Interface Screw

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    An event in a video game where the controller buttons are switched around, or the player's display is interfered with.

    This may be one of the Standard Status Effects. When it's done well, it can be entertaining or funny. However, done poorly it may break game immersion and cause frustration. If it makes the game noticeably more difficult to play, then it can be considered a form of Fake Difficulty. If such a status effect is available for the player to use on enemies, expect for it to either do nothing at all due to the lack of an interface between the AI and the game, or cause deliberate Artificial Stupidity to compensate for this.

    Compare Camera Screw. Some of the examples will overlap. Justified if the game uses a Diegetic Interface.

    Examples of Interface Screw include:

    Video game examples


    • The Super Game Boy for the Super NES allows you to do this to yourself by choosing the Graffiti option and selecting the option that lets you draw over the game area, as well, instead of just the border. The Super game Boy guide encourages players to do this for extra challenge: drawing a star over Mario's probable position in Super Mario Land or covering the top of the pit and the Next box with hands in Tetris, for examples.
      • The latter is a pretty pointless tip since you can blank it out manually by pressing Select.
      • Also, since you can change what color each of the four shades becomes, you can deliberately (or accidentally!) choose a color scheme that makes things harder to make out, or even invisible! Say, a game of Dr. Mario in which two of the pill colors are invisible...

    Action Adventure

    • When fighting Ganon at the end of the storyline of The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons, halfway through the fight he will magically change the room you are fighting into a nauseating pulsing-blue theme. The side effect is that all of Link's directional buttons are reversed.
      • The Subrosian sign guy (like a trainspotter, but with signs), counts how many you've destroyed. Once you destroy over 100, the screen goes black, makes some bleeping sounds, shows the Capcom logo from the opening credits... then returns to the game, with the character laughing about making you think he'd reset the game.
      • In Wind Waker, one of the things a Poe can do, including Jalhalla, is to reverse the direction your Control Stick makes you go.
    • The Metroid Prime series had some cases where your vision was impaired. Metroid Prime had static fill the screen if Samus was too close to electrical enemies or was hit with some static inducing attack (which was carried over to all the Metroid Prime games); during one boss fight, destroying the enemy's weak spot would cause it to explode with such brilliant lighting that Samus's visor would overload, requiring her to switch visors until it recovered. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes had an enemy that actually sent some sort of virus effect directly into Samus' suit, causing the game to lag like hell, turn off all displays, and having the screen having snow static. Luckily, you can "reboot" with a button combination input.
      • In Metroid Prime: Hunters, Kanden's charged Volt Driver scrambles your visor for a bit when hit. In Prime 3, one of the Visor modes turns into static if an enemy goes into hypermode... which happens a lot in higher difficult settings. Which makes for some rather annoying encounters when the visor is required if you don't want to shoot blindly.
      • The metroids latching onto your head cause Samus's visor to fade in and out of static. Also, when it's not in static, you see a large jellyfish-like creature sucking the life force out of your face. Thank goodness for Morph Ball.
    • Barlowe in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia not only has a freezing attack, but said attack disables the pause feature as long as you're frozen, preventing you from, for example, busting out potions if your HP is running low. Argh!
      • Also present in 1994's Castlevania Bloodlines. In stage 5-1, if either John or Eric gets hit by the pollen, then the player's horizontal control are reversed, and in stage 6-3, the entire stage is upside down, and the player's vertical controls are reversed. Another endgame stage also has disconnected top and bottom halves, meaning that everything above the midway point of the screen (most of the time, this includes the upper torso of your character) appears several character widths to the left of their actual location, making for some exceedingly hard jumps even without any enemies to bother you which you'll invariably run into regardless.
    • Aquaria has several.
      • Some octopus and squid enemies can give you the "Blind" status effect, making a black inky blur to cover your screen.
      • Being near death causes the edges of your screen to turn red.
      • You can also deliberately inflict an Interface Screw on yourself by cooking and consuming hallucinogenic soup.
    • Cadaver by The Bitmap Bros reversed your directional controls when you drank an alcoholic potion.
    • In Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future, one of the boss fights, Mutaclone, contained a number of egg-shaped stones filled with yellow smoke, and the player is required to break them in order to take down the boss's force field and proceed with the fight. Each time you break one of the stones, the smoke is released, which for a few seconds turns the screen dark and cloudy and reverses the player's controls.
    • The final Boss Battle of Beyond Good and Evil starts off relatively normal, but as the battle progresses the screen blurs, the controls are reversed, and everything happens in Slow Motion, representing the effects of the boss's More Than Mind Control on her.
    • The fairly forgotten game Piglet's Big Game involved getting rid of Heffalumps and Woozles using disturbing "Brave Faces" at them, which is apparently scary to them. In order to do said "Brave Faces", you have to press a certain button combination. Some of the Heffalumps and Woozles are able to mess with you so that they can get to you before you get the combination right. For example:
      • The Mirror Woozle rotates the screen clockwise or counterclockwise 90 or 180 degrees every few seconds.
      • The Jackpot Heffalump hides a few of the button pictures when a combination first appears.
      • The Road Sweeper Heffalump sweeps its broom and covers up your combination with a cloud of dust, making the button pictures shaky and blur in and out every few seconds.
    • In An Untitled Story, there is an area BlancLand where the screen swings left and right. It gets severe the further you go.
    • In Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat, the Witch Doctor boss has an attack that will screw up your controls. When you first encounter him, that's the first thing he does to you. There's nothing you can do about it, and it doesn't go away; your only choice is to turn your controller upside down and book it out of there. Later, once you've completed a quest for another character, you can come back better equipped to handle the Interface Screw. The Witch Doctor will still mess up your controls, but this time it can be dodged and only lasts for a few seconds if you are hit.

    Action Game

    • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, when Pit is turned into a dog for a part of the level, he will sometimes smell garbage in one street corner. This makes moving Pit difficult as he is just so eager to return to the corner.
    • When Lara gets poisoned in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, the screen goes all wibbly. To players of the game, this is just a cool effect, but for Level Editor users it's a NIGHTMARE. It sometimes causes the game's graphic engine to collapse and triggers with enemies that aren't supposed to poison you, like bears and dinosaurs. We haven't found a way to turn it off yet.
    • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, getting hit in the head with a blunt object (usually a metal rod or pipe) will give you "double vision" for a few seconds until it clears up. Electrocution also messes with the display.
      • The Scarecrow's final Mind Screw, where your game crashes and restarts with Batman being captured by the Joker - whom you control just like you controlled Batman at the very beginning of the game.
        • "Press the middle stick to dodge Joker's shots!" Or "Tilt your mouse!" in the PC version.
    • Bomberman has the classic skull 'upgrade', where switching the left/right and up/down control is one of the random effects. Makes it twice as hilarious as you can pass this onto another player.
    • Contra Rebirth's final boss fight will rotate the screen, depending on which attack it's doing (fortunately, not your controls), but the gravity works as though you're still right-side up.
    • In Asura's Wrath, during the final fight against Chakravartin's last form, he starts doing his own QTE's that have a unique design to them that make you think you have to press them, except it's him who's pressing them, and you have to counter them with your own QTE's.

    Adventure Game

    • An early example of this appears in the classic text adventure The Hobbit. If you drank the wine in the barrel in the elven dungeons, for the next thirty turns or so every "s" in the text would be replaced with "sh", as in "You can shee shome shand".
      • So, uh, what happens if you try to sit in the sand while drunk?
        • Why, you shit in the shand, of courshe. Shilly bashtard.
    • A rare adventure game example, early in A Tale of Two Kingdoms, the antagonist sorcerer curses you with inverted mouse controls.
    • In another adventure game, Zak McKracken, an alien machine causes you to lose your mind, which gradually blanks out all the command buttons on your interface.
    • In the Homestar Runner Flash game Peasant's Quest, when the bucket falls over your character's head, blocking out his vision, he walks backwards everywhere and your cursor controls are shifted around (but not reversed—pressing left makes your character go down, etc.).
    • In Darkfall: Lost Souls, the cursor's responses becomes sluggish and erratic in a segment where you enter the memories of an alcoholic actress. These effects can be corrected by clicking on an ice bucket, which presumably makes her soak her head in ice water and sober herself up.
    • The Codemasters Game Fantasy World Dizzy featured a sequence where Dizzy falls down a well and comes out on the other side of the world, where the game continues, only upside down.
      • And in Magicland Dizzy he walks into a magic mirror, where he moves backwards and the controls are reversed.
      • In The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy, the controls are reversed whenever you touch a butterfly. This trope seems to be kind of a favorite for the series.
    • The Infocom game Zork I has the Loud Room. Until you figure out what to do do do ... every command you enter[1] is ignored ignored ignored ... with a mysterious echoing of the last word word word ...
    • Ad Verbum goes a step further and ignores the out-of-universe commands, if they do not comply with the current rule. A Safe Word (which does comply with the current rule) is given to you by a sonorous voice before entering the constrained rooms so that you can abandon the room without quitting entirely.
    • In the first Leisure Suit Larry, when you drink an alcoholic beverage at Lefty's Bar, the directional controls will randomize of a few seconds making Larry stagger around the bar.

    Driving Game

    • In Mario Kart DS and Wii, the Blooper will dump ink in the face of your driver... and on your screen, partially blocking your view of the road until it drips away. Thankfully this also affects computer players, more so than human players—CPU racers blinded will weave about the track like a drunken clown.
      • Partially pointless on the DS version because you can simply look at the bottom screen.
      • Using a mushroom or speed boost ramp will also clear this effect.
      • On the Wii it's almost entirely pointless if your TV is widescreen because the ink spots are quite small.
    • In LEGO Racers, one of the power-ups is a "Mummy's Curse" trap that reverses the left and right controls of those caught in it, and slows the cars. If they stop, they'll start backing up.
    • Occurs twice in racing game Slipstream5000—One weapon makes the controls reverse for a short time (or until you suffer a serious crash) and one boobytrapped powerup has the same effect.
    • Carmageddon 2 featured the "drink driving" negative powerup, which inverted your controls and did screwy things with the perspective.
    • The final level of Uniracers has the boss uni doing several evil things, including flipping controls, flipping the screen upside down, and slowing down to "Hedgehog Mode".
    • Wipeout Pure's disruptor bolt weapon afflicts the target with one of several random effects, the most infamous being the controller reversing. Especially aggravating if you're hit in the middle of a turn (especially one with no guardrail!) and the fact that computer controlled opponents suffers no ill effect from this whatsoever. This specific effect was eventually removed with a downloadable content patch.

    Fighting Game

    • One of Thanos's super moves in the Marvel vs. Capcom series reverses his opponent's controls—pressing Left makes the character walk right, etc. However, The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, so CPU opponents will be totally unaffected, rendering this move useless unless you're fighting another player.
      • In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, MODOK's Jamming Bomb will also reverse the opponents controls.
      • Caffeine Nicotine had a move like this in Samurai Shodown 2; so did unplayable boss Mizuki. In Mizuki's case, being hit by the attack while suffering from it reverses the reversal.
      • Shiki from SNK's SVC: Chaos also has a grapple move that reverses the opponents controls. As usual, computer opponents are not affected by the control screw.
      • One of Seth's DMs does a piddling amount of damage in exchange for reversing the opponent's controls. And, like all previous examples, it has no effect on AI opponents.
      • This happens with a couple of supers in Melty Blood—for example, Hisui's Last Arc. If successful, the opponent has their controls mixed up temporarily.
      • Xavier the warlock had a "Confusion" power that caused mixed up his opponent's controls in Eternal Champions. Xavier's ranged attacks were almost all bizarre status effects that could qualify as a form of interface screw (like changing the target to a different character or turning them to gold) but the computer almost always blocked them (and since they did no damage, if they were blocked, they had no effect whatsoever).
    • Tosen's bankai in Bleach cuts off all of an opponent's senses. In the DS game, Blade of Fate, it blanks out the screen for everyone except the user. Sadly, it's no good against the computer, because the computer doesn't look at a screen.
      • Hirako's shikai reverses his opponent's perspective of pretty much everything. Presumably, it'll do the same in upcoming Bleach video games.
    • Lieselotte's Crimson Gaze attack in Arcana Heart switches up the controls of her opponent if she connects, which can prove to be quite deadly in a Fighting Game.
    • In Digimon Rumble Arena 2, a fighting game for ps2, one character's special attack mixes what every button does, including movement. The effects are not consistent from time to time, however. And in the same game, there is an item that mixes who is controlling which character. Damage done will be given to the original characters when the effect ends.
      • Said character with the special attack is MaloMyotsimon/BelialVamdemon, and is probably the only thing that makes him difficult to fight, despite being on the hardest end of the final boss scale in one player mode (Even though middle-scale bosses like Diablomon and Duskmon are several magnitudes harder). Probably heralds back to him being such an Anticlimax Boss in the show...
    • The Super Smash Bros.. have dozens of items which screw with the screen somehow. Annoyingly, none of these Interface Screws have any effect on computer players.
      • One of the hazards on the Spear Pillar stage in Brawl is the screen being flipped and/or inverted by Palkia. Some people actually practice on that stage just to ensure they will win when the flip happens.
        • Or when Togepi uses Night Shade, and NOTHING happens to the CPU characters. You can't see even if it was your Poké Ball. Very much a killer on aerial stages.
      • The worst offender is the invisibility power up. If the player picks it up you can't see your own character, and if an NPC picks it up you can't see the enemy. Either way the NPC is unaffected and the player is at a huge disadvantage. Oh, and like all power ups, the NPCs know exactly where they are when they spawn even if they spawned off screen.
        • Even though it's difficult to see your character while "invisible", you should still grab the invisibility powerup, because invisible characters don't accumulate damage when hit. (And if you're using a player name, you can see the name on top of the invisible character.)
      • When summoned from a Poké Ball, the Pokémon Manaphy pulls a Freaky Friday Flip using the move Heart Swap. You better have learned how to play as the other character!
      • As the page image shows, there is an assist trophy in Brawl that summons a Nintendog to block the screen. There's also one that summons Mr. Resetti, whose ranting fills the screen in the form of a chat bubble.
    • Mortal Kombat Armageddon features auto aim for your fireball attack, usually useful. One level features enemies that fire at you from above, only give you a small opportunity to attack them without being attacked yourself, and frequently have enemies appear on the ground next to you to grab the target of your fireball.
    • Mortal Kombat loves this trope. Of particular note are Rain and Noob Saibot in Mortal Kombat Trilogy. Rain can actually psychokinetically control his opponent for a few seconds, and as for Noob, he can make it so all attacking or blocking is disabled.
    • In X-Men Next Dimension, Phoenix has a confusion attack that can reverse all of the opponents controls. Of course, this doesn't really work on AI opponents. Several characters have moves that can prohibit the user from doing super moves, in attempt to correspond to the actual story's weapons that prohibit all mutant abilities.
    • Dissidia Final Fantasy has the Ultros summon, which prevents the opponent from seeing both characters' Bravery.

    First-Person Shooter

    • Many games (notably Counter-Strike and SWAT 4) have flashbang grenades that will disrupt the sound for players near the blast, and cause gradually fading whiteout of the screens of players looking towards the grenade. Unfortunately, in multiplayer it can be extremely common (especially with less skilled/experienced players) to affect as many or more teammates than enemies. Griefers in Counter Strike often deliberately throw flash grenades at their teammates to mess them up.
    • In Bz Flag, there is are two power-ups that do this. One that increases your FOV, causing a disorienting wide-angle effect, and the other reverses controls.
    • Downloadable Wii Ware FPS Onslaught had a rather clever, if gimmicky version; if you blast one of the bugs at point blank range with a gun, their ichor would splatter all over your helmet's visor, severely impeding your vision and damaging you over time if you don't wipe it off (by swinging the nunchuck controller). Initially you wonder why your melee laser whip doesn't cause this effect despite spilling bugs blood everywhere, until you realize it was probably implemented mainly to let you avoid this condition in the first place.
      • Laser whip? Instant cauterization?
    • Duke Nukem 3D also does the "monster latched into your face".
    • Apogee Software's Rise of the Triad has a "mushroom" powerup that causes a Mushroom Samba: Enemy sprites flash vibrant colors while the player's view moves and sways randomly, for about 30 seconds. The registered version of the game includes a level aptly named "The Vomitorium" which has no shortage of the mushrooms (and jump pads) and can only be accessed via the level-selection cheat.
      • Similar mushrooms make an appearance in another game published by Apogee, namely Death Rally. Picking one up will make the entire track portion of the screen ripple madly until it wears off. Unsurprisingly, this makes driving in the race considerably harder than normal. Unlike most games, the mushrooms do affect the AI. If you can ram their cars into the pickups, they're actually affected worse than human players.
    • The invulnerability powerup in ID Software's Doom and Doom 2 has the side-effect of turning your view into a greyscale negative of what you normally see until it wears off. Although honestly, it usually made things easier to see rather than harder.
    • Project Snowblind, a Spiritual Successor of Deus Ex, puts you in control of a soldier enhanced with nano-machines. If an EMP grenade explodes near you, it disables the nano-machines, making your screen fills with static for a short moment.
    • In Left 4 Dead, the screen will get really blurry (and green) if you get vomited by the Boomer or stay near it when someone kills it. In both the cases, the Horde will become frantic to kill that person.
      • Also, after being incapacitated for the third time, the screen goes black-and-white, hazy around the edges, and you can hear your amplified heartbeat.
      • Also, the textures glow a little bit when you take painkillers.
      • Left 4 Dead 2 adds a few more. Using an adrenaline shot will blur the edges of your screen and distort the sound, and taking hits from Mudmen will partially cover the screen with mud. Also, killing enemies with a melee weapon will cause a bloodsplatter effect that can obscure your vision a bit (though this can be disabled by turning the "gore" setting to low).
      • A particularly odd case is the Hard Rain campaign of the second game. In the second half of the campaign, the area is hit by storms. When the storm is at its peak, visibility is reduced, and voice chat between the players is heavily muffled.
    • In Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, you'd occasionally encounter jamming devices that would screw with the Head Up Display your character - A US Special Operations Soldier wearing extremely advanced equipment - uses, making it hard to see the closer you got to the jammer. Also, in the Sequel, there's a level where you barely escaped a jeep before it was destroyed, and now your fancy HUD is damaged.
    • Blood has tiny spiders that bite the character, making the screen tilt randomly, the movement controls screw up, and the ammo and health counters on the HUD randomly jump between their actual number and a much higher one; this lasts for a few seconds. Blood II has Thief spiders which attach to the back of the character's head and give the same effects, though they have to be shaken off.
    • The Spy in Team Fortress Classic carries gas grenades that make enemies exposed to the gas see and hear imaginary explosions, gunfire etc.
      • Additionally, the Scout and Medic both carry concussion grenades, which affect any players caught in the blast by slowly moving their viewpoint in a figure-eight pattern, making it exceedingly difficult to aim.
    • EMP weaponry in Battlefield 2142 is intended to stun vehicles, but also affects your character's advanced helmet optics. (Computer-controlled bots aren't bothered at all, except to the degree that they were aware of your presence.)
      • In Battlefield 3, bullets whizzing past blur the screen, which is makes suppression fire effective. The HUD of tanks will also malfunction somewhat when the tank gets hit.
        • Getting knifed from behind wrenches the viewpoint from whatever you were looking at right at the enemy who stabs you in the neck or chest then takes your tags.
    • The Tranquilizer in Perfect Dark. The godforsaken magical Tranquilizer that hopelessly blurred your screen, rendering you more or less completely helpless, for a good 30 seconds and doesn't wear off even when you die, often resulting in five or six quick deaths before the effect finally wears off.
      • Even worse than the Tranquilizer were the Crossbow (which has bolts laced with tranquilizers) and Throwing Knives (which are laced with poison), which not only induced the blurry effect, but also kept damaging you until you died. The fact that the Crossbow could also kill you instantly in its secondary mode didn't help matters.
      • N-Bombs. A grenade that emits a crackling sphere of dark light that makes your screen look like your eyeballs just exploded. At least you could dodge the tranq darts.
      • Try fighting a DarkSim while it's unarmed. It will punch you so quickly it induces the blurry effect on command. Oh, and then it steals your weapon and kills you a few times for the heck of it.
      • For the same reason do not let a FistSim hit you, or tag-team with a PeaceSim to steal your gun, blur your vision, then blur a lot more while beating you down.
        • In Perfect Dark Zero the Psychosis Gun makes you think your allies are your enemies in the multiplayer mode if you are hit with it. This gun is also available in Perfect Dark but it can only be used in one of the Campaign levels [unless you get the cheat code that lets you use it in ANY level].
    • Halo 3 has the Flare, which temporarily blinds opponents. Very annoying when those jetpack brutes use it on you.
      • Halo: Reach uses it in the last level to show the hopelessness of the situation: as Noble Six takes damage during his/her Last Stand in "Lone Wolf", cracks start to form in your helmet, and they stay there, even if you use a medkit. They first short out your ammo indicators, and eventually a crater forms in your visor. As player characters are normally never permanently damaged, this serves as huge wakeup call that no matter what happens, Noble Six is fucked.
    • In Return to Castle Wolfenstein getting hit by a ghost would completely black out your screen and all you could hear was your characters breathing...
    • Common in the Call of Duty series. Close explosions will momentarily slow you down and replace your sound with ringing, flashbangs deafen you and white out your screen, stun grenades blur your vision and render you nearly unable to move, flares will burn into your vision and leave an afterimage for a few seconds...
      • A case of Truth in Television in that flashbangs stimulate all photosensitive cells at once, completely disabling them so they can only transmit the last image before the flash. This basically creates the single persistent afterimage that most games have.
    • In Republic Commando, the Flashbang Grenade blinds the enemy for a few seconds, allowing you to shoot it at will. Of course, if you forget to turn away fron the blast, you have a hard time targeting a pure white enemy on a pure white screen...
      • Scav Droids and jammers also cause static and HUD glitches whenever you're in close proximity.
    • BioShock (series) has several of these:
      • Drink two or more alcoholic beverages in quick succession and your view will become blurry and wobbly. The effect clears after a few to several seconds, depending on how much you've had.
        • Which doubles as Fridge Brilliance, since your character's metabolism is artificially fast thanks to Dr. Suchong's rapid growth program.
      • Walking under a water leak will cause a gush of water to momentarily run down the screen as if it were a camera.
      • Then of course there is the level late in the game where you've injected the first dose of Lot 192 (the antidote to Fontaine's mind control) and it has the side effect of giving you only one available plasmid at a time, and which one it is changes frequently. Every time it changes, you automatically switch to the plasmid even if you were holding a weapon. The effect doesn't stop until you've found the second dose. And if you think you can limit the effect by only having a couple of plasmids (say, fire and ice), think again: you're switched between all plasmids available in the game, and if you didn't have it before, you only have the level 1 version.
    • Similar to the water example above, in Team Fortress 2, getting hit with the Sniper's Jarate causes the screen to go yellowish and warped until the effect wears off.
      • The Pyro's fire was at first supposed to obscure the victim's screen, but as it is now you can barely make out the flames around the screen edges. In fact, if it weren't for your character's aim shaking and some rather loud exclamations of "I'm burning! I'm burniiiing!" you may not even notice that you are on fire!
        • Ironically, the flamethrower is very good at obscuring your OWN vision. Pumping out flames often obscures roughly 25% of the center of your screen, more depending on how much you wave the thing around.
        • Similarly, the unlockable Heavy melee weapon "The Warrior's Spirit" is so huge it makes it hard to see anything, and the items creator made an alternate, less obstructive model.
      • The Scout's Holy Mackerel causes the kill ticker to broadcast whoever he's merely slapping rather than who he kills. It may not sound very strange at first, but if he ambushes a group of enemies...
      • Being Ubercharged will give you a red tint and make the edges of your screen hazy, both as an indicator to the ubercharge and to try and hinter you, since you can do a lot during the 8 seconds of invulnerability. This varies with the ubercharge, with the Kritzkrieg doing almost nothing besides giving your weapon a crit buff, while the Quick Fix dims your view to make you realise you are ubercharged, but in no ways invulnerable.
      • Similar to the Scout, the Spy's Dead Ringer and Eternal Reward screws with the enemy kill feed and, in some cases, give out completely legitimate achievements and dominations. However a good player will quickly use their mic-chat to inform their teammates of the spy.
    • The last battle against SHODAN in System Shock involves trying to shoot her in virtual reality while she tries to take over your mind. This is represented as the screen slowly being replaced with a picture of SHODAN and your crosshairs continuously veering away from SHODAN herself, with the effect getting stronger over time.
    • Many, many games with sniper rifles will have the sight move around to simulate breathing or twitchy hands or something like that. For example, the Metal Gear series, which only stops it after you take a relaxant medicine.
      • Recent Call of Duty games actually do this with every weapon when looking down the sights; every gun has an "accuracy" rating that doesn't affect where the bullet lands, which is always where the sights are, but rather, how much the sights wobble around. Adding an ACOG to any gun severely reduces this rating. Adding an ACOG to the AK-47 makes it wobble around as much as a sniper rifle.
        • With the added downside that at least a proper sniper rifle comes with the option to hold your breath, reducing the sway for a bit. While the ACOG is close to a sniper scope, it doesn't let you hold your breath, so if the sights swing around a lot, good luck being accurate!
      • MAG has scope sway for every single weapon. There are various skills to reduce the sway, but even at maximized sway reduction while shooting prone, you'll still have scope sway. The only way to eliminate it entirely is with a bipod, which introduces a new problem when you can't move while the bipod is extended. Red dot scopes don't seem to have scope sway, but bullets don't always go to the exact center of the red dot to make up for that.
    • After destroying the reactor at the end of each level in the DOS game Descent, you had to navigate to the exit. The whole time your pathfinding is hampered by large random movements of the controls.
      • Also, the sequel has flash missiles which blind the victim by causing a massive whiteout. The battle against the boss which uses homing flash missiles is supremely annoying because of this. And they blind you for longer than regular flash missiles.
      • Earthshaker Missiles. Exactly what it says on the tin. To distract you from the five homing bomblets it spawns, each as lethal as the first game's Mega Missile.
    • In Far Cry 2, your character is infected with malaria at the beginning of the game. Every so often during gameplay, your vision will thusly go all sickly yellow and faded. The only way to fix it is to take pills to suppress the disease; you get the medicine through special side missions.
    • In Dystopia, the EMP grenade and GreenICE deactivate all of your implants and cause a static effect on your screen and sound.
      • Which makes it all so much pleasant to be EMP grenaded by your teammates because "they wanted to deck too", not only having to put up with having your spot in Cyberspace stolen by someone who's usually noob incompetent, but also having to listen to your teammates distorted speak through voice chat, which can sound incredibly annoying.
    • In Bulletstorm, the main character (Grayson Hunt) is an alcoholic who tends to drink any booze he can find. During the game, you can pick up and drink random bottles of liquor, which will momentarily impair your vision and cause you to sway from side to side for a short period of time. Interestingly, there are several achievements and Skillshots (namely, shooting enemies while drunk) you can only obtain by doing this throughout the game.
    • In the F.E.A.R. games, being near Alma will have this effect, causing static to sound in your radio earpiece and hallucinations to appear. It gets worse in Project Origin, as certain sequences will cause Becket's vision to turn blurry and monochrome, and feedback to sound, indicating that Alma is close.
      • F.E.A.R. 3 has a subtle but very disturbing screw when the Creep attacks. Normally, your health regenerates after a few moments - except for when the Creep hits you. The only way to heal damage is to get out of the area the Creep is lurking in.
    • Red Faction II had EMP effects that turned the screen bright blue and inverted your movement and aiming controls. The EMP supposedly screws with your super-soldier nanotech enhancements. Volition (developer of the Freespace and Red Faction series) seems to love the Interface Screw-by-EMP ploy.
    • Blacklight Retribution looking at the "smoke screen" caused by the Digi-Grenade causes you to get a digital distortion over that area (a whole bunch of various shades of grey boxes with the word Error written on them) and if you get hit by a EMP grenade your vision has a BSOD (which thankfully recovers).

    Hack and Slash

    • A curse in Get Medieval also does this.
    • In No More Heroes, the Rank 4 boss can either invert your controls, your screen, or, if you're really unlucky, both at the same time.


    • EverQuest has two examples: The Blind spell, which blacks your entire screen, causing many a frantic player to think their video card just crapped out; and Booze, which causes your character starts to wobble even when standing still and the entire screen to fisheye horribly.
      • Everquest 2 has a few. If you are drunk or hit with an effect, your screen can blur and if you get drunk enough/hit enough, you will eventually be seeing quadruple. Some mobs also have abilities that give you Sonic Vision, also known as Piss Vision. Finally, in the Estate of Unrest there is an interface screw towards the end as the boss of the zone tries to come out the screen at you.
    • In World of Warcraft, drinking enough alcohol will get you into various stages of inebriation, affecting your motor skills and making your character veer off slightly in different directions as they walk, as well as blurring your screen (lower graphical settings excluded). If you get "completely smashed," enemy NPCs will be displayed to your character as having much lower levels than they actually do.
      • And most amusingly, the game will mangle your text chat to others by slurring and misspelling your words. Not that it stands out, however.
        • This effect led to a very amusing change in one of the earlier patches to the game: "Your character will no longer spout profanity when talking about sitting while drunk."
      • This effect actually comes into play during the Brewfest event where getting smashed allows you to see the Wild Wolpertingers scattered about. In the 2007 version of this event, being drunk was required to catch them for a quest.
      • There's also one group of Ogres in the Blade's Edge Mountains that are drinking when you start fighting them. Their attacks consist of hitting you with their (large) mugs of booze, which gets you progressively more drunk as you fight them.
      • The Zul'Gurub Spider has a charge poison attack that takes you instantly to the highest level of drunken-ness.
      • Note that the lower level displays is a bit of Fridge Brilliance. While the other effects like the blurred screen and walking in different directions simulate the effects alcohol has on a person's motor control, the lower levels simulate the overconfidence of drinking. You want to attack that ogre? Why not, right? He's three levels lower than you! Pay no attention to his size...
      • In late January 2011 a lot of players would suddenly hear the Old Gods' voices while they were doing archaeology. But in this case, Blizzard could look them in the eye and tell them they didn't have anything to do with it: it was caused by Deadly Boss Mods, a fan-made add-on.
      • The end boss of Ahn'Kahet: The Old Kingdom has an attack that causes the player to become unable to differentiate friend from foe, leading to them being attacked by illusions of their teammates. Defeating them returns you to normal.
      • One of the mechanics of the Yogg-Saron fight was the sanity meter which starts at 100 and drops slightly when suffering certain specifics attacks of this Eldritch Abomination. You will be Driven to Madness if it goes to zero at which point your character loses control and starts attacking the raid and must be killed. To the player being affected by this though, everyone in the raid suddenly starts looking like faceless minions of Yogg-Saron.
    • Like the above, getting drunk in Guild Wars also has similar (but much more severe at higher states of drunkenness) graphical effects, with the added bonus of the drunk player character shouting typical drunk phrases ("I love you, man!"). Not only is there a special title for those who spend a certain amount of time drunk, but there's also a particularly infamous quest that has you performing various acts while ascending up the drunkenness ladder, culminating with having to herd several pigs into a pen while barely able to stand.
    • Similarly, The Lord of the Rings Online has the Inn League reputation quests. They consist of going to every bar in the Shire and getting progressively more drunk, and other drinking-related debauchery. Eventually, you can black out and wake up in places that one should not be - including on top of a massive stone spire in the middle of the Misty Mountains, with no obvious way up and no pain-free way down.
    • There are several drugs in Achaea and the other Iron Realms games, with differing effects on the interface. Possibly the worst are drugs that cause the 'Amnesia' status effect, where the game occasionally ignores a command after it's entered. Annoying in normal play, deadly in combat.
      • A few other status afflictions do this with the interface. Notably, aeon, which causes a sort of artificial lag, stupidity which replaces some commands with random emotes, and the rather aptly-named recklessness, which causes the player's health and mana to always appear full, no matter their actual values.
    • In Cosmic Encounter Online, the alien species Dork has the power to Annoy by filling an opponent's play field with distracting, bouncing graphics during their turn.
    • Ragnarok Online has 2 of these, but they're thankfully both used rarely enough and for short enough durations that they aren't overdone.
      • Hallucination causes the entire screen to blur in a wavy pattern, making it hard to read anything, see where you're going, or target the enemy you want to hit. It also grossly misreports damage taken (though your health bar will still be correct.)
      • Very often it'll cause your game to run at an amazing 1 frame-per-second for its duration, even on the strongest computers.
      • Chaos screws with your controls in a subtle way - you move the distance you clicked, but not the direction. It's often impossible to tell when it first hits if it's the status effect or just plain lag, especially when making a very small movement.
      • Star Gladiators have a skill, Demon of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, that causes a permanent one of these. It boosts your attack speed by 30% when leveled completely, but each level causes you to slowly lose the ability to see the screen properly. When fully leveled up, you can see nothing but the character itself.
    • In Neopets, the old "Secret" version of Merca chase (Basically Centipede) would switch the right and left direction buttons every time you collected a Negg.
      • Another game takes a fairly standard racing idea, then adds an increasingly relentless parade of in-game pop-up windows that the player must fight their way through.
    • When your health gets critically low in Rift, colors desaturate, normal game sounds fade out, and the Heartbeat Soundtrack starts.
    • Phantasy Star Online has the "Confuse" status effect. When affecting a player, this causes any movement they make to suddenly change directions several times a second (thus making the character all but impossible to control). This can range from annoying (if no enemies are around) to fatal (if any enemies with Megid are nearby). Luckily, it only lasts a few seconds.
    • Obscure old kid's Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game Castle Infinity had Brainsuckers, which if you touched them, ate a piece of your character's brain. Which, to the player, translated as dropping a splotch of paint over a random section of your screen. Get hit too a few times, your screen would be entirely covered over and you wouldn't be able to see anything (though a consumable item existed to fix this state.)

    Party Game

    • Whacked! has BRBs (Big Red Buttons) that have a variety of effects that either help you or screw you, including 'Fish-Eye Lense'.
    • The fourth volume of the You Don't Know Jack series, "The Ride", had a literal Interface Screw: When using the series' "Screw Your Neighbor" option, forcing them to answer a question they might not know the answer to and thus "screwing" them out of money (at the possible cost of losing the same amount yourself if they answered correctly), you could repeatedly hit the key to fire a multitude of screws into the onscreen image, forcing someone to answer a question obscured by screws. Naturally, it worked best if you didn't give your opponents time to read the question.
      • Arguably the "Who's The Dummy?" questions in the 2011 release, which are delivered through a sarcastic ventriloquist's dummy named Billy O'Brien. Cookie is not a very good ventriloquist, however, and ends up slightly obscuring the question and answers with his inability to pronounce certain sounds.
    • It could be argued that the Wario Ware series falls under this trope, seeing as the game objectives and controls completely change every five seconds. For good measure, WarioWare DIY has a mirror mode.
    • The Mario Party 2 minigame Dizzy Dancing".

    Platform Game

    • The Contessa's mind control in Sly Cooper
    • Yoshi's Island contains a level called "Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy," in which Yoshi can collide with cotton-ball enemies that cause the stage to warp and Yoshi to stumble around.
      • In the German version, that level is called Lustiges Sporen Drama.
      • Also, if a Grim Leecher hits you, you lose Baby Mario and it starts riding you. Until you get Baby Mario back, your controls are reversed. Fortunately, they're a rare enemy, and not terribly hard to defeat.
      • The thing about the fuzzies is that Yoshi takes on a rather inebriated look when he's hit with one.
      • It also had bandits, who would reverse your right-left movement, and knock Mario off.
    • Psychonauts has confusion bombs (and confusion rats), which will cause your screen to turn green and fuzzy, and flip around into a mirror version. The left-right keys flip with the screen, and your attack keys switch randomly. In the middle of a fight, this can be incredibly annoying.
    • The 2-D Prince of Persia games each had a level with a pair of strange potions you could drink to flip the screen upside down and then back up again.
      • The 2008 Prince of Persia has The Hunter, a boss who, in every encounter after the first one, has a tendency to spit black crap on the camera/screen so you can't see the battle. It eventually fades, but hitting the boss makes it fade faster.
      • The Concubine boss fires a pink bolt that reverses your controls, causing your attempts to retreat to impel you toward her for a thankfully short time. The Alchemist seems to do this as well.
    • In Donkey Kong Country 2, Kaptain K. Rool has a gun that shoots various status effect "clouds" in addition to cannonballs. The purple clouds reverse left and right, which is problematic because Rool also can suck the player toward him using the gun—so pressing the wrong direction results in rapidly crashing into him. On the other hand, it's less dangerous than the cannonballs, because at least if these hit you you have a chance of not getting hurt. The red and blue clouds induce "slow-mo" and "frozen in place" effects.
      • Poisonous Pipeline in Donkey Kong Country 3 swaps the left/right movement of your D-Pad whenever you're in water. This makes the level even more infuriating, because the moment you step out of the water, the controls are reset to normal, meaning getting back on terra firma is a bit of a challenge.
        • Rocket Rush, the final level of the Lost World. The D-pad controls not the rocket itself, but its thrusters; pressing Left activates the left thruster, forcing the rocket to the right, and vice versa, essentially creating reversed controls. The first half, where you're burning Buzzes with your rocket burners, isn't so bad. And then when you reach the midway barrel, the stage goes straight to hell. Your rocket is launched at a ridiculous speed through a corridor. Not only are your controls reversed, but you've got various rock walls blocking your way as you boost your way up. In addition, you've got a limited amount of fuel to get to the top—so limited that one crash into the wall means that you won't make it.
    • In Donkey Kong Country, Blackout Basement. 'nuff said.
    • In Donkey Kong 64, one of the objectives on the Gloomy Galleon level is for Chunky Kong to go down under the deck of a ship (the one sailing one) and retrieve his Golden Banana. Once the player reaches the banana and Chunky does his dance, the whole screen constantly distorts itself in different ways, Chunky's walking animation has him leaning backwards with his arms down, and the walking direction controls are reversed, implying seasickness.
      • A mini-boss in Donkey Kong 64 is a giant spider (that only Tiny can fight) who shoots globs of webbing which can reverse the controls or freeze Tiny.
    • Jak II Renegade features an unlockable option to mirror the world and your controls to match. This doesn't translate to the Whack-a-mole minigame, where your d-pad and your buttons (which normally map directly to the 8 holes) are flipped.
    • In Jazz Jackrabbit 2, getting hit by the caterpillar's smoke rings in the Alice in Wonderland levels will make you dizzy (switch around your controls).
    • The game Toejam and Earl has cupids that shoot little arrows at you. When you're hit by one, a bunch of hearts float above your character's head and your controls are screwed up. In addition, there are hula girls throughout the levels that will distract the player characters with their dancing, causing the player characters themselves to dance for a half second here and there as long as they're nearby.
    • In Sonic Rivals, Silver's Psychic Control momentarily flips the left-right controls of your character.
    • In Sonic And Knuckles' Death Egg Zone 2, you step into a lot of tubes that, besides transporting you somewhere else, also flip you upside down.
      • There's a LOT of upside-down goodness in the Sonic series. Also the Coral Cave boss from Rush Adventure sprays ink on your screen and stuff. With the last hit, you can wipe it off with the stylus, but you can just see around the corners of the screen so there's not much point.
    • In the multiplayer mode of Sonic Adventure 2, when playing Treasure Hunt mode, Rouge (or possibly Knuckles) can use a special attack that makes the other player dizzy and will fuck up their controls.
    • In Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts' Logbox 720, running into the video or sound card will make the screen or sound staticy respectively. It doesn't actually make the game harder to play, it's just a nice touch.
      • It also has a time trial in the Jiggoseum where your rival Trophy Thomas (irritated that you keep besting his times) flips the controls for the custom vehicle.
    • The online game Transformice features some stages that are rotated 180 degrees along with your controls, so left moves you right, right moves you left, and up makes you jump down.
    • Flash developer Nitrome is something of a specialist in these, having used them in quite a few games since its beginnings. As a general rule, the more recent ones are clever (Chained Heat impairs your movements), and the older ones are just irritating (you have to drag yourself along by your teeth.)
    • The freeware game Punishment is all about this, featuring both items that flip the left and right controls until you touch another one and eyeballs that rotate the screen, to say nothing of levels that rotate the screen on their own in a variety of often seasickness-inducing ways.
    • P.P. Hammer And His Pneumatic Weapon, a German puzzle-platformer for the Amiga, had one level in which the controls were reversed. Why? Here's the description of the level: "Tasting the winecellar had made you a little drunken".
    • Adventures Of Rad Gravity has a planet, Turvia, where the screen image is flipped (hence the name), as well as the controls. Can be frustrating when jumping over Bottomless Pits, especially the ones in the beginning with the Goddamned Bats, aka flying sharks.
    • In ActRaiser 2, the last segment of the King of Lovaous' mind before Lust/Deception is an area where you must navigate a maze of harmful blue jelly. When the screen rotates, your controls rotate along with it.
    • The hidden "Null Driver" in Iji randomly and thoroughly screws up all the game's graphics in the most dramatic possible ways. If you're lucky you can still see the floor. And it can be used repeatedly until you get an effect you "like".
      • It also had the side effect of being permanent until the game itself was exited and restarted, which can make things ridiculously irritating when you realize it can disable upgrade stations altogether.
    • The original Rayman: Big Bad Mr. Dark inflicts various effects on you throughout the final level, such as reversed controls and disabled abilities. In an already Nintendo Hard game, the resultant frustration is arguably relative.
      • Fortunately for the gamer, the keyboard mappings can be flipped in the options menu (right is left and left is right), which the game will then reverse to the correct orientation, allowing normal play.
    • Braid does this by introducing a new time-travel game mechanic in each world. For instance, one world has time go forward when you move right, and backward when you move left.
    • In the Super Mario World hack Super Kusottare World, the start of the third level has a section involving swimming through an underwater maze of deadly spikes. Which would be fairly okay, except the water is completely opaque. You can't see where Mario is at all in the water, just solid colour. See for yourself.
    • In The Simpsons: Bart's Nightmare, if you touch the music notes coming from a flying sax, you'll moonwalk for what feels like a minute.
    • In the Karoshi games, there are many levels that involve an Interface Screw, for example: Zooming in on the character, rotating screen, making you unable to jump, clicks spawn the player character, restarting the level creates a clone, going in the menu kills you, going in the menu makes the character appear in the menu (you can and have to control him), being unable to go left, jumps get less effective with every jump, jumps get more effective with every jump and much, much more.
    • Purple has a glowing green skull touching which will result in reversed controls, a tilting screen, being unable to enter doors and a green-tinted character.
    • Secret Agent has the question mark "powerup", which reverses the left and right controls for a while. "You feel a bit confused!"
    • In Pharaoh Man's stage in Rock Man 4 Minus Infinity, Rock/Mega Man had to explore a pyramid. When he was inside the pyramid, Mega Man was affected by the pyramid's curse. The curses are chosen as Mega Man progresses through the pyramid:
      • Reverse: Up/down, left/right, B/A, even select/start are switched
      • Hopping: You can't jump on your own, but it jumps for you every couple seconds.
      • Berserker: You shoot as if you have turbo fire pressed.
      • Roulette: It selects one of your items at random every few seconds.
      • Minimum: One shot on screen at a time. The shot also travels slower.
      • Fidget: You won't stop moving in the direction you're facing.
      • Slipping: You'll continuously slide except when you jump.
      • Fetter: You can only jump and shoot.
    • In Super Marisa World, this is the gimmick of the fight against Reisen. As she takes more damage, the screen steadily begins to warp, making it more difficult to place your jumps.
    • In Vexx, one Wraitheart in the Under is collected by completing a simple platformer segment...while the screen is upside down.
    • As an homage to the Dragon Quest series, Napalm Man and Mr. X Stage 4 in Rockman 6: Unique Harassment uses tiles that alter Mega Man's controls.

    Puzzle Game

    • Heboris Unofficial Expansion's Versus Mode has a number of items that fall under this trope. "X-Ray" turns the field invisible, with a scanner running through it to give you a brief glimpse of the screen. "Hide Next" turns off your preview pieces. "Grandmother Block" turns your blocks into black-and-white (or green-and-white, depending on your rotation system) "[ ]" blocks a la the original Tetris and Tetris: The Grand Master 3 Shirase Mode's last 300 levels.
      • The Premium Missions in Tetris Friends sometimes have these too. For example, in "Gorilla in the Minos", there's a gorilla standing next to the game area, and clearing lines will hurt the ape. He will hold out a banana to obscure the next Tetrimino to be sent out into the matrix, or he will throw it onto the hold queue, obscuring which piece you're withholding temporarily. Occasionally, the gorilla will get enraged and attack the game area, screwing up the hole placement in the lines. Once his health is completely empty, he will finally run away and you can continue your game normally.
    • Roll Away has two: Lethargy Pills cause everything to slow down except the timer, which ticks much faster, and also messes around with the camera. Elastic Pills force you to jump continuously until the level is cleared (usually these will be necessary, though, as if you jump forward under the effect of one, you'll jump three spaces instead of just two.)
    • The entire gimmick of Lockjaw: The Overdose, a homebrew Tetris clone for Game Boy Advance, is the playfield doing a Mushroom Samba.
    • The flash game Invisibility is entirely about this trope. In each level, you have to click on the start button, then, without touching the walls get to the finishing button and click on it. The problem? Once you press the Start button your cursor turns invisible. To top it off, most levels are Nintendo Hard by themselves anyway. At least you could cheat...
    • Played with in the online game This Is the Only Level. In fact, the whole game revolves solely around Interface Screw.
    • Another online game, Disorientation, also revolves around interface screw.
    • Tetris the Grand Master has a code you can enter before starting a game to turn the playing field upside-down. It makes the game much harder.
    • In Eets there are anti-gravity aliens and marshmallows.
    • In Mari Ari, a Mario And Wario Touhou-themed clone game, Sakuya's ability is to stop your mouse movement for a short period of time (along with setting some knives on the stage), being dangerous and potentially driving Alice to her death.

    Real Time Strategy

    • In both the Star Trek Armada Real Time Strategy games, the Borg diamond has a special weapon, nanites, which, if used successfully upon another player, will cause all of their interface elements to float around the screen for a few minutes. Not really a serious gameplay tactic (though it disables the hotkeys of affected players; which slows down their usage of special attacks), but often garners funny reactions—perhaps just as much for the in-game reactions as much as the player's reactions. Says one Klingon, "Ack! Borg nanites!"
      • Particularly irksome when one realises that the weapon is useless against computer-controlled forces. AI has no interface to screw with! Thus, when used against AI players, it temporarily disables their special weapons instead.
    • Hostile Waters has your Battle Room interface glitch out during an early mission, making issuing commands harder. It's mostly meant to convince the player to try out the alternate method of issuing commands.

    Rhythm Game

    • Guitar Hero 3's battle mode revolves around doing this: The goal is to make the other player screw up badly enough by, for example, making his notes blink annoyingly or reversing the button order.
      • Several of Konami's Dance Dance Revolution and Pop'n Music titles have had Battle Modes with the same gimmick (albeit with different interface screws.)
      • DDR Max also has the Trick course in Oni / Challenge Mode. The first stage is on Boost, which makes arrows start slower and accelerate as they move up the screen. The second stage adds Reverse, which makes the arrows move top-to-bottom instead of bottom-to-top. So far, fairly reasonable, and both modifiers are selectable normally as a Self-Imposed Challenge. But the third stage swaps out Boost for Brake, which makes the arrows slow down. To almost a halt. Which makes it hard to tell exactly when you're supposed to hit them. Then the fourth stage ditches the previous modifiers for "Fuwa-Fuwa", which pulsates between 0.25x and 1x scroll speed, making the arrows squish together and then move back apart in an accordion-like manner. Then the final stage is MAX 300 on 0.25x scroll speed, which results in runs of 10 arrows per second being smushed together so that the 10 arrows span about 1/4th the height of the screen.
        • This shows up again later in the DDR series, and in the fan-tribute/spiritual successor to DDR, In The Groove.
    • In Taiko Drum Master, there's a battle mode where each player has a bomb, which grows bigger and bigger, covering more of the screen and blocking your view, until one of you makes a mistake. The mistake triggers the bomb, causing that player to lose.
    • The second installments of Taiko no Tatsujin feature boss battles, in which the bosses use different kinds of methods to block your view. Most annoying is Botan's, which pretty much covers the screen in black.
    • In the Drummania Guitar Freaks series, starting from V6, there is now a "Quest Mode" which imposes various interface screw challenges like the above mentioned Trick Oni DDR course.
    • Several of Konami's bemani series games (DDR, Drum Mania, Guitar Freaks, IIDX, etc.) allow the player to toggle self-imposed interface screw challenges. Things such as speed mods, hidden mode, sudden mode, stealth mode, reverse, shuffle/random, etc. Depending on the game and the song, sometimes these mods make the game easier, other times, harder.
    • When you run low on health in Brutal Legend, your screen goes red and the sound goes really really faint, with only your heartbeats perfectly audible. Good thing Eddie has Healing Factor though.
    • A restored bug in the DDR simulator StepMania handled negative-tempo designations oddly, causing the arrow sequence to skip forward immediately. Several stepchart writers have had some fun [dead link] with this. (The second video shows both negative-tempo tricks [see 4:50, when the circular "mines" turn back into arrows] and what is essentially the the game itself throwing predetermined Battle Mode attacks at the player.)
      • The course in the second video was actually made by a 3rd party (specifically, Zeta) and included in the final release of Hopscotchmix Encore. The only modifier put in on the video was the "blind" modifier, which was intentionally done to prevent two things: accusations of cheating (slightly widened timing windows were used to compensate for recording lag) and counting the notes in the then-unreleased TsusurvivorgamusH.
    • pop'n music has the "Dance Ojama" modifier, in which the song's character, instead of appearing in their box on the right side of the screen, appears on your playfield instead, doing their "dance" animation and blocking your view of the screen. The distractiveness of this modifier ranges from song to song; one song could just have the character in the center of the screen dancing, while another could have something going on across the width of the screen. As if a colorful-looking game with Surprise Difficulty wasn't Nintendo Hard enough...
    • Rhythm Game In The Groove has a Marathon game mode which lets the player play a set of 4 or so songs one after the other. Most all of these come with gratuitous screws to how the arrows are displayed, some worse than others. Here's a video. Yes, it is easier to read that (after learning some rhythm) than it is to memorize it.
    • Techno Kitten Adventure not only has several objects and flashing colors thrown in the background to throw you off-guard, but there are also moments where, for instance, your scores fly through the background and several sections of one map iterally renders the entire screen reversed for a few seconds.
    • Some of the games in the Rhythm Heaven franchise will obscure the action at certain parts, to encourage players to follow the music instead of the visuals. For example, "Freeze Frame" from Rhythm Heaven DS has a crowd of spectators blocking the view of oncoming cars, as well as a few folks walking across the camera directly in front of the player. A lot of the games in Rhythm Heaven Fever do this as well: "Samurai Slice" not only uses falling snow, leaves, and cherry blossoms, but obscures the whole screen at one point with transparent slides explaining the mini-game's Excuse Plot.


    • In the Chocobo's Dungeon games, confusion will make Chocobo attack or move in a random direction. Fortunately, the effect is brief, and if you're not in danger, you can remedy it by walking in place.
    • In Baroque, the Confusion status effect makes directions to change wildly, making it all but impossible to move.
      • Also, being affected with the Lust status effect turns everything into the same floating kimono-wearing figure : items, enemies, traps and the main character all look the same.
      • Darkness will turn your screen black, and Silence will make it so that the only sound you hear is the background music, although the latter is mostly harmless. As a matter of fact, both of these status effects are necessary to get the "I Am The World" Baroque, where you must fuse with the Absolute God while blind and deaf.
    • Nethack has a Rogue level, a Shout-Out to the game that started the Roguelike genre. For the duration of the level, all the graphics are changed to be as close to the original Rogue as possible. Even if you're playing with graphics mode, everything is in Rogue's ASCII. It counts as an Interface Screw because it suddenly becomes very confusing unless you've played Rogue, as Nethack and Rogue use different symbols for a lot of things.
      • It also contained some more standardized screws, such as the Hallucinating effect. Monsters and items would swap graphics/characters every turn, and all the descriptive text was changed up to sound like the player character was high on something.
    • Rogue itself had the hallucination effect and and the blindness potion ("A cloak of darkness falls around you"). Also an Umber Hulk's gaze could confuse you, shuffling your directional keys.
    • In Liberal Crime Squad, there is a minor example: if free speech laws go Arch-Conservative, swear words and pickup-lines are replaced by Gosh Dang It to Heck vocabulary and lines that makes no sense, respectively.

    Role-Playing Game

    • In addition to making it likely you'll hit your friends, if the person leading the party in Breath of Fire 3 was Confused, your controls flipped. Thankfully, you could rotate them out of the position until the effect eventually faded.
    • EarthBound features one of the Status Effects -- Mashroomization—that, once outside of battle, will randomly change Left, Right, Up, and Down on the D-pad to other directions, always in relation to each other. This will change every 20 seconds until the mushroom is removed.
      • Survival Kids for the Game Boy Color used a similar effect (referred to as "Confusion" in-game) which rotated the primary directions clockwise (left -> up, up -> right, and so forth) that kicked in if the player ate the right (wrong?) type of—you guessed it—mushrooms.
      • Mother 3 does it again with "Feeling Strange". Outside of battle, your party winds up walking in the opposite direction you intended to go. Luckily, this fades very quickly.
      • Like EarthBound, Terranigma has a confusion status which changes the directions of the D-pad. The direction change every time the confusion message shows up.
    • EarthBound also has Moonside, where Yes is No and No is Yes. "Do you understand?" >Yes "Oh. Let me explain again."
    • The underground areas of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl have a "Confuse Trap" item, which scrambles your movements so you go in a random direction. For example, up goes up, left goes down, right goes up also, and down goes left. Which is a crippling disadvantage as it's used in Capture the Flag.
      • Platinum also has a form of Interface Screw when you encounter Rotom in the Old Chateau. The screen will be embossed and jiggle around before the fight itself, suggesting that the Rotom took control of your DS, effectively also making this an example of The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You.
      • There's also what happens when you've got a Pokémon in your party with a Poisoned status effect inflicted on it; every few steps the game's graphics go haywire for four seconds and there's a very unpleasant metallic screeching noise. Your Pokémon loses 1 HP every time this happens. But if this would cause the Pokémon to faint in D/P/Pt, the poison miraculously goes away. It's worse when you're moving very fast, especially with the Mach Bike in R/S/E.
    • Secret of Mana has a Confuse effect that reverses your controls (up is down, left is right, etc) until the end of the effect, which wears off with time. (Confuse can be remedied by going to the controls section and pressing L or R to reverse the D pad. Or holding the controller upside-down...)
      • Likewise, its West-Coast cousin Secret of Evermore has the identical Confound.
    • In Wild ARMs 1, if the lead character became confused, they would respond incorrectly to the controls outside of battles. This could be easily remedied by changing the lead character, which could be done in three buttons (start, down, X), making it not so annoying.
    • In a fourth-wall breaking moment of Super Mario RPG, Bowyer pulls out representations of your controller's Y, X, and A buttons. When he shoots an arrow at one of the buttons, its function gets disabled until he hits another button, which re-enables the previously disabled button while turning off the one he just hit.
    • Super Paper Mario has a status effect that reverses the effects of the gamepad for the player.
    • In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Iggy Koopa, rather than simply start the boss battle right there, spins around Mario and Luigi to make them dizzy, then has them navigate a path like that. If they run into a fireball, they have to start over. And the effect lasts until you reach the end of the path. And it's different every time. And also, you can't jump for some reason and you're slowed down to like half speed and—look, this is just a giant One Level, okay?
    • Chrono Cross had the Flu status ailment, which would cause a slight amount of this when moving on the overmap, as an incentive to, you know, cure it.
    • In Lunar Knights, confusion scrambles your D-Pad, EarthBound style, while poison causes the screen to pixellate like crazy whenever your character is moving.
    • Confusion happens somewhat often in Radiata Stories. When a character is confused, the controls switch constantly, enemies and allies alike become targets, and not even locking on can save you. Mercifully it wears off.
    • The more you drink in Fable and its sequel, the more the camera will start to swim. Literally, it basically turns to water, rippling and eventually dripping down the screen. Drink way too much, and you can't even tell what's going on, except through sounds.
    • Tales of Hearts adds the Reverse status to the series list. It inverts the up/down and left/right directions on the D-pad, and for some reason is the characteristic status of the Light element.
      • Its version of Blind also makes everything black and invisible except the affected character.
    • Xenosaga Episode 2: The fight with Albedo contains an attack where he hides your status window. Luckily he'll reveal it for certain before he gets serious, and won't hide it after that. Before that point, his attacks aren't all that dangerous, and you can still check your character's health by trying to use healing items on them and hovering the cursor over them, it's just a little more inconvenient.
    • Confusion status in Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean made the magnus numbers start rotating, causing you to have to try to get the number you wanted (and often fail, which would mess up your combos). The Headache status just shifted the numbers from the corners over to the edges, which was a minor nuisance at most. Strangely, it was also possible to inflict these conditions on the enemy (even though they had no interfaces to screw with) causing them to either use half as many attacks or skip every other turn.
    • In Ultima VIII: Pagan, if you drink too much beer, you stumble around drunkenly. Eat the wrong mushroom, and the same thing happens, plus everything changes colors.
    • Deus Ex had both alcoholic beverages, zyme (a narcotic), and tranquilizers shot by some opponents.
      • In the original game, zyme just caused massive and long-lasting vision blurriness. In the fan-made mod Shifter, a dose of zyme induces a short period of increased strength and Bullet Time-like speed, and then you suffer the comedown.
      • In the original game, if you drink enough you'll notice that the alcohol also super-zooms the player's vision... its possible to use it as substitute for binoculars or a scope as it doesn't restrict your vision as much, just don't get involved in a close fire-fight while doing it as it can take several seconds to pan across to something that would normally sit on the edge of your crosshair.
      • Deus Ex Human Revolution includes a sequence in the third Tyrant fight where if you got the biochip upgrade earlier in the story, your HUD goes through massive glitches over the course of the entire fight. It also has alcoholic beverages that mess with your vision.
      • Two mods for the original DX also feature this.
        • The Nameless Mod has one level when you upload an insane AI to your brain. He'll spin around your vision as you frantically try to find a computer to dump him into.
        • 2027 features two examples. The ending of the first mission has this start up before fast forwarding two years afterwords. After the end of the Paris lab mission, this will come up, which makes it even worse if choices made up until then have resulted in an ambush outside the labs.
    • In Fallout 3, if your head gets "crippled" from taking too many hits, (described on the Pip-Boy as a concussion) your vision will go slightly blurry, and there'll be an annoying ringing noise. It will also make it ever so slightly impossible to walk in a straight line (you'll drift left and right just a little bit). Luckily, it's easy to cure.
      • Also, the screen will start to bloom excessively from the outside in, making everything blurred. Luckily, this goes away after a few moments, but it repeats until you get yourself fixed up or use a healing item (which you can apply directly to the limb, or heal yourself to heal the limb slightly). The concussion blur is also present when you pull up your Pip-boy, making it rather difficult to find the right item. Arguably rather realistic.
      • Any time one of your injected chems stop working, the screen will get the same excessive blur and oversaturation to indicate the feeling. Nearby explosions makes the view shake and glow more than if you see the same explosion from a distance. And more regularly: Getting shot causes the view to get a very brief blur and occasionally some slowly-fading and very blurred blood spots to appear.
    • Fallout: New Vegas gives us the message "you are feeling a little woozy". Congratulations, you've been stung by a bark scorpion. (If you're lucky. Because if you're not, it'll be a Cazador.) The next thirty seconds or so will be interesting, as you try to fight off the effects of a surprisingly potent poison, as well as the scorpions that caused it in the first place - all without being able to see properly.
      • In addition to poison, the miracle drug Fixer will purge your body of all your current addictions. In exchange for two minutes of sudden visual and audio blurs that occur without warning.
    • Mass Effect uses tricks similar to Call of Duty's when your character is too close to an explosion. Additionally, when your health starts to decrease in Mass Effect 2, blood vessels appear on the edges of the screen and sounds become distant and distorted, and getting drunk causes blurring and random swaying of the screen.
      • In combat, usually when Geth are attacking, the minimap in the corner of the screen becomes 'jammed'. This signals the presence of Geth Stalkers who have the ability to jam your radar.
      • Flashbang grenades, either from Kasumi or the enemy, generate a hyper-bright light before shaking the screen and causing you characters after image to be superimposed for a brief time.
    • Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2 has two. Flip-foot, which reverses the D-pad controls, and Radar Zap, which temporarily disables the map on the touch screen. Thankfully, they only last for a short while.
      • Kingdom Hearts coded reused the Flip-foot effect. The Trickmaster will also occasionally rotate the camera, along with the D-pad controls, during the third stage of his boss battle.
      • Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep has the Blind stats ailment which coat's the target's face with a dark cloud. The visual side effect of being on the receiving end of this is that most of the screen blacks out with only a small circle to barely see your own character through. Especially problematic during the boss fight with Vanitas Remnant. You can also cast this effect on other players at the Rumble Arena using the Blackout spell or other various darkness commands.
    • In the VideoMan arc of Mega Man Battle Network 4, the D-pad configuration is completely inverted. You also have to carefully navigate the field, because stepping on certain tiles resets you to the beginning of the area.
      • The Confused status has also done this to Mega Man since the third game, where it totally scrambled D-pad assignments. It's since been downgraded to a straight inversion.
    • Mega Man X 7 is horrendously guilty of this in Snipe Anteator's stage. At certain points in the stage your point of view and gravity get flipped, but your controls remain as they are (jump to 1:22 in the linked video to see the effect). Makes navigating some parts of the stage a right pain in the ass.
    • Final Fantasy XII has a few areas where the Mini Map doesn't exist or is disabled or squiggly. In the Pharos at Ridorana, where you need to sacrifice one of your 'skills' (Map, Items, Magick/Technicks or Attack), you can sacrifice your map.
    • In SaGa Frontier, during the Tarot Quest, getting the Grail Card requires asking a series of brewers where it is. At each one, your character takes a swig. When you actually head for the Grail Shrine, your character is plastered, and takes random steps in various directions (even if you aren't moving) -- often directly into enemies depending on your luck. In battle itself, your party gets hit with random status effects at the start of battle due to being drunk.
    • In Vagrant Story, the New Game+ Bonus Dungeon, Iron Maiden B2, wreaks havoc on your map display. This is done deliberately to throw the player for a loop, as the dungeon has teleporters that loop around the area, there's near-zero visibility due to pitch-darkness, and all corridors look exactly the same. The only way to progress without getting hopelessly lost is to set the camera straight ahead and never ever touch it.
    • When your "party level" reaches 6 in Eternal Sonata, the attack, special attack and guard buttons will start to randomly switch in the middle of battle.
    • If you're near a heavy sandstorm in Final Fantasy XII, your minimap becomes messed up. Also,there's a certain attack from the enemies which cause the whole screen to blur and the Battle HUD to bend in unusual directions.
    • Shadow Hearts has the Judgement Ring - a Quick Time Event-esque mechanic requiring you to press X in time to a spinner rolling over specific segments of a ring. A number of enemies can inflict status effects upon you which can either add fake segments to the ring, remove the segments altogether, make the ring spin either faster, slower, in the opposite direction or erratically, or simply shrink the ring so small that you can barely see it (made easier if you have a mahoosive television, incidentally).
      • There are also some accessories that do the same, but with good tradeoffs. One removes the visual indicator of where you're supposed to hit, but doubles the amount of damage you do. It's not too hard to learn where to press X, so it's a fairly good accessory to use. Another (not present in the first game) triples your damage, but you not only can't see the hit segments but also can't see the needle showing where you're even hitting. Needless to say, this is much harder to use properly.
    • The Force Unleashed featured a download pack mission, in which the character literally confronts his Dark Side (fighting a dark version of himself). His special ability is pseudo-randomly changing the function of each keypad, which increases your chances of hurting yourself more than him significantly.
    • Final Fantasy VI had a tower in it wherein you could only use magic.
      • Final Fantasy VII had an arena where you could lose your purple, blue, red, green, or yellow materia, or all five at once. Or the item command. Or lose your weapon, armor, or accessory or half your HP or MP, or both or all your MP.
    • The Pokémon virtual pet site GPXPlus has weather conditions that affect how Pokémon and eggs mature. During foggy conditions, players are unable to see the berries they feed to other players' Pokémon. Seriously? If the fog is so bad you can't see something you're holding in your hands, maybe you should just stay inside.
    • Dragon Quest III has arrow pointed floor tiles that will change the direction of the D-pad walking on one which can be frustrating when pressing the wrong arrow will lead you down a hole. The changed directions are fixed depending where the tile arrow is pointing.

    Shoot'Em Up

    • In the time-traveling top-down arcade SHMUP Sky Soldiers, a boss in one of the 1974 Soviet Union stages releases capsules that discharge electricity which reverses the movement controls of your ship, leaving you a helpless target against the boss' regular projectile attacks.
    • The Touhou Project series, mostly consisting of vertically scrolling shooters, doesn't typically use this trope, but there are some examples. The second stage boss from Imperishable Night blacks out most of your screen during her last few spellcards. Justified as one of her explicitly stated powers is causing night-blindness in humans.
      • Marisa in the same game also tends to shake the screen when she fires her sparks, causing mild discomfort, rage, loss of bombs and/or lives. Sometimes.
      • Various portions of the HUD literally shatter during the final boss fight of Immaterial and Missing Power. First goes the super meter, then the spirit meter, and then the health bars, leaving nothing on the screen except you and the boss by the end.
      • In Scarlet Weather Rhapsody and its expansion Hisoutensoku there's also the Mountain Vapor weather, where in the former it hides the spellcards both players have, and in the latter not only hides it, but shuffles on the player's deck.
    • When you get hit by a missile in H.A.W.X. the screen goes fuzzy for a bit, which can compound matters if the attacker who landed the hit isn't the only one going after you.
      • There's also a few missions where your ERS system is jammed by the enemy, which results in static all over everything on-screen. Even worse, sometimes this jamming affects your ability to target or even launch missiles.
    • The XBLA game Space Giraffe uses this trope a fair bit. The entire game takes place in a music visuliser, so the background is reacting to the music (and the harder levels put fairly harsh filters onto this, never so much that you can't see what's going on if you teach yourself to, but sufficiently that your immediate reaction is to panic). Then there are the rotors, which rotate the environment your playing on while they exist, and the feedback monsters. Which explode in a cloud of visual feedback when shot. In a partial inversion, there's at least one level that the visual feedback caused by them makes it easier to see.
    • Various strange effects happen during the shoot-em-up Tyrian; one of the bosses has an effect that reverses the screen vertically (and the controls!), and at several other times the screen is temporarily coloured strangely, which generally makes it harder to spot bonuses/enemies by reducing the contrast.
    • The battle against Lost Property 771 in Hellsinker defies description.

    Simulation Game

    • In Robinson's Requiem, there are enemies that will put your eyes out, obscuring that part of the screen. If you lose both of your eyes, you can't see the world around you anymore.
    • In Mechwarrior, Interface Screw is somewhat of a gameplay element. Damaged sensors can end up having your radar, targeting or vision impaired. PPC hits temporarily scramble the HUD, and excessive heat buildup can interfere with it as well.
    • Used in the Star Wars: X-Wing and TIE Fighter PC simulation games, powerful hits will sometimes destroy some of your cockpit displays, such as your sensors, or power readouts.
      • Wing Commander II also does this, complete with a mild case of Explosive Instrumentation as the devices short out with a huge arc.
      • Wing Commander III and IV have an optional feature where the display suffers impact damage from enemy hits (eg scratches), which makes parts of the display distorted, up to the point where once you see a really huge crack on your display, it means your craft is destroyed (and you lose the game).
    • Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception made the screen shake whenever a Shock Cannon was fired or a SWBM detonated. Results may prove deadly if flying near the ground.
      • One mission of Ace Combat Zero shakes the screen and leaves your Heads-Up Display fuzzy for the rest of the mission after a nuke goes off nearby.
    • A conversation option between missions in the game Wing Commander III lets the player choose whether or not to take an extra drink. If the choice to drink is made, then during the next mission, the controls for the player's starfighter will randomly reverse themselves periodically, making the mission intensely difficult to complete.
    • Free Space: Silent Threat had EMP disruptor missiles that, when detonated near the player, would screw the HUD and make the ship pick random targets—effectively disabling any aspect-seeking missiles the player is carrying. And makes the radar useless. The missile doesn't seem to work very well against the AI (friend or enemy). Freespace 2 ups the ante with a mission in the middle of a nebular storm that induces EMP effects every five seconds, where the only things guiding you are navigation buoys that are placed at intervals barely inside the effective radar range.
    • In the original Star Raiders, a damaged long-range sensor will display the original image and a mirrored copy; the player needs to reconcile which image is "true" to navigate.
    • In some Harvest Moon games, you can get hit with confusion gas while mining that changes what the directional controls are. If you're lucky, it's a mere reversal, but in at least one of them, the controls are rotated at random.

    Sports Game

    • In NCAA Football 2005 and 2006, the "Homefield Advantage" feature would kick in when you played on the road in the more notoriously loud stadiums. Before big plays, the defense could tap a button to rile up the crowd, which would blur the screen and shake your controller furiously.
      • It would also affect QBs and WRs, who if rattled (determined by their skill, or lack thereof), would have the route pattern outlines wriggly and messed-up if you looked at the line-of-scrimmage play art, or WRs could also run the wrong route should the QB call an audible.
    • In Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, there is a mission where you play Bobsleigh with the controls reversed.

    Stealth Based Game

    • The normal game over screen in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is a "Mission Failed" screen with a small window showing your character's death in the top-left. Once the game's Gainax Ending is in full swing, you start getting "Fission Mailed" screens that look like game-over screens with bad spelling, while the game is still going on inside the "death window".
      • Similarly, during the fight with Psycho Mantis in the first Metal Gear Solid, he will occasionally make the screen turn black except for the word "Hideo" in the top right corner of the screen, in an apparent attempt to make you turn off the game. In addition, he is extremely difficult to damage unless your controller is plugged into controller port 2. Otherwise he just "reads your mind" (your controller input). These particular effects actually return in MGS4. Kojima loves that joke, apparently.
        • The colonel drops a doozy of a Mind Screw, which could be considered an interface screw depending on how obedient you are.

    Colonel: Turn the game console off. Now.

    • In Assassin's Creed Brotherhood most missions have an extra bonus condition (e.g. never being detected by a guard, using a certain weapon to kill the target, etc.). Meet it and the screen goes white and the game says you achieved 100% synchronization. The problem is this bonus screen lasts for several seconds and while the game is still going, which usually means you can hear Ezio getting the snot beaten out of him by the seven or eight guards you alerted when you killed the target. But you can't do anything about it because all you can see is this stupid white screen.

    Survival Horror

    • In Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth if you are doing something particularly dangerous (especially up high) or spend too long looking at any given monster, you actually begin to panic. The screen goes blurry and your coordination starts to go.
    • Many of the sanity effects in Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, from Blue Screens of Death to "To Be Continued..." and "Controller unplugged" messages. One particularly involved example pretends to restart the console, letting the player attempt to load his save only to find all his saves deleted. Occasionally the console restarts with a different loading screen. "But I'm not playing on an Xbox..."
      • There are also Green Horrors which when they hit you with their lightning attack it both drains your Sanity and reverse your controls for a few seconds, often resulting in you running straight into the monster.
    • Parasite Eve featured the Confusion status in battles, where the directions were swapped with another direction, while Parasite Eve 2 did this in battle at random. These were annoying in both games since you could potentially run straight into an enemy's attack while you're trying to figure out where the hell the "Up" button was mapped to.
    • The main character in Clock Tower 3, Alyssa, has a Panic Meter that fills when she encounters ghosts, undead serial killers, or other scary things. If the meter fills completely, she goes into Panic Mode—the visuals flicker and become distorted, the character becomes harder to control, she's incapable of using her only defensive weapon, and she'll periodically freeze where she's standing and shiver uncontrollably. (Since this is the only time during the bulk of the gameplay where Alyssa can be killed, and the ghost or monster is usually close by when she goes into Panic Mode, this freezing-and-shivering bit is particularly vexing.)
      • The first game in the same series has a much milder version. When Jennifer's panic meter is blue, she's normal and can probably take a hit from most traps (not counting instant kill ones, or any member of the Burroughs family). As her panic meter changes color (from blue to yellow to orange to red), she becomes weaker. Once it's red, not only is she likely to die instantly from the different traps in the mansion, she also starts tripping when she runs. If Bobby is near when this happens...
    • In a similar vein, the "Panic Mode" featured in Haunting Ground. When the game screen is clear, Fiona is healthy and isn't scared. Checking the wrong objects or getting attacked by enemies (or staying around a Chaser too long) causes her extreme distress. The screen will blur and you can hear Fiona's heart race. When she reaches her breaking point, the screen becomes monochrome, blurred and Fiona just starts running like hell. She is mostly uncontrollable in this state, and she'll run into walls, eventually reduced to crawling away. Full Panic also disables you from using items, and commands to Hewie are all cries of "Help!" It will go away if you manage to evade the pursuer long enough, but getting caught and hit by an enemy means it's curtains for Fiona.
    • Half-Life 2's episodes have some minor interface screws, on several occasions where Gordon and Alyx get mind raped by a Combine Advisor. Your HUD all but disappears and the framerate intentionally slows down while the frames themselves leave a motion blur as you look around. Definitely a chilling experience.
      • Any explosions close to the player in Half-Life 2 would cause the player's "ears" to ring, making it difficult to hear important noises such as sirens, gunfire, enemy aircraft, a Strider's cannon charging up, etc.
    • Penumbra: Black Plague hits you hard with this. Your interactions with strange, inhuman artifacts results in having a fragment of an alien Hive Mind hitchhiking in your brain. One with limited control over your senses, capable of making you hallucinate on a whim, and actively trying to kill you.
    • The iPhone Interquel for Dead Space does this after the penultimate Brute battle. As more Brutes pour into the room, a battery indicator enacts as if the iPhone is about to run out of battery power. It's hard not to find a player who rushed to their nearest iPhone charger in their fear of losing progress.

    Third-Person Shooter

    • In the story campaign mode of Kane and Lynch: Dead Men, you find out that your partner occasionally suffers hallucination attacks. Midway through the game, you and your partner rob a bank, when all of a sudden your partner goes nuts and starts shooting at all the hostages, essentially screwing up the robbery. Your character asks him what the hell he was doing, and he replies that they were attacking him (you clearly saw that they weren't). If you had played the campaign mode in 2 player coop mode, then the second player controls the partner, and on that player's screen, the hostages are actually rendered as police officers firing guns at you.
    • In the game of Reservoir Dogs, you play one level as Mr. Brown driving the getaway car when he's just been shot in the head. The effect is created by Painting the Medium, having Mr. White keep telling you it's okay and to calm down, and making the car get harder and harder to drive as your character is dying under your control and there's nothing you can do about it.

    Turn-Based Strategy

    Visual Novel

    • The final puzzle of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors requires you to flip the DS upside-down. It's actually justified in-story: Flipping the DS signifies that you are playing as Junpei and sending the answers to Akane in the past.

    Wide Open Sandbox

    • The first boss of Destroy All Humans! 2—the hippie commune leader Coyote Bongwater—has a hallucinatory rainbow ray gun, which causes your screen to wobble, turn multicoloured, and has colourful flowers pop up for no reason.
    • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and San Andreas use a slight version of this to simulate substance abuse, whether alcohol or marijuana. Watch the screen move...
      • This is more pronounced in Grand Theft Auto IV: When Niko gets drunk the camera wobbles, the screen blurs, and the character responds very vaguely to your controls. This could be annoying, if it weren't a completely optional form of gameplay (although if you avoid it you do miss out on some entertaining dialogue). A less optional example comes when a kidnapping victim keeps trying to wrestle control of the car Niko's driving, causing it to veer sharply and randomly, until he mercifully punches her lights out.
        • There's a dose of Fake Difficulty as well since, with some practice, you are able to control a car decently while drunk yet cops will still chase you down when they spot you. Yet, when sober, you can drive far worse without a peep from the cops.
      • And in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, you have at least one mission which messes with your radar map for a specific reason. One of these missions involve you tracing scramblers by looking at how distorted your map is; the closer you are to one, the more unrecognizable the map is.
    • In Bully, if you stay up really late, like 1:00 am, then the screen goes all blurry, the music is now freakishly sluggish and your character's response is decreased. If you don't get to your bed in your dorm before 2:00 am, you faint. When you wake, you may have lost some of your possessions (usually your shoes).
      • Needless to say, if you actually are playing late at night and you start to notice Jimmy's head dropping and the creepily distorted soundtrack very subtly start to creep in, it's pretty unnerving.
    • S.T.A.L.K.E.R's Controller will suddenly drag your perspective right up INTO ITS FACE.
      • Also, if you drink too much Vodka your character will start swaying and see bright flashes in front of his eyes... Which makes aiming with a weapon, really difficult.
      • In Shadow of Chernobyl, when you enter the Yantar factory complex, you'll come under the effects of Lab X-16's psy-emissions. Your screen will get a whitish-yellowish tint, a strange sound will play every few seconds, and all other sounds (including your own gunfire) will be a little drowned out. The effect is lessened if you have the calibrated psy-protection helmet—it's more pronounced if you have the non-adjusted helmet, and it's even worse if you don't have the helmet at all. Additionally, staying near a Controller or Psy Dog for too long will cause blurred and double vision as you are influenced by their psy-fields.
    • In Saints Row, getting drugged makes everything look wobbly. Good thing you've got plenty of ammo...
      • In the sequel, if you drink too much (which is required for some side missions), your vision is blurred, your character's movement becomes worse, and they'll start saying random drunken phrases.
    • Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City and San Andreas have multiple timed car missions. The timer ends up being splayed across the part of the screen you most need to see. Also, the angle of the camera obstructs a good portion of the road you need to see to drive it without constantly moving the camera up.
    • In Red Dead Redemption you can get absolutely rip-roaring drunk at the bar, to the point where you can't even make John Marston walk a straight line.
    • Dead Island has Alcohol. Drinking it once will blur your vision (which gets worse as you keep drinking). Twice, and your movements start to become slightly unresponsive. 3 times, and your controls get screwed up, making every direction you try to move in respond with a random direction. 4 times and you can no longer stand up, constantly falling down and getting back up again.

    Non-video game examples

    Anime and Manga

    • In Bleach, Shinji Hirako's Zanpakuto Sakanade brings up what he calls the Inverted World. All perception of direction is reversed, left is right, right is left, down is up, up is down, etc.
    • In Mahou Sensei Negima, Ako Izumi can inject a drug that inflicts an effect similar to the Bleach example.
    • End of Evangelion's opening menu seems normal, but leave it on too long and the options begin decaying before your eyes, the screen starts flickering blood red with accompanying screams taken from the movie. All while calm, classical music plays. In Death And Rebirth, the options change from the normal 'start, scenes, options, extras' into questioning the existance of the viewer.

    Comic Books

    • Power Pack issue 47 mostly takes place in an alternate dimension where the direction of "down" shifts repeatedly. To fit this the comic must be rotated several times for text to line up.


    • In The Last Command Luke Skywalker is normally referred to by the third person narration as "Luke", but it switches to "Skywalker" for the duration of his fight with the clone Luuke Skywalker to confuse the reader who is doing what. This would be used as the basis of April Fools short story An Apology a non-canon What If...? based on the concept that Luuke won and has been impersonating the original for the entire expanded universe.

    Web Animation

    • On one of the Red vs. Blue DVDs, if you leave the DVD sit at the title screen too long, O'Malley will recite a short rhyme, ending with a number, and then remove a menu option to leave that many options left on the screen. This goes all the way down to only one left, then it resets and starts again.
    • Some Flash applications can "hijack" your pointer. A particularly cute use of this are digital pets that pounce when you hover too close.
    • The Animator vs. Animation series of flash animations does this in a pretty awesome way: The interface is used by both animator and animation for weapons.


    • A Running Gag in MS Paint Adventures:
      • In Problem Sleuth, each character has an item that toggles between something harmless like a pair of keys and weapon of some sort (e.g. Problem Sleuth's pistol / keys). Usually, referring to an item as its counterpart works -- except when it would be funnier for it not to.
      • The Midnight Crew in Homestuck, as criminal counterparts of the cast of Problem Sleuth have the same issues with decks of cards / storage items.
      • There's also the greater comic's Running Gag "What Pumpkin?" in which a pumpkin appears in a scene but vanishes as soon as the players / audience attempt to do anything with it.
      • Early comics made a point of the overcomplicated nature of the kids' inventory methods. John was unable to reach anything not at the top or bottom of the stack, and managed to vandalise his room while he tried to flush needed things out of it. Dave's hashmap modus which had numbered slots for each item would throw things at him whenever he accidently put things in an occupied slot, something which he was prone to doing a lot since the slot each item would be stored in was determined by a complex formula based on the item's name. Rose's tree modus was only accessible at the root, and would constantly collapse and drop everything if that item was accessed. Once the full extent of humor had been milked and the story grew more serious, though, the troubles were phased out.
      • Doc Scratch has the power to control the appearance of the site; then, as a result of Andrew Hussie literally Breaking the Fourth Wall and entering the comic to confront Scratch, he temporarily appeared at the top of the screen above the main panel and narrated over the action. Then, of course, the interface goes completely insane any time Lord English is around, sometimes shifting to Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff style .gifs.
      • There was also a period after Terezi scratched the second disc of Homestuck where all the text came out as partially-intelligible gibberish.

    Web Original

    • Zalgo does this on most pages where he is H̬̬̯̺̠͈̥͎̓̾̇ͦ͑ͣ́̚͢e̛͉̺͂ͦ̋ͬ͂̕ ̛̥͎̮̤͓̭͍̂͡ͅc̴̰͎͖ͮ͊́o̴͈͕̙̬̟͔̣̤̤͑͌̂͐̈̍̉ͩm̝͔̗̖̥͎͇͗̽ͪ͢͠e̝̩ͦ͆́̂͆͐̉͠͝͝s͎̮̈́̿̓͑́́͒͊͢͝


    • In a rare non-game example, at least some of David Lynch's DVD's do not feature scene selection options, due to his belief that being able to skip scenes somehow ruins the movie experience. Get ready to hold down the fast forward button a while if you ever start watching one of his DVDs and then have to turn it off prematurely.

    Real Life

    • Getting drunk.
    1. except for those that take you out of the room and out-of-universe commands like SAVE and RESTORE