Guilt-Based Gaming

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He's actually a different kind of hero.
"Please don't leave me... You don't know what the CPU does to me when you're away!"

Given that the popular press would have you believe all computer-related media were created by the powers of darkness, and that video games are all super-violent simulations that corrupt impressionable young minds, you'd think the last thing gamers would need on top of society's disapproval was more guilt.

Especially when it's the game itself that's trying to make you feel like the biggest Jerkass in the world.

Guilt-Based Gaming is when the game tries to deter or punish the player, rather than the character, for a certain course of action. The princess berating The Hero for failing to rescue her pet budgie doesn't really count—while the player might feel bad, it's the character being admonished. However, if the princess were to turn to the camera every time the gamer tries to quit and screech "How dare you think of leaving while my kingdom is in danger!", that's Guilt-Based Gaming.

The most popular methods of employing this trope are:

  • Discouraging messages on the "Are you sure you want to quit?" dialogue box. This one's practically an Omnipresent Trope in games and software in general (and admittedly does serve a useful purpose in allowing for people who might have pressed a button accidentally).
  • In-game characters complaining about your absence, mainly in games that run in real time.
  • Bad consequences if you don't live up to the game's "standards" (e.g. characters leave for good or fall out with you if you don't speak to them enough).
  • Giving you the game over sequence if you save and quit.
  • Unsubscribing from a monthly billed game might have in game characters being shown as missing you (even crying) with a link below in case you just changed your mind

It's a petty, manipulative ploy that messes with the player's emotions without having to use the plot and writing to do so. It can be effective, acknowledging the player and making them into an integral part of the story...or it can be a cheap shot, making the player feel guilty for putting down the control pad to go and eat.

Either way, it's always a little weird to be scolded for letting a video game down. Morally.

Reactions to this trope can vary. Some people ignore it and do whatever they were going to do anyway, some come to dread hitting the "Quit" option on the save screen, some find it offensive and intentionally stop playing and some may find they develop a compulsive urge to check in on their virtual pet every hour in case it's thrown a hissy fit in your absence. It can be somewhat amusing as well, since the game treats itself like Serious Business more than the player does.

Compare It's a Wonderful Failure. Contrast Anti-Poopsocking, when the game encourages you to stop instead.

Has nothing to do with games where determining the guilty party is the main point. Or where you're curing GUILT.

Examples of Guilt-Based Gaming include:

Guilt-based idling

  • Destroy All Humans! combines it with a variant of Idle Animation: if you leave it on its main menu long enough without doing anything, Orthopox will start making snarky comments to the player about just leaving him waiting. Not as harsh as some other examples, since the game's only guilting you about leaving it running when you're not actually playing it. Plus, at least here the guilt trips are funny.
  • In Saints Row, recruited gang members will pester you if you stand around with them for too long. It's okay, you can promptly blow them away with a sawn-off if they complain.
  • One of the earliest examples: if you didn't press any of the buttons for more than a few seconds in the 2D Sonic the Hedgehog games, Sonic would glare at the screen and tap his foot impatiently. The levels do have a time limit, however, so this might be seen as more of a helpful reminder.
    • In Sonic CD if you waited long enough, Sonic would run off the screen, which would give you a Non-Standard Game Over.
    • In Sonic 2, after going through the toe-tapping animation four times, Sonic would eventually lie down, looking at the player with a very bored expression. In Sonic 2 and Sonic 3, Tails yawns, and in Sonic 3 and Knuckles, Knuckles does some shadow-boxing.
    • In most of the 3D Sonic games, idling for a long period of time will result in the characters talking to themselves or, in the case of Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog, each other. This is normally more of an Easter Egg than anything, but in Shadow, a few of the things they say when you do this are heartbreaking. Especially painful is Charmy Bee's comment about wanting to go home and watch cartoons in Shadow's Prison Island... an innocuous line, until you consider that the planet is being invaded by aliens, who are shooting at 6-year-old Charmy as he looks for disks on an abandoned military base alone on the orders of the closest thing to parents he has, and the only one protecting Charmy is Anti-Hero Shadow.
  • Similar to the Destroy All Humans example, if you do nothing on the General Pepper submenu in Star Fox Adventures, Pepper tells you to stop wasting time.
  • The Pokémon Stadium games have the announcer complain when you don't make a move for a while. "What's the matter, Trainer?"
  • It's not very nice to break Irisu's focus by clicking away from the game window. Not very nice at all.
  • Not guilt-based exactly, but a long pause in Dungeon Keeper 2 is greeted by the Mentor mocking you with "The very rock yawns with anticipation of your next fascinating move."
  • In the X-Men Legends games, the player-controlled character will start complaining - loudly - if you idle for too long.
  • In the Solaris levels in Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries, if you sit still in your Mech for too long, the announcer will make a snide comment about how hiding may be a good tactic for a mercenary, but it's not the way things work on Solaris.
  • In the original PC version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Regis would get increasingly impatient if you wasted time choosing a gameplay option or typing in your name. Wait long enough, and Reege gets so fed up that you automatically quit out of the program. This is odd, given how Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, unlike most game shows, had no time limit for answering questions.
    • This becomes Hilarious in Hindsight nearly a decade after its 1999 debut when the half-hour syndicated version added a time limit to each question.
  • In early versions of Half-Life 2: Episode 1, Alyx would nag the player to keep moving if he stayed in an area too long. Playtesters quickly began to hate Alyx, so the feature was removed.
  • More than one computer card game (Sierra's Hoyle's Book of Games for one) that features table talk between players will include increasingly irate messages as the other players assume you've walked away from the computer.
  • Okami has a fringe example: in the first play-through of the game, if you don't press any buttons on the controller, Amaterasu will first sit down, then yawn, & finally lie down & take a nap. Then, later on you get an item that, when equipped, restores your health during the idle animation, at the cost of some of your in-game currency.
  • Pangya your caddies get mad at you for wasting time. It's a good thing though because your turns are timed.
  • In You Don't Know Jack, the host will start berating you if you take too long to enter your name. If you wait even longer, he fills in a random name for you and makes fun of you some more.

Guilt-based negligence

  • Animal Crossing uses Guilt-Based Gaming to reinforce the clock watching aspect of the game. As well as the fact that time and events will move on without you if you don't keep checking in, the animal residents will bemoan your absence when you do play again, or they will move away because you haven't spoken to them for so long. Try to quit without saving and a demented mole will spend five minutes berating you for your moral failure.
    • There's a rather heart-breaking YTMND about this, when someone checked in on their mom's game after she died.
    • The game sends you presents from "your mom" itself as events.
    • This comic gives an idea of what the town looks like after a few years of not being played.
  • Neopets seem to get hungry very quickly - you can stuff them until they're "bloated", then come back a day or two later to find them "starving" (complete with a picture of them crying). They'll never actually die, of course, but if your pet is very sad, there is a rare random event that can turn them to basic blue, putting all the effort you spent earning that expensive paint brush to waste. And it's a wonder that anyone puts their Neopet in the pound, given the massive guilt trip you're given if you try as your Neopet desperately pleads with you not to get rid of it. Even if you're just visiting the Pound's page, you have little pictures of your distressed pets above the button that asks if you want to get rid of them.
    • Very easily averted by putting your Neopet in the Neolodge. For a total of 140 neopoints per pet, you can have them bloated and happy for 28 days straight. No feeding required. While the Neolodge offers various different hotels that can cost up to 500NP per night for one pet, there are much cheaper ones that you can use, the lowest of which costing 5NP per night. You are also given a large selection of extra "services" that are an additional 5NP for each, per night; however, neither which hotel or which services will influence how full and happy your pet will be. Just leave them in Cockroach Towers with no extra services for a month with your pocket change, they'll be thrilled.
  • The Brain Age games have your floating-head-teacher remark on your absence if you don't play daily: "I didn't see you at all yesterday! It was sad!" If you haven't played in a long time: "Um... who are you again?"
  • Nintendogs: Even if you can put them into the hotel, you've still gotta leave one out. Try donating a dog. The game does its best to make you feel like a monster.
  • If you release a chao in Sonic Adventure, you'll be treated to art of a hobo chao looking back at you sadly, three menus asking if you really want to release it, and this damned music.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, after turning the game on for a long time neglecting it, you get the following note from the moogles: "Hm?--Oh! Insert Player Name Here! Well I'll be, I didn't think you were ever coming back! It's good to see you. Remember us every once in a while, would you? Everyone is eager to catch up."
  • In Mass Effect 2, your fish will die if you don't feed them. Of course, that's the least of your worries - if you dick around when your crew is kidnapped, some or all will die at the hands of the Collectors, and you'll get chewed out by the remaining survivors (if there are any) for taking your time.
  • The song "Rainbow Girl" is sung from the perspective of a character in a Dating Sim, who is in love with a gamer who has stopped playing her game in favor of new ones. It's downright heartbreaking.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has one NPC exclaim "Wow, I've not seen you in a while" if you do not use a particular function on the game's menu for a decent amount of in-game time.
    • Welch makes a allusion about taking a vacation for three years. What makes this scary is if that this was a saved game that hasn't been touched in 3 years, all inventors were on Stand-by.
  • In Sally's Salon and Sally's Spa, failing to meet the quota for a level will cause the eponymous character to turn on the water works. She gets better in Sally's Studio.
  • In 3D Custom Girl the girl will berate you for not visiting her, if the game hasn't been played for a while.
  • Leave a Tamagotchi unattended and it will die. That fad is long over.
  • A milder version for toddlers: Chirpy on a VTech "Learning Time Cuckoo Clock" (aka "My First Clock" in the UK) will get sick if you neglect feeding him for a few days. It will show a low-res animation of Chirpy on an IVR drip with a hot water bottle on his forehead. It will also go as far as disabling access to most of the games when that happens. However, being targeted for toddlers, Chirpy won't die no matter how long you neglect him, and gets well immediately after you feed him.
  • Psypets on will die if left unattended, as will Powerpets on, though they're at least nice enough not to get hungry when you're not online, so if you go on vacation and come back, they'll be fine.
  • TouchPets Dogs on the iPod. If you don't go on for a while, you return to a status updates saying "[dog's name] is lonely and needs to be played with!". If you leave push notifications on, this message will pop up even when you aren't running the app.
    • When food runs low (which happens a lot), the dog and the app will beg you for more food. Even if you don't have any.
  • The Petz series is actually pretty fair about this. For any day where you don't even open the game, that day is considered to not even exist. Your petz don't age, but they don't mind, either. For any day where you do open the game, any petz not played with will be considered "neglected", and an excess of this will cause them to run away (and be lost forever -- not that it matters).
  • The same is true of pretty much any pet simulation that isn't specifically geared towards children.
  • Name a Facebook game, and the odds are you're guilted into coming back to check on your cafe/farm/whatever, because if you don't do so in a timely matter, whatever you were working on rots and it doesn't earn you any money or experience points. This isn't an accidental feature.
    • Note that's mostly a Zynga game feature, Kabam's games don't have that feature. However, if you run out of food in one of their games, your troops will desert you and you'll lose a ton of might, unless Kabam is doing something and has disabled troop desertion.
  • The Iphone/Ipad game "Lords & Knights" starts sending you push notifications about being gone from your kingdom too long and that your subjects have need of you.

Guilt-based quitting

  • Doom's quit messages are the classic example. Many early FPS games like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D would ask a weird question when you tried to quit. Some of them were rather mocking, like "Studs, press N. Wimps, press Y." And some were outright threats, such as the following from Doom 2:

"Go ahead. Leave. When you come back, I'll be waiting with a bat."

    • Another Doom quit message threatens "I wouldn't leave if I were you -- DOS is much worse" than battling the legions of Hell.
    • There's yet another Doom quit message that's a shout-out to Ultima IV: "You want to quit? Then, thou hast lost an eighth!"
    • Doom 3 asks if you're running away when you quit.
    • Strife, another early FPS, would have a little mocking sound bite by the game's characters when you shut down the game. Among them were "Fine, just kill and run!" "You can quit... but you can't hide...," and "Wha, what's the matter? Mommy says dinnertime?"
  • Rise of the Triad was probably the most over-the-top, where quitting was equated with suicide. "Press Y to release Cyanide gas." Upon pushing Y, cue sound effect.
    • Similarly, in the little-known FPS/adventure game Isle of the Dead, attempting to quit gives the prompt "Taking the coward's way out?" Confirm, and you get a brief scene of the protagonist blowing off his own head with a rifle (even if you haven't found said rifle in the game). Oh, and then a mad scientist cackles evilly with lightning flashing outside, which you also get to see every time you die.
  • Most of the quit messages in Chex Quest 3 (possibly as a nod to Doom, the engine used). The best three are probably "Don't abandon the Intergalactic Federation of Cereals!", "The Real Chex(R) Warrior wouldn't give up so fast!", and "I hope you're just taking a break for Chex(R) Party Mix."
  • Saints Row 2 If you quit in the middle of Zombie Uprising, it says "Are you sure you want to quit? You'll release the apocalypse into the world!"
  • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri has the announcer's robotic voice saying, as soulfully as a robotic voice can, "Please don't go. The drones need you. They look up to you." It doesn't do this every time, though.
  • The Quit dialog in Galactic Civilizations says "Surely a few more turns wouldn't hurt?".
  • Bookworm Adventures features a very sad Lex (the titular bookworm) pleading "Don't leave me!" when you try to quit. How can you say no to such a cute face?
  • The Quit option on many Paradox Interactive games (particularly those using the Europa Universalis engine) is called "Surrender." This is especially Egregious in the Hearts of Iron series, which is a World War II simulator.
  • The in-game manual for Sim Earth lists the effects of all menu options.

Quit: This will implode your monitor, possibly doing you severe bodily harm.

  • While it doesn't insult the player directly, the "Quit" dialogue box in Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War has "COWARDS DIE IN SHAME" printed in big letters at the top of the box. Reeeeal subtle... but considering the setting, it does fit perfectly.
    • An earlier game, Chaos Gate, asks if you're going to "Betray the Emperor?" whenever you quit.
  • Quitting in The 7th Guest prompted Stauf to scream "COME BAAAACK!!" at the player.
  • All of the Infinity Engine games (Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Planescape: Torment) delivers a prompt saying something discouraging if you try to exit them with Alt-F4. "Do you really want to quit? Boo will miss you..." from the second Baldur's Gate is probably the most famous of them.
  • Sierra's So You Want To Be A Hero would react to a quit attempt with "Quitting, huh? How about a slice of quiche?" (Which, admittedly, is nothing compared to what they say when you die...)
  • Ratchet and Clank Up Your Arsenal had an interesting form of this. If you go to the options screen, where the "Quit" funtion is, you see Captain Qwark on the chair, looking at the TV screen that indicates the "option" highlighted. The screen before the quit button? Qwark is stuck in the TV, looking AT YOU as though he wants out. The quit button itself? Qwark is gone, the TV turned off.
  • In Banjo-Kazooie, choosing to save and quit would result in a Cutscene in which Gruntilda steals Tootie's beauty, turning her into a fat, ugly monster. This also occurred when getting a game over, but you don't feel as guilty about that. (Besides, young Gruntilda is se-xay.) The player also has to see this at the end of the 360 version's demo.
  • Similarly, if you quit in Donkey Kong 64, a cinematic plays of K. Rool blowing up the island.
  • In keeping with the cooperative aspect of Left 4 Dead, every time you attempt to leave a game, you get a confirmation dialog with the sentence, "You'll be letting your teammates down..." While understandable when playing online, it also pops up in single player.
    • Since the AI survivors do their best in giving you pills, sacrificing their health packs to help you recover, and helping you get up when you're down, it is hard not to feel a tad guilty for leaving.
    • The "letting down your teammates" message even pops up if you load the credits and decide to end it early.
  • Team Fortress 2 inverts this, with the Scout having a line Breaking the Fourth Wall by telling the other players to Rage Quit. There is even an achievement for making someone quit. Granted, however, that these are not actually making you quit, but your buddies.
  • Hovering over the "Quit" icon in the main menu of Metro 2033 causes the two mercs in the background to say various derogatory things about you.
  • Mechwarrior 2: Instead of "Quit", it said "Flee to Windows". When you pressed it would ask you "Embrace cowardice?"
  • When you went to quit The Incredible Toon Machine it asked, "Return to Reality?" Your choices were a big oval spotlight (or something) colorfully proclaiming, "NO!" or a small, rectangular, gray box reading "affirmative".
  • Retroactive example: during the ending of Contact, the Professor informs you that he and the boy kept on living every time you turned off the game.
  • The original Heavy Gear video game had this as well. Quitting to the desktop in the middle of a mission was represented by "Flee to Windows," and the confirmation screen only had "Confirm your Cowardice." If you went through with it, you're treated to a shot of your Gear self-destructing as the game quits to Windows.
  • In Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, selecting "Quit" at the continue screen results in Yoda admonishing you, "That is why you fail."
  • In Pokémon Stadium 2, the cursor on the minigames pause menu is a Pikachu head. If you select "quit", the cursor cries.
  • In the PC CD-ROM based Monty Python and the Holy Grail game, bringing up the quit menu has a narrator asking "Are you sure you want to do that? Your friends will call you a big sissy." Clicking 'yes' will quit, and the narrator says "Oh you big sissy!"
  • EarthBound is in fact the opposite. The game keeps encouraging you to take a break, though it still refers to not doing so as "working hard", which sends some mixed messages.
  • In Aquaria, or at least the demo, the last thing you hear when you quit the game is a gasp of "No!" presumably from Naija. When you reach the end of the demo and the previews of the full game's content have played out, the game automatically quits. It's more irritating than convincing, especially since it feels out of place.
  • The early Ninja Gaiden arcade game's Game Over screen featured Ryu strapped to a table with a buzzsaw being lowered while presumably hungry demons eagerly watch. Even worse, you saw him look left and right, panic in his eyes, as he waited for you to put in more quarters.
    • The same is true of most arcade fighting games, as the countdown screen shows your character's bloody, beaten face (occasionally with increasingly despairing animation cycles as the timer ticks down).
    • Final Fight's Game Over screen is similar, with your character tied to a chair in front of a lit bundle of dynamite, desperately trying to writhe his way loose from his bonds or blow out the fuse before time runs out. If you put in a quarter and hit start, a knife thrown in from offscreen cuts the fuse, and your character breathes a sigh of relief.
    • Final Fight's sequels varied the Death Trap, with the characters about to be crushed by a Descending Ceiling, or drowned by rising water.
  • The Game Over screen of the arcade platformer Toki shows your girlfriend on a screen saying "Help! You've got to keep playing or I'll be killed, please save me!" When the timer to put more quarters is half consumed she starts crying.
  • Bayonetta; if you don't continue on the Game Over screen, Bayonetta will be Dragged Off to Hell by demonic claws.
  • The Game Over screen of Mortal Kombat 4 shows your character plummeting down a deep pit; continue in time or he/she will be impaled on blades at the bottom.
  • The arcade version of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs has a good one. The Game Over screen features the first boss threatening you with a gun while insulting you for 30 seconds before he lets you have it. Of course, if you DO choose to continue, you get to belt the guy in the face before the gameplay starts again, well worth the quarters.
  • In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Matsuribayashi-Hen, the last episode of the saga, a character breaks the fourth wall near the beginning of the game and quite clearly speaks to you, the player, asking for your help to get them out of the Groundhog Day Loop. She says that, if you don't get them through the events of the game and to the Good End, they will never be able to save themselves. And also that, if you uninstall the game, you will seal their fate forever.
  • Flo in Diner Dash 5 shows a sad face waving goodbye as you leave, thinking you won't help her rebuild the diner.
  • When challenged by another player on the GGPO fighting game emulation service, you can choose to either accept the challenge or "wimp out."
  • If you cancel your account in World of Warcraft, a crying orc peon appears and begs you to change your mind. It was probably intended to be mostly funny, but it could still make you feel pretty crummy.

Aww, look. You've made the peon cry.

    • Alliance players who unsubscribed thought it was funny and perhaps a push to go through with it. The Alliance are jerks.
  • When attempting to quit Killing Floor, it will note that "You can run. But they'll find you before dawn."
  • When quitting in Peggle, Bjorn puts on a sad face and asks if you're leaving. Averted in the DS version, where you don't have to manually exit out.
  • There was a Speedy Gonzales game for the Super Nintendo that had a rather horrifying continue screen: as the timer ticks down to zero, you see the menacing silhouette of Sylvester bearing down on a hapless, innocent mouse. The music gets more and more frantic, climaxes with a Last-Note Nightmare, and finally fades to black on the poor mouse's fate. And then the Game Over screen implies that all of Speedy's friends are dead. Yikes.
  • In American McGee's Alice, you have to click "yes" in a screen with a picture of the Mad Hatter saying "Running away, are we?" if you want to exit the game.
  • In the original Croc videogame for the Playstation (One), selecting the "no" response after losing all your lives "treats" you to an image of a depressed looking Croc, lowering his head and sadly trudging away, his faithful bird companion following suit...
  • Garfield: Caught In The Act: When the player loses all of his or her lives and has continues, they will be treated to a screen of Garfield clinging to the TV screen, desperately wanting to get out of the TV World. He watches with a frightened look as the player makes the choice between "Yes" and "No" and the countdown decreases. When the player chooses "No", the TV forms a mouth and closes on Garfield, snickering. This means that Garfield will never return to his home to see his friends and family again.
  • Inverted with Totally Mad, a CD-ROM set that contained all of the then released issues of Mad Magazine. When asked to confirm if you wanted to quit the program, choosing "yes" would be followed with cheers and applause
  • At the end for the demo of Limbo, It will show the main character getting picked up by a large spider, seemingly to his death, and the game stops with the word 'Continue?', with the options being 'Unlock Full Game' and 'Abandon The Boy'.
  • The menu and options in The Binding of Isaac are all made to look like they were written by an eight-year-old boy (Isaac himself). If you click "Quit", a small, filthy piece of paper appears, which reads "Are you sure you want me to die?".

Guilt-based shunning

  • In Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, kicking NPCs out of your party (or refusing to let them join) can be a heart-wrenching experience. A level 10 or more party member will be polite, but a low level guy will be miserable. A top-level MVP will just be mad.
    • The Final Fantasy Tactics remake for the PSP makes it even more guilt-based for kicking out a monster, who obviously can't talk, but it still "looks at you pleadingly, as if asking to stay" or "doesn't seem to understand that you want it to leave". Come on!
    • "It seems confused at you telling it to go home, possibly because it has no home to go to."
    • The worst has to be, "It looks excited. It probably thinks you're going to give it a treat."
    • That's bad enough when you're trying to kick out a garden-variety chocobo. Now imagine your cuddly, lovable Behemoth or Tiamat acting like a cute excited puppy when you're only coming by to kick him out.
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, when you decline a new unit from joining your party, you get a message saying, "The unit ran off crying."
  • Fallout 3 doesn't guilt trip frequently, but any time you try to disband a follower, they give you a mopey confirmation dialog. Dogmeat lets out a forlorn, inquisitive whine. The bad-boy ex-raider acts incredulously abused. Your snarky slave wipes the smirk off her face and gives you 'But..but...what did I do?' puppy-dog eyes. Even the damn robot acts like you're throwing him to the wolves!
  • Dragon Age loves this trope. Certain characters will leave if they disagree with your actions, of course, but one character in particular will either betray or fight for you if you win him over (and really, all it takes is a few dialogues). Plus, if you ever try to break up with one of the romances or send away followers that have become loyal to you...well, let's just say you want to have a recent save on hand, or you'll be bound to regret that decision.
  • Firing a baseball player in the NES Baseball Stars showed a brief vignette of the player walking off into the sunset.
  • One of the routes in the visual novel Yume Miru Kusuri involves saving a girl from being bullied. Midway through the other two routes you are told that she attempted suicide.
  • In The Sims (any version), if your Sim is friends (or higher) with another Sim, and does not talk to that Sim every so often, the relationship drops until it will be as though the two Sims had never even met.
  • Dismissing a Felyne helper in Monster Hunter will cut to a black screen with the Felyne tearfully walking away all alone, then pausing as it asks you if you're really sure. Say yes, and it'll run off into the distance, crying its little eyes out.
  • Your cards in Sword Girls become sad if you try to trade them out of your deck for other cards and will beg you to let them stay.


  • The Harvest Moon games lay the guilt on thick whenever an animal dies on your farm - whether it was your fault or not. Especially unfair in HM DS, where Takakura will scold you for not making your buildings strong enough in the event of a shed collapse/mass death... even if you made it out of Golden Lumber (The strongest building material in the game - has a 1% chance of collapse, as opposed to the 10% chance for Stone or 33% chance for regular Wood)
    • Some games in the series will ease up on the guilt if the animal dies of old age, there is at least one however that will cause you to lose massive friend points with everyone in the game if this happens.
  • Some players of Rune Factory 3 claim to have married Raven because they felt guilty from reading her diary after marrying someone else. Its strange that the game would do that to you even though Raven is not even the main heroine; though she is easily the most popular.
  • Pokémon Stadium 2 has trainers that say a few lines to you if you win or lose. They also say different things if you give up in the middle of a battle.
  • The trope is properly Lampshaded in Quest for Glory 4. An obstacle is present in the form of a hexapod, which will eat your head if you attempt to move past it. You can give it the appropriate item to placate it, or you can throw rocks (or other objects) at it until it dies, which doesn't take much. The game then berates you for killing the defenseless head-eating monster by saying "You bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad hero." And in the CD version, it's John Rhys-Davies doing the berating.
  • If all of the Pikmin in Pikmin die, you're subjected to a heart-wrenching cutscene where Olimar berates himself for his failure and laments their loss. Then the game gives you one new one per Onion, content that you've been properly chastised.
    • And of course, there's the heart-rending squeal the Pikmin make as they die. On top of that, if you reach the end of the day when there are Pikmin away from the onions and not following Olimar (especially if you end it yourself from the pause menu), your reward is watching the scragglers hopelessly race back to the onions only to be chomped by nocturnal wildlife. And the game keeps track of how many pikmin you lose this way, too, so it becomes a Mark of Shame on your part for the rest of the game.
    • The first time you let a/some Pikmin get blown up by a bomb rock it/one might have been carrying. At the end of the day, Olimar posts a sad journal entry about what happened, driving into the ground what you've done (be it accidental or not).
  • Dead Space punishes the player for letting the main character die with death scenes that range from merely incredibly gory dismemberment to the outright traumatizing asphyxiation. Supposedly, the developers designed these death animations so they would make the player feel guilty for failing, rather than the more obvious goal of grossing you out. Probably the most disturbing scene is when protagonist is decapitated and Divider's head crawls on the twitching body where the Isaac's head should be, inserts it's tentacles into the bloodied neck and starts roaming around. You don't want to see it again if you're sane.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3 guilts you in a cosmic sense- if you die and quit, you get a message telling you that you've caused a "Time Paradox". All the Metal Gear games have your support team screaming after you if you die- "Snake? SNAKE? SNAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!".
    • MGS4 does the by-now standard scream, and then dissolves to static. It's actually disturbing the first time. For some, every time. Not to mention that it flashes very brief glimpses of what was on the line as Snake is dying before the static. (It may not be the first thing to give rise to Epileptic Trees about it all being a VR simulation, but it does encourage them.)
    • Some support team members go farther than just yelling your name. If Raiden dies in MGS2, sometimes Rose will call after him: "Jack? Jack? No! This can't be happening! Jack!"
      • And in MGS4, it gets worse; Otacon does a standard "Snake? What's going on? Snake? Snake? SNAAAAAAAAAKE!" a few times but more often than not the message before the scream is "Answer me, please!" or the even more depressing, "No! You can't die!"
  • In the first Metal Gear Solid, Psycho Mantis will scold the player for not saving often enough. He will also mock you if you save too often, taunt you if you get spotted too often and outright insult you if you've died too often too.
  • As a reference to this, while playing as Snake on the Shadow Moses Island Stage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, you can call up Mei Ling, Otacon, Colonel Campbell or... Slippy? and the two will chat about one of the other fighters on the field (Who you call depends on the fighter the conversation is about). If Snake gets KOed while the conversation is going it'll break off and the person on the other end will shout "Snake? SNAKE? SNAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!" as per the Metal Gear Solid games.
  • Once things start getting really bad in Eversion, the "Get ready" screen inverts this, guilting you to stop in an attempt to scare you shitless.
  • Both Max Payne games have this trope, but with Max making noir-style comments about how his cases aren't over.
  • In Princess Maker 2, if you overwork your daughter to the point where she dies, her patron deity will criticize you for not taking care of her health. Also, if your daughter has an extremely high Sin level and gets into one of the less savory professions at the end of the game, her final letter to you and her patron deity's comments will accentuate your failures as a parent. (Your daughter was a gift to you from the heavens, and you caused her to grow up to be sinful and wretched!)
  • Stand up or turn down a Social Link's offer to get together in Persona 3, and that person will be sorely disappointed. Neglect them for too long, and the Link will reverse and you have to make up with them to gain back their friendship. Actively damage it (such as going out with one girl while you're dating another) and the Link will even break, and berate you for it.
  • The entire story of Persona 4 is having the ability to rescue people from being killed. If you choose not to rescue them, they DIE and Igor berates you. Also, you have the option of killing Namatame by throwing him into the TV yourself. This leads to the Worst Ending, which is different than the plain Bad Ending. The punishment is that Nanako is Killed Off for Real. Good luck with that. And as seen in this video, when you get the Worst Ending, Dojima makes you feel really guilty too.
    • This is made even worse at one of the last rescues. The victim is Nanako, who is your 'little sister'. If you worked hard to max out her social link, she tended to greet you every evening with "Welcome home, Big Bro!" Leaving her in the TV world simply isn't an option if you have even a shred of humanity. Not to mention every single one of your friends insists on the rescue every time you talk to them.
      • Also, in the last fight of the True Ending, if you've managed to max out Nanako's social link, while you're 'dying', you get visions of your friends. Nanako's is along the lines of 'don't leave me, I'll be a good girl, I promise!' even if you could, you probably wouldn't choose death with THAT hanging over your head.
      • Actually, to make this even worse, Nanako is scripted to be the LAST Social Link to appear in the "Dying" scene, so if all of these people you've become friends with weren't reason enough, are you actually able to say no after Nanako's plea?
      • Not to say that Nanako's the only one whose plea for you to get up tugs at your heart-strings. How about Chie, who starts off begging you not to leave her and telling you that she's scared? Or Naoki, who has already lost his older sister, saying he doesn't want to lose you too? How about Ai, who you helped become a better person, completely in disbelief at the idea of you dying? Can you say no to any of them?
  • Yet another reason why Fire Emblem fans obsess over individual characters. Some pairs of characters will have conversations revealing their backstories and interpersonal relationships. Some will have have paired endings (usually getting married.) Anyway if they die, you lose those conversations, lose the bonuses from relationships, and their ending is replaced with "Character died on Chapter 17."
    • Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon (11) is even more cruel. If you've been playing a sloppy or aggressive campaign, prepare for 5 minutes of "X fell in battle in chapter Y and vanished from the pages of history".
  • Dragon Quest V gives you a "choice" to marry two brides (and three in the DS remake). The word "choice" is used generously because the game really wants you to marry your childhood friend. The game hits you over the head with hints that you really should marry Bianca so expect the mother of all guilt trips in the original if you picked Nera over her. In the original, the game would punish you by offing Bianca's father, having her live unhappily ever after as a mistreated barmaid, having another person be miserable due to the Unrequited Love you created with an "unnecessary" Love Triangle and, to top it all off, sticking you with a character who is literally useless in battles. All of this wouldn't happen if you married Bianca. The DS remake changes a few things so that you have more of an actual choice, but the game still expects you to marry Bianca.
  • In Grand Theft Auto IV, the characters will call and demand that you play minigames with them, and they'll get huffy if you turn them down. It is possible to avoid this friendship decline if you accept their offer and then cancel, but this makes no sense and isn't listed in the manual.
    • The game's tutorial boxes do mention the first few times you decide to hang out with friends or go out on a a date that cancelling dates is better then standing people up (which makes sense). But not that cancelling dates is better than not agreeing to them in the first place (which does not).
    • It also gets a bit funny when you think about it. Most of your friends are hardened killers who make a living by taking their fortunes from others, often through physical violence, and they get incredibly heartbroken if you don't want to go out to eat with them on a moment's notice. (Exaggerated, but still kind of believable.)
  • Tales of the Abyss has a timed mission in a very slow-loading and low-frame rate Scrappy Level. If you don't complete the mission in time, the game still progresses as normal... But a very friendly and harmless NPC will die, and it will be All. Your. Fault.
    • Whenever Ion is traveling with the party, you can extend Luke's first mystic arte and have Ion rush in and perform a very flashy magic attack. However, after he does, he collapses from exhaustion. If Anise is in the party, she'll yell out his name, and he'll shakily answer "I'm... fine..." The guy is a Waif Prophet and a Dude in Distress to begin with, so it really makes you not want to use to use the extension...
    • In similar vein, using Raven in Tales of Vesperia after you found out that every single spell he uses will shorten his life will lay a guilt trip on you. As an extra nail in the coffin, using his Mystic Artes will cause him to clutch his heart in pain. His relatively weak base stat and weak Mystic Artes (which he makes up with good skill set and AI) are probably a nudge from the developer that you should not overwork the old man.
  • The Tomb Raider games practically thrive on this trope. Between the spike traps, the T-Rex chomps, the shark attacks... All of this is now shown in increasingly squicky detail with the graphical improvements, and the addition of "Quick Time Events." The series creator specifically wanted a female lead because, in his words, "players would care more and want to protect her." Of course, that also means milking every last drop of player guilt when a mistake or an "challenging" level design leads Lara to some brutal death scene.
    • What is ironic about this is in Legend and Anniversary, the in game deaths are practically PG rated (Lara weirdly just bounces from spike traps instead of being impaled for example) while failing in a quick time event shows a much more gruesome death scene (one example includes showing Lara being flung up several feet into the air by a T-Rex and she is screaming as she falls down and the dinosaur swallows her whole).
  • Police Quest SWAT (the first one that was a live-action Full Motion Video game) does this extensively.
    • You can hit escape to skip the initial briefing from your superiors prior to the start of the game. If you do so, you have to sit through them chewing you out for being insubordinate.
    • If you try to leave a weapons-range training session early, you get a cutscene of your instructor implying that you're slacking off, to which your character automatically responds by blowing him off, justifying the instructor's concerns.
    • During the optional sniper training segments, your instructor will YELL at you if you take too long to follow his directions, get things out of your inventory, or basically do anything other than practice shooting.
    • Last but not least, if you let your character get killed, you have to sit through shots of his funeral, complete with bagpipes.
  • A non-game example (which refers to a game): A comment from Bear in .hack SIGN goes as:

Bear: It's only a virtual world, I realize, but thoughts turn into reality, so the world I abandoned by resetting might have remained engulfed by evil.

  • Wii Fit guilts you by making your Mii fat based on your actual weight.
  • Much like Fire Emblem, the Suikoden series has a history of making players pay for poor decisions. Making the wrong move during war campaigns can result in one of the 108 Stars getting Killed Off for Real, with a few Last Words, a simple footnote during the Where Are They Now? Epilogue and a more bittersweet ending.
    • While Suikoden V gave more characters plot-based immunity than normal, it also made up for this by having characters that could and did die send shockwaves through your base. Upon certain deaths, the player could find little notes in the Suggestion Box from that ally's friends, companions and loved ones reflecting on the death; sometimes this even included goodbye notices as they left your base for personal reasons... like ensuring their fallen friend got buried on their home soil, or not being able to bear sticking around after their beloved perished on the battlefield. Ouch...
  • In BlazBlue, Bang Shishigami's storyline, when you lost against Hakumen, you can hear how Litchi Faye-Ling, after no longer seeing Bang as a disgusting Stalker with a Crush, frantically screaming his name (In the same tone of Metal Gear as well. "Bang? Bang! BAAAAANGGG!!!"). Surely you wouldn't want Bang's honest efforts to win her heart go in vain and the poor Boobie Lady left in agony of seeing her new 'friend' die protecting her, right? Go on, continue. Maybe a happy ending awaits Bang and Litchi after that... Or not (at least for Bang).
  • In Area 51, the Game Over scene is horrific as you watch one of your fellow comrades turn into a kron warrior and finishing you off. Or if you're misinterpreting that, the player character turning into a kron warrior and lunging forward to finish off the actual player. Either way...ack.
  • Paper Mario: Just try killing the last Whacka without feeling guilty.
    • Hell, the game makes you feel guilty even after hitting it just once! At first, the Whacka will complain loudly that you're hitting him, then it will mention that it can't quite remember what happened the other day, implying minor brain damage and memory loss and after you hit it a few more times, the Whacka starts happily singing complete gibberish, implying some form of insanity or brain damage. Hit it one more time, and the Whacka is Lost Forever. What's worse is that every time you hit the Whacka, it drops the Whacka Bump, probably the most powerful healing item in the game.
  • Here's something obscure: for every different kind of save on a PlayStation 2 memory card, there was a little 3D model that went along with it. Most of them, when you choose to delete them, do nothing. But for a decent amount of Capcom games, like the Devil May Cry series, the Viewtiful Joe series and Okami, these models would change, as if the data itself was begging not to be deleted. Or, in Okami's case, angry that you'd even consider trying.
    • The worst is probably Ape Escape 2, which has a monkey happily walking along until you try to delete the file, when it will start cowering and visibly shaking in terror while covering its face with its arms.
  • Champions Online has an interesting variation - The account management page for cancelling your subscription depicts one of your characters looking sad and trying to guilt-trip you into staying with the game.
  • Sentimental Graffiti, being a Dating Sim game where you build Relationship Values with your Unwanted Harem, keeps track of both how much general affection each girl has for you and how much they want to see you week to week. If they miss you too much, they might show up at your house should you decide to sleep in instead of going on a date with someone. Neglect them (or worse, blow off a date you promised) and they will suffer heartbreak, at which point you have to drag yourself over to their home town and either apologize or break off the romance. Since the point of the game is One Hundred Percent Completion of precious memories (as well as ending up with the girl of your choice), this forces you to manage your time very carefully.
  • Some software programs (mostly ones used for free trials) may ask you why you are uninstalling the program. One program actually has an option that says "I don't want to tell you."
  • In Mass Effect 2, if you choose to hand the Collector Base to the Illusive Man, your entire party will tell you off for it, with Grunt going so far as to call you "weak".
  • Discworld MUD has several kinds of pets. Kill your own pet by accident and the poor thing will haunt you for several minutes. You'll get all sorts of visions of the heart-broken animal's ghost and occasionally run to a random adjacent room from time to time until the haunting wears off.
  • Anyone familiar with Knights of the Old Republic knows that Satan ghost-writes the Dark Side results.
  • Black and White, particularly when you kill a human. Deaaatth....
    • Or because they promised a loved one they wouldn't.
  • Rather callously averted in Liferaft Zero from the story's point of view; however, you're still going to feel horrible if you make a mistake and a little girl gets splattered.
  • Inverted in Portal. You have to put your poor Companion Cube into the incinerator if you want to progress in the game at all. Still, GLaDOS does her best to make you aware that you're a horrible person for doing so.
  • In Persona 4, if you attempt to go to a previous dungeon when you currently need to rescue someone, your teammates will get angry with you for slacking off.
  • The NES version of Punch-Out!! plays with the trope. The game over screen shows a depressed-looking Little Mac against a red background, at first making one feel bad about crushing the little guy's dreams of becoming champ...until you see the text at the bottom encouraging you to "Start training, make a comeback!"
  • Elite Beat Agents. You're The Inspiration. Did you just fail it? Have fun watching a little girl, who just lost her father fall into deep. Depression. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero. You Monster!.
  • Animal Crossing's... unique take on preventing Save Scumming by resetting the game without saving may count: Upon restoring you immediately get set upon (har har har) by Mr. Resetti, who proceeds to unleash a can of Motor Mouth ranting on you. The more you reset, the harsher and longer his rants get; in fact, if you reset too many times, he threatens to reset your game and even pretends to do so. Although it's not so much 'guilt-based' as 'horrify the little children-based gaming', frankly.
  • In the Facebook-based game The Sims Social, running out of energy plays a sad tune, likely forcing the player to have to buy or get more energy.
  • Some players have reported joining the Chaos covenant in Dark Souls after talking to the Daughter of Chaos. The fact that this Cute Monster Girl is very sick, suffers a lot, thinks of you as her dearest sister (the same sister you killed in rightful defense), and considers that sister her very reason to live didn't help.
    • And that's not the only case where the game will make you feel very bad if you dare behaving like a bastard. Every time you harm someone who sincerely doesn't wish you bad, the lines during the combat and of death will reflect the astonishment and sadness from such betrayal.

Real Life

  • In the casino game of craps, the shooter (player actually throwing the dice) stays in his position until he throws a bad number. You can quit anytime you want, but other players will believe you are destroying their luck, and won't hesitate to show or even say it. Card game players will also often feel annoyed at someone leaving the table during their lucky streak, as it apparently disrupts the "natural order of cards".
  • Facebook implemented this to prevent people from leaving Facebook. Trying to permanently delete your profile will prompt the site to bring up profile pictures of all the user's friends stating how much they'll miss you.