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The Computer Is a Lying Bastard

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"The Enrichment Center regrets to inform you that this next test is impossible. Make no attempt to solve it."
[one test-solving later]
"Fantastic. You remained resolute and resourceful in an atmosphere of extreme pessimism."
GLaDOS, Portal

A Sub-Trope of Guide Dang It!, where the game itself - through NPC advice, tutorials, in-game hints, etc. - tells you how to proceed, but their advice is either substandard (better ways are available at that point) or an outright lie (and not for plot based reasons, either). This is often due to a bad translating job, or faulty programming, where what the developers intended doesn't line up with what is actually said, or if during development a gameplay feature is altered/removed and someone forgot to update the accompanying information. Sometimes the lies are meant to invoke Fake Difficulty.

Usually, it's just a common symptom for when a game gets a metagame. When there are several ways for scissors to cut rock that the developers didn't anticipate, the Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors tutorial isn't going to have the best advice.

See also The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, Moon Logic Puzzle (where the answers are there, but the logic isn't), Manual Misprint (for when the faulty information is in the instruction manual or strategy guide), and Tutorial Failure (when a tutorial offers false or misleading information.) For a similar trope in other media, see Unreliable Narrator. When the computer intentionally misleads the player, one may be dealing with a Trickster Game.


  • Advance Wars: Sturm, resident Game-Breaker and Final Boss of several games, has the stated problem of "Weak in snow." This is sorta true, in that his units are slowed down by it... but that's true of every character, bar Olaf, who creates snow. The only reason this is remotely relevant is that Sturm bypasses movement penalties on every terrain bar snow; it's not a weakness so much as it is him being normal as opposed to broken for once. Pity the people who tried to bring Olaf to the fight with him and found that snow does nothing to diminish Sturm's many other advantages.
  • Alien: Isolation: some loading screen hints say "Leave survivors alone and they'll leave you alone", which is a lie, as some will actively shoot as soon as they see you. Particularly evident during early missions.
  • The Borderlands series, across multiple games, relating to Regenerating Health-type Gradual Regeneration:
    • Borderlands: "Wee Wee's Super Booster", with "Very quick Health Regeneration!", but it's only as fast as the fastest-type of the Regenerating Health Tediore Shields, the Panacea, which just has "Quick Health Regeneration".
    • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!: Nurse Nina's "Health Now!". It says "Instantly heals you to full health.", but looking closely shows it as very-not-gradual Regenerating Health.
  • Breath of Fire III: A segment of the game sees the protagonists making a multi-day trek through a huge desert, with only the stars available as a navigation aid. If you get hopelessly lost and/or run out of water, you need to restart from the beginning of the segment. Problem is, one NPC says you need to head east at one part, but a paper stored in your tent says you should head west. East is the correct way, but try remembering that if you save in the desert, stop playing for a while, then come back and look to the paper for guidance.note 
  • Bully: During the Halloween mission, you are told that the prefects are at a party and you don't have to worry about them, but if you hit a younger kid or a girl, they will spawn out of nowhere.
  • C14 Dating: From the second week onwards, the week planner indicates where each male love interest is working on a given day, implying that this is the place Melissa needs to be to have the best chance at triggering one of their events. Typically, two will be marked as being in the cave and two will be marked as being in the lab. On the good side on the trope, there are days on which Melissa will have a chance to raise affection with everyone, or at least the same subset of people, regardless of the option picked; this includes Joan, whose semi-Secret Character status results in her schedule not being shown. On the bad side of this trope, there are some love interests with whom a scene will be missed if the player relies entirely on the week planner:
    • If Melissa has an online chat with Shoji during the second weekend and makes the choices that result in her finding out Shoji knows his way around older technology, extra affection can be gained with Shoji by calling upon him to look into a reluctant piece of slightly dated machinery on the following Wednesday. The reluctant piece of technology is in the lab, but Shoji needs to be grabbed from the cave. Because of this, the day planner makes it look like that the best bet in getting a scene with Shoji that day is going to the cave.
    • One of Hendrik's events is triggered via discovering the atlatl training grounds while walking to the cave with Deandre and asking Hendrik about them. The week planner almost always marks Hendrik as being in the lab, including on that day.
  • Castlevania
    • In Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, many NPC hints about obtaining important items were misleading or incorrect, and some were downright incomprehensible. As a Hand Wave, game manuals warned that some NPCs would try to "mislead" or "deceive" the player, requiring the player to determine (sometimes experimentally) which clues could or could not be trusted (some weren't possible to even follow in-game). Although many of these fake "hints" were in the Japanese version of the game as well, they were typically phrased in a way that indicated that they were just rumors; that nuance was Lost in Translation, which made the game much harder. Some genuine hints were also mangled so badly in the translation that they became inaccurate or even outright incoherent — infamously, a vital hint telling the player that if they take a red gem to Deborah Cliff, the wind will carry them away, somehow became a hint seemingly claiming that if they stand and do nothing by the cliff, a ghost carrying a red gem will appear.
    • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has the Gold and Silver Rings, required to reach the second half of the game. Their description says you must use them at the Clock Tower, but the right room to use them is the central clock room in the Marble Gallery. Thankfully, that room is suspicious enough for players to not fall for it, and the PSP re-release fixes this error.
  • Some Civilization games say that one of the difficulties is the "balanced" difficulty where neither the computers or players get an advantage, but really the computer does cheat in some ways.
    • In Civilization IV, the default and "most balanced" difficulty, Noble, actually gives the computer a slight advantage. The actual difficulty where stats are "balanced" is Warlord, 1 rank below.
    • In Civilization V, the game's claim that Prince (level 4) is the balanced difficulty is, at best, only Metaphorically True. While it is true that on Prince the AI bonuses table doesn't give any bonuses or penalties to the AI, the game doesn't tell you that the AI is always, regardless of difficulty, considered as a Chieftain (level 2) player, and thus gets every bonus that the player gets on that difficulty, like more happiness and only 60% of all unhappiness. Which means, all other things equal, they can have a civilization double the size with more happiness than the player, and they'll make sure to rub it in your face.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert has the penultimate Soviet mission "Capture The Chronosphere" that will end in failure if you complete all mission objectives as directed. "Winning" the mission requires failing it in a very specific way that the mission briefing doesn't hint at (destroying all enemy forces on the map) and which nobody would ever have known about if not for the Internet. This is intentional and the victory movie for that mission has the Soviet leadership bitching about how the mission failed. The Updated Re Release of the game fixes this and allows the player to capture the Chronosphere as intended, though it is still booby-trapped and destroyed by the Allies.
  • Control: The "Kill Hiss Rangers in the Research Sector using Abilities" Countermeasure is actually programmed as the opposite, to deal the killing blow on said rangers with Not An Ability, a.k.a. using bullets.
  • Dark Cloud has Dran. As a reward for freeing him from the Dark Genie's influence he teaches you a new move. Due to the carelessness of the translators or developers or both he tells you to press the wrong button to use it.
  • Dark Souls:
    • The description of the Tiny Being's Ring is completely wrong because of a translation error. It claims to grant health regeneration when equipped, but it actually grants a small increase to your maximum health instead. This was fixed in the Remastered version.
    • An intentional example is the Pendant, another gift you can choose at the start of the game. Ever since the Japanese release of the game, the producers hinted about this starting gift being of great importance, but without revealing what it would be. After the international release, months spent on using the Pendant in literally everywhere and related boards on the internet working nonstop in every possible way to figure out this item's significance... It was an intended hoax. To sneak some salt in the wound, said reveal was made during the release of the DLC Artorias of the Abyss. Which revolves about an Eldritch Abomination frantically tearing up the space-time continuum to acquire an item key in accessing said DLC area, which is... a different pendant.
    • The description for the Gargoyle's Halberd goes out of its way to emphasise that it's a "Perfectly standard bronze halberd without any special power." It's flat-out lying. Equipping it actually gives you a small but useful bonus to your bleed, poison and toxic resistances. However it does come across as somewhat of a Suspiciously Specific Denial since very few weapons, even plain ones like the Longsword, are so emphatic about their normalness, so it may just be attempting to bait you into experimenting with it. However the effect is extremely subtle and confusing so unless you know what it's doing you're quite likely to not even notice. You could even mistake it for causing a small buildup of those status effects, when that's actually just your normal levels adjusting to their new maximum.
  • Dark Souls II started listing the poise damage that weapons do in addition to the poise granted by armor and that you have in total. The actual amount of poise these weapons take away with even the most basic attacks tends to be around three times the value listed in-game.
  • Dark Souls III describes Poise as "The ability to withstand attacks without breaking form", which is a pretty severe overstatement. Only certain attacks with a relatively small number of weapon (you'll have to look up or guess which) are at all capable of taking hits without being interrupted. Poise makes those attacks even harder to interrupt, but has no effect on other attacks or any other kind of action.
  • Dark Void has an achievement that tells you to "kill 10 airborne enemies using grenades." What you actually have to do is kill 10 enemies using airborne grenades — that is, the grenade must be in the air when it explodes, not the enemy.
  • Depict1 takes this trope and runs with it. Most of what is said to the player is outright lies.
  • Diablo II's character screen is notoriously inaccurate due to bugs and oversights, which were only compounded by patches changing how vital game mechanics worked, to the point the fanbase has dubbed it the "Lying Character Screen."
    • Deckard Cain is a lying bastard: the socketed longsword recipe that he tells you doesn't work.
  • The loading screen in Divine Divinity shows various tips and advice for the game, some of which are blatant lies. For example, one says you should kill Otho's pigs since he likes that - Otho will kill you if you do that! Humorously, one of the tips you can see is "Don't trust everything you read"...
  • Don't Starve lets you bait traps. This is almost always a waste of food; there are much better ways to get mobs to go into traps.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition repeatedly informs you that magical barriers can only be destroyed by a spell of the opposite element. Not only can you destroy any barrier with any magic, even of the same element, but you can take them out with a single Explosive Shot, a rogue ability involving no magic whatsoever.
  • Drake of the 99 Dragons: The game claims that you can only damage the final boss while time is frozen, which is completely untrue.
  • Earth 2150: The general info in all campaigns is always "Do not rely on mass warfare, opt to save experienced units instead." While this is viable for the LC and UCS campaigns, seeing how they get the technology needed, for the ED it's a straight-up lie: the AI opponents always have the best available versions of units, always are several tech levels ahead (You got machine guns and tank turrets? They got grenades and missiles. They are using energy weapons? Yeah sorry, you don't get to use shields yet.) and always opt to use these two as soon as possible. Most ED missions can only be won by mindlessly spamming tanks and helicopters in the hope that the enemy will run out of resources sooner than the player.
  • The Clumsy Robot, a boss in EarthBound has an action that claims it eats a Bologne Sandwich that restores all its health, worrying the player as it's significantly tougher than most opponents around the time you fight him... except the aforementioned action does absolutely nothing, an act of deception from the game that does not happen in any other ocassion.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Morrowind: There are a few cases where the directions given by NPC quest givers are flat out wrong, or are given correctly, but recorded in the journal incorrectly. Combine this with often vague directions like "Go east until you see the funny looking rock then turn north," and you can find yourself in a number of Guide Dang It! situations.
    • Oblivion: "Higher willpower allows you to defend against magical attacks."
    • Skyrim: The description for Mehrunes Razor, a legendary dagger, states that it has a 1% chance of instantly killing whatever it strikes. It actually has a 1.98% (2/101) chance, due to a pair of off-by-one errors.
  • When fighting the giant squid boss in Epic Battle Fantasy 3, the characters suggest killing the tentacles. Problem: The boss can regenerate the tentacles to full health. Whenever it feels like. As a free action. Suffice to say, killing the tentacles first note  is borderline impossible at the level the characters are likely to be at, and not worth attempting regardless of level.
  • The "attack" and "defense" stats listed in Etrian Odyssey aren't actually used in any damage formulas, they're just a broad indication of how much damage you'll do and take.
  • E.V.O.: Search for Eden: At the beginning, one of the rules given is don't head back, only go forward. However, you need to go back in evolution if you temporarily want a viable form to more quickly gain EVO (i.e. your Evo points are stored in a Bag of Spilling if you change from a Fish -> Amphibian -> Reptile -> Bird -> Mammal), and you may have to go to earlier stages/sections if you need to harvest EVO points.
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • The information about the game's Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors was originally backwards.
    • The resident Ms Exposition Leonardo da Vinci, in explaining "attributes" (Servant traits which have a minor effect on how much damage certain units do to each other), gets her own attribute wrong.
    • During Emiya's interlude, he originally made a similar mistake, although it's been fixed.
    • Each character has a stat sheet in their profile, which looks relevant to gameplay but actually is mostly just Flavor Text, except for the Luck stat which has a small effect on star absorption.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy II, the game tells you that Agility rises by being attacked in battle. The chance to gain Agility is actually based entirely on the character's Evasion percentage, and thus characters who wear heavy armor without a shield to compensate will very rarely gain Agility for no apparent reason.
    • In the DS remake of Final Fantasy IV, when facing the CPU boss, Fusoya tells you to attack the defense node first instead of the attack node (but not both, or else the main CPU will spam a strong attack and then regenerate the nodes). That was fine and dandy on the original version, where the defense node healed the CPU by a lot and the attack node had weak offense, but in the DS, it's the other way around, the defense node gives crap healing instead and the attack node obliterates you, so you need to go for the attack node instead. The line should have been changed (That, or they did left it on purpose to screw players of the original version, which was the mission statement of the DS remake).
    • Final Fantasy VI:
      • There are some hidden items on the ground in the main room of Cave to the Sealed Gate, but when you pick them up, the game tells you you obtained something other than what you really got. Fortunately none of these items are required and none of them are especially useful in the first place.
      • In the SNES and PS1 translations, an NPC in Narshe tells you that the Life 3 spell "automatically brings you back even if downed", which is essentially true, but it doesn't say anything about the fact that unlike the previous 2 spells, you're meant to cast it on a character before they get knocked out since it functions as a positive status effect and casting it on an already knocked out party member does nothing. The GBA translations onward fix this error by using the standardized spell names which calls the Life series Raise, Arise and Reraise and explaining its function more clearly.
    • Final Fantasy VII:
      • First-time players could find the first boss to be difficult as hell, because Cloud's message "Attack while its tail's up [and] it'll counterattack with its laser!" was split into two dialogue boxes with "and" omitted because the in-battle boxes have fairly limited space. This meant that players saw "Attack while its tail's up" for several seconds before seeing "it'll counterattack with its laser!". Since they already had "attack while tail is up" in their minds, many people interpreted it as "attack while its tail's up or else it'll counterattack with its laser", the exact opposite of the intended message, or just saw "Attack while its tail's up!" and attacked straight away. In context, the boss is similar to the Mist Dragon, the Wing Raptor and the Whelk as a tutorial of the ATB system, but with misleading instructions, it fails at that role.
      • Getting a good score on the Junon parade minigame is also extremely annoying, because the NPCs tell you to sneak in from the back. Doing this is impossible and will result in Cloud getting bounced back while the ratings drop; instead, you need to run in from the front of the back row.
    • Final Fantasy VIII has a few inaccurate Enemy Scan logs, such as claiming the Elite Ethsar Soldier "only uses physical attacks" when it is in fact capable of using magic.
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics, Holy Sword abilities are described as Holy-element, except they actually take on whatever element the user's weapon is (with no element if the weapon lacks an element). The AI believes the description, which can make That One Boss much easier if you wear a Holy-absorbing robe in the battle against him.
  • Fire Emblem games from the GBA titles onward use a somewhat tweaked RNG that does this. The game rolls the random number used to determine attack rolls twice, then averages the two results—meaning that, essentially, accuracy increases or lowers at an exponential rate as you get further from 50% in either direction. The game tells you an attack has an 80% chance to hit, but the odds are actually closer to 92%. This is a rare case where the computer lying to the player tends to make them think it's being more truthful, given how bad people can be when weighing the odds in their heads. Switching to older games that don't do this often provokes bafflement or accusations of cheating, because an 80%-accurate attack missing one in five times tends to just feel "wrong" to people.
  • Due to clumsy work in the most widespread fan translation of Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, this became a real problem. Leif announces before the game's first Escape Sequence that "When I escape, so does everyone else!" implying that the goal of the chapter is to simply get Leif to escape first and then everyone else will be fine. In fact, Leif was actually protesting this; he was meant to be saying something like "I'll only escape when everyone else has!" This is important, because any units that haven't escaped by the time Leif has are treated by the game as if Leif abandoned them while fleeing the battlefield; they are captured by the enemy and can only be freed in a particular chapter. The objective of these maps is to make sure Leif escapes last. This can prove to be a rather unfortunate shock for those who had Leif escape first and then opened up the next chapter to discover he was now their only unit.
  • In the last chapter of the third part of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, you are told that the victory condition is to kill all the enemies. Observant players will also note a mysterious counter in the upper-right of the screen that goes up when any unit dies. The actual victory condition of this chapter is to let the counter reach 80, at which point the plot moves forward - the eponymous Fire Emblem, which is said to house a dark god, will unleash the god if mankind continues to war. The counter reaching 80 is the seal's breaking point.
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Bernadetta and Petra's Paralogue's objective is supposedly to get Petra to the bottom-right corner of the map or defeat all enemy units. Once she gets near that point, however, enemy reinforcements spawn and the objective changes to defeating the units while preventing their commanders from reaching the point that was formerly Petra's destination. Worse, still, if Petra or Bernadetta die (possibly by being attacked by the reinforcements heading to the goal) you lose. The events in question also occur if you defeat all the enemies.
    • Another from Three Houses: In part two of the Azure Moon route, the player army meets up with two other armies- those of the Alliance and Empire. The thing is, going into the battle it's heavily implied you can speak to the Alliance leader, Claude, and convince him to join your side. This is completely impossible in game, and Claude will actually attack any unit you bring to him. Even worse is that Claude himself will say to the player character if you confront them he doesn't want to fight them. Yes, even if he is the one to initiate the battle.
  • Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden: For the "Doll-Making" quest, initial dialogue states that it's 1 Excellent Heart and two of every Pickled Organ, Player Character-dialogue says 1 of those items except for 2 Pickled Stomachs, the Quest List entry says "Deliver 1 Excellent Heart and 2 Pickled Organs of each type.", while the requirements list is:
    Excellent Heart [X]/2
    Pickled Kidney [X]/2, Heart [X]/2, Stomach [X]/2,
    Liver [X]/2, Colon [X]/2
  • In Freespace 2, the tech room description for the Artemis D.H states it is more maneuverable and faster than the regular Artemis. However, examination of the game's code reveals both ships have the exact same stats.
  • F-Zero GX gives the returning racers from F-Zero X the same stats they had in the latter game, but because the machines themselves were reprogrammed with new stats for GX, they end up inaccurate. The computer is not so much lying as it is giving completely outdated info.
  • The PSP adaptation of Geronimo Stilton: The Kingdom of Fantasy (which is basically Professor Layton with a license on it) contains a minigame that's supposedly a rhythm game (completing it will even earn you an achievement titled after rhythm). It's actually more akin to Simon Says. This is made even more confusing by the fact that there's an ACTUAL rhythm game (with Vib-Ribbon type moving beats) that isn't classified as such. Did the developers not know what a rhythm game was?
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn's infamous Capricorn puzzle in the Craggy Peak tower. The game gives you the hint "THE GOAT LEAVES NO TRACE BEHIND". The goat statues do leave a trail when you push them around... the puzzle is that they do not cross each other's trail.
  • When taking Katie Zhan out driving in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, she will constantly urge the player to go faster, despite the fact that her happiness meter will rapidly decrease, causing her to end the date, if the player exceeds a relatively low speed.
  • Missions in Grand Theft Auto V are very tightly scripted, so that going against the on-screen prompts will always result in a game over. Any choices the player can make will be spelled out on the spot. The one, critical exception to this rule is "Unknowing the Truth," the final mission of the Epsilon Program sidequest (and discovering how to join the Epsilon Program, as Michael, is a Guide Dang It! on its own). The game instructs you to drive a car full of cash to Cris Formage's helicopter, and if you do, you'll receive...a tractor. In order to actually get any money out of the sidequest (namely, more than two million dollars), you have to steal the car and kill/escape from the other cult members when they come after you. There's no indication that stealing the car is possible unless you count Michael idly wondering how much cash is in the trunk. In other words, "Unknowing the Truth" is the only mission where you're encouraged, rather than forbidden, to think outside the box.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1984) Interactive Fiction game. As DNA himself puts it, this is "the first game to move beyond being 'user friendly'"... "It's actually 'user insulting' and because it lies to you as well it's also 'user mendacious.'" In one notable instance, when you first arrive in the engine room of the Heart of Gold, the computer will repeatedly tell you there's nothing to see. If you type "look" a third time, it will admit "Oh, all right, there's a few things..."
  • Jade Cocoon: Korus tells you, before you've even fought a single monster, that "you must never kill a minion". This is technically accurate, but wildly misleading. The Japanese version makes it clear that Levant himself must never kill a minion — there's no consequence for killing minions, but Levant only gains experience from capturing, and killing minions with him is a waste of combat experience that could've gone to your minions.
  • La-Mulana 2 features a puzzle revolving around this trope. A tablet in the Dark Star Lord's Mausoleum reads, "Gaze up at Heaven from this place. Then, hidden relics shall be yours." It is actually lying, and following its instructions will result in a crusher coming down on your head, OHKOing you. A tablet in the Gate of the Dead reads, "Destroy the false tablet", referring to the lying tablet in the Mausoleum. Doing so is part of a process to obtain the Feather.
  • Left 4 Dead has numerous loading screen hints, most of them valid; however, the hint originally meant to explain the Tank's control mechanic (you lose control of the Tank if you don't do damage or maintain line of sight for long enough) encouraged players to rush directly in to do as much damage as possible, which in versus games against even marginally skilled players was a recipe for a dead Tank and probably a pissed off team. The message has since been amended to simply advise players of the risk of losing control.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky games from the Trails Series are generally well-regarded for their English translation. However, there are a couple of errors in the guide text that can easily frustrate a player. One of them involves the game's magic, or "orbal arts" system. In these games, the arts are available based on the number of a particular element or elements (i.e. wind, fire, water, etc.) that a player has on a particular character installed through quartz on their orbments. For at least a couple of these arts, the number of the elements listed in the notebook is lower than what's actually needed, leaving the player confused as to why they don't have that art available even though they've installed enough of what the notebook says they should. Additionally, Trails in the Sky The 3rd includes an accessory called Sapphirl Neckklace which carries the same description as the Grail Locket item, "Protects against all status ailments (except KO)." However, Sapphirl Necklace actually protects against Stat Down, i.e. lowered defense, sped, strength, etc.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, the Gossip Stone that runs Harrow Island will not tell you that you can (and are likely to) lose money beyond the usual fee until you have already paid the latter. Even worse, it claims you can randomly find a Treasure Map regardless of whether this is actually the case or not. There are several, and there is no way to tell how many there are left (and that some of them won't appear at all until you have completed the Sea Chart).
  • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks:
    • The Song of Healing restores all your hearts when played during a dungeon/boss battle. The game tells you multiple times that it "only works once", which makes it seem Too Awesome to Use. However, the way the song actually works is that it can restore your health once per time you enter the dungeon. Simply leaving and coming back allows it to be played again, making it much more useful.
    • In the Disorientation Station cave, you're supposed to go "north and north" to discover the treasure. At least one version of the game (sold in Europe) will however you tell to go "north, north, north". You can only go north twice, but the room in question looks perfectly normal otherwise, so instead of searching it for the hidden treasure, you're likely to instead assume you're in the wrong place, or supposed to find a way through the wall.
  • Mass Effect 2: The free Firewalker DLC apparently had its keys remapped at some point without anyone telling the person writing the instructions. Pop-up boxes will tell you that the right mouse scans or mines and the shift key is used to jump. Nope! The jump key is E, and the data/resource retrieval uses V. Except when it doesn't; the system remaps virtually at random if you've reset some keys, and sometimes even if you haven't.
  • Master of Orion II is FULL of incorrect tooltips.
  • Monster Hunter:
    • The weapons' attack stats are notoriously unreliable. To make a long story short: Traditionally, the displayed attack values of weapons are actually their "true attack" values (not shown in-game) multiplied by arbitrary values specific to each weapon class (also not shown in-game), and thus are not actually used in damage calculations. Monster Hunter Generations fixes this by just showing each weapon's true attack power and as such all weapons of a given rarity are roughly equal in terms of on-screen attack stats, so while you still need to figure out each attack's "motion value" (an attack-specific multiplier that is applied to your weapon's true attack), at least the game no longer tricks you into thinking that your "1000"-attack Hammer inflicts way more damage per second than weapons of different classes in the same tier.
    • In Monster Hunter: World, partway through the second battle with Zorah Magdaros, the hunt will be interrupted by the appearance of Nergigante. The NPCs will heavily stress that you need to drop everything and go confront Nergigante to drive it off. This isn't really the case. In truth, Nergigante's presence is on a hidden timer, retreating once it runs out, which means the player can safely ignore it and it'll eventually leave on its own. The game seems to acknowledge this with the Arch-Tempered version of Zorah, where Nergigante actually needs to be manually repelled.
  • Zigzagged in NetHack. Eating a fortune cookie will give you a hint. The hints come from two files, rumors.tru, containing such Infallible Babble as "Kill a unicorn of your color and you kill your luck," and rumors.fal, containing such lies as "A cockatrice corpse is guaranteed to be untainted!" as well as completely useless (but entertaining!) junk like "So when I die, the first thing I will see in heaven is a score list?". Protip: blessed cookies draw only from rumors.tru.
  • In NieR, the tutorial on how to fish tells you to press the 'X' button, and then use the analog stick to reel in the fish. Doing that will result in Nier yanking the hook out of the water every single time, leaving you with no fish. The trick is to move the stick whichever way Nier leans, and not to hit the button until the fish's health is worn down.
  • In Octopath Traveler II, the in-game description for Enervating Slash says that it removes enemy's buffs and increase its damage based on the numbers of the buffs removed. It actually removes the user's buffs instead and deals more damage the more buffs the user has. This problem exists in all languages.
  • Pickory: During Tor's Eruption attack, the word "safe" and an arrow pointing down appears, but you actually have to jump as high as possible to avoid the attack. It was originally supposed to say "Not safe" but the creator forgot to add the word "not" and then decided it was funnier that way.
  • In Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale:
    • The price ranges suggested by your loan officer partner are too high to be properly strategic. Whether this is simply poor advice informed by the experiences of a loan shark who's never tried lowering prices before, or deliberate bad advice from the game designers overriding her sensible characterization to force player creativity/frustration? You be the judge.
    • While Tear's advice is useful for obtaining the most money from a sold item (or paying as little as possible for a purchased item), Recette and the shoppers gain more experience for deals that are lower than the most they'll pay. For example, you might be able to sell an item for 120% its base cost, but selling it for 107% will net bonus XP for the player and the customer. For the player, this means a number of useful new options. For the customer, this means they'll have more money, and thus be able to make bigger purchases. Tear's advice will get you more money in the short term, but offering better deals will pay off in the long term.
    • Exploring dungeons is offered as an alternate way to get items to sell in the store. While this is true, you can make a much larger profit (outside of New Game Plus anyway) by simply buying wholesale in town and manning the store.
  • Rune Factory 2: Herman will tell you explicitly that one of his favorite foods is pineapple juice. But if you give him some, he gives the "I hate this" reaction. Turns out, this was just a programming glitch: he does like the stuff and his friendship points do go up. (Possible inspiration for opposite speaking Sherman in Rune Factory 3?)
  • Parameters: Even as the log say that 0 damage is being dealt to an enemy, they actually get hit for 1, sometimes, for the Bonus Boss, that is.
  • Persona 3 Portable has a similar example with Shinjiro's Social Link for the female protagonist. After maxing it out, the game tells you your bond can't possibly get any stronger. You have to say you'll spend time with him once more (and be very persistant in your dialogue options) in order to start a Relationship Upgrade. There's a good reason for this: Shinjiro doesn't want you to get close to him since he's Secretly Dying.
  • After defeating the Final Boss of Persona 4, you get a nice epilogue section where you get to travel all over the town and say goodbye to all of the friends you've made. If you try going to the place where you enter the TV dungeons, the game explicitly tells you there's no more reason to go there. If you try again, the game reiterates that seriously, there's no reason to go, and even pushes you towards wrapping up your business and going to trigger the end credits. It's lying. Keep trying and you'll unlock the actual final dungeon and True Final Boss. Justified, as this is part of the game's "search for the truth, and search it hard" message.
  • Pokémon:
    • Accidental example: In the original games you are told more than once that the Psychic type was weak against Ghost; in practice, it was actually immune to Ghosts due to a programming oversight that was fixed in the next versions. Nonetheless, Yellow Version abridged an instance of somebody saying that Psychics feared only bugs and ghosts to only include bugs. (Of course, it's not like you'd even try to use Ghosts against Psychic-types anyways; the only ghost move that deals damage that isn't fixed is too weak to use. Also, it didn't help that the only Ghosts at the time were weak to Psychic anyway thanks to their secondary Poison type.)
    • Because of a mistake in the game text, a man in the Great Marsh in Diamond and Pearl says that throwing bait and mud do the exact same thing. This was fixed in Platinum.
    • In the first generation, there is an NPC who trades you his Electrode for a Raichu. If you talk to him after the trade, he remarks "The Raichu you traded me went and evolved!". Raichu, of course, doesn't evolve, but this nonetheless spawned rumours about a secret third evolution of Pikachu (Pichu, Pikachu's pre-evolved form, was unknown at the time). It turns out this was simply a localization mistake - in the Japanese version of Pokémon Blue, the NPC trades you his Graveler for a Kadabra - both Pokémon that evolve by trading - and his line afterwards was meant to be a hint on how to obtain their final forms. The American Pokémon Red and Blue were actually the Japanese Pokémon Blue hacked to have the distributions of the Japanese Red and Green, which had the Raichu-for-Electrode trade. When localizing, they remembered to switch the trade back to Raichu and Electrode, but forgot to change the dialogue about the evolution.
  • Some of the puzzles in the Professor Layton series end up being incredibly difficult only because the puzzle setup and hints are misleading or omit crucial information. An example in the second game is the "Boys Club" puzzle, which is difficult only because the instructions don't mention that you're supposed to skip over the portraits you cross out as you're counting. Since it's a straight up logic puzzle, it's impossible to solve if you follow the instructions at their word. The third game subtly lampshades this with the first puzzle challenge, where Layton's opponent places four aces face-down with a few rules attached to them (for example: "the heart is next to the diamond") and tells Layton to find the spade...except that the opponent never said "there is only one of each ace", making the puzzle unsolvable if taken strictly at its word, and the real test for Layton was noticing this.
  • River City Girls: The description for the Scissors accessory says that it boosts the non-existent AP stat, which should be AT, a.k.a. Attack.
  • Rolling Thunder APPEARS to give you eight hit points, as shown by the Life Meter...but you only ever lose 4 or 8 hit points at a time; therefore you really only have two hit points. The sequels and the NES port avert this by using an honest life meter that shows just one block per hit point instead of four.
  • When hackers analyzed the source code for the original Samurai Shodown, they found out that the "sword clash" mini-game arbitrarily chose which fighter won via a random number generator. Mashing the buttons as directed did absolutely nothing.
  • Shantae and the Seven Sirens: The instructions for Newt Dash are slightly incorrect, it says "Press [Dash] in air to DASH." But it works fine even if Shantae is standing on the ground.
  • The loading screens of Silent Hill: Homecoming all give you hints, and most of them are valid. Except the one that tells you a head shot is the fastest and easiest way to deal with needlers. In reality, shooting them at all, let alone in the head, is nearly impossible since you tend to hit their bulletproof legs no matter how you aim. Thankfully most gamers found that a quick dodge and a swipe with the fire axe will leave them vulnerable to an instant kill almost every time and didn't end up wasting all their ammo.
  • Sin and Punishment: Star Successor's final stage grants Isa 1,000 HP instead of his usual 100, but this is hardly necessary as all enemy damage is scaled up. While some damage amounts will be in non-multiples of 10, Isa is still just as susceptible to dying as he is in previous stages.
  • In-universe in Sonic Adventure 2 where the Hint System consists of actual computers; and in Mad Space they are likely to be this. Even then, the hints on some of the Emeralds are completely irrelevant to their actual locations.
  • State of Decay 2: Various parts of the game's UI stress the importance of having enough beds in your community in order to stave off and recover from fatigue faster, as well as preventing community morale debuffs. However, one dedicated player has proven that beds don't affect fatigue at all and the penalty for lacking beds is a measly -1 per survivor that has to go without one (out of a scale from -100 to 100), which is easily offset by every morale-boosting action in the game.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In Super Mario Bros. 3, one of the "letters from the Princess" tells you that there is a warp whistle hidden to the right in World 3. In fact, there is a warp whistle hidden to the right in level 3, World 1. There is no warp whistle in World 3. This eventually got fixed in Super Mario Advance 4, where she said it was hidden behind the third level, not that this would help you find it.
    • The Latin American Spanish version of Super Mario Maker in 3DS has some faulty translations in the description of the level's medal challenges. There may be a level where you have to kill a certain number of enemies but it's described as "enter a door", or some words omitted which results in a challenge's objective seemingly having a broader meaning than it actually has. It appears these mistakes are due to a mix-up between challenge descriptions, but this was never patched.
  • Super Robot Wars: Original Generation: A minor, but possibly accidental example. By default, Bullet uses a Real Robot with a Wave-Motion Gun, but isn't a ranged-combatant and should be in a melee-based machine; you are much better off sticking him in the Wildschwein or some other available, non-exclusive unit with a strong melee attack. The computer is made a lying bastard, however, by the fact that it just loves to stick him back into the machine he's terrible in, and sometimes it feels like you have to club the game over the head to get Bullet into a machine that isn't god-awful for him. Rectified in the sequels once he gets the RyuKoOh.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Doctor Mario is described on his trophy as "a tad slower" than Mario, then goes on to correctly note his projectile hits harder. You'd think this to mean that Doc is basically Mario but with slower speed to balance harder hitting, but this isn't the case - Doc is exactly the same speed as regular Mario. In fact, he has faster air speed, and in general, other differences could be described as less "Mario but slow and strong" and more "Mario but flat-out better." Given Melee's rather truncated development and that Doc was redesigned to be slower when he reappeared in 4, it's commonly guessed that he was intended to be slower but this was never executed for whatever reason.
  • Surviving Mars: the games states that the International Mars Mission is recommended for new players. And indeed it is in theory a very powerful sponsor: Zeus rockets can carry more, colonists never become Earthsick, food carried in passenger rockets is greatly increased, and rockets slowly synthesize fuel on Mars. However, it is so easy that you won't learn anything about how to correctly setup a profiting and self-sustainable colony without those bonuses. When you become used to the pacing and meta set by the IMM, switching to other sponsors, even those labeled as easy, might result in an initial failure because you took some bad moves that now have lasting consequences. Paradoxically, the IMM is best suited for experienced players that want to relax, and many community guides advice players to avoid it if they want to really learn how to play.
  • Tales of Vesperia incorrectly says at one point a mansion the player needs to visit to advance the plot lies east of a city, when it in actuality lies west.
  • The text you get in the Pleasure Dome ending of Total Carnage implies that there is one last secret ending if you collect every item in the Pleasure Dome. In fact there is, but a bug prevents it from ever being seen, and the normal ending you get by default is actually the better one.
  • Transistor: The Ping() passive says it boosts Turn() walking distance available by 200%, but it actually turns walking cost from "0.05625" to "0.03625" by subtracting 0.02 from the cost, which is only a boost of 45 / 29, a.k.a. ~155.172413793%, a 50% difference from 200%, but Vague Stat Values of the Turn() Planning Cost meter, makes that hard to figure out, with the values here given by looking at the code.
  • Undertale: The Check descriptions for most monsters give stats for them, but the stats are usually wildly inaccurate. For example, Aaron is listed as having 24 attack, but he'll do 7 damage to your SOUL with his attacks — less if you're wearing armor. This disguises the fact that the enemies don't actually get much stronger throughout the game, to keep it from being unreasonably difficult on a Pacifist Run.
  • Valkyria Chronicles:
    • Following the in-game advice—move with caution, cover your advances, don't try to be Rambo, etc.—will ensure that you never receive a high mission rank and the extra rewards it offers; all the game tracks is how long you took. That is pretty good advice at the beginning, since the starting lineup is fairly weak and charging in headlong will get you killed in short order. Later on? Not so much.
    • The mission briefing for Selvaria's Last Stand states that she will probably dodge head-on attacks, which is true, but then recommends you circumvent that by getting behind her. What the briefing doesn't tell you (and you have to remember from previous sorties where she's appeared) is that, as a Scout, her vision cone is Scout-standard 270°, so you must be almost directly behind her for that tactic to work on approach. She also turns toward any unit that hits her for a counter-attack, so unless you have a second unit or smoke, you aren't going to hit her with the same unit twice in a phase.
  • In Viva Piñata, many of the things Leafos says when selected are false (e.g. the way she claims certain piñatas transform is impossible), and some of the things she decries as ridiculous are true (you can, in fact, have a four-headed Syrupent after the two-headed version).
  • In Wasteland 2, the percentages listed for recovery of gun mods upon stripping a weapon are often wrong, and vastly overstate the likelihood that you'll get something useful. There were a number of complaints on this, and one member of the Dev team came on to state that everyone was wrong, it was just confirmation bias, etc. People called him out on it, he checked and it was confirmed that the coding was wrong and didn't match the tooltips. It was noted to be fixed in the next patch....which never happened.
  • As part of its "Tetris from Hell" ethos, Wesleyan Tetris has a "next piece" window that lies just seldom enough that you can't afford to ignore it.
  • In The World Ends with You, it is repeatedly claimed that the events of Another Day are completely separate from the events of the main storyline. This is only true in the extremely pedantic sense that they do, in fact, take place in an Alternate Universe — in a setting where travel between universes is explicitly possible. The main universe Joshua appears, both Hanekomas are there, and a few characters are aware of this — alternate Hanekoma is searching for main Hanekoma to arrest him for Necessarily Evil actions committed in the main storyline; main Hanekoma is hiding in the Bonus Dungeon specifically to avoid this, and fights alternate Neku as a Superboss because he wanted to fight main Neku but couldn't risk interfering with the game. Given the timing of these messages some of them almost feel like a Suspiciously Specific Denial.
  • In World of Warcraft:
    • You will sometimes find errors in the quest map tracking encouraging you to search a specific location when your target can only spawn in another place, such as "Legacy of the Ancient" where Loruk the Ancient will only appear if you cut lumber in the northernmost parts of Gorgrond while the map tracking will urge you to cut timber only in the middle parts of the map.
    • Some quests will also give strategy that seems sound on the surface, but in practice will make execution difficult if not impossible to achieve. "Tarnished Bronze" in particular where you must assist Archmage Khagdar and the gnome-disguised bronze dragon Chromie fighting a rogue bronze dragon down. You will be asked to select a role between damage, tank or healer with Khagdar defaulting to tank and Chromie defaulting to healer if you select damage. The problem is that Khagdar does nothing to tank the adds and Chromie is a piss-poor healer so selecting damage is a suicidal choice if you're a damage dealer with little to no healing of your own. The recommended tactic is to select healer regardless of your actual group role, forcing Chromie into the damage role where she excels. Even as a paper-armored mage with no healing at all, the combined group damage is sufficient to easily win before accumulated damage becomes problematic.
  • X:
    • With one exception, every time X3: Terran Conflict tells you you need to board a ship with marines during a plot mission, it's lying. The first boarding target will be given to you for free if you wait a while, the second one will get boarded by NPCs if you wait a while and the third time you can just eject in your spacesuit and claim the target like an abandoned ship. This is significant, as training marines to the point where they could actually capture anything is a very expensive and time-consuming process, far beyond the scope of anything in the campaign missions. The one exception is the Orca you have to capture during the HQ plot. That one actually does require you to board it.
    • To a lesser extent, the way how fighter drones work in the X3 trilogy, the information states that only TS and TM-class freighters can carry fighter drones and is made evident in gameplay with these ships offloading them when they're under attack by hostile ships. Yet this information doesn't hold water and omits the capability of other ships to carry these drones; fighter drones can actually be carried by ships of any size as long as they're capable of carrying cargo that is higher than S-class. In other words, a ship ranging from a small interceptor to a big destroyer can carry them as long as they have space in their hold. This makes fighter drones Disc One Nukes in some sort.
  • The first Gear boss in Xenogears tends to become a That One Boss to some people because of this: right before you fight it, you're given an option to upgrade your Gears for the first time, which is mandatory to do throughout the game since for the most part their stats aren't dependent on your level. However, since the maximum Fuel for the default parts and only upgrade the game offers you at this point are the same, the game will give you a pop-up message about the new parts being equal or worse than the ones you already have, even though the apparently minuscule increase of Attack they provide actually ends up increasing the Gears' damage by a lot at this point of the game: without the upgrades, you'll be lucky to be doing 2 digit damage to the boss, who has around 1500 HP and you have no means to heal your Gears this early in the game.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 1, all of your weapons have a minimum and a maximum damage range, and theoretically any auto-attack could do any amount of damage within that range (So, for instance, if you have 500-1000, you could theoretically do anywhere between 500 and 1000 damage with an auto-attack). Except, due to a glitch, you can only do, at most, 99 more damage than the minimum damage. This was fixed in the Switch version.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is notorious for tutorials that are incomplete, misleading, or flat out wrong, a real problem in a game with so many complex mechanics.