Follow TV Tropes


Press X to Not Die
aka: Quick Time Events

Go To


Also known as a Quick Time Event.

An event during a video game where you think you're watching a cinematic, but then a massive button pops up on screen, sometimes accompanied by a prompt like "Press X to dodge" or "Press B to avoid blades of death". Failure to do so results in damage or an alternate scene at best, or a Game Over at worst.

It has origins in the LaserDisc arcade game Dragon's Lair (though appearing earlier in the ArcadeGames Wild Gunman and The Driver), the gameplay of which consisted entirely of these; it was pretty much a cartoon where you had to press buttons at the right time for the story to continue. (Exactly the right time, often without any sort of prompt.) The following year, Ninja Hayate improved on this formula by introducing on-screen button prompts. The Sega arcade game Die Hard Arcade and the Sega Dreamcast games Shenmue and Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage introduced them to the action and action-adventure genres.

The presence of these sequences demands that players pay attention to cutscenes, to make sure that they stay engaged with the game; cutscenes are no longer extended sequences where players simply stop and watch. However, because these sequences are now interactive, cutscenes can no longer serve as moments of calm or catharsis, which can hurt the pacing of the game — it's hard to feel accomplished during the post-defeat cutscene for a boss if your first thought is watching for a button prompt, for example. Furthermore, because gameplay during these scenes boils down to simple button prompts, overuse can easily cause players to get bored. Thanks to overuse and misuse this may become a Discredited Trope (although it's probably already an Undead Horse Trope).

Contrast Press X to Die. Compare Coup de Grâce Cutscene, where no input is needed, Action Commands, which happen during gameplay instead of cutscenes, and But Thou Must!, which is when the story forces players to do very specific actions (rather than the cutscenes). Smashing Survival is a mix between this and Button Mashing.

Not to be confused with For Inconvenience, Press "1". In games where this isn't a core mechanic, having failure lead to a game over is also a Non Standard Game Over.

Named for a Running Gag in Zero Punctuation.


    open/close all folders 

    Action Adventure 
  • The Bourne Conspiracy randomizes which buttons you need to press each time, to prevent you from just memorizing them. Get even one wrong, and you're usually sent straight to the Mission Failed screen.
    • It's also possible to build up adrenaline and unleash a multi-mook takedown manuever, which also requires button pushes. Failure during these sequences just means that you lose the adrenaline and any mook you haven't taken down gets a free hit.
  • Occurs in the final battle with the DomZ priest in Beyond Good & Evil (failure causes you to take damage and forces you to redo the sequence from the start); then once again with the controls reversed.
  • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow has a similar mechanic, forcing you to draw the proper pattern on the touch-screen to kill a boss once it reached 0 health. Fail, and the boss regains 25% of its life. Made a lot less irritating by how you always know what pattern you need (it opens the door to the room), and are allowed to practice the patterns beforehand (or even during the fight) until they become second nature. Even so, the mechanic is generally reviled for being completely unnecessary outside of creating a use for the touch screen, and numerous speedrunners consider drawing the seal more difficult than fighting the boss.
  • Just Cause 2. In the PC version, you have to press numbers from 1 to 4 to hijack vehicles, hack computers, and generally do anything mission-relevant. It's particularly annoying when you're trying to jack a helicopter because the sequence takes time, and all the while the cops are shooting at you and damaging the chopper.
  • Required once (and only once) in Mirror's Edge. Also, every frontal disarm is a QTE. Every disarm taken from behind (sneak disarms rare but possible if you run up on an unaware enemy fast enough) requires that you only press the Y button; timing does not matter so much as positioning.
  • Ōkami had several sequences where the player had to perform certain actions at certain times to help a certain character. The only reason few people noticed it was this trope was that it's done with brushstrokes instead of buttons.
  • Prince of Persia (2008) uses those whenever the character is on the verge of being defeated (since you cannot die, failing the events causes the enemy to regain health). Certain bosses also use these to deal the killing blow.
  • Dead Space uses a system where if a Necromorph grabs a hold of you, a prompt will appear to press a certain key repeatedly to try to wrestle out of their grip. If you fail to do so in time (or at all), you will end up being killed in one of many possible gruesome death scenes, if you succeed in breaking away, you will push the Necromorph far enough away to use your weapon to kill it.
    • Or for the smaller enemies, you get to watch Isaac brutally kill them with his bare hands like a frantic, terrified, space mechanic. Worth letting them grab you once just to see it.
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within has button-mashing sequences during the boss fights. You only take some damage when you lose, though... which is good, because winning them with normal human dexterity is provably impossible.
  • Spider-Man 3 was filled with these, usually unexpectedly popping up during a dramatic cut-scene after the button flashes for a 1-0.5 sec warning. Or between twitchroid Simon-says exercises, just when enough action has passed that you can believe it's over and you can just enjoy the rest of the show — whoop, there's another one! Fortunately, you don't die; you simply reload to slog through the prior crap for another iteration.
    • The final boss fight against Venom was terrible for this for two reasons. 1. You had to replay the last part of the fight before getting back to it. 2. The button response time was so ridiculous you had to have memorized it, meaning you had to die to it once, resulting in "Y! FUCK! *replay boss* Y! B! FUCK!" etc.
    • A more forgiving version appears in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, where they're only used at the very end of boss battles (so you know when to expect them), keep the same sequences, and if you fail, you just restart the button sequence.
    • Spider-Man (PS4) uses these as well, but they're entirely optional; if the player doesn't want to bother there's a menu option to disable them.
  • Tomb Raider: Legend and Anniversary use this.
    • Done well in both versions of Anniversary; the QTEs for the Wii were motion gestures that matched Lara's on-screen actions, adding to the immersion, while the PS2 version used the same buttons used in-game for such moves (O to dodge, R1 to shoot, X to jump), making it incredibly intuitive.
    • In Underworld they're mostly unused except for a moment where you must save yourself from falling to your doom via QTE.
    • Tomb Raider (2013) included a few, mostly consisting of getting grabbed by enemies hanging over ledges or heading into incoming danger which can mean death if you're not fast enough to move Lara out of the way quickly. The most traditional examples were escaping the Scavenger Cave, a fight against a wolf that was performed entirely via a QTE, and the controversial sequence where Lara must fend off an attempted sexual assault/rape early in the game. The final confrontation with Mathias is also a QTE. The reboot makes far more use of Action Commands than QTEs, particularly for performing more complex kills during melee fights.
  • In Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (which, incidentally, is the half-Trope Namer; Yahtzee used the phrase in his review of the game), about once or twice a short cutscene would have a platform collapse underneath you and require you to press X to jump to the next platform, which is very difficult to do the first time around since it is so random. The sequel offers much more swallowable quicktime events in that they are only used when you attempt to melee a miniboss and are exactly the same buttons as meleeing any other enemy.
  • Metroid Dread:
    • If Samus gets caught by an E.M.M.I., a cutscene will occur where you have to time a button press to when the E.M.M.I.'s eye flashes in order to counter its attack and escape. Failure to do so spells an instant Game Over. However, the timing of this counter is very tight (and the amount of time between getting caught and the E.M.M.I. attacking you is randomized to keep you from relying on it); the given tutorial for the situation says this is a "last resort, at best". It's also a literal example, as the button Samus has to press to escape is the Melee Counter button, which is indeed X.
    • Unlike previous games, there are mandatory QTEs in Dread. Chozo Soldiers and Raven Beak have Finish Counters, which automatically initiate when they are low on health. During this interactive cutscene, the player must correctly time two Melee Counters to end the boss fight; if they fail either input, Samus takes damage and the battle resumes until another Finish Counter is triggered.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess have instances during battles where you must hit the A button during a specific moment to make Link perform a special attack, and it's the only way of defeating some foes. The later gives the player more time, but sometimes the attack randomly misses (even if you successfully hit the button) and makes you stab the ground and get temporarily stuck. Twilight Princess also uses this method for performing scripted jumps in certain sections, though these don't have a time limit (except for a few rare occasions).
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. There are a good number of these, and the deadliness really depends on the situation, though the ones that fit the trope best are the last chances which activate when your health is brought down to zero. You have to move the cursor into the circle and press a specific button (which is different each time). Failure to do both actions in time results in death. Worse, you can only do this up to twice, and some orc captains won't even let you have that luxury. It doesn't activate if no one attacks you after they bring you down (in a good way) though. Oh, and Graugs don't have to activate it to kill you, unsurprisingly.
  • Dyscourse has a variant where at certain points you have to pick from a menu before the timer bar runs out. Depending on your choices, this can result in anything from winning a fight to losing body parts or even other group members.
  • Ryse: Son of Rome was roundly mocked for its use of quicktime events. Not just because it had so many of them, but because it was quickly noticed that most of them don't actually do anything - the player can completely ignore them and the game acts as if they've hit every one perfectly.

    Action Game 
  • Asura's Wrath has quick time events that aren't as unforgiving as a lot of others, and some of them can even be skipped, with only a bit of health being taken away from you. They're mostly used the other way around when Asura is about to cause some serious damage, and even when they are from enemy attacks, the prompts are intended less for avoiding damage, as they almost always end with Asura pulling a counterattack.
    • There's also a unique example in a version called "Synchronic Impacts". Usually, whenever a quick time event appears on a video game screen, you need to press it immediately in order to succeed. These particular versions, however, act more like Rhythm Game inputs where you wait for a circle to shrink around a Y or Triangle button command and time your button press to them, and it usually occurs whenever Asura does a big attack on an opponent after pressing the burst button to initiate. This is one of the skippable examples, but doing so costs you end of level points that give high rankings. It even has rankings of Good, Great, and Excellent depending on the timing of your button press, just like an actual Rhythm Game.
    • Another unique example is where the true final boss's final form has these along with your own as a form of counter QTE's. As the sequence goes on, the boss visibly starts screwing up its inputs, allowing you to pummel it.
  • Although the God of War series mianly has Action Commands, it does occasionally have Quick Time Events as well.
    • God of War II, where rapid shoulder button mashing is required to keep Atlas from literally squashing Kratos between his fingers long enough for Two Angry Bald Men to realize they both hate Zeus and want to kick his ass.
      • It also has (at least?) two QTEs that you can't win: In Rhodes, when Zeus fights you while you're half dead, it eventually prompts an O-mash minigame. Whether you lose or "win" it, you still get stabbed. Then in the start of the end of the last battle, you will stop and pretend to surrender when faced with Zeus' lightning...cage...thing, no matter how furiously you press the O button.
      • A better example of this trope is what happens right after you pretend to surrender. A cutscene begins where Zeus comes down to finish you off, beginning one of the few mid-cutscene QTEs.
      • In Chains of Olympus, a QTE is made of Kratos pushing his daughter away, so that, when it emerged that he could not remain with her or be reunited with her again, he could muster the strength to leave her.
  • MadWorld does a similar version to the above, but cooler (and more forgiving).
    • That said, the Wii Remote sometimes has trouble registering which direction you're swinging it, especially left or right, which makes some fights (the Shamans in particular) a rough time.
    • But nowhere is this more important than with the Mini-Boss of the level the Shamans appear in, Death Blade. Failing his prompt results in instant death. And despite what it says on the screen, doing the prompt right as it appears also counts as a failure. You have to use very specific timing.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance uses these a lot for giant bosses, and it gets rather annoying as you will often have to use them repeatedly to kill them. And they never change. And the cutscene is exactly the same each time. Vicarious Visons removed them entirely for the sequel, at least on Xbox and PS3.
    • MUA2 for Wii uses them for every boss fight.
  • Used in The Force Unleashed to avert Critical Existence Failure. Rather than draining the boss's health to zero, you just have to get it in the red and go through a Quicktime Event where you finish the boss (not always to death, if the plot does not call for it). They often go above and beyond the realms of normal in-game use of the Force, in style if not in raw powernote . Messing up results in damage and having to repeat the sequence or part of it. On Sub Bosses like AT-STs and Rancors, the QTE is optional, you can kill them with normal attacks.
  • MechRunner: has these for slicing up enemies.
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance blurs the line between and Action Commands during the shift between phases in many boss fights. Sometimes, the required prompts are for an action you could do anyway, and doing them correctly results in a context-sensitive and generally awesome arena transition/counterattack opportunity. Messing those up usually only results in Raiden coming off second best during the exchange and taking a little damage. On the other hand, there are many moments that require a button prompt to perform the finisher for some of the bosses. If you do it right, it looks spectacular. If you do it wrong, you just lost your No Damage S-Rank run because you missed one lousy button. At least the game auto-saves right before the latter.

  • Quick time events are more or less a staple of Quantic Dream games:
    • Fahrenheit is about 75-80% this trope. Irritating if you're one of those that tries to watch the action at the same time as the button prompts.
      • Although it does play with the concept a little. There's one point where the little "Press this button" indicator goes absolutely nuts to indicate that your character is a state of completely blind panic. There's another where you have to fail a series of QTEs on purpose to ignore the invisible green ticks that try to distract Lucas while he's being questioned by the police. If you do beat the QTE, Lucas will freak the hell out and make the detective suspicious. It Makes Just as Much Sense in Context.
      • Infamously, the European version of Indigo Prophecy has a QTE-controlled sex scene that was removed for the US release.
      • Simon-Says style QTEs are also used to decide the outcomes for several one-time-only events (a boxing match, a basketball match, etc).
    • Heavy Rain is almost nothing but these, though instead of the Simon Says prompts Fahrenheit had, there are more standard prompts requiring precisely timed button presses and stick movements. Unlike a lot of other examples, however, there is (usually) no penalty for failing an event; the game simply continues, albeit with some scenes or lines changed to reflect your clumsy fingers. As for the ones that do have penalties, they usually result in the player character's death.
      • One particularly memorable event requires FBI Agent Norman Jaden to hold a very dangerous suspect at gun point while also suffering from drug-related problems. The QTE starts off normally, but quickly ends up requiring four of the shoulder buttons and three of the face buttons, in addition to moving the control sticks. The incredible difficulty reflects the trouble Jaden is having, and despite the circumstances, failure does not equal death and is, in fact, expected.
    • Beyond: Two Souls replaces most of the standard button prompts with slow motion sequences where the player is required to watch the direction Jodie is moving in and push the controller stick in the same direction. Very few, if any, of the game's QTE segments will actually kill her off if played poorly, but other characters may die as a result.
    • Detroit: Become Human returns to Heavy Rain's formula of onscreen prompts for button presses. Failing QTE sections may or may not result in the current player character's death, though in Kara's storyline it's almost a guarantee.
  • All of Telltale's games have this, to an extent. Some allow you a bit more flexibility in choosing how to deal with situations, especially in games based on more action-heavy properties such as Tales from the Borderlands and The Wolf Among Us; you will often get two options to choose from with very little time to decide what to go for. The end result is often the same, with slight variations.
    • Jurassic Park: The Game. The entire game, minus some sections where you get to stop, take a breath and play with some puzzles, consists of this style of gameplay. Press X to Not Be Eaten by a Tyrannosaur indeed.
    • The Walking Dead has a few points where Press X to Not Be Bitten are true, but also includes points where you have to make a split-second decision which can alter the game's story (such as which of two characters to save).
    • Minecraft: Story Mode: A rather mild example compared to other Telltale games, perhaps because of the young target audience. Many of the quick-time events can be failed without consequence.

    Beat 'em Ups 
  • Bayonetta
    • The original game has a few of these, sometimes during cutscenes, sometimes during bosses. Failing some of them causes massive damage, and a few nasty ones cause instant death. Some of them have very unforgiving reaction times, too; making them effectively impossible to see coming for a first-time player. Thankfully, the buttons are not randomized, so after the first failure, the player can at least see them coming.
    • Platinum seemed to take notice of the complaints surrounding these, and axed them from Bayonetta 2. The more forgiving Action Commands and Button Mashing prompts stayed instead.
  • In Charlie Murder some enemies will latch on to a player, causing the player to run around the screen as the enemy gnaws them to death until they mash the right button.
  • The Wonderful 101, from the same creator as Bayonetta, adds drawing QTEs to the mix of familiar button prompts and button mashers. These are prompted by a character shouting the name of their attack, giving the player a handful of seconds of slow-mo to draw it before failure. They're woven very well into gameplay, and in addition most of them have a unique and humorous failure animation, and only cause some slight damage if failed.
  • One Piece: Pirate Warriors has plenty of these, though they happen quite a few times (sometimes during cutscenes, sometimes during combat) and they give you a lot of time to react. Though there is the odd QTE that is annoying for one reason or the other, they aren't frequent.
  • The Like a Dragon features both variations of the trope, and more notoriously, features the lethal variation quite often. Most notably, the final QTEs of Yakuza 2 and Yakuza 5 will kill you if failed.

  • The combat in Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi consists almost exclusively of these. There are very few things a player can do to another player that won't start a small minigame.
    • To make matters worse, in the game's story mode, you have to pass these events in order to advance during the Oozaru battles. If you fail an event, you take damage and the event replays until you succeed or get killed.
  • Even M.U.G.E.N has this, of all games. The_None's Giygas possesses two Mind Rape attacks. One imprisons the opponent in a box and requires to rapidly tap left and right. Failure to do so results in electrocution and explosion in a shower of gore. The second has the opponent falling down a pit and requires to press the right buttons to escape - failure will result in being shredded by a massive buzzsaw.
  • Most Naruto games are victim of this. In the most recent Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, if you're doing a battle that's important to the plot, you will not only just have to press one button. You will have to press one button, mash one button, input a series of buttons, and many more things that involve buttons.
  • Soul Series:
    • The very first game, Soul Edge had these for endings: if you didn't do... something at a certain point, you'd almost always get a bad ending. Most of the later games didn't do this.
    • Soul Calibur III'' had these as well. In addition to affecting which ending the player would get, there were several cutscenes mid-game where failing would result in starting the next battle at a disadvantage. Seung Mina's ending contains five, where you apparently are supposed to have the response time of, as Yahtzee puts it, "a paranoid gnat".
    • In III, it's possible to replay a cutscene over and over until you get the result, without having to beat the game with the character multiple times. Of course, this also means the player wouldn't see what the gameplay effect would be.
    • Many characters get a better ending by not inputting the command, making it more of a guessing game at times.
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us does this for its story mode. All of them involve trying not to get hit (and looking awesome doing so, like with Batman's towards Green Arrow), but two (one with Joker towards Regime Nightwing and one with Superman towards Regime Black Adam) involve your character fighting back. Getting hit puts you at a disadvantage in the actual match.
  • Mortal Kombat
    • Mortal Kombat X
      • If you fail in the QTE with the Krypt monster, he'll take some koins from you.
      • Subverted in the story mode, failures are inconsequential but pulling them off will show very satisfying results.
    • Mortal Kombat 1 also has these in its story mode. Unlike in X, failure results in the player character getting killed and the event has to be restarted.

    First-Person Shooters 
  • Battlefield 3. The single-player campaign has tons of them, and in many cases are often in a series which requires you to press different buttons, and very often in unexpected places. You will soon learn to get ready to press something after opening a door. Unfortunately, they're almost all a literal case of "Press <whatever> To Not Die," but succeeding frequently results in your player character returning the favor, especially if it's the end of the level:
    • Dima's "first" level (chronologically second) has him fight with a nuclear device carrier over who will throw the other in front of a speeding train, while his "second" level (chronologically first) has a QTE to decide whether he's kicked out of a helicopter to his death or manages to drag his target out with him into a water-filled pool.
    • An unfortunately designed QTE tasks Blackburn with silently knifing some guy from behind. Here, dying is as simple as deciding to crouch-walk towards him (oops, pressed the Crouch key!) rather than being more obvious about it.
    • The final level of the game start off with a QTE. Then midway another QTE. Finally, near the end, Solomon shoots Monte before aiming his handgun at the player: if the player misses the QTE, then Solomon fires and kills Blackburn, but if the player pulls off the QTE, then it's empty and Blackburn handcuffs Solomon to himself so as to choke him with his own arm wrapped around his neck; there's a QTE or two more after that as they brawl on a car before finally succeeding at the last QTE has Blackburn bashing Solomon unconscious with a brick to the head.
  • Battlefield 4 tops it off by using QTE to counter knife in multiplayer.
  • Clive Barker's "Clive Barker's Jericho" by Clive Barker has them, with the tiny black button indicators being almost invisible against brown environments.
  • Crysis 2 features Quick Time Events in some cutscenes. Fortunately, the time window for pressing them is very generous, and the buttons you're required to press always correspond to the actions your character is trying to perform on-screen (i.e. pressing the jump button to jump up to a helicopter). Furthermore, due to the way cutscenes are woven into the game, the player is always able to continue looking around with the mouse, so you'll pretty much always have your hands on the controls ready to Press X.
  • Far Cry 2 has a literal version of this trope. If your health drops below 20%, it will continue to fall until you die, unless you push the "restore health" button, which results in the character patching up a serious wound to bring you back to 40% health. If you don't push the button, or you're continually interrupted while trying to heal, then you die.
  • Far Cry 3 has several.
    • Attacked by a Predator? Mash a button! (Button varies from beast to beast).
    • The boss fights are knife fights handled in this manner. Amusingly, the last one is already over before the button prompts finish - all you miss if you don't do them is a more gory end to the fight.
  • Modern Warfare 1 had a very annoying recurring 'Press V not to die' (or the right thumbstick/R3 button, for those of you playing the game on consoles) in which you need to melee a dog that is attacking you, but you only get roughly a quarter of a second to press it. Too early, you die, too late, you die. Oh, and did I mention that the default melee button is 'V'; just far enough from WASD to be hard to press without looking unless you've built up the requisite muscle memory. By which time you have died from a dog to the throat.
    • Returns in the sequel much to the annoyance of many. The final mission, "Endgame", also features you pulling a knife out of your gut and throwing it into the poor shmuck Big Bad's forehead.
      • In the beginning of the mission "Takedown", you have to hit crouch or else you'll get shot straight in the head while in the passenger seat of the vehicle. There is a good chance you won't know you can even do this the first time around, even with Soap screaming to get down.
      • A similar event happens later on, which uses the trope by name (though paraphrased). When walking through a field, Bouncing Betty mines spring up, the game goes into super-slow-motion, and text appears:
        Text: "Hold (button) to evade landmines!"
    • The "Throw back grenade" action been part of the series since Call of Duty 2. Although great if you get it right, it was very common to get it wrong and lob the grenade into the nearest wall, whereupon it bounced back at you, eliciting a cry of "Oh Sh-"
    • The dogs are coupled with fanatic Japanese soldiers using bayonets instead of biting you in Call of Duty: World at War. They're actually possible to consistently defeat without dying, however. The animation for killing them when you're down is a Moment of Awesome, and you are invisible to other enemies in the meantime.
    • In Call of Duty 3, hand-to-hand combat is executed by these types of sequences.
    • Hell, in the first game, this happens during the intro of the Soviet campaign. You are packed in a boat with other Russian soldiers making your way across the Volga River while German planes and artillery attack the boats. You can't move, but you can look around. And you can crouch. And you should, or you'll get hit and killed by a strafing German plane. All before you can even get off the boat.
    • In the Call of Duty: Black Ops level "SOG", an NVA soldier will jump on you and you have to tap the "use" button really fast. If you succeed, you remove the pins from the grenades on his belt and push him away before he explodes. Many others utilizing different buttons, too, such as the use button to open a parachute, the fire button to accelerate a car, etc.
  • FEAR 2 got some flak for its use of these. Press X to stop an abomination eating your face, press X to wrestle an angry man with a mustache, press X to avoid death by ghost rape.....
  • Done occasionally for key moments in Red Steel 2. Surprisingly, for a Wii game, these tend to eschew motion controls for more conventional "button and a direction" moves.
  • The final battle between Turok and Kane in 2008's Turok was like this. Somewhat justified in that it was an extension of the game's previous Action Commands gameplay, and not a last-minute Unexpected Gameplay Change completely out of left field. Also, missing a Press X to Not Die prompt often didn't kill you, but merely changed the course of the fight to one less advantageous to you (you had to lose multiple prompts in a row to actually die).
  • Shows up in Metro 2033, both in-game and during the cutscenes. In-game, it happens when you're about to get mauled by a mutant and need to shove it away and carve its face off with a big knife. During cutscenes, it's often needed to avoid falling to your death from flooring/ladders collapsing.
  • Halo 4 introduced quick-time events to the Halo series, first with killing an Elite who tries to stab you in the first level, and then in the final "boss fight", which consists only of planting a grenade at the right time. They're rumored to be the reason Halo 4 didn't have theater mode, as their animation viewed in third person (with modding software) is really bizarre.
  • In a series that's been otherwise free of them, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption introduces one in the form of "Phazon overload," which you have to burn off by frantic mashing of the firing button. Not doing so fast enough earns you a Non-Standard Game Over. The first and last time it happens, it's a Press A To Not Die; in all other instances, it takes the form of an Action Command. Usually overload works in your favor as it's basically a free Hypermode, but it can be overdone to cruel effect on the hardest difficulty setting.

     FMV Games 
  • Super Adventure Rockman was a Japan-only Mega Man (Classic) game released in the mid-nineties. It was an animated adventure that gave the player Gamebooks-style choices that would guide the cutscenes. Every once in a while, in the middle of a cutscene, arrows would flash on the screen and you'd have one second to choose a direction, hit the D-Pad, and dodge a surprise attack.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Hero of Sparta have these happening during boss battles, where you'll need to press a combination of buttons to land a killing blow on bosses. Like positioning the Minotaur's tail into stabbing it's own skull or landing a strike through the cyclops' eye.
  • Ninja Blade has a few of these; a mini-boss as early as the second mission pulled out a cutscene that involved one of these about once a minute. In a surprisingly obvious move to reduce frustration, when you actually die in one of these sequences, it rewinds the sequence a bit and gives you an opportunity to retry from there rather than giving you a Game Over.
  • The 2012 Ninja Gaiden 3 game has a lot of quick-time events.
  • Lollipop Chainsaw is full of these, mostly used to keep big, heavy objects coming right at Juliet from killing her. However, these are a lot better than most QTEs, because the buttons that you press for these actions are the same buttons for the same actions you use during combat: Triangle or X to use the chainsaw, Circle to jump or dodge, and Square to punch or kick.
  • Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage: Although it was a Trope Codifier for requiring players to react to button prompts during cutscenes, this game plays it with a light touch. Most examples, if missed, only send you down a different path or force you to fight the next battle with some damage taken. A few boss battles, however, do have "Press X or Die" moments, usually right before the battle itself actually starts.

    Light Gun Game 
  • Gunfighter: The Legend of Jesse James: The second level starts with a Quick Time Event where, from a distance, your ally, Cole, is strung with a noose around his neck while seated on a horse. You must Shoot the Rope in 5 seconds using one bullet, lest the horse panics and runs off leaving Cole to die by hanging.
  • The Time Crisis series has many moments where you must press or release the pedal to avoid losing a life to an environmental hazard, such as hooks hanging over a cargo elevator, machinery in a factory, a falling tree, or signal posts alongside a train.

  • Beauty and the Beast: A Board Game Adventure: In the "Beast's Battle" mini-game, Beast has to quickly press the right direction on the D-pad to dodge the wolves as they try to attack him, jumping over the low ones, ducking under the high ones, and punching the ones that come from either the left or right sides.
  • Garfield Lasagna Party: The "Rodeo Drive" mini-game involves Garfield, Odie, Nermal and Arlene riding steers, and having to press the analog stick in the right direction within the time limit to stay on their steer. Pressing the wrong direction or the right one too late will cause your character to lose a heart. Lose all three hearts and your character is eliminated.
  • Mario Party 3 has a mild version of this: Losing the Action Time microgame will just put you at a predetermined space. It does give you some warning in advance so you know it's not just a cinematic, plus intentionally failing Action Time to get yourself moved is actually a viable strategy.
  • Nintendo Land in its Zelda attraction. The archer receives quick-time event prompts for any enemy that can't be reasonably disposed of before they can get an attack off (Giant Mooks and archers, basically). This is necessary because you have absolutely no control over your movement, and without it avoiding damage (and thus mastering the level) would be impossible. Depending on who you ask, it might be impossible anyway.
  • In Sonic Shuffle, the "Over the Rainbow" mini-game involves Sonic and his friends pressing the right button before time runs out to hop across lily pads. Pressing the wrong button or the right one too late will result in that player sinking.
  • The grand majority of WarioWare microgames consist of the essence of a single QTE.

  • Distorted Travesty has its share of 'PRESS A/X NOT TO DIE!' moments in one level, while parodying the whole idea of quick time events and bashing game makers who use these. The main characters (who are gamers) react as though quick time events are the worst possible thing that could happen in the game, to the point that they put the main adventure on hold in order to kill the source of the events ASAP.
    Jerry: Hey, at least we're not seeing any more quick-time events.
    Jeremy: Never say those three words in that order again.
  • Starting with Kirby's Return to Dream Land, the Kirby franchise has often used quick-time events against the game's Final Boss.
    • Kirby's Return to Dream Land: At the end of Magolor's boss fight, the player needs to shake the Wii Remote to break the boss's Bare-Handed Blade Block and deal the final blow with the Ultra Sword. This is retained in Deluxe, but an additional sequence is also done to finish off the Master Crown at the end of the Magolor Epilogue. In these cases, rapidly rotating the Control Stick can also get the job done, in addition to shaking the controller.
    • Kirby: Triple Deluxe: In the final battle against Flowered Sectonia, you have to do this to inhale her Wave-Motion Gun with the Hypernova ability and send it back to her.
    • Kirby: Planet Robobot: One of the bosses, Gigavolt, is defeated by rotating the Circle Pad around to unscrew its head from its body. At the end of the game, Kirby does the same thing to Star Dream.
    • Kirby Star Allies: The absolute final phase of the Final Boss battle is a Beam-O-War against Void Termina's core. To get through to the boss, much button-mashing ensues.
    • Kirby and the Forgotten Land: The last sequence of the game, where Kirby uses his Mouthful Mode on a truck, has several quick-time events, notably when dodging boulders thrown by the Final Boss or when mashing the buttons to deal the final blow.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic Rush has this happen in the zone 7 boss. You need to mash B in order to push Blaze (or Sonic) off the edge of the platform before they do the same to you.
    • Both versions of Sonic Unleashed have a few of these as well. In the earlier daytime stages, missing a prompt will cause you to take a less efficient path (or, in the harder side-missions, could result in your untimely demise). Mandatory nighttime QTEs are limited to two bosses, the Dark Gaia Phoenix and the Egg Dragoon. Otherwise, it simply helped to gain extra points. Eggmanland in the PS3/360 version, on the other hand, is positively full of the mandatory types. (And the PS 2 version has quite a few mandatory QTE's as well.)
      • The portions of the final boss where you control the Gaia Colossus against Dark Gaia plays out through these in the PS3/360 version. Hit the button right, and you slug the monster right in the face. The Wii/PS2 version dispenses with them in that part, allowing you to really slug the guy in the face, a-la Punch-Out!!.
      • Arid Sands Act 2 consists mainly of a series of Quick Time Events, all of them mandatory.
    • In Sonic and the Black Knight, you gain followers (who may give you goodies as well) by pressing the right button/button combinations shown on screen before the meter depletes. Rather arbitrary, but mercifully, screwing up won't kill you, making this more of a "Press X To Make Friends" thing.
    • The Wii version of Sonic Colors simplifies these to sections where you simply press A a few times (and are told that your button-pressing is Good! Great! Awesome! Outstanding! Amazing!).

  • Cruelly inverted in The Impossible Quiz. One of the questions tells you to press the Tab key 50 times and gives you a short time limit. However, pressing the Tab key at any point in the quiz immediately causes a Game Over. What you are supposed to do is ignore the instruction, and after a few seconds, the game tells you "Actually, don't bother, you'll die!" and moves on to the next question without a hitch.
  • In Your Toy, if the Killer Teddy Bear Big Bad manages to grab you, you need to play a timed button pressing minigame to escape it.

  • The Ur-Example is The Driver, a 70s action-racing game released by Kasco (Kansai Seiki Seisakusho Co.), which consisted of pre-filmed situations (recorded on 16 mm film) that required the player to match their steering wheel, gas pedal, and brakes with the movements shown on screen, much like those seen in 80s laserdisc video games.
  • Need for Speed: The Run peppers in moments like this during the main storyline to spice things up. In fact, if you're playing on the Xbox 360, or on PC with a 360 or Xbox One controller, the very first button prompt in the game's first Quick Time Event will require the mashing of the X button.

  • Kaizo Mario World 2's opening sequence can kill you (drop a Thwomp on you) if you don't jump and hit the invisible coin block, stopping it from squashing you. This is made extra annoying by the fact that the previous and following games both save you from the Thwomp with a precisely timed message block; so players are conditioned not to jump, as doing so would kill them in KMW1 and 3.

  • Corruption of Laetitia: In order to tame the sin of Gluttony, the player has to offer a steak dinner on a plate. If the player doesn't press the examine key to dodge in time, Celeste will be eaten along with the steak.
  • The first Dark Cloud employs a unique version in its mini-boss battles: It warns you ahead of time that you're about to enter a quick-time event, then the buttons you need to press scroll by the bottom of the screen in an interface reminiscent of Guitar Hero or DanceDanceRevolution.
  • Final Fantasy VI sometimes throws directional choices at you during what looks like a travel cutscene. Failing won't kill you, but it'll stick you with more battles.
    • Oddly enough, picking one set of options is the only way to obtain 100% Completion later on. Not an absolute adherence to this trope, but certainly annoying.
  • Final Fantasy VIII had a couple, too, where you had to move Squall just the right way to get to safety or rescue Rinoa, and it wasn't immediately obvious in either case that you COULD move yourself, much less that you had to. Made particularly frustrating in the one where you have to move Squall to safety; there are two ways to go, and it's not immediately obvious which was the right one. Pick wrong? Game over. Of course, the official strategy guide clearly states which way to go.
  • In Final Fantasy IX, your team splits up into 4 pairs, each headed for different elemental temples. In the one temple you actually get to play (the rest are taken care of automatically), you have to press "X" to get past a trap. It's really easy, and other than the boss, it's the only obstacle in the temple.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2 has quite a few of these. The system is known as "Cinematic Action" and while failing to press the right buttons doesn't generally have any negative effects, positive results can do things such as Staggering an opponent, making battles a lot easier. Earning perfect results earns an Adornment, and perfectly completing five of the these sequences is required for an Achievement or Trophy.
  • Final Fantasy XIV calls these sequences "Active Time Maneuvers". They first appeared during the Heavensward expansion, where you had to click the mouse or press any key when the prompt came up to avoid getting shot by the raid boss Cruise Chaser, and they’ve seen use as button-mashing sequences in every expansion since.
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has two QTEs as well. The first is when you fight the Dark Star in Bowser's body; defeating it causes it to do a Taking You with Me in which you have to Mash A and B so Mario and Luigi escape, but the aforementioned trope is averted because the Dark Star survives as well. Second, as you're chasing Dark Bowser up Peach's Castle, he pauses to get into a pseudo-Beam War with Bowser, using their fire breath. The player has to mash X to (assumingly) Not Die. Also happens again at the very end just before the final boss fight proper, although that one doesn't require the player's input as it is a stylized entrance to the battle.
  • Near the beginning of Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Mario and Luigi run into a stack of Paper Goombas whose main attack is an unavoidably large steamroller move. The bros react accordingly and make a break for it, and the player must mash both A and B to help them escape. Unfortunately for them, once it looks like they're in the clear, the stack turns around and rolls them over anyway. And then Paper Mario shows up.
  • Considering that dungeon crawling in Riviera: The Promised Land is composed almost entirely of Quick Time Events, it's not too surprising when a trap throws one of these at you.
  • Mass Effect
    • Mass Effect 2 has an interesting subversion of this where the X that you need to press causes Shepard to perform actions that affect his/her karma rather than killing him/her. They are also up on the screen longer to allow some thought to be put into it. Not that it matters for most gamers. Since you get No Points for Neutrality, they'll hammer it the instant it comes up (unless they're going for a pure Paragon or pure Renegade playthrough, which is recommended anyway). It's basically Press X To Be A Jerkass or Press X To Be A Nice Guy.
    • In Mass Effect 3, the final ten minutes has a straight version when you confront The Illusive Man. If you cannot talk him into suicide, you have two quick-time events in which you shoot him to death. If you don't press either of those, he shoots Anderson and then you, and you need to reload to the last checkpoint.
  • Mega Man Battle Network 4, specifically the Red Sun version, had this in the lead-up to the fight against SearchMan; he was in the Undernet, and when you go there to look for him he snipes at you every few seconds. When he takes aim, a crosshair appears over MegaMan, followed by an arrow determining which direction to press to dodge the shot.
  • Mother 3 has a brief optional one in Chapter 4 when going through the Railway if Lucas proceeds to run straight along on the train tracks. Your character will take notice as a train comes in view, and you're given the choice to dodge the train using any direction on the D-pad. Failing to move out of the way in time won't result in a game over however, but rather sends your character flying across the screen and ends up with them landing back in Tazmily Village where you started, with a Mr. T lookalike mentioning how he had warned you to watch out for trains before and even calling you "Squashed Flat Man."
    • In Chapter 3, there is also some quick-time event sequences where Salsa must follow the correct instructions. Missing them won't result in your character dying, but rather getting shocked until you get them right.
  • Quest Arrest: Whenever you bring out the handcuffs to arrest an opponent, you begin a small quick-time event in which you press buttons to move Detective Bennett close enough to the perp to slap the cuffs on them.

    Shoot 'em Ups 
  • In SkyGunner, when your plane is knocked off balance, you're given a set of buttons that you must press repeatedly to recover control before you crash. Fortunately, you can press them in any sequence (as long as you press them all;) unfortunately, the more damage you take, the more presses you have to make and the less time you're allowed.
  • Some of Sega's light gun arcades have these such as Let's Go Jungle, Let's Go Island and Transformers: Human Alliance which has sections that bring up prompts and you must either hit a button rapidly, hit it when it reaches a certain point or turn your gun in a pointed direction to avoid damage.

    Stealth Based 
  • Assassin's Creed II has optional ones during certain cutscenes. You don't die if you miss them, the cutscene just goes a slightly alternate direction (for instance, Ezio won't...remove the woman's dress, or won't hug Leonardo, or will get hit in the head with a vase). It's a bit more strange than most other games, as most other games have quick time events when something dramatic and sudden happens. This game, however, has quick time events for... shaking your friends' hands...
  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood has exactly two of these. The first is in the introductory Flash Forward, which is a preview of the Final Boss battle. In the actual fight, they occur when you deal sufficient damage to the boss's health; Ezio attempts a Hidden Blade kill which instead strips away pieces of Cesare's armor. Oddly, once he's finally defeated, Ezio instead opts to throw Cesare off a wall, making the whole exercise pointless.
  • Assassin's Creed III has these for animal attacks. Any time a dangerous animal lunges at you, this kicks off one of these sequences. For most, two buttons are enough. Bears require three. A special uber-bear in a sidequest requires six.
  • Subverted in Batman: Arkham Asylum where an Interface Screw claims you were supposed to push X not to die, but when you select to retry Batman instead rises from his own grave as a zombie and continues his fear gas-induced hallucination where it left off.
    • The fact that you're told to use the Middle Stick to avoid Joker's gun should tip you off. On the PC version, you are asked to 'Tilt the Mouse'.
    • However there are several actual events, like avoiding falling into a very deep or poisoned pit, escaping from a vine, or shaking one of the crazier inmates off you.
    • Zero Punctuation notably alters the Running Gag to say "Press X to KICK ASS"
  • Played straight in Arkham City and Origins, but subverted during New Game Plus when the counter button prompt will no longer appear, even during interactive cutscenes.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has one and precisely one such event, which also winds up being the most emotionally loaded event in the entire game: Press Square To Kill The Boss. note 
    • A slightly hidden one, more a case of 'Hold L2/R2 to not die', just before the torture cutscene, the screen is blank, save for a health bar, holding L2/R2 will make the usual sound prompt as for inventory cycling, if held until the cutscene starts, you keep your full health.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, meanwhile, has quite a few, with only one not rewinding to earlier in the cutscene if a cue is missed. That one being at the end of the (quite lengthy) "Infiltrate the Underground Base" mission, with the reward for success being a keycard for use in the next mission, and the reward for failure being an immediate cut to Snake getting surrounded by the armed guards he's fighting off (which will happen anyways, at the end of the day).
    • Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker have these done horribly wrong: In harder, difficulties the scenes become Mash X Until Your Fingers Fall Off To Not Die. At least MGS1 gave an opt-out leading to an alternate ending. The exact same set-up was in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, but it was so organic that most players don't realize they're in the "torture scene" until well after it's done.
      • Also in 4, several cutscenes had L1 or X pop up in the corners of the screen for an optional Snake's eye view or Flashback sequence. Not a QTE in the Press X to Not Die sense, but close enough.
      • Same in 3, pressing R1 on opportune moments switched to Snake's POV, which could then be moved around. This was used a few times to help advance gameplay (The Sorrow gives you the opening code for the cell during the torture scene R1 section) but it's best reserved to admiring EVA's physique as the default viewpoint in her introduction.

    Survival Horror 
  • This trope is the basis of impromptu survival in the first three Clock Tower games. Here, it's used to reinforce the survival horror theme: your character can die even during cutscenes, which are typically moments of calm, which aims to keep the player on-edge even when they think they're safe.
  • Haunting Ground is completely devoid of this trope until the finale, when the protagonist has to deal with a sudden case of QTE in the form of a statue falling on her. Considering QTE's never factor during gameplay, this one is both shocking and irritating.
  • KOJOUJI: There will be times where you will need to push a button to avoid being attacked.
  • Used in Deadly Premonition, mostly in the Raincoat Killer sequences. He's usually generous enough to give you a second chance if you miss the first prompt...usually. The boss fights also include quicktime events but failing them only results in taking damage rather than instant death.
  • House of the Dead 4 has countless "shake the gun to not die" moments.
  • Resident Evil entries in the action-based era (from 4 to Revelations 2) are full of this:
    • Resident Evil 4 is chock full of them, often resulting in player death if you don't pull it off in time. It may be the Trope Codifier, as the game's success led to an explosion in QTE's among other games. While many previous games used this trope, RE4 arguably had the most memorable and cinematic uses up to that point in time. It also included an entire fight/ informative cutscene that consisted of nothing but QTE's. Luckily for people who dislike QTE's, you get to fight the enemy in question later on in a more conventional way.
      • Notably averted with the 2023 remake, which completely removed all QTE's from the game in favor of actual gameplay during the same moments. Word of God states this was specifically done in response to widespread criticism of how frequent they were in the original.
    • Quick Time Events return in full style for Resident Evil 5, where failing a button prompt during a cutscene results in instant death and failing a button prompt during a boss fight results in significant damage on Veteran and Professional. Professional mode makes button prompts even more deadly. On the other difficulty levels, you can fumble around with the buttons as much as you want until you realize which ones a cutscene wants you to press, as long as you press it in time. On Professional, the first mistake you make will be your last.
    • Returned with a vengeance in Resident Evil 6, though it did mix up the actions a bit and at least included timers on a few of them this time. Some were the standard "press to break free from zombie" action where failure just meant damage to your health. But some now included doing mundane things like looking at panels and whatnot to operate a vehicle that was in danger (i.e zombies attacking it, a plane going down, etc) or trying to pry open something during a zombie attack. And of course you got the usual one shot KO cutscenes if you fail. To the game's credit, they were much more exciting than RE5's, but the timing window will frustrate first time players, especially on co-op.
    • The Umbrella Chronicles and The Darkside Chronicles have QTEs. Cutscenes that have a QTE start with a quick white fade-in and play a tense theme when the danger you have to avoid appears. They also are used in boss battles to dodge an incoming attack.
    • Resident Evil: Revelations and Resident Evil: Revelations 2: If a monster grabs you, you will be prompted to waggle a thumb stick.
  • In Silent Hill: Origins, almost all of the monsters have a special attack that does extra harm to Travis should you mess up the QTE. It's only instantly fatal in the case of one enemy (the Ariels, when they hang from the ceiling), but it's still annoying.
    • Silent Hill: Homecoming has a few, particularly while fighting Ferals and Needlers. It also has Press X To Shrug Off This Minor Inconvenience with Swarms and Smogs. The most significant doubles as a Cutscene Boss; the sort of Big Bad is killed in a cutscene with their own power drill. In the face. Fail, and you suffer the fate you would have inflicted on them.
  • Silence of the Sleep had a variation on the theme when you're hiding from one of the enemy types. Instead of pressing a button, you need to keep a cursor at the center of the slider that appears in the corner of the screen for several seconds. If you succeed, the monster will fail to notice you and walk away. If you fail, the monster is rewarded with a good meal.
  • Song of Horror has its share of moments where you need to hammer away on a button to keep the Player Character alive.
  • Until Dawn has a lot of QTEs, and other such button prompts. Failing them usually results in something bad happening, but as the game itself tells you, sometimes the best course of action is to not do anything; deliberately letting the time run out during some button prompts may result in a better alternative than actually performing the prompt.

     Third-Person Shooters 
  • Danger Girl have these popping out in a few missions, and failing any of them would lead to instant death and requiring the whole level to be restarted. The beginning of "Breaking Out" notably have JC being Strapped to an Operating Table and needing the players to press a series of buttons so she can steal a syringe and stab her tormentor before escaping.
  • Gears of War 2 multiplayer. If you have a lancer and an enemy tries to chainsaw you from the front, and you do not immediately begin hammering Y, X, B, or A, you will die. Often you'll die anyways - it's usually a question of who starts hammering first, and since you need to use your finger rather than your thumb to get maximum speed, this is often a tricky situation.
  • Lost Planet 2 has three instances of this. Interestingly, you have to die at least FOUR times for 100%.
  • Mercenaries 2 does this every time you try to hijack an enemy vehicle, and the final boss fight is a quick time event. Obnoxiously, if you got any part of it wrong you were forced to go all the way back to before you broke into his bunker and fight your way past the helicopters and tanks guarding the entrance. Again. And any airstrike munitions you might have used wouldn't replenish.
  • Max Payne 3:
    • The "Last Man Standing" events, where if Max is downed but has painkillers on hand, he gets one last chance to take out the enemy and recover.
    • There are also some more conventional ones in cutscenes, including one where Max has to shoot the son of Anthony De Marco before he can shoot back, another where you're given several chances in a row to have Max throw dirt at the mafia goon forcing him to dig his own grave, and a brief fight scene against Crachá Preto underboss Milo Rego, which requires four precisely timed button presses in a row if you don't want Max to take a machete to the throat.
  • Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow includes this, in sequences that range from hacking into a computer (which requires a random combination of fast button presses) to killing somebody with a specific action to stopping an interrogator from knocking Gabe out. Most of these don't result in deaths, but there IS a cutscene where Trinidad attempts to kill Gabe with a knife.
  • Metroid: Other M has several instant-kill cutscene examples (the only time in the franchise) in addition to a more traditional counter move that would be worked into later games.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fleuret Blanc sometimes features these in cutscenes, though they're never vital. You're usually given multiple retries if you fail, and even if you completely screw up, all you'll get is some slightly changed dialogue afterwards. This is mainly practice for bouts, where they do matter — you have to perform a quicktime event after every regular action for a chance at favor points. Techniques all have their own unique quicktime events, and you need to succeed at them for techniques to work at all.
  • In A Light In The Dark, all the dialogues are answered in a series of quick time events, as the kidnappers wouldn't wait for the hostage to answer patiently.
  • The Letter has these whenever the Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl attacks the player, though, thankfully, the player can retry them without having to load an earlier save. They're also skippable.
  • In Paramedium, there are a few sequences where you have to rapidly click things appearing randomly on the screen to survive (e.g. deflecting knife attacks by clicking the knife).

  • Cooking Mama has a few of these, in the unlikely event you lose grip of an ingredient, you get to catch it. This is extra infuriating in World Kitchen.
  • Dynamite Cop might be one of the earliest games to do this. Failure meant extra enemies to fight, or taking a bit of damage. Occasionally the target is knocked out of the next fight too, if it involves you in physical-contact range with a mook.
  • Some bosses in Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard are fought like this. A button or other controller action is shown and you have a moment to do it and get Matt to beat up his foe in the cutscene. Repeat until bad guy falls. Missing them will make him lose the fight and die. The game plays with this at points. One such 'fight' is a single suckerpunch that you can't lose, and another is repeatedly smashing the other guy's face into his car.
  • GHOST Squad has Hand-to-Hand Combat scenes in which you must line up your aiming cursor with targets on your opponent and hit the Action button to block his attacks. Completing a scene will show a cutscene of your character beating the crap out of his opponent, while failing a scene (from taking too long to hit targets) will, in addition to taking off health, will show your character getting his ass kicked instead.
    • Attempts to do this on the highest difficulty level (lv. 20) will almost always be met with failure, as while the number of simultaneous targets go BACK down to 1, the timing window for that one target suddenly becomes comparable to Gambol on Another. Carefully planning your route through the missions to avoid these confrontations suddenly becomes a good idea. Oh, and did we forget to mention that PERMANENT EXP is obtained from successfully doing "missions" IF the level is cleared (boss is properly defeated)? And the best route for this always goes through at least ONE of these scenes? FUCK!
  • Used a lot in the movie game for Kung Fu Panda, making up the majority of the fights vs. Tai Lung. Most are just hard enough that you may not succeed the first time you play them, but not so hard that you have to replay the sequence a ton of times after to get through.
  • The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers game on the Sega CD was constructed around the trope. All you did in the game was tap the buttons on the screen while watching a random mishmash of action scenes from the series in the background.
  • The Oregon Trail (2021): Players will occasionally need to be quick on their heels to choose the correct choice or course of action for various events such as stabilising an old, abandoned wagon, playing the Gunslinger's shooting game, or stopping a crow from nicking one of your gold nuggets.
  • Otter Island: After collecting the handgun in one pathway, when confronted by the creature you must complete a quick-time event, pressing the keys specified on the screen to fire the gun. Failing results in instant death and returns you to your last save point.
  • Shenmue being the origin of the term "Quick Time Event", there's a bunch of them in both games. Many of them have several routes around them, giving the player an error margin, but they would lose if they messed up too many times, and would have to start the sequence over. There was also one notable inversion in Shenmue II. A barber tried to intimidate the player character into making a wrong move by holding a razor to his neck during what looked like a routine haircut. If the player followed the normal Quick Time Event prompt, the scene ended in failure; the trick was to ignore the button prompt and not press anything.
  • The Wii version of Pirates of the Caribbean includes a lot of these. The required ones just start again if you miss a button (or Wii Remote waggle), but lots of sidequest ones become lost if failed.
  • This appears in the licensed game for the 2007 TMNT film. Losing all your health results in your character falling on one knee. Here you have to repeatedly hit the button that shows up onscreen to save him. If you're playing in a level where the Turtle is solo, this helps him slowly get back up - once he does, his health is restored. If it's a level where the other Turtles are in reserve, one appears when your Turtle falls and starts to help him up. Once successful, he replaces the injured Turtle in battle. Doing nothing in either case causes the afflicted Turtle to collapse and die, to reappear at the last checkpoint.
    • Interestingly, there is a point in the game where your character is supposed to be knocked out, for plot purposes. He falls and you get the cue to button-mash, but he collapses anyway and the screen fades to black for some relevant voice-overs.
  • In The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, this is often a part of combat against creatures that are massively larger than humans, like the dragon in the prologue or the Kayran at the end of the first chapter.
  • In the Jurassic Park mini-game in Universal Studios Theme Park Adventures, the player gets to shoot at a T-Rex! When the dinosaur gives up, a small cutscene will play with the driver having a hard time passing through some rough terrain. Then, all of the sudden, a huge (L) or (R) appears on-screen. If you don't press the button at the right time (which seems to be 1 frame long), you'll merely stay momentarily incapacitated.
  • Starting with Escaping the Prison, every game in the Henry Stickmin Series features a route in which the player must choose how to proceed within a given time frame, often just a couple of seconds, otherwise they die. Some of the options will also kill you. Fleeing the Complex adds timer bars so you can see how much time you have left to make your choice, and also subverts it with the final set of choices, all of which result in your death; doing nothing and letting the timer run out will net you the "Presumed Dead" ending.
  • Quite a few laserdisc games are built around this. Dragon's Lair (both of them, as mentioned above), Space Ace, Road Blaster, Super Don Quixote, Badlands, Time Gal, and Esh's Aurunmilla'' all fall under this, with Road Blaster being the only one to actually require you to aim at times.
    • Except that Dragon's Lair doesn't tell you X, nor when to press it. Enjoy!
    • In the Dragon's Lair clone, Brain Dead 13, you'll be doing this quite a lot from the very start. Some of the actions that you do can lead to bad moves, resulting in Press X to Die.
  • Sewer Shark on the Sega CD has one of the most patently unfair examples: In one cutscene, your player character commands you to fire your Gatling gun...and the game expects you to hit the fire button exactly then, with no button prompt or any other indication for actual interactivity. And if you don't fire on his mark, it's an instant Game Over and you have to start all over.
  • The Sega arcade title Time Traveler was a Dragon's Lair-esque game that came out in 1991. Its particular schtick was its "holographic" visuals, which were in fact created with a CRT television screen and a curved mirror.
  • In Infinity Blade III, if you see a wide-open area with no enemies in sight, be prepared to do this. Otherwise, a huge dragon is gonna roast you for half of your life.
  • Press X is essentially one very long quick time event. You press X to be okay.
  • The Early Access Steam game Press X To Not Die, as demonstrated by MegaGWolf, is basically a modern-day Dragon's Lair when it comes to how much it adheres to this trope. It's the freaking title for crying out loud. It's justified and even exploited, as the reason why the protagonist is able to see the buttons is because he is infected with a drug that hardwires his brain to tie even the most simplest of actions down to two button presses.
  • Believe it or not, this trope can appear in Sports Games as well! Take the Wii version of the Licensed Game for the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament in South Africa, for example, where you can sometimes call this trope "Press X to not allow a goal." When the ball is punted, corner-kicked or launched towards the goal from a free kick or penalty shot, it will go into Slow Motion and glow partway during its trajectory as one of your players catches a glimpse at it, meaning that this is a critical point of time when he has the opportunity to seize the ball. Right at this moment, you need to shake the Wii Remote to take the ball or save the shot, and you can't be a tad too early or late. If you don't, he will miss the ball, resulting in the opponent taking the ball or scoring a goal, depending on the situation.

Non-Video Game Examples:

  • The name of this trope appears in this video at about the 3:48 mark.
  • This trope is referenced word for word in GameFAQs' Poll of the Day for January 21, 2012
  • Warned against in this Sequential Art strip.
  • The picture caption wasn't the only time addressed this issue.
  • The Devil in Dinosaur Comics is planning a game called "PRESS X TO EAT A BIG PIE"
  • During Roxanne and Criss' battle against DiZ in Interstitial: Actual Play, the GM Riley envisions one of these where they have to press triangle button to bounce off the floating islands and evade his cannon fire.
  • The Miracle of Sound song Wigglesticks is about how annoying this got to him in Resident Evil 6.
  • Cinema Snob Reviews Frozen (a fan comic where The Cinema Snob reviews Frozen) compares part of the climax of Frozen to a quick time event. When Kristoff and Sven are dodging the tilting ship, Snob shouts out button presses.
  • JonTron, on the topic of games about the RMS Titanic, compares it to making a game about the Pompeii disaster.
    "Tap A quickly to not die as fast!"
  • A game show example: Wheel of Fortune had a "Free Spin" token that a contestant could turn in to keep control if they lost their turn. Originally, this was earned simply by landing on a Free Spin space on the Wheel, and multiple could be earned. This later changed to only having one token available for the entire game. In 2009, Free Spin was dropped entirely and replaced with Free Play, a space that gave the contestant invincibility for that single turn.
  • Zero Punctuation: The Trope Namer, alluding to a running gag that Yahtzee mentions this line word-for-word in his videos every time he complains about quick time events. One video has him appear on-camera to speak directly to the audience and game developers about why QTEs are so annoying, during which he himself is subjected to a quick time event. It also shows up when he alludes to his potential future as a serial killer: police are investigating a murder scene where the trope name is scrawled in blood on the wall above a corpse.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Quick Time Event, Quick Time Events


Sonic.Exe: Spirits of Hell

Geez, and you thought the regular drowning theme was already terrifying enough...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / PressXToNotDie

Media sources: