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Basic Trope: The designers screwed up, now you can't win.

  • Straight: In the Ice Temple, once you're deep in, you get a lighter and you have to use it to get back out. However, you have a limited inventory, and if you fill it all up with cursed items (which cannot be dropped except at a church) then you can't take the lighter and can't escape the temple.
  • Exaggerated:
    • In the Ice Temple, if you go back and forth too many times along a certain route, a Game-Breaking Bug causes hundreds of duplicate items to be spawned. This can crash your game at best, destroy your savefile at worst.
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    • A Game-Breaking Bug causes the game to never progress past the opening cutscene.
    • A Game-Breaking Bug can make the Ice Temple unwinnable in all future games.
  • Downplayed:
  • Justified:
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    • You're playing a Game Within a Game filled with Stylistic Suck. It was examined much less by the designers.
    • Unwinnable by Design
    • The designers didn't forsee players performing such an action.
  • Inverted:
    • A challenge in the game requires you to lock yourself into an unwinnable state. The game can never be made unwinnable, so this challenge cannot be completed.
    • It is supposed to be Unwinnable by Design after killing plot essential characters. It is possible to win anyway by exploiting a clipping glitch thus resulting in being winnable by mistake.
    • The game is supposed to be an Unwinnable Joke Game, but if you take advantage of the hidden Instant-Win Condition present in the engine the game was made with, you can win it anyways.
  • Subverted: You need to go back and forth between several haunted areas without dying to get your entire inventory cursed, making this a fault of the player and not the designer.
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  • Double Subverted: While you certainly have to go out of the way to get your whole inventory stuck in Easy and Normal mode, Hard mode makes inventory-cursing effects much more common, and includes a few cursed items inside of the temple as well.
  • Parodied: In a scripted cutscene, you can choose to drink regular coffee or decaf. Choosing decaf leads to an instant game crash, because the developer added the option as a joke and didn't know people actually drink decaf.
  • Zig Zagged: If you get to the lighter room without any space in your inventory, lucky for you there's a Bandit Mook in the next room. And if you kill the bandit, you can just cast a spell to bring him back to life. If you cast too many spells and your Mana Meter is empty, just wait for a few minutes and your meter will be back to full. But if you have a cursed bracelet of limited mana on, THEN the game is unwinnable.
  • Averted: The lighter is a key item, so it gets its own special slot in the inventory.
  • Enforced: The designers have terrible work conditions and frequently miss unwinnable scenarios.
  • Lampshaded: "Damn, my inventory isn't looking too well. Thankfully this will all be over once I take the lighter and get out of this temple... wait... Oh, Crap!"
  • Invoked: ???
  • Exploited: Your rival traps you in the Ice Temple by casting a powerful "curse inventory" spell while you're in the room with the lighter.
  • Defied:
    • If your whole inventory is locked when you enter the lighter room, the Justified Save Point NPC inside will uncurse your items for no charge.
    • Clock Roaches spawn if you reach a point lacking an essential item and are unable to backtrack. They then attempt to slay you for creating a Temporal Paradox. If you kill them, they drop the required item which forces itself into your inventory.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed ???
  • Implied: Bob is playing a game and an Atomic F-Bomb is heard. The next scene shows the game's starting cutscene.
  • Deconstructed: The unwinnable by mistake condition is the result of the programmers and designers either being careless or lazy. This is a rather easy situation to get into, so sales drop when players hear of how unfair it is and assume the game has it as an Unwinnable by Design state.
  • Reconstructed: The unwinnable by mistake condition is embraced by a certain proportion of fans who see avoiding it or getting unstuck from it as an additional challenge.
  • Played For Drama: The setting is inside a video game and the world has slowed to a crawl. Alice blames herself for the mistake, Evulz rages against the creator for denying him resolution.

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