DiscardedYKTTW Game Plays Itself YKTTW Discussion

Game Plays Itself
A videogame forcibly automates something traditionally player-controlled in that genre of game.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-11-18 15:37:02 sponsor: plotlessviolence (last reply: 2012-11-29 16:22:44)

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A videogame forcibly automates an activity that--in other games of the same genre--have traditionally been controlled by the player. This can be during gameplay, or it can turn a story sequence that should have been playable into a non-interactive cutscene.

Done well, automating a traditional gameplay mechanic can assist in genre-blurring and genre deconstruction. Done poorly, it can remove player agency in an attempt to make a game more accessible to mainstream audiences.

This trope does not argue that cutscenes are bad, or that turning cutscenes into quicktime events would be a better choice. Rather, it refers to a design choice that subverts a most players' expectations about gameplay mechanics by reducing the level of interactivity and player agency.

Gameplay Automation is the related trope where the automation is optional and can be interactive in that game by player choice.


  • Any game where the player can defeat enemies that features a Cutscene Boss is an example.
    • Hitman: Absolution, a game about finding different ways to kill targets, has some of your character's targets eliminated in cutscenes.
  • The Assassin's Creed games, parkour-styled platform games, have automated the act of jumping.
  • The first level of the FPS Black Ops can be completed (on Hardened difficulty, even), without ever firing your weapons except at two scripted spots. This is not a stealth level, rather this example illustrates that the sense of agency is mostly simulated and the player's interactivity with the level is mostly optional. Demonstrated here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RULv6HbgEjY
  • In the remake of Kirby Super Star, Kirby Super Star Ultra, the interactive aspect of the tutorial (the parts which don't specifically deal with Gourmet Race, The Great Cave Offensive, or Milky Way Wishes) is completely removed.
  • Progress Quest plays itself after character "creation". It is a joke game parodying the MMORPG mechanics.
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