Created By: DracMonster on July 4, 2013 Last Edited By: DracMonster on July 6, 2013

Hero Shopping Network

True heroes buy stuff from an interface menu or shopping terminal and get instant delivery

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
These are games which have currency and items/upgrades to buy, but rather than than shop around town, you order items off a single unified menu in your interface, and it seemingly teleports to your inventory or is magically installed on your ship. Or it is delivered, but almost immediately by some ridiculously specific and foresighted supply chain, such as being airdropped into the middle of a war zone. If you're carrying physical currency like Cheap Gold Coins, they are somehow transmitted to the appropriate parties.

It's as though your character has constant access to a web site or mail order retailer that caters just to his needs. The Call Knows Where You Live, and guarantees delivery in thirty seconds or less! Operators Are Standing By!

Another variant is having computer shopping terminals along your journey, which begs the question of why the Evil Overlord is allowing you to access MoreDakka.com while you escape his prison.

Other games play this halfway, requiring you to find or shop around for equipment, but allowing you to purchase upgrades on the spot. No blacksmithing/gunsmithing/spaceship-maintenance skills or tools required.

Related to Easy Logistics. Compare An Economy Is You, where you do have to actually go shopping, but the entire economy is apparently built around your character; and Intrepid Merchant, who will turn up in the middle of a Dungeon Crawl with what you need at LOW, LOW PRICES!

Named for the Home Shopping Network, a telemarketing company (in)famous for inciting the urge to order a wine glass set, a full line of beauty products and a new computer faster than you can pronounce "buyer's remorse."

NOTE: As a rule of thumb, cases where it is clearly the player making the purchase (such as buying ability upgrades after your character has died or using real money in an Allegedly Free Game) don't count, since these already violate the Fourth Wall by default.


Examples:

First-Person Shooter
  • Counter-Strike awards money for kills and completing objectives. You can buy weapons and upgrades from a menu before each match, or mid-match if you run to the purchasing area.

Fighting Game
  • Dissidia: Final Fantasy puts the shop in the character customization menu. No in-universe explanation is ever given for this.

Role-Playing Game
  • The save game stations in Final Fantasy XIII are scattered throughout the levels and also serve as shopping stations that provide instant access to a variety of Cocoon shops. The thing is, however, that these stations continue to serve the party even after the heroes are declared public enemies number one by Cocoon authorities and a bunch of them is found on Gran Pulse, where no other piece of Cocoon technology is more recent than the War of Transgression.
  • In Valkyrie Profile, you can buy items directly from your menu. Justified in that they're really divinely created items that are being sent directly to you from Asgard.
  • Mass Effect 2 and 3 have a variation, allowing you to access the weapon selection screen if you find a new gun while on a mission and wish to equip it. What happens to your old guns if you swap them out and how you can switch in an entirely different gun from either one is left unexplained (though the first game justifies Random Drops with Shepard's omni-tool's microfactory, so a similar explanation is likely).
  • In Infinity Blade, you can buy new weapons and armor on the inventory screen with the gold you find lying around. Don't mind that enemy with the drawn weapon in front of you. He'll wait.

Shoot 'em Up
  • Rails of War, a browser-based flash game, is a justified example. You buy from a menu, but new cars for your war train don't simply appear: they're airdropped by a cargo helicopter that you have to maneuver into position.

Simulation Game
  • In FTL: Faster Than Light, you have to scrounge new weapons and equipment for your ship, but upgrades to your systems can be purchased any time.

Non-Video Game Examples
  • This was managed in Danny Phantom. Tucker says that to defeat Technus, he needs the newest upgrade of a Portals XL operating system, but it's the middle of the night and he doesn't know if he can get it. Luckily, Sam is sufficiently rich that she could order it and get it delivered to them immediately after-hours. Tucker is amazed at this.
  • In the What A Cartoon! short Yoink! of the Yukon, Yoink, in a last-ditch effort to make peace between the forrest creatures and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for swiping their furs, dials the Home Shopping Channel, and shortly thereafter, each of the animals are now adorned in brand new tuxedos, to which Yoink lampshades by remarking, "Now you know what's the best I can do on such short notice, eh?"
  • In the Courage the Cowardly Dog episode, "The Forbidden Hat of Gold", Muriel and Eustace are about to be sacrificed by a tribe of monks for their (well, mostly Eustace's) vanity; Courage then dials an unknown number on his cellphone, and is immediately met with a delivery from a Fed Ex Expy of high quality fur coats, that quickly brings out the vanity in each of the monks, causing them to meet their own demise in the end.
  • Wile E Coyote seems to have something close to this, he can apparently place an order for any death trap he needs from Acme Products and have it delivered a few minutes later in the middle of the desert. It's not clear how payment is arranged.

Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • July 4, 2013
    StarSword
    Huh. Interesting.

    Western RPG:
    • Mass Effect 2 and 3 have a variation, allowing you to access the weapon selection screen if you find a new gun while on a mission and wish to equip it. What happens to your old guns if you swap them out and how you can switch in an entirely different gun from either one is left unexplained (though the first game justifies Random Drops with Shepard's omni-tool's microfactory, so a similar explanation is likely).
  • July 4, 2013
    StarSword
    Shoot Em Up:
    • Rails of War, a browser-based flash game, is a justified example. You buy from a menu, but new cars for your war train don't simply appear: they're airdropped by a cargo helicopter that you have to maneuver into position.
  • July 4, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^I'm not sure that's an aversion. Having an entire supply chain of helicopters to drop rail cars onto tracks still seems to be getting into "magical customer service" territory. I may try to expand the description to encompass it if there's similar examples of ludicrous delivery methods in other games.
  • July 4, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Yeah, I changed to Justified Trope a couple minutes later.
  • July 4, 2013
    arbiter099
    So, does this apply for every skill upgrade screen that you can access at any time? A lot of RPG examples then.

  • July 4, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    Western Animation
    • This was managed in Danny Phantom. Tucker says that to defeat Technus, he needs the newest upgrade of a Portals XL operating system, but it's the middle of the night and he doesn't know if he can get it. Luckily, Sam is sufficiently rich that she could order it and get it delivered to them immediately after-hours. Tucker is amazed at this.
  • July 4, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^^Only if you're paying game currency. Spending skill points is like leveling up with experience.
  • July 4, 2013
    Koveras
    • The save game stations in Final Fantasy XIII are scattered throughout the levels and also serve as shopping stations that provide instant access to a variety of Cocoon shops. The thing is, however, that these stations continue to serve the party even after the heroes are declared public enemies number one by Cocoon authorities and a bunch of them is found on Gran Pulse, where no other piece of Cocoon technology is more recent than the War of Transgression.
  • July 4, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    For what it's worth, the title is fine by me.

    Also, do you have any specific examples of Allegedly Free Games in mind? I tend to think of Facebook games (e.g. Mafia Wars) or iOS apps (e.g. Temple Run) where the purchasing is done in-between the gameplay segments, so it doesn't seem like instant gratification in the middle of action that this trope suggests.
  • July 4, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^Maple story and most other games by nexon come to mind.

    I'm not sure if that counts, though, since there'd be no rational explanation for how you can spend real-world currency in a fantasy universe in the first place. Making purchases where it's clearly the player buying (IE between games) probably shouldn't count.

    I'll think on it some more. This will require consideration to parse out exactly what qualifies.
  • July 4, 2013
    arromdee
    Could this trope be extended to other activities than shopping? Such as Item Crafting which you can do any time, without taking any in-game time, and without using any equipment?
  • July 4, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^Hmmm... yeah that seems like it fits into "upgrading" well enough.
  • July 4, 2013
    Koveras
    Subtrope of/related to Easy Logistics?
  • July 5, 2013
    nitrokitty
    • In Valkyrie Profile, you can buy items directly from your menu. Justified in that they're really divinely created items that are being sent directly to you from Asgard.
  • So this only applies to gaming?
  • July 5, 2013
    DracMonster
    Well, mainly. If there's a lot of examples in other media (that aren't deliberate parodies) I'll reorganize the examples list and redo the description, but I doubt it.
  • July 5, 2013
    billybobfred
    • Dissidia Final Fantasy puts the shop in the character customization menu. No in-universe explanation is ever given for this.

    might not count since one of the tutorial thingers says the inventory belongs to the player but that's supposed to be an explanation of the Bag Of Sharing the game also has
  • Western Animation
    • In the What A Cartoon! short Yoink! of the Yukon, Yoink, in a last-ditch effort to make peace between the forrest creatures and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for swiping their furs, dials the Home Shopping Channel, and shortly thereafter, each of the animals are now adorned in brand new tuxedos, to which Yoink lampshades by remarking, "Now you know what's the best I can do on such short notice, eh?"
    • In the Courage The Cowardly Dog episode, "The Forbidden Hat of Gold", Muriel and Eustace are about to be sacrificed by a tribe of monks for their (well, most Eustace's) vanity; Courage then dials an unknown number on his cellphone, and is immediately met with a delivery from a Fed Ex Expy of high quality fur coats, that quickly brings out the vanity in each of the monks, causing them to meet their own demise in the end.
  • July 6, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^^Hmm.. we'll count it for now, since you buy stuff while controlling a character.
  • July 6, 2013
    Arivne
    Compare Intrepid Merchant, which has many Video Game examples of merchants who show up in the middle of dungeons to sell you anything you need.
  • July 6, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In Wile E Coyote And The Road Runner cartoons (and other cartoons homaging them) Coyote will sometimes send away for an Acme product and as soon as he puts the letter in the mailbox a delivery truck appears with whatever he's ordered.

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