Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Baldi's Basics in Education and Learning

Go To
Education, learning, fun and unadulterated horror all in one!

Welcome to Baldi's Basics in Education and Learning! That's me!
Baldi, upon starting the game.

Baldi's Basics in Education and Learning (often shortened to Baldi's Basics) is an indie horror game that made its initial debut in 2018 as part of the annual Meta Game Jam contest. The original version made for the competition was hurriedly slapped together in a couple of days, and it shows. But despite this, the game exploded in popularity upon its release, won second place in the contest, and almost immediately gained a cult following for uniquely utilizing an intentionally terrible yet nostalgic theme lampooning low-budget ‘90s edutainment games as well as the general tropes of indie horror titles. After receiving a Colbert Bump from several famous Youtube Lets Players, it wasn’t long before fans of other cult indie horror titles latched onto the game as well, further skyrocketing its popularity to viral levels. In response, game creator Micah "Mystman12" McGonigal greatly expanded upon it with a content update.

The premise of the game is rather simple: the player is a student at Baldi's Schoolhouse, and their goal is to collect and fill out seven notebooks scattered about the campus (with each notebook containing 3 math problems). They need to collect these notebooks for their friend that left them in the school and cannot retrieve them himself due to "eating practice". The only problem is that a few questions are unsolvable Black Speech (like in real life but genuinely impossible to solve), and Baldi gets so mad over failing students that he feels the need to hunt them down like the survival horror monster he really is with a ruler in hand with your butt's name on it. Meanwhile, there are other entities in the school that try to hinder your progress, such as a jump-roping girl, the school's principal, a giant talking broom, a bully, a sock-puppet, a hug-loving Cyborg on wheels, a cloud creature, a chalk drawing, a boy who loves bubblegum, a head in a shoe, and a creep in black. The game can be downloaded from here.

In July 2018, Mystman12 began a Kickstarter to fund and create a full retail version of Baldi's Basics, which would tentatively include new features such as new characters and items, randomly generated levels with new rooms featuring new mechanics, random in-game events to change up the gameplay, and "field trip" bonus rounds to unlock buffs in the main game. A proof-of-concept demo of the camping bonus round can be found here. The Kickstarter was successful, with a total of $61,375 raised for the project.

In April 2019, an update to the original game titled Baldi's Basics: 1 Year Birthday Bash was released. It adds some new elements to fit the birthday aesthetic, but more importantly adds a new ending. August 2019 saw the release of the full game's first demo, which includes one level and features many features that are planned to be included in the final game, with a second Kickstart backer-exclusive demo to come later on November 2nd, 2019. The public demo can be found here.

The full game, called Baldi's Basics Plus, entered early access on Steam,, and Game Jolt on June 12th, 2020.

On October 21st, 2022, a remake of the original, titled Baldi's Basics Classic Remastered, was released. It implements the quality-of-life features introduced in Plus such as the Baldicator and stamina meter. A "Party Style" mode is also included, which replicates 1 Year Birthday Bash, and a "Demo Style" mode that incorporates elements from Plus into the original map.

Oh, hi! Welcome to my trope page. Now it's time for everybody's favorite subject: Tropes!

  • Abnormal Ammo: During the boss fight with Null in Classic Remastered, you have to throw objects at him ranging from chairs to potted plants to bananas.
  • Angry Item Tapping: When you inevitably get a math problem wrong, Baldi gives you a Death Glare and he begins to slap his ruler against his hand as he chases you throughout the game.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: The janitor, Gotta Sweep, is a giant talking broom.
  • Antagonist Title: Baldi is clearly the main villain, and his name is in the title.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The 1.2 update to the Kickstarter demo introduces a map system into the game. Not only does this make navigating the school floors and knowing where the player has already been easier, but it will also show which room Mrs. Pomp will be in should the player bump into her. This saves the player the trouble of having to blindly guess which room she went to before her imposed time limit expires.
    • In Classic Remastered, when the player has the "Lights Out" Fun Setting enabled, the Principal of the Thing always emits a bright glow around him, so it's easier to see where he's coming from and when to avoid breaking rules when he sees you.
    • As of an update to both Classic Remastered and Plus, when you're playing Playtime's jumprope minigame, each jump can move you in a given direction slightly, meaning you're no longer completely helpless against anything else. If enough distance is cut from her (which will most likely happen if you missed a few jumps), the minigame will end prematurely as if something else interrupted it.
  • Anti-Villain: Null, while well meaning and wanting to ensure no-one else meets the same fate he did, is more than willing to use unsavoury means to make the player stop playing Baldi's Basics, even having his own dedicated mode where he chases the player and fights a Boss Battle against them at the end of the mode just to make them leave. This unfortunately means that doing too much and not keeping his cool causes him to be wiped out of the game, never to be seen again under normal circumstances.
  • Apple for Teacher: An apple is an item introduced in the first demo for the full game. They can only be found in either the playground (the grappling hook is required to bring it down from a tree) or in the principal's office during a party event. The apple is meant to be used when around Baldi, and when used, Baldi will stop, happily take the apple and eat it for ten seconds; buying the player some time to get away from him.
  • Arc Number: 99. All of the blue doors are labeled "99", a hidden chalkboard has lots of 99s around the text "THIS PROGRAM IS CANCER," and it appears yet again on a tree in the camping field trip. A cropped 99 also appears rarely when you die in place of a random object, where it will jumpscare the player and crash the game after a few seconds.
  • Art Evolution:
    • The first demo for the full game features an updated title screen with cleaner and sharper graphics. Even Baldi's waving animation is improved - despite looking choppy due to a low framerate and poorly-made model, the motion is slightly more realistic than it was before.
    • Baldi's Basics Plus includes more varied and slightly sharper textures for the school interiors.
  • The Artifact: Zigzagged; the whole "edutainment parody" aspect was not present in the first version of the full version demo: the notebooks no longer pose math problems, which means that Baldi basically wants to kill you just for kicks (mainly as part of a game of Hide and Seek) and leaving the only remnants of the original game's parody aspects with the schoolhouse setting and the Stylistic Suck. The March 2020 update to the demo, however, introduced the "Math Machine" rooms wherein the player once again must solve a math problem in order to receive a notebook, albeit, the math problems are no longer the unsolveable problems from the old version.
  • Bald of Evil: Baldi only has a single strand of hair on his head, meant to represent an "ahoge".
  • Berserk Button:
    • Whatever you do, do not fail any of Baldi's math lessons, or he'll get angry and attack you.
      Baldi: I GET ANGRIER FOR EVERY PROBLEM YOU GET WRONG (when you get one or two questions wrong)
      Baldi: I HEAR MATH THAT BAD (when you get all 3 questions wrong)
    • Also, make sure you get to Mrs. Pomp's classes on time. She really hates it when you don't attend.
  • Big Bad: The titular Baldi is an Evil Teacher who chases after the player with a ruler for getting a math problem wrong (just for kicks as part of Hide and Seek in the demo) and is the main obstacle in getting all the 7 notebooks needed to escape the school (in the old version, newer versions instead have the amount of notebooks vary and the player takes an elevator to advance through the building).
  • Birthday Episode: The "1 Year Birthday Bash" update, released on the game's actual birthday, adds birthday party elements to the game. The characters now wear party hats, there are floating balloons in some rooms, items now come in birthday presents, etc.
  • Black Speech: Baldi is frequently accompanied by blaring static, which is also his jumpscare sound. Arts and Crafters also has this.
  • Blackout Basement: In Plus, The Test does this to the entire school if you don't escape their line of vision after five seconds.
  • Blatant Lies: "Now it's time for everybody's favorite subject: Math!"
  • Broken Bridge: In the first game, the doors in the first part early on won't open before getting two notebooks, keeping the player in the friendly entrance area until the first wrong answer, at which point the door disappears completely as the school's layout changes. Any time they try to open the door before then, Baldi's voice speaks from the door to tell them this. If the player answers a question wrong before they have the second notebook (which contains the first unsolveable question), it keeps all the other characters out of your way until then as well.
    Baldi: You need to collect two notebooks before you can use these doors.
  • Brutal Bonus Level:
    • The unlockable Glitch Style in Classic Remastered involves FileName2/NULL relentlessly pursuing the player throughout the empty schoolhouse, even blocking off their final exit and forcing them to engage him in a surprise Boss Battle where there's no room for error.
    • The secret Chaos Mode from the same game ramps up the difficulty of a game way more than if all the Fun Settings are enabled, due to every character getting cloned per notebook, making it near-impossible to win a game until it's switched off. In fact, it was made without any intention of being possible in the first place.
  • But Thou Must!: From the second notebook and onward in the first game, the last math question will always be impossible to answer correctly, forcing you to get it wrong and further anger Baldi.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The notebook from mystman12 in the Developer Room following NULL/Glitch mode reveals that the versions of the game prior to the 1.0 version of Plus will not be canon to the final version of the game, due to the story of the prior versions of the game being "too unruly" to reconcile with the story that the final game will tell. However, the story that started with the first version of the original Baldi's Basics does still get a proper conclusion with Filename2/NULL being defeated once and for all and the game being freed from his influence.
  • Challenge Run: April 2020 saw the release of an update that introduces three of these; the first one is "Speedy" (no other characters aside from Baldi are present, but both he and the player move extremely fast and the player must collect 25 notebooks), Stealthy (the premise is that the player is sneaking into the school after hours to collect 7 notebooks and must avoid being seen by multiple Principals or else lose instantly, as Baldi is waiting in detention), and Grapple (the player must collect 7 notebooks, with the catch that they can only move via an infinite use grappling hook, as well as deal with Gotta Sweep, It's A Bully, and Mrs. Pomp).
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The title screen depicts a smiling Baldi holding a ruler up to a chalkboard like a pointer. Later on in the game, Baldi does use that ruler... as a weapon.
    • One of the odd things the player can find during the Birthday Bash version's Gainax Ending is a deformed floating Baldi head that deals no harm to the player. This turned out to be the head of The Test, a new character introduced in Plus.
  • Content Warnings: Right when you boot up the game:
    WARNING! In case you haven't figure [sic] it out yet, this game is intended to be a horror game. As such, it has loud noises, flashing images, and is overall pretty spoopy. (Well, at least it's supposed to be...) If you downloaded this thinking it would be great edutainment for your kid or something, don't let them play it! Unless, of course, they enjoy horror games. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
  • Controllable Helplessness: There's a corner of the detention room where Baldi won't be able to reach you; he'll just stand there smacking his ruler. However, you have no way out—as soon as you budge from that corner, you've lost.
    • Getting caught by Playtime, being gummed up by Beans or being late for Mrs. Pomp's class when Baldi's right around the corner. Without safety scissors on hand (for Playtime and Beans) or another character like Gotta Sweep or First Prize nearby to bail you out, you're pretty much a dead man walking (or jumping in Playtime's case).
  • Corporal Punishment: In this horror game, the monster is a school teacher who just wants to kill you for getting his math questions wrong (or just for kicks).
  • Crapsaccharine World: The game's art style and presentation is supposed to mimic 90s edutainment games, with chipper voice acting, zany character designs, and bouncy background music. It's still a horror game through and through, however.
  • Creepy Child: Playtime and Beans are both fellow students who are seen as creepy due to their deformed art styles.
  • Dark Humor: The game revolves extensively around having humorous moments interspersed into the scary atmosphere of dread that comes from Baldi pursuing the player.
  • Darkness Equals Death: Featured in the camping minigame demo; if you allow the campfire to go out, an angry Baldi will immediately reappear and run you down.
  • Death Glare: If/when you get a math problem wrong, Baldi's smiling face on the screen slowly turns into an angry glare.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • Principal of the Thing can put It's a Bully in detention, which is useful for the player.
    • In Classic Remastered, it's impossible to access the secret endings if Debug Mode is used in a mode.
      • An update also locked the Debug Mode code behind NULL Style. If you try putting the code in at any point earlier, a message says "Find all the secrets first!"
    • In the Brutal Bonus Level of Classic Remastered, FileName2/NULL will always beat the player to the fourth exit and shut it off, no matter how fast they get there. Even if they get there first using cheats, it's impossible to walk through it.
    • Before finishing the Brutal Bonus Level, the credits for its Boss Battle theme, "Schoolhouse Trouble", are left scrambled aside from the name of its composer.
  • Developer's Room: The player can find the office of Mystman12 after successfully surviving the onslaught of FileName2/NULL, complete with a note from him as commemoration for them beating the challenge.
  • Disguised Horror Story: The entire point. It looks like a cute 90s edutainment game, but it's in fact a terrifying survival horror title. That said, the surprise is mitigated by the game's opening screen which states outright that it's a horror game, not a real educational game.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In Baldi's Basics Classic, Baldi hunts you down throughout the entire school with the intention of beating you to death with a ruler... because you got a math question wrong.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: Whenever Baldi is nearby, you can recognise his approach by the sound of him hitting his ruler against his open hand. It's pretty clear what he intends to use it for.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Randomly, on the loading screen shown after death, a small rectangle with what appears to be eyes will appear, before it turns red and then gives you a Jump Scare before crashing the game.
    • Also, on the launcher, the only graphic option is "1999".
  • Edutainment Game: The game puts on a facade of being an educational kid's game, but it's actually a horror game. You do have to do math problems, but they're either simple addition / subtraction or completely unsolvable, so they hardly teach you anything.
  • Endless Game: The update added a self-explanatory "Endless Mode". In this version of the game, Baldi gets faster over time instead of getting faster for every wrong answer.
  • Engrish: This game appears to have some outright nonsensical or badly-spoken sentences at times.
    Baldi: WOW! YOU EXIST!
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: In this world, math isn't so much hard as it is literally unsolvable, the last question being a jumble of numbers mashed together, but getting even a single problem wrong sics a terrifying monstrous teacher on you.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Played with. Only Baldi can kill you, but there are other characters trying to hinder your progress.
  • Evil Teacher: If you get even a single question wrong, Baldi WILL (or at least try to) kill you (in the demo, you don't even need to do that, he will just hunt you as part of Hide and Seek).
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: 1st Prize is apparently a science fair project that won first prize.
  • Excuse Plot:
    • The premise of the game is about as basic as you’d expect from any real low-budget edutainment game: school is out but the player's friend left his notebooks in all the classrooms. He can't fetch them himself since he's stuck in "eating practice", so it's up to the player.note 
    • The full-version demo drops even this tiny pretense: now Baldi just wants to play hide-and-seek (though, of course, his version is decidedly more deadly). It's not even explained why you're hunting for notebooks anymore.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: In Classic, every notebook except the first one comes with a single problem that's unsolvable gibberish, forcing the player to anger Baldi more and more.
    Baldi: Problem three! *loud static noise* plus *loud static noise* times *loud static noise* equals...
  • Faux Affably Evil: Baldi initially acts like a friendly Cool Teacher... but immediately turns Ax-Crazy once you give a wrong answer.
  • Friend or Foe?: Beans' gum wad can hit Baldi and slow him down, buying you some time. If you're cornered by Beans with Baldi closing in, this trick is useful for escaping. Be careful, though; the gum orb has a janky hitbox and will still slow you down like normal if it hits.
  • Gainax Ending:
    • The Secret Ending: If you escape the school after getting every problem wrong, rather than cutting to the usual A Winner Is You ending, it cuts to a screen showing Baldi frowning and the message: "You Won! But there's room for improvement, though...Go see Baldi in his office for some tips!". At this point, though, you still have control of your character. If you turn around from the message, you can see a door labeled: "Baldi's Office". If you go in, you'll find a skewed and distorted Baldi in the middle of the room, and a strange distorted image of a man T-posing behind Baldi's desk. If you get close enough to the desk, speaking in extremely low-quality distorted audio full of scratches and beeps, the man very awkwardly implores the player to destroy the game, passive aggressively insists through Suspiciously Specific Denial that the game didn't suck him into it, and that it ended up "corrupting" him upon doing so. He continues to incoherently blather on in a comedically stilted way about how the player needs to destroy the game before the game abruptly crashes.
    • The 1 Year Birthday Bash ending blows the original version's Secret Ending out of the water: When you get all seven notebooks and try to escape the school, all of a sudden you end up in the cafeteria in front of the giant birthday cake while surrounded by Baldi and the rest of the characters, who seem to have thrown a surprise party for you. Baldi invites you to blow out the candle at the top of the cake. If you take the lift up to the candle and blow it out...suddenly the building goes dark and the characters float up to the ceiling, and things get weird with a capital W. A hallway appears in the wall. If you "walk" from the lift across thin air to it, you'll find a completely screwed up version of the school with things in places they shouldn't be, deformed and almost zombie-like Baldi clones floating around like balloons (along with clones of some of the other characters), and a bizarre (yet harmless) thing that looks like a hideously deformed version of Baldi's head roaming the halls. If you wander around long enough, you'll find a room encouraging you to count the "balloons" (i.e., the floating miscolored Baldis) along with two more notebooks that serve no real purpose (but have distorted Baldi voices playing over them). If and when you put the amounts of the balloons in correctly, a new room opens up, containing a bunch of desk chairs and a chalkboard reading: "Whoa, you are smart!". Then a bunch of red distorted Baldi clones that seem to be made up of corrupted Baldi faces begin spawning in the school and homing in on you, and continuously do so until you can no longer move, at which point the screen fades to a deranged "Thank You!" screen with equally deranged versions of the cast on it. If you find Filename2 during this sequence, he once again bunglingly rambles to the player through extremely compressed audio about how not destroying the original game when you had the chance per his warning from the original version resulted in this all happening, but still, just...what?
  • Game Mod: There are several, such as Madden's Basics in Football and Memes, which changes characters, and Baldi's BRUTAL Basics in Education and Learning, which makes the game a lot harder, and adds more problems.
  • Glacier Waif: Baldi is really skinny, but he's also really slow (at first). Don't let this fool you into thinking he can't instantly end your game.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: A new item in the first demo; using it can quickly pull you down hallways away from characters and obstacles. Useful for getting away from Baldi or Playtime in a pinch, but can easily end up breaking if not used properly.
  • Guide Dang It!: The Brutal Bonus Level of Classic Remastered really lives up to its name. While there aren't any math problems to solve this time, you've got FileName2 constantly on your trail, who, initially, moves like Baldi, but without making a sound other than occasionally taunting the player or opening doors he passes by, and can even smash through windows to cut the player off. And if he succeeds in catching you, he'll not only tear the world around you apart, but force-close the game for good measure. This escalates further for the Boss Battle, with him getting faster on every hit, blocking off corridors with random objects and the only way to hurt him is throwing floating furniture at him. Needless to say, it's very difficult to beat this, so much so that even Mystman12 admits in the Developer's Room that it was the stupidest challenge he made yet. It'll be likely one will resort to trying to use Debug Mode just to help beat the fight. But that isn't a good idea...
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • Baldi's presence is heralded by him menacingly smacking his ruler against his palm. The static sound when he catches you counts as well.
    • Baldi: Congratulations! You found all seven notebooks! Now all you have to do is GETOUTWHILEYOUSTILLCAAAAAAAN!!! HUHUHUH
    • The weird noise Baldi makes in place of actual numbers in notebook 2 also serve as this.
      Baldi: Problem three! *loud static noise* plus *loud static noise* times *loud static noise* equals...
    • The noise Arts and Crafters makes when it attacks, which sounds a bit like amplifier feedback.
    • Some of 1st Prize's lines may count, especially given his Stephen Hawking-esque deadpan computer voice.
      1st Prize: I am programmed to desire your image.
    • The glitchy, static-y noises made by the red Baldi "balloons" that bum-rush you during the ending of the 1 Year Birthday Bash version, as well as the buzzing noise made by the giant floating Baldi head and the corrupted Baldi voice clips playing over the three Think Pad sequences.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Baldi's gift of a nice shiny quarter can be used to purchase a BSoda, which will probably save the player from him at some point in the run.
  • Hong Kong Dub: Baldi speaks in an intentionally bad lip sync when you open the "You Can Think Pad". Averted for the YCTPs in Classic Remastered, where his lip sync is much better.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The final rule on the list of rules is "No Breaking the Fourth Wall" which is, in and of itself, a fourth wall break.
  • Idiot Hair: While otherwise completely bald, Baldi does have a single hair on his head that serves as an ahoge.
  • Improvised Weapon: BSoda creates a moving wall of sorts that pushes away anyone in the way, perfect to get some breathing room between you and Baldi.
  • Interface Screw:
    • One of the events in the demo is the school getting covered in fog.
      Baldi's fog machine malfunctioned again! Ack! Hack!
    • Demo Mode of Classic Remastered distorts the math problem on the second Math Machine the player goes to in order to maintain consistency with how the second question in the other modes is distorted.
  • Jump Scare: When you're caught by Baldi.
  • Large Ham: Gotta Sweep sure is enthusiastic about his job.
  • Leitmotif: As of the update, Playtime's is an Ominous Music Box Tune.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Baldi starts off as a Mighty Glacier, but he gradually becomes faster and faster with every incorrect answer. In the original version, six wrong answers is the point he's straight up faster than the player, and 12 (technically 11 as long as one of the right answers was the first question in a book) was enough for him to go into hyperspeed Explanation .
    • Since an update added an ending that required 21 wrong answers, his speed was nerfed to the point where six answers had him outrun you walking, but not running, and while he'll gain a burst of speed after picking up a book, he'll slow down after a short period, but he'll still outrun your running speed with higher counts of wrong answers. Explanation 
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Gotta Sweep is a broom that "sweeps" you and the enemies.
    • Playtime forces you to play jump-rope with her.
    • Baldi has but one hair on his head.
    • It's A Bully is The Bully to his fellow students, blocking the hall in exchange for an item from your inventory.
  • Medium Blending: Some characters are intentionally terrible 3D models, others are flat MS paint drawings, and one's even a (unmoving).GIF of a real person's choppy render.
  • Mighty Glacier: Baldi is extremely slow (though gets faster and faster for every problem you get wrong), but only needs to touch you once to kill you.
  • Mood Whiplash: Given the type of game this is, it's bound to show up sooner or later.
  • Mook Bouncer:
    • Arts and Crafters can teleport you to where you started, but in Classic, it can also teleport Baldi as well. It only attacks when every notebook is collected, though.
    • Gotta Sweep is an example, too, though he physically escorts you (and enemies) around the school.
    • 1st Prize pushes you around similarly to Gotta Sweep, but he actively targets you in exchange for moving about the school more slowly.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • An inclusion of the update. The player beating the game normally equates to the infamous default ending. To get the Secret Ending, they must intentionally provoke Baldi into going maximum speed by getting ALL 21 problems wrong.
    • There's multiple more to obtain in Classic Remastered, three of which are required to access the Brutal Bonus Level.
  • No Fair Cheating: If Debug Mode is used in the Brutal Bonus Level of Classic Remastered, not only will NULL call the player out for it, but he'll also immediately catch the player as punishment. After NULL's downfall, while the Baldloon still calls the player out for cheating, albeit in a more goofy manner, it doesn't kill the player, instead preventing them from collecting the notebooks needed to proceed.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Even though it's Baldi's Schoolhouse, he's not the principal.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: When you're solving the math problems, at first Baldi's face appears on a little screen near the bottom instructing you on what to do. But once you get a problem wrong, the music suddenly cuts out, and every time after that, Baldi won't be there, it'll just be a black screen. Not to mention the complete lack of music for most of the game. The only thing heard after failing for the first time is Baldi smacking his ruler...
  • Obvious Rule Patch:
    • Baldi's "I HEAR MATH THAT BAD" mechanic: Since answering math questions takes time, the player could be tempted to intentionally fail all the questions in order to just collect the notebook and move on as fast as possible. Patch 1.3 introduced the ability for Baldi to hear when you fail all three questions, which will result in him going straight to the classroom you were in, meaning the player has an incentive to at least try and answer one question correct.
    • Baldi originally gained a linear speed boost with each question the player got wrong, which results in him becoming literally unavoidable from the fourth notebook onward if the player deliberately got everything wrong due to him running so fast that the sound of his ruler slapping glitches out. The formula for Baldi's speed and anger was eventually reworked to make an all-wrong-answer run possible, namely by making his speed boost from the player failing possible questions wear off over time; he still gets a permanent boost from the impossible questions, though.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: Playtime's Leitmotif as of the update.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: The only enemy in the game that can kill the player is Baldi, and it's a kill-on-touch.
  • Power-Up: The "Energy Flavored Zesty Bars" refill the player's stamina, with the added bonus of giving them double their maximum stamina until either that expires or they collect a notebook.
  • Press X to Die: There's nothing stopping you from getting every question wrong on the notebooks, much like there's nothing stopping Baldi from immediately bum-rushing you back to the title screen. On the other hand, getting all the questions wrong is the only way to reach the secret ending.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Some of the characters are this. The Principal is just there to enforce the rules, Gotta Sweep just cleans the hallways, and the only reason why It's a Bully attends Here School is because "every good school needs a good bully."
  • Punny Name: The school is called "Here School". What does Baldi do to find you, and what do you need to do to locate most characters? Hear.
  • Retraux: Its entire art style is ripped straight from a low-quality 90s 3D school computer game.
  • School Setting Simulation: The game takes place entirely within a schoolhouse full of freakish and bizarre characters. It might look like a educational game, but you'll soon find out that it is very, very scary...
  • Scolded for Not Buying: Johnny will make condescending remarks at the player if they don't buy anything in his store.
  • Self-Deprecation: The game is drenched with a lot of negative self-aware jabs poking fun at the fact that in the end, it's just another silly horror game with low-quality graphics AND text.
  • Sensory Abuse: Loud static sounds are used in the game's jumpscares à la Slender.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Parodied. In one room, the chalkboard says "Look! A Homestar Runner reference!" (Another chalkboard actually does have a Homestar Runner reference, with a "g" described as "healthy".)
    • It's A Bully's echo-y voice is most likely a reference to PilotRedSun's infamous "Preschool Bully" video. He even says "I'm gonna take your candy" in the exact same way.
    • The Principal's whistling is sampled from the episode "The Banana" of The Amazing World of Gumball, which was itself a reference to Kill Bill.
    • The Kickstarter demo's anti-piracy screen appears to be a reference to the infamously eerie Copy Protection screens of the Donkey Kong Country games and other games from that era.
  • Stalked by the Bell: In the Kickstarter demo, if the player takes too long to complete the corn maze at the Farm field trip (350 seconds, specifically), a giant version of Gotta Sweep will appear and begin to sweep the entire maze away. Shortly afterwards, Baldi appears as well and rushes you down. The corn stalks will also begin to gradually grow taller before then, making finding the flag that completes the minigame more difficult.
  • The Stinger: NULL is erased from the game for good after clearing Null Mode, but should a rare crash screen be encountered, it triggers a rare cutscene. It appears to be a lake, where NULL then emerges, flickering and flashing different layers of himself; whether it's showing how he got trapped or if he's not really dead is unknown.
  • Stock Sound Effects: The current version of the farm minigame uses stock sounds taken from the Warner Bros. sound library, most notably the scream used for the angry farmer in the minigame (which was once a placeholder for Mario's voice in an early build of Super Mario 64).
  • Stylistic Suck: The game looks terrible, with badly-made CGI and weird, misshapen models, (complete with nonsensical dialogue at times) but only to induce a specific kind of nostalgia.
  • Subverted Kids' Show: It faithfully starts out like a normal albeit poorly-made edutainment game for kids, but takes a nightmarish turn only minutes in.
  • Suddenly Shouting:
    • A terrifying, rather loud example. Subverted in the Remaster after beating NULL, where he simply says "Find a way out before I catch you!" without any yelling.
      Baldi: Congratulations! You found all seven notebooks! Now all you need to do is... GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!! Hahaaa!
    • Arts and Crafters does this as well when he attacks you for having more notebooks than him.
    • Another terrifying example from Mrs. Pomp:
      Mrs. Pomp: WHY WEREN'T YOU AT MY CLASS?!
  • Super-Senses: Baldi has "incredible hearing abilities", as he can hear any door that the player opens. Baldi's AI has this ability, as when a door is opened, he instantly heads to that door, unless the tape or phone is used, or the door has WD-NoSquee applied to it.
  • Take That!: In the Full Game Early Access Demo and the Challenges Demo, Baldi remarks on the main menu screen on the possibility that, for all he knows, the final game could be a free-to-play Match-Three Game with in-app purchases, a dig at games like Gardenscapes infamous for their Very False Advertising of the actual game.
  • Tastes Like Purple: "Energy Flavored Zesty Bars" are an item you can find in game, which taste like energy.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: When you cut Playtime's jump rope.
    Playtime: Oh! That makes me sad!
  • The Cake Is a Lie: One of the first things Baldi says that getting all the questions right might result in something good, and even gives you "A shiny quarter!" for doing the first notebook with no errors. Of course, that's as far as the façade can go.
  • Tranquil Fury: In Classic Remastered, FileName2/NULL undergoes this at the final part of his exclusive mode, engaging the player in a surprise Boss Battle and relentlessly chasing them throughout the schoolhouse until he finally falls. His hatred towards the player, however, ends up being his undoing.
  • Trivially Obvious: When you get all problems right in the 1st notebook, the YCTP says "WOW! YOU EXIST!"
  • Turns Red: Every problem you get wrong (so basically every notebook you collect aside from the first one, at least in Story Mode) makes Baldi get faster. This literally happens to the entire schoolhouse once you collect all the notebooks and trigger the first fake exit.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: In the hidden Brutal Bonus Level, Filename2 will close the last door, preventing you from winning. However, you also gain the ability to pick up certain objects and throw them right at him and Filename2 is provoked into chasing you, resulting in the first ever boss fight in the series. Your and Filename2's speed will increase for every hit Filename2 receives, forcing you to react quickly.
  • Unwinnable: Whether by mistake, design, or insanity varies from case-to-case, but it's possible for It's A Bully, who won't budge without being given an item (so he's insurmountable if your inventory is empty), to trap you between him and Baldi, at which point you might as well just restart on your own and save yourself the Sensory Abuse from being caught. If you're especially lucky, Principal of the Thing might rescue you by driving away It's a Bully, but this is very unlikely.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: It is unknown if the Principal knows that forcing you into detention will likely get you killed by one of his teachers. Regardless, he strolls through the halls clearly seeing Baldi chasing you with a ruler, so maybe he does know; he just doesn't care. On the other hand, he does protect you from the bully, which suggests that he might care about the player.
  • Wham Line: A few from Baldi.
    • "Congratulations! You found all seven notebooks! Now all you need to do is... GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!! Hahahaaaah!"
    • Null's dialogue from the hidden ending:
      Null: Oh jeepers, you found me. Good job, I'm glad you found me, because I have something kind of important to say. *beep* It's about th-the game... Don't, *beep* Uh, Eh. Don't *beep* Don't, just, *laughter* this is... This is probably looking pretty ridiculous. *beep* Don't tell anyone about this game. You wanna... don't - don't bring attention to yourself. Destroy it, destroy the game. Destroy the game. Before it's too late. *beep* What i'm saying is... is get out of this, while you still can- *beep* Just, don't... don't know that you probably know I'm not saying that I'm trapped inside the game, no that would be ridiculous. No I'm... *beep* I can't... this is... I'm not... the game was... kind of... *beep* I got really corrupted. Yeah, I... *beep* I don't know what to say. Just... Just trust me. We gonna... *beep* *This isn't... This seems... I me-I mean it seems...ohh. *beep* They'd know I... They intentionally... that's... I guess... I can't- They can't tell you, and some... stuff is classified. I can't say it. *beep* I wish I could say more. I can't talk normally. I-it's corrupted. There's... *beep*.. Yeah... *beep* Just... close the program. Destroy it. Never come back. *long beep*
  • Wham Shot:
    • At the end of the 1 Year Birthday Bash version, Baldi and the others throw a surprise birthday party for you, giving off the impression that the game will end with the characters burying the hatchet with you long enough to celebrate the game's anniversary. Then you blow out the candle, and Baldi and the others suddenly float up to the ceiling and a new hallway appears in the wall. It turns out the game isn't quite over yet...
    • Filename2/NULL suddenly closing the last exit in Glitch Mode can also count.
  • A Winner Is You:
    • When you get all the notebooks and exit the school, you get a screen which contains a slightly-altered picture from the title screen with text reading "Congratulations!!!! You won!". Back to the title screen. Considering the nature of the game, odds are this was on purpose.
    • As of the update, this is the normal ending, and the image is accompanied by "Wow, great job. *Stuttered buzzing* Please try and do worse though I need to-" followed by a long beeping sound.
    • Subverted with the secret ending. If you get all of the math questions wrong then finish the game, you are greeted with a screen telling you to go to Baldi's office for some tips to help you improve, except you still have control of your character, and you can enter Baldi's office behind you. Entering his office will lead to filename2 rather clumsily and passive-aggressively telling you to delete the game and never play it again before it crashes.
    • The Kickstarter demo lacks a proper ending when completed; when completed, you are taken to an empty black room with only Baldi and a message to the player's left reading: "Some day, you will get the satisfying, canonical, and exciting ending that you deserve. Today is not that day." Baldi then dabs to a very loud noise and the game closes. If completed in Free Run mode, the game simply takes you back to the title screen.
  • Word-Salad Horror: When you get all three questions right in the first notebook, the response is "Wow! You exist!" This is probably the first hint you get of the game's true nature.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The player is presumably a child.
  • Zerg Rush: What happens at the end of the 1 Year Birthday Bash ending if you don't find Null beforehand; if you enter the correct number of "balloons" in the balloon room and open the secret classroom, you get swarmed by red "Baldloons" and the game ends. In Classic Remastered, however, they just float on their own accord, destroying any chunks they collide with.

Congraaatulations! You've read every last trope! Now all you need to do is GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAAAAAAN! Hahahaaaah!

Alternative Title(s): Baldis Basics