Follow TV Tropes


Stupidity Is the Only Option

Go To

Sometimes a story requires the heroes to fail. They need to be captured by the guards, inadvertently allow the villain to get the MacGuffin, be betrayed, walk into a trap, or free the Sealed Evil in a Can. Setbacks and challenges are a core building block of narrative, so this is fine... sometimes. Video game stories, however, have the protagonist controlled by you the player. What happens when the plot needs you personally to fail? Why, force the error, of course. Whether it's due to a Cutscene or But Thou Must!, the game simply cannot progress until the awaiting disaster is triggered.

In more "literary" game stories, this might be explained for the same reasons as in a book — the character makes a mistake for perfectly understandable reasons, and perhaps even the other characters realize this. This is fine; great characters make great mistakes. In other games, a player sees where a plot point is going — or perhaps a villain-cam scene outright shows the betrayal awaiting Our Heroes – but the characters themselves are clueless, so this is also acceptable. There's a third option, though: enforced stupidity. Too hard to figure out a way to trick the player, or at least the character, into the blindingly obvious trap? Just force 'em in. Stupidity is the only option.

Compare Press X to Die, where the stupid action is entirely optional. Contrast Violation of Common Sense, where the stupid action is optional, but results in rewards for the player instead of punishment. Also compare Trap Is the Only Option, where the characters themselves are aware of an Obvious Trap but still feel it's the only way to progress.

Common consequences of this trope include:


    open/close all folders 

    Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages, the game begins with you meeting Impa, whose skin is inexplicably blue, and having to get through a rock that only the Hero can push. Of course, it turns out that she's possessed by Veran. What makes this even stupider is what happens if you do it in a linked game, as Impa appears in Oracle of Seasons and yet seems to not remember you at this point in Ages.
    • In Phantom Hourglass, when you board the Ghost Ship, you are asked by a creepy girl to help rescue her sisters. Even though all four girls are extremely suspicious (including doing their damnedest to get you captured by monsters), you have no choice in the matter and need to save them, at which point they turn out to be the dungeon boss. At least killing them afterwards is pretty satisfying.
    • Four Swords Adventures starts with you being dumped in front of a sword in a pedestal Shadow Link jumps around. You're flat out told that pulling the sword out will release Sealed Evil in a Can, but if you refuse you'll just be stuck there until you do.
    • Hyrule Warriors: In the "Enduring Resolve" Legends map, after you beat on him a bit Ghirahim turns tail and flees, crying that he's outmatched against you. You're ordered to pursue him... right into the heart of the enemy stronghold. Even if you catch up to him before he can make it and attack him some more, when at low health he just stops taking damage and can't be defeated. You have to let him run to the enemy base and chase him there. No prizes for guessing what happens next.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: One of the drawbacks of the game's Wide-Open Sandbox nature means that a major twist can be given away long before it's "supposed" to happen. It's most apparent while awakening the four Sages—each time you arrive in one of their hometowns, you see Zelda acting extremely suspiciously. After that quest line, you are told that Zelda has been seen in the ruins of Hyrule Castle, and you should go to her rescue immediately. Curious players who instead choose to follow the rumors at various stables—many of which center on other Zelda sightings that prove fake— collect the Dragon's Tears which provide flashbacks—one of which outright shows Ganondorf conjuring a fake Zelda in the past—or gather all of the Dragon's Tears and visit the Korok Forest to collect the Master Sword which means that you know the real Zelda sacrificed her physical body to become the Light Dragon, purify the sword, and pass it to you in the present day—will be keenly aware of the alleged surprise of this "Zelda" being a phony. But there's no option to stop you from rescuing her, and you must let Fake!Zelda lead you into half a dozen ambushes before what can very loosely be called The Reveal.
  • Several times in Ōkami, Amaterasu has to make a blind leap to advance the plot (once is straight down the gullet of a massive Water Dragon). After a while, her companion Issun comments that "leap before you think" is their motto. Also, you find an artifact that is a Big Bad's source of power and must not fall into evil hands. So what do you do? Turn it right over to the secretly but obviously evil NPC, of course.
  • In Luigi's Mansion, you have to push a red button with a sign saying "Don't Push!", which frees King Boo and fifty Boos throughout the mansion. You must catch five Boos before a Toad will let you into the first-floor washroom, which contains the key required to proceed.
  • Telltale Games' The Walking Dead has a classic one in Chapter 3. To explore the train station, you need to prop the door open to let in some light. Your first inclination is to use the wooden pallet that is conveniently about two feet from the door, and your second is to use one of the paint cans that is about ten feet from the door. Unfortunately, neither of these work. Instead, the game forces you to jam the door open with your melee weapon, which of course leaves you wide open for the zombies that were waiting patiently inside for you to do so.
    • Then there's the end of episode 4, where Lee goes chasing after Vernon under the mistaken assumption that he kidnapped Clem. While not completely outside the realm of possibility, did Lee and company really forget about the creepy stranger who has been talking to Clem over her walkie-talkie, found abandoned on the ground only moments before? Though in their defense, it wouldn't have mattered since they would have had no idea where to start looking.
    • In season 2, Omid warns Clementine to keep an eye on all her stuff when she heads into a bathroom. Thus, when she knocks over a water bottle and has to go after it, a savvy player will likely try to pick up her gun first. Except you can't, resulting in another survivor stealing it and killing Omid.
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time has this setup for the finale: Carmelita is bound and gagged, in a darkened room aboard the Big Bad's zeppelin with a frigging spotlight shining on her. The player knows it's a trap. Bentley and Murray know it's a trap. Sly himself knows it's a trap. There's about a thousand ways he could go about it, but he just runs right in and promptly gets captured.
  • Tomb Raider (2013) has no less than three separate occasions where the player is required to do serious damage to the structural integrity of a location in order to proceed (detonating mines in the Scavenger's Den, tearing down the roof of the Mountain Monastery, and exploding natural gas veins in the Geothermal Caverns). Each time other people are killed and Lara barely escapes with her life. Every time another character is captured and Lara is hidden and in the perfect position to just shoot the villain with any of her various guns (most of which aren't even optional), a cutscene happens where Lara takes out her bow and is as loud and as incompetent as possible which leads to Lara herself getting captured and/or the other captive getting injured.
  • In Rise of the Tomb Raider a skill Lara can gain is highlighting traps before she walks into them. If you have it, in one optional tomb it will highlight a pressure plate in the middle of a passage Lara has to go through. Although the plate is small, the passage is fairly wide, and Lara has previously demonstrated her ability to squeeze through tight spaces and be able to navigate very narrow ledges, branches, beams and rock formations, there is no way to use the plentiful space on either side of the plate to get by without triggering it.
  • The Murder desk in L.A. Noire drops a couple bits of Foreshadowing early on. The first person of interest in the first Murder case is a temp bartender, and one of the first POI's in the third Murder case is a full-time bartender working in another bar, who casually mentions that one of their temps was working around the time of the murder and "would probably know more." To prevent the player from instantly making the game about four or five missions shorter, you are given no option to follow up on this rather obvious clue.
  • Death Stranding: After Sam completes his journey through the Central Region, the last major obstacle between him and his ultimate destination of Edge Knot City is an ocean of tar, with no clear way across. To cross it, he needs to willingly get himself caught by the nearby BTs and dragged into Catcher territory; as established with previous Catcher encounters, this causes old buildings and vehicles to emerge from the tar that Sam can traverse.
  • ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal: To access the Great Tree where the Elemental Card of Air is kept, you have to engage in a Chain of Deals. The only path to the Tree is blocked by a tournament entrant who won't budge until you give him a Segbuzz fairy, which cannot be found in the wild and must be traded for Suane, the most powerful Light fairy in the entire game. At that point, Suane can only be obtained from a miniquest in the Cloud Realm. In return for you troubles, you get a level 0 Worgot, a weakling Nature fairy that you can easily catch in the beginner area of the game (and most likely, you already have one of these fairies in your collection). You do get the Segbuzz back after you beat its master in the tournament, but it's still hardly a replacement for Suane.

    Action Game 
  • Harry Potter games require some stupid player actions in order to follow the plot of the books. E.g., in some versions of the first game, you can't put your invisibility cloak back on after sending Norbert away, since getting caught is essential to the plot of the source material. And in the Xbox version, because the invisibility cloak had functionally no effect to begin with; you'd get caught by Mooks anyway. This is not exactly helpful when the point is not getting caught for once.
  • At the beginning of God of War II, Kratos is faced against the Colossus come to life. Zeus, who had just shrank him down and took some of his godly power, gives him a sword. However, in order to effectively use the sword, you must put all your godly energy into it. Gee, what could possibly go wrong? What you mean it's a trap? And yes, the only way to beat the boss is to put all of your god energy into it. (To be fair, it was either "Put all your godly energy into a sword" or get flattened by metal statue that was an Implacable Man and was Nigh Invulnerable.)
  • In Tomb Raider II, when Lara reaches the temple where the Dagger of Xian is located, the floor directly in front of it is a trapdoor which opens when stood on. At best you can use your prior knowledge to preemptively fall down the pit before the trap and put yourself in a safer position than if you just blindly ran into the trap.
  • At the end of Prince of Persia (2008), having just witnessed the Heroic Sacrifice of your support character, you're left hanging around a small patch of desert, ringed by invisible or unclimbable walls (even without them, you need the no-longer-possible double-jump to cross the chasms the invisible walls keep you from falling throwing yourself into) and plagued by the whisperings of the Sealed Evil in a Can you just spent the game resealing. In order to get the absolutely final ending, you need to do a Face–Heel Turn and unseal the evil to resurrect the girl and get a well-deserved What the Hell, Hero?. The Epilogue does justify this decision somewhat, but before that it seems to make no sense.
  • In the beginning of Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Slimer gets free and the team find him staring at the ghost containment unit. The player is required to shoot at Slimer, damaging the containment unit and letting out another ghost. Recapturing that ghost then becomes the Forced Tutorial. The containment unit will get damaged even if the player fires from an angle that should logically only hit Slimer (though this can be justified in-universe with the knowledge that the Proton Packs are not exactly "accurate").
  • In Hollow Knight, the only clear way to get to Herrah the Beast is to subject yourself to an obvious trap. The only alternative way of getting to her involves finding an invisible narrow hidden entrance near the middle of the ceiling of the trap room, but it's practically impossible to find on the first playthrough and requires upgrades you're unlikely to have at this point.

    Adventure Game 
  • Subverted in Touch Detective 2 1/2. In the game's final chapter, in order to progress, you have to free the game's villain, the Cornstalker, from his cell. Despite this seeming to be an incredibly stupid idea — to the point that Mackenzie, the main character comments on two occasions before it that there's no good reason she should... nothing but good ends up coming of it.
  • In the adventure game The Longest Journey, as protagonist April Ryan you are forced to wander into one of the most obvious traps imaginable. After hearing that "something" is lurking in a mysterious forest and killing/eating locals and wildlife, you come across a hideous, decrepit, Gollum-like, hissing old creature constantly letting slip obvious comments about wanting to eat you, all the while claiming to be a "poor old ladyyyy... hiss... jussssst picking bones... I MEAN FLOWERS, yessss, flowers, for my sssssteeeeew...". You are then forced to walk home to her little cave/hovel in the dark/evil part of the forest where she locks you in. It's made all the worse by the fact that April seems perfectly aware that she's wandering into a trap via her meta-comments regarding the fairy-tale-esque world in which she's adventuring, but that the logic and decision making sections of her brain are not communicating too well...
    • This is hilariously lampshade hung in April's Diary:
      I've been tricked! I should've known something was wrong with that old woman. I mean, she was drooling and slobbering all over me, she kept tripping over her words saying things like "prisoners" instead of "guests", and her teeth were abnormally large. But still! If you can't trust sweet old ladies who've hurt their leg picking berries in the forest, who CAN you trust? Hansel and Gretel, my heart goes out to you kids...
    • In the same game, she is unable to sail a ship to Alais without tampering with a compass and causing the ship to sail into a magical storm. And after she is punished by being locked in the hold, she must use an axe to (accidentally) sink the ship while she's still in it.
  • In Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak, you mainly play as Hamtaro and Bijou but at one point in the Boo Manor level, you control Bijou separately. This is a result of Hamtaro being railroaded into walking over a trap door by Dexter, leaving Bijou to save him. What makes this worse is Howdy previously fell through the trap door and Dexter doesn't explain what happened until it's too late. Subverted when you attempt to have Bijou go down the trap door. When you get close enough to the edge, Bijou will stop herself from falling.
  • The climax of Bow Street Runner is an egregious example. The mastermind behind all the events leaves a woman who supposedly opposed him bound and gagged in his hideout after fleeing. The woman offers to lead the player into his current hideout. Given that said mastermind has a way of killing anyone who opposes him, the set-up is obvious. Of course there is no way to avoid it; worse, the villain berates the player for falling for "the oldest trick in the book"...
  • The only way to proceed to the second part of the Catacombs in King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow is by deliberately blundering into the one pitfall that doesn't kill you. Of course, you're boned if you aren't carrying a certain item at that point.
  • In SD Snatcher, a pair of cultists tell the protagonist to assassinate the Snatcher who has taken over the cult under the guise of a priest. You enter battle with the priest, with no evidence other than the word of the cultists, and the priest forgoes the superstrength of the Snatchers for a simple punch attack which does little damage. The game cannot continue until you shoot the priest, killing him instantly and losing your job as a result, forcing you to go undercover under the mantle Solid Snake (as insisted upon by your wife) in order to clear your name.
  • It could be argued that, initially at least, Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy is a variation on this: the player alternates between playing as Lucas Kane, a murderer (kind of), and Carla Valenti, the detective investigating his case. The two are obviously acting at cross-purposes to each other, so whatever is beneficial for one character will be detrimental to the other, and you are always required to do a bare minimum of beneficial actions for one character in order to advance the plot: at which point you switch to the other character, and so on and so on ad infinitum.
  • The adventure game Loom has a few examples, all of which should make you feel fortunate that this is the type of game where can't die:
    • At around the midpoint, you get snatched by a dragon and taken to her lair. She and her treasure hoard are blocking the only way out, and it soon becomes clear that she has no intention of letting you go. What to do? Simple: use a reverse Straw to Gold draft to turn her entire hoard into worthless rubbish. This unlocks the "A" note on your distaff, allowing you to cast a Sleep draft on her, whereupon she sets fire to the straw and flees in terror, allowing you to escape.
    • In the Blacksmiths' Guild, you eventually come across Edgewise working on the last of 10,000 swords contracted by Bishop Mandible. The noise is awful and making your head hurt. How to deal with it? Why, simply cast Twisting (or reverse Sharpness) on the sword so Edgewise can't work on it anymore, and tick off both Mandible and the leader of the guild, both of whom are in the same room that very moment.
    • That, naturally, results in you getting captured by Bishop Mandible, who locks you up in a cage and then dares you escape. Of course, you can easily do this with the Opening draft, but you know that the bishop is expecting this and will be ready to respond. Except for there isn't anything else that you can do.
  • Subverted in Star Trek: Borg; at one point you are presented with two choices, both of which will get you assimilated by the Borg, and gets Q to rewind you to an earlier point in time and try again. What you're supposed to do is use the access codes you learned post-assimilation to defeat the Borg, sufficiently impressing Q with your ability to "think outside the box". There are also a few subversions, puzzles that offer you several fatally stupid options, where the real solution is to do nothing and let the timer run out. Your character being a Heroic Mime, the rest of the crew consider this a compelling argument.
  • In The Lost Crown, you find the titular artifact and then are presented with the dilemma of finding a safe place to put it. What you're supposed to do is put it in the trunk in your bedroom, but after you do a guy breaks in, steals the crown and gets killed. However, to have gotten that far in the game, you need to have found the safe in the basement of your house and inspected the contents, meaning you know the safe's there and how to open it. Putting the crown in there only becomes an option after the guy gets killed.
  • In Hopkins FBI, Hopkins has to shoot a target at a firing range five times to get a clue left behind by a serial killer. All of the clues that Hopkins has previously found are attached to the corpses of the killer's victims. Sure enough, there's a person behind the target, and Hopkins kills her when he fires at it. The player actually has the option to search behind the target, but if they elect to do so, Hopkins insists that there is nothing there. The only way to proceed in the game is to kill the victim.
  • The indie adventure game the white chamber has Sarah unable to progress unless she walks right up to the horrific monster sitting in the warped control room and get skewered in the chest; she wakes up in the crew's quarters shortly afterwards.

    Fighting Game 

    First-Person Shooter 
  • The "walking into a scripted trap" seems to be a common trope since the dawn of FPS games to force your character to start from scratch to keep the game from getting boring after you've gained all the cool weapons and ammo. The earliest iteration of this that comes to mind was the segue at the end of Episode 1 of the original Doom where after killing the boss monsters, there's nothing left to do but teleport to hell and die, thus starting Episode 2 with nothing but a pistol and your fists. Doom was also known to have situations where you knew it was a trap but had no choice. See that keycard you need to complete the level? Is it isolated in a well-lit alcove in an otherwise dark room? Then you can guarantee that the second you grab it, monsters will come flooding into the room. Even if you know it's a trap, you have no option other than to fight your way through it.
  • In the original BioShock, you find yourself in the middle of a filthy, wrecked room with a barely functioning vending machine full of dirty syringes. You have to pick one up and jam it into your arm to continue the game, infection risks and common sense be damned. Justified: it turns out you're Mind Controlled. Several early actions that the player character takes make a lot more in-universe sense once this is revealed; the whole thing is, among other things, a deconstruction and commentary on the illusion of choice in video games.
  • In the beginning of Bioshock Infinite, Booker Dewitt sees a sign warning Columbia's citizens to watch out for a man with an "AD" tattoo on his hand, and Booker notices he has the same tattoo. Instead of covering up his hand or keeping it in his pocket, he just continues without doing anything about it. Unsurprisingly, he gets caught pretty quickly.
    • Ironically enough, later on in the game, there is a possibility for Booker's hand to get stabbed, prompting Elizabeth to help him by wrapping a piece of cloth around his hand, partially covering the tattoo.
  • In Half-Life, there's a mandatory plot sequence where Gordon is captured by HECU marines. The room where this happens has a conveniently placed health charger and is the only way to proceed. On subsequent playthroughs, no matter how hard you try, you cannot fight these enemies. You can lay down grenades, fire into the room until all your ammo is gone, whatever, but once you walk in there, they get you. The doorway is fairly innocuous and the subsequent capture does tend to come as a surprise; it's only really frustrating when you go back and try to find a way around it and figure out there isn't actually one.
  • Half-Life 2 gives Gordon no choice but to climb into a prisoner pod in the Combine Citadel. And after being (of course) captured, stripped of your weapons by a confiscation field, and escaping due to said confiscation field being destroyed by interference from your Gravity Gun, you are later required to step into another identical pod, and be captured again. Lampshaded by Breen, who congratulates you for delivering yourself to him so conveniently.
  • In many non-Stealth Based Games that nonetheless possess a number of Stealth Based Missions, the player will often sneak deep within the bowels of some heavily guarded location to accomplish some goal only to, upon reaching whatever you're after, be confronted with a shunt of absurd Insurmountable Waist Height Fences and But Thou Musts that force you to do some idiotic thing that you know will immediately blow your cover, raise the alarm and force you to fight your way back out in order to complete your mission. Prime examples would be Red Faction, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and Medal of Honor.
    • The MoH series gets special mention here, seeing as how your character always sets 10-second timers on bombs that he plants during stealth missions (and sets off remote-detonated bombs barely out of blast range), making it impossible to get far enough from the explosion to avoid immediate implication.
  • The Call of Duty series falls victim to this, in which the only way to advance the level forward is for YOU, most often a mere private, though sometimes as high as a Sergeant, to be the first one to break cover and move out, even if the enemy is close enough to start shooting at you as soon as you break cover—your allies will do nothing and not move to support you or take down those enemies unless you move first.
    • Similarly, Private Allen in Modern Warfare 2 is sent to infiltrate Makarov's terrorist organization to stop him from plotting attacks. Despite having a clear shot at the entire terrorist squad for the entire mission, Allen is forced to play along the entire time while they massacre civilians (read: perform exactly the sort of attack Allen was sent to stop). He has no option to attempt to subdue Makarov for capture. Naturally, at the end Makarov betrays you and pins the whole attack on the USA. This is later explained that the Big Bad was Allen's commanding officer, but from Allen's and the player's perspective, it still comes off looking completely stupid.
    • A more unique example from Call of Duty 2: At one point in the Russian campaign, you are attempting to sneak through fuel pipelines to get past German soldiers and support allies at a heavily-defended station. The pre-mission journal entry even says that it's best to not let the Germans know you're in the pipe. So, naturally, as soon as you get to a hole in the pipe that would allow German soldiers to see you, one of your allies sent ahead blocks the path forward until the Germans in question discover you. Also naturally, said ally gets himself shredded by machine gun fire before he can exit the pipe, which shows you which path not to take.
  • In one of the last campaign missions for Battlefield 3, walking up the stairway to the train platform near the end of the mission results in you getting ambushed by a terrorist hiding around the corner. However, the way that he is positioned makes it fully possible for you to see and shoot at him before you actually finish walking up the stairs, or to toss a grenade so that the blast manages to hit him. Unfortunately, the terrorist is protected by Story-Driven Invulnerability, as taking him out before the ambush would break the entire chain of events leading up to you losing track of the Suitcase Nuke before it detonates and takes out half of Paris.
  • For a hardened criminal with opulent experience doing time, Riddick does some surprisingly stupid things in Escape from Butcher Bay. Immediately upon his arrival to the slam, some fishy dude with a nervous voice and shifty eyes all of a sudden offers him a shiv (an illegal and relatively valuable item, mind you) completely for free. Although you can practically hear admiral Akbar shouting at that point, you have no choice but to go into the dude's cell and fall into an ambush. Later you must make him try to open a door with a retinal scanner, although him being an escaped inmate, it's clear from the start that it's not going to work but will instead trigger an alarm. Conveniently, the alarmed guards will open a necessary door for you.
  • There's a level in Halo: Combat Evolved where you have to fall out of the (landed) spaceship to the ground, and spend a fair chunk of the level trying to find a way back in. It's designed so that the hole is difficult to see and easy to step on; most players are caught the first time around, because they're not expecting it. If you do see the hole and try to turn back, the game congratulates you for avoiding it, but then spawns ever-increasing aliens to attack you and drive you back, prompting you to jump through the hole to escape them.
  • Vivisector: Beast Inside forces you to get into numerous obvious traps during the first third of the game, which is even more frustrating when said traps are designed to make you into a sitting duck for wave after wave of enemy mooks.
  • Left 4 Dead's "Dead Air" campaign features, at the last leg of the penultimate map, a metal detector. Because of all your weapons, walking through it sets it off and triggers a horde of infected. Naturally, everyone will want to skip around its sides, which is easily done. Even the AI understands this and goes around. When the developers ported the map to Left 4 Dead 2, they made it impossible to not walk through it.
    • There's also The Sacrifice campaign where a wrecked train is blocking the survivors' path and there's a Tank (super zombie) inside. The survivors know that there is no way around the train and they must go through, which means releasing the Tank.
  • Borderlands 2:
    • Captain Scarlett DLC makes it blatantly obvious that the eponymous captain is going to turn on you as soon as you find the treasure (she even tells you as much), but it doesn't stop you from doing missions for her until the inevitable betrayal.
    • In Torgue's Campaign of Carnage you have to fight Pyro Pete to gain access to a sponsor, whom he has locked up. Torgue, who's understanding of subtlety is on par with that of a rocket launcher, narrates Pete's entire plot of setting up the arena as a trap for you, before you actually step in. You still have to do it, considering you still need that sponsor and the whole thing is a televised show, but Pete is understandably less enthusiastic now that Torgue stole his thunder.
  • Duke Nukem 3D had one at the end of the second level of the first episode; as you approach the exit, bars come down and enemies appear behind them, but there's no other way forward. The next level starts with you escaping from an electric chair with no weapons or items.

    Mecha Game 
  • Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2 - the player has to ignore the obvious trap that Echidna Iisaki is leading Lee Linjun into. At one point an officer warns Lee that this may be a trap and he demands they charge in anyway. The end result is that Lee is captured, which has dire results for The Captain. Considering that Lee is a jackass most players are glad that Lee is gone.

  • In Vindictus, one of the first serious fights is taking down the red gnoll chieftain. The very same gnoll chieftain who you actually have been told by that point by one of the very few characters that isn't a moron, is the leader of the moderate faction. a few zones later, you wind up needing to more or less defeat the entire species in a battle that would have been avoidable had you actually listened to what people were telling you.
  • In Phantasy Star Universe, the second part of the Episode 3 story mission Ambition's End offers you the choice between taking one of four NPCs. Each one is effectively as useless as the others, but nevertheless each at least has some offensive potential, some variety of useful ability, and the potential to act as a passable meatshield when required. No matter which you pick, you are instead forced to take the most useless NPC in the game, a laughably weak liability named Lumia Waber who has pathetic weapons, inflicts pathetic damage, has absolutely no special abilities, dies if an enemy breathes on her too hard and who more often than not will choose to overwrite your level Awesome buffs with her level Useless ones.
  • In the Harry Potter-esque MMORPG Wizard101, if you play the Myth school, eventually your Snape expy teacher tells you to go get a book from the library without talking to the librarian. When you get to the library, there's no way to get a book for yourself (or if there is one, it's far from obvious); however, the librarian has the question mark over his head that denotes that you're supposed to talk to him. And he says the book doesn't exist. Then you go back and talk to your teacher again:
    Drake: You talked to the librarian? Didn't I instruct you not to? ...(sigh) You disappoint me.
  • RuneScape has a depressingly large amount of quests where your character has to be incredibly gullible, usually by being tricked into doing something that helps the Big Bad of the quest. Granted, Runescape has a fourth wall problem, and it has a rather silly sense of humour.
    • The Priest in Peril quest, where your character is trying to find the missing priest Drezel in the temple of Paterdomus. The temple, as it turns out, has been taken over by a band of Zamorak monks who have imprisoned Drezel. When your character finds the front door locked, you are given the option to knock. The dialogue from the Zamorak monks is so jokey that it's hard to believe that the protagonist doesn't at least suspect that there's something up and it's not really Drezel telling him/her to kill the temple's guard dog. But you've got no choice but to do it anyway, and then be subjected to King Roald berating you for your stupidity. Otherwise, you'll never finish the quest, and never have access to Morytania and all its related places, mini-games, and quests.
    • Other examples aren't quite as bad. A player who hasn't read storyline spoilers might believe that a certain character in In Search of the Myreque is an ally of the Myreque and therefore be legitimately caught off guard when Venkstrom Krause is revealed as their enemy. Still, one would think the protagonist would become a bit more skeptical about certain things certain shady characters ask him/her to do, especially if the shady characters in question don't give a really good reason for doing those things.
    • Another big one is the Regicide quest. The player character is sent on a mission to assassinate King Lathas's evil brother, King Tyras. There are several hints that King Lathas is the real evil one, but there is no option to refuse. Even if you figure out what is going on, you must kill the good King Tyras to continue the storyline.
    • The Legends' Quest is one of the few cases where stupidity isn't the only option, however the player might not realize this unless they are using a guide. While exploring a dungeon, the player character encounters a ghost whose name is obviously an anagram of the name of the demon they recently fought. The ghost asks the player to help them by killing an undead wizard using a dark dagger. The player can instead exit the dungeon and show the dark dagger to an NPC who will recognize what it is and give you an item that forces the ghost to reveal himself to be the demon. This path makes the quest take longer to complete and forces you to pay the cost to enter the dungeon a second time, but it makes the second and third battle with the demon much easier.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • There are many minor cases where the player is "tricked" into working to advance the bad guys' plots. Granted, the first time a player does this, it's probably a surprise, but given how the game encourages Alt-itis, you still have to do the exact same quests the second (and third, and fourth...) times through.
    • Teron Gorefiend is perhaps the quintessential example of this in Burning Crusade. Appearing as a mysterious spirit, the player must acquire a variety of items associated with Teron Gorefiend on his behalf, returning him to his body.
    • Drakuru in Wrath of the Lich King is a surprisingly friendly troll who for some reason is set on betraying and massacring his own people. Following his quest lines results in the player undermining the Drakkari army, allowing the Scourge to invade and begin turning their Empire.
    • Horde players in Northrend will pick up a quest chain from the Royal Apothecary Society, helping them to perfect the plague they're planning to unleash indiscriminately against all sides.
    • The "Dagger in the Dark" scenario opens with Garrosh showing an intense hatred of Vol'jin before sending him into an uncharted cavern with several of his loyalists. Sure enough they attempt to kill Vol'jin.
    • In Legion, there's a quest chain in Stormheim in which the Tauren initially giving you quests suddenly disappear and are replaced by some extremely suspicious goblins. They constantly let slip their real intentions, are obviously just playing for time while they load up all the Taurens' stuff that they're stealing, send you to quests that they expect to kill you, and give rewards that are described as looking valuable (but are useless as items) and are later revealed to be absurdly worthless. But unless you first do the quest chain (and earn the in-game title "the Gullible"), the story doesn't give any option to question them or take them to justice. You can either leave them there or be "fooled" first so that you get a chance for revenge later.
    • Xal'atath's quest line in Battle for Azeroth has shades of this. Players begin by finding a dagger which is suspected to contain an Old God and proceed to follow its every direction. This results in Xal'atath being freed, N'zoth awakened, and the player marked with a maddening third eye.
      • On the Horde side, Queen Talanji reprimands players for blindly following the dagger's directions which makes what happens next even stupider. After finding the dagger again there is a new presence inside which directs the player to take it to Sylvanas. And the player does so, thus exposing the Warchief and her council to potential corruption by an Old God.
  • Star Trek Online:
    • One of the missions in the "Cloaked Intentions" series begins with the player's ship (investigating the disappearance of another vessel) warping into the system to find a mysterious satellite surrounded by several drifting derelict hulks. Naturally, the only way to proceed is to fly right up to it, scan it with your sensors, and get stuck in the flypaper yourself.
    • Another mission ("Divide et Impera", mercifully removed entirely from the game in 2015) had you following the orders of an admiral of Starfleet Intelligence on covert ops mission. The admiral joins you for the mission and orders you to do more questionable acts in the pursuit of your objective, including killing innocents. Not once are you allowed to disobey orders or even question them. At the end, guess what? Your admiral was an evil shapeshifting alien spy using you for his own diabolical ends! You are given no choice but to carry the Idiot Ball for the entire mission until she beams up after a brief firefight and gets away scott free.
    • Yet another mission has you doing an EVA on the hull of a space station, clomping around with magnetic boots. One section involves going through a damaged area with electrical discharged and burning plasma fired which you can easily just take another path to completely avoid, but the mission will not let you use a security panel you need to access unless you go through the hazards.
  • Tree of Savior has a moment of this as a funny side event in the Crystal Mines. While you're there, you may come across a plate of potato dumplings at the miner's resting hall. Even though you're explicitly told they don't look like they should be eaten, your only options are: "Eat it," "Try eating it," and "Must try eating it." Suffice to say, be glad it's your character who's eating them and not you.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online
    • Played straight many times with most of the Epic quests. For the most part, you're just a silent accomplice who tags along to the NPCs in their utter idiocy, but one of the worst examples is when you actually do get a choice (spare the orc prisoner to use him for a hostage exchange or kill him because he's too dangerous to live), you are overruled if you say that he must die. To make it even worse, you're later (earlier) called out by Celeborn for making such a poor choice of allowing him to live! Sure enough, everything in the questline would have gone more smoothly if you had simply killed him when you first captured him.
    • In the Broadacres plotline in Western Rohan, the story involves a minor lord who is secretly working with Saruman to kill off his regional rivals and usurp his liege lady's position. Unfortunately, Turbine went out of their way to telegraph his intentions so discovering that he's evil is certainly The Un-Twist and Captain Obvious Reveal. Your character is already suspecting a traitor, he and his main minion keep assigning you quests where you are ambushed and upon your return are surprised you survive, his wife points out his suspicious behavior, he suggests very odd strategies, is extremely callous towards his liege lady's children, and by the end of the plotline his minion isn't even really hiding his anger at your continued survival anymore. Despite that, it takes his wife to point out to you that he's the bad guy.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has several in the Thaumaturge plotline alone. (These are not spoilered out because they're not going to actually surprise anyone old enough to read and it's not like knowing what's going to happen can change the result anyway.)
    • On one of your missions a character more or less invites himself along, even though it's obvious to anyone that he's going to be The Load at best.
    • Having done that, he then does something painfully stupid during a cutscene, while the player character more or less just sort of passively watches like, "eh, why not".
    • Exactly how bad that was isn't immediately revealed, but that it was indeed bad is clear. What are you gonna do, though? You head off with him like "Oh, that went well, let's go home."
    • The next advancement quest in the guild has him invite himself along AGAIN. And because Stupidity Is the Only Option, sure, you'll go meet him out in the middle of nowhere. With his hired swordsman to "protect" you.
    • Subverting things slightly, the swordsman does indeed help you rather than run you through. Until he leaves just before Obviously Evil Dude says "Why don't you go take a look in that dark cave."
    • Which you do, and then turn your back on him in a cutscene.

    Platform Game 
  • In Densetsu no Stafy 3, partway through stage 8-3, Starfy and Wario come across a room with a statue that looks suspiciously like a switch. Wario warns Starfy not to touch it, but jumping on top of it and setting off the area's security system is the only way to progress forward.
  • A few times in the Metroid series:
    • In Metroid Fusion:
      • There is a sequence in which Samus's escape route is blocked by rubble, forcing the player to find another escape route. The sole route available passes through a high security area for which you have no clearance. Several plot revelations later, you finally make it back to the main area to be informed that you will most likely be arrested for breaching a secure area.
      • The data room (where you install new abilities) in Sector 2 (TRO). True, you're forced to take a rather long detour to get back to the Navigation Room thanks to the SA-X, but there really is no reason you can't take that same route back to the room other than it taking a bit of time. You can actually go back whenever you want, but Adam instead acts as if it's become completely inaccessible and forces you to keep unlocking security doors to reach new rooms (and inadvertently allowing the X to infest more areas of the station).
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption:
      • While hunting down Gandrayda (a rival bounty hunter who has recently defected, and whom the introductory sequence has explicitly established as being a shapeshifter), Samus encounters a lone Federation Marine in the middle of the Space Pirates' home planet. He neither explains why he's there nor bothers to explain why, exactly, Samus should come with him, only that they "have to take the elevator to get out." His first transmission to the player, before one even sees him, has the player thinking "it's Gandrayda", and they're absolutely right. However, the cutscenes make it clear that Samus wasn't fooled, and was using Gandrayda to advance further.
      • There's a stage that requires you to call in your spacecraft to airstrike a shield generator. Said generator is surrounded by several blatantly obvious anti-aircraft cannons... but the doors leading out of the area are locked, and the game won't allow you to proceed until you actually call in your ship and get the crap shot out of it. At another point, you waltz into a secret Pirate lab with Metroids trapped in forcefield cages. When you find the local weapon upgrade, it's in a forcefield container. To get it, you have to disable all the forcefields, with predictable results.
    • Even Fan Remakes like Another Metroid 2 Remake aren't safe. One part in the game requires you to set off a power bomb, a massively powerful explosive with a blast that encompasses multiple screens, in front of a giant reactor. You have three guesses at what happens next, the first two don't count. The end result is the complete and utter destruction of a massive area of the facility, rendering it permanently inaccessible, and the near death of Samus.
  • In the original Prince of Persia, the penultimate level (level 12, a giant tower that you have to climb all the way up), after fighting your mirror self, there is no apparent way forward. With no way out, the player could ultimately decide to commit suicide by running off of the top of the tower... at which point, a floor magically appears underneath you! Turns out the only way to beat level 12 is by simply walking off of the edge of the tower.
  • Subverted in Psychonauts: In order to get the PSI blast power, Sasha Nein claims Raz has to defeat 1000 censors in his mind then walks off. The adjustable Mook Maker only goes up to about 40 before shutting down... and the only way to progress is to set it to the maximum level ominously marked with a skull, which causes all hell to break loose. Some platforming and a boss battle later, Sasha gives you the PSI blast power and tells Raz to never mention the incident again... however, if you go back to Sasha's mind afterwards, he will say he actually wanted Raz to overload the machine (though the Mega-Censor and Sasha getting crushed were not part of the plan).
  • In Ratchet & Clank, the player is at one point given the option: "Press the big red shiny button?". This happens on a spaceship. It doesn't take much to understand we're talking about a Self-Destruct Mechanism. However, you can't get your hands on the Infobot containing the coordinates to the next location without blowing the ship (and nearly yourself with it) to smithereens.
  • Sonic Erazor blocks your progress with a spike that only disappears when you grab a S-Monitor that depowers you and sets off a Timed Mission.
  • In Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, Cortex claims that a planetary alignment threatens to destroy the Earth, and the only way to stop it is to bring him a total of 25 crystals. It becomes blatantly obvious early in the game that he's using you as a pawn for his schemes. Crash's sister, Coco, even tries to warn you but keeps getting interrupted, so the only way to stop him is to keep playing through. Somewhat subverted in that Brio acts every bit as obviously evil as Cortex when he demands you gather crystals for him, but he's entirely on the level and helping him out nets you the Golden Ending. When it comes time to destroy the Cortex Vortex with his laser, he even lets you push the button! Maybe this is just how scientists act in the Crash universe and he's used to it.
  • In the Distant Village area of Hollow Knight, everywhere seems to webbed up by spiders. There are piles of corpses webbed up with spiders, and the Dream Nail reveals their last thoughts were of a surprise betrayal. Then you come upon a bench, surrounded by very odd-looking characters just keep repeating the same few words, telling you they're your friends and urging you to rest. Falling for the Schmuck Bait is the only way to get to a monster's lair.

    Puzzle Game 
  • One question in The Impossible Quiz 2 reads, "Press this button to kill yourself with death before the bomb does!" The idea of pressing a large button that clearly reads "DEATH" sounds outright stupid, but guess what? Clicking it is the answer to the question. And if you try to get clever and click the words "this button," you die.
  • Both Portal games make heavy use of this.
    • In Portal, during the Final Boss fight, GLaDOS is (inadvertently) giving good advice when she tells you to leave the "Aperture Science Thing-We-Don't-Know-What-It-Does" alone. However, your only choice if you want to proceed is to ignore her and dump it into the Aperture Science Emergency Intelligence Incinerator.
    • Portal 2 both uses and averts this trope. Just prior to what turns out not to be the Boss Battle, you are presented with an incredibly Obvious Trap that you have no choice but to fall for; this is lampshaded mercilessly by GLaDOS. Humorously, the trope is averted in several other instances where you are offered the opportunity to voluntarily walk into a Death Trap. If you choose to be an idiot and do it, you die, but are rewarded with achievements to celebrate your gullibility. GLaDOS lampshades one instance of this, pointing out that Wheatley's trap is the only way forward.
  • In 13th Skull, one of the games in the Mystery Case Files Ravenhearst arc, you experience the most blatant violation of the laws of common sense in the entire series. The player character receives confirmation that the people she's come to Louisiana to assist are actually con artists, thieves and murderers. The librarian who gives her this intelligence even says "You've got to get out of there!" Instead, she trots off to the swamp to confront them, only to be forced at gunpoint into finishing the game.
  • The Day the World Broke: Over the course of the game, you find out that Diode, one of the Mechanimals blocking the Elemental Vents, has been trying frantically to reach the surface world, and that the reason for this is he wants to eventually take over. But you still have to give him the medallion that will let him use the Magnetic Pole safely to exit the core in order to get him off the vent. There is a way to mess up his plans. When making the ingot needed to reverse the medallion, you can make it from an experimental metal that will cause Diode to hurtle uncontrollably to the end of the pole and get frozen solid. You will see this in the ending instead of seeing him in a taxi in New York.
  • At one point in Hidden Expedition: The Eternal Emperor, it is so freaking obvious that the player character's partner has been put under mind control. She remains completely clueless about this until mind-controlled Sam gets hold of the MacGuffin.
  • Deadly Rooms of Death: In the third level of Journey to Rooted Hold, Beethro finds himself in a square room, with a strikable orb that does nothing but lock him inside the room. The 39th Slayer and some random schmuck are overlooking this room, waiting for Beethro to trap himself. Guess what you have to do.
  • In the Dark Parables game The Final Cinderella, you meet a young woman named Katherine who quickly gets kidnapped by the Evil Godmother and whisked away to the Mirror World. You find Katherine sealed inside a tree and release her, and she tells you that you need to find glass slippers to break a curse. When you first meet Katherine earlier in the game, she's a sweet, kind, gentle young woman who never raises her voice and is genuinely determined to help you. By contrast, the "Katherine" you encounter in the Mirror World is abrasive, snaps at you constantly, takes long pauses as she tells you where to go, and practically lets out an Evil Laugh as she tells you about the glass slippers. It's painfully obvious that this is an imposter (specifically a Ridiculously Human Robot that the Evil Godmother made), but the player has no choice but to track down the slippers and hand them over.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • In Colobot, there is a mission where you land on a new planet, with no bots or supplies at your disposal, and you are ordered to retrieve a TNT box lost by the previous expedition. That TNT box is guarded by hostile ants that shoot acidic projectiles at you, and there's literally nothing you can do to retrieve the box without dying, which is something that has to happen in order for you to be able to proceed to the next mission. And even if the ants weren't there, retrieving the box still wouldn't be possible, since there's quite a few ponds you have to fly over, and you can't fly nor walk underwater while carrying objects. Probably the best part of this is the fact that the level is literally called "The Trap".
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Uprising is so chock-full of this that it makes the Allies a Game-Breaker. The VERY FIRST MISSION of the game involves using a tiny Soviet force to infiltrate a massive Allied base and rescue three scientists, then try to get them out of the base, presumably using some kind of stealth or strategy, and escape via boats. The ONLY option is to have the scientists run as fast as they can RIGHT THROUGH THE ALLIED BASE while under HEAVY ENEMY FIRE from artillery that, although sluggish in targeting, can kill ANYTHING YOU HAVE with one hit. The final moments of the mission are less Real-Time Strategy and more "Frantically double click the exit and scream at the scientists to run faster".
    • Actually, there is a better way to do that mission, though it isn't obvious at all. Have a Tesla Trooper run up right next to the artillery cannon and use his secondary EMP power to disable it, then march your troops over to destroy the cannon at your leisure. Repeat for the other artillery cannons and the rest of the mission is a cakewalk.
  • In Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars during the GDI Sarajevo mission, you are ordered to fire your Ion Cannon on Kane's fortress. The fortress that's standing right next to a chunk of tiberium the size of an iceberg. Even if you have the fortress itself surrounded by your forces and could just sit it out. The result: BOOM. The purpose of forcing the player to do so was to set up the climatic choice at the end of the game, when you have to choose whether to use the Liquid Tiberium Bomb, thereby killing millions of people, or do things the hard way and save those lives.
  • Dawn of War 2: Retribution has the mission where you're required to kill a bunch of Eldar conducting a ritual, unintentionally allowing the Exterminatus fleet to arrive and kill everything on the planet, which plays right into the Big Bad's plans. Strangely this isn't an example most of the time, as five of the factions have good reasons to think the Eldar are the enemy... except the mission plays out the exact same way even if you're playing as Eldar. Poor Communication Kills, literally.
  • In Haegemonia: Legions of Iron you at one point receive an order from your supreme command to withdraw your forces to your home system. Upon arrival you learn that the order was falsified by the enemy who used the distraction to seize the system you were fighting them for. A neat trick, but how to ensure that a well-informed player doesn't ignore the false order? Simple. If you do that, then after some time the game ends as you are deposed and court-marshalled for disobeying an order... a sort of Schrodinger's Order.
  • The same but worse happens in Perimeter. You start a mission with an objective to destroy the enemy base and half-way through you are suddenly ordered to withdraw from the area. Worse part is that you actually can ignore the false order and carry on with trashing the enemy...which will count as defeat.
  • Pikmin 4: Oatchi, your Canine Companion and Power-Up Mount, is initially unable to swim. The quickest way to unlock that ability is to purposefully (or accidentally) lead him into the water and cause him to start drowning. Only then will your commanding officer, Shephard, teach him how to swim, now viewing it as a necessity if the player is going to put the pooch in such scenarios. Downplayed, because Oatchi being able to swim isn't outright required for doing anything in the first two areas of the game (though it does make a number of tasks much easier and quicker), and Shephard will eventually still teach him how to swim if you don't force the issue (though it will take around ten in-game days instead of two).

    Role-Playing Game 
  • In Suikoden, it happens when an event forces your character to drink drugged tea offered to you by someone who is planning to rob you, despite dropping an obvious red flag that the tea is drugged (your companions complain it tastes bitter). The game actually gives you a dialog option to decline the tea, but this will not progress the game, as the robber will just keep insisting you drink it no matter how many times you pick this option. This event contributes nothing to the story or central plot, but at least it does make your characters a bit more wary so when someone tries this trick again later in the game, you don't fall for it.
  • Tales of Symphonia:
    • In the beginning of the game, Genis wishes to visit a friend of his at the human ranch. Mere minutes before, the townsfolk informed him that doing so is against the rules. No matter how hard you (as Lloyd) try, you have no choice but to accompany him. The result of your actions? His friend dies, your hometown is destroyed, you are banished from the town, you become a wanted criminal, and Lloyd will angst about his failure at many opportunities in the future. Even worse, this event has little positive effect on the plot. It gives Lloyd a reason to follow Colette's group, but he was planning on doing so anyway. It seems that the only benefit to this railroad session is that Genis gets an Exsphere.
    • Much later on, the party come to check out the destroyed village of Ozette. While they're there, they spot a young man in the middle of the wreckage. He introduces himself to the party as Mithos and begins travelling with them for a short while. Zelos is the only person to question why the party trust him so easily, despite the fact he was conspicuously the only survivor and even his clothes were undamaged (plus he's a half-elf who was somehow living undisturbed in a village full of racists), he owns a flute that summons Aska and manages to steal a Rheaird without the Renegades noticing. You never are given the option to question him on any on any of this and sure enough it turns out Mithos is the alter-ego of Yggdrasill, the Big Bad.
  • In Breath of Fire II, the heroes must pose as thieves and enter a thief base. At one point, there is a closed gate guarded by a single guy on the other side, who informs you that the switch to open the gate is located in a hole on the right wall. When you reach into the hole, a poisonous spider bites you and the thief tells you that a real thief would have known that it was a trap. Even if you know the trick beforehand, you will never be able to pass the gate without falling for it.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network 3: White and Blue, Lan trusts a former terrorist from Mega Man Battle Network 1 and plants programs throughout the hero's base. They turn out to be bombs, and Lan angsts over his literally criminal stupidity. Curiously the fact that everyone else trusted this man, Mr. Match, aka Hinoken, to wander around the base unguarded isn't brought up. Even more impressive, he's still free in later games. As a teacher, no less.
  • Super Mario RPG: early in the Moleville mines, you reach a circular dead end. There's a trampoline in one of the rooms, and the only way to get deeper into the mines is to jump on the trampoline, hit your head on the ceiling, and pass out. When you come to, all your money has been stolen.
  • In Paper Mario 64, one of the Koopa Bros. is seen setting up a trap. It's completely obvious that this is a trap, even for new players. Of course, you still must activate the trap to continue the plot.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door:
    • Lord Crump places a trap in a room, badly-disguised as a pedestal of the kind used throughout that dungeon. In order to get through you have to get caught by the trap and use a new way out made by Crump. In another scenario, when preparing for a sea voyage, Lord Crump appears as a badly disguised crew member. When he's introduced, he'll loudly declare that he's a loyal crew member and then shouts for "You! Yes, you, on the other side of the screen! Don't tell Mario who I am!"
    • Another comes in early when Zess T. loses her contact lens and tells you not to not to move forward or you'll step on it. Which will happen when you need to get past her eventually, and she'll never find her contact in one piece no matter how long you wait.
  • Super Paper Mario:
    • There's a scene in Count Bleck's castle where the wizard Merlon shows up out of nowhere, and tells the player to hit a switch. Now, any player with a memory that works is going to know that it's really Mimi, the Count's shapeshifting minion, but you can't advance without following directions. If you press the issue, and speak to Merlon multiple times, he'll eventually say something about event flags. This particular event comes with a minor aversion, though. Earlier, this character asks you to fill out a survey of what you're most afraid of - and then fill up rooms with these things. You have the option of saying you have crippling aversions to healing items.
    • Earlier in the game, you come across an urn resting on top of a coin block. There appears to be nowhere else to go, aside from a section above you that requires you to jump on the block to reach it. In short, there is nothing to do but jump on the block or hit it. Either way, the urn falls and breaks, and you are accused of breaking it and forced to pay back its value if you wish to proceed. The rest of the chapter consists largely of paid slave labor. This one was also Mimi's doing. Basically, this seems to be Mimi's gimmick. She sets very obvious traps that you have to set off to keep the game going. Such as the time in Sammer's Kingdom where the Sammer King suspiciously shows up about 1/3 of the way through the chapter to just give you the Pure Heart. Instead of just giving it to you, he tells you that it's in that totally unsuspicious treasure chest that was just left on the arena.
  • After a Midbus fight in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Big Bad Fawful treats Anti-Hero Bowser to a large buffet of unhealthy food to celebrate. Even though it is entirely plausible and likely, given the incidents that started the whole plot, that the food is drugged, you are still forced to approach and eat six of the dishes yourself. Naturally, it's a trap, though not necessarily in the way anyone expected. The food is actually perfectly legitimate and quite delicious. Fawful just correctly predicted that Bowser would gorge himself on it to the point of becoming so fat that he falls through the floor and gets stuck.
  • Baldur's Gate:
    • Many a player might very well break the ingenious code and guess that Koveras is really Sarevok. Though you can treat him with suspicion and refuse his treacherous offer of help, it's impossible to avoid taking the fall for the murders he wants to frame you for, regardless of whether or not you actually commit them.
    • Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear: Though you discover that The Dragon is not what he claims to be, and he's hiding a treacherous secret, you can't call him out during the following meeting with Caelar. No dialogues point out to his secret chamber and his obvious plotting to put you against Caelar. You are forced to let him go and fight the eponymous battle.
    • Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal: The game features a seemingly well-meaning person who's accused in her very first appearance of having ulterior motives. Sure enough, she turns out to be the final villain, who you are able to interact with peacefully on multiple occasions. At no point can you point out how clearly suspicious she is or try to do anything about it, even as she just stands right in front of you.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind's Tribunal expansion has this present in the main quest. To progress in the game you must complete a series of morally dubious quests for two different people, one of whom is clearly losing her sanity, while the other makes no secret of the fact that he tried to kill you (to be fair, given that he knows that the player character knows that already, admitting it might be seen as making him more trustworthy, not less). Unlike the main game's main quest, there isn't even a third option that gets you out of working with them if you want to complete the expansion.
    • Oblivion:
      • The next-to-last mission for the Fighters' Guild quest series has you infiltrating the Blackwood Company, the evil unscrupulous murderous puppy-kicking rival to the Fighters' Guild. Despite having been warned repeatedly that the Blackwood Company hires people out for any job, however illegal or unscrupulous, despite the fact that your sole mission in this company is to find any incriminating evidence against them, and despite the fact that you are handed a flask of what they tell you is a highly illegal berserker drug and ordered to drink it as part of your induction into the Blackwood Company. Needless to say, by the time you snap out of your drug-induced walking hallucination/berserker rage, you've helped massacre an entire village full of innocent people while under the delusion you were just fighting goblins. Well, hey, at least you got your evidence, right? Oh, wait. Your next mission is to now go back to the Blackwood Company hall (which you are now a deserter from, thus meaning you have to fight your way back in against the entire Blackwood Company staff in residence), go into the basement, and destroy their drug production lab. Granted, it's possible to leave the village during the attack without harming anyone, but you still have to go back in and shut them down.
      • The sidequest "Where Spirits Have Lease". You're supposed to evict the spirit of an Evil Undead Wizard from a haunted house. When you find his tomb, he asks you to rejoin his hand to his body in order to give him rest. A player's first thought is, naturally, "Trap!" Naturally, you can't just toss his evil corpse into the river. You have to rejoin the hand, causing you to have to fight a very powerful lich in order to destroy the spirit. The spirit even lampshades your gullibility.
      • In one of the Mages Guild quests, you have to meet with the Count of Skingrad, and a man tells you to meet him at the Cursed Mine at 2:00 AM. You get attacked by a group of necromancers led by that same man, and when the Count shows up to save you he insults you for being so stupid. Though this one might catch you off guard if you have prior knowledge that the count is a vampire, making his request to meet you in the middle of the night somewhat understandable.
      • At the end of the Dark Brotherhood questline it's revealed that you've been following the assassination quests of someone else and not your leader, through "deaddrop" notes. The stupid part? It's completely obvious that the sources for the letters have been switched after the first two. The first two letters contain a clinical mission objective (such as "Kill so-and-so") whereas the fake letters are in a handwritten font and have more personalised orders (such as "so-and-so is wanted dead because they did such-and-such). You have no choice but to follow the instructions of the obviously fake notes until the questline's conclusion, getting your leader and half the Dark Brotherhood's Elders killed in the process. Worse, when you "discover" (in-character) the betrayal by finding the impostor's diary (and his mother's decaying head), you then meet with the heads of the Brotherhood, who have killed your boss thinking he was the traitor. The diary you've read (and could very well be carrying on your person) explicitly states that he wasn't, and that one of the other leaders of the Brotherhood is. Nonetheless, there is absolutely no option to mention this to the heads of the Brotherhood, no way to show them evidence of your boss's innocence or the fact that the traitor was still among them. Instead you have to go with them to the Night Mother's shrine, exactly as the diary said the traitor was planning on, and allow the trap to happen. You can even take the decaying head out and show it to him. His dialog clearly shows that he is the only one affected by this, but you can neither tell the other members, nor do they notice his reaction.
  • Darkstone has you retrieve a powerful artifact for someone who is obviously the vampire you've been hunting. Fortunately, this trope applies to him as well, and he celebrates his acquisition with a suicidal attack on your monster-slaughtering character.
  • Terranigma:
    • The game has a point where Ark meets a Mudman across a chasm who, once defeated, causes a causeway to appear and asks Ark to cross it in the creepiest voice possible in a text box, so he can give him something that clearly does not exist on the Mudman's abandoned side of the cliff. You have to cross the causeway, which the Mudman naturally causes to disappear again with you on it. And, in the beginning of the game, you are warned not to open a certain door. If you open it, what comes out will destroy your entire village. But if you don't, nothing will ever happen.
    • Also, at a certain point in the game, you have to sneak through a castle in which Meilin creates an illusion of your childhood friend trapped in a dungeon (who had NO way of getting there). Shortly after being rescued, Ark falls into exactly the same trap AGAIN.
    • At another point, you have to wake the evil Mad Scientist Beruga from his cryogenic sleep. If you don't, the plot stops advancing. If you do, Ark gets killed by Beruga's drones a minute later (but he gets better again afterward).
  • The entire sequence of events leading up to and after the boss battle at Jupiter Lighthouse in Golden Sun: The Lost Age. There are about a hundred things the hero could have done that would have been more intelligent than simply walking up to the bad guys with only half his party and bearing the MacGuffin they're after.
  • A lampshaded moment from Ultima VII here (linky.)
  • Few examples are more egregious than one particularly bad scene in Wild ARMs: Princess Cecilia has a pendant the bad guys very clearly want called the Tear Drop. At one point, an evil army raids and burns her hometown just to try and get the Tear Drop. The King is fully aware of what they're after, and orders Cecilia (and the rest of your party) escorted to the most secure inner sanctum of the castle and watched by a team of armed guards so as to protect them and the Tear Drop from the invading hordes. Then, Cecilia has the brilliant idea that if all they want is the Tear Drop, then she can stop the slaughter and destruction of her people by giving it to them. Not only is this a blindingly obvious bad idea to absolutely anyone except, apparently, your party, and not only does the game force you to actually walk up to them and hand over the Tear Drop instead of seeing it in a cutscene, but the game goes as far as making you play a stealth minigame to sneak past the guards and escape the well-defended inner sanctum so that you can walk up to the enemy lines! Amazingly enough, it turns out later that letting them have the Tear Drop was actually a bad idea, and the way the King scolds you for this is incredibly annoying. Bad enough that it was directly addressed in the remake. The elaborate lead-up where you're required to sneak out and personally hand it over is cut, and it's made clear that the choices were either "Give them the Teardrop and save the kingdom, hopefully giving you a chance to recover it before they can use it for evil" and "Don't give it to them, the kingdom and the heroes die, they get the Teardrop anyway, and now there's no-one to stop them."
  • Probably every Final Fantasy has at least one stupid trap the player must fall into.
    • Final Fantasy has an elf king living in a decrepit castle in the middle of nowhere, who supposedly dropped his crown in a dungeon. Despite the party having - presumably - heard about how a random dark elf, Astos, stole Matoya's crystal ball, they go through the dungeon and give the elf the crown. Guess who the elf was. Making things worse, the dungeon you have to go through to get the crown is (in the original game) more difficult than everything that came before.
    • Final Fantasy II has a point in the story where you return to your base and are told by just about every single person in the base that the queen has been acting very strangely, some speculating that she might have lost her mind after the death of the king. She then invites the lead protagonist to her bedroom specifically excluding the rest of his party. Considering that at worst, this is some kind of trap by the villains influencing the queen in some manner, and at BEST trying to sleep with a clearly very emotionally unstable person, you are still given no option but to follow her into the bedroom, hop into bed, and make no effort to resist at all. The truth is that the queen was replaced with a monster and the ONLY thing that saved the hero from getting stabbed in the back was that one of your party members was spying on you for fun.
    • Final Fantasy IV:
      • There's a point where the villains demands the last of the four crystals in exchange for the life of the protagonist's love interest. Instead of refusing or at the very least switching the real crystal out for a fake one like any other smart person would, our brainless heroes decide that the only option is to trade the world away for the life of one person. Even in this regard they nearly fail, as they hand over the crystal before they get their hostage back or even see that she's safe. In order to get her, they have to fight their way through a large dungeon and still barely manage to save her in time before she's executed.
      • Twice in the face of decisive battles, the party decides, "Let's make the women Stay in the Kitchen!" Yes, they're the game's best spellcasters and the only reason they have made it this far. The men decide big boss battles are exactly where not to bring the heal spells and earth-shattering summons. Even worse, the first time they do this they get their asses handed to them and still get one of the girls abducted, but learn absolutely nothing from it. Admittedly, the first party split is suggested by the King of Fabul, and he has a good reason (both women have healing magic and the infirmary will need help.)
    • In Final Fantasy V, right after arriving in the second world, there is a scene where a monster kidnaps Lenna and Faris, and Bartz must fight it one-on-one so that he can be dragged off to the villain's hideout. Should he lose, he goes straight there, but if he wins, you'll be taken back to the area you were in, with a treasure chest that wasn't there before. It's quite obviously a trap (one containing sleeping gas, to be specific), but since Bartz can't leave the area and there's no other way to advance the story...
    • Final Fantasy VI has the part where the emperor pretends to be regretful for what he's done and to lock Kefka away, while commanding you to go make peace with the Espers. There is no reason for your characters to believe this guy who's been a villain the whole game, but every attempt to assign blame or reject him has a "But Thou Must" that sets you up for the sudden but inevitable betrayal. To add insult to injury, the entire *nation* is in on the conspiracy, despite being decimated.
    • In Final Fantasy X-2, you watch a sphere in which the two people doing terrible, horrible, very bad, no good things are instantly recognisable by their distinctive voices, but the characters Fail A Spot Check and decide to trust these people.
    • In Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, you have to help Larkeicus in return for his providing you with medicine... despite the main character having a recurring dream featuring him as an obviously evil figure since well before they met him. Unsurprisingly, this results in him doing evil things and everything going wrong. Justified since the plot centers around a Stable Time Loop; you are predestined to help Larkeicus, because every part of the main character's life up until this point is a direct consequence of Larkeicus's plot. Failure to help him would beget a Grandfather Paradox. As the hero, you receive a small crystal for your 16th birthday. You pull it out frequently. What happens when you do? An innocent little female friend of yours is cursed by a mysterious illness with no apparent cure, the evil mastermind you defeated mere seconds ago is resurrected and vows to annihilate you, and an ancient peaceful immortal is transformed into a gigantic insane electric flying bird monster that tries to kill you. Thanks for the gift, mom!
  • Phantasy Star II: Early on you need to get past a character named Duram, who is blocking a tunnel and robbing anyone who tries to pass in order to pay the ransom for his daughter Teim, who has been kidnapped by bandits. After rescuing Teim, you go to confront Duram, but instead of simply showing him his daughter is safe so he will no longer have a reason to rob anyone or block the path, Tiem suddenly walks up to him in disguise and refuses to comply with his robbery demands. Duram ends up killing Teim, and then blows himself up when he realizes he murdered his daughter. The final result is the tunnel is no longer blocked, but also two needless deaths that could have been easily avoided with a few sentences of dialog.
  • Pokémon Ranger:
    • The game features the four challenges of the Jungle Relic. The player goes in to test their skills but is repeatedly told not to complete the fourth challenge as doing so would cause some disaster to befall the region. After completing the three available challenges, which all involve capturing a tough Pokémon, your companion suggests that you look at - but not do - the last one. Once there, the villains announce their presence and tell you to capture a Charizard they found there. The one up-side is that, as you try to leave, your companion will tell you to go back and help the Charizard, so you can at least blame them when things go to hell.
    • Also, in the sequel, any smart person would realize quickly that Kincaid is one of the bad guys. Yet you still have to respect him and everything until 'officially' finding out.
    • And then there's the notorious "Oh? You not care about Keith? Not a very good friend?" episode in the second game. To elaborate: the villain has captured your rival Keith and is trying to get the Yellow Gem in a Hostage for MacGuffin scenario. The only thing the guy did to Keith is tie him up. Keith himself says he's not worth handing over the gem in the first place. The only way to continue with the game is to hand it over.
  • In the original Pokémon Red and Blue there's a Snorlax blocking the path on a bridge that connects Vermillion City, Lavender Town, and Saffron City. Given that you've been told before this that sleeping Pokémon are ridiculously easy to catch you'd think you'd be given the option to just chuck a Poké Ball at it and wake it up that way. Nope, you have to use a Pokemon flute to wake it up first so you can THEN battle it! One Awkward Zombie comic lampshades this stupidity.
  • Genshin Impact: During the "Dirge of Bilqis" world quest, the player is forced to take Matriarch Babel's words at face value, no matter how obviously suspicious she is. Even worse, it's very likely the player will have found documents in the world along the way that blatantly spell out that she's murdered her way to the top of the Tanit tribe and colluding with the Fatui, but you have no choice but to carry out the quest.
  • In Fallout 3:
    • You venture into a Vault in search of your missing father. The vault's run by some friendly enough robots who assume you're simply a late arrival, and has a sophisticated set of sleeper pods at its centre, whose occupants are clearly in there for the duration. The only way to advance the main plot is to climb into a vacant pod and settle in for a snooze.
    • In the original ending of the game, you are forced to choose to either sacrifice yourself or Sarah Lyons by entering the irradiated water purifier. If you happen to bring along a companion who is immune to radiation, you can attempt to send them in instead, but they will refuse to do it for basically no reason. Including Charon, who is brainwashed to obey the commands of whoever holds his contract (you) and thus should be physically incapable of telling you to go fuck yourself. This was fixed in the Broken Steel DLC, which lets you send an appropriate companion in and gives them dialog along the lines of "Oh yeah, that would make more sense, wouldn't it?". Ron Perlman still calls you a coward for not doing it yourself, though.
  • In Grandia: in the first area of the second disk, when you reach the second screen, directly in front of you is a badly concealed pit trap.
  • Crops up a few times Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. A Malkavian will lampshade the Trope by Breaking the Fourth Wall and stating they doesn't want to do something, but the guy playing the game is forcing them to.
    • One quest requires the player character to volunteer to be a pawn in two insane twins' Sibling Rivalry by vandalizing an art display. When the paintings are indestructible unless harmed in a specific order and bleed when slashed, any player surprised by a blood golem manifesting has only themselves to blame.
    • The player has no option but to report a faction leader to the Prince for being at the home of a murdered Primogen as part of the Prince's plan to frame him, never mind that there was also a vampire hunter at the house and the leader is obviously Not Himself.
    • The only way to complete the side quest to defeat a Hengeyokai* is to walk into its trap, regardless of whether the player has already identified it in its human form through Aura Vision or its blindingly obvious evil hamminess.
    • The mandatory Chinatown quest line can only be advanced by going into the obvious dead-end room that the Mandarin orders you into, despite the player character knowing that the Mandarin knows about vampires, is holding another vampire captive, wants to destroy all vampires, and owns the building they're standing in. The Locked Door on the other end of the lobby is not an option.
    • Near the end of the game, when you have to approach Nines about LaCroix's alliance, you are forced to be the reason you and him miss the lift back down the mountain in Griffith Park. There's no option to listen to him when he first worriedly says you two need to leave; you can only continue to stall either by babbling out questions or obliviously teasing him about being nervous. It ends with both of you having to fight off invincible werewolves, and Nines nearly dying.
  • The first ancient temple of Golden Sun. The class on field-trip made all the wrong choices to make when dealing with ancient ruins. Sometimes the player is asked "should we keep going" but gets shot down if the answer is the obvious "no". They making things really easy for the bad guys. Later, during the Altin Mines arc, you find yourself at a dead end, with a huge boulder at the end of a corridor with a sign next to it saying not to touch it. While you're supposed to use the Force Orb to knock it down then channel the spirit of Indiana Jones to outrun it, allowing it to blast a hold in the floor that leads to the boss' room, it's possible to skip getting the orb and get a different cutscene where Garet kicks the boulder. And if that wasn't enough, the entire plot got started because a giant boulder killed the main character's father.
  • In Geneforge 5 the player is given the mission to track down the origins of an assassination attempt of a ranking member of the government, with explicit orders not to let that attempt be revealed to anyone. The clues lead to a fortification commanded by a general with the arrogant discrimination and control-freak methods typical of the culture, but the game cannot progress unless the players reveal their purpose for being there to the guy in charge. In spite of being the hardass overseer type he knows nothing about what's going on in his fort in this case, but suggests that he couldn't possibly know anything that might be going on in a deathtrap that has been barred to everyone, leaving him as the only one with the authority to enter. Maybe you should look in there, hero?
    Guardian Makar: I'm pompous and I hate you.
    Player: Oh. Someone tried to kill Astoria!
    Guardian Makar: Really? Well, you came to the right person!
  • In the Fable II DLC, there's a mission where the player must purchase a cursed skull and remove the curse. When you use the skull, you are transported to another world where you immediately run across a spirit trapped in a giant skull-shaped statue. It declares that it was once a famous knight, trapped in the skull by an evil necromancer. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, it's really the necromancer. Predictably, there is no other option than to free him. Once you do so, he mocks you for being gullible and tries to kill you.
  • In Persona 3, the only way to start the Devil social link is to repeatedly dump money into an obvious investing scam, the social link character even calls you out on it! It was noted in a Let's Play of the game, where the Main Character pays him anyway merely out of the fact that his dungeon-crawling adventures meant that the amount was pretty negligible to him.
  • Persona 5 requires you to give money to a questionably reliable fortune teller to progress the Fortune Confidant. The difference is that you need to give her far more money, possibly enough to put a serious dent in your finance; although at least you get it back if you complete her story.
  • In Neverwinter Nights you are forced to let the obvious traitor steal the cure to the plague. Telling everyone about him doesn't work, obviously. But more egregiously, you are forced to let him get away. Attacking him doesn't work. If you manage to physically block his path by standing in front of the portal, everyone will just sit there until you let him run away. There's also no option to defend the poor sap he set up to take the fall; his trial is offscreen and he gets executed to appease the mob.
  • At one point in the third chapter of Marvel Ultimate Alliance, you beat Loki (who's famous for his illusions and trickery) in what seems to be an Anticlimax Boss. Then Nick Fury calls and tells you to collect 4 swords to get the armor Loki was trying to get, even though you would have absolutely no reason to do this. To nobody's surprise, this is a trick by Loki to get the armor. Naturally, you have to do this.
  • Star Ocean: The Last Hope at one point you apparently (it's actually an alternate universe) time travel to Earth in 1957 where you cheerfully agree to hand over your power source technology to a woman who may as well have "I AM A VILLAIN" tattooed on her face, she's so Obviously Evil. After only a few minutes of talk, at gunpoint, during which she promises to save the world with the technology and assures you that the party member she is holding prisoner is just fine. It doesn't occur to your character to confirm any of this before going further in your dealings with her. Instead you hand over the power source and are shown to the room where your party member is being held. It looks suspiciously like a cell and your party member is unconscious and appears to have been the victim of an "enhanced interrogation." Still no concern is shown by your character and your entire party crams into the cell to see her. The cell door slams and locks behind you. The villainess then proceeds to blow up the planet with your technology.
  • In Mass Effect 2:
    • When you rescue Jack you are forced to hit a button that releases every prisoner on the station, one of whom confessed to murdering about 20 people and blowing up a habitat, which he says is minor compared to most of the guys around. On the other hand, releasing Jack causes her to go on a giant Roaring Rampage of Revenge that inflicts enough damage to the station that all the other prisoners would have been able to escape anyway.
    • In the finale, the Normandy has a final fight with the Collector ship. If the Normandy is fully upgraded then the new Thanix Cannon means she has a massive advantage at long range. Even with this upgrade installed, Shepard will inexplicably order the final attack to be done at point-blank range just as if she has her old guns, for no reason other than the plot requires the ship to be caught in the explosion and downed.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: In a lot of the sidequests, you have roadside encounters with bandits or smugglers you know you have to eliminate, while they don't necessarily know why you're there. But even if you place your party tactically around the battlefield beforehand, once you trigger the cutscene by talking to the leader, your whole party is teleported back together, right in the middle of the enemies' crossfire.
  • Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening:
    • In the Silverite Mine, a large and conspicuous cement disk just inside the entrance would strike any seasoned adventurer as highly suspicious. There is plenty of space to navigate around it, but the game combines this trope with Gameplay and Story Segregation so that when halfway past it with clear intent not to step on it, a Cutscene is triggered in which your character and party do exactly that. It doesn't end up mattering, because it really is a harmless decoration. That you get ambushed while standing on it is a coincidence.
    • A good portion of the game is spent collapsing tunnels and rebuilding fortifications around Vigil's Keep so the darkspawn won't be able to burrow in (as they often do) and attack from inside. The Warden also clears out a large smuggler's tunnel under the wall that surrounds the nearby city of Amaranthine. The Warden is not able to even suggest collapsing this tunnel for similar darkspawn-related security, no one else thinks to do so. Lo and behold, at the end of the game the darkspawn flood into the city through said tunnel at the same time that they attack Vigil's Keep, so the player has to make the difficult choice of saving Vigil's Keep or Amaranthine. Although the keep can survive without you... assuming you collapsed all the tunnels.
  • Dragon Age II: A surprising number of quests require Hawke to hold the Idiot Ball in order for them to play out the way the writers want. More justified than most examples since the game is presented as one of the characters telling the story, much of which he did not witness, after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.
    • When Hawke is warned that a serial killer is targeting Hightown women, Hawke can't even try to warn Leandra, who is promptly kidnapped because she was wandering around Hightown alone after dark and becomes one of his victims. This includes not saying anything when you hear she's been getting gifts from a secret admirer that you know matches the killer's MO.
    • During On the Loose, Huon's wife asks Hawke for protection because she fears for her life. Hawke notably says they'll come back for her after dark, and the player has to leave the alienage and come back in order for the quest to trigger. Lo and behold, leaving her alone for so long gives Huon ample opportunity to return and kill his wife, which Hawke witnesses just as they walk through the alienage gates. That happens even if you decide to wait at Merrill’s house, which is in the alienage and quite close to the place where the murder will happen. In theory Hawke should be able to observe the square from the window. Still, once you leave the house, the cutscene shows Hawke entering the alienage from the other side, too late to save the woman. And obviously there's no way to even suggest for her to wait in the Merrill's house too.
    • When Anders asks for Hawke's help finding ingredients to a magic potion that he claims will split him and Justice, and the ingredients sound oddly similar to real-world bomb ingredients, Hawke has no choice but to take Anders at his word and help him. While in some Guide Dang It! cases, Hawke can realize Anders' deception after the fact and call him out on it, Anders will note that it's too late and the Chantry blows up no matter what.
    • In the Legacy DLC, even if Hawke kills Corypheus, one of the Grey Wardens who brought you will act obviously possessed, strongly implying that Corypheus body-hopped after you slew him, but Hawke and co. have no choice but to stand there and watch him go on his merry way. Which makes Hawke and Varric's insistence that they were sure Corypheus died in Inquisition sound more like they're trying to convince themselves.
  • This is a strategy in the Yu-Gi-Oh! games. If your opponent has a face-down monster on the field, you may be forced to attack it, despite this usually being a very obvious trap. If you don't destroy it, your opponent will simply flip it on the next turn, activating its effect, and then sacrifice it to summon an even stronger monster. Also seen with trap cards, where they're very obvious, but often time, if you don't set them off, you can't go any further.
  • Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure has the protagonist cheerfully walk through a "spa" that is blatantly preparing her as a meal for the monsters inside.
  • In Dragon Quest VI, there is a treasure chest at the bottom of a lake. An NPC says that he would "sell his soul to the dark side" to see the lake drained and asks you whether you would do the same. Even though you are in the realm of a mighty force of evil and are given various clues that he or some of his servants are listening to this conversation, you must say that, yes, you would, in order for the game to progress. However, in order to avoid a loop of the same scene, you must take the longer way down to the chest, opening it without talking to anyone, else they'll just be killing each other and, ultimately, you'll have to fight and kill one of the people there, restarting the scene.
  • In Robopon 2, at the climax you have to listen in on the Zeros' conversation. They know you're there, and drag you off to the Robopon Graveyard for the final battle.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm: So, you’re exploring some very creepy catacombs, and you find a dark tunnel called “The Passage of the Hateful Reliquary.” As soon as you step inside, disembodied voices implore you to turn back, saying things like “It is hungry,” and “You will be consumed.” At the end of the passage, you see a bunch of statues huddled around a massive treasure chest. The statues attack you in desperation, warning that “It must not awaken.” When they’re defeated, you’re free to open the chest, but at this point, does that really sound like a good idea? Doesn’t matter, because you’re gonna have to do it anyway, and it’s gonna suck.
  • Near the end of the Hotlands in Undertale, you find an area full of patchy spiderwebs, which slow you down and visibly cling to the Player Character's shoes when they walk over them. Soon the path ahead is entirely covered in web. It's obvious what's going to happen, but there's no other way to proceed. Thus, you end up in a boss fight with the spider Muffet.
  • 7th Dragon III Code:VFD has you fighting your first dragon, which is easy enough. Then a far more powerful dragon appears to really terrorize the area and Nagamimi stresses that you really shouldn't fight it. Neither of the two dialogue choices you're given permit you to wisely retreat, so in order to advance the plot, you have to fight the new dragon and suffer a Hopeless Boss Fight, with Nagamimi chewing you out afterwards even though the game gave you no choice in the matter.
  • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey: One side-quest on Lesbos has the Eagle Bearer contracted by a woman to help her make a cure for petrification. Which is impossible. It's also entirely possible to have dealt with what was causing the petrification to begin with, a fact the Eagle Bearer can then point out, but the woman insists. Surprise, she's a crazy person poisoning people! The only way to avoid this is to not talk to her at all.
  • Forspoken: Early on in the game, Main Character Frey's apartment is burned down, and Frey is forced to flee the burning building. The only things she has in the apartment that she needs to grab are her pet cat, Homer, and a bag containing her entire life's savings in cash. The bag is literally right next to her, and Homer is somewhere else in the apartment. In spite of this, any attempt to grab the bag (which even has an interaction prompt) will do nothing but trigger a line of dialogue from Frey about finding Homer, and by the time you find Homer, the fire has spread too much to go back and grab the bag of cash, ensuring that Frey is not only homeless, but also peniless.

    Simulation Game 
  • In Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation the player must disobey orders whether he wants to or not, an action that proves to be a bad move as the command had a reason to tell you to retreat. (Turns out the enemies had a bioweapon that they were going to use if they were losing too badly.)
  • My Child Lebensborn: One instance of getting bullied will cause the child to not be in the house at their usual bedtime, resulting in the player using the time period whose usual uses include reading the child a bedtime story to find where the child is and bring them home. However, there is a daily playable stretch of time between the end of the standard schoolday/workday and the child's bedtime, during which the child has no good reason to not be at home at that point in the game. A player thinking it might be a good idea to start searching for the child as soon as their absence is noticed will find out the hard way that the game only allows them to go to the grocery store and that they need to get to the child's bedtime the usual way to be allowed to search for the child. The usual way consists of either doing a couple childcare-related tasks that don't require the child's physical presence or actively choosing to skip the entire evening, an option that implies that the Player Character is waiting that time out. In the end, the child is found having been tied to a tree by their classmates for several hours.

    Sports Game 
  • In Tony Hawk's Underground, the player is forced to forgive and trust Eric Sparrow, a supposed friend, even after he attempts to screw the player out of an amateur tournament registration, later tries to prevent him from reaching pro rank and later acts like a complete jerk towards the main character. At least, the game lets you finally stop trusting Eric Sparrow after he gets you involved in a diplomatic incident with Russia that ends up with the character kicked out of the skateboarding team and forced to leave the country by his own means.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Metal Gear Solid:
    • When you climb down the Comms Tower you find the stairs have been smashed and the elevator is malfunctioning, to which Snake decides he has no choice but to climb to the roof and fight a Hind-D head-on with a rocket launcher. Thing is, only about half the stairwell is smashed and it's about a 3 foot jump — the Armstech President would have had no problem climbing down that. It's a good thing Snake is bad-ass enough to take on a gunship one-on-one, because the man isn't going to win Jeopardy! any time soon with that level of thinking. Notably, the remake changes it so a good few stories are collapsed and, if you do attempt to jump it, Snake falls to his death.
    • Some genius decided that the nuclear weapon keycard should be a toggle between "armed" and "disarmed", which can only be used once. Guess what state the nuclear weapon's really in when you rush to the control room to deactivate it. To raise the stupidity another notch or two, the reason you have to use the keycard is because the DARPA chief told you to... you know, the guy you've found out was actually one of the terrorists in disguise by the time you get to the control room. Yep, better do what he says.
  • Assassin's Creed runs rampant with this; though this is justified from the player's perspective by how the main character is reliving and re-enacting something that already happened in the past, and must go along with historical events, this frequently just begs the question of why the historical events happened that way in their original iteration.
    • At the beginning of the game, Altair brazenly displays his Jerkass-ness by openly attacking Robert de Sable after announcing his presence, though this is to show just how over-inflated his ego is, as the rest of the game is about Altair learning from his mistakes and overcoming his own pride and hubris.
    • Later, in Jerusalem, Altair has to walk into a trap set up by Talal, the slave-trader he's been sent to kill.
    • Toward the end of the game, Altair is once again sent to assassinate Robert de Sable, and in order to trigger the cutscene to enable the assassination, he must enter a funeral procession. The entire funeral is one big trap.
  • In Thief: The Dark Project, the preliminary missions end and the main plot arc begins when you accept a mission from a mysterious man named Constantine to steal an artifact gem known as the Eye, the offered fee being more money than an entire army of thieves could steal in a lifetime. Despite finding out, as the next several missions progress, that the Eye is sealed in a cathedral in the abandoned, zombie-infested quarter of the city, that the Eye is a sentient magic item that talks to Garrett in his head and tries to get him killed, and that the cathedral in question was sealed away by a mysterious sect of hidden protectors known as the Keepers (that Garrett, as a former member of, knows just exactly how serious their duties are and what sort of threat it takes to make Keepers consider interfering in events at all), requiring Garrett to retrieve four artifact keys hidden with three separate factions at enormous expense and effort in four widely separated locations... not once throughout this entire chain of events does it even begin to cross Garrett's mind that maybe, just maybe, any magical artifact that people have gone to this much effort to bury should stay buried. Instead, in order to progress to further chapters, the protagonist must carry the Eye back to Constantine. Who, of course, immediately reveals himself as an evil deity bound in human form, thanks you for retrieving the artifact, and embarks on his long-delayed plan to destroy the world. Oh, and he tries to kill you. And you don't get paid a dime. You'd think Garrett would have been able to see it coming, really. The ancient Hammerite Cathedral even has a sign hung on the outside that says "Warning: Great evil resides in this place, and it is no longer fit for men. The doors are sealed to protect us from that which lies within. Do not remain here.", and the game's storyline still has Garrett not stopping to think about this. Even for a second. And about Constantine, he has a whole "plants growing" motif in his introductory cutscene when the local Satan figure is a malevolent nature deity. Making it even less surprising when he turns out to be said Satan figure.
  • Octodad: Dadliest Catch: In the supermarket level, you must direct Octodad to the back of the store in search of a voice touting free sushi samples. It's obviously the chef, the Big Bad of the game but you have to go there to continue.

    Survival Horror 
  • Midway through Alien: Isolation, Amanda is forced to give up her weapons at a security checkpoint with metal detectors that lock a door she needs to get through. The only way to disarm is to put your weapons on a conveyor that carries the weapons into a security office you cannot access. There is no way to do anything clever, like stashing your weapons for later, or setting them down, passing through, and then blocking the door from closing with furniture. But hey, who needs guns to deal with a horde of murderous androids and the killer AI they're defending?
  • It happens twice-fold in the Resident Evil 2 (Remake). Firstly when Leon and Claire drive into Raccoon City after encountering zombies at the gas station, as simply getting the hell out of Dodge and never getting trapped in Raccoon in the first place isn't an option. Secondly, once one of them reaches the Police Station, the first room you have to explore is a big bloodstained shutter with a sign that reads "KEEP OUT!!!" hung on it. In you go, Leon or Claire...
  • In Resident Evil 5, Chris and Sheva enter a corridor that has very obvious pressure plates along the floor. Any normal person would be able to step over them or shimmy along the wall to avoid them. You, of course, can only walk straight into them, triggering a quicktime event of avoiding the ensuing traps. Later you happen upon a paddock filled with numerous Lickers, which are blind but sensitive to loud noises, as Chris and Sheva both deduce. You'd think they would try to quietly pry open the rickety door blocking their exit, but no; they kick it down with a loud clang and catch the attention of said Lickers instead.
  • Leon's chapter from Resident Evil 6. In the university you need to pass through an airport-style metal detector to enter one building. There is a desk, a desk blocking you from just walking around it that even a child could scrabble over, but that's not an option. And those things have on-off switches right on the front of them and can easily be unplugged. You're only allowed to saunter through, have the alarm start blaring because of all the weapons you have, and enter massive zombie horde within earshot stage right.
  • Averting this is critically important in Resident Evil 7: when Lucas traps you in a room with a number of puzzles that are designed to make you kill yourself by burning to death, you can follow the obviously logic he's using to prime the trap and kill yourself. However, Lucas was stupid enough to leave a video tape lying around of another poor guy doing the same puzzle, and if you watch it beforehand, you can skip the "priming the trap" portions and go right to the end. Hearing Lucas' pissy, pissed off "what the hell are you doing alive?" response is magic.
  • Silent Hill:
    • The original Silent Hill has an interesting variation in that it doesn't actually feel like stupidity on the main character's part, even though you'd see it clearly as a bad idea if you didn't have to do it yourself. The player character has entered a deserted hospital, explored every possible room of the first floor, then gone down to the basement and restored power to the lift. You take it up to the second floor, find all the doors leading away from the lift area locked, then go up to the top floor, and find the same thing. With nowhere else to go, you go back to the lift, and a fourth button has appeared on the panel. Pressing it transports you away into the town's other dimension. We can only imagine how creepily obvious this was for the original Japanese gamers- as if it wasn't bad enough that an additional floor has apparently appeared out of nowhere, in Japan hospitals never have a 4th floor (sometimes even skipping straight from 3 to 5) because in Japanese, Four Is Death.
    • Silent Hill 2 has the infamous scene where James reaches into the hole in the wall, a move that many would do well to avoid. There's also the series of seemingly bottomless pits that you have to jump into in order to progress through a later area of the game. And this is after James has found a note addressed specifically to him, warning him that very bad things will happen if he keeps up his search.
    • Actually justified and discussed in Silent Hill: Downpour when Murphy is tasked with finding a boat key to escape the town. He points out how searching the dangerous town for a key that might not even exist is a stupid move and suggests just hot-wiring the thing instead, but D.J. Ricks replies the eponymous town will punish them if they don't play by its rules and find the key. To hammer it home, the radio station immediately gets an anonymous call dedicating a song to Ricks...
  • Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth has a house with a growling, unruly thing locked behind a door in an upstairs room. Everyone tells you not to free it. The game is extremely railroaded, so guess what you have to do.
    • There's also the hotel in which you stay on your first night in Innsmouth. The developers must have been worried that some players wouldn't pick up the atmosphere of "subtle" menace that suffuses the place, its proprietor, and every line of dialogue he speaks, so they helpfully included an easily accessible (almost impossible to miss, really) room full of hacked-up human bodyparts, complete with a bloodstained journal recounting the hotel owner's murders. So naturally you go to your room and curl up for a good night's rest, unconcernedly talking to yourself about how you're not likely to find a better place to sleep. Guess who tries to do what to you later that night. (Although staying on the streets of Innsmouth at night is hardly a better option than the hotel.)
  • In The Suffering: Ties That Bind, in order to get to the Big Bad, you must leap into a pit that just manifested not one, but two horrific demonic adversaries. It's also similar to other pits which have spewed deadly horrors. Belly-flopping into a three-foot deep pool of toxic sewage is just a goofy bonus.
  • In the 2004 flash horror game Exmortis, the protagonist reads two separate journal accounts of people who read the English translation of the Exmortis and were subsequently plagued by unspeakable horrors, their lives taken and ruined by supernatural forces. So naturally when you finally come across the book, the only option to move the game forward is to read it yourself.
  • Eternal Darkness seems to be very fond of forcing people to make stupid choices, especially when confronted with the eponymous Tome... one instance, in particular, with a franciscan monk, seemed quite out of character: "Should Paul Luther claim the Tome of Eternal Darkness?" For a catholic priest during the inquisition, one would think it would be more appropriate to "Burn the Tome of Eternal Darkness, its pedestal and the whole room with its screaming walls and moaning floors". Alas, the choice is between leaving with your new book made out of human flesh, or not leaving at all...
    • Again, in the same chapter: "Shall you put an end to this heresy?" Sure, enter the room where a shapeshifting evil lich just went after he made clear that your faith won't protect you ( guess who ends up being the new carpet for the Black Guardian...).
    • And again: you have to pull the rope of the church bell to call the Custodian (which fortunately is still on your side), but that doesn't seems quite a good idea when the rest of his order is also hunting you for killing purposes...
    • Human Pious Augustus: first, he hears suspect voices calling to him, to which he can only respond by getting to a strange stone circle to be teleported to his doom. Then the voices ask him to smash a statue of himself (quite metaphorical) to open a door to his doom. And then he's confronted with three artifacts of unimaginable power (and, of course, doom). One would assume that after the first time you've died and been through hell and insanity for over two millenia, you would have learned to be more considerate before touching them again... instead you've got to do it two more times for the true plot to unfold!
    • For all intent and purposes, the endgame section is one giant stupid choice forced upon Alex and enacted with extreme determination: first you got to descend into the labyrinthine city of madness that dwells under Roivas Manor, after reading of a character that barely survived the ordeal (it didn't last); then you'll learn that the only way to stop an eldritch abomination from being unleashed upon the world is to summon an EVEN WORSE eldritch abomination, which, by the time you are done with the final boss, you'll have absolutely no way to send back (this is reversed, courtesy of Alex's dead grandpa, though it still counts as Alex had no way to know it at the time). And that without even considering that you'll be trying to sneak into enemy territory at the exact time in the latest two millennia when they'll be on the highest alert...
  • Subverted in Metro 2033. On the way to your heroic journey to Polis Station, you must cross a warzone between the Fourth Reich and the Red Line. This looks like a setup where poor Artyom is going to have to slink between two heavily armed, trigger-happy factions, which, indeed, you can do. However, exploring reveals a shortcut that easily bypasses moving through the poorly-lit warzone.
  • In Outlast, journalist Miles Upshur gets a note saying that the doctors at Mount Massive Asylum are doing something illegal. Thinking he's going to report a corruption story, Miles goes to the asylum and finds military vehicles parked outside and the door locked. Not taking this as a cue, Miles breaks into the asylum and finds barricades, blood on the walls, and no people, and keeps going anyway. It takes a guy impaled on a spike telling Miles to go for him to consider leaving, but by then he's been locked inside.
  • Five Nights At Freddys and its first sequel practically require this trope. A sane person would quit after the first night once he realizes the animatronics he's supposed to guard will kill him. The game counts on you staying for five nights. Plus the sixth night. Plus the Custom Night. Averted, however, with Five Nights at Freddy's 3: coming back each night is the only way you can put the souls of the murdered children to rest. And it's hinted you only come back for the Nightmare Mode night to burn the building down. Also averted with Five Nights at Freddy's 4: the nights are literal nightmares; the child can't stop having them.
  • In Rise of Nightmares, the game opens with the main character, Josh, having a fight with his wife, which ends when she storms away. If the player goes after her, he comes upon a train car spattered with an obscene amount of blood and a large, mysterious figure shuffling away. The only option that progresses the story is to follow after this deranged, monstrous murderer with no weapon and no plan for survival. Then again, there's nothing stopping the player from doing what any sane person would do, conclude that Josh's wife (who was kind of a bitch anyway) is almost certainly dead and run as far away from this madness as possible. The monsters do not pursue the player, so the player can turn off the game right then, satisfied that Josh wisely hid until the train reached its destination, reported the incident to the proper authorities, and then went about his newly-single life.
  • The last new Specimen you meet in Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion is a very obviously evil pale-white woman in a room full of water, with her back to you. Despite being very clearly an enemy and having ample room to avoid going near it, the door to the next room is impossible to open (not locked, just unresponsive) until you get close enough to trigger the Specimen.

    Turn Based Role-Playing Game 
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses has a particularly egregious example. In one mission, Byleth is lured into an obvious trap. But, for the trap to work, they need to stand on a very large, very visible alter on one part of the map. The mission can be completed without anyone setting foot on the alter. But, regardless of how one plays the battle, the main character will run to the center of the alter and get caught regardless. Byleth is tilted during this fight, so this is forgivable the first time. But, They have the ability to rewind time and do it again. And, according to the story, they retain their knowledge when they do this. If Byleth chooses to do this, they will still run to the center of the alter when it's time for the trap to go off. They will do this even though they know how the trap works, knows they have to stand on the alter for it to work, knows that they'll be caught if they fall for it, and knows that a Heroic Sacrifice will be required to leave it. Even worse? The main character can do this multiple times, and they'll fall for it Every. Single. Time.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo features a notable aversion. You have the option of following Morpheus' directions all the way out of the office building, breaking from the movies' plot and evading capture by Smith and his merry band of agents, culminating in your escape with Trinity via motorcycle. If you pull it off, you're rewarded by unlocking the Hard mode.
  • When you finally defeat the Big Bad in Rune at the foot of his evil patron god, instead of beheading him or something you allow him to stumble into Loki's blood and become a nigh unstoppable undead fiend who leaps out of the chamber you're fighting in to taunt you and then tromp off to bring about Ragnarok. Not content with such a small dose of idiocy, your character then refuses to clamber over an Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence to pursue him, refusing to leave the room until you jump into the previously deadly pool of green blood (in spite of Loki's mockery) and become a hulking soulless outcast. While this does make it much easier to defeat your enemies ( and you get to go to Valhalla anyways), your character had no way of knowing he'd still have his free will after being transformed.
    • The walls of the pit you are in are actually so high that the only way to get over them is to take the risk of losing your mind and jump into the pool to become an undead yourself.
  • At one point in Red Dead Redemption, you're informed that the Mexican Army has captured two of the fugitives you've spent the entire game pursuing and are holding them in a church for you to pick up. Of course, they've actually just found out you aided some rebels they were fighting, and are planning to ambush you the moment you walk in. Despite the fact that Captain De Santa is acting very odd, and Marston himself is extremely suspicious of the whole thing, you nonetheless are forced to enter the church, where you are promptly knocked out.
  • The last mission of part one of Saints Row: The Third forces the player to arm a bomb in a building the Saints are about to enter, turning it into a timed mission. Lampshaded when Shaundi asks the obvious question:
    Shaundi: Why didn't we wait to do that until after we'd killed Loren?
    Pierce: That's... a very good question. We better move!
  • The penultimate Mafia mission in Mercenaries sees the boss asking you to escort his Beleaguered Assistant to a certain place. Both the Player Character and the aide immediately realize it's a trap, and talk about it as soon as they're out of earshot, but going through with it is the only possible way to advance. The aide is confident you'll be fine, since (to quote an old Russian proverb) "The bear that sees the trap cannot be caught." Also, the Mafia boss is an incompetent screw-up.
  • Throughout the Octo Expansion of Splatoon 2, you are told about this "promised land" and that the only way to get there is by collecting the four "thangs". While the brutal tests being taken are a sign that something is wrong, it could also be taken as a sign that the "promised land" is a warrior's paradise if it is all it's cracked up to be. What ultimately makes it fall into this trope is that you are asked multiple times if you really are ready to "become part of something greater than yourself", at which point — if not earlier — the player likely realizes that the four thangs are pieces of a cod-damned blender. While there may be some justification via an amnesiac Agent 8, you'd think Cap'n Cuttlefish would know something about fruit smoothies in this day and age; Marina does manage to figure it out, but by then you're already inside and about to be pureed.
  • Spec Ops: The Line can be said to have a plot that's entirely predicated on this trope, though players may not actually realize this until The Reveal and you're not given the choice to do it unless you count 'just stop playing the game'. As Conrad points out in your final encounter, most of the bad events of the game could have been averted if Walker (and by extension the player) had just left.

    Visual Novel 
  • C14 Dating: The first event giving Melissa an equal chance to raise affection with all five love interests happens because she loses her emergency hard candy while taking a risky shortcut to make up for an unexpected detour in her morning jog that also made her miss breakfast. All this happens while Melissa is the type of diabetic who really shouldn't be skipping meals. The player's only choice prior to the event is Melissa's rationale for using the shortcut.
  • Fate/stay night does this a lot. Not joining a highly dangerous war you'll probably die in gets you killed. Not taking a blow for your (much more powerful than you) Servant gets you killed. Staying away from a dangerous fight, like your Servant told you to, gets you killed. Taiga cheerfully tells you in the Have a Nice Death segments that you should be as stupidly heroic as possible or you're going to die. It's worth noting that Shirou, the viewpoint/Player Character, has a spiritual/psychological complex which means that from his point of view, many of these things actually fit his motivations and morals. There's something to be said about playing the game in-character.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, if you want to go to Emi's path, you must overexert yourself during the second day on the track, which causes you to have a heart murmur.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, there are three different occasions where Phoenix must approach that case's killer with decisive evidence of their guilt and present it to them, in an area where there are no witnesses, in order to advance the plot. No points for guessing what happens.
    • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, in the case where you flashback to the case that got Phoenix disbarred, you have no choice but to use the incredibly suspicious piece of evidence, given to you by an eight-year-old girl not five minutes before the trial, with no option of showing it to anyone else or asking about it or doing anything to get Phoenix tipped off that the evidence was forged. Even worse, Phoenix himself admits via inner monologue that he has no freaking clue where he got that piece of evidence from!
    • In the second investigation day of the second case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, you have no choice but to have Apollo present a blackmail letter to Florent L'Belle, who's established in the case's intro as the killer, and accuse him of sending it to the defendant. He promptly destroys it.
  • In Corpse Party, in order to get the true ending to Chapter 1 and proceed with the rest of the game, you have to go into a room that you're warned it's a bad idea to even enter, then deliberately ignore the dying message of a skeleton you find in the room. Otherwise surviving the ghost attack in the infirmary just leads to Seiko still dying and Naomi being compelled to commit suicide by supernatural forces.

Non-video game examples:

    Board Game 
  • In backgammon, you must make as many moves as legally possible based on the roll of the dice. This can occasionally leave you horribly vulnerable to attack.
  • In chess, there is a state of the board called "zugzwang". It is when you have what looks like a decent position, except that any move you make will give your opponent an advantage and you're not allowed to pass your turn. It is normally forced, but it sometimes happens without the other side manipulating the position. A spectacular example of this is The Tomb Game, played in 1971. White is, for all practical purposes, forced to checkmate himself once he runs out of pawn moves, and so resigns.
  • Dead of Winter: The first part of one Bandit scenario requires the players' Colony to trust that the bandits want peace, deliver a large gift of food as a good-faith gesture, and immediately lose it and their leader to the bandits in a Plotline Death.

  • In the RWBY Fanfic Various Vytal Ventures Ozpin and Ruby sit down for a game of chess. Ruby (who is barely familiar with the basic rules of the game) quickly decides to take this route by acting in a random, unpredictable fashion to throw off her opponent, in essence using the above example from Chess. Her tactics amuse him, and she still loses.

  • The choose-your-own-adventure series of Goosebumps books, called Give Yourself Goosebumps, always had the first choice in the story be about whether or not to do the Too Dumb to Live action that gets the player character in the mess in the first place. If you choose not to do it, the page you are told to flip to has some sort of "What's wrong with you? You are too chicken/boring to do anything fun, this book isn't for boring people like you!" message, and then makes you go to the page in which you do the stupid option anyway. Probably the most blatant one is the one named Don't Eat the Purple Peanut Butter. Come on, people, how stupid do you have to be?!
  • This happens a lot in Choose Your Own Adventure stories, especially if the reader really wants to have an interesting story and thus must choose to drink the mysterious potion found or pull a strange lever or whatever. Some instances are rather odd, in that the only way forward looks stupid, but when you get to the page indicated, it's carried out in a way that actually turns out well.


  • In The Order of the Stick, Spoony Bard Elan figures that if there is a trap set for them, they were meant to fall in it and doesn't leave the trap. His friends assume he's stupid, leave the trap, and get beat up. When they're all captured and he's the only one that didn't need to be beaten up, Elan has trouble resisting the urge to say "I told you so."

    Western Animation 
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man: Green Goblin invites his two greatest enemies, Spider-Man and Tombstone, to come alone to an incredibly dangerous abandoned foundry - which both of them quickly peg as a trap but which he baits with incriminating evidence on Tombstone, which neither of them can afford to ignore. Nobody is fooled, and not even the Goblin takes it seriously, as he reveals that he never had incriminating evidence in the first place. Naturally lampshaded by the Green Goblin:
    Goblin: Yes, yes; I'm a big, fat liar! Like we didn't all know this was a trap.