Created By: Recon5March 10, 2009
Troped

Way Too Much At Stake

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
(Alternatively Why So Serious or Bridge Of Fate)

I was looking through Serious Business and I noticed that a couple of examples could be considered really serious if they occurred in Real Life, such as a game determining the fate of the world or keeping something evil sealed in its can. Sure, Bridge is a silly thing to fight and kill over but a game of Bridge where the winner can claim the entirety of the USSR's Mnogo Nukes would be taken very seriously indeed, even in the real world.

The real Elephant In The Living Room is why any one in their right minds would give such power to something so trivial, so I think we need a Sister Trope to Serious Business where the business is serious but the effects and implications are too drastic to make sense.

Either that or the trope needs a bit of expansion because right now all it says is "why is everyone so worked up about this?"

Simple. Because people could really die if you roll a 1. Lots of people.

EDIT: A sort-of example for more clarification:
  • Serious Business: Why is everyone more focused on this game than on the problems of humanity?
  • This trope: This game can solve all the problems of humanity if the right person wins but if the wrong person wins we will all die. How is that logical? Why make such a game?
Community Feedback Replies: 54
  • February 24, 2009
    Medinoc
    Somehow reminds me of The World Is Always Doomed, but I understand what you're saying. Indeed, this is about the absurdity of making this business actually serious in the first place.

    I think Future Sport fits this trope.
  • February 24, 2009
    NeeNee
  • February 24, 2009
    Recon5
    Serious Consequences is somewhat appropriate but it's a bit too broad, since things like war and crime have Serious Consequences as well.
  • February 24, 2009
    Unknown Troper
  • February 24, 2009
    NeeNee
    Serious Consequences is somewhat appropriate but it's a bit too broad, since things like war and crime have Serious Consequences as well.

    ^ Same could be said about Serious Business, seems me. I would like to keep either Serious or Business in the name as a reference.

    Dangerous Business? Perilous Business, Precarious Business?
  • February 24, 2009
    Goldfritha
  • February 24, 2009
    Unknown Troper
  • February 24, 2009
    Unknown Troper
  • February 24, 2009
    Cosmetor
    I don't think this is splittable. Serious Business covers it well enough.
  • February 24, 2009
    Recon5
    Serious Business seems to say:

    "Why kill yourself over a game of Bridge?"

    This says:

    "Who in the world would make a Bridge deck where the cards would fly up and kill the loser on their own?"

  • February 25, 2009
    Nyperold
    • Back in the day, there was an article in an issue of Nintendo Power in which they showed some "Only In Japan" titles. One such title was a game in which the presidency of a country was determined by a mah-jongg tournament.
  • February 25, 2009
    silver2195
    Yu Gi Oh is about a card game with cards that can destroy the world, Or So I Heard.
  • February 25, 2009
    Shellsh0cker
  • February 26, 2009
    BlackDragon
    Penny Arcade spoofed this idea with their 'Paint The Line 2' arc. The fate of the free world is staked on a Ping-Pong tournament, and only Gabe & Tycho can defeat the Soviet Ping-Pong Champions!
  • February 26, 2009
    Luthen
  • February 26, 2009
    Meiriona
    ... Why So Serious has to be a trope name, if not for this then it has to be Title Bin -d
  • February 26, 2009
    forthur
    • James Bond was also fond of raising the stakes of games to unhealthy levels.
  • March 10, 2009
    NeeNee
    So this is about truly dangerous board (or other) games, yes? So how about something like Mind Crushing Mahjong? Killer Card Game? Devastating Dice Roll? What Do You Mean It Eats People?
  • March 10, 2009
    gyrobot
    Cory In The House had this, when Cory wanted to give the Premier of Russia the President's jacket, he forgot about the Alaskan claim in it (Whom the premier thought was part of the free gift and naturally caused problems), to win back the claim back, Cory challenged the Premier to a Game of Dance Dance Revolution. Cory wins the game and gets back while properly giving the Premier the jacket, not the claim.
  • March 10, 2009
    Sir Psycho Sexy
  • March 10, 2009
    Madrugada
  • March 10, 2009
    Jebedee
    I can see the argument for there being two separate tropes, but a large number of the Serious Business entries fall under the description given here (mostly described in terms like "Activity X is Serious Business in Show Y, where the fate of the world depends on it".) So this seems more like a splitting suggestion.
  • March 10, 2009
    Cosmetor
    Seems more like a hair-splitting suggestion to me. The only difference is who, exactly, is taking things abnormally seriously.
  • March 10, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ I don't think you paid attention. This is when there are real consequences, such as people can die. The other trope is when people just act that way.
  • March 10, 2009
    Recon5
    Actually, the problem with the existing trope is that the way it is written, it looks as if people are taking a given game/sport too seriously when there is nothing more at stake than perhaps money or reputation (e.g. the article picture). The problem is that it then picked up examples where a given game or sport is treated seriously because serious things can really result from it (e.g. Yu-Gi-Oh, where all kinds of supernatural rubbish can result from a win or loss).

    I'm suggesting either:
    • A: Split
    • B: Rewrite, expand or add a note

    Whichever one of these we decide on, the fact remains that we can't leave the article as it is because the examples have strayed out of the precise definition.
  • March 10, 2009
    Madrugada
    • Prune out the bad examples from that one,
    • make this one, and
    • add a "Contrast With" line to both descriptions, naming and thumbnailing the other one.
  • March 10, 2009
    lollerkeet
    Snow Crash also fits here; of course Hiro takes pizza delivery seriously, if he's late he gets disappeared.
  • March 11, 2009
    NeeNee
    What Madrugada said. Although we could also make this one a subtrope of the other.
  • March 11, 2009
    Cosmetor
    Expand it.
  • March 11, 2009
    Heliomance
    Split.
  • March 11, 2009
    Madrugada
    If we expand it, we still should do a Type One (People are taking a frivolous thing more seriously than it warrants) / Type Two (People are taking a frivolous thing very seriously because the outcome will have serious consequences) division, and sort the examples into the correct types.

    It would probably help to see how many of the each type of example we have, then decide whether to sort the page or split it.
  • March 11, 2009
    Goldfritha
    Split. In one, the characters are crazy. In the other, the world is crazy. And one's not a subtrope of the other, they are sister tropes.

    Though when the world is crazy, it's a subtrope of A Matter Of Life And Death.
  • March 11, 2009
    Recon5
    I think Cosmeteor may be on to something, because as long as you go far enough up and back, all the Serious Business examples come down to someone making something more important than it should be. In the case of a game with significant real world consequences, it's the designers of the game who took it too seriously, not just the players.
  • March 11, 2009
    TheSausageTroper
    Seconding "Why So Serious"
  • March 11, 2009
    Space Jawa
  • March 11, 2009
    BlackHumor
    Split, seconding Why So Serious.
  • March 12, 2009
    NeeNee
    But Why So Serious sounds as if there's no reason to be serious, while there is very much reason here.

    I only just noticed your other suggestion, Bridge Of Fate. Sounds like a good pun.
  • March 16, 2009
    Recon5
    Bump. I'll let this one go up and down YKTTW once or twice more then tally up the votes to make a decision.
  • March 17, 2009
    NeeNee
    Too bad Not A Game is taken, that would have made a good name.

    If you want to count votes, I'd say we should start over again with the acceptable possibilities. Perhaps make a crowner.

    Not to be confused with Deadly Game. See also Killer Game Master.
  • March 17, 2009
    Arilou
    The symbolic chess-game with Death in The Seventh Seal is a prime example of when a game really is Serious Business.
  • March 17, 2009
    Kuciwalker
    The problem with splitting is that some of the flagship examples, including Yu Gi Oh - the Trope Namer - wouldn't end up in the original article. I'm a fan of expanding, with a Type 1 - Type 2 distinction.

    The other problem with splitting is that there isn't too much of a difference, plotwise, from the two types - they're both just vehicles for "let's make a dramatic show about this undramatic activity".
  • March 17, 2009
    TBeholder
  • March 18, 2009
    NeeNee
    We could still split the examples on the main page.
  • March 18, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Just edit Serious Business to include "it doesn't make sense to wager so much on a game".
  • March 19, 2009
    NeeNee
    Come to think of it, Yu-Gi-Oh is an example of both. The duels against Marik and such have all kinds of spiritual/magical consequences, but most of Yugi's duels with Kaiba are really just for honor. So the trope namer still fits.
  • July 20, 2009
    Golden Darkness
    Is anyone going to go anywhere with this?
  • July 20, 2009
    EricDVH
    Definitely Why So Serious.

  • July 20, 2009
    Andygal
  • July 21, 2009
    BlackHumor
  • July 21, 2009
    Unknown Troper
  • July 21, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Or alterantely, Playing For Lives
  • July 22, 2009
    Arivne
    Film
    • The comedy Spies Like Us. The American characters are playing the board game Risk with the Russian characters during diplomatic negotiations. When the Russians lose a battle in the game, the USSR loses Eastern Europe in real life.
  • July 22, 2009
    Fanra
    Obvious title:

    Who would play a game where if you guess wrong, you die?

    Real Life: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Roulette

    Fiction: In the movie The Deer Hunter, the American POWs are forced to play Russian Roulette by their captors, which is not this trope. However, after they are free, one of the POWs starts a business where people start betting on two guys playing it on whether they will die on each round. That is this trope, as who would play Russian Roulette unless forced to. Or very drunk... or stupid.

    [EDIT: I had no idea we already had a Russian Roulette page.]
  • July 22, 2009
    Recon5
    This has been merged into Serious Business.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable