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Feb 3rd 2013 at 10:25:14 AM •••

I faced an unwinnable by mistake (I hope) error in Loom. I don't know about the version with the VO, though, I mean the ancient DOS game.

In the glass makers town, when you walk past the huge skythe, you can click it and you get the four notes for sharpening things. If you don't look at it, you can walk past just fine, whereas normally you cannot proceed to a point of no return unless you have all your spells.

When you stand in the smithy, later in the game, watching the smith finishing the last sword for the clerics, you have to unsharpen it. If you forgot to get the spell from the scythe you can stand there and wait for all eternity, the cleric and the smith will keep chatting, but you won't get caught and cannot win the game.

May 7th 2011 at 8:21:48 PM •••

No mention of the first battle against Ramsus in Xenogears? The game gives you NO warning that you're about to fight a very hard boss, and puts a save point after the Point of No Return (I would have tried leveling up, but I couldn't do that since my access to enemies was cut off). And it stacks many factors against you - one of the weakest characters in the game, Bart, is paired up with a healer who has very weak spells and misses half the time (thanks for nothing, Margie!), while Ramsus is paired with Miang, who CANNOT be killed (neither can Margie, but she sucks and isn't much help in this fight), and heals Ramsus fully each turn, which means that you have to defeat him in one blow. It's an almost impossible battle if Bart is underleveled or poorly equipped. It wasn't quite "unwinnable" since I managed to beat him, but I lost count of many times I lost the battle.

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Sep 12th 2011 at 5:52:34 AM •••

If you can still win legitimately, it's not Unwinnable.

Dec 4th 2010 at 2:10:13 PM •••

"At one point in Area 6, you can shoot up through a ceiling and enter a door, but can't go back because you can't shoot down. The only way out is suicide, if that is possible."

OBJECTION! That is a one-way door to before, there so you don't have to trek through same-old same-old on your way to the next level. Most were designed to be passable once that level's powerup has been aquired. In this case one can climb the wall, turn around and shoot down.

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Nov 15th 2010 at 3:07:12 AM •••

Removed the following examples

  • There is a infamous situation in Ocarina Of Time that can occur in the Water Temple. Due to the design of the level, it's possible to use up all currently-available keys while failing to unlock a particular door. You can't get to any more keys, since all the rest are behind a door that requires a key to unlock. Since finding your way around the place is basically trial-and-error, this particular Unwinnable situation is annoyingly easy to stumble into
  • Also, if you fail to get the key on the bottom floor of the main room that requires the Megaton Hammer, before raising the water level, the level will become unwinnable. This is also true for several other keys.

It is impossible for the Water Temple to become unwinnable. I don't know where this idea comes from, but there are always enough keys. This is without including sequence breaks, of course. The second example is rather odd, as there are no places to use the Megaton Hammer in the Water Temple.

Come to think of it, I should probably cut the Gerudo Training Ground example, too. The entry itself admits that it can't become unwinnable.

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Nov 30th 2010 at 10:26:34 PM •••

How about we relist the Water Temple and just make it clear that we do mean the sequence breaks? If finding your way around is trial & error, then you can break the sequence by accident!

Jan 17th 2011 at 3:33:19 AM •••

You misunderstand my reasoning for including the phrase "without including sequence breaks". If you include them, you can actually skip several keys entirely, get a few keys early, or just hover up and jumpslash through the boss door to skip the temple entirely. In any event, it is *completely* impossible to get stuck in the Water Temple, sequence breaks or no.

Nov 5th 2010 at 3:00:34 AM •••

An example was added recently for Diablo II, stating that restarting too many times results in "bad dead bodies", which I was unfamiliar with. I tried looking for information on it and as far as I can gather this only comes up with hacked items and edited saves. Can you get this error when you're not hacking?

Cause if it only comes up with hacking, then it's not an example.

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Nov 11th 2010 at 10:48:51 PM •••

The listing implies it is caused by too many Rage Quits in a row. Diablo II seems to be trying to fight what would otherwise be a Good Bad Bug.

Oct 27th 2010 at 10:37:17 PM •••

The Metroid Prime "Artifact of Warrior" example may be By Design. Otherwise, why would the port keep it?

Sep 28th 2010 at 8:09:54 PM •••

Cut the Broken Sword 2 example after some thought. This isn't a conventional sequential Lost Forever: One should have to go to some trouble to turn an critical item that can be picked up into an item that can't be picked up. Since it always happens at the same time, and since the refusal is so blunt — "your character sees no need to carry that"? — it seems comparable to the classic By Design example of the door that turns into graffiti after you cross its threshold.

Edited by AnonymousMcCartneyfan
Sep 8th 2010 at 10:25:26 PM •••

It seems the Sega Genesis version of Bubble and Squeak is Unwinnable by Mistake due to the springs being less "springy" than their Amiga counterparts. One of the early desert levels is thus impossible to complete as a result, rendering it impossible to finish the game.

Please correct me if I’m mistaken.

Edited by Bananaquit
Aug 5th 2010 at 9:52:59 PM •••

Just removed this (again):

  • Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum has one, albeit very convoluted. There is a trade on a remote island that players can make to get a German Magikarp - if done while the traded Pokemon is the one in the team that knows Surf while nothing in the party knows Teleport or Fly, this can cause the player to become stuck. Even then, though, this is only if they are totally lacking in Rare Candies (since given the timing of the trade just one level-up could potentially evolve Magikarp into Gyarados, which can learn Surf) as well as all three of the fishing rods while with a team with nothing that can learn the needed move or Fly.
    • And given that the Pokemon that needs to be traded can only be caught by fishing (or hatching an egg, but its evolved form can also only be found in the wild by fishing) and depositing Key Items in the PC is a thing of the distant past, this would also mean that the player would have had to trade with another player at some point prior to making this in-game trade.
    • In Ruby and Sapphire, you'll get stuck if you fly to the end of Victory Road, go backwards through the cave without knowing Surf, and jump off one of the ledges. This was fixed in Emerald.
      • Could you potentially simply fight wild Pokémon until your own Pokémon use up all their PP and "struggle" themselves into fainting, thus forcing you to wake up at the nearest Pokémon Center, albeit with half your money gone?

According to the archived discussion, this is actually By Design.

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Dec 23rd 2010 at 5:00:27 PM •••

Just removed a similar example yet again. Honestly, do some editors never check the discussion?

Jul 22nd 2010 at 12:06:57 AM •••

Removed the following examples

  • Though not exactly an Unwinnable situation, a nasty glitch in some initial release versions of Spyro: Enter The Dragon makes it impossible to achieve 100% Completion: in the first Speedway level, if you leave the level before winning the second egg, then a glitch makes that egg unreachable even if you win the race for it later.
  • The Xbox 360 port of Banjo Kazooie can cause five notes not to appear, thus making 100% Completion impossible.
    • To elaborate, in the N64 version, notes would regenerate every time you re-entered the level, meaning you'd have to collect every note in one go. In the re-release on the Xbox 360, notes you collect would be yours forever. Unfortunately, one of the gameplay videos shown in the Bottles jigsaw puzzles depicts Banjo collecting some notes inside a beehive. The game will register these notes as collected but not give you the points for them. Ever.
  • It is possible in The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion to obtain a certain quest item before activating the quest, which makes it impossible to get 100% completion because the quest will not detect that you already have the one of a kind item. At least it's not in the main line — but it can also cause the game to crash if you have not taken certain precautions.
    • This needs further explanation. The item in question is a particular sword - Umbra - the single most powerful 2h sword in the unmodded game, a weapon of incredible damage potential that also has a built-in Soul Trap. This weapon can only be found on a warrior woman (also named Umbra) who is camped in a specific spot in a specific dungeon. The quest in question tasks you to find her and retrieve her sword. The reasons you'd go ahead and do this before getting the quest are fairly obvious - it's in incredibly powerful sword and, because it's flagged as a Quest Item, has 0 weight and cannot be removed from your inventory (unless you turn it in to the questgiver and then choose to keep the sword - which causes the weapon to suddenly gain it's enormous weight). Now, here is the thing - the only way to get this sword before the quest is to know exactly where it is and plan very carefully. Umbra is, depending on your class and preparation, one of the single most dangerous fights in the entire game. You cannot simply waltz in at level 1 and expect to get it away from her, she attacks on sight, is armed with one of the most powerful weapons in the game, has incredibly high stats, is alarmingly well-protected and runs pretty fucking fast. There are a few tricks - you can kill her easily with some Game Breaking magic/potion vulnerability chicanery, or if you're a good enough archer, there is one specific point in her room where she can't reach you, enabling you to plunk away at her and pray to god you brought enough arrows to actually kill her. A casual player who blunders into Umbra - even a high-level one - will likely get massacred if they are unaware of the exact level of threat they are facing. In other words, you need to go out of your way to get to this 'unwinnable', you need to carefully prepare in order to get it or else it just won't happen. (Side note- the game crash only happens if you attempt to GET the quest to get Umbra WHILE you have Umbra in your inventory. There are patch fixes and console commands to fix this.) (By the way, seeing as how it IS the most damaging 2h sword plus the Soul Trap PLUS the zero weight, it's actually highly recommended that you DO go out of your way to get this minor 'unwinnable', as the only downside is that you won't ever get 100% completion and you'll miss out on the Mask of Clavicus Vile, a helmet that really only buffs your Charisma/social skills. Not at all a bad tradeoff for a zero-weight, 2h soul-trapping siege weapon. This is not even to mention that if you choose to get this weapon the 'intended' way, doing the quest and then choosing to keep the sword, it turns out that in its non-Quest Item state, the fucking thing weighs nearly 70 pounds.)

100% Completion and Unwinnable are different things entirely. I left the examples where 100% Completion altered something (giving a different ending or a bonus level) as these are closer to the true spirit of the trope.

Jul 1st 2010 at 1:17:57 PM •••

Are we sure the Metal Gear example isn't by Design? It's a Stealth Game, so shooting anyone is dubious. Shooting hostages (who are presumably innocent or on your side) would be a double fault. So it is entirely possible that the game blocking the win for people who shoot too many hostages is on purpose. It's a Videogame Cruelty Punishment with a severe unintended consequence.

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Jul 3rd 2010 at 1:28:30 PM •••

Cut this and put it here for now. This game is from the NES era (even if the Nintendo port isn't good). This could be on purpose.

  • In Metal Gear, you need to rescue hostages to increase your rank. If you shoot a hostage, then you will LOSE a rank star. You cannot get some of the items needed to complete the game until you are at 4 stars. It is easy to have too few live hostages left to achieve this ranking. It's even more cruel when you consider that this is a long, passworded game, and that most new players won't know any better. It's ESPECIALLY cruel because one of the boss fights is in a room with 3 hostages.

Jun 25th 2010 at 1:38:34 PM •••

Cut this and put it here for now. Not sure that this is a genuine example.

  • According to part 3 of AVGN's Castlevania review, the Nintendo 64 version of the game does not let you continue if you pick up one certain item before another. Specifically, if you pick up a bottle of Mandragora before the first time you pick up a bottle of Magical Nitro, the game becomes unwinnable, because you can't hold both items at the same time, and you can't put down either item. To continue with the game, you must use Nitro at a specific place. Good luck throwing it away, because unlike most other items, you can't. You simply must use it. But you can never pick it up if you already picked up Mandragora, because you can't throw that away either.
    • To be fair you have to go out of your way to do this. You receive the key to the room where the Mandragora is stored RIGHT BEFORE you first pick up the Magical Nitro. Essentially, this means taking the key, turning around and back tracking through the entire level instead of entering the next room and playing as normal. Although this doesn't make this example any less true, whoever figured this out was looking for unwinnable situations...oh. And this trouper haven't played this game in years but doesn't see why if you were to pick up the Mandragora you couldn't just drop it off at either wall that can be blown up.

Jun 16th 2010 at 10:11:17 PM •••

There is one person/set of people who like the classic "Sierra Sierra Sierra Sierra Arrgh!!!!!" joke. There is another set that thinks this joke is unfunny and, for reasons uncertain, want to expunge it.

I'm with the first group, personally, as long as no one breaks the folder mark-up trying it, but I can have it either way.

Jun 25th 2010 at 12:59:50 PM •••

I'm with the second group. I like jokes, when they are funny, this one is only funny to a few people who know the joke, to everyone else, it just looks like the page was written by a some bile-filled idiot who can barely write properly  *

. Also, it makes the folder button disproportionately huge compared to the others. Also, It makes the listed examples look far less serious when the whole section is named like if someone is foaming at the mouth when writing them. If people are dead set on referring to the joke, give it it's own bullet IN the folder - which is a perfectly valid thing to do, just don't name it after it.

Jun 12th 2010 at 6:58:21 PM •••

Okay. a new Bioshock 2 example was added. I suspect it's really by Design, since it seems to be cleaning the gene pool (so to speak — it takes stupid behavior to trigger it) and since it seems to include programming that isn't normal.

Anyone else have an opinion?

May 10th 2010 at 3:01:24 PM •••

How about IRL examples? I'm asking 'cause I was in a situation that could fall under this trope: I went through a not-so-standard (composite) bureaucratic procedure, that, when "finished", due to the flawed process of the procedure, in addition to not making me achieve the goal which this procedure is meant for, it rendered the goal impossible to achieve. So, would this qualify for this trope? personally, I think it really does fit the concept of the trope, but your mileage may vary and I am asking to tell how much and to which end it varies, so i would be able to decide if I should put it in the example list, or not. (TL;DR - for the trope, or not?). Could provide the exact details, if needed.

Edited by Spanguole
May 7th 2010 at 8:34:51 PM •••

About Sonic 3 and the quarter-pipe:

It's Unwinnable in a minor sense when it happens because, if you get stuck in there and can't get out, then you can't finish the level and are definitely going to lose a life when the timer runs out.

It becomes truly unwinnable if you take the instructions in the game's manual at face value. The manual tells you to reset the game if you get in that situation — and if you reset, then you automatically lose the game you were playing before you reset. (Bonus points in that the zone where this glitch happens is some distance from the start of the game.)

So, this example is kind of meta.

Apr 25th 2010 at 6:08:12 PM •••

About the Link to the Past example that got cut: even if you can always get back to the Dark World via the Hyrule Temple, the cut example appears to involve a place in the Light World that requires a certain flute to go anywhere from there. If you get there by Sequence Breaking with the mirror and some displaced Dark scenery before you get that flute, you can't even get to the Temple, or anywhere else, if I understood correctly — in which case it really is Unwinnable.

This is why ending entries with So Yeah is discouraged.

Apr 18th 2010 at 10:30:49 AM •••

Okay, so...why don't any of the folders work? It's been bugging me for a while.

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Apr 19th 2010 at 6:14:39 PM •••

it seems to be a "too big" thing; deleting a handful of examples (ANY handful of examples) from the "Other Video Games" section fixes it

Mar 18th 2010 at 1:19:40 AM •••

Removed Rune Factory example:

  • Staying overnight at the end of winter in a cave that's on an island... crashes the game.

because that's not Unwinnable, that's just a bug. Had it worked as intended, there would always be a way out— at worst, you could camp on the island until next winter.

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Apr 1st 2010 at 12:27:41 PM •••

IIRC, Unwinnable by Mistake does include unwinnable because of bugs. This was a severe programming mistake. If the designers had intended to crash the game, then it would've been Unwinnable by Design; but since designers never intend to crash the game, we know it's a mistake.

Apr 1st 2010 at 12:37:15 PM •••

I would that that a game with a vicious crash bug would full under "Game Breaking Bug." Unwinnable By Mistake seems to be for design oversights, rather than outright glitches.

Apr 6th 2010 at 5:15:12 PM •••

Let me rephrase that.

"If you do X, the game crashes" is not Unwinnable. It's just a Game-Breaking Bug.

Aug 8th 2010 at 5:13:43 PM •••

According to the intro to Unwinnable by Design, Unwinnable by Mistake is when "either a bug or an oversight has rendered the game broken" (emphasis mine), and I agree. This category may overlap with Game-Breaking Bug (as it arguably does with Jet Set Willy's Attic Bug, although that example is of an error in the sprite table, hence could be argued to be an error in data rather than code), but they're not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Aug 8th 2010 at 8:08:26 PM •••

Unwinnable, though, means the game is still playable, you just can't complete it because the plot progression is broken, an enemy is unkillable for some reason, a key item becomes inaccessible, or what have you. If he game outright crashes.. well you can't win it, sure, but you can't play it either. If there's no distinction, then we would have to start lsting every crash bug in any game on here as "unwinnable", and that just isn't viable.

Aug 9th 2010 at 9:08:23 AM •••

...I think we need a canonical distinction between Unwinnable by Mistake and Game-Breaking Bug, because I'm having trouble thinking of examples that clearly go in one but not the other.

Aug 9th 2010 at 8:49:30 PM •••

Okay, then:

Game-Breaking Bug vs. Unwinnable by Mistake:

The mistake in Unwinnable by Mistake simply makes it impossible to finish the game. Game-Breaking Bug makes it impossible to play the game.

Or to put it another way:

Let's use the Zarf's Interactive Scale (extended edition) from Unwinnable by Design. If the programming error leads to a "polite" situation (that is, it crashes the game immediately) or a "tough" situation (that is, you can tell immediately that you have triggered a bug that will hinder your ability to win), then it's a Game-Breaking Bug. If it creates a situation that is "cruel" or worse (that is, the bug triggers and will keep you from winning, but it neither stops you from playing nor immediately announces itself), then it is Unwinnable by Mistake.

Aug 9th 2010 at 8:51:17 PM •••

One other note:

If you can't tell immediately whether a game is Unwinnable by Mistake or Unwinnable by Design, then it cannot be a Game-Breaking Bug.

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