But Thou Must!

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"That illusion of choice was just a formality. Your task has already been decided, you see."

The video game version of You Can't Fight Fate. In video games, the main character has two jobs: in the plot, he is The Hero of his motley crew of rebellious aristocracy, mysterious girls, and many others. He's the leader, the point-man, calling the shots. He's also, however, the player's avatar in the game world. Therefore, it's becoming increasingly common for the other characters to turn to you and ask (in the form of a multiple-choice question and Dialogue Tree) what they should do in any given situation.

The problem, however, is this: The writer already has the script plotted out, and your decision, whatever it is, is going to affect all of jack squat. Either the other characters will just ignore the answer and get on with what you're supposed to be doing, or they'll ask the question over and over until you make the "correct" choice. You might see some altered dialogue or a slightly different scene, but the plot itself will remain largely unchanged. In particularly Egregious cases, such as the page image, the dialogue tree will give you multiple "yes" options but not a single "no".

Occasionally a game utilizing this trope will toss in a question where an incorrect answer results in a Nonstandard Game Over (God knows why). Such questions are usually pretty obvious (the Big Bad asking you to become his disciple, for example), though, so it's easy to avoid falling into that trap. Either way, this represents the game forcing you to Follow the Plotted Line, period.

In some games, particularly in Sierra adventure games, answering a choice incorrectly can leave the game in an Unwinnable state, for example the salesman in Space Quest I, who you have to refuse the first offer from, then wait for him to reappear so he offers you a jetpack, which is critical later on. Guide Dang It!

This trope doesn't apply for games that make heavy use of a Karma Meter, such as the Ogre Battle series, or most western RPGs. In those games, your decisions can and will direct the plot, albeit usually on a pre-programmed branch.

Another way to make these questions relevant is to tie them into Relationship Values—your decisions might not change the plot, but they will change how other characters perceive you.

Named after one of the first instances of the trope, from the original Dragon Quest.

See also Railroading. Compare Stupidity Is the Only Option, Morton's Fork.

Examples of But Thou Must! include:

Examples where you are forced to give the "right" answer

(giving the "wrong" answer makes it impossible to proceed until you give the "right" answer (including giving Nonstandard Game Overs)

Action Adventure Games

  • Princess Zelda from The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time does it, among others. In her case, she actually reacts to your refusal, but then the conversation loops right back to the same question.
    • Also, in the same game if you say "No" when the Great Deku Tree asks if you're ready to enter him and fight the evils inside, he'll assume that you want to train some more and not open up until you talk to him again.
    • But in the color version of Link's Awakening, if you say "no" enough times to the photographer, you get an alternate photo in which you're knocked out.
    • A more obscure one exists in Majora's Mask. In the Astral Observatory, you can look through the old man's telescope by talking to him. He asks you if you want to look through it first, and you can refuse. He'll take it well. However, speak to him as Deku Link and he won't take no for an answer.
      • Also in Majora's Mask, if you say "No" when Kafei asks if you can keep a secret he'll say "Listen, when someone asks you something like that, you're supposed to say 'yes'" (or something along those lines).
    • In Skyward Sword, when Zelda asks you to wake her up thousands of years later, you have the option to answer "Of Course!", "I promise" and "I will".
      • Skyward Sword does this a couple of other places too, and tends to make the answer more about personality than choice, making the above a demonstration that no interpretation of Link could possibly refuse to help Zelda.
  • In NieR, at the end of part one, when Kaine is blocking the door in the library that a giant regenerating Shade is in, you are given the option of petrifying her, or not. The game will not continue until you choose to petrify her.
    • Also when meeting Grimoire Weiss, you gotta pick him up and agree to make a deal or else the Shades will never stop spawning.
  • Okami does this a lot, played for some jokes as Issun, your sidekick, expects you to say "no" almost every time.
    • Amusingly, if you say 'No' to Queen Himiko about calming the Water Dragon down, she'll then say "But... you must!".
  • In Psychonauts, Ford Cruller asks you if you want to be an agent for him. If you select the No option, he just smacks you and says "How 'bout now?".
    • In Sasha Nein's level, the latter tells you to shoot 1000 censors to get your Marksman license and leaves you alone with the adjustable Mook Maker. Even if you try to go the boring route and leave the machine alone, at one point it shuts down giving you no other option than to turn it to the maximum setting marked with a skull which naturally causes all hell to break loose. However, if you go back to Sasha's mind later, he reveals claims that he wanted you to do that all along.
  • Brave Fencer Musashi did this at least twice. When Steward asks you to rescue the princess, if you choose "No", he literally says, "But Thou Must!".
    • After you agree to save the princess, Steward asks you to visit the library before leaving. If you say no, Steward hints you're either lazy or stupid, and asks you again. If you say "no" at least once, Musashi responds exasperatedly that he will go to the library, but if he says "yes" the first time, he remarks that it's actually a good idea.
  • The king of Dotnia in Three D Dot Game Heroes will break the fourth wall to tell you "the story won't advance if you pick that option" when you chose the wrong dialogue choice.
  • At the start of Chapter 2 of the NES game StarTropics, your submarine is hailed by a dolphin who asks you to find her missing son. Your little robotic navigator/dolphin-speak-translator asks if he can tell her you'll do it. Say no all you'd like - you're gonna find that damn dolphin.
  • After you defeat Curly Brace in Cave Story, she asks if you're there to kill her and the Mimigas. The game does allow you to proceed for a bit afterward, regardless of your answer—but you eventually reach a point where you can't proceed without returning a dog to Jenka, and you can't take this dog from Curly's house until you tell her that you don't intend to kill her.

Action Games

  • In The Matrix: Path of Neo, the player is presented with the choice Morpheus gave to Neo in the first film: the choice between the red and blue pill. If the player takes the blue pill, the game is over.
  • Rambo for the NES console hangs a lampshade on this trope at the beginning of the game, where Colonel Trautman offers Rambo a mission in exchange for getting out of prison. You are prompted to either accept the mission or reply that you feel safer in prison. If you choose the second answer, the Colonel flat-out tells you that the game can't begin until you select the first answer.
    • It happens again after Rambo is captured by the Soviet commander. The commander demands that Rambo make radio contact with the federal agent who sent him on his mission. You can either remain silent or do as he says. If you choose the former, the commander repeats his demand word for word, and he will do this ad infinitum until you finally break down and make the damn call. Later, playing as Co trying to rescue Rambo, you run into a soldier who offers to trade you a dress for your rifle. You can refuse all you like, but you're not proceeding any further in the game without the dress. All three events happen in the movie this game's based on, Rambo: First Blood Part 2 (well, Co's rescue attempt plays out a bit differently...), so it's no surprise that deviating from the script is not allowed. (Rambo does initially turn down the mission, but not because of fear, he just doesn't think life outside of prison is any better than inside it.)
  • Batman: Arkham City. When you're playing as Catwoman, the game gives you a choice about whether to go and save Batman or to simply take two big boxes of loot and leave Arkham City. Choosing the second option allows you a brief look at outside Arkham, but then results in a Nonstandard Game Over where Batman is killed, Wayne Manor overrun, and the Joker's thugs basically raze Gotham City to the ground. The game then "rewinds the tape" to the point where you can make the choice again.

Adventure Games

  • Done incredibly emotionally painfully in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, in the fourth case. The player knows during a flashback that presenting a certain piece of evidence will result in incredibly bad things happening to Phoenix. However, it's the only piece of evidence the game will accept, all others giving a loop back to the question. It won't even penalize you for getting it wrong, leaving the player's idea of committing suicide on that portion of the trial, leaving Phoenix alone. (Of course, this would probably result in a Time Paradox.)
    • In Justice For All in the final case, there is one part of the trial where you can't use evidence to support your case and it's up to you to decide whether or not your client is guilty or innocent. Of course, it doesn't matter what you pick since Franziska bursts into the courtroom to deliver more evidence to prove Matt Engarde's guilt, which is what Phoenix was trying to do while saving Maya.
    • In some cases, the games will ask you whether you want to defend a certain client. If you say no, Phoenix will think about saying no, then change his mind and say yes.
    • In the rest of the series before Apollo Justice Ace Attorney, most of the multiple choice/yes and no questions won't change the plot at all other than either changing the dialogue slightly or you're at a dead end until you give the right answer. This happens during trials as well where you have to answer a question and giving the wrong one results in a penalty and forces you to try again. Other times, it won't matter what you pick since the plot will stay the same, but picking the wrong answer will get you penalized because it annoyed the judge or another character.
      • When given a choice to either raise an objection or "Wait and see what happens", you will always end up objecting.
      • Not necessarily. Game 1 case 5 - Phoenix is asked if he wants to present evidence incriminating Gant. If he says "yes," the player is prompted to pick a piece of evidence, as usual. But it's a red herring. There is no incriminating evidence... yet. This seems to be the ONE exception that throws off the otherwise perfect principle of "always object."
      • There's another: Game 3 case 2 asks you to provide evidence that Luke Atmey was in the CEO's office. No such evidence exists, so you need to say you don't have any to get the trial to proceed.
      • At one point in the second game's fourth case, you are asked if one of Shelly's pressed statements is relevant enough to be added to the testimony. You have to say "no" to get him to continue, at which point he makes the contradictory statement you need.
    • A certain question in the first DS game's bonus case works like the first example, looping you back with Edgeworth telling you to think carefully about what evidence your present. This is done to avert Unwinnable, since if a player produces the evidence Gant was looking, they would blunder into his trap and get a Nonstandard Game Over.
    • This also appears in the grand finale of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, where Edgeworth realizes that the only way he can expose the mastermind behind the smuggling ring is by presenting a piece of evidence that would be illegal in court. Even if you refuse to present the evidence, everyone else immediately prompts him into showing it anyway.
  • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, Albus asks Shanoa to absorb some very powerful glyphs along the game. The game gives you control over the action here, but it gives you only one option. You can try to get out of the room with the glyph, but Shanoa will comment something like "But... I have to get that glyph...". You can try to attack Albus, but no matter how hard you try, he'll aways dodge by teleporting. Or you can turn off the game as a way to say "screw you!" to Albus.
  • Parodied in Monkey Island 2 Le Chucks Revenge, where, upon being told he is not allowed to pick up a certain bucket, the player gets to ask about repetitive questions while the NPC keeps responding "no". The player eventually comes across the correct answer, though it takes about a hundred tries. But if you pick the second initial option, the guy admits it's not his bucket, and lets you take it.
    • Telltale Games got in on the act in episode 2 of Tales of Monkey Island. At one point, Guybrush's wife Elaine tries to persuade him to go on an errand for her- you're presented with a whole thesaurus-worth of synonyms for "no", but each time you use one she makes puppy-dog eyes at him and asks again. And the word you chose has disappeared from the list, until you've got no option but to say "Fine".
      • Another fine gem in that same episode that Elaine tells Guybrush that he was suppose to tell Human Le Chuck that he's should be the one to save the Merfolk leader while Guybrush creates a distraction to. Once you save him and going to tell him that, a list of options pops up similar to what Elaine says. Despite choosing any of those choices, Guybrush instead says HE's the one to save the Merfolk leader while Le Chuck creates a distraction.
      • Hell, until the third episode of Tales, half of the Telltale Monkey Island dialogue responses are of the sort where Guybrush just said the same thing for any option. Luckily, they responded to player complaints.
    • Also, in the earlier Monkey Island games, you'd often encounter an obvious trap in dialogue - such as being asked by a group of obvious cheats if you'd like to play Poker with them. Your options? A dozen varieties of no, many quite savvy and pointing out how stupid it would be to do so. No matter what you pick, Guybrush blithely says 'Sure!' This is done sparingly, and only in points where it's both necessary to advance the plot, and really funny.
  • In Endless Ocean 2, the player character and Oceana find an amazing creature whose existence would shake the very roots of scientific thought. (It's a plesiosaur, for the record.) No matter how much you want to spread the word, Oceana will just say "Really?" until you agree to keep it under wraps.
  • Done fairly well and "realistically" in the interactive movie Star Trek: Borg. The premise is that Q is offering to take you back in time to Wolf 359 where your father was killed and alter history to save him (and his ship). The very first puzzle he presents to you after presenting the offer is a phaser in one hand to go kill Borg, and a Trekian duffel bag in the other for not wanting to kill Borg. If you pick the phaser, the game goes on. If you pick the Duffel bag, Q leaves in a huff and it's Game Over.
    • It's also possible to get a rare (for Star Trek) Fourth Wall Break Game Over. If you click on neither of them (or repeatedly fail later sections by not clicking), Q breaks in and explains what a mouse cursor is and how to click on something, prompting the player to click on his nose. If you still don't do it, he also leaves in a huff after insulting the player. As it turned out, finding the fun and funny ways to cause things like this to happen ended up being a lot more interesting than playing the game properly.
  • Several missions in Star Trek: Bridge Commander include communications with ships sending, say, distress calls. Many of them include the option to tell them you will not respond to them. Naturally this doesn't often go well for the player.
    • Some of these are more like "side quests" than part of the main plot, but it's still not very Starfleet Captainly to refuse.
  • The Sierra game The Adventures of Willy Beamish frequently used the Nonstandard Game Over variant. An incorrect answer could get you sent to military school, hospitalised, or denied an essential item.
  • Companions of Xanth has a case of this near the beginning. You are presented with four Xanth inhabitants and have to choose one to be your guide - once you do, you end up in a room with four doors. Unfortunately, unless you choose Nada Naga, your "wrong" companion will open the wrong door and get you both killed. Even if you try to open the safe door yourself, the game won't let you unless you picked Nada Naga.
  • Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy does this:
    • The most annoying one happens while you're controlling Tyler who is on his couch with his girlfriend celebrating their anniversary. Then the phone rings and you must get up, answer it, grab your coat and walk out the door without much more than a quick "sorry" to your girlfriend. If you do not do this the telephone just keeps ringing for five minutes (and your partner does not consider this odd when you finally answer).
    • Later you have to bust into hotel room 366, but the first room they try is actually room 369 (it is a pretty crappy hotel with the final number dangling upside down). If you spot this (you have to walk past rooms 371 and 370 to get to room "366") and try to walk over to the actual room 366 the game won't let you.
    • As open-ended as the game claims to be, there are lots of scenarios where the game will still actively railroad the player through certain situations. For example, early on in the game there's a scene where the player character has a precognition of a police officer examining his apartment. Being able to see this precognition to the end (and learning what he has to do to avoid capture) depends on the player passing a short quick-time event sequence, but even if the player fails he is still expected to do these things, and should the player fail to do so the game ends immediately.
  • In Spycraft: The Great Game, at one point you're called into a darkened van and asked through a slot to join with the Villain. This almost seems like an aversion, since if you join the villain you continue the game, being given a mission to kill the President; however, after the mission, the villain's second-in-command comes into the room and shoots you, making this a non-standard game over.
  • Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse plays this straight - near the end of They Stole Max's Brain!, after fighting Skunkape, you'll get an option to FINISH HIM. Five times. And the player will gladly comply, believe it.
  • Back to the Future: The Game. Marty seemingly has the option to lie to Doc about Edna's future, but Emmett will simply see through Marty's lies, and force Marty to give the option to tell the truth.
    • Earlier, Marty gets teenage Emmett to finish his rocket-drill by claiming to be from the Patent Office. After it's completed, Emmett asks when he can expect a response from the government; no matter what you choose, Marty feels too guilty to lie to his friend and confesses the truth.

First-Person Shooter

  • The PC FPS Operation Flashpoint's expansion campaign, Resistance, offers the player a choice to either help the invading troops' army by revealing the location of a member of the titular resistance, or be summarily executed in the second mission. Obviously, given the title of the game, you are expected to escape and join said resistance in fighting off the invading force, but you can actually accept the invitation to help the invasion force. You're even given a unique mission to find the location of the resistance's base of operations, upon which you are again given the choice to join the resistance or carry out the mission. Of course, since the leader of the invading army is not a very rewarding leader, he'll execute you if you carry out your mission anyway, so it's pretty much in your best interests to join the resistance.
  • Although it's at the end of the game, and you don't restart at the last checkpoint in Half-Life is arguably one of these. Evidence for this is given at the end of Half-Life 2 when G Man mentions offering "the illusion of free choice" while making a subtle allusion to the end of the first game.
    • There's also the time in Half-Life 2 when you must climb into a prisoner pod to get farther into the Citadel. Your sole options at this point are climb into one pod and get killed by an electrical beam of death or whatever a few feet down the track, or climb into the other pod and hope you find a way to get out of the thing farther into the Citadel. Obviously, you do find a way!
  • The old FPS/RPG Strife has very limited dialogue options. When someone asks you to do something you basically have two options: "Yes, I'll do it" and "I'll get back to you on that." Sometimes you get three options: "Yes, I'll do it," "I'll get back to you on that," and "No, I won't do it, but please cause dozens of guards to spawn in and shoot me dead so I learn my lesson." Noticeably, a character named Harris gives you the option to make the game unwinnable.


  • Comically used in the Hentai game Gloria, which starts with the main character receiving a letter inviting him to work as a tutor at the eponymous Gloria mansion. You have the option of telling your friend you don't intend to take the job- and the game ends. The Something Awful review found this to be the best part of the game:

This is roughly one minute into the game and makes for a pretty cool ending that needs to be featured in more Hentai games if you ask me. It's basically you taking the option of "no, I don't want to play this game" and the game apologizes for being so shitty and you're free to leave.

    • This game was known for having a pretty high number of endings compared to other English h-games of the time - for which reason, that wasn't the only abrupt exit to the game you could encounter. Unusually for an h-game, rape is BAD here.
  • A particularly cruel variant in Bible Black: If you refuse to become the just-revealed Big Bad's man-slave, she kills you on the spot. (You don't get any prior warning.) If you surrender to her, the story continues. So, inevitably, you WILL die the first time around.
    • The above only applies if you haven't beaten the game at least once. To get the best ending, you do have to turn her down. A But Thou Must! which shows up every time involves a choice to use magic again after putting a spell on a classmate. Even if you choose not to, Minase will brush your choice off and use it anyway.


  • Typically, the Give Yourself Goosebumps books will have a "choice" near the beginning where one choice is an obvious cop-out of the whole adventure ("If you want to enter the haunted house, turn to page 25. If you want to go home and read your math book, turn to page 63.") Choosing the cop-out leads you right back to the page you just came from. ("Your best friend says, 'If you leave us now, you're a coward, I'll never speak to you again, and you need to give my lucky pen back!' You think it over. Return to page 7").


  • Similarly, The Matrix Online simply closes the game if you pick the wrong pill. At least one player, who had mis-remembered the film and obstinately did not read dialogue, thought he had some sort of crash bug the first time he played.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic
    • Sometimes averted; many quests have more than one way to complete them. Otherwise, the only way to avoid doing things you don't like is to refuse quests. Which you don't get XP for. But at least you have the opportunity to refuse quests.


  • In Rayman 2, you are given the choice whether or not to accept a haul of treasure. You get a plot-advancing potion if you decline, and a non-standard game over if you accept.
  • In Drawn to Life, when Mari is pleading for your assistance as the Creator, you can break your apparent years-long silence to tell her, at her people's hour of need, that you won't help her. After hearing that from what amounts to her deity, she says she guesses it's over, and it sends you back to the Title Screen. (Selecting that file lets you skip the drawing-in-a-book stuff to go try that scene again, at least.)
  • The tutorial of Super Paper Mario ended with Merlon asking if the player wanted to proceed on their quest. Upon refusal for the third time, he just says "ok then" and sends you right into a Nonstandard Game Over.
  • In Mega Man Zero 2 you are asked early on to help the reploid resistance, the game won't continue until you say yes.

Puzzle Games

  • Trace Memory, at the end of each chapter the main character quizzes herself. Getting the answer wrong just makes her say "No, wait... that's not right" and you can guess again. Becomes really obvious in the ending.
  • In Riven: The Sequel To Myst it is impossible to convince Gehn (the villain) that you're on his side. He asks you to pop into a (prison) book to prove your faith, and once you do so, he then pops in himself, freeing you. That's the expected way for the plot to go. If you decide to side with Gehn, however, by freeing him, he tells you you're an inexplicable idiot, and the game ends. If you free him in the Rebel Age, he thanks you, tells you you're an inexplicable idiot, and the game ends. What does it take, dude?
  • In Portal 2, when you and Wheatly disabled the neurotoxins and the turrets set up by GLaDOS, you have a free shot in disabling GLaDOS by simply pushing a button and there's nothing stopping you. Try as you might, no matter how much you stand there and refuse to press the button, Wheatly will still goad you into pressing it until you do. Even if you know in advance that Wheatly goes mad with power once you place him in charge of the facility and his incompetence will blow it up, you still have to press the button to advance the plot.

Role Playing Games

  • The Trope Namer usage in Dragon Quest—the princess asks you to let her accompany you on your travels, which inevitably leads to her marrying you, and if you answer no, she simply says "But thou must!" and gives you the choices again. You can keep hitting "No" until the cows come home, but she just won't take it for an answer. (Telling the Dragon Lord "Yes" when he asks you to join him, however, is a Nonstandard Game Over.)
    • It is just possible to avoid this fate by never rescuing the princess in the first place, in which case the silent hero marches off on his own in the end for a much less dramatic ending. Technically, you're supposed to rescue her so that you can get directions to a Plot Coupon, but you can find it by yourself if you're willing to search blindly around a swamp for half an hour. Essentially, this dooms the princess to rot starving to death in the bowels of a pitch black dungeon. But nobody liked Gwaelin anyhow.
      • Alternately, YOU can be the clingy one, and never take her to her throne, and thus never put her down, taking her on adventures into the darkest dungeons.
    • Another instance occurs in Dragon Quest III. After you reclaim the King of Romaly's crown, the king will offer his entire kingdom to you. You've got better things to do, but he will not take no for an answer (however, in the Game Boy version, he will give up after you say no enough).
    • Dragon Quest V - Hand of the Heavenly Bride is chock-full of this. There is not a question to be found where you can actually say no and get away with it - this includes a situation where the evil spirit you are supposed to fight invites you to lunch, promptly making you fall down a trap door. Very much a case of Stupidity Is the Only Option, as well.
  • Around the end of Fallout 3, the player is tasked with entering the irradiated chamber of Project Purity, risking getting a lethal blast of radiation while activating it. If the player has a companion that can withstand radiation (Fawkes the Super Mutant, Charon the Ghoul, or Seagent RL-3 the robot), they will insist you enter the chamber and activate the machine. This was retconned in the Broken Steel add-on.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, the Dead Money expansion starts with you coming to in the Sierra Madre Casino with an explosive collar around your neck and a voice (Elijah) giving you orders. If you refuse to do what Elijah tells you, he'll remind you that you have an explosive collar around your neck and that you should do what he says. If you refuse again, well...
  • In Ultima Underworld II, you are offered the key to the sewers to investigate a plague of monsters. If you complain that you are 'loath to enter the sewers,' it is foisted on you anyway. Likewise, when you attend a meeting near the start and tell Lord British that you have some business to attend to first, the meeting continues regardless.
  • Lampshaded in an Easter egg at the beginning of Final Fantasy IX At the Tantalus mission briefing the Leader asks Zidane who they're kidnapping to see if he knows what's going on. The two responses are Garnet and Queen Brahne. If you choose Brahne 64 times another Tantalus member inexplicably bursts out of a closet and demands you stop being so stubborn.
  • Wild ARMs 1 has one at the beginning of the game, where after the elder politely asks Rudy to return to the village for trial, saying "no" only makes him politely demand you do so, repeating until you say "yes". Afterwards you get exiled from the village for using forbidden weaponry and thereby forcing you to roam and begin your adventure.
  • The obscure Game Boy RPG Great Greed has a scene in which a bad guy asks you to join their side. If you say "yes" you get a fake Nonstandard Game Over - your NPC ally blasts you with a lightning bolt, you see a Game Over screen for a moment, and then she says that it was a demonstration of what would have happened if you were serious. You are then returned to the game as it was just before you talked to the boss.
  • In Paper Mario it actually asks you if you want to take partners. You can choose the option to not take the partner, but, of course, you'll be But Thou Must!'d into choosing the option to take them anyway. Which is a good thing, because, y'know, if they let you go without, you could end up making it Unwinnable.
    • An example in the same game that had a few fans upset was the scene in Bowser's castle where Peach finds Bowser's diary and reads it, continuing to do so even after finding the information the player needs. The player's options are "Read" and "Read Some More", none for "Put it down and respect the guy's privacy." What the Hell Hero?
    • Super Paper Mario subverts this. If you say "no" to Merlon enough times at the beginning, when he offers you the first Pure Heart, you'll eventually get a Nonstandard Game Over. Note that this occurs before the actual gameplay begins. The same happens if you repeatedly refuse an offer for a mission from Queen Jaydes. And also if you refuse to put on a helmet in outer space.
    • It also plays with it near the end of the game. At one point, the shapeshifting villainess Mimi disguises herself as Merlon and tells you to hit a box, in a way that's an obvious trap. If you try to avoid it by talking to her, instead of just repeating a single response, she has a variety of responses -- including direct Lampshade Hanging in the form of mention of hypothetical flags that can prevent you from doing what you want unless you trigger them.
    • Inverted later on: When Dimentio offers to team up with Mario and Luigi to take down Count Bleck. If you answer "no" a few times like you're supposed to the game continues, but if you answer "yes" a few times - as he'll continually sweeten the pot even though you're already accepting his offer, to throw up an even bigger red flag - then he'll slap a mind-control plant on your head and give you a Nonstandard Game Over.
  • Annoyingly used in Persona 3. Though you may be itching to spend time with a social link, your allies will occasionally pop up to ask you to do something with them or for them that will use up your "after school" hours. No matter how much you say "No" you'll be forced into the problem anyway.
    • Also used during the full moon event at a love hotel where you are "tempted" by the Boss. To many players' amusement and/or frustration, as much as the game gives you choices to give into temptation, you cannot move on in the game unless you resist in all three choices presented to you.
    • Another blatant example is when you do not join one of the athletic clubs when they are first available. On 5/27, your composition teacher will confront the protagonist and But Thou Must him into joining the club. This was implemented most likely so you would not miss your chance to open the Star social link, but most get pretty pissed when you have to waste an entire week for sports training, for a tournament you can't even win.
    • Really, the whole game is one big But Thou Must, thanks to the contract the game makes you sign at the beginning. "I chooseth this fate of mine own free will" my foot.
    • On the New Year you can choose to kill Ryoji and receive a Nonstandard Game Over, but that's really cold comfort.
  • Persona 4 is a little better about this—you're told about the culture and sports clubs but you are not forced into joining either. The game still has "plot interruption days" though. Some of the social links (like your allies) are forced but building them up gives them new tricks in battle and all social links no longer reverse or break if left alone for prolonged periods of time.
  • Suikoden loves these, forcing you to pick the answer it wants again and again. Early on in one game, for example, you're asked if you want to carve a symbol on a rock, and if you answer that you don't, the other character just says "Sure you do! C'mon!" and you do it anyway. More frequently, the character asking something will give a verbose explanation of why you should say yes, then ask again, repeating a rotation of 3 or 4 explanations for as long as you keep refusing.
    • It's subverted in the sequel, Suikoden II, however—two of the 108 warriors can only be recruited by saying 'No' to the same question three times in a row...
    • Suikoden II features another subversion—at one point, your sister suggests that you give up on the war and run away with her. If you agree, you actually do it, for a while, and a brief optional plot arc in which you abandon your responsibilities follows; this ends with the hero confronted by his followers and forced to choose again. Insisting on abandoning them at this point causes a Nonstandard Game Over, and it's implied that you've lost their respect in any case.
    • There's also an example near the start of the game: after finding out that the local army wants you and your best friend dead, said friend suggests jumping down a waterfall to escape. Saying "No" four times will result in a battle against a group of soldiers, then you'll be given the exact same choices again. You can repeat the process infinitely, but the game won't continue until you agree to jump. HOWEVER, fighting 108 battles in this style will result in the flashback that follows your suicide jump changing from black-and-white to full color.
    • Subverted in a couple of cases in the original Suikoden. You are given the option of recruiting or executing Kwanda Rosman, Commander Kraze, and Milich Oppenheimer, the last in revenge for Gremio's murder. Ironically, executing Kwanda or Milich makes resurrecting Gremio at the end of the game impossible. You're free to off Kraze, though.
    • Suikoden IV has at least one Nonstandard Game Over and one Bad End you can get this way. In the case of the Bad End, you earn it by refusing to use the Rune of Punishment on the flaming ships about to ram your headquarters, even while your strategist, mentor and everyone else around you begs you to just use the damn Rune. It's pretty much a Too Dumb to Live moment, even though overusing the Rune can kill you... Damned if you do...
    • Another Nonstandard Game Over in Suikoden IV comes with choosing the option to remain on the deserted island early in the game. Doing so traps you in the island and places you into a Groundhog Day Loop. Hope you saved...
    • The scene from the first game where you can't refuse to drink the poisoned tea? ("Come on, just a taste." "Not if it's bitter." "Come on, just a taste." "Not if it's bitter." "Come on, just a taste.")
    • In Suikoden V, early on you are given the option to fight as the loyal opposition in the name of the Queen or declare yourself King (an unheard of act in Falena). Choosing the latter results in a Nonstandard Game Over that tells you that you were assassinated some months later, complete with your little sister lamenting how damn stupid you were for letting yourself be manipulated into that choice.
    • Later in Suikoden V, an overwhelming enemy force marches on your castle. You have the option of either abandoning the castle and letting them take it, or drawing the line and taking a stand. If you choose to take a stand, several of your most experienced generals and advisers try to talk you out of it, one after another—but if you keep insisting, they actually all fall in line, and you face the enemy head-on. A very difficult battle ensues, in which at least one of your companions will die. Conversely, abandoning the castle instead will lead to a smashing victory for your side, as falling back turns out to have been part of your strategist's Xanatos Gambit. Of course, it would have been nice if she'd told you that...
  • A strange version of this can be found towards the end of MOTHER 1. After defeating Teddy in battle he will offer to join your party to Mt. Itoi. If you refuse him repeatedly Ninten's father will call and order you to let him join. Saying no again will cause the group to be teleported back to the game's starting point at Ninten's house. Apparently he really wanted his twelve year old son hanging out with a known gangster.
  • Shortly before EarthBound's first real boss fight (against a local gang leader), the protagonist is asked if he wants to join the gang. Answering "Yes" results in being told to come back after finishing the game.
    • And again in EarthBound, before time-travelling to the Big Bad's final lair, Dr. Andonuts gives a big inspirational speech about how Ness is The Chosen One and all, and by pressing the "go back in time" button with his own hand, he is fulfilling his ultimate destiny, and then asks a yes/no question as to whether you want to do it. Saying no prompts him to simply say "Oh. I see", and then ask his own son to do it instead. Saying no past that just loops back to Ness until you press the button.
    • When Jeff shows up in Threed in EarthBound he'll give you a laundry list of his flaws and ask if you still want him to join. Say "no" and you'll be asked the same question again, after a lecture.
    • In the beginning of EarthBound, Pokey will ask you to help him find his brother. If you say no, he will threaten to say something that will cut you like a knife. If you say no again, he will apologize. It loops.
    • In Mother 3 when you refuse the Rope Snake's plead to aid you out of Saturn Valley enough times, the options become "Okay" and "I'm so moved".
    • Kumatora But Thou Must's you into taking a shower in Mother 3. Saying "No" repeatedly causes her to yell "JUST TAKE A DAMN SHOWER ALREADY!" and the screen is tinted red. It is hilarious.
    • Also in Mother 3, at the end of the game, when Flint asks if you want to pull the last needle; if you choose no, he essentially tells you to suck it up and then gives the same speech he'd give if you'd said yes. After that, when the game asks you if you want to pull the needle, Yes and No do the exact same thing.
  • If you leave one of the towns in Super Mario RPG through the north exit, the entire party But Thou Must's you into leaving through the south exit for no good reason.
    • Storyline-wise, this is likely because the north exit is more northwest, and thus visually leads to the next area, when you're supposed to go back to the game's first town at this point. Gameplay-wise, it doesn't matter, as any area exit just takes you back to the world map, which is why your party stopping you looks so ridiculous.
    • Another example from this game: You return from the Sunken Ship with a brand new star. However, as you enter Seaside Town, the minions of Yaridovich demand the star or else they will harm the villagers. Say no and they'll send a minion to tickle the mayor. Say no again and they'll send two minions. Again and they'll send three. Then four. Then again four until you finally surrender your star.
      • This has the added effect of reducing the reward you receive later every time you choose no.
  • Before The World Ends With You's Final Boss, Kitaniji asks Neku to join him. There is little to no change in dialogue even if you choose the 'no' option -- Neku will just briefly say that, three weeks ago, he would have said yes, and then say no anyway.
  • In Grandia II, when Ryudo is inside his own soul, he is forced to answer three questions about whether he desires power. However, if he says that he desires it, he is told that that is not his real opinion, and must answer again.
    • Which is kinda weird since after answering all the questions 'properly', the inner voice explains to you why your answers DO mean that you want the power, and you get punished accordingly. So why not let the player admit he wants power, and punish him for it like how it happens anyway?
  • Subverted in the obscure NES RPG Destiny of an Emperor (based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story). In one scene, a defeated enemy declares "I am the Emperor. Let me go!" and you are given the standard YES/NO choice. If you choose NO, he says it again and again. If you give up and choose YES, you fight him again as part of a later boss encounter, but if you choose NO enough times, the loop breaks, the enemy is executed, and the later fight becomes easier.
    • Early in the game, the dying Emperor Tao Qian asks Liu Bei to become his successor, and if you say no, he asks you to reconsider until you say yes. The justification is that Destiny of an Emperor is based (loosely) on actual history, and this is pretty much exactly what happened in real life. Liu Bei refused the crown the first two times Tao Qian asked him.
      • Just for the record, this is actually considered common courtesy in China. If someone offers you something valuable, you should refuse the first two times. If he offers it a third time, you may accept it; if not, he did not truly want to offer it and it would be wrong to accept.
  • In Chrono Trigger, Marle will keep asking you to reconsider not accompanying her after running into her at the beginning of the game; furthermore, after witnessing Lavos destroy the world, your other two party members are all gung-ho about stopping it (or, in Lucca's case, about Crono looking cool in front of the other girl), and won't take no for an answer.
  • Avoided in Chrono Cross. At no point in the game is any decision foregone, leading to what was a rather aimless game, according to some people.
    • In an interesting inversion, when Nikki the rock star joins you, he offers to play you a song, and you get to choose one of several ways to tell him "no".
    • In the earliest case where Kid (the female protagonist and hero's love interest - First Girl Wins be (jarringly) damned even though the first girl is the childhood friend and girlfriend of the hero) tries to join up with you in what seems to be a But Thou Must! sequence, repeated refusal will cause her to not join up with you and you will get a different party member instead. Because Kid will then join your party shortly after anyway, unless you pointlessly refuse this time and because that extra character (amusingly, the parallel world version of said first girl) who would join your party is otherwise Lost Forever, you're actually better off for refusing the first time it looks like thou must.
    • In another scene, Kid is injured and the player either charges off to her rescue or expresses doubt he can save her. Although it looks like a But Thou Must! situation, being pessimistic turns out just as well and sets you on the path to pick up Glenn, one of the most powerful characters in the game.
      • Which makes it like a reverse But Thou Must. Thou mustn't if you want to recruit Glenn.
      • Well, that choice is a bit more of a trade-off storywise... go that route and you doom the hydra and dwarves to extinction, which means the marsh in Home is guaranteed to turn as poisonous as its counterpart, and Razzly is eaten by the pentapod. If you don't care about that (you heartless bastard you), the characters you recruit instead of Glenn/Macha/Doc aren't good enough to justify passing him up. But there's pretty much no reason to say yes to Kid the first time.
      • The whole first half of the plot revolving around Kid can be interpreted as a double subversion of this trope. The game begins with you having a presumably prophetic vision/dream of Kid being in your party and having an unfortunate incident. You are then given multiple opportunities to try and prevent this from happening by not allowing Kid to join your party. You seem to be allowed to succeed. You are even rewarded (consistently you get to recruit better party members if you choose not to recruit/help Kid). But in the end Kid joins your party anyway and the unfortunate event occurs anyway (though not in precisely the way you think it would).
  • In the Neverwinter Nights premium module Kingmaker, you're offered a chance to run for rulership of the town you end up in. You can try to refuse, but your intelligent weapon that revived you after you died in the beginning tells you that you were brought back for this specific purpose. If you lose the election, your weapon kills you.
  • In the episodic content download "Knights of the Nine" of The Elder Scrolls, several people try to join a knightly order you are building. You can technically tell them "no," but if you do they just stand around in your lodge waiting for you to change your mind.
    • This is actually the case for most everything in Oblivion, and to a lesser degree Morrowind. You can't actually say no to a quest offer—instead you respond that you'll do it later. The Elder Scrolls series is remarkably open-ended, but the individual quests are pretty linear and inflexible.
    • You can turn down all quests in Daggerfall after reading the preamble to it. You can even turn down the main quests, and lock yourself out of the plot.
    • In Skyrim, in order to progress with the Companions and Thieves Guild questline you have to become a werewolf and sign your soul away to Nocturnal and later return the Skeleton Key respectively, despite the former being worded to sound like it's optional.
  • In order to acquire the Guardian Force Bahamut in Final Fantasy VIII, Squall must answer a series of dialogue prompts. The first has only one answer available; the second has two, one which allows Squall to proceed and one which ends the dialogue, requiring the player to start it over again in order to continue the sidequest. The third prompt is where things really get tricky: when Bahamut asks Squall why he wishes to fight, the two visible options both result in a fight with a pair of dragons and a repetition of the question afterwards, and it takes picking a third, invisible dialogue option to proceed to the boss fight and complete the sidequest.
    • However, the question itself is a kind of Lampshade Hanging on the concept. The question is, pretty much:" "Why do you fight?" To protect/none of your business/It's our nature. We must.
  • A minor variation on this pops up in Ultima: Exodus for NES. There's an NPC in the starter town that asks "I am Sherry. Think me beautiful?". Initially, saying Yes will generate "Thank you. Next time bring some flowers" (a big hint for later) and saying No will... repeat the question. You can keep this up indefinitely, saying No. However, when you then say Yes, she responds with "Flattery will get you nowhere".
  • The Japanese Famicom game Doraemon - Giga Zombie no Gyakushuu begins with Doraemon asking the player character to help him find the rest of his lost crew and save the world from the game's Big Bad in what seems like a standard But Thou Must!. If you say no multiple times, however, Doraemon finally takes the hint, and walks off crying in a Nonstandard Game Over. We hope you're satisfied. Jerk.
  • Lunar: The Silver Star does it twice, both after having confronted a villain. Every time you say you won't forgive Dross, you'll hit him (which amounts to being treated to a series of <POW!> <BAM!> <BIFF!> OW!s), but you can't get him to give you any more money than he already has. The second time, your lack of options is directly lampshaded by the Genre Savvy villain in question.

"I'm tellin' ya, you're not going to make any progress until you forgive me. You might as well get it over with and get on with this game... I can wait a lot longer than you can, believe me..."

  • If you talk to Yai at the beginning of Mega Man Battle Network 2, she'll assume you want to hear about her new fan collection. If you say "No", she'll keep saying, "Ahem...you WANT to HEAR, right?" until you say, "Yes". It turns out to be important for when Air Man gasses her house, but Mega Man reminds you about it anyway and tells you about it (who knows how he found out) if you never talked to Yai in the first place.
  • In the original Breath of Fire I game, there is a part where you're in control of Nina and two soldiers from her kingdom will repeatedly insist upon escorting her. Granted, you might not make it without them, but it's still a non-choice. Equally, there is a part later in the game where one of your team asks to run off with a crazy amount of money from your stores (or just all of it) - an unreasonable request at the best of times - and he won't let you refuse.
    • In Breath of Fire II there is a part where you learn that a poisoned needle is going to be shot into the ring during a coliseum battle to kill the other competitor. Noble as you are, you cannot accept this. After discussing it with a friend, your friend says he has an idea and needs all of your money. Refusing this causes him to tell you that it's dangerous for you too, and it would be a real shame if you died trying to save a little money. He will not accept denial, so once you open the dialog, you're going to lose all your money. And you just got paid 1,000G, which is quite a bit for that part of the game.
      • Amusingly, you can actually deposit your money in the bank, then come back and talk to your friend. He will But Thou Must your money - except that you won't lose anything.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh: The Sacred Cards does this when you finally collect all three god cards, making it impossible to ever use the third card.

Ishizu Ishtar: The god cards must be sealed away, this time forever.
Ishizu Ishtar: So that this crisis is never again repeated...
Ishizu Ishtar: Now, may I ask for the return of the god cards?
Ishizu Ishtar: The god cards must be sealed away, this time forever.

  • .hack brings us the big hulking green freak Piros. The people who designed the first four games must like this guy. He drags you on two quests per game. Half of which are caused by his ineptitude and gullibility. This guy is seriously annoying but the story will NOT progress until you clean up his messes. Because Kite has nothing better to do....... besides saving coma victims.
    • Piros makes FAR more sense when you realize that he's the Author Avatar of Hiroshi Matsuyama, the president of CyberConnect2 and the director of the .hack series. Not only is Piros literally Hiroshi in the game universe (ie, the "graphics designer" who plays Piros' character is Hiroshi Matsuyama), but the real Hiroshi even sings his theme song in the GU games.
  • In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, when you're asked to return the orb (red or blue depending on the version), the old lady will not stop asking you until you finally agree to hand it back over.
    • Also in Ruby and Sapphire, there is an old lady who lives in a house in between Mauville City and Fallabor Town. She will offer to let you rest in her house and heal your Pokémon. If you say Yes, your Pokémon are healed, and she then goes on to say "Oh, dear, dear. Are your Pokémon still tired? You should take another rest here. That's a fine idea. You should do that." Saying Yes will cause her to heal your Pokémon again and loop this message until you refuse, making this a But Thou Mustn't.
      • That lady or her twin also pops up in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl/ Platinum, just outside Stark Mountain, and the same scenario ensues.
    • In what can only be a Lampshade Hanging, there's someone in Pacifidlog Town that you can answer Yes or No to... when they ask where you're from. For the record, if you say Yes, the NPC remarks that he's never heard of "Yes Town", and if you say No, he says that you have to come from somewhere....
    • Spoofed in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl if the player refuses enough when offered the Pokédex; Professor Rowan will tell the player that he "can stand here all day without talking if I have to".
    • Also spoofed in Platinum. Buck asks the player to investigate Stark Mountain because something funny is going on - if the player responds with "No", Buck says "I'll just keep asking until you say yes!" and then repeats the question.
    • In the beginning of Pokémon Gold and Silver/Crystal, your in-game mom asks you whether or not you know how the PokéGear works. Regardless of whether you answer yes or no, she says pretty much the same thing anyway; they changed the first sentence of the explanation from a statement to a question, but the rest is unchanged. Can we call this an example of Viewers are Morons?
    • Subverted in another incident in the same game/s, where one trainer in Cianwood City who gives you a Shuckle to hold onto temporarily will not keep on asking for it back if you refuse to give it back to him. He will, however, tell you that what you're doing is akin to stealing.
    • At the beginning of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team, your partner asks you if you want to form a rescue team with him/her. You have the option to refuse, but your partner won't let you into your house until you accept.
  • In the "Bidoof's Wish" episode of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of the Sky, upon meeting Jirachi, you can choose between a series of wishes (including world domination) but he instead chooses to wish for new juniors, AKA, you.
    • Even better later when Chimecho lampshades this. After Spinda's Cafe opens, Chimecho approaches you and asks if you will let your party members wait for you in the cafe instead of at the crossroads. If you answer no, Chimecho laughs at you for choosing it, claiming you did it just to see how she would respond, because whenever you pick "no", you eventually have to pick "yes" anyway, and the result is always the same.
    • In Explorers of Time/Darkness, when returning to the pit leading to the lair of the "grand master of all things bad", after having already fallen in and escaped/lost once, the partner suggests walking around the pit this time, when Wigglytuff runs up and pushes them into the pit, effectively But Thou Musting the team into fighting the grand master.
      • To add to that, you're only allowed to bring yourself and your partner into Mystifying Forest. If you try to bring other teammates, your partner suggests going as a pair, but the game doesn't give you a chance to say yes or no. In other words, your character automatically says "yes".
  • Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia: After collecting the Yellow Gem, the third MacGuffin needed to stop the Big Bad's plans of world domination, a member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad (who had been unconvincingly masquerading over voice transmissions as your rival) pops in and offers aforementioned rival in a Hostage for Macguffin scenario which you are given a Yes/No option for. Now, despite the fact that it has been drilled into your head through most of the game that the titular Pokémon Rangers are focused on protecting people, Pokémon, AND nature, leading to a "needs of the many versus needs of the few" scenario... despite the fact that your rival is a Ranger easily as skilled as you and tells you to refuse... despite the fact that YOUR RIVAL IS IN NO IMMINENT HARM SHORT OF BEING BOUND, selecting "No" simply leads to you being mocked and asked again. Apparently, "Oh? You not care about Keith? Not a very good friend?" is the most compelling argument in all of history.
    • In Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, Miror B (a Pokémon thief, neutral to the main battle) asks you if you want to 'join my posse'. If you say 'Yes', he says he can tell you're not serious and asks again. This continues until you say 'No', at which point he gets mad at you for refusing!
  • Alpha Protocol was designed around avoiding this trope as much as possible, to the point where Obsidian Entertainment put on a presentation at PAX specifically named after the Dragon Quest example and discuss why and how developers should make choices matter. They then proceed to make a drinking game out of the word "choice" and drink like fish, but that is neither here nor there.
    • ....And it's then played utterly straight when you meet Madison, even if you're playing an utterly paranoid character, you have to take her back to your safehouse to keep her...er, safe
  • In Devil Survivor, a sidequest allows you to recover Miss Mari's bag, which has an item that she actually Kresnik, who is inside her needs to fight Kudlak. If on the next day you talk to Mari while you still have the bag, you are given two options: Give her the bag or hold on to it. If you choose the latter, Yuzu and Atsuro will punch you and you'll have to pick an option again. Unless you hand Mari the bag, the dialogue won't advance.
    • Kinda ironic, when you consider that if you want to save both Miss Mari and Keisuke you have to give the bag to Kaido, NOT Miss Mari. If you give her the bag either Kaido will not come to help you save Mari and will kill Keisuke before you can rescue him or if you save Keisuke, Mari will have to fight Kudlak alone, and will die just when the party reaches her. Thus you shouldn't even TALK with Miss Mari if you want to avoid both player punches. However, this game usually averts this trope quite well, although the results are usually not pretty.
    • Whenever a plot-important concept comes up, you're usually asked if you understand. In some instances, however, it doesn't matter how you respond—Yuzu will protest and insist they repeat the information, simplifying it even further if possible.
  • Infinite Space has a rather humorous (albeit a little disturbing) example of this case. At one point during the Magellanic Stream chapter, Cico wants to spend some time with Kira, the main character's little sister, and to confess his love for her. He won't stop bugging you until you grant him permission give up and let him have his way.
  • The not-so-well-known SNES game EVO Search for Eden features several of these that lead to NonStandard Game Overs. Probably the best-known is during the Dinosaur Era, near the ending, when "Tyrasaurus", the Big Bad of that chapter, asks you to join him in world domination; answering yes leads to being killed by a meteor shower. However, after viewing the outcome, you are returned to the World Map, and forced to fight.
    • On the next stage you encounter a strange race of bird men who are manipulating the evolution powers to become more powerful. Again, they offer to let you join them. If you do, you become part of an advanced bird race that are eventually worshiped by humanity as gods. Then it dumps you back to the map and lets you play on, again not giving you the question when you confront the birdmen this time around.
      • There's more. There's also the sea creature in the sea in the final map who gives you the same proposal as the T-Rex and the bird chief where you can join him and rule the ocean or fight him. as with the other two, however, you rule the ocean with him through fear and might, but then he is caught by fishermen and left you to your own imminent doom without him. You're then force to re-encounter him and fight him without the question. The fourth instance of this also includes a bonus if you are able to fly either as a bird or past-evolving into a flying creature, you can attack the aliens hiding in the skies. They will beg you to spare them. If you don't, the ship will explode, causing all the aliens to fly out of their ship and toward their deaths way down below. If you accept to spare them, however, they are grateful and take you with them to Mars. This is a rare subversion, however, because they promptly bring you back to Earth and you can then continue on the next level normally.
  • In Metal Saga, the very first question asked of your character, "Do you want to be a mechanic?", can actually end the game about two minutes after it started.
  • At the beginning of Legend of Legaia, Meta asks Vahn to join with him. If you say no, he apologises for forcing you but explains that you have no choice but to agree, and presents you with the choice again.
  • A party member in Star Ocean the Second Story demands to accompany the player character on a quest. If you tell her 'no', she claims not to have heard what you said. Justified in that it fits the character perfectly...
    • ...then turned on its head when you complete the quest and are given the option of dropping her like she's hot.
    • Done again in the PSP port, Second Evolution, with the new character Welch. You are given three options, two of which are "yes" and one of which is "something's not right". The last will lead to the main character Lampshading the fact that the menu is stacked against them, and then the menu comes right back up again.
    • Averted with some characters where you can outright refuse to have them join (this is in fact the only way to have other characters join later instead). Lampshaded with Ashton, whom you can refuse to bring along with you and never see again. However, if you re-enter the room you find him in afterward, he will join anyway with the prompt "Ashton has joined the party whether you like it or not!"
  • In Phantasy Star IV, when Chaz is given the choice of whether or not he wishes to learn Megid. If you say Yes, Re-Faze kills him; you have to say No to both stay alive and learn it.
  • Averted entirely by Canopus in the original Ogre Battle; when asked what you're fighting for, the Player Character is offered first one option with a yes/no dialogue, then (upon saying 'no') a second option, and finally a third, at which point, if the Player still says 'no,' Canopus erupts in fury, saying that you're just barbarians fighting with no cause, your Karma Meter takes a big hit, and you can't ever get either Canopus or his buddy Gilbert to fight for you.
  • Golden Sun has one of these at the beginning of the game (or at least, the beginning of the actual gameplay after going through an hour of interactive cutscenes), where you have to choose to own up to your mistake and go save the world, or... Not. And if you don't, the screen fades to black and explains that your inaction causes the world to wind to its inevitable doom. You then have to go back to the same choice and select yes. The first Djinni you encounter (in both games) gives you another, absolutely refusing to leave you alone until you let it join your party. Saying no enough times just makes them join you out of spite anyway.
    • There is a more straight forward example at the beginning of the game where Jenna will get pissed if you say no and will keep asking until you say yes.
    • Golden Sun is full of these things. At most, any given Yes/No input changes the next two or three lines of dialogue, and then the story gets right back to where it was.
    • Dark Dawn adds emotion-based replies, which effectively work the same way, but also plays with and parodies the principle a lot more: having the Femme Fatale villain ask if she's tempted you and not accept "no" answers, or beginning a quest with this lovely dialogue:

"Why are we doing this again?"
"Because Matthew can be talked into anything."

    • Of course, Dark Dawn also takes this approach to baiting you with the option of skipping the tutorials, like you could in The Lost Age, and then going "juuuuuuust kidding! Here's the tutorial anyway!" And one wonders why the fans are peeved.
  • Final Fantasy X has one fairly blatant example: In one scene, Tidus and Yuna have a chat with one of the Fayth to discuss their battle plan to defeat Sin. If the player answers that they don't have a plan yet, the Fayth will tell you to go away and come back when you have a plan, and the scene fades to black...and then fades right back to the start of the conversation to let you try again.
  • Radiant Historia is just plain mean, though for what it's worth, you're told at the start that there's only one possible future where the world doesn't end. There's one real choice at the very beginning, explicitly marked as such, a few choices that initially don't mean anything, but result in a special quest if you get them all "right," and a whole bunch of choices that lead you off the path and result in an immediate Nonstandard Game Over. These endings range from the predictable (why the hell did you let a nine-year-old girl use a Dangerous Forbidden Technique?) to the absurd (did my healer just kill the rest of the party out of rage?).
  • In Mass Effect 2 's "Arrival" DLC, Shepard can ask Admiral Hackett why s/he can't take squadmates (up to and including a master thief that can practically hide in broad daylight and an expert assassin who has incredible speed and silent movement) on the covert mission to rescue Amanda Kenson, but Hackett simply responds with a statement that "if the Batarians notice, they'll kill her". Shepard has no choice but to comply, setting up his/her eventual capture on the asteroid.
    • Let's not forget how you are forced to join the supremacist, terrorist group that possibly wiped out your whole unit in ME 1.
    • Right at the beginning of ME 1, Renegade!Shepard can try to refuse to allow Ashley on his/her crew, but Anderson points out that he's still in charge and he wants her along. You don't get the option to dismiss Ashley later.
    • Returns in Mass Effect 3. You get two chances for Renegade Interrupts when you confront the Illusive Man. Refuse to take the second and he shoots Shepard, killing him and giving you a game over.
  • In short, ridiculously common in RPGs. Illustrated with this handy flowchart.

Simulation Games

  • In Custom Robo for the Gamecube, right before the final mission, you are given the choice of either joining your friends in the mission or staying behind. Eventually, if you keep saying no enough times, you get a Nonstandard Game Over where they let you stay behind and the game goes black and a text box says that all your friends died trying to fight and one of your friends says "See, I told you to join us!"
    • Subverted at one point during the final mission. The Lancer (of the comedic variety) needs to stop to use the restroom in the post-apocalyptic ruins of a theme park overrun by an evil syndicate and begs that The Hero accompany him. The Lancer will continue to beg if the player refuses, but eventually gives up and goes on his own if the player continues choosing not to follow. There is no penalty for choosing not to follow, apart from missing the opportunity to earn a few non-notable Robo parts from a battle in the restroom.
    • Arena has this too, right smack at the beginning of the game, and a few other times to boot. I read somewhere else that one of them is a subversion, though, but haven't tested it. It goes like this: Your school's weakest Custom Robo team, Team Numero Uno, is getting attacked/played with by the Grapple Gang (the school's strongest team). Your options? Join the weak team. And given this takes place in a courtyard, there's massive Dronejam involved in this.
  • In Harvest Moon DS, the mayor gets attacked by your dog at the beginning of the game. You can choose to help or not to help, and choosing not to help causes the credits to roll, implying that the dog killed the mayor... somehow.
    • In Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town, you can tell the mayor at the beginning that you don't want the farm, and get the Game Over. This is actually the only way to end the game.
    • A similar event happens in Harvest Moon 3 GBC, where the premise is that the farm is to be turned into a theme park. If you refuse to take the farm, a cutscene occurs where you read a newspaper article about how the farm was turned into a theme park along with a game over.
    • And yet another in Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life. At the end of the first year, if you haven't proposed to any girls then Celia will automatically propose to you. If you refuse, the game's over.
      • In the same game's intro, Takakura asks the hero if he thinks he can do it. Answering no will make Takakura very sad and end the game immediately.
    • In Harvest Moon: Animal Parade, Mayor Hamilton gets stuck in his fireplace. You can choose to help him out or you can choose to watch. If you choose to watch, the mayor says "..." and you are asked again. This goes on until you help him out of the fireplace.
    • Also happens in Harvest Moon: Magical Melody during the wedding. The mayor will ask to confirm your marriage, and answering no will simply anger the crowd and make him ask again.
    • Since you're choosing whether or not you want to LIVE in the area (which should be an option) this is justified in:
      • Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland to the list. You're asked if you want to help... err, save the land. You CAN say no, which causes them to repeat the question several times. After enough "no"s, you collect your grandpa's stuff and leave.
      • Harvest moon: More friends of mineral town does this too. In the beginning, you buy a farm that you think is in good condition, while it's truly quite terrible. Mayor Thomas asks you if you want to stay. Saying no ends the game.
  • In Wing Commander IV, you're given two chances to defect to the Border Worlds. If you don't take the second chance, infinite Border World bombers spawn until your home base is destroyed, thus ending the game for the player. Given the moral issues the game was trying to raise, that didn't exactly help with making the player believe there was really any morality concerns, although the game's $12M production costs (one of the highest costs in games at the time) may have been an influence on the reduced list of options for which more Full Motion Video would be required to be filmed.
    • In the ancient days of the UseNet group alt.games.wing-commander, there was a fan who posted a fake rumor about a seventh CD that allowed you to continue on with Confed. However, it wasn't much more than further convincing the player (or reader, in this case) that Confed was on the wrong side, concluding with a scene of bedraggled prisoners after they won a war against the UBW filing past Blair, with suggestions of some of them being UBW personnel seen elsewhere in the game.
  • In Rune Factory, Mist offers to let you work her farmland. You can answer, "No, I really can't do that", to which she answers, "No, I insist. You helped me out, and I want to do something for you too." Cue endless loop.
  • One storyline in Escape Velocity: Nova involves the player being mind-enslaved, which makes the quests for this quest chain non-refusable. Not that this makes a lot of difference, because actually refusing a plot mission would disrupt the plot and possibly leave you stranded with no way of winning the game.
  • When you start monster breeding game Dragonseeds, you're asked by a veteran trainer to engage in a friendly match. If you refuse, he will keep insisting until he eventually tells you that you have no choice and "No" option will be disabled.

Sports Games

  • Mario Tennis for the Gameboy gives you a large number of choices throughout the game, however no matter what they will repeat a following phrase repeatedly.

HEADMASTER: Will you ever forgive me?
Choose No
HEADMASTER: Don't say that, please find it in your heart!

    • There is such a massive number of these pointless choices, it makes you wonder why they did it.
    • The sequel game on the Gameboy Advance, Mario Tennis Power Tour, gives you a good number of them as well; however you can choose an alternate answer and they will say something different instead of repeating forever like the original. Despite that, there's basically still no point to choosing an option as it doesn't change anything other than the sentence right afterward.
  • Pilotwings, of all games, had one. After completing four certifications, your instructors get captured, and Big Al asks you to take a military helicopter and rescue them. Turn him down, and he asks you again. Say "No, you should go", and he says that he's not qualified to fly a helicopter. Say "No, you should go" again, and he insults you. If you continue saying no, he repeats the exact same insult endlessly until you either say yes or turn off the SNES in disgust (you don't even get a nonstandard game over). Believe it or not, when his brother is captured five levels later, he gives you the option of going through this little dance again word for word.

Stealth-based Games

  • In Metal Gear Solid, the player has the chance to destroy the Big Bad with a missile, but the blast will kill the Cyborg Ninja (who was revealed to be Snake's old war buddy) too. Although said Ninja exists solely so he can die heroically, if you try to take the shot Snake just says "It's no good, I can't do it".
    • This is especially silly considering that in the previous game, Snake beat him to death (well, almost death). But it wouldn't be Metal Gear without that lovely Kojima-logic.

Tabletop Game Adaptations

  • There was an interesting inversion in Vampire: The Masquerade Redemption. In one scene, the character giving out the quest keeps delivering "but thou must not" lines for a goodly long while, and the fastest way to get on with the damn quest is to agree to not go.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, this is justified as the Prince using his vampiric mind control powers (the Dominate discipline) on you when you try to refuse his orders. Prince: "You - will - destroy - the Sabbat", and you get three identical dialogue choices of "I will destroy the Sabbat".
    • Which is incredibly sporting of the Prince by Vampire: The Masquerade standards. In the tabletop RPG, gross insubordination to the Prince is generally punishable by being nailed to a wall facing east and left to wait for the sunrise.
    • This makes it much more enjoyable when, in the good Camarilla ending, he orders you to give him the key to the Sarcophagus, and you resist it—causing him to fall to his knees and sob. (Of course, if he knew what was in it, he wouldn't want the key.)
    • At one point you encounter a female vampire who's part of a doomsday cult spreading a disease, and she suggests you join the good cause. If your humanity rating is low enough, you can actually express a desire to join... but she will respond as though you turned her down. In fact, you can insist several times you want to help them spread the plague to no avail, ending with a fight. Somewhat justified, considering she is an utter loon. Even Malkavians consider the cult members to be crazy by comparison.

Text Adventure


The entrance leads to the Infinite Improbability Drive chamber. It's supposed to be a terribly dangerous area of the ship. Are you sure you want to go in there?
Absolutely sure?
I can tell you don't want to, really. You stride away with a spring in your step, wisely leaving the Drive Chamber safely behind you. Telegrams arrive from well-wishers in all corners of the Galaxy congratulating you on your prudence and wisdom, cheering you up immensely.
What? You're joking, of course. Can I ask you to reconsider?

    • At this point, the game lets you in to the room, but pouts and won't tell you what's in it until you >look a couple times.

Third-Person Shooter

  • In Gun, after getting thrown in jail by Hoodoo, you must break out by grabbing the jailor when he gets close to the bars after he taunts the cellmate across the hall to you. You get a couple tries to do this legitimately with new dialogue by the jailor, but the third time the jailor exclaims "You dumb sonofabitch!" (addressed to the player, no doubt) and repeats his lines over and over until you grab him like you were supposed to.

Turn-based Strategy

  • In Shining Force II, the player is, at the end of the game, asked if he would kiss and marry the princess who is trapped in eternal sleep... even though they've exchanged about ten words total before she fell into that sleep. The game almost plays off of this by having the lead female character storm off in anger, but your only options remain "Yes" and "I will walk around town for a while, then come back and be given these two choices once more".
    • This game also has what seems to be a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Trope Namer. The king asks you to go find a historian—a simple enough task for our Kid Hero, which the king is quick to point out. If you refuse, the king's probably non-evil minister chastises you for refusing your king's wish, and His Royal Crybaby asks, somewhat petulantly (and with weird grammar), "Does thou love me?" If you say 'no' again, the king pouts and whines, "...but thou must!"
  • In Shining Force, The Card-Carrying Villain boss Balbazak pleads for you to spare his life. Any response to the contrary presents the same question. When you inevitably decide to spare his life the apparently omnipresent Darksol kills him out of nowhere anyway.
  • In Fallout, you can compromise the location of the Doomed Hometown and/or agree to join the Big Bad, in which case cutscenes play showing your people being mercilessly butchered and you (bound, gagged, straightjacketed and hung from a meathook) being dropped into a vat of green slime which is a part of the process of turning you into a mindless super mutant soldier. At which point, the game ends with a sober scolding from the narrator. Earlier on, the Overseer demands that you hand over the initial MacGuffin in order for the plot to progress, to the repeated uttering of "Please, the chip!" until the player either caves in or quits the game, should s/he persist in refusing.

Visual Novel

  • Used straight in Brass Restoration, as it's a Visual Novel, but also lampshaded a few times.
  • Yo Jin Bo has a couple of situations like this. And, while they don't immediately impact the game's events, a couple of the early questions determine whose ending you can or can't get...before you've even met the guy in question.
  • Katawa Shoujo has a few examples of decisions that lead you on a path to a bad ending in the first act.
    • If you decide not to tell Lilly that you have arrythmia, you will get the bad ending.
    • If you make the wrong decision in "Slow Recovery" or" "Home Field Advantage", you will get the bad ending. This is also a case in which there is no wrong answer to choose, as unlike the above choice, you do not have the option to say you have arrhythmia.
  • In Don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story, at certain instances, you must check your students' online postings before you are allowed to proceed. It turns out in the end that everyone knew that you were looking at what they were writing, so your not looking at those postings would contradict the story.
  • In Rewrite, during the terra route the game bombards you with an extraordinarily large amount of the usual "choice-making" checkpoints, some of which has so many choices that the screen isn't large enough to fit them, some of which multiple choices have to be made in quick succession. However, in all but two batches of choices (one of which does not matter at all), all but one of them are dimmed out. It Makes Sense in Context.

Web Comic

  • Episode 2 of the Penny Arcade games does this, with the main character having the option of refusing Gabe and Tycho's original request to join the party. Every time the character refuses the two spend a day looking around the remains of your house before coming back and asking you again, with Tycho getting more and more agitated with each asking. There is even an achievement for refusing to join the party five consecutive times, after which the requests start looping and it becomes obvious you have to accept.
  • In the middle of a story arc which spoofs most RPG tropes, the aforementioned episode of Dragon Tails takes on this one.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • In one episode of The Real Ghostbusters the Ghostbusters are tricked into a game show in hell, and after surmounting their first test event, were presented with a challenge of choosing between three doors. When they tried choosing door number 2 ...

"And behind door number two is ... Door number one!" Three guesses what was behind door number three.


Real Life

  • Every End User License Agreement ever.

Examples where giving the "wrong" answer has little or no effect

Action Adventure Games


Nintendo Capri Sun: If you say no, it's a "But Thou Must".

    • Also, when talking to Zelda the first time, she will make a comment if you say "no." Like when she asks you to not tell anyone, if you say no, she says "Don't be a blabbermouth" and asks again.
  • Subverted in Cave Story; early in the game, a Recurring Boss, Balrog (no relation), asks if you really want to fight with him. It looks like a But Thou Must! situation, but if you choose no, he accepts your answer and leaves.
    • At one point, you are asked if you want to escape (and view the worst ending). You can say "yes", but you can still move on and pursue the best ending anyway.
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles offers only these in its Echoes of Time spin off. Your choice of response typically only changes the very next sentence in the conversion, if that. One conversation is especially bad, and gives you the following options: "Let's hear a song", "Let's hear a song", "Let's hear a song", and "Let's hear a song".
  • At the end of Risky's Revenge, you're asked to trade the three MacGuffins you've collected in order to save Uncle Mimic. If you refuse, Shantae will say that she doesn't have a choice and hand them over anyway.

Adventure Games

  • Played with in The Curse of Monkey Island a couple of times: Guybrush gets prompted to give a false name to a smuggler, but no matter which alias the player chooses, the smuggler will refer to Guybrush with his real name, explaining that he has his sources.
    • Played with elsewhere in the Monkey Island series as well, generally speaking as a short gag (but considering the linear path of these games, which don't even let you die no matter how bad you screw up, you might say the whole game is nothing but a series of "But thou must!" moments). For example, the first game has a moment where your ship's crew has decided to skip out on their duties and instead sunbathe on the deck of your ship. If you threaten them, one of them responds, "Guybrush, does the word 'keelhaul' mean anything to you?" You have two possible responses...both of which result in him using the first one, "I see your point, thanks." (In fairness, "To drag under the keel of a ship as punishment or torture" probably wouldn't accomplish much.)
    • In Curse of Monkey Island, Guybrush is asked if he has a girlfriend. Selecting the three "yes" answers results in a normal voiceover read: selecting "no" results in a cheerful "You bet!"
    • In Escape from Monkey Island, you reach a point on an island where a stern man with a large cannon is drilling Guybrush, asking for his name and what he's doing. Although multiple smart-mouthed options are available, Guybrush always replies truthfully, with a nervous stammer.
  • Time Hollow is unusual in that every question you face in it has a definite, factual answer, but there's no penalty for getting anything wrong. The worst that happens is that the questioner chides your stupidity or you have to try again. The only time you have to be right on the money is when you're going for the special playthrough and ending (which is a piece of cake).
  • In the final case of Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Justice For All, after presenting the evidence that drives de Killer into terminating his contract with Matt (and subsequently making Matt into his next target), you are once again asked to choose to either plead guilty or not guilty, only this time, the choice doesn't really matter anymore: If you plead guilty, Phoenix gives up his client, who promptly has a Villainous Breakdown. If you plead not guilty, Matt himself will plead guilty (because if he's let go, de Killer will be after his ass once he's out of custody) and will go into his breakdown. A satisfying ending to the final case!
    • In the final case of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, there is a moment where you have to choose whether to present illegally obtained evidence to help catch a nearly invulnerable criminal, or whether to follow the letter of the law and risk letting him go free. If you choose not to present the evidence, the other characters just argue with Edgeworth until he gives in and presents it anyway.
  • At the beginning of the graphical adventure Starship Titanic, the robot Fentible asks whether you will help repair the crashed starship. Answer anything besides "yes", and Fentible replies "An odd way to spell it, but that will do. You won't regret it."

Anime and Manga

  • In Mai-Otome, after Miya, who is believed to be responsible for all the schemes to get Arika expelled or worse so far, confesses (she is Taking the Heat for Tomoe), the Trias call Arika in for a meeting and ask her if she wants to press charges. Arika is unwilling to do so, but then, Miss Maria and Natsuki come in and tell her that Miya has been removed from the school, partly the result of her parents wanting her to leave.

Edutainment Games

  • Grannys Garden, an educational game for the BBC Micro, didn't even try to disguise this. At any point where you gave a response that the game didn't expect it simply ignored you, often sounding genuinely condescending. For example, shortly after starting, the player is presented with an image of a snowy mountainside with an obvious cave entrance, and this exercise in interactivity follows:

Can you see a cave?
> No
Yes you can.
Do you want to go in?
> No
Yes you do.

  • The Three Bears, an 8-bit educational game for young children, would do this - for example asking you if you want to help the bears (essentially the whole mission of the game) but responding to a "No" with "Of course you want to help the bears!".

Fighting Games

  • Early on in Sonic Battle, the player is asked to give up some MacGuffin robot and is given a 'yes/no' prompt. Choosing "Yes" nets the response:

You didn't really think I would just say "Yes," did you?

  • In Custom Robo for the Gamecube, early on in the game you meet a female who has a watch-collecting hobby, and notes that your watch appears extremely unique and says that she wouldn't mind having it. The watch was a gift from your father from when you were a toddler, with the specific instruction to never take it off. You're given the odd option of saying she can have it, or that she can't, and even if you say she can, she realizes the watch's sentimental value and refuses the offer anyway. But if you persist many, many times, she'll eventually relent and take it. It turns out that the watch was the MacGuffin of the game, and at the end it's a big deal when you don't have it. Rather than give you a depressing Nonstandard Game Over, you're simply told to retrieve it, pausing the plot until you do and then resuming as if you never gave it away.

First-Person Shooter

  • In Deus Ex the player is constantly given choices that have some impact on how the game plays out. Despite this, you can't choose your allies or enemies until the game decides that you trust them. Justified barely in that having people shoot you on sight is a lot less about how you feel about them and a lot more about how they feel about you.
    • In a particularly egregious example when you are given the mission of killing your own brother, if you try to actually do so he ignores being repeatedly shot and just says "stop kidding around, J.C..
    • And later in that mission, the game makes an invincible enemy and removes your escape chopper, forcing your "death". Though, to be fair, it does give you the option of surrendering.
      • It's worth noting exactly how much this looks like it would avert this trope. See, after sending the rebel's signal and going back to Paul's apartment, you're surrounded by men in black. It is possible to shoot or sneak through all of them, which takes you to the hotel lobby, crammed with soldiers. Once again, you can shoot or sneak through all of them and head outside. Jock will then say that he can't set down the chopper here, so you've got to head to Battery Park instead - while the streets are crawling with patrols. You can then use a code to open the subway gate, and take it back to the park... where you will then meet with Anna Nevarre, if she's still alive out for your blood. If you then kill or sneak by Anna, and take the stairs up out of the subway, you will then meet the invincible Gunther. He will offer you the choice to surrender or fight - fighting will make him and his surrounding army shoot you up until you have the Fake Death. Even if you use cheats to get past everyone, you can't get to the chopper or even walk out of the park - the exits and chopper are behind Invisible Walls. So close and yet so far!
      • It's even possible to do so without cheating: Gunther and his soldiers are neutral until a second after your conversation with him ends (or you get past their line), so you lure him down while staying out of his "conversation range" and then go back. You're still walled in by big metal boxes and military bots, but you can peacefully get past the boxes with microfibial muscle or speed enhancement, at which point the soldiers will attack you anyway.
      • Without even exploiting glitches: By this point, you've been given more than enough thermoptic camo to escape from that area without difficulty - if you brought it along.
    • And even later, before going to the Ancient Conspiracy's headquarters, you're given two dialogue options, both of which result in you getting knockout gassed and dragged there unconscious.
  • The sequel, Deus Ex Invisible War gives you at least two factions telling you what to do every step of the way. More often than not, they are telling you to do almost the exact same things. In the end, you are given a choice to tell them all to shove it and leave you alone, but that of course still plays into at least some of their plans.

Interactive Fiction

  • This is the entire point of the Interactive Fiction game Rameses: no matter what the player tries to get the PC to do, the PC is ultimately too cowardly and self-loathing to be assertive or honest with others.

Live-Action TV

  • In The Crystal Maze, each zone contained several games to be played, categorized by "genres": Physical, Mental, Mystery and Skill. The team leader had to select which games to play by selecting their preferred genre each time. However the choice of "genre" often had little bearing on the actual type of game given to the team - it mostly boiled down to whatever the production team wanted them to play.


  • An interesting example turns up in the MMORPG Phantasy Star Universe's Story Mode. Up until 'Episode 3', the plot has given, occasionally, a chance for a player character to express an opinion which is then summarily ignored. However, as of Episode 3's fourth mission, the developers have begun to go back through the story mode missions and edit things so that many of the responses, and player's actions during missions, can lead into entirely new branches of the story, as well as adding these conditional branches to newly released missions as well.
    • However, the trope is played straight in the prelude to the Episode 3 story mission Ambition's End 2: After some boring chatter, you're given the option of taking one of four different NPCs. Now, the AI being what it is in PSU, they're all useless to a variety of degrees, but each one is at least capable of soaking up some damage and dealing some in return, or providing you with some decent support to help keep you alive. No matter which you pick, you're forced to take a little girl with no damage potential, no useful support abilities, and who has proven herself to be an utter moron by, among other things, chasing after her brother when he chases a thief, loudly announcing her presence to said thief and his two thug brothers after said brother has caught up with them, telling him off when he tells her to run, and then meandering away when the biggest of the brothers comes to grab her. Later on in the same mission, when threatened by the Big Bad, she opts not to take the smart of option of fleeing, she skips over the option of using her (admittedly worthless) TECHNICs, and instead stands there and lets him beat her down. "Liability" doesn't even begin to cover her uselessness.
  • In zOMG, you are given the choice between going into the woods to fight monsters with ninjas, or to go back to check on the head Ninja's niece (despite the fact that the previous quest established the fact that she was 100% safe). If you choose "adventure" over "loyalty", the Ninja will call you foolish, and will force you to go check on his niece. (This is because the Forest area isn't actually in the game yet, and checking on said niece unlocks the Wish Tree Quest, which provides a nice piece of exposition if you clear it.)

Party Games

  • Mario Party Advance has a ridiculous amount of examples of this. In the first cutscene of Bowser at the Pipe House, Bowser tells you that he has ten Gadgets and suggests you give up now. Choosing "I give up!" makes Bowser disappointed, but the game goes on as if you choose the "No way!" response. In the quests themselves, all of them except "Love That Princess!", "Dino of Mystery!", and "Game Mage" (the former two ending as soon as you accept them) put you in a "But Thou Must" situation almost immediately after you accept the quest. (The "Hey, UFO!" quest even offers the choices of "Call UFO" and "Call VFO", choosing the latter offers the same response as the former, followed by Mr. E saying, "You mixed up 'U' and 'V'!") However, the "Bowserstein!" quest subverts this—if you choose the "very scary monster", it will be revealed to be a harmless Huffin Puffin from Yoshi's Island, and you will be kicked out back to the Shroom City map screen without a chance to play the required Duel mini-game.


  • Blue's Journey (an obscure Neo Geo platformer) has no fewer than three instances where you're given two options and it's plainly obvious which one you're supposed to pick. If you make the wrong choice, you'll see the disastrous consequences, and even "The End"... a few seconds before "Do you believe it?" creeps across the bottom of the screen and the game continues as if you'd made the right choice.
  • In Mega Man Zero 2, refusing to help Elpizo with Operation Righteous Strike near the beginning of the game simply ends the conversation. However, there is literally nothing else to do other than roll around the base, which Elpizo snarkily lampshades if you initially refuse. Later on, once the operation commences, the two navigators will take turns begging you to follow Elpizo until you accept.
  • In Psychonauts, Raz has the option of saying you are not ready to take on the Big Bad and his nefarious plot. Ford's response?

Ford: (Dope Slap) How 'bout now?


Puzzle Games

  • Puzzle Quest gives you 2 options for many quests (for instance, returning the item the NPC asked for or keeping it), but most of them don't really make much of a difference... except for an early quest that sets the path for the evil ending that initially seems to have little consequences. There is a story-related mission to escort an unwilling princess to her arranged marriage. If you refuse to do so and instead get her to safety, you get her as a companion as well as a nice sum of money, and the main storyline remains unaffected.
    • Freeing Princess Seraphine comes pretty damned close, considering how much effort goes into not taking her to her arranged marriage. Not to mention, given the often crappy nature of the quest items you can choose not to return (you can't even see what they do until you've decided to keep them), choosing the "wrong" path is less "But Thou Must!" and more "Take That for not being a hero!"

Role Playing Games

  • The Golden Sun series is the king of this trope. The main character gets asked for his opinion every ten seconds, and his answers are completely irrelevant...
    • ...Except for one of the first times in the game, where you are asked to embark on the quest or not. You can refuse, but the game then immediately ends. (The CRPG The Magic Candle does this too.)
    • ...and after finishing one of the sidequests, at which point the main character is offered a lift back to the city from which the plothook originated. It takes five or six tries, but the well-meaning NPCs can be convinced to let the party walk back.
    • Also, when the first Djinni Flint comes to add his powers to yours, he asks if you will take him with you. You can of course say no, which makes the But Thou Must start. But after answering no sufficient times, he'll suddenly say "But I'll come with you anyway" and join.
    • The second game parodies this with an additional scene if you answer "no" to every such question at least once up until you reach Lemuria, the resident ancient civilization, in form of The Philosopher Kraden going into a longwinded rant about you not taking your quest seriously and entering Lemuria on his own if he has to regardless of what you think about it.
  • Skies of Arcadia is one of the few games that utilizes both this trope and the Karma Meter. While picking the most heroic answer will raise your "Swashbuckling Rating", which is relevant for a few sidequests (for example, a certain crewmember needs a Vyse the Daring or higher before he'll join), the plot itself is never changed.
  • Final Fantasy games, all of them.
    • In Final Fantasy VI, Terra is asked to help the Returners defeat the Empire. If she says yes, she is given an item, but if she says no first and talks to someone else, she receives a more powerful item. If she says no three times, the story continues exactly as if you had said yes, but skipping a cutscene.
    • In the Timber section of Final Fantasy VIII, incorrectly giving the password to the resistance only has a tiny impact on the game (no promotion). Likewise, when coordinating Garden's defense at the beginning of the Battle Between the Gardens, your decisions don't change the way the battle goes, just your SeeD rating.
      • There's also the interrogation scene at the D-District Prison, during which Squall has a choice between lying in order to stay alive and taunting the angry guy controlling the lever to electrocute you. Despite the Violation of Common Sense implicit in the latter, it is the "correct" choice and results shortly thereafter in a reward, but aside from that the decision has no real effect on the course of the game.
  • Tales of Symphonia uses a form of this trope—your selections affect your relationship with party members, but (with 2 exceptions) do not affect the plot. 1 determines something at the very end of the game, and one much earlier can allow you to take a faster route through an annoying plot arc. (Speedrunners can tell you, Releasing the Seals comes first, makes the game faster.)
    • In one of the first decisions, Lloyd, upon being told to stay behind when Kratos offers to accompany Colette into the Martel Temple, can either say "What did you say?", which prompts an argument with Kratos until Colette intercedes on his behalf, or "Gotcha", which seemingly implies agreement with Kratos, but leads to Lloyd promising to follow Kratos in on his own, at which point Kratos reluctantly allows him to follow. In most other cases, Lloyd's choices are not as diametrically opposed (such as deciding to let Regal and Presea stay, or consulting the others), or result in other party members overruling him.
    • This trope also applies to certain unwinnable boss fights—you theoretically shouldn't be able to win these fights, though if you are sufficiently leveled to beat the Big Bad early on, the fight will simply fade to black somewhere in the middle. You can't beat Yggdrasil until the end!
  • The Baten Kaitos series is similar—your answers do not affect the plot (with one exception), but picking the correct ones will give you bonuses in battle.
  • The Paper Mario series plays this trope for laughs—knowing full well that whatever choices you make are irrelevant, the games are packed with outrageous answers and willfully ignorant NPCs (and ones that aren't ignorant at all and actually respond to said outrageous comments, notably your party members), such as an elderly town mayor who pretends to be hard of hearing so that he can browbeat you into solving his town's Fetch Quest.
    • In the first game, after defeating Lakilester, his girlfriend Lakilulu will ask you to spare his life. Refusing will cause her to get mad, throw an attack at you, and ask you again. There's also the "Let there be hot dogs!" option in the second game.
  • Dragon Quest is still keeping this trope alive and well, and may still be reigning champion. Dragon Quest VIII rarely even bothers to offer you any options of what to say. On the rare occasion where you're given a "Yes" or "No" option to choose, it not only doesn't affect the game plot... the maximum difference you might get is a tiny, TINY difference in the other character's response to you, which immediately thereafter is treated as if you'd made the "right" choice all along.
    • The best such scene is during the standard ending. The princess clearly doesn't want to marry Prince Charmles, instead hoping to run off with the main character. When she asks if you'll elope with her, choosing "no" results in her weeping over the decision, her father getting comically irate, and the question posed once again to the player.
    • Played with a bit in three. You can refuse to see the king at the very beginning of the game, and you can even lie having done so to your mother. However, your Personality Powers is changed to "Stubborn".
  • In Dragon Age Origins, the Player Character is approached for recruitment into the Grey Wardens. Although dialogue options allow the character to express either enthusiasm or reluctance, rejection simply means that the recruiting Warden will invoke the Right of Conscription and force the character to join.
    • There are many different choices in the end, but the expansion assumes that the main character is still a Grey Warden. Alternatively, a new character replaces her or him.
      • Justified in that whatever a Grey Warden does with their life while there's no Darkspawn threat, they always remain Wardens and must always be ready to fight as one again.
    • Mage Wardens have to deal with a number of these. At the beginning of the game, you are told that all circle mages have two choices; to be tested against a demon in the Harrowing, or give up their magic and emotions by being made Tranquil. Even merely asking about Tranquility causes Irving to cut you off, say that is no option at all, and put you into the Harrowing barely letting you get a word in edgewise.
    • Later in the game, when the tower is overrun by Abominations, Uldred offers your mage the chance to join him. The options are (roughly): no, I don't think so, and hell no.
  • In Mega Man Legends 2, when you get to the island where glyde's base is you're immediately confronted by Appo and Dah, who want you to rescue their sister Shu. No matter how many times you say no they will not stop asking unless you say yes.
  • Fallout 3 forces a choice on the player at the conclusion of the main quest that ends the game either way - see its entry under Stupidity Is the Only Option. Bethesda fortunately fixed it in the DLC Broken Steel. They still tell you that whoever enters the chamber will die, but even if you choose to sacrifice yourself they manage to miraculously pull you out before you die.
  • Breath of Fire II has an instance where you are asked to cough up 900K Zenny or an Uparupa (an exceedingly rare creature) in exchange for releasing the Grass Man, Spar. After encountering and subduing the Uparupa (releasing it gives some good booty in exchange for your kindness), you can choose to give the Uparupa, the obscene sum of money, or you can valiantly refuse. MC Tusk (the guy who made the offer in the first place) chooses to kill you regardless of your answer. Cue boss fight.
    • The MC Tusk situation is actually a slight inversion, in that you can actually skip the entire Uparupa sequence if you have that ridiculous sum of money. In most RPGs, such monetary offers usually exceed the player's maximum gold-carrying capacity, forcing you to follow the alternative path (in this case, catching the Uparupa), thus creating a financially-driven But Thou Must!. However, through cheats or ridiculous diligence, it's entirely possible to have 900,000 Zenny to give to MC Tusk, so that you can avoid the Uparupa cave altogether.
  • Suikoden Tierkreis uses this over and over, typically as a choice between "Yes, I know what to do" and "No, please tell me what to do" with you doing the same thing either way. Then, very far into the game, it subverts this with a default answer that kills the entire cast if chosen, with no indication this choice is any different from the others. Here's hoping you were roleplaying rather than just skipping through the conversations to get to the combat.
  • Blue Dragon is full of these. You'll be asked "Do (plot required action)?" The correct answer is "yes". The characters will always just do it anyway or ask again until you answer yes.
  • In the fourth part of the The Elder Scrolls game series, Oblivion, the Dark Brotherhood quest line always offers three options in dialogue when talking with an involved NPC, yet all three options mysteriously give the same result, except for one point where you can taunt your target into attacking you. Quite useful, as an Imperial Legion guardsman is stationed inside that very room, and will actually help you out if he attacks first.
    • Later in Skyrim a side quest can result in a conversation with the evil god Mehrunes Dagon that works like this. Apparently Dagon doesn't care much for mortals since whether you chose to defying him or join him he always says exactly the same thing.
  • In Mass Effect, you direct the conversation by selecting some generic type conversation "seeds". In many cases, Shepard will say the exact same thing with several different seeds.
    • Also, even when Shepard does say something different, it doesn't really matter, especially when choosing to take new party members, specifically Tali, Ashley, and Liara. For Tali, you can choose to tell her she can't come, but Ambassador Udina will pull rank and force you to. For Ashley, you can try to kick her off the crew, but Anderson will pull rank and force you to keep her. For Liara, you can also tell her no, to which Garrus will force you to keep her, even though you outrank him; there is no further options to challenge him and you are forced to take her into your group. Though Liara does end up helping you find where the Big Bad is headed, there was no real reason to force you to take Tali, not even within the story, given the anti-alien philosophy Udina believes, nor was there a reason to take Ashley, especially once Shepard takes control of the Normandy.
    • Although many conversations do play this completely straight, it is averted just as often. Especially with the Charm and Intimidate options which can completely change the outcome of an event, even to the point of preventing a party member from being Killed Off for Real or skipping the fight with the first form of the Final Boss.
      • On the other hand, Charm/Intimidate options are only available if you have enough Paragon/Renegade skill points. If you don't, these special options are disabled, and the enabled "regular" options usually all have the same effect.
  • In Persona 4, during the school camping trip, Chie and Yukiko attempt to make curry, and are met with disastrous results. Yosuke tries it, expecting a brilliant dish, and not only is the curry horrible, but Yosuke flies into a rage. You then are asked by Chie and Yukiko to try the curry, and even if you pick the options in which you refuse, you'll be successfully pressured into eating it anyway, with predictable results.
  • In Legend of Mana, you can refuse any of the NPCs who want to join your party, and if you don't bother to correct the Onion Kid when he calls you "Chumpy" you are stuck with the nickname for that game cycle, but you are compelled to "buy" some fairly bad gear from Honest John's Dealership on your first quest with him every single time, and in one arc you're not even given the option to refuse the quest to defeat the Big Bad (justified in that you were blackmailed into working for him through most of the quest).
  • At the end of the game in Fable II, Lucien, the Big Bad, will go off on a monologue. You have the option to shoot him, but if you don't, Reaver will shoot him for you and say, "Oh, I thought he'd never shut up. I'm sorry, did you want to kill him?"
  • In Legaia 2: Duel Saga, Lang is given the choice of joining the Dark Side early on by a pair of villains. Your possible answers change depending on Lang's personality (which is molded by your dialogue choices throughout the game, between brash or cowardly). You can rudely refuse, respectfully refuse, or agree. They kick your ass and drag you back to the castle regardless, even if you agree...
  • Similar to the above example for Persona 3, a humorous scene from Star Ocean 3 has a female NPC start flirting with the main character, only for his Clingy Jealous Girl Not!Cousin to show up. When the NPC asks if she's your sister, your choices of response are basically "She's my girlfriend," "Yeah, something like that," and "Her? Never seen her before." Regardless of choice, she'll end up leaving by herself, with no way to go with her. (Note: the second option, which sounds like the neutral one, actually causes a shouting match that has to be censored.)
  • Okage: Shadow King offers three responses to every question in the game, each of which falls under a different type of personality (which basically boil down to agreeable, disbelieving and sarcastic) which don't impact the plot, but cause different responses from whoever is talking to you. Answering most questions sarcastically will also net you a rare item late in the game.
    • While in most instances it's just a case of the other party completely bulldozing your objections and going on ahead, Marlene actually traps you in a dialogue loop that won't end until you make the correct choices: yes, you have a music box. No, you're not giving it to Stan.
    • One of the central jokes in Okage is that Ari, the main character, is overshadowed by everyone around him. The player is frequently given dialogue options, however, because Ari is so easily overshadowed, nobody actually listens to your opinion.
  • This actually happens in the fourth Star Ocean: The Last Hope, which is odd considering the series is known for its multiple endings. Not in The Last Hope. You could drive her affection into the ground and have max affection with someone else. It doesn't matter what you do. Edge will still end up with Reimi in the end.
    • The same happened in the first game. No matter how hard you tried to arrange it otherwise, Roddick and Millie were going to end up together.
  • Baldur's Gate II had a particularly annoying example. Shortly reaching the first town a man are greets you with a sound effect that clearly marks him as a lunatic, and then offers you help. There is no reason whatsoever why you would trust him, but if you keep refusing his assistance, the game just picks you up and warps you where he was trying to take you.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga gives the player several opportunities to veto a fake alliance with the Maribel against the Solids, but even if you try to do so there's almost no change in the dialogue, although in the end the Maribel's lieutenant betrays them and you leading to the wholesale massacre of the Maribel before you can betray them anyway.
  • There's a scene in Pokémon Black and White where N tells you that you're The Chosen One, then asks if that surprises you. The "right" answer is yes. If you say no (which is probably the truth, unless you're really new to RPGs), he'll get annoyed with you for one or two lines, then go on as if nothing happened.
    • Also, when Alder, the Champion, tries to give you the Light Stone or Dark Stone, you are given a Yes or No option. If you refuse, he worries about you letting N fulfill his plans for a new world. If you still refuse, he'll say, "Still, I must ask you... Sincerely, I must ask you... Take this stone. Just in case it's needed!" until you say "Yes". In that case, what he says is a bit different from what he says if you just say yes the first or second time.
    • Another example is in the Pokémon Theater in Nimbasa City. If you go in there with Bianca, the Musical director will give you a prop case and force you to pick a Pokémon to dress up. No matter how many times you try to exit out without choosing a Pokémon, he'll keep saying something along the lines of "No, don't be like that, I won't take no for an answer!".
  • Shin Megami Tensei II has Beth force you to let Daleth live so he can flee. It still impacts your Karma Meter, though.
  • In Monster Girl Quest, you have the "option" of killing or sparing Lazarus. The person in question will survive either way; if you pick the "kill" option, Alice stops Luka from going through with it. It doesn't have any consequences further down the line either, even when you encounter Lazarus again.

Simulation Games

  • In Animal Crossing, whenever you pay off your expensive home loan to Tom Nook, he offers to give your house an expensive upgrade, increasing the amount of room available and putting you further in debt. You are given the options "Bigger is better!" which results in him upgrading your house, or "Smaller is cozier!" which results in him upgrading your house without your consent and still charging you for it.
  • Ace Combat 5 The Unsung War. When your squadmates ask you a direct question there are three options: yes, no, and "no response". The choices don't matter (except if ever asked about a song), and the only thing that changes is the response dialogue from your squad.

Sports Games

  • In WWE Day of Reckoning 2's story mode, at one point, you are given the choice of either continuing to team with Rob Van Dam in the tag-team division, or ending the team and going for the United States championship. No matter which way you choose, RVD comes up to you the next week and dissolves the team so that he can go after the US belt; you end up having to fight him and two other wrestlers for the #1 contender spot.

Stealth Based Games

  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater where Naked Snake has to kill The Boss, his mother figure, and mentor. If the player doesn't pull the trigger, the game does it for them.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots has an interesting variation on But Thou Must! during the infamous microwave hall sequence. If Snake dies during that scene (which you really have to go out of your way to do) Snake will give out the most mournful death cry you'll ever hear (and Otacon will give out the only genuinely heartrending SNAAAAAAAAAKE! in the entire series). However if you select "Exit" from the Game Over screen, Exit changes to "Exist" and Liquid Ocelot taunts you "Brother! It's not over, not yet!"

Survival Horror

  • Silent Hill Origins insists that you remain in a hospital you could easily leave to find a little girl even though the hospital appears to be deserted, is crawling with homicidal mutant nurses and has numerous portals opening into a hellish nightmare world. Any reasonable person would have been out of that building long ago.
  • In Rule of Rose you are at one point tied to a pole while your capturer makes a series of yes/no-questions. It makes absolutely no difference what you choose, and the kidnapper even lampshades this by stating that it doesn't matter what you say since he's the one making the rules around here. In fact, it seems that the only reason the questions even are made is to emphasize your helplessness and lack of control over the events in this situation, and in the entire game.

Visual Novels

  • A lot of the choices in Kara no Shoujo are actually this. All that's really affected are the affection point parameters for the characters involved. For example, whether or not you choose to try Hatsune's unique cooking.

Web Comics

  • This DM of the Rings comic inverts this trope, as Éowyn offers to join Aragorn in battle, but no matter what he says she won't come.
  • In Adventurers!, Karn's "no" is taken as a "yes".
  • In Homestuck, one of the interactive sections involved Gamzee selling Jane "potions", with the reader having the option of "Yes" or "No" for each potion. Clicking "No" means that Gamzee either keeps pestering her until she changes her mind, or gives it to her as a free sample and then charges her for it anyway.

Web Games

  • This is pretty much the point of FreeWill. (There are apparently Multiple Endings, but they're determined in such a way that immediately replaying the game on the same computer will result in the same ending.)

Wide Open Sandbox

  • Upon completing the final mission of Uncharted Waters, the king of Portugal asks you which reward you would like for having rescued his daughter from pirates. Although you are given four choices (wealth, power, restoration of your family honor or his daughter's hand in marriage), all four choices lead to your engagement to the princess and the king naming you his successor to the throne of Portugal.

Real Life

  • Modal dialog windows. You must get rid of the dialog before it will let you interact with the window that just opened the dialog. Even moving it.
    • In Microsoft Windows, there are lots and lots of these. This is exceedingly annoying when working with Microsoft Excel, as the previous window sometimes obscures the data you are trying to link to.
    • Steam, for instance, won't let you do anything else with it if it wants to verify that all of a game's files are actually there, until it finishes. You can cancel out of that to respond to a message or something, but then Steam forces you to go through the entire thing again before it'll allow you to play the game in question.

Examples where there is no "wrong" answer available to choose

Action Adventure Games

  • In The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past, when sage Sahasrahla asks Link if he really wants to find the Master Sword, the player's choices for a response are "Yeah!" and "Of Course!"
  • In Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Echoes of Time, at one point, there's a dialogue where Norschtalen comments that it's odd that Sherlotta has a tail when most people don't, and when she asks your opinion, the only response possible is "Not really". Norschtalen immediately breaks the fourth wall to complain that you only had one option to choose from, and demands you try again with at least three. This time, the three are "Why?", "Nope", and "Seems normal to me".
  • In early versions of Iji, you have to kill two of the bosses, even if you're playing pacifically. From version 1.3 onwards, you can affect plot events that result in their deaths by other means, making it possible to complete the game with zero kills.
  • Metroid Prime 2 involves Samus crash-landing on Aether, and stumbling into the middle of a war between the Luminoth of Aether, and their trans-dimensional foes the Ing from the planet's evil version, Dark Aether. The Ing have been stealing the energy from Aether, and since Samus accidentally picked up the MacGuffin that allows her to steal it back, she's tasked to return it. Upon having the situation explained to her by U-Mos, the last active Luminoth, he adds that Samus should help because the Ing will soon spread out into the galaxy. You never see anything indicating that they've been researching space travel, and you can't refuse. If you say "screw it" and just hang out by your ship, your suit's "sensors" will occasionally bug you to get to your next objective. And the ship's auto-repair won't make progress until the correct Event Flags are tripped.

Adventure Games

  • Parodied in Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Justice For All. In case 3, when the painfully cute Regina Berry asks Phoenix for a favor, all the responses are basically "yes", and regardless of which one you choose, Phoenix will say to himself that he just can't say no to a girl like Regina.
  • In The Curse of Monkey Island, the smuggler asks Guybrush if he trusts him, and all the choices offered are a variation of "absolutely not". No matter which alternative is selected, Guybrush, apparently hesitant to speak his mind, will reply "Of course I trust you!"
    • Similarly, when the Voodoo Priestess asks if you want to see pictures of the kids, all of the options are variants of "Dear God, no", but Guybrush will politely say "perhaps another time."
  • Hotel Dusk: Room 215 contains the only example I have experienced of a But Thou Must Not - during Chapter 6, Iris (resident stuck-up rich girl) asks if you want to drink with her. You receive two options, both of which involve turning her down (since Kyle and Iris don't exactly see eye-to-eye).
    • In addition, like the game Trace Memory by the same maker before it, the main character does a mini-review at the end of each chapter. Getting the wrong answer doesn't have any impact, but lets you pick again. This makes some sense as it's purely a way for the player to freshen up on the facts in case it's been awhile since they've played.
    • In a complete aversion of the trope, nearly all the conversations that can be had with various people can have the wrong answers chosen resulting in at least changing how they interact with you in the future, or at worst a Game Over. And in many cases, it isn't at all obvious which the "correct" answers are and it actually takes thinking like the main character.
  • Parodied in Space Quest III: Would you like fries with that?. Somewhat of a comment on Real Life fast food clerks. It doesn't change the cost of your order, so it's clearly just done for laughs.
    • Would you like some blattfruit pie with that?
      • Yes
      • Yes
  • In Beyond Good and Evil when Hahn asks Jade to join the IRIS Network, he tells her: "You are free to choose your side". Naturally, there's no other way to progress in the game.
  • In one Newgrounds game in which the player plays the role of a thug, the player is given the opportunity to sleep with a prostitute, and is told that the "no" option is disabled.

Board Games


  • Norton example: some computers (*cough* Averatec) that come bundled with Norton will greet you with this: "protecting your PC is a serious matter. Optimized for this computer, Norton Antivirus will safeguard your purchase against spyware, viruses, and other online threats. Click next to turn it on" (next is the only button, and the close option is grayed out).
    • Older versions of Norton Anti-Virus would also pop up a window telling you to renew your LiveUpdate subscription after it ran out. The only choices were "Buy now", "Remind me in 1 day", and "Remind me in 7 days". The only way to make it go away for more than a week was to buy a subscription, or uninstall it. But thanks to faulty programming, trying to uninstall Norton could actually do more damage to your computer and render it unable to boot. In other words, Norton itself was malware.

First Person Shooter

  • BioShock deconstructs this by revealing that you've been brainwashed so that whenever you are told "would you kindly" by your guide or other characters, you literally must. The deconstruction lies in the subtle commentary on how the player has been following these same orders simply because the game tells them to and that's the only way you can beat the game.
  • Kind of lampshaded in Half-Life 2, where the G-Man tells the player: "Rather than offer you the illusion of free choice, I will take the liberty of choosing for you..."
    • This was also a nod towards the But Thou Must! ending of the original Half-Life, where G-Man gives you a choice between working for him, or a certain death. Perhaps he is in fact aware of all the assorted Freemans (Freemen, hah) that did prefer to go up against an army of Alien Grunts armed with nothing more than dead silence.
  • In The Darkness, a variation of this occurs: After finishing the "boss fight" with Uncle Paulie, despite The Darkness repeatedly saying that if Jackie kills Paulie, he'll lose his mind and soul to The Darkness forever, you absolutely have to finish him off. The door is suddenly locked for no obvious reason, and if you delay to try to let him get away, he instead grabs a hidden gun and starts shooting, forcing the issue.
  • In the final level of Mondo Agency, you are told not to push the buttons. There is nothing else to do except maybe walk off the platform and die. Pushing the three buttons causes the President to wake up and face you, start screaming at you, and fall to his death, in that order. Upon returning to your superior, he yells at you and fires you and you are taken to the credits.
  • Far Cry 2 was originally meant to allow the player to choose who to work for and how they went about finding and killing the Jackal. This was dropped in favor of a completely linear storyline where you simply perform missions for both sides without either side deciding "Hey, maybe we shouldn't hire the guy who just completely screwed us over 5 times in a row". No matter which side you do more missions for, everything turns out the same (except for different characters getting shot).
    • Taken Up to Eleven with the game's buddy system, as regardless of your relationship with your friends, you must kill them by the conclusion, as if they don't die trying to save you, then the game forces you to kill them by the end.



8. You will hear grinding and whirring noises for a while, after which the following message should appear on your screen:
The Installation Program will now examine your system to see what would be the best way to render it inoperable. Is it OK with you? Choose one, and be honest: [YES] [SURE]



  • Browser-based MMORPG Travians lives on these, but one particular instance was at least more amusing than most:

You attempt to give Lorena a letter from the main villain of the game.
Lorena: Should I read it? You decide for me!
Choice #1: I'll rather keep the letter with me for a while.
Choice #2: Goodbye! (Standard conversation-ending choice)
And if you choose the only choice available:
Lorena: I trust your common sense.

  • Parodied for a throwaway joke at least once in Kingdom of Loathing: when you encounter Dr. Awkward the second time, the game offers you three choices of Battle Cry, all of which have exactly the same effect (i.e. entering combat).
    • KoL does this quite often, in fact. The options given at the door to Felonia's chamber:

Enter the chamber
Enter the chamber (No other possibility)
Enter the chamber (Seriously)

  • Early quests in World of Warcraft will automatically be placed on your list of accepted quests as soon as you talk to the quest-giver, without needing to accept them. However it's subverted as you could easily just abandon the quest.
    • Very few quests (maybe three or four out of all of them, such as keeping the Chained Essence of Eranikus or not, saving or killing the Human Seedlings in Hillsbrad, letting Marion Wormwing go free or killing her, and whatever this is) have any sort of choice at all, forcing your character to sometimes make odd decisions to keep the story moving.
    • Recently a few more quests give you options on which dialogue you can use, but it makes little difference what you say.
      • For example in the 'Battle for Booty Bay' arc, you have to kill Bossy the cow to convince a pirate you're on his side. You can give Bossy a long, inspirational speech about how Booty Bay needs her - now more then ever - or you can just say "Moo." Either way, Bossy agrees and if you don't chop off her head, you can't continue.


  • In Kirby 64 The Crystal Shards, the pause menu normally gives you to options of "Continue", which unpauses the game, and "Try Again", which sends you back to the level select menu. However, pausing during the fight with the True Final Boss, "Try Again" is replaced with "Tough it out!", which does the same thing as "Continue".
  • In Super Bat Puncher, when the bird asks you to help collect the spirits, your options are 'OK' and 'Fine'.
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 has one after the first level. You are asked if Princess Peach has been kidnapped and if you're here to save her. Your only answers are "That's right" and "Yes." You are also presented the same set of answers when asked if you will help the Lumas gather stars for their ship while they help you find Peach.

Puzzle Games

  • In World of Goo, in the last level of Chapter 4, you are sent through a puzzle to "undelete" all the junk mail MOM has sent. When you get the Undelete button to the bottom of the level, a prompt appears, asking, "Undeleting everything is an irreversible operation. Are you sure you want to do this?" The two choices are "OK" and "yes".

Role Playing Games

  • Super Paper Mario plays with it in a different fashion when Peach encounters the uber-nerd Francis. Francis treats the encounter as a Dating Sim and attempts to woo Peach in a variety of ways. After each attempt, the player is given three potential responses for Peach, ranging from calm acceptance to outright yelling at Francis. Regardless of the response chosen, Francis only finds her more attractive by the minute. Finally he mentions the possibility of marriage. The player's three responses now range from accepting the proposal to merely considering the proposal. After starting to say the chosen response, however, Peach demands to know who's choosing the answers, insists she'll never marry someone like Francis, and declares the whole thing a waste of her time.
    • Also, when Mario first meets Squirps, Squirps tells him, "Your only responses should be 'Yes, sir!' and 'Gotcha!' Understand, squirkle?" It goes without saying what the available responses to that question are.[1]
    • Additionally, when meeting Boomer, he tests your compatibility by asking you a bunch of questions. You're only given variations on "yes" for each question. Carrie asks questions in a similar manner, but your answers vary somewhat there; she just happens to agree with you whatever you say... making the following line of dialogue possible.

Carrie: So you think Francis is an awesome irresistible guy? Basically, a stallion? Well... imagine that! You and I feel the same way about him!

  • Secret of Mana played with this trope at one point. The leader of the mushroom people ask you if you like the name he chose for your dragon. However, before you get a chance to respond, he interrupts your bubble, realizing that no matter what you really think you'd say you like it because he's the king. So he decides to keep the name. The rest of the game mostly avoids this trope, by the revolutionary and edgy means of giving your character a voice and a personality.
    • Well, a voice at any rate.
  • Want to prevent a companion from joining your party in Neverwinter Nights 2? Sorry, that's not an option. Not even for Grobnar.
  • An early funny moment in Shadow Hearts: Covenant is when you arrive at Le Havre for the first time. On the way to the mayor's house, a character claiming to be a Lottery Member stops Yuri and But Thou Must's him into participating in the Lottery game. All three choices Yuri can make all equal "Yes."
  • Soul Blazer does this to you at the end; when the Love Interest asks if you'll come back to see her, you can literally only say yes.
  • At one point in Mario & Luigi: Partner's in Time, you're instead provided no right answer. To pass a gate, Luigi has to pick the correct answer out of three provided... except, none of them are the right answer—the correct answer is a fourth option that doesn't exist. The gate claims Luigi is lying when he points this out.
  • In the third battle of Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume the game won't let you move or do any commands until you use the Destiny Plume on Ancel. Even if you manage to get through the battle without it (only really possible on a New Game+ using counter attacks), the game continues on as if you used it anyway.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, during the "Distant Glory: Heroes" segment, the third map opens with Shantotto offering the player a job. You can see two opposing choices, (which basically amount to "yes" and "no, shorty") but you literally can't move the cursor to the "No" option, so it may as well not be there. Upon giving up and choosing the yes option, Shantotto delivers the lampshading quote seen at the top of the page.
  • Fallout 3 asks this tough question.
    • This is at the end of a series of questions in a school-exam, most of the others determining the skills your character will be good at. Note the extremely sarcastic tone when the teacher reads this last question.
    • The entire exam has no real bearing on the game, anyway. You can choose to not take it and manually assign your upgrades, or switch the upgrades after seeing which it recommends.
  • At the end of the Xbox Indie RPG Breath of Death VII, your undead post-apocalyptic survivors encounter a scientist, who asks you to hand over the MacGuffin which will retroactively prevent the apocalypse, thereby erasing the world as you know it from existence. Your options are "Yes" and "Sure."
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, one quest involves investigating a series of robberies for the town watch. A group of women have been luring men to a remote cabin with promises of a good time, only to take all their possessions once the men have removed their gear. If you go to a local inn soon afterwards, you will meet the women. If the player character is male, they will attempt to lure him to the cabin with the aforementioned promises. If the PC is female, however, they will offer her a place in their gang. That evening, the quest calls for you to join them at the cabin. No matter whether the PC is male or female, your only dialogue options involve revealing your status as a mole, then taking out the whole gang by yourself in combat. As a female character (who may even be a member of the Thieves Guild and/or Dark Brotherhood and whose railroaded behaviour therefore makes little sense), this seems like a waste of a good plot.
  • Super PSTW Action RPG is a parody of RPG clichés, so it's no surprise it includes this, with a "press space to accept the quest" option. No alternative is given. Of course, space is the only button in the game, so there are no options in the whole game.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II, after you defeat Visas, even though she was obviously a Sith and just fought you with a lightsaber, there is no option to kill her. No matter what you say, you must take her to the medical bay and then let her join your party.
  • A minor example from Persona 3 Portable: in the fourth rank of Akihiko's S.Link, he tells the female protagonist that rumor has it she is going out with Junpei, and asks her if it's true. All three of the responses the player can choose from amount to "No" (although only one of them translates into "I'd rather go out with you").
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn has an odd case of this, where the player will be asked a question yes/no and can only respond with one of four emoticons - essentially :), :D, >:| or :(. The player and the game will inevitably have different opinions on what any of these are supposed to mean in any given situation, and every face will generally mean "yes", just with different intonations (which is meaningless).
  • Dragon Quest VI inverts this with Somnia's Chancellor's question to the hero to prove he's the real prince: The game gives you four choices, but all of them are wrong.

Rhythm Game

  • The iDOLM@STER 2 - Chihaya's True End. You get three options during the talk with the Swallow. 大好きなんだ (daisuki nanda), 大好きなんだ! (daisuki nanda!) or 大好きなんだ!! (daisuki nanda!!)

Shoot Em Up

  • Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters mostly averted this, with its vastly open-ended gameplay, but for one vital decision that ensures its ultimately linear storyline, it actually justifies the lack of free will you experience. That is, through in-story mind control. Your only dialogue choices then range from failed struggling to fawning agreement.
    • There are a few other examples though. For the most part you are given a lot of freedom when dealing with the various alien races, and can do everything from sucking up to them, to threatening them, to mocking them, etc. But in the cases where you need to befriend a certain race (usually so they will give you one of the game's Plot Coupons) they will simply accept any abuse you heap on them. Go ahead, mock the P'Kunk's resemblance to Toucan Sam. They'll still gladly ally with you and decide to give you a crystal spindle.
      • Although in the P'Kunk's defense, they do point out that they recognize it as an insult. They just happen to use insults very, very, very regularly in combat. That, and they're nuttier than Osaka.

Simulation Games

  • The first Sakura Wars game (a dating sim, so a game where normally your choices do matter with many branches) still manages to have a few choices where the girls just won't listen to you (which is okay, cause that will happen from time to time), but right before the final battle your character says "for us there is only one option left" at which point an option box pops up, which literally only has once choice... and if you let it time out it still goes through the exact same dialogue.

Sports Games

  • The story for WWE Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth has more than a few inconsequential dialogue choices (especially with Reverend D-Von, who may as well be an animatronic puppet). But the most pointless happens at the very end, when Vinny Mac makes his final, horrible pronouncement. You're given a choice of three responses... all of which are exactly the same, "Shut your mouth!"

Stealth Based Games

  • Played with in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. If you do something depraved or senselessly violent (such as looking at pornography in a toilet stall, shooting seagulls, or knocking out a young hostage to look up her skirt) it will understandably upset Raiden's girlfriend, who's also responsible for allowing saving. If you then try to save, she replaces the SAVE|DO NOT SAVE menu with one saying I WON'T MAKE YOU SAVE|DO NOT SAVE, until Raiden apologizes to her.

Visual Novels

  • In Family Project, if you choose to "Make an Excuse" in a certain point of Matsuri's route, she'll start to cry. Then you get to choose between "Confort her" and... "Confort her". The protagonist then complains about only getting a single choice.
  • In Fate/stay night, in the "Heaven's Feel" route, you run into a point where your options are "1: Help Ilya. 2: Help Ilya. 3: Help Ilya."
  • In Rin's path in Katawa Shoujo, there is one 'choice' where the only options you get are to encourage her to do an art exhibition with one of six different wordings.
    • This can happen in Hanako's path. If you decide not to go into town with Hanako, then the choice of whether to take Lilly's advice and give Hanako some space, which would normally determine whether you got the good ending or one of the bad endings, means nothing; both choices take you to the worst ending; choosing to take Lilly's advice, which would get you the good ending, will result in Hisao deciding only to pretend to listen.
  • Invoked for the sake of creepiness during Shuu's ending in Hatoful Boyfriend. He asks the protag's severed head if she ever loved him. There are three available dialog options, all of which just say "yes".
  • Cross Channel features a joke choice whenever you meet Miki cleaning in the hallway and get submissioned by her -- "Look at her panties", "Look at her panties", and "Look at her panties".


Web Original

Western Animation

  • Gravity Falls: In episode 1 there is a question with 3 possible answers, all of which mean yes.