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"It's not that hard. You just have to use abilities they won't discuss and techniques they haven't entirely taught you via controls they never quite explain."

Video game tutorials are meant to quickly and easily improve the player's comprehension of the game he or she is playing. Ideally, they should explain everything the player needs to know to play the game without hand-holding. They should be succinct and easy to follow. But what happens when a tutorial fails to do its job?

Then you've got a Tutorial Failure.

This trope is for those tutorials which do a completely inadequate job of what they're supposed to do--the kind that leave the player frustrated that they can't perform that seemingly-simple move, or wrap their heads around a gameplay system which seems straightforward. Either this tutorial contains misleading or false information or fails to mention some vital aspect of gameplay. Perhaps it's because of a Blind Idiot Translation; perhaps it's because the game swamps the player with mounds of text right out of the gate and expects them to remember everything immediately; or, maybe, the tutorial tries to simplify a complex game mechanic into a "rule of thumb" which ends up being more of a hindrance than a help. Perhaps the tutorial gives advice that is no longer valid after a game patch. Whatever the case, this tutorial just doesn't work. Think of this as a tutorial-induced Guide Dang It. Related to Manual Misprint. If an important gameplay element ought to be in the tutorial but is not, that might result in a Noob Bridge.

Examples of Tutorial Failure include:


  • In the original release of Dungeon Lords, the tutorial told the player about a great number of features that were not in the game. Later patches added some features and removed references to the ones that never materialized.
  • When the player does enough damage to the first boss enemy in Fable, the boss falls to the ground and starts writhing in agony. At this point, the Guild Master tells the player that the boss "is near death. A few more hits should finish her off!" In fact, the boss is already defeated and this is her death animation. Hitting her while she is writhing on the ground does absolutely nothing.
    • Many pieces of clothing that the player can acquire have item descriptions that say they possess a special effect, when they in fact do not. The Will User's outfits are described as protecting the wearer against magic (they don't) and the Assassin's Outfit is heavily implied to increase the player's sneaking ability (it does not.)
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, the game tells you to "draw little circles at the edge of a screen" to perform a roll. In reality, the technique is more like wiggling at the edge of the screen--drawing circles will just make Link flail around with his sword.
  • Pokémon Red and Blue and all of its associated media insist that ghost types are the best choices against psychic types. One trainer in Sabrina's gym even says "Psychics only fear ghosts and bugs!", which is, at best, a Half Truth in the original Pokemon generation. Not only are the only ghosts in these games weak to psychic attacks due to their secondary poison type, and not only are there no strong ghost attacks, but psychic-types are outright immune to ghost attacks. Furthermore, there are no strong bug attacks, and many bug Pokemon are also part poison. Ghost and bug types are thus in many ways the worst choice against psychics.
    • A more minor case from the same game is its continued insistence that rock-types are immune to electric attacks. In reality, it's ground-types that are immune to electric moves; rock takes normal damage from them. Most people didn't notice, since the most common rock-types are also ground-types; unfortunately, every non-ground rock-type in that game was either water or flying, making them all weak to electric attacks.
  • Many, many players struggled to perform Sabin's Blitzes from Final Fantasy VI. The in-game tutorial says "Choose Blitz, press the Control Pad left, right, left, then press the A button!" While technically correct, the game fails to mention that you're supposed to input the command while an otherwise innocuous arrow is pointing at Sabin. Most new players will try instead to press A while the arrow's up (since the arrow is usually the means to select the target character of a given action), then hastily input the Blitz, which is already way too late. The game will never try to correct your timing even after dozens of failed attempts, so naturally, many players just think they haven't inputted the button combination fast enough.
  • Final Fantasy VII gives the player some infamously poor advice in its very first boss fight, owing to the game's poor translation: When the boss goes into a defensive stance, the game will tell you to "Attack while its tail is up! It's going to counterattack with its laser!" This is supposed to be an if-then statement, but thanks to each sentence being in a separate text box, it's generally interpreted as advice followed by an explanation, which is the exact opposite thing.
  • Good luck figuring out anything in Final Fantasy Tactics from the utterly incomprehensible in-game tutorial. A shining example of Blind Idiot Translation.
  • In Recettear, Tear suggests you sell items at close to the highest price you can get customers to accept. Doing so is a horrible idea -- what you want to do is earn "near pin" and "just combo" bonuses, which means selling at only slightly above the current base price, so you don't have to haggle. This earns you much more Merchant XP, which is more important than the small amount of extra cash.
  • In the instruction manual for The Legend of Zelda, the Pols Voice enemy is said to "hate loud noise". Naturally, the player would assume that their weakness would be the flute, then, but that's not the case at all. The flute does absolutely nothing to the Pols Voice. What the manual is actually referring to is the built-in microphone found in the Famicom, the Japanese version of the NES. There is no way to replicate this functionality in the US release.
  • Good luck finding your way through the desert in Breath of Fire 3 following the in-game instructions: the initial instructions to get through it are correct, but the ones given in your camp are wrong, and due to the sheer length of the segment, it's almost guaranteed you'll have to quit the game at some point during it and end up reading the wrong set of instructions when you come back later. Made worse by the penalty for failure; mess around in the desert too much and your partys' max HP will be reduced permanently with every step.
  • Almost all "examples" given by official Dungeons and Dragons sources are wrong.
    • One noticeable failure is in a web article that preports to explain some of the harder rules. The article (correctly) mentions there is no such thing as being proficient in a splash weapon (any class can use them equally), then gives an example of splash weapon use with a character taking a non-profiency penalty.
    • In Tome Of Battle the Ruby Knight Vindicator class requires an entrant to worship Wee Jas. The example RKV worships St. Cuthbert instead (there is an official suggestion in the writeup to drop the deity requirement, but it's ultimately a suggestion).
    • Player's Handbook II recommends Duskblades use Twilight armor (which reduces an armor's possibility of causing a spell to fail). Duskblades ignore ASF entirely as long as its of the right class of armor (Light, medium, heavy).
    • Red Hand Of Doom advises the DM to play one antagonist as a "masterful liar". This is pretty much impossible, as she has no ranks in bluff.
  • The Firewalker DLC for Mass Effect 2 featured on-screen tool tips that gave the wrong keys for a number of necessary tasks to use with the Hover Tank (jumping and mining, specifically). This was presumably the result of a minor case of Porting Disaster.
  • The in-game instructions for the fishing minigame in Nie R are flat-out wrong. Interestingly, the correct method is actually a lot simpler than the awful tutorial would have you believe.
  • Feel free to completely ignore the on-screen instructions in the Star Destroyer level in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed because you will get absolutely nowhere trying to follow them.
  • The first Rollercoaster Tycoon surprisingly falls into this category despite essentially giving all of the right information. The tutorial involves the computer playing through the first scenario. Moving the mouse or making any keyboard input aborts the tutorial and dumps you into the game. There's no way to skip ahead or speed up the tutorial, so if you bump your mouse five minutes in, prepare to wait through another five minutes restarting the tutorial...
  • A major complaint of The Witcher II: Assassins of Kings is the fact that the tutorial simply dumps you into a battle with limited explanation of the mechanics involved in combat, thus leading it to be accused of being a Guide Dang It by others.
    • The game does come with an unusually thorough instructions manual which makes a tutorial largely unnecessary. Of course most people nowadays are not used with using manuals, any more.
    • Improved in patch 2.0, which includes a mini-adventure that explains things like alchemy, the quick menu, targeting, signs and a few combat tactics - though this in itself was an issue for some people, as in a few cases the tutorial would not trigger abilities you needed to continue, locking the player.
  • The Forced Tutorial in Driver is legendary for being complete garbage. The car (or rather, the patience of the people inside) is fragile, and there's a list of varyingly obscure moves that must be completed before a strict time limit is exhausted. At least one gets to learn from a video of a valid performance in the tutorial.
  • The League of Legends tutorial leaves much to be desired. It starts with an exclusive map called the proving ground, where you get to play as Ashe, a squishy archer that derives power from utility. It tells you a good few common sense type of things like kill minions and don't try to solo turrets, and then has you buy a thornmail. There is no reason for Ashe to ever pick up a thornmail, which is a heavy duty armor item that returns auto attack damage, which Ashe is far too squishy to take advantage of. Probabally an even bigger flaw is that it pits you against Master Yi, one of the toughest conceivable low level matchups, but without any of the skills that make the matchup so difficult, misleading the player into thinking that this is a perfectly fine matchup. The second half of the tutorial is much better, it just puts you in an AI fight and lets you duke it out, the only real flaw was that it did a poor job at explaining shop mechanics and randomly sends you into the jungle for no apparent reason, even on characters with no conceivable reason for jungling (like once again, Ashe).
  • Most Paradox Interactive titles are incredibly complex games with lots of mechanics that aren't really intuitive and user interfaces that hide the information. Their tutorials require you to click through walls of text, every few tutorials interrupted by one or two interactions with the actual game.
    • There's also the fact that Paradox seldom bothers to update the tutorials to reflect their endless expansion packs, most of which alter gameplay more than enough to make the tutorials useless.
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