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Basic Trope: Doing something the developers never would have expected that makes the game Unwinnable.

  • Straight: In Charlie's Quest, a certain vendor sells powerups that cost exactly $1 worth of in-game currency. In the same area they sell it, there are a bunch of Money Spiders and wizards that can cast spells on you to make you less powerful. If you spend all of your money on said powerups and get hit by enough spells to be unable to get money by defeating one of the Money Spiders, the game becomes Unwinnable due to a later quest requiring for you to bribe the villain's security guards with money.
  • Exaggerated:
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    • By buying the right items from the right vendors and combining them in the right order at exactly the right places, you can make the fight against the Final Boss unwinnable because his cutscene-induced HP to 1 attack deals 1 more damage than it's supposed to.
    • Exploiting a very hard to trigger glitch that allows the player through a certain wall, it's possible to meet the Final Boss within ten minutes of starting the game; the battle is impossible at level one since the HP to 1 attack outright kills you. And since the Final Boss is beyond the Point of No Return, it's impossible to go back, and the glitch can't be triggered again from the final level.
  • Downplayed: Unwinnable by Mistake
  • Justified: It is impossible for a developer to foresee every action that every player will perform.
  • Inverted:
    • Charlie's Quest is an Obvious Beta, and it takes a lot of effort to not ruin your save file.
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    • To make significant progress in Charlie's Quest, you have to make some rather senseless decisions that look like they would cause your file to become Unwinnable by Design.
  • Subverted: A friend comes by and gives you money since you're broke.
  • Double Subverted: A Bandit Mook attacks you and takes your recently-received money.
  • Parodied: The developers had a feeling someone would try to invoke this, and doing so not only nets you a sarcastic Easter Egg from the Lemony Narrator, but a humorous Non-Standard Game Over.
  • Zig Zagged: When you run out of money and can't get more, your mother gives you $10,000 (which is exactly how much the guard is asking for), some stat-improving pills, and her Lucky Socks of Magic Deflection. Unfortunately, $10,000 also happens to be enough to get in the Stats Casino (found at the end of the extremely hard Bonus Dungeon filled with wizards) where one of the games lets you either triple your stats, or have them all reset to 0, leaving you unable to kill the Money Spiders yet again. Thankfully, there is a vendor in the bonus dungeon who will offer $100 for your Lucky Socks of Magic Deflection (he is the only one who will pay for them, in fact), which you can use to buy a bottle of stat-improving pills.
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  • Averted: You can't get stuck, no matter how much you try.
  • Enforced: Charlie's Quest is an unfair mod for a popular game, and the creators want to include Schmuck Bait for the more advanced players.
  • Lampshaded: "Well, it looks like we're screwed."
  • Invoked: The vendor is actually Stupid Evil, and pleads you to buy all his stuff so that you can "easily defeat those nasty wizards", even though the weapons he sell are clearly marked as not effecting them.
  • Exploited: The Big Bad carries out his plan unhindered, due to the fact that the heroes can't do anything to advance the plot and stop him.
  • Defied: You can recruit the vendor as a temporary party member if the game detects you have no money and can not obtain any. When interacting with the security guard with the vendor in your party, he pulls out a BFG and shoots the guard in the head for a One-Hit Kill before wishing you luck with the Big Bad and leaving.
  • Discussed:
    Charlie: Man, I hope I don't blow all my money and get stuck like in one of those Japanese RPGs...
    Vendor: You bought 800 of these damn powerups already. I think you should watch your savings.
  • Conversed:
    Alice: I couldn't progress in Charlie's Quest, because I couldn't bribe the guards since I had no money and I was too weak to get any from the enemies.
    Bob: Man, you really had to put some effort into bricking your save file, didn't you?
  • Implied: You can meet the Meta Guy right outside of the Big Bad's castle gate, and he says "I wish it was still possible for me to get money..."

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