Created By: Lightblade on May 26, 2012 Last Edited By: Lightblade on June 4, 2012
Troped

Prestigious Player Title

You're not just a player. You're a Duelist!

Name Space:
Main
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Trope
(Formerly "Calling a Player a Smeerp". Rolling Updates.)

A game trope, where players are given a fancy title which ties into the game's theme.

Usually, this appears in games involving players being cast in the role of one of a special group of people with a special talent. The most common use of said talent is for battles with each other, which is what matches of the game represent. They could be epic battles with the fate of the world hanging in the balance, or it could be just as much of a game in-universe as it is out-of-universe, in which case you will likely see characters who take the game way too seriously. If people in positions of power take the game that seriously, it can be both at once.

One use of this trope is to emphasise that you and your opponents are playing as yourselves. If the game has a single-player campaign, its protagonist will be toward the higher end of the scale of Player and Protagonist Integration, somewhere between Heroic Mime and "you are you."

Another reason a game uses this trope is to create a sense of cameraderie and inclusion among players. When you buy this game, you're not just buying a game. Your purchase serves as your initiation into an exclusive group, and your starter set is your ticket to a new world of friends and adventure beyond the dullness of everyday life. You're not just Bob anymore. You're Bob the Planeswalker. You're one of us!

Or at least, that's what the marketing department would have you believe. The game's advertisments and packaging will refer to the game's players by the title, as will characters in adaptations, to drive the point home.

This trope can appear in non-game media, if an in-universe game or sport uses it. If a series featuring a game like this becomes popular enough and the game itself doesn't exist in Real Life, you can expect someone to make it eventually, technology permitting.

Examples:

  • Pokémon: You are a Pokemon Trainer, who leads a team of Pokemon into battle against friends in playful competitions, and enemies for the fate of the world.
  • YuGiOh: You are a Duelist, a person who plays Duel Monsters. To most people, it is just a Children's Card Game, but a select few know its true mystical origins.
  • Magic: The Gathering: You are a Planeswalker, capable of travelling through the Blind Eternities to all the various planes of the Multiverse. The game also has Planeswalker cards, which allow you to summon the fictional planeswalkers who play more direct roles in a set's storyline to fight alongside you.
  • The original Starcraft single player campaign would call the player Magistrate, Cerebrate or Praetor depending on which race's storyline you were playing through.
  • Blood Bowl calls the in-universe team members "players" and the real-world players "coaches" to avoid ambiguity.
  • Capsuleers from EVE Online.
  • Angelic Layer: The series is centered around a game where players control fighting dolls called "Angels". The game's term for a player is "Deus". The early episodes play up the "initiation" angle in fine detail, with Icchan taking Misaki to buy a starter set, and Misaki going through the Angel-creation process upon arriving at her new home.
  • Robot Wars called its contestants "Roboteers".
  • League of Legends calls the Player a Summoner.
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • May 26, 2012
    Shrikesnest
    The original Starcraft single player campaign would call the player Magistrate, Cerebrate or Praetor depending on which race's storyline you were playing through.
  • May 26, 2012
    WackyMeetsPractical
    Doesn't every Role Playing Game do this by definition? By assigning the player a 'role' in a story. I think this might be covered.
  • May 27, 2012
    robinjohnson
    • Blood Bowl calls the in-universe team members "players" and the real-world players "coaches" to avoid ambiguity.
  • May 27, 2012
    HawkofBattle
    Capsuleers from EVE Online
  • May 27, 2012
    Lightblade
    @ Wacky Meets Practical: I'm thinking more along the lines of competitive multiplayer games that do this. In Role Playing Games (and the ''Starcraft example), the "role" you play is that of a specific character, who is distinctly not you.

    Games featuring this trope do so in an attempt to emphasise that you and your opponents are playing as yourselves. In the single player modes of these games, the player character will be somewhere between Heroic Mime and "You are you" on the scale of Player And Protagonist Integration.
  • May 27, 2012
    WackyMeetsPractical
    Then perhaps you shouldn't include Pokemon, which is a Role Playing Game.
  • May 27, 2012
    Lightblade
    It's also a game where players can and do battle each other. If you only consider the single-player campaign, then yes, you are a specific character. But once you get into Player Vs. Player, that is when this trope comes into play (With the acceptable break from reality that both you and your opponent could have a Pokemon that is supposedly the only one of its kind). This is especially true of the Trading Card Game.

    And now that I think about it, by that logic, Starcraft might count after all.

    On another note, the Game Master article describes how "Renaming the Game Master is a popular option to add a dash of custom flavor to a game." If the game does this for regular players as well, then it's an example of this trope.
  • May 27, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Title is a Bad Snowclone.
  • May 27, 2012
    Lightblade
    Which is why I put the "better name" tag on it when I created it. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Expanding on the trope a little more, another reason a game uses this trope is to create a sense of cameraderie and inclusion among players. When you buy this game, you're not just buying a game. Your purchase serves as your initiation into an exclusive group. Your starter deck is your ticket to a new world of friends and adventure beyond the dullness of everyday life. You're not just Bob anymore. You're Bob the Planeswalker!

    Or at least, that's what the marketing department would have you believe.

    And another example, this time from Anime and Manga, though I think non-game examples should only count if they are a game or sport in the context of the narrative.

    • Angelic Layer: The series is centered around a game where players control fighting dolls called "Angels". The game's term for a player is "Deus". The early episodes play up the "initiation" angle in fine detail, with Icchan taking Misaki to buy a starter set, and Misaki going through the Angel-creation process upon arriving at her new home.
  • May 27, 2012
    chicagomel
    re Pokemon, In some of the Pokemon games, at least the more recent, you can't pick your sprite, but you can pick several titles for your trainer card...Ace Trainer, Ranger...I can't recall them all.
  • May 28, 2012
    Lightblade
    How about Prestigious Player Title for a name?

    Here's another example:

    Later today, I'll roll the updates into the main article.
  • May 28, 2012
    Generality
    I would say that Star Craft counts in that the player is supposedly playing a specific role, but not one that is fleshed out into a proper character. You're just "Magistrate" or whatever, and while the characters will occasionally talk to you, it's not with any high degree of personality.
  • May 28, 2012
    Lightblade
    The updates have been rolled and the title has been changed. I'm going to include Starcraft, and Hand Wave it with the assumption that Pv P matches are battles between yourself and another Magistrate/Cerebrate/Praetor.

    Now, is there anything else this entry needs before it is ready to be launched?
  • May 28, 2012
    Prfnoff
    How does this trope relate to this YKTTW? I think it's at least close...
  • May 28, 2012
    Lightblade
    ^ That proposed trope involves games with voice acting having NP Cs call you something other than the name you entered because of technological limitations.

    A Prestigious Player Title is simply the game replacing the term "player" with something more flavorful. Which is why its original working title was a snowclone of Call A Rabbit A Smeerp and Call A Hit Point A Smeerp.
  • May 29, 2012
    Lightblade
    Made a few slight tweaks to the description, and added a hat.
  • May 29, 2012
    NineThePuma
    League of Legends calls the Player a Summoner.
  • June 4, 2012
    Mauri
    • Command and Conquer series... specifically Red Alert sub series calls the player Commander in all the scenes where the player is referenced to.
    Tim Curry starts with it
  • June 4, 2012
    DarkConfidant
    In the Sim City series, you are the Mayor.
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