Created By: metaphysician on December 6, 2012

Sliding Scale of Stealth Game Actiony-Ness

Do you die when someone sees you, or not?

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Trope
A Stealth-Based Game is a game wherein the primary focus of play involves sneaking around unnoticed, rather than fighting. However, not all stealth games are created equal. Some enforce realistic combat physics on the player, making stealth more viable than failed attempts at action movie stunts. Others strip the character of any useful ability to fight, or even any ability to fight at all. On the other end of the spectrum, the player might be perfectly capable of fighting it out like in a normal action game; the game merely discourages this by providing more interesting options elsewhere. Thus do stealth games land on a spectrum.

Type 1: "Helpless". The player has no combat capability at all. If stealth fails, you either instantly lose, or you might as well.

Examples

Type 2: "Realistic". The player does have the ability to fight, in a manner appropriate to the setting. However, their capacity to do so is relatively limited, often not moreso than the typical enemy in the game. As such, stealth is heavily favored for its ability to avoid being outnumbered or taking an unlucky bullet.

Examples

Type 3: "Aggressive." The game's mechanics support an action style of play, with extensive cinematic capacity. It may be possible to completely ignore stealth largely or entirely and still play the game successfully, though this likely will involve missed content. Alternatively, there might be specific circumstances where stealth is still necessary. The key element is that non-stealth is not punished, as in the above types, so much as stealth is rewarded.

Examples
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • December 6, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    A chair is an object whose primary function is to be sat upon, rather than standing. However, not all chairs are created equal. Some are comfortable and easy to use. Others are shaped so sitting is hard, or even impossible to be sat on at all. Thus do chairs land on a spectrum.

    (Before someone says "But this other sliding scale is like that!", yeah, I think that is People Sit On Chairs too. Something worthwhile like Sliding Scale Of Anthropomorphism has tropes on it. It is an index, in a sense. This is just different types of stealth game. Also, snowclones are bad.)
  • December 6, 2012
    StarSword
    I don't think this is chairs. Stealth-based games are supposedly intended to be played stealthily, but I can think of two off the top of my head (Stolen and Second Sight) where beating the crap out of the guards is just as valid a strategy as sneaking around them. And yes, there's a pattern of variations (e.g. I tend to play The Elder Scrolls with a hack-and-slash-capable stealth character, which is somewhere between the OP's types 2 and 3), which makes a sliding scale an appropriate format for the trope and not a bad snowclone.

    Type 3:
    • Stolen is theoretically type 2, but in practice it's a lot faster to just ambush guards and beat them senseless rather than hide and sneak around them.
  • December 6, 2012
    StarSword
    ^Though, the OP should oughta expand from his current list of Zero Context Examples and explain how they exemplify the subtropes.
  • December 6, 2012
    MorganWick
    I think Rodney's point was more "Really? Another bleeping sliding scale?"
  • December 6, 2012
    StarSword
    ^Him not liking sliding scales doesn't make this not tropeworthy. Doesn't make it tropeworthy either, but his likes/dislikes don't enter into it.
  • December 6, 2012
    MorganWick
    I think the point is, the wiki in general seems to be kind of sick of sliding scales, since they're pretty much never tropes on their own, often lead to Type Labels Are Not Examples (which this is already running a serious risk of), are often very subjective, and when they're not subjective they're actually describing several tropes that should really have their own pages but generally only get them when TRS splits up the sliding scale.
  • December 6, 2012
    StarSword
    Ok, I can see that. I'm still kind of a newcomer here so I don't know all the wiki's consensuses yet.

    Possibly rework it as a trope for Informed Stealth-Based Games or something? Focus on the games where they tell you stealth is required but it really isn't?
  • December 6, 2012
    MorganWick
    ^If you were around for longer, you wouldn't have interpreted my interpretation as "he has a personal bias against sliding scales", because pretty much anyone can be expected to know damn well that personal taste has no bearing on tropeworthiness (unless it's Fast Eddie's, but I'm not going to go into a rant about the administration here).
  • December 6, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    I didn't say anything about my likes or dislikes. It is true that I don't like sliding scales, but that is not part of my argument.

    I maintain that it's chairs and a bad snowclone. "X gameplay element may be more or less strictly enforced" is not a trope. Seriously, "Actiony-Ness"?

    v I know there are different ways of not being tropeworthy.
  • December 6, 2012
    MorganWick
    I think the problem is that there are different ways of not being a trope, not all of which are PSOC. PSOC is "this occurs, but it doesn't mean anything". This isn't a single thing that can occur; it's three tropes badly mashed together to illustrate how much fidelity they show to one another. It is entirely a compare-and-contrast exercise, which means it can't occur in any one story, and therefore isn't a trope itself, which doesn't mean that the three types aren't tropes.
  • December 7, 2012
    metaphysician
    I don't actually think this trope is fully finished at all, mind. For one thing, I think there probably should be either more types, or no types at all, just a spectrum. And it is a sliding spectrum, not a couple distinct categories: compare the ability to not-sneak in Amnesia versus Splinter Cell vs Assassins Creed vs Arkham Asylum. There are many, many possible positions, hence it being a sliding scale.

    I don't really like the word "actiony-ness" either, its just the best I could come up with at first. Maybe just a straight forward "Stealth Game Action"?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ybldo7fnxojub53rcirkepyn