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When a character has to remove something from a container very carefully, or nasty things will happen. Typically speaking, simply touching the item against the side of the container is enough to set off the "nasty things", because it's either Made of Explodium or a Death Trap.

Named for the board game "Operation", which greeted every failure with an earsplitting buzz. Can overlap with Nitro Express. Should not be confused with this.

Examples of Operation Game of Doom include:


  • There was an element of this in the Iron Man movie (when Pepper had to help Tony change out his nuclear pacemaker), though it wasn't played completely straight.
  • The nerve gas rockets in The Rock.
  • Removing the detonator from a nuclear warhead in The Spy Who Loved Me.
  • The bomb onboard the plane in Executive Decision had a core that would explode if anyone touched the laser security grid around it.


  • Crowley getting out his holy water in Good Omens.

Live Action TV

  • The Black Rock dynamite in Lost qualifies. And a guy gets blown up to show it's really serious. Not that that stops Locke fooling about and lampshading the trope.
  • An episode of MacGyver had Mac and his former college professor trying to defuse a bomb containing a "mercury switch": a blob of mercury in the middle of a Petri dish lined with sensors set to detonate the bomb if the blob touches the side of the dish. Opening the bomb is out of the question, because the screws are also wired to the detonator. Initial solution? Move the bomb very carefully...

Video Games

  • Bomb-defusing sequences in Dead to Rights required the player to pull bombs out of cylinders in this way. Each bomb had a small pin which ran inside a channel on the inside of the cylinder. Touching the pin to the side of the channel had a predictable effect.
  • In the Trauma Center series, several of the viruses get particularly nasty if you don't remove them carefully enough, or touch something you're not supposed to while moving the parts to the surgical tray. In a more literal example, the first game has Derek actually defusing a bomb with his surgical equipment while taking care to avoid detonation.
  • Batman: Arkham Knight. At the start, to reduce the blast radius of Scarecrow's fear toxin bomb, you have to insert big and heavy chemical containers into tubes. However, you have to do it slowly.
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