The Witcher also has a very detailed log of quests, both main and side ones.
    • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings takes it even further, disguising your progress as stylish in-game narrative where a chronicler recounts your exploits from future.
  • The World Ends with You lets you ask your partner for hints and reminders as to what to do next.
    • And there's also an envelope which you can check, in case you forget your mission for the day.
  • The first Xenosaga game did away with this by removing ALL overland movement (though it's theoretically possible to forget you're supposed to be going to the bridge in the first game...). The second and third games did this too, but also whenever you loaded from a save point, they'd bring up a short narration describing what came before, and what you're supposed to do now.

    Simulation Game 
  • Most Harvest Moon games at least try to avert this. You only have one save point in any game: the diary on your dresser. Saving also ends the current day by making your character (and your spouse, if you're married) go to sleep, waking up at six in the morning sharp. This means that every time you turn on the game, you're in the exact same place. However, the games are rather iffy about what they keep track of and what they don't. They generally don't keep track of the current health of your farm, animals, or love life, but do note things like what year it is, the size of your house, and any general upgrades you have.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Assassin's Creed II (and every subsequent game in the series) keeps the plot-related objectives permanently displayed on the minimap. If the player is in the wrong city, the nearest exit towards the correct city is highlighted instead.
  • The original Metal Gear Solid had a mission log which recounted the last few story events and what you were supposed to be doing. Later MGS games dropped this in favour of making you call up your Codec contacts and demanding they explain.
  • The original Thief trilogy averted this by having your mission objectives get constantly updated during a mission, as well as by giving you the ability to type down notes on a note screen or directly on a mission map in the first two games.

    Survival Horror 
  • Alan Wake has a "Previously on… Alan Wake" recap at the beginning of each Episode, akin to many dramatic serial TV shows. Especially egregious when you just finished an Episode and are heading into the next one immediately.
  • The Resident Evil series tend to leave you on your own when it comes to where to go next.
    • The early games didn't completely restrict the player on where to go, but it also didn't keep a checklist on what puzzles were solved.
    • The HD remake of Resident Evil changes the colours of rooms on the map depending on whether or not you have found all items, and changes the colours of doors depending on whether or not they are unlocked.
    • The 2nd game eases the trope slightly by marking locked doors on the map, which is a good sign that progression is behind it.
    • Resident Evil: Revelations has Previously on… scenes before each game chapter, and an objective marker on the map.
    • The post-RE7 remakes also use color-coding on the map (red for areas with stuff still left to do or find, blue for areas you've cleared out), and mark the location of items when you come near them, to help sweep up any goodies you might have otherwise missed.
  • The various S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games all display your currently selected mission's next objective location, but since many missions aren't time-sensitive, it's very possible you were heading to a trader to unload some looted gear or artifacts or stock up on ammo and medkits before heading out with the objective just open in the background. This can lead to a rather serious faux paus where you charge into an enemy encampment and find out that you used up most of your ammo artifact hunting and taking down groups of bandits, leaving you with enough bullets to worry maybe half a squad.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Dead Space has an actual light that signals you the exact path towards the next objective if you push a button in the controller.
    • The trick, of course, is that blindly following the light will cause you to miss items, plot exposition, and in at least one case, will lead you directly into the path of an nigh unstoppable monster.
      • Although some players use it creatively by always heading in the opposite direction first then following it when done exploring.
    • The second game averts this at one point. After you send your Voice with an Internet Connection away from the station, using the guide won't work. At least, until your dead girlfriend activates it again...
  • Averted in Odd World Stranger's Wrath. Press the 'talk' button with nobody else around, and Stranger mutters a reminder to himself of his current objective.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Final Fantasy Tactics lets you rewatch any cutscene from your main menu as a quick way to catch up on the story. It also helps that your current objective usually appears colored in red on the map.
    • It also gives access to at least three cutscenes that don't appear anywhere else.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance avoided this in a bit of an obtuse way. At any point on the main map, you can check what missions you have to do at any given location. It's not the most perfect system, but it's better than nothing. Final Fantasy Tactics A2 changed things up by placing a marker on the world map when you accept a storyline mission or have completed one and need to advance the plot before doing the next mission.
  • Star Control 2 is horrible about this. Not only is it an apparent Wide-Open Sandbox, but all of the plot important information is only given out once, often in an obscure hint. Like in many computer games of that era, writing down notes on paper is essential for beating this game. Luckily, the developers of Star Control: Origin made a note of that and keep a log of all important information for the player to read, even highlighting any star system name so the autopilot could be set from that window.

Alternative Title(s): Where Was I Going Again