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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Jim W: I am not satisfied by the hand-wavy distinction drawn between "plot coupon" and "macguffin"- it sounds like they are the exact same concept. Having multiple interrelated Mac Guffins doesn't make them into a different species of plot device.

Also, Fetch Quest is a legit video game related trope (if only because it gets used ad nauseaum by lazy developers), but that doesn't change the fact that fetch quests are just a lot of glorified MacGuffin chasing.

Anyway, if someone can't provide a proper distinction between Plot Coupon and MacGuffin, I'm going to merge this article into MacGuffin and make it into a redirect.

buttbutt: the difference between a MacGuffin and a Plot Coupon is whether or not the item in question matters. The Orb of Gobbeldegook is used specifically to open the Chest of Aaaaarrrrgh, and that's why going to get it is a plot coupon; the Maltese Falcon doesn't do anything, so chasing it could be replaced with chasing anything else, and that's why it's a MacGuffin.

In short, a MacGuffin is a plot device that ultimately doesn't matter: a Plot Coupon is a MacGuffin that's been slightly tweaked so that it has some direct bearing on the progression of the story.


ralphmerridew: For FY, replaced "assembling all seven Suzaku Seishi."; they have enough extra to them that they aren't total plot coupons. The body parts in Castlevania 2 have a bit extra to them, but I think they're still coupons.


Tree: "Fortunately, neither Metroid Prime or Metroid Prime force you to get them in the main quest" What does this mean? Apart from saying it twice, in all three main Prime games, you can't complete the game without all the coupons (Artifacts/Keys/Power Cells).


Jamoche: Why was the Harry Potter line removed? The final book had *two* sets of plot coupons; the Hallows and the Horcruxes. Seems like a perfect example to me.


Professor Raine: If someone doesn't know the name of the Coupon in question, it's okay to type a vague description of said coupon. Someone will come by and fix it...hopefully.
In "Avatar: The Abridged Series" one episode possibly lampshades this by giving Aang the "magical acorn" with the power to resolve any plot. Does that count and where does it fit in?