Many games are designed so that in order to advance the plot, you have to trek to some godforsaken place miles from where you started. Then, inevitably, you have to head back to the starting point. And then to some other place and back, etc, until the game has reached the 40+ hours promised on the box.
Kind game designers will mitigate this headache by adding gameplay elements to shorten travel times. These usually revolve around getting the character onscreen to the next visible area in a quicker manner, by speeding up their movement animation or skipping the transition entirely. This would be unfair in any game where speed is important, of course, but it can be convenient in Role-Playing Games, Adventure games, or in neutral areas of more action-based games, such as shops. The most common form is probably what's known as Dash Mode, usually a button which is held down to make the character run. This may require a special item, and may have a limit, though.
This is always Gameplay and Story Segregation. The teleportation here has no bearing on the plot; its only purpose is to reduce player fatigue. It can become a problem, however, if the player becomes overreliant on it and constantly skips over an area where something plot-critical has changed, or overlooks some detail of a particular room because they never spend any time there.
Compare Door to Before, a shortcut to a previous location, Global Airship, a vehicle that can get you to any part of the world map quickly, Warp Whistle, an in-game teleportation device between fixed areas, and Sprint Shoes, an item required to make Dash Mode work. See also Run, Don't Walk, a tendency in later games for characters to just run everywhere.
- Whether traveling the vast expanse of the overworld or exploring its many dungeons, backtracking is a given in Zelda. Thankfully, many games in the series afford Link faster means of travel; such as on horseback, or the Goron roll or Bunny Hood in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. There are also numerous Warp Whistles.
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past had the Pegasus Boots. With them, holding a button would cause Link to charge forward at considerable speed, pushing aside or destroying enemies and obstacles and continuing until he left the screen, hit a wall, or was damaged mid-sprint.
- The series even has these in multiple tiers. First something that lets you go between a few specific locations (like, A Link To The Past has whirlpools that lead to specific other whirlpools, accessible once you get the Zora Scale) followed some time later by something that's an express flight to every major area (such as the original Warp Whistle, the bird in A Link to the Past, and the warp songs in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. )
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword sacrifices rolling for an actual dash button similar to A Link to the Past's Pegasus Boots, though it's not infinite and tends to eat your stamina bar up pretty quickly, especially if you've been performing other actions that use up stamina. Another difference from the Pegasus Boots is that while dashing, you're pretty much defenseless except for how well you can manage to dodge attacks and remember to stop before the stamina bar is entirely depleted.
- Dark Chronicle allowed transportation to key areas from the pause menu.
- In the Diablo expansion Hellfire, the character's walk speed is doubled while in town. In the sequel, you can run in towns without depleting the Run meter.
- In the Metroid series, most of Samus' acquired items/weapons can destroy giant clusters of blocks that compose some areas one would normally have to take a long path around. The most notable are the Speed Booster, the Screw Attack and the Power Bombs.
- Fast travel was introduced in Assassin's Creed II as a response to the really open but also really empty field the first Assassins Creed took place in. The game tries to justify this as "carriage services" or "secret tunnels".
- Done almost literally in Tomb Raider (2013), where one of the many doors to before is a zipline.
- Tales of Symphonia often lets you "quick jump" through a dungeon you have already traversed when you have to go back to its final room for plot reasons. One time you aren't given the option Lloyd gets amusingly frustrated about it in a rare moment of Breaking the Fourth Wall (the actual reason is that you have to trigger a cutscene on your way out of a dungeon).
- Muramasa: The Demon Blade allows you to warp to shrines scattered throughout the world map upon beating the game with a character. There's also an item called the bronze mirror that is a free warp to any shrine, but can only be used once before it breaks.
- Myst is the Trope Namer here. If you were at the end of a linear series of rooms, certain hotspots would turn the cursor into a lightning bolt, letting you back to the beginning of the chain instantly. In the last two games, you would also be given thumbnails of hub areas so that you could get from one part of the game world to another easily.
- In The Curse of Monkey Island, double-clicking an exit would take Guybrush there instantly, which is considerate because he walks very slowly. Later games switched to a 3D format and a corresponding change in controls, replacing the teleportation with a Dash Mode (but in Escape from Monkey Island you can leave the room you're in immediately by pressing O).
- Sierra's Point-and-Click SCI Engine games generally had the ability to adjust the character's walk speed up to a very fast rate, including installments of King's Quest, Space Quest, Gabriel Knight, Police Quest, and Quest for Glory.
- In at least some of the Leisure Suit Larry games, double-clicking on an exit will make Larry walk at hyperspeed.
- In Wrath of the Gods, waystations could be found throughout the countryside that would fly the main character via dragon to another location. This was a somewhat impractical method, however, as dragon flights cost money which was hard to come by in the game. There were also shortcuts through the underworld.
- The Longest Journey would allow you to skip a few frames of April's walking animation every time you pressed escape. Thus, entering a screen, clicking the place you want to go and mashing the escape button would get you there significantly faster.
- Borderlands has the Fast Travel network, which is a system that lets you instantly travel to any region you previously visited so you don't have to walk the entire way. The sequel retains Fast Travel and also added a one way version (colored in yellow and signified by a "No U-Turn" mark) where you can teleport out of the area you're in, but you can't go back to it unless you walk there again.
- In World of Warcraft you can pay to fly yourself from city to city (as long as you've visited enough cities or reached a high enough level to unlock the "flight path"). This system is restricted to given set paths, unlike the flying mounts instituted later.
- The Pandaria expansion hub usually also has one-way portals to every capital, and the main capital of each faction (Stormwind/Orgrimmar) also have portals to the other capitals as well as portals to the Cataclysm expansion zones that can be unlocked fairly easily, since these were scattered all over Azeroth. Some classes also have some teleportation options of their own, most notably mages.
- In Guild Wars, you can travel, at will, instantly to any public area that your character has yet visited, making it unnecessary to trek there more than once.
- In Ragnarok Online:
- Kafra employees offer teleport service that allows instant travel between towns.
- Butterfly Wings, a consumable item that allows instant travel from anywhere to your save point.
- Warp Portal, an acolyte skill, allows instant travel to save point or any 3 memo locations for up to 8 players.
- Colored cash shop butterfly wings allows instant teleport to any town in a certain region.
- Cash shop dungeon teleport scrolls allow instant teleport to most dungeons in the game.
- Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE:
- Traesto and Traesto Stones, a skill and a consumable item (respectivelly) that teleport you to your home point. The skill has an awfully long incantation time, but a specific equipment reduces it to zero.
- Ariadne's Thread, a consumable item that lets you teleport to pretty much any place in the game world, and is even used by NPC's after some of the main quests so you don't have to walk all the way back to the main quest giver NPC.
- The Home Points in every town (except Protopia) can be used as teleportation devices. However, the ones in Home III and Shinjuku Babel can only be used once a day (and Home III can only teleport to Shinjuku Babel, and vice-versa), and you need to pay 50,000 Macca everytime you want to use the teleport function in Arcadia and Souhonzan.
- In Final Fantasy XIV, you can either use the Aethernet system to warp to another tuned Aethernet crystal for a fee, or use one of the Chocobo Porters to ride from the central hub to visited settlements and vice versa.
- A large number of RPGs, especially Eastern RPGs, utilize some form of Dash Mode, usually offering an alternative between run and walk modes. Games which don't offer this usually expect you to Run, Don't Walk.
- Some games like the first Final Fantasy had a spell where you can teleport yourself out of a dungeon so you don't need to retrace your steps.
- All Infinity Engine games had the issue of characters taking very long to leisurely walk across vast locations, so Planescape: Torment added the option to make all characters run while not in combat. It was enabled by default.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, party members told to hold position will later teleport to your controlled character's location when taken off hold (if they are far enough away). Since you can change which character you control at any time, this can make for some easier exploring and backtracking in some areas, though it is disabled in combat. Even more strangely, however, a rogue can stealth through groups of enemies and then teleport his allies to his location. All this despite being told that there is no such thing as teleportation in-universe.
- In all three Dragon Age games released so far, you can travel between zones through icons on the global map, at almost any time, except during combat and story missions. Dragon Age: Inquisition also adds fast travel within zones — between Inquisition camps, keeps, and some landmarks (usually settlements).
- Xenoblade allows you to skip to certain locations, called "landmarks", that you have discovered.
- Spiritual sequel Xenoblade Chronicles X ups the ante by including far, far more landmarks across the world to Fast Travel to, to the point where nearly half the hex grids on any continent's given map have warp spots in them. The game counters this by making the process of exploration both the entire point of the game and a game-long reward in itself, so that players will sometimes still want to take the long way around even though they don't have to.
- The Dragon Quest series has the Zoom spell and the Chimaera Wing item, both of which teleport you to any previously visited town or castle. In the ninth game, Zoom is even free of MP cost to cast, though only the hero can learn it.
- Persona 4 lets you skip to nearby areas by pressing the square button, expanding a feature originally created for Persona 3 Portable.
- Pokémon has the moves Fly and Teleport, which can instantly take you to any or the last previously visited Pokémon Center respectively. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire have upgraded Fly so you can drop off on any route as well.
- Cthulhu Saves the World's pause menu has a teleport option which lets you instantly teleport to any previously visited town at no cost (other than having to walk all the way through that dungeon you just teleported out from).
- Etrian Odyssey games offer several alternatives: the most seen of these are Ariadne Threads or Warp Wires, which will outright take you back to town from wherever you are in the labyrinth. Etrian Odyssey IV also has Silver Whistles, which instead take you to the dungeon's entrance. And I and The Millennium Girl have the Floor Jump mechanic: once you've fully mapped a floor and reached the descending staircase, you can easily teleport between every fully mapped floor's stairs.
- Virtue's Last Reward and its sequel Zero Time Dilemma allow you to jump between diverging points of the story. This was a response to Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, where you had to tediously play the game multiple times trying to unlock the true ending. Most importantly, this mechanic also serves as a plot device.
- Dangan Ronpa and Super Dangan Ronpa 2 let you teleport anywhere in the map, though it's disabled or restricted at some points in the plot. This is discouraged in the sequel because taking steps allows you to increase your levels and raise a Virtual Pet.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- The series in general has had fast travel since Arena. Daggerfall allows you to fast travel to any location right away, but Oblivion and Skyrim require you to visit a location before you can fast travel there. (Skyrim does have carriages that will, for a price, take you from any major city to any other major city to make it easier.)
- Morrowind is an exception, as it lacks fast travel. It does have it in the form of Silt Striders (giant native insects which have been lobotomized and are "driven" by manipulating exposed muscle tendons. Passengers ride in the beast's hollowed-out shell), boats along the coasts, and by the Mages Guild "Guild Guide" service (instant teleportation between Mages Guild halls). Additionally, the spells "Divine Intervention" and "Almsivi Intervention" will teleport you to the nearest Imperial shrine and Tribunal temple, respectively. The Mark and Recall spells are similar, allowing you to set a "Mark" and then "Recall" to that spot. Useful for traveling long distances when no fast travel is available, getting out of a sticky situation in a hurry, or for transporting more loot than you could carry on foot.
- Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4 use the same travel system as their Bethesda Elder Scrolls sister series, but there aren't any passenger services. That's life in the Waste for ya.
- Minecraft has railroads, teleporting Ender Pearls, and Nether Portals. It's worth noting however that the Railroads have to be set-up manually, Ender Pearls need to be thrown and have a habit of teleporting you far above your intended destination causing fall damage, and Nether Portals mean you have to navigate through the Nether, a hell-like dimension. This can be utilised by setting two Portals in the real world first, and then trekking through the Nether, which is often more dangerous than just trekking through the regular world.
- Even this is not fast enough for some, and so enterprising mod developers have created addons that allow creation of portal networks and instantaneous teleportation to user-definable waypoints.
- In L.A. Noire, you can make your NPC partner drive you to the next important location; after any plot-relevant conversations have played out, you automatically arrive.
- Shadow of the Colossus warps you back to the starting shrine after defeating each boss. It otherwise has no system of fast travel.