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Pressure Plate

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"Please place the Weighted Storage Cube on the 1500-Megawatt Aperture Science Heavy Duty Super-Colliding Super Button."
GLaDOS, Portal

Sometimes they're used for Block Puzzles. Sometimes they're to make sure you need two people to get through an area. Sometimes they just mean you don't have to press the use button. And sometimes they're just barely discernible and you really don't want to step on them. Whatever the case, a surprising number of mechanical doors are hooked up to pressure plates. Common in puzzle platformers. Often, there are two distinct types: one that stays pressed and active when you step off, and one that doesn't and needs to be held down by a box or something else.


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    Live-Action Film 
  • In Dr. Who and the Daleks, entry to the Dalek citadel required pressing down a raised platform position ten meters or so away. It must stay down for the doors to remain open, and it takes them a minute to realize that one of the party needs to apply weight to the mechanism while someone else holds the door open long enough for that person to sprint through. (Needless to say, the RiffTrax version makes fun of both the existence of the mechanism and of Who and company being briefly detained by it.)
  • The Masked Gang's secret lair entrance in Masked Avengers. It's a Dilating Door triggered by a switch that needs to be held down, else it closes on its own mere seconds later. The gang's minions are well aware of this trap, but when the heroes tries infiltrating the place in the end the first redshirt who stepped over gets his midsection crushed by the closing door.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons players dread the activation of a pressure plate, because nine times out of ten, it will set off a nasty trap that will ruin your whole day.
  • Subverted in one of the Grimtooth's Traps books for d20 systems, which features the "Click Plate", a pressure plate that gives an ominous click when you step on it... And does nothing else. No problem... unless you intersperse them in a trapped dungeon with other plates that go click just before the trap goes off...

    Video Games 
  • The Wii version of A Boy and His Blob has them all over the place. These makes some of the platforms and doors move.
  • On your way to the Red Queen's domain in American McGee's Alice, you need to retrieve an insane child (who ran off the pressure plate) back to stand on it to open the gate to the portal.
  • Alice: Madness Returns has a number of these, although the first couple are of the variety that seem to give you as much time after the plate is pressed as you remained on the plate. After you get the Clockwork Bomb, most take the form of "Drop a Clockwork Bomb on the plate, then hurry-up-and-do-the-thing-that-that-enables-before-the-bomb-detonates". When they raise switches that you have to platform over to a good spot to then aim for and shoot until they turn green, they can be the most frustrating non-combat parts of the game.
  • Bloodwych, which includes puzzles where you have to either leave a party member behind on a pressure plate, or (if playing multiplayer) have the other player's party stand on the pressure plate.
  • Chip's Challenge: The brown-colored buttons have to be kept pressed, whether by Chip or a block, so the traps connected to them remain disabled.
  • The Crown Of Wu contains a few pressure plate-activated exits, which can be triggered by dragging Chinese stone lion statues around and placing them upon the plates.
  • Deadly Rooms of Death has three varieties of pressure plates. One kind activates objects exactly once, another activates objects every time it gets stepped on, and the final kind activates and deactivates things when it gets stepped on and off. Puzzles can use them in all sorts of ways. The player can activate them directly, or can guide monsters onto them at convenient times. All sorts of objects can hold them down as well.
  • In Devil May Cry 4 and Devil May Cry 5, standing on certain special platforms (called Continuum Pads in 4) reveal or activate a nearby Grim Grip that you can grapple on.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has them as trap triggers.
  • Dwarf Fortress has plates with triggering conditions adjustable at the construction time and whether your own citizen and pets must avoid it.
    • Usually instead of pressing them yourself to do things, you get others to press them. One example is a pair of pressure plates that open and close doors or bridges, then chain up an animal on either end, load it with automated traps, and get goblins to run down it. When they hit a plate, it closes the bridge they're running towards, preventing them from pathing to the cat chained on that end, so they reverse direction and head the other way. Over the traps. Artificial Stupidity can be fun as well as !!FUN!!.
    • Pressure plates also react on the weight of water (or even magma, if made of materials that heat-resistant) or more recently added minecarts, and currently are the only sensor other than levers that can control mechanisms. Thus these are included in all automation assemblies, whether running functions useful in the game (flood safeguards, defenses, drowning-safe timed flush swimming rooms, weight-sensitive automated cattle butchery, etc) or assembled in "dwarfputers" as a Self-Imposed Challenge. Plates can control floodgates, hatches and bridges used as valves, which opens great possibilities for hydraulic automata and other contraptions — whether creature logic elements using pathfinding routines or mechanic elements activating water pumps or minecart-controlling components.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Skyrim use them as trap triggers. Like Fallout 3, Skyrim has a perk which prevents the Player Character from setting off pressure plate traps, but said perk doesn't apply to your followers, meaning that, if you're not careful, you can still die a horrible, spiky death as a result of your follower haplessly stepping on the trap trigger you presumably deftly avoided.
    • A cave-dungeon in the fifth game's Dawnguard DLC introduces a variant: several pressure plates must be triggered together to open a particular gate, while a bridge and a couple of other gates must be triggered by somehow setting off pressure plates mounted vertically on targets some distance away.
  • Etrian Odyssey Nexus: One of the gimmicks introduced in the final standard stratum is the presence of platforms that, upon being stepped on and then walked away from, either lower into the ground's level or rise to the level of the middle walls' paths, depending on their previous state. These act effectively as columns whose motion is operated by the weight of the party characters, and working with them is necessary to make way through the first and fifth floors.
  • The old Eye of the Beholder games have doors (and various other mechanisms) triggered by pressure plates in the floor. Some were activated by you, others by monsters, and yet others by items (and sometimes very specific items).
  • Fallout
    • Fallout 3 has traps that can be set off by a pressure plate. With a high enough Repair skill, you can disarm the plate before stepping on it- if you notice it. There's also a perk called Light Step which means that your character can jump up and down on the plate and still never set it off.
    • Earlier Fallout titles used pressure plates for a variety of traps ranging from the classic spear-thrower to explosive mines. Players could use the Trap skill to detect and defuse traps for a small amount of XP. A Critical Failure when attempting to defuse a trap usually set it off.
  • In The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, one hallway in Zone IV includes hidden pressure plates that activate slot machine-like spinners. The result determines what falls from the ceiling: prizes or enemies or bombs.
  • The Girl and the Robot: There are a LOT of puzzles in this game that revolve around having either the girl or the robot stand on a pressure pad.
  • A few puzzles in Gish feature this.
  • GoldenEye uses a puzzle like this in the Aztec level, based on The Man with the Golden Gun.
  • Jumper and Jumper Two feature several such puzzles.
  • King's Quest: Mask of Eternity had these. You're meant to hold them down with rocks, but you can avoid this if you manage to kill a monster so that it falls on the plate.
  • Kitty May Cry have several closed doors that can only be opened by stepping on pedals, where your feline protagonist can activate them by carrying wooden blocks and placing them on the switch. Sometimes you'll need to lug a block around, in areas containing two doors and only one block.
  • La-Mulana features placing bags of sand on pressure plate pedestals as a primary game mechanic. There are also the tiles which you have to push blocks onto, several of which cause other blocks to appear out of thin air. There are also the old standby "step on it and something happens" type, although they're relatively rare.
  • Pressure plates are found throughout Legend of Grimrock, used to raise/lower gates and activate trap doors.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The majority of games use pressure plates as switches to open doors. Depending on the case, these switches are likely to show a different color to indicate that they won't stay pressed if Link steps onto them (for example, in Ocarina of Time, they are colored gray, while the regular switches are colored ocher).
    • Some games take this trope further by including some floor switches that cannot be tripped with Link's weight alone. For example, a couple of floor switches in the "Inside Jabu-Jabu" dungeon in Ocarina of Time require Link to be carrying Princess Ruto while stepping on the switch. In Majora's Mask, some switches can only be tripped by the heavy Goron Link.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has some switches that requires an object to hold it down and larger switches needs heavier and larger objects to stay active.
  • Core part of the puzzle system in Life Goes On is finding a way to get something to weigh down a pressure plate to proceed to the level goal. Said something is normally a corpse.
  • Mari0, being a crossover with Portal, naturally has these.
  • These show up in the Edutainment Game Math Blaster 2: Secret of the Lost City.
  • Minecraft allows the player to craft four kinds of them: stone plates, which can only be triggered by the player or mobs, wooden ones, which can also be triggered by dropped items, and two kinds of metal ones, which are only triggered by dropping items on them. Gold pressure plates output a signal strength of 1 per item, and iron ones output a signal strength of 1 per 10 items, rounded up.
  • Patapon 3 has pressure plates in some of the dungeon levels to open gates and stuff.
  • There is a simple Block Puzzle in the last level of Perfect Dark which is needed to reach the final boss.
  • Pokémon:
    • First-generation Pokémon games and their remakes featured these in Victory Road, in the form of a Block Puzzle.
    • Pokémon XD has pressure plates that you keep activated by pushing boxes of Poke Food onto them. Now if some of them didn't reset every time you left the room....
  • Portal's many, many Super Buttons. They usually require you to put a Weighted Storage Cube on them.
  • The 2-D Prince of Persia games made extensive use of pressure plates to open or close distant doors; they could be held down permanently by killing a Mook over them or dropping a Temporary Platform on them. The Sands of Time saga has more variations of them; some are placed on walls and must be activated by wall-running, while some require a heavy object to keep them down.
  • In Resident Evil 5, the Ndipaya tribe are apparently very fond of these as even their heavily-guarded ancient ruins feature these.
  • Rise of the Triad uses "touchplates" a lot; on the easy difficulty, the game tells you when you have triggered them and what they just did.
  • In Risk of Rain 2, a puzzle in the Abandoned Aqueduct requires holding down two pressure plates to unlock a sealed chamber. This task is complicated by the fact that, in single player, only a few characters and items have the means to independently trigger both plates (Engineer is the most convenient option, since he can place turrets on the plates). Inside the chamber are a pair of late-game enemies that unlock special items when killed.
  • The Simpsons Game parodied this among many other video game tropes.
  • The Sims 3: World Adventures: There are two types of these in the tombs you traverse on your adventures: the kind you just need to step on once to (unlock a door/disable a trap), and the kind that requires constant weight (like say, from a moveable statue in the room).
  • Soul Reaver beat the Christ out of this trope as part of its beating-the-Christ-out-of the Block Puzzle.
  • Stealth Bastard has pressure plates as common puzzle elements which can be pushed down by platforms, player, blocks and robots.
  • Super Mario Party: The minigame Fetch Quest (yes, it's called like that) requires all four players to team up and carry all nine diamonds placed in their underground area into the pedestals placed at the center. The problem is that some of the diamonds are locked behind barriers that can only be opened as long as their associated switches are held pressed. Thus, one player has to stand on a switch to keep it pressed so another player can get the diamonds placed beyond the now-open barrier.
  • In one of Tales of Symphonia's many Block Puzzle areas, one of them (in an Absurdly-Spacious Sewer) had a Pressure Plate you had to slide a block onto. There were other instances similar to this, but only the sewer one was a blatant Pressure Plate.
  • Terraria also has these, either purchased from the mechanic for 20 silver a pop or found naturally in caves hooked up to a Booby Trap. The trigger conditions also vary depending on the color: Green and Red will trigger when anything steps on it, Gray, Brown, Blue and Lihzahrd will only trigger for players and Yellow will trigger for anything but the player stepping on it. Teal Pressure Pads are unique in that they only trigger when a pet or projectile touches it. Weighted Pressure Plates send a signal when stepping onto it and again when stepping off.
  • Thief: The Dark Project has pressure plates, used both for triggering traps and activating mechanisms such as doors. Weighting them down with junk can be useful for both kinds.
  • Pressure plates are featured in the first two games of This Is the Only Level, which is pressed to unlock the gate to the next stage (sometimes).
  • A staple of Tomb Raider games. Many of them require a block to keep the plate pressed down so a door or other mechanism stays active.
  • The map WAR-TankCrossing in Unreal Tournament III has pressure plates for tanks. They are necessary to take down the Cores.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines features these as trap buttons to ensnare the unwary during the endgame.
  • Warcraft III often features these in dungeons as door openers or elevator buttons. In the expansion's undead campaign, there's a puzzle where an elevator needs a plate activated to work, but there's only room for one unit. The solution is to leave an item on the switch.


Video Example(s):


Temple of Shrooms gate

Mario and Professor Toad must stand on the things the statues are carrying at the same time to open the gate to proceed.

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Main / PressurePlate

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