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"Due to an obvious lack of common sense, you have stepped off the edge, lost your magnetic grip of the ship, and have drifted to your death."
Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge, if you walk off of the space station into deep space

These are games that can be lost on the very first turn or two, or very shortly after you begin a level. Maybe before the game even starts.

This can be deliberate through Schmuck Bait like a suicidal dialogue option or Press X to Die, or an "Impossible" difficulty level; and may or may not result in a Non-Standard Game Over. It can also be accidental, due to a Game-Breaking Bug, bad starting positions in Randomly Generated Levels, or simply taking an action that the designers never accounted for.

Note that it's always possible for extremely contrived stupidity to result in a Game Over - mundane cases like failing to properly jump or steer your vehicle around elementary obstacles don't cut it. In the same vein, unwinnable user-created content isn't worth mentioning unless the deaths are funny or interesting.

Contrast Kaizo Trap, which is when you get killed by surprise after you finish playing rather than immediately when you start, and Fission Mailed, in which the game leads you to believe it's over, sometimes early on.


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    Board Games 
  • In Chess, the Fool's mate ends the game in two moves, the Scholar's mate in four. Whereas a scholar's mate actually happens at low-level play with some degree of regularity, you'd have to be trying to suffer a fool's mate.
  • The Lord of the Rings edition of Risk contains an Instant-Win Condition for the player(s) on Sauron's side: capturing the ring. Every turn the ring moves along a predetermined path towards Mount Doom, but every time it crosses into a territory controlled by evil forces, the bad guys have a chance to find it. This can happen before some players even take a turn.
  • Pandemic can be lost on the first player turn with a combination of bad luck: the starting 3-cube cities being adjacent to each other, most of the starting cities sharing their color, and a first-turn Epidemic draw. The starting cities outbreak into each other, and you run out of disease cubes before the second player even gets a turn.

    Card Games 
  • The aptly-named "Cruel" (a solitaire game on the Microsoft Entertainment Pack for Windows 3.0) can have you lose before you can even make a single move. It doesn't help that you can only move cards between tableaux or foundations that are the same suit and one rank higher or lower.
  • Early Magic: The Gathering sets included Game-Breaker cards that can let you win the game on your first turn. (There's even a specific combination of cards that, if your opponent went first, lets you win the game before your first turn.) Most tournaments do not allow players to use those cards, and those that do restrict them to one copy per deck. There are other examples that allow you to kill yourself on the first turn or two, such as dumping Phage the Untouchablenote  into your graveyard and reanimating her.
  • There is an entire class of tournament deck type in the Pokémon Trading Card Game known as a "donk" deck, featuring a Pokémon able to get rid of an opponent's Pokémon on the first turn but with conditions needed to use it. Donk decks are centralized entirely on 1) getting that Pokémon into play on the first turn and 2) fulfilling all of the conditions on the first turn. If the opponent draws only one Pokémon to use that will be knocked out from that attack, it becomes this trope as, with no more Pokémon to use, the match is over after just one turn per player at most. A simple example is Shiftry from the Next Destinies set, whose "Giant Fan" caused a 50% chance to remove an opponent's Pokémon out of play. Unlike other CCG examples, very few donk cards have ever been banned,note  the rulemakers seem to actually encourage their use in tournaments, with more cards in this vein being released every now and then.
  • Combinations that cause this, known as "First Turn Kills" or FTKs for short, appear in Yu-Gi-Oh! on a regular basis. Luckily, however, any consistent examples get banned on the next banlist. It is actually possible for the game to end before one or either player has taken a turn, a "Zero Turn Kill": if all five cards in one player's opening hand are the five pieces of Exodia, they win outright before the first turn starts, notably Exodia is among the very few instant win effects that can cause an FTK (as opposed to very difficult combos later in the game) through this show of absurd luck as Exodia's instant win activates from the hand the moment all five pieces are present, bypassing anything else in the game. There's also an infinitesimal chance that both players get this hand, resulting in the game ending in a draw.
    • The Yu-Gi-Oh! GX anime has a notable example of a Zero Turn Kill: in one duel, Sartorius/Saiou uses a series of luck-based cards that can be activated from the hand during the opponent's turn to trigger further combos and win before his own first turn ever begins.
  • In a Russian card game Preferans, there's a very rare Instant-Win Condition: if a player gets aces, kings and queens of all four suits in their hand at the beginning of the round, they immediately win the game (the probability of such hand occurring without cheating is roughly 1 in 226 million). Since the dealer usually doesn't participate in the round themselves, it's Press Start to Game Over both for the dealer and the remaining players.

    Video Games 
  • Action 52 had one — in StarEvil (a vertically scrolling shoot-em-up), there's a Deadly Wall at the very start of the game. Not dodging it might seem perverse — except it's so close to the start that you literally have less than one second from exiting the title screen to dodge it. The game also has Hambo's Adventure, which has randomly generating enemies and only one life. So it's possible for an enemy to generate right by Hambo, resulting in a game over in less than a second. Additionally, several of the games crash the moment someone tries to open them, playing this trope about as literal as it gets.
  • AI Dungeon 2 is a... weird case of this trope. The player character can very much potentially die before the player even inputs a command... yet rarely does death ever actually end the story it's generating.
  • Akalabeth, the spiritual precursor to the Ultima I series of games, begins with your main character in a general store and enough gold to equip him. If you decide not to purchase any food - which is necessary for all movement in the game - your character drops dead from starvation instantly as soon as you leave.
  • You can die in the first screen of Alwa's Awakening by choosing to jump in the water to the left instead of entering the tower on the right.
  • In A Mazing World of Malcom Mortar, each Level starts in a hall of pillars where the eponymous Big Bad hunts down the Player Character, and since the latter only has one life, getting caught results in an immediate Game Over.
  • Unsurprisingly Ancient Domains of Mystery, which already has Everything Trying to Kill You. Through a combination of poor character design, bad luck and starting on a Monday, it is actually possible to enter the game with 0HP and die without taking a single turn.
  • The dark colors of Another World's first screen, in which the protagonist suddenly appears in a body of water inhabited by an unseen, tentacled monster, does not make it at all clear that the best choice of action is to immediately swim upward to safety. (In fact, it doesn't make it clear that the opening cutscene has ended.) If you don't move quickly enough, you'll be killed within the first five seconds of game play. Succeeding in that, if you don't leave the second screen immediately, the monster will reach up and snatch you back down, killing you anyway.
  • In Anti Ballistic Missile, a Missile Command clone for PC-DOS, choosing the "Mission Impossible" setting may result in all of your cities being wiped out by the very first wave of missiles.
  • In Arcade Spirits, you can choose to delete your childhood friend Juniper's life coach app from your phone and decide to find a "safe" job for yourself instead of going to work at the titular arcade. Doing so gets you an achievement and a sarcastic image for your trouble.
  • In Astalon: Tears of the Earth, if you take Algus through the entrance of the cave instead of heading to the right, you'll get a quick Nonstandard Game Over where he grows old and dies of regret from abandoning his friends.
  • In the first Baldur's Gate, creating a mage character with 2 or 3 Constitution prevents you from progressing past the first major plot event. Your character is scripted to take a certain amount of damage, and with such a low Con stat, you don't have enough HP to survive it.
  • It's more a case of the developers being sadists, but in the arcade game Baraduke II, you can get a game over almost immediately, since you start with one life and one hit kills you. One-Hit-Point Wonder taken to extremes.
  • Subverted in Bastion. If you fall off the path in the opening level the Lemony Narrator will say "And then he falls to his death... I'm just fooling!" before The Kid lands nearby.
  • In Battle City, it is possible to lose the game under a second by deliberately shooting the eagle representing your headquarters. Averted in Tank Force where there is no friendly fire to the base.
  • In Beneath a Steel Sky you can die with the very first click. Walking down the stairs will get you shot.
  • Border Down has a unique take on the Video-Game Lives system. At the beginning of the game, you can choose one of three "Borders": Green, Yellow, Red. Getting hit on Green demotes you to Yellow, getting hit on Yellow demotes you to Red, and getting hit on Red is a Game Over. Additionally, the lower your border, the higher the difficulty. Which means it's entirely possible for someone to choose Red border at the beginning of the game and, either through deliberate action or getting overwhelmed, get hit by one of the first enemies, causing a game over in record time. In the arcade version, this amounts to throwing away money for nothing.
  • Bounty of One:
    • On Infamy 15 and above, enemies deal 3 damage to you. Your starting health is 3 (or 1 if you're Roger), assuming you don't have the Black Market upgrade that gives you +1 HP. This means you can literally die from touching the first enemy.
    • Roger starts with only 1 hit point without Black Market upgrades. In Daily struggle missions (which disable Black Market upgrades), if he's the given character and one of the modifiers gives Reckless Rushnote  as a starting item, it's possible to simply dash once and die immediately — this can even happen by pressing the "dash" key during the "press any key to start" screen, which causes you to dash and die right as the game starts. This no longer happens anymore as Reckless Rush was reworked to no longer activate if you're at 1 HP.
  • When going through the Justified Tutorial for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, you can end the game right away by just shooting any of your instructors in the face mid-training, earning you an instant game over. And, in the 2020 remaster, you earn an achievement praising you for your "Precognitive Paranoia" if you shoot General Shepherd specifically.
  • Civilization:
    • The first game allows you to lose immediately after starting a new game, by choosing to "disband" (destroy) your starting settler unit. Alternatively, you might be so unlucky to start near a village... which spawns full stacks of barbarians when you enter it.
    • In Civilization VI with the 'Gathering Storm' expansion pack enabled, it is possible to lose on the next turn after putting a settler next to a river, on top of a floodplain tile that then floods and kills the unit.
  • In The Colony, the first thing you need to do is turn on the lights on your crash-landed ship. The light switch is one of two identical unmarked buttons on a console. What does the other button do? Blows up the planet.
  • In the very last mission of Command & Conquer: Renegade, the enemies that spawn in the Temple of Nod's first chamber will kill you in a matter of seconds if you don't immediately run for cover the moment the mission begins.
  • The protagonist of The Consuming Shadow has to resist shooting themselves at several points as part of his Sanity Slippage... or you can just have him kill himself on the title screen.
  • Cragne Manor: It's possible to die in the first room of the game. All you have to do is lay down on the train tracks and wait, which gets you run over by a passing train.
  • In Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, there's the "intro" level you can play in if you don't skip the intro cutscene. It has pits and enemies; it means that it's possible for you to get a Game Over before the game proper even starts.
  • In Crypt Of The Necrodancer, if you unlock the Diamond Dealer, obtain enough diamonds in a single-zone run to buy a weapon from him, and then start another single-zone run as a weapon-restricted character such as Melody, Dove, or Aria, you will immediately die of "Cowardice". You can also die very quickly as Aria or Coda since they die as soon as you miss a beat, so you can just press a button and die on the next beat, or quickly press a button twice to move off beat (Aria has a potion, so this might be a bit slower for her).
  • In Curses, you are tasked to find a tourist map in the attic in preparation for your family's trip to Paris. You can lose the game on the first turn by exiting the attic.
    Yes, probably just as well to give up looking, and heaven knows there's enough packing to do, what with the rest of the family in uproar. Oh well.

    *** You have missed the point entirely ***
  • In Cyberpunk 2077's Phantom Liberty DLC:
  • The final investigation of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is on a time limit. It's also impossible to complete in that time limit, even if you go as fast as possible and make the absolute bare minimum of button presses/mouse clicks required. Fortunately, retrying from your last checkpoint after you fail resets the timer to full, regardless of how much (or how little) time you had left when you reached it, so go ahead and take your time reading all the optional dialogue, you'll still be able to finish the investigation eventually.
  • Darkest Dungeon is Nintendo Hard as it is, but if you turn off the torch (which many with a basic grip on the mechanics might do to increase the loot obtained) in the tutorial the first fight of the entire game has a chance (which isn't even that low in Stygian Mode) to be replaced by the Shambler. Needless to say, having two unexperienced and unequipped party members at that time makes the fight (which you can't run away from) unwinnable. The game even acknowledges this by mentioning retreat isn't an option in the tutorial in a popup that only shows the first time one of your heroes dies. The devs were ready for the player to party wipe in the tutorial mission.
  • The video game adaptation of Days of Thunder begins with your racecar in the pit lane. All one needs to do is shift into reverse for instant disqualification.
  • In the prologue of The Daedalus Encounter, you get turned into a Brain in a Jar after an accident. After waking up from the procedure, your companions will ask you if you can hear them. If you don't answer, they'll come to the conclusion that the procedure failed and you didn't survive, so they'll turn off your life support.
  • In Disco Elysium, it's possible to build the Player Character to start as a One-Hit-Point Wonder. There are two potential ways to lose that one hit point in the first room you wake up in: by failing an attempt to retrieve the tie hanging from the ceiling fan, or by turning the lights on too fast.
  • In Doki Doki Literature Club!, the player can enter the Characters folder and delete either Monika or Sayori before the game even begins. Doing so will cause Sayori to Freak Out and delete everything, crashing the game.
  • The third Don't Escape game starts you in an airlock that's about to open to deep space, with the space suit in a locked case next to you. If you let yourself be killed, you get the easiest ending (and an achievement), but it's not the best solution as the rescue crew will have no idea what happened, spreading the contagion further. The other games allow you to skip straight to the ending as soon as you start, resulting in maximum casualties.
  • In the Kongregate Game Don't Shit Your Pants, you normally type in "play" to start the game. But instead, you can type "shit" to immediately soil yourself. There's an achievement for that.
  • Pretty much everyone who tries Don't Shoot The Puppy for the first time is going to Shoot the Dog almost instantly. Then there's level 12, where even the jaded who know perfectly well what the deal is will still likely trip up.
  • In the Doraemon Famicom RPG Giga Zombie no Gyakushū, the game starts with Doraemon asking the Player Character to help him find his crew. Refusing to help him ends the game with an image of Doraemon tearfully walking away.
  • In Dragon's Lair, every room is basically Press X to Not Die, so one's demise can occur in a hurry — even if you do start out with three lives.
  • Drawn to Life lets you choose to ignore Mari's request for help in the beginning, ending the game right there.
  • Duke Nukem 3D's third level begins with Duke in an electric chair that will kill him in two seconds unless he moves out of the electricity beam.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, it is reportedly possible, if you're seriously unlucky, to have all your dwarfs be thralled or otherwise rendered non-viable for a working fortress before you even unpause after embarking. In some particularly old versions, bottomless pits sometimes inexplicably spawned with a huge glob of magma hanging over them, and that magma could instantly kill your embark party. Nowadays, the typical example is embarking on a frozen lake/river, with the wagon carrying everything and everyone parked on the ice; and since you usually arrive at the start of Spring and ice melting is instantaneous as soon as the temperature changes, it's perfectly possible for the ice to melt on the exact second of arrival.
  • Your first choice after creating your character in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is which of two soldiers to follow to safety after a dragon attack interrupts your execution. That dragon is the game's Big Bad, and he's there looking to take out the hero prophesied to defeat him (namely you) before they become a threat. Hesitate too long, and he'll figure out which of the puny humans you are and start targeting you specifically. You're not just unarmed and unarmored, your hands are tied in front of you. Guess how long you're likely to last.
  • In Elite and its Fan Remake Oolite, beginning players must dock with space stations manually until they can afford to buy a docking computer for their ship. The catch is that all orbital space stations rotate, making said docking a hair-raising experience at best the first time it is attempted and causing a number of new pilots to plow into the station instead of flying into the docking bay. Engaging pirates before being upgraded with advanced weapons, armor, scanners, or fuel injectors also tends to lead to disastrous results.
    • In Elite, it's possible (though very unlikely) to encounter the Thargoids on your very first hyperspace jump. You aren't going to survive this. (This may only apply to certain ports of Elite. Oolite TBD)
  • Eryi's Action begins with Eryi inside of her house, having to dodge inexplicable falling washtubs on the way out or die. Good thing this game offers infinite lives, because you will need them.
  • EZ2ON has a song called "Sudden Death", known for having simple charts but deliberately stricter-than-usual timing windows and stricter lifebar. In its EZ2ON REBOOT : R incarnation, the Super Hard chart in particular not only features a "Kool" timing window of only two milliseconds and the timing windows for the lower non-miss judgements similartly tightened, but anything below a Kool will take away 99% of the player's lifebar, when in other songs it would take about 15 misses in a row for the player to fail the song. As a result, the vast majority of attempts on "Sudden Death" SHD will end after the player misses the first two notes. If you're lucky, three.
  • In Façade (2005), your goal is to help save your friends Grace and Trip's marriage, and the game will end if you fail to help them work through their issues and/or offend one of them too much. The latter is easier than it sounds, as "melon" infamously causes Trip to throw the player out of the apartment, so if you say something offensive to Trip after he opens he door for you, he will close it in your face, ending the game.
  • In Factorio it's possible in some rare cases to generate a world with too much water that leads to the player being stranded on an island with little to no resources to progress, including the ability to make a land bridge.
  • In Fallout 4, take too long getting to the vault (or go the wrong direction) during the prologue, and you get nuked. Game over.
  • Fear & Hunger: Termina: It is entirely possible to get yourself killed during character creation if you choose to play as O'saa, select to fully recount journeying through the location of the previous game, and then make a few unlucky choices in the resulting text adventure. Should this happen, the game points out that your "story ended before it ever even properly began" before kicking you back to the title screen.
  • F.E.A.R.'s Interval 4 starts with you under fire from all sides on the helipad, which can mean death in two seconds on the Hard and Extreme difficulties. Worse, the Instant Action version has one of the starting mooks spawn with an instant-kill rocket launcher.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's gives you a debug "Custom Night" mode for beating all five nights and the bonus sixth night; it lets you set the difficulty of the four animatronics from 0 to 20. If you set Freddy, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy to "1, 9, 8, 7" respectively, it won't load up the level; it'll just flash Golden Freddy's Jump Scare on the screen and the application will force-quit itself. This was implemented by a patch in order to prevent rumor about this particular difficulty giving a non-existent true ending, preventing the player from playing the Custom Night in this setting.
    • If you set the characters to 20/20/20/20, it's quite possible that Freddy will attack you just after you start the night.
    • Then there's Nightmarionne in Ultimate Custom Night. His shtick is that he'll fade in and out of your office, and you have to move the cursor away from him or he'll jumpscare you. If you're really unlucky (or just playing 50/20 Mode, he can spawn right under your cursor at the beginning of the game. During beta testing, Scott lost to him in the first second of gameplay.
  • The Genesis/Mega Drive port of Forgotten Worlds qualifies for this trope for an extremely bizarre reason: if the game is played with a six-button controller instead of a three-button one, trying to start the game will immediately bring the player to the Game Over screen. Why this happens in the first place is anyone's guess.
  • In Friday Night Funkin', pressing the R key on the keyboard will result in Boyfriend getting blue-balled right then and there.
  • In adventure game Frontier: Elite II, you can get a game over by crashing your ship the instant it takes off at the start of the game.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light:
    • It's possible to suffocate your entire crew by opening all of your ship's airlocks. There's a special message for doing this during the tutorial.
    • The Engi B cruiser has only one crewman to start with. The first jump point you visit can result in an event where you lose a crewmember. You don't get immunity from this if you only have that one crewman as such, they will die and the game will end after 1 jump.
  • In Grand Chase, one PVP map has a layout where, if you're unlucky enough to be in a certain position, you lose a life immediately after spawning. (You still have 4 lives, but you're at a serious disadvantage.)
  • The video game adaptation of Grange Hill is an adventure game with the protagonist Gonch searching for his lost cassette player. Gonch doesn't want his mother to find out he lost it, so turning back at the game's start towards his front door is an instant game over.
  • In Half-Life, as soon as you get out of a railcar in the beginning, you can hop over the railing and fall straight into a Bottomless Pit, and that's before all hell breaks loose in Black Mesa.
    • You can also walk into the beam of the Anti-Mass Spectrometer before inserting the sample.
  • Player characters in Happy Wheels are so fragile they can sometimes die from accelerating too quickly at the start of a level.
  • At the start of the Infocom text adventure version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1984), you'll die after about your first 20 moves if you don't get out of your house (which isn't exactly straightforward, either).
  • As the Game Grumps accidentally discovered, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (SNES) can be lost instantly by just holding the left arrow, causing Kevin to run directly into the concierge and be caught.
  • In Honkai: Star Rail, at the end of the Herta Space Station quest line, you are offered the opportunity to either join Himeko on the Astral Express or stay on the space station. You can turn down Himeko's offer, which cues a Non-Standard Game Over where the Trailblazer spends a peaceful life living aboard the Herta Space Station.
  • Both Iji and Hero Core have the impossible hidden difficulty "Reallyjoel's dad". The first just overpowers enemies and locks a door, making it impossible to leave the first area. The second locks you in a room with every boss in the game (though with certain late-game upgrades, and free healing if you can kill a boss). The boss room has been completed but only on a tool-assisted run or by Reallyjoel's dad.
  • I Love You, Colonel Sanders!: You can get a Game Over just by choosing to sleep in at the very first dialogue choice.
  • If you somehow fail the first tutorial battle in Infinity Blade, you unlock the Negative Bloodlines, an Easter Egg that apparently sends your point of view back in time. You even get an achievement for doing so.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy has ways to kill you within 15 seconds of the game starting up, regardless of which path you go. I Wanna Be the Guy: Gaiden takes it a step further by trying to kill you on the overworld map before you even get to the first stage, and yes, overworld deaths are included in your death count, meaning it's possible to have at least 30 deaths as you enter the first stage.
  • In Jak II: Renegade you can fall off the catwalk to your death in the first area within 5 seconds of taking control of Jak.
  • Likewise in Jak 3: Wastelander, where you can jump off a platform you start the game on into a Lava Pit.
  • Running the 1984 DOS platform game Janitor Joe on too-fast hardware or with the cycles too high in DOSBox will cause the player's Oxygen Meter to run out in just a few seconds. Better yet, selecting a number higher than 6 with the level select code deposits the player in a glitched level where they immediately lose all of their lives.
  • In Jet Set Willy 2, most first-time players inspect the toilet they start right next to, and promptly find themselves Down the Drain in an inescapable Death Trap.
  • At least one of the Kaizo Mario World hacks tries to kill Mario in the opening scene. This naturally started a trend of Platform Hell Mario hacks doing likewise. It's almost mandatory at this point if you're making a Platform Hell hack to try to kill the player in the opening.
  • Karateka: At the beginning, get into a fighting stance, then step backwards. You fall off the ledge behind you. Game over.
  • Keineged an nor: The very first room you enter has four ways to die, one achieved by just waiting three seconds. And before that, there are two ways to die on the title screen.
  • King's Field: The Ancient City: Walk forward for about five seconds from the start.
  • In King's Quest I: Quest For The Crown, it's not unusual to die by falling into the moat on the first screen because you can't navigate the small, wooden bridge properly while adjusting to the controls.
  • KZ Manager starts by asking you what you think about Turks, with two Turk-friendly and two Turk-hostile options. If you choose either of the friendly options, the game closes.
  • Leather Goddesses of Phobos starts with the (temporary) Featureless Protagonist triggering a Potty Emergency by drinking too much beer. If you take too long in getting to the bathroom of the appropriate gender, the game will end on a Potty Failure.
  • Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Walk south on the road. You become an instant pancake. Game over. Walk into the alleyway to the west, get beaten to death by a mugger. Game over.
  • In LIMBO, many players will be snapped up by the bear trap which appears extremely quickly in the game and blends in with the grass.
    • The first chance you get to die is a very small, shallow ditch, that happens to have spikes in it. They look just like grass and the bottom of the screen is very dark.
  • The Magic Candle opens with King Rebnard offering you the quest around which the game revolves. If you decline, he expresses disappointment... and the game just bumps you back to the "choose a name" screen, because if you're not gonna quest, the king will just have to ask someone else!
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo has before the first level if you pick the blue-pill, instead of the red-pill.
  • In Max Payne 3, if you don't immediately haul ass off the soccer field at the beginning of Chapter 3, you will be One Hit Killed by sniper fire. Earlier, the first chapter has enemies fire on you immediately after the mostly-unskippable intro cutscene. If you're on Hardcore or Old School (no pauses for tutorial steps) and not paying close attention, kiss your ass goodbye. The fourth chapter opens with a barroom quick draw duel.
  • MechWarrior Living Legends has several starting-tier BattleMechs capable of nuking themselves via Over Heating before even leaving the hangar. The Osiris, for example, has a variant that mounts two very hot particle projector cannons and a Jump Jet Pack; using both simultaneously will often result in the 'Mech going flying up into the air while its arms melt off at the apex of the jump. There's also a host of - mostly amusing - bugs like pilots occasionally gibbing themselves by touching their battlemech's legs while trying to get in, or causing their Sparrowhawk Space Plane to explode by running into it.
  • Volt Kraken/Squid Adler's level in Mega Man X5 starts with an auto-scrolling jet bike segment with a hole so shortly into the level, you can fall into it before the "Ready" on the screen has even disappeared.
  • In Metroid, entering the password "ENGAGE RIDLEY MOTHER FUCKER" causes the game to assume you've been playing for over three million consecutive hours, which has adverse effects depending on the release of the game.
    • Some original NES releases of the game cause Samus to spawn in a room she cannot leave with graphical glitches covering the screen, while others simply crash.
    • Entering the passcode in the Nintendo Switch port or the NES Classic microconsole causes the game to return to the game select screen (or in the case of the latter, may even soft-brick the console and necessitate a hard reboot).
    • Entering the code in the Game Boy Advance "NES Classics" version crashes the game outright.
    • Entering the code in Metroid Prime after unlocking it via link with Metroid Fusion causes the game to return to the title screen. This also happens with the Virtual Console release on the Wii and Wii U.
    • Entering the code on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console version soft-bricks the console... unless the firmware hasn't been updated since 2016. Then it bricks the system until the battery is removed or drained completely, as the emergency power off procedure doesn't even work.
  • Minecraft:
    • In some versions of the game, it's possible to spawn inside a hill, causing you to immediately suffocate. In the Xbox 360 version, it's possible to spawn underwater. In more typical scenarios, where the RNG is nice enough to not kill you where you stand, it's often still possible to die very quickly. The ingame time starts at dawn, so no monsters will spawn outside of caves for a good ten minutes; but carelessness could cause you to die in a matter of seconds by stumbling off a cliff or into a ravine or, if you're particularly unlucky, falling into an above-ground lava pool with no water nearby.
    • In early versions, (around the year 2009 or earlier,) it was possible to spawn on a small archipelago with no trees, making it impossible to craft the necessary first tools. These versions had extremely large oceans and no fish, so it could be impossible to reach a continent before depleting the hunger bar.
  • Minesweeper: The default Windows Minesweeper variant can be lost in 2 clicks, sometimes being very luck-based.
  • In Monster Rancher 2, you start with 5000 Gold and combining monsters costs 500 Gold. You can spend all your money creating and combining monsters before going to the Ranch, resulting in an instant Game Over.
  • In the Neopets game Dice-A-Roo, one of the possible outcomes of a dice roll is a skull symbol, which means possible loss. Although some symbols only come up after you've been playing for a while, the skull is not one of them - the skull can come up on your very first roll and cause you to lose immediately after starting the game.
  • In NetHack it's possible to die on your first turn. There's even a special message for it: "Do not pass Go. Do not collect 200 zorkmids."
  • Ending G in NieR: Automata (one of the game's many Non-Standard Game Overs) can be acquired in mere seconds after gaining control of 9S on Route B, by walking in the wrong direction. If you don't notice the nearby Flight Unit, it's actually very easy to get this by accident.
    • On Route A, you can die in the first battle after assuming the control of 2B. Doing so will net you Ending W.
  • Night Trap: It's possible to get a game over by simply not pressing any button during the intro.
  • In Noisz Starlivht, the penalty for having your SPC stat at Fnote  is that your Burst ability instead becomes a Self-Destruct ability that does massive, usually lethal damage to yourself (unless your HP is high enough). One of Sumire's DLC Styles, No Name, makes her automatically activate her Burst at the start of the song and keeps it going for the entire song. Starting a song as Sumire with her No Name Style and an F in SPC will immediately cause a game over right afterwards.
  • Tetris clone NullpoMino has several rotation rulesets in which pieces lock upon falling onto the floor or a block. In addition, there are modes in which pieces drop instantly, and are designed for rulesets in which pieces have a delay upon landing on something before locking in place. Selecting any of these instant-drop modes (e.g. Speed Mania) using a ruleset with instant lock (e.g. anything with "Nintendo" in the name) results in a scenario where you are unable to do anything as the pieces stack to the top, resulting in a Game Over.
  • OMGWTFOTL always gives you to the option to [X] GENUFLECT. Even when you're on the title screen.
  • Before gaining access to the solar system of Outer Wilds, there are a few ways for the player to meet their demise. The first opportunity is to get too close to the campfire in front of them when they wake up. For new players, it may be especially surprising to see the credits start scrolling this early in the game.
  • Paper Chase: You can lose the game in two turns by leaving the college.
  • In the unreleased Sega CD game Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors, playing on Impossible prompts Lou Reed to kill Penn and Teller and explain what impossible means.
  • In Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, the Watcher starts out dead and in an Afterlife Antechamber. They have two choices: be resurrected to serve as the Herald of the (reasonable and agreeable) god of death, Berath, or try their luck on reincarnation. Berath isn't joking about the second option, and will simply reincarnate the Watcher as a cat if they refuse to help stop Eothas.
  • In Point Blank (1994), some stages have "don't shoot!" targets that cost one life each if shot, such as innocent civilians (or rather, cardboard cutouts thereof), bombs, and targets of the opposite player's color. As a result, it is possible to hit enough targets to end the game on the first stage out of 16 even if you otherwise clear the stage; you would have to take your time failing three whole stages otherwise. "Don't shoot!" targets are irritatingly common, and it's possible that your first set of four stages will have only stages that feature such targets.
  • Pokémon GO Plus peripheral gives the player only one shot at catching Pokémon using one regular Pokéball by pressing its button, with no other options allowed such as using Berries or better Balls, increasing the likelihood of having Pokémon running away as well as running out of regular Pokéballs in your inventory.
  • Police Quest:
    • In the first game, you start in the middle of the police station with no clue what to do. You're supposed to enter the briefing room first, but it is very easy to exit the police station before finding it, in which case you instantly lose the game because you "missed another briefing" and get placed on administrative leave for doing so.
    • In the second game, you can die in a similar fashion as Larry above by crossing the road in front of the Lytton PD.
  • In Prey (2017), you get an achievement if you manage to kill yourself before the tutorial begins by jumping into the spinning blades of a helicopter.
  • Prince of Persia:
    • Level 7 in Prince of Persia, and Level 10 in the SNES remake, both start with the Prince in mid-fall. If you aren't holding the Grab key, you'll fall to your doom.
    • The first level of the game can kill you just two screens from the start, either by the Spikes of Doom to the left, or the guard to the right.
    • On the very first screen of Prince of Persia 2, a city guard will One-Hit Kill the Prince if he doesn't draw his sword immediately after landing.
  • Quake, in the difficulty choice hall at the start, has an inescapable lava pit in front of the Hard portal. Miss the jump and you're dead.
  • In Quest for Glory I, you can die on the first screen if you play a thief and try to PICK YOUR NOSE with the lockpick. If your lock picking skill is too low, you will get a cerebral hemorrhage and die instantly. In the remake, merely showing the lockpick to the sheriff on your first move will cause a game over:
    Game over screen: They say that the cops don't catch any rocket scientists. Well, they sure didn't this time!
  • It's also possible to die in the Roguelike Ragnarok without taking a single turn, though this requires you to be exceptionally unlucky. Not only would you have to spawn on a stun gas trap, but you'd have to start near enough to a monster so you could be killed before you can regain control of your character.
  • In the original Rayman you could become accustomed to Rayman's Super Drowning Skills within 10 seconds of starting the first level. This should give you an idea of what kind of game it is.
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla has one where if you attack your brother in the first mission, you get a game over screen complete with "WTF, you killed your Brother!!!"
  • RefleX has a special version of the player ship that is used in the last stage and a half and can be unlocked for use in stage select by completing the game. Said ship is a One-Hit-Point Wonder. This is a game that does not offer multiple lives.
  • Take too long to leave the starting cell in SCP – Containment Breach, and you'll be locked in with Deadly Gas asphyxiating to death.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • In Digital Devil Saga, entering the Optional Boss fight with the Demi-Fiend with any sort of immunities equipped on your characters will prompt him to use Gaea Rage for an unavoidable Total Party Kill, before you even take your first turn.
    • Shin Megami Tensei V inverts the above case with him as a DLC bonus fight, in which he takes his turn first and opens by casting Javelin Rain on your party; if you enter the fight without any physical resistances or immunities, you'll die before you even get to take your first turn.
    • The start of the story in Devil Survivor 2 and its Updated Re-release has the protagonist facing imminent death when your chosen Nicaea attendant, Tico, shows up and offers to save his life. You can refuse this offer — after three refusals, Tico relents and you are given a game over.
    • Persona 5 begins with a prompt asking if you're willing to accept that everything you're about to see is a game. If you hit disagree, the game kicks you back to the title screen.
  • In the SNES and Genesis/Mega Drive The Simpsons game Virtual Bart, the stage select screen is a spinning wheel with a space which will immediately add or subtract a life. Land in it at the wrong time three times in a row and you'll have a game over before you can even select a level.
  • Slouching Towards Bedlam lets you jump out the window as your first command. Depending on your point of view, this is the best ending, and definitely one of the best two.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • At the very beginning of Sorcerer, when you find yourself cornered by a Hellhound in the prologue, instead of waiting for the hellhound to kill you (and end the dream), you can wake up earlier than expected and go out shopping with Frobar... only to find the Guild Hall in ruins and everyone slaughtered.
  • Space Quest:
    • The first Space Quest (original) game on a modern computer: Set speed to "Fastest". A few seconds later, the Arcada explodes and it's game over.
    • In Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge, this page's quote is shown when you walk east on the first screen and appear to fall in to Xenon's atmosphere (in the EGA version). Naturally, no one helps you and you are DEAD. (The remake suggests that the consolation for this is that you found your golden mop!)
    • In Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon, you can die on the first screen by cutting yourself on a piece of metal trying to pick it up, or fall into the shredding machine shortly after by not jumping off the Conveyor Belt o' Doom in time. In the fourth game, you may run into the Cyborg and subsequently suffer Droid of Death on the first or second screen; both also randomly appearing based on hardware speed. Another hardware-based Timed Mission is the formatting sequence at the end of the game, which expires in about two or three seconds on modern computers.
  • The "Reluctance" ending in The Stanley Parable HD Remix is simply gotten by staying in the starting room and closing the door instead of investigating the mystery of the missing coworkers and Stanley not getting any orders from his boss despite the Narrator's request to get on with the story.
  • In Steamshovel Harry, the tutorial takes so long that by the time you begin the game, it's too late: the world's destroyed just shortly after you can even do anything.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • Super Pitfall: The very first ladder in the game? Instant death trap.
  • During the intro sequence of phone game Survive! Mola mola!, you are shown a huge spawn of fish eggs from which your player character was the only survivor. Tapping the other eggs enough during this scene has a chance to change your player character to one of them instead of the survivor, unlocking a unique death screen where you never made it to hatching in the first place.
  • In Suspended, selecting the Impossible difficulty level causes the sun to go nova a few turns in, destroying the planet.
  • In Takeshi's Challenge, choosing "PUNCH" on the password entry screen causes the main character to immediately die, ending the game before it even starts.
  • Tech Support Error Unknown begins with the player receiving an email from their employer asking them to reply to it to continue the game. However, it is possible to delete the message instead. If the player keeps deleting the increasingly exacerbated emails instead of responding to them, they get fired, ending the game.
  • Tomb Raider III begins with Lara standing at the top of a gigantic mudslide, with pits of spikes and boulders strewn along the way. Which sets the tone for the rest of the game quite nicely.
  • Tomb Raider (2013) and its sequels also put you straight into a life-risking situation from the beginning, whether you're imprisoned by a crazy savage who will immediately try to murder you if you don't push the right button, or you're climbing a glacier trying to stick to ice which tends to fall.
  • Torment: Tides of Numenera starts with you falling to Earth from an orbital station. You can choose to dive for the ground, which will mean you take too much damage for your Healing Factor. You do leave a nice crater behind...
  • The Town with No Name: The very first option screen of the game allows the player to just get straight back on the train they arrived in. Considering the revelations of the main ending, this is actually the correct choice.
  • In Treasure Island Dizzy, you start on the left side of a pool of water. It's possible to find a snorkel to explore the water elsewhere on the island, but if you just jump in Dizzy instantly drowns.
  • In Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, clicking on the wrong spot in the first screen (at least in the DOS version) causes an instant game over:
    Unintentionally, I had caused a leak. In a few moments, the submarine had sunk. It was the end!
  • In Undertale, the Final Boss of the most violent route possible, Sans the Skeleton, opens up with an attack consisting of extremely fast patterns that virtually no player will see coming on the first try, and is deadly enough to take the player from full health to nothing. The real kicker is that, for the first and only time in the entire game, this boss executes this first attack before your turn, meaning you can be killed before you even get to the battle menu!
  • Uninvited starts you off inside a car on fire. You have only a few moves to open the door and get out before the car explodes with you inside.
  • Vette!!'s first course starts with you facing the waters of the Pacific Ocean, so first-time players are likely to immediately end up in the drink by driving forward.
  • In We Happy Few, instead of remembering your past, you can choose to retake your Joy and uphold The Masquerade, thus the game's story never happens and the game immediately goes to credits.
  • In The Witch's House, you can die within the first minute of playing by stepping on the bloodstain in the house, which causes the walls to close in and kill you. This is a very good descriptor of what the rest of the game is like.
    • You can also let the game sit for an hour, and then just walk out of the starting area. Waiting that long allows Viola-in-Ellen's-body to die from blood loss, breaking the seal keeping Ellen-in-Viola's-body from leaving the house's grounds.
  • The early Sierra adventure game Wizard and the Princess has you immediately searching for a rock to kill a snake. All but one of the rocks has a scorpion under it that kills you instantly. The game doesn't even tell you that scorpions are even a possibility. (The Roberta Williams Anthology manual outright tells you the answer, it's so brutal.) This puzzle was so infamous, it was referenced in the episode "Ultra Sheen" from The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius.
  • In the text adventure adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, you can get a Non-Standard Game Over as soon as the beginning by typing "click heels".
  • Yes, Your Grace allows you to wave the white flag when talking to your archers during the tutorial. Doing so gives you a Non-Standard Game Over where the encroaching barbarians slaughter everyone in the castle down to the last man, with your name forgotten to history.
  • Zaxxon, specifically the Atari 2600 version. When playing a 2-player game, a title card showing "1up" or "2up" appears before each turn, telling you whose turn it is. While these title cards are displaying, the game is still "playing" in the background, meaning your ship is flying without any controller input from you. Normally this isn't a problem, because each new life starts in an area without enemies or obstacles. But in the higher levels, that area runs out faster than the title card disappears. So, in level 3 and higher, if you lose a life during the second half of the level, kiss the rest of your game goodbye. Since you can also start games on any level between 1 and 4, it's quite possible to see almost nothing but your own ship's death fairly early in the game!
  • Inverted in Zero Time Dilemma. Guessing the coin correctly at the very beginning lets you finish the game in 5 minutes flat. In fact, the game actually rigs the outcome so you always get it right the first time! This is because it's the only point in time where the participants of the game can Mental Time Travel to where one of them isn't dead or trapped inside the compound where the Deadly Game took place.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech is generally forgiving, though city, canyon, and water maps have the amazing capacity to kill or cripple your BattleMechs within two turns due to copious amounts of Piloting Checks, and god help you if there's a city map with a lake. Turn 1: your Fragile Speedster starts to run down the city street, takes a corner, fails a piloting check, causing it to topple over and blow off its arm and knock out the pilot, before sliding into the ocean and drowning the pilot.
  • In Cthulhutech, playing as a Para-psychic sees you start the game with a random mental disorder. Rolling 100 on the mental disorder table leaves your character comatose.
  • deadEarth follows a mechanic where you have to roll for "Radiation Manipulations", which can actually kill you or cripple your ability to use certain skills before you even start playing. You roll for the manipulations after you've done the rest of the character generation work (i.e., after you've rolled your stats and skills), so you can't create your character in anticipation of how badly he/she will be affected. And depending on how strictly the rules are followed, you might only get three character sheets ever. As seen here.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons module Tomb of Horrors places its first inescapable Death Trap at the entrance door, so a lot of Total Party Kills happen before they even manage to enter the dungeon. You should probably take the hidden real entrance instead.
  • Defied in Illuminati: New World Order. You can't win on the first turn. Many decks, however, are designed to win in two turns.
  • Likewise in some first-level Pathfinder modules, the very first combat encounter will be against a caster who will knock one or more player characters unconscious with a low-level spell like sleep or color spray, followed by the enemy melee fighter moving in for a Coup de Grâce.
    • Additionally, it's possible to make a character who dies before the game even begins. The feat Troth of the Forgotten Pharoah was meant to be used by NPCs in the Mummy's Mask adventure path, so enemies could blow themselves up after they die, but there's no rule against taking it as a player. Except... it permanently reduces your max HP by 3, and it's possible to start with 2 or less HP if your constitution is bad enough. (E.g. a level 1 wizard with 3 Con will have 2 hp) Thus, if you take the feat, you'll immediately start dying and your body essentially becomes a time bomb. This, of course, is often suggested as a way to spite GMs who force you to roll stats and keep that 3.
  • It's the mark of a well-played game of Paranoia where the party kills itself off during the mission briefing. Or while trying to figure out where the mission briefing is and how to get there.
  • Traveller: Character generation involves picking a career and then rolling lots of dice for each four-year term of service to determine what skills and other bonuses you receive each term. The first roll is to see if your character survived the current term. Yep, your character can die before the game even starts. This was intended as a game balance issue. The Scout career, for instance, automatically received the Pilot skill, had good access to the extremely useful jack-of-all-trades skill, and had the best chance of getting a starship. It therefore also had the most difficult survival roll. More recent versions of the game merely have failing a survival roll mean you are discharged from your current career, possibly with an injury. Dying when you fail a survival roll is now an optional rule, called "Iron Man Character Generation".
  • To summarize a well-documented tournament game of Warhammer 40,000 (5th edition), Player 1 attempted to hold his entire army in reserve, and Player 2 responded by deploying his own army in such a way that Player 1 is unable to bring any of his units out of reserve. This caused Player 1 to lose by default, before either player could even take a single turn.

    All Others 
  • In one post-revival All That sketch, a streamer starts playing a fantasy game and is forced to spend a full two minutes making completely arbitrary choices for her character (a color for a scarf, a shade of said color, whether he uses coasters for beverages or not, etc.), only to finally start the game and then get killed in one hit by a monster.
  • Spoofed in the Cyanide and Happiness short "Bunker Blaster". A disgruntled customer goes to a video-game store to return the titular game, claiming that it's broken, and the vendor reluctantly agrees to try playing it to get the customer to stop complaining. The game runs for about a whole minute since the "tutorial" ends with Hitler's suicide. Since the store doesn't offer refunds on used games, the customer has to exchange the Bunker Blaster game with another one. The second game turns out to be no better, as it has Anne Frank as the player character, but the tutorial in her family's attic requires her to jump, alerting the Nazis to their location and getting them killed.
  • Spoofed in FoxTrot: after convincing Paige to play Dungeons & Dragons and a week long set of strips setting up the game, Jason kills all of Paige's characters in the very first turn via a collapsing trap in the entrance. (possibly a reference to the aforementioned Tomb of Horrors). Paige calls him out on this, saying that she only agreed to play this game because he said it'd be fun. Jason, Jerkass that he is, said that the game is fun... for him.
  • The first HeroQuest gamebook has an option to not accept the quest in the first section, immediately ending the adventure before it can begin.
  • In Homestuck, many people in the world received copies of the Beta version of Sburb. Judging by all the Gamefaqs guides Rose saw that ended with panicked typing, many groups failed to reach the Incipisphere before their house was destroyed by meteors, meaning they basically died during the tutorial.
  • In Hound of God, a werecheetah has something similar happen to him in a sprint — the starter pistol goes off, and he's unconscious on the track in less than a second. Turns out, he has superspeed on top of his shapeshifting abilities, can theoretically outrun sound, and knocked himself out on his own shockwave.
  • The Love Hina Visual Novel in Game Boy Advance allow you to not stay in the Hinata dorm altogether, ending the story just there.
  • One player on Nick Arcade actually got a game over in Super R-Type in the 30-second time limit.
  • Spoofed on an episode of The Simpsons with an arcade game based on Waterworld. The player takes one step and the game asks for more quarters, as a Take That! on how expensive the movie was.
    Game: Game Over. Please deposit 40 quarters.
    Milhouse: What a rip! [Hesitates a second, then deposits more quarters.]
  • Dungeon Crawler Carl: The vast majority of humans are killed instantly when every structure on Earth collapses, but of the 13 million who survive that and enter the World Dungeon, 3 million die within the first hour, before even finding a tutorial guild. Carl himself is very nearly run down by a goblin "murder-dozer" right at the tutorial guild entrance. Since the whole thing is essentially a reality TV show run by aliens who just want to extract all the value from the planet and move on, this is by design.
  • In To Be or Not To Be: That Is the Adventure, choosing to be Hamlet Sr. gets you killed off immediately by Claudius. Fortunately, the narrator takes pity on you and allows you to become a ghost, although you can end things there by rejecting the offer.
  • Also spoofed in User Friendly as Stef starts up Quake III: Arena. He dies on the intro screen.
  • In The Whiteboard, there are a couple of examples.
  • One 4koma of Your Turn to Die parodies it, more specifically in Zero Time Dilemma: everyone refuses to participate in the Deadly Game, so Sue Miley just sends them all home with no strings attached.
  • The recurring segment "Where's Wes?" on Saturday Night Live has Wes Willard (Mikey Day) travel to somewhere in the world, and viewers have to guess where he is, but Wes inevitably reveals the location in his very first line.
  • In the gamebook Life's Lottery you get to explore all possibilities of how your life could have gone. In the very first section, this includes the option of your mother getting an abortion or you being stillborn. ("Go to 0".)
  • Some entries in the gamebook Choose Your Own Adventure series allow you to bow out of the main plot before it has even begun.
  • Sabrina of Hell's Kitchen Season 8 nearly had this happen to her when she made the mistake of yawning in front of Gordon Ramsay during the Signature Dish competition.


Where's Wes?

Wes Willard wants you to guess where he is.

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