WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic
"Wait. Wait forever... The seal for No.3 will be removed."
—Hint room, The Guardian Legend

The waiting puzzle is a Stock Video Game Puzzle which the player solves by simply remaining in a certain area for probably at least 15 seconds. This often turns into a serious Guide Dang It if no hints are given that the room is special and it's not obvious what impasse would be removed.

Some versions of this puzzle involve an NPC inching slowly across the screen, whose actions will set the Event Flag, while the player stands by.

Closely related is the balancing act puzzle, in which the player must remain within a demarcated but unstable area for a certain time period while struggling to counteract gravity or other forces.

The inverse of Timed Mission, and a form of Fake Longevity. Sheathe Your Sword is related, as it's essentially a Waiting Puzzle translated into a Boss Battle format.

See also We Wait and You Were Trying Too Hard.

Examples of Waiting Puzzle include:

  • La-Mulana has a bunch of these:
    • Unlocking Baphomet's ankh requires waiting around in the Twin Labyrinths room diametrically opposite (and not directly connected) to the Boss Room.
    • The most annoying part of a multi-part puzzle in the Confusion Gate requires waiting for a Mook to random-walk into a conspicuous piece of scenery.
    • Getting the Ocarina requires pausing the game in a certain spot while holding the pregnant statue and waiting for Lemeza to go to sleep.
    • Near the end of Brutal Bonus Level, one must wait about a minute to get a colored block to appear. It must be done 3 times.
    • This is how the ankh jewel in the Temple of the Sun is obtained. The player idles underneath the eye of Udjat.
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (the game): In the Japanese Rock Garden, you have to not do anything, not even move the cursor, for like a minute. Then a hand appears from the sand to give you an item. You must not take it. The hand goes away. You have to continue to be idle for another minute, then the hand reappears and you can then take the item. If you continue to do nothing after that, the game will complain at you for not doing anything.
  • The Puzzle Boss fight against Gogo in Final Fantasy V. He is, well, a mimic — if you attack him physically, he'll counter with an overwhelming physical attack. If you attack with magic, he'll counter with an overwhelming magical attack. The only way to beat him is to do absolutely nothing for nearly a minute... made all the harder from the fact that you're fighting underwater and have a timer counting down to when you drown.
  • Several of the hunts in Final Fantasy XII require you to stay in one area for a set amount of time before the marks appear-- generally long after you've had enough time to clear the area of enemies several times over and leave.
  • Braid has a hidden secret that involves a cloud drifting for up to two hours to get from one side of the level to the secret.
  • One of the branching pathways in Wario Land II is unlocked when the player, rather than hitting a button to wake up in the first level, stays asleep for 10 seconds and having the villains carry Wario out of his house.
  • A puzzle in Riven: The Sequel To Myst requires you to slowly advance on some seal-like creatures. Since movement in Riven is punctuated, not continuous, this means you wait ten seconds . . . then click . . . then wait ten seconds . . . then click . . .
    • Luckily it isn't entirely necessary for the plot that you complete it, it only gives you an extra hint to another puzzle (there is an immobile hint in the same area for the same puzzle).
  • The climactic puzzle in the single-player version of Uru: The Path of the Shell requires that you stand on a particular spot without moving for fifteen minutes. There are only very subtle clues that this is what you need to do. The multiplayer version has a different path to this ending which doesn't involve waiting.
    • There is another puzzle in The Path of the Shell which also requires that you wait fifteen minutes while some pellets cook. But at least you can explore the rest of the game while you are waiting. However, the multiplayer version dials it up a notch, requiring you to wait four hours.
    • Another multiplayer-only puzzle requires you to wait for an event which happens approximately once every 24 hours! At least in that case, the puzzle is about figuring out when the event happens, so you can go to the right place just before the expected time.
  • There's a level in Monster Party where one of the bosses consists of two dancing zombies that don't attack and can't be killed. If you wait long enough, they'll disappear, and then you can move on.
  • In The Guardian Legend, one of the corridors is unsealed this way.
  • In Chrono Trigger, Crono gets arrested fairly early in the game. You can either wait three (in-game) days until your execution or you can attempt to escape by ticking off the guards. It is considerably easier to wait three days due to some well-timed intervention.
    • An earlier example: While Marle is getting candy at the Millennial Fair, don't move. Specifically, don't move away from her, but it's way easier just to wait 15 seconds.
  • In the original Resident Evil, Barry will accidentally drop the rope he was using to hoist up Jill and leave to find another. If you played through Chris' game first, you might be tempted to just move the tombstone and head into the basement, but that guarantees Barry will not survive the game. If you want him to live, you must wait; he'll come back.
  • Almost any time you're captured and imprisoned in a Metal Gear game, one of the options to escaping is to wait for someone to bust you out.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater, you can defeat one boss just by waiting out the battle due to the boss being so damn old. Alternatively, just save, change your PS2's internal clock to a week in the future, load your save, and pat yourself on the back.
    • Similarly, you can "defeat" a later boss by just waiting while underwater, thus drowning yourself. It's a Mind Screw boss, but it's expected given the series title.
  • One of the microgames in the WarioWare Inc. stage of Super Smash Bros. Brawl requires you to stand completely still to receive a bonus. It is a re-creation of a genuine microgame from the series proper.
  • One of the three penultimate bosses in Neverwinter Nights Shadows of Undrentide is invincible unless you wait for its magical defenses to go down. If you walk too close to it before that happens it starts spawning zombies and is still invincible.
  • The final stage in Depict1 puts the player back at the start of the game. Entering the level goal nets you a Bad Ending, but if you wait near it for a short while, it will disappear and you will be able to proceed to the game's real finale.
  • Final Fantasy VI has one of these as well. You can leave the Floating Continent as soon as you reach the airship... and you'll leave Shadow behind on the falling island. He arrives at the airship with 5 seconds remaining in the clock.
  • In Earthbound, the 'password' to Belch's base is standing in a waterfall and doing nothing for three minutes.
    • Later on, the only way to complete Poo's Mu training is to sit in one spot and ignore the NPCs urge you to get down.
  • In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, in order to get to Regice, you examine a wall that has a message in Braille, and then wait for two minutes.
    • For this one, you may even open the door while decoding the riddle itself.
  • In Alundra 2 this puzzle existed in a cave about halfway through the game, and was required to move on.
  • While it isn't required to complete the game, you can get an achievement in Prince of Persia (2008) if you wait for a minute without moving or pressing any buttons while holding Elika's dead body.
    • Same thing in Portal 2--you get an achievement for waiting in Wheatley's first puzzle room and refusing to solve it.
    • And in Batman: Arkham City you get an achievement for waiting a minute while paying your respects at the site of his parents' death.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne there is a variant of this in the Fourth Kalpa of the Labyrinth of Amala. There is an old man inside a maze, and he asks if you want to hang out for a few minutes and slow down for a bit and wait. Answering either 'Yes' or 'No' will make him kick you out of that section of the Kalpa. Waiting three minutes, then answering 'Yes' will make him thank you, and let you through to get a very nice item.
  • In the video game based on The Darkness, there's an achievement for sitting on the sofa with your girlfriend until she falls asleep, and another for watching the entire movie on the TV.
  • In Anachronox, to get PAL-18's best weapon, you have to let him play in the Moon Burger ball pit for FOUR HOURS. And even longer (seven hours total) for the Shadow Bracers. And since you can't leave the area while he's playing...
  • Companions Of Xanth, despite being Interactive Fiction, manages to have a variation of this puzzle: the way to escape The Void is to wander around aimlessly - or just sit there - until a door appears.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, there is a minor waiting puzzle in one of the later dungeons. There is an Armos Knight blocking the way forward, but as a nearby Owl Statue advises, if you just sit there for a bit he'll move.
  • Metal Gear Solid has a set of VR missions including mystery investigations where you have to pick out a murder suspect out of a lineup based on evidence in the room. The last mission only has the victim's corpse and no suspects. Wait for ten minutes and the victim will just stand up, showing that there's no mystery to be solved.
  • The Newgrounds game OCD+ is based on taking this to its logical extreme: K requires the player to hold the K button and do nothing else for a full hour, while SHUT is a 14-hour timer.
  • A mission in The Elder Scrolls Four requires you to wait and do nothing while a huge bear is attacking you
  • In Professor Layton and the Last Specter, Luke warns you that you can't do anything to solve his puzzle. The trick is he means it literally; don't do anything.
  • In The Tower of Druaga, revealing the item on Floor 21 requires standing still for several seconds.
  • In the game Don't Shoot the Puppy, any motion fires the gun aimed at the puppy. To 'win', you have to start the game and not touch the mouse.
  • To get Mordack's wand in King's Quest V, you must wait in the library adjacent to Mordack's bedroom (out of the line of sight of the door) until you see him get in bed and go to sleep, at which point you can return to his bedroom and steal it off his end table.
  • In Takeshis Challenge, the Treasure Map could only be read without ruining it either by exposing it to sunlight and not touch the controllers for an hour, or by dipping it in water and shouting into the microphone no less than five and no more than ten minutes later.
  • One of the secrets in Hydorah requires you to randomly wait in a particular boss room for a while after you defeat the boss.
  • Fez has a clock with four hands. Each hand nets you a prize when it hits 12. Good luck with that.
  • The fanfic Hitman Miami, written as a walkthrough for a fictional game, parodies this by having the player wait at a bus stop "for thirty-five real-time minutes". Later on, this is parodied again:

 The player must now watch the warehouse for hours on end, waiting for when the non-stereotypical Sikh businessman named Eddie Smith comes around. This may take anywhere from five to eight hours, so it's in the player's best interest to buy a good novel before playing this mission.

  • A variation occurs in Kingdom Hearts II, during the Duel Boss fight against Xemnas. The battle begins with Sora and Xemnas running up/down a building towards each other, mirroring how Roxas and Riku did the same in the "Another Side, Another Story" secret movie. A Reaction Command "Clash" will pop up, which will do no damage to Xemnas when used. Wait a second, though, and the command will change to "Break Through", which deals a little damage. Wait another second and it changes to "Finish", which causes Sora to slam Xemnas into the side of the building and do quite a bit of damage. Since most players will hammer Triangle as soon as they see the prompt, this counts as a Waiting Puzzle and a bit of a Guide Dang It as well.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.