[[quoteright:328:[[Webcomic/TheGamer http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gamerimage3_2069.jpg]]]]

->'''[[ExpositionFairy Unseen Feminine Voice]]:''' ''-musical chime-'' Would you like to distribute abilities now? Yes/No\\
'''Harry:''' Um, Hagrid, what's that?\\
'''Hagrid:''' That's proof that yer a wizard, 'Arry. The {{Narrator}}. Ya see, life is like a game, no, no, life is a game, ya that's right and the wizards are the players. Now, don't go moving no points around til [[MinMaxing yeh know what yer doing]], 'Arry.
-->-- ''FanFic/HarryPotterAndTheMunchkins''

You're living an otherwise normal life when weird things start happening. You find yourself hearing voices or seeing things you never were aware of before. You find yourself bound by strange rules and, when they come into conflict with what you had accepted as physical laws, it's often physics that break first. You're still in the same world and your friends and family are living out their lives. If you have a day job or a school schedule you may still have to show up, even if it means facing [[GroundhogPeggySue endless repetitions of what you remember]]. Congratulations, you're at the corner of a [[RPGMechanicsVerse Game Mechanics Verse]] and a BrokenMasquerade.

There's many ways your path can take and, even surrounded by familiar people, you might be forced to go alone.

* DiegeticInterface: You're being followed by something like a [[InteractiveNarrator bodiless narrator]], text boxes that hang in mid-air or a book that keeps rewriting itself. Whether you interact by thought or touch or voice command, you now have a personal menu, usually one only you and maybe certain others can perceive and interact with. If there's a 'Save-Load' feature, expect to start seeing [[SavePoint checkpoints]], [[JustifiedSavePoint justified]] or not, that you can [[SaveScumming scum]] from. You might have a weightless PlayerInventory, an accurate [[NowWhereWasIGoingAgain Quest Journal]], or a tangible representation of how [[RelationshipValues people]] and [[AllianceMeter groups]] feel about you. The world around you might politely [[PauseScumming pause during complicated interactions]], to give you time to make up your mind. You may even unlock the great ability [[WesternAnimation/CaptainNTheGameMaster to affect the paused world and have those changes stick]].
* NewGamePlus: After reaching a milestone, usually your ''first'' death or the end of a life-changing adventure, you're [[MentalTimeTravel pulled out of your personal narrative]] and forced back [[PeggySue along your history]]. You might see a Title Screen bearing your name as well as your rank and score. If you reached enough objectives you might already have [[UnlockableContent unlocked]] avatars to change [[LamarckWasRight who you are]] and [[MultipleChoicePast where you came from]]. If you're lucky, you won't have to start from ''too'' far back. If not, baby food does come in interesting colors...
* CharacterCustomization: You may find yourself following a ClassAndLevelSystem and falling under any number of GamingStatTropes. By meeting objectives or [[LevelGrinding grinding]], you might gain unique powers. If your 'normal' life already had magic these can appear on the surface to mesh with [[FunctionalMagic existing abilities]] but often, on closer inspection, they won't follow 'universal' rules, often being VancianMagic implants. If you're able to form a party, this may allow your companions to level up as well.


Yes, you're in a subtrope of RPGMechanicsVerse. In most of those worlds and stories it's generally not surprising to the average denizen that physics works by die mechanics or that the tech/magic for [[{{HUD}} Head's Up Displays]] [[DiegeticInterface exist]], but this trope focuses on plots where 'reality' comes as a complete surprise to at least one character. It could be that they're seeing behind a {{Masquerade}} for the first time to the Character Sheet [[TomatoInTheMirror they've always had]], or they're leaving behind their [[{{Muggles}} Muggle]] society for a more GenreSavvy one.

It could be an artificial intrusion of an apparently programmed interface that either acts as a barrier/overlay to the underlying reality or begins to rewrite it, such as a gameshow being enforced by SufficientlyAdvancedAliens or a pantheon's main god deciding one day to literally play with dice. It could be a freshly minted pocket universe populated by clones of 'real' people without their consent or a GroundhogDayLoop where the [[WinToExit only way to break it is to play the game]]. The universe can even start acquiring updates/patches with or without an [[InteractiveNarrator approachable]] [[AuthorAvatar system administrator]].

While the main focus is on video games and the visual tricks they pull this is also open to [[Franchise/{{Jumanji}} statless board games]] and, in theory, there could easily be a character invaded by a pure TabletopRPG. An intangible DungeonMaster could [[Film/StrangerThanFiction suddenly start 'following' someone around audibly narrating their actions]] and allowing them to ask for dice rolls that affect/overwrite causality.

Compare NoFourthWall. Acts as a GameChanger. Often used as a framing device for a FixFic. Relative of TrappedInTVLand and TheGameComeToLife. Sometimes appears in actual games as a form of GameplayAndStoryIntegration.

Situations where it might be a surprise to the ''[[Film/ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld audience]]'' that the world runs on video game logic, [[TomatoSurprise but not to the characters]], better fit the [[RPGMechanicsVerse supertrope]]. For systems where life is as hackable as computer code, but game elements don't appear, see RewritingReality. Overlaps with some of the stranger stories in TheGamePlaysYou.

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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''LightNovel/OreNoNounaiSentakushiGaGakuenLoveComeOZenryokuDeJamaShiteiru'': Protagonist lives with VisualNovel mechanics forced onto his personal life: he's occasionally forced to pick his next action out of a very limited list of choices presented to him by the unseen Narrator and supernaturally appearing text. The choices are twisted, audacious, flippant, inescapable, loaded, reality-bending, never explained, never foreshadowed. [[FridgeHorror Thank God it's a romantic comedy]] and he's trying his best to be a nice guy.
** The title translates as ''My Mental Choices are Completely Interfering with my School Romantic Comedy''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works Peggy Sue]]
* There are at least two fanfiction.net groups collecting this trope: [[https://www.fanfiction.net/community/Video-Game-Plot/95091/ Video Game Plot]] and [[https://www.fanfiction.net/community/The-Video-Game-Plot/105176/ The Video Game Plot]].
* ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8052743/1/Harry-Potter-Game-of-the-Year-Edition Harry Potter: Game of the Year Edition]]'' by [[http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2354146/Casey-W Casey W]] has a Literature/HarryPotter PeggySue from his accidental death at the graveyard to a NewGamePlus of avatar statues. It takes him two tries to get all the way from his parents' death to his eleventh birthday, but he does unlock a secret 'wand select' menu and a pleasant print manual for the beta-test of his system.
* ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9059187/1/Harry-Potter-and-the-Train-to-Nowhere Harry Potter and the Train to Nowhere]]'' by [[http://www.fanfiction.net/u/83821/Joshua-The-Evil-Guy Joshua The Evil Guy]] has a Literature/HarryPotter TakeAThirdOption at Kings Cross Station. "Harry Potter and the Arcade" has a slightly bugged avatar selection, an epically expanded interface and the theme music's nice. Even on Easy mode, the world is huge and full of secrets, Challenges, Creation Stations and a rigid checkpoint system that forcibly rewinds Harry when he fails Objectives. Fortunately he has a Pause function and boosts from his equipment and familiars. Battle is carried out Franchise/FinalFantasy style and Harry builds his party from a selection of canon and crossover characters.
* ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9708318/1/The-Adventures-Of-Harry-Potter-the-Video-Game-Exploited The Adventures Of Harry Potter, the Video Game: Exploited]]'' by [[https://www.fanfiction.net/u/1946685/michaelsuave michaelsuave]] has a Literature/HarryPotter die in the Forbidden Forest and wind up in front of a GameOver screen. After going a bit nuts he winds up in a version of [[FirstTown Surrey]] bounded by an InvisibleWall and full of quests and secrets like the very painful cat Arena. He quickly finds he can grind simple tasks by failing them repeatedly and that jumping costs no endurance, unlike walking, so [[ViolationOfCommonSense he bounds everywhere]] as he does ''everything'' he can to make his level and stats climb higher and higher...
* ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8969953/1/Harry-Potter-New-Game-Plus Harry Potter: New Game Plus]]'' by [[https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3035632/brenco brenco]] opens with Literature/HarryPotter watching his GoodEnding scroll by as a text epilogue. After starting his NewGamePlus he finds that the Hogwarts staff has been shuffled. Many characters have been reduced to [[WelcomeToCorneria Stock NPCs]], although Hagrid manages to override his static programming and hug the boy when Harry has a breakdown. Exploiting a clipping bug, Harry manages to escape into the 'real world' where he lives comfortably for a few years until he finds out about how games work and, after a lot of research, decides to go back in. [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8969953/15/Harry-Potter-New-Game-Plus One of the chapters]] is a StrategyGuide for a very variable SNES RPG starring our hero...
* ''Fanfic/NarutoGameOfTheYearEdition'' by [[http://www.fanfiction.net/u/1796508/Majin-Hentai-X Majin Hentai X]], has a Manga/{{Naruto}} PeggySue from his death at the Valley of the End to an arena of unlockable avatar statues. Each statue is a [[spoiler: timeline in need of repair]] and the dedicated sysadmin staff may actually be [[spoiler: Shinto gods]]. The amount of severe [[GameBreakingBug Game Breaking Bugs]] means that [[spoiler:Jiraiya]] gets signed on as support staff. Too bad he's a target for assassins from soon after his birth... Each death before he [[spoiler: receives his headband]] means he has to start over from the beginning and it takes him a ''long'' time to make it to that first checkpoint.
* ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/3967121/1/Naruto-the-Videogame Naruto the Videogame]]'' by Chibi-Reaper is the TropeMaker. Thanks to free saving and, eventually, loading, the assassins targeting his baby self are defeated by [[SaveScumming trial and error]]. Besides Basic Naruto, the main avatar shown in use is the Jester which increases a lot of skills at the expense of needing to wear themed clothing.
* ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7820743/1/Naruto-Ramen-Days Naruto: Ramen Days]]'' by [[http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2253612/Rathanel Rathanel]] has Manga/{{Naruto}} PeggySue from his death at the Sand-Sound Invasion to just before the Wave Arc. The interface is supposed to be a lot more user friendly, [[spoiler: but the Kyuubi has disabled the hint menu]], so it takes him five lives to make it past the [[spoiler: tutorial]] and reach the first checkpoint after the Chunin Exams, which means it's impossible for him to reload and [[spoiler: save the life of the Hokage before he knew he was in danger]]. His unlocked teammates see the menus and retain memories through reloads as well.
* ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6270137/1/Death-s-Favorite-Game Death's Favorite Game]]'' by [[http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2052003/TheSilentJackofallTrades TheSilentJackofallTrades]] has Master Chief complete Halo 3 on Legendary mode, unlocking avatars and a ton of perk-granting achievements, then PeggySue to before the Fall of Reach on Easy mode, where he dies almost immediately...
* The very {{NSFW}} ''Per-Verse'' by [=TattleTail=] has [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Xander]] PeggySue from the Sunnydale Crater to the beginning of the series. He's offered a choice of different worlds to rebuild with the points [[NewGamePlus earned from his last playthrough]]. The AlternateUniverse where [[SuperFic they're all superheroes]] is tempting, but he ultimately decides on the [[PowerPerversionPotential kinkiest one available]]. His DiegeticInterface is a nicely designed smartphone, which he puts to good use.
* In ''FanFic/TheLifeIsAGameMultiverse'' a shared cast of {{Reality Warper}}s try to save worlds by empowering characters. There is no free saving or loading, no resurrection of KO'd protagonists (other than controlled bouts in ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom'') and all reality resets come at a great cost. That said, it gets pretty over the top. [[PlayerCharacter PCs]] unlocking harems is also a recurring theme.
** One of their notable works, ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8264615/1/Mass-Effect-Life-is-a-Game Mass Effect: Life is a Game]]'' by [[http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2483468/117Jorn 117Jorn]] and its [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9339660/1/Mass-Effect-2-Life-is-a-Game sequel]] by [[http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2571491/RebukeX7 RebukeX7]], has a RealityWarper offer Male!Paragon!Shepard a one-way trip from [[Franchise/MassEffect Mass Effect 3]]'s endgame to the beginning of the series. Upon arriving in his past, Shepard realizes that a Female!Renegade!Shepard has accidentally fallen into his world as well, so he introduces her as his ''wife''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works Standard Overlay]]
* ''Fanfic/HarryPotterAndTheMunchkins'' by [[http://www.fanfiction.net/u/4060809/Schwepcn Schwepcn]] has Literature/HarryPotter gaining video game powers on his eleventh birthday. In this AlternateUniverse, all wizards are players so [[RPGMechanicsVerse discussions of maximizing feats and stats are everywhere]], but Harry is the only empowered protagonist alive (owls are his [[JustifiedSavePoint justfied save points]]). Keeping his reloading abilities secret he takes SaveScumming to epic levels with at least one [[spoiler: [[StableTimeLoop time-turning]]]] raid on the Ministry and entire years of alternate timelines spent at Brazil and New Zealand wizarding schools. Solo adventure although [[spoiler: Luna is apparently living through all branching paths at once]].
* ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8309448/1/Harry-Potter-The-Game Harry Potter the Game]]'' by [[http://www.fanfiction.net/u/3994043/Lord-Drakos Lord-Drakos]] has an invisible, enchanted ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' manual teleport into ten-year old Harry's room under the stairs. He immediately respects his bloodline for the racial bonuses and puts a bunch of skill points into DADA.
* ''[[FanFic/TheLifeIsAGameMultiverse Naruto: life is a Game]]'' by [[http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2571491/RebukeX7 RebukeX7]] has Manga/{{Naruto}} read further down the forbidden scroll than the Kage Bunshin and transform the world. Killing him will end the nuttiness of the game overlay, which becomes at least one character's motivation.
* ''[[FanFic/TheLifeIsAGameMultiverse Spidey's Life is a Game]]'' by [[http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2571491/RebukeX7 RebukeX7]] has a RealityWarper bring a large number of Capcom fighters into the Marvel universe for a game-based tourney complete with the VideoGame/StreetFighter announcer and [[AfterCombatRecovery instant healing]] after every match. Spiderman, Chun-Li, and X-23 are Team Amazing and together they take on heroes and villains, until they're ready to face down gods.
* A chapter in [[http://www.tthfanfic.org/Author-3978/dogbertcarroll.htm dogbertcarroll]]'s ''[[http://www.tthfanfic.org/Story-21632-20/dogbertcarroll+Flickering+lights.htm Flickering Lights]]'' has Cordelia wishing that Xander's Karma would catch up with him. While the actual memory is quickly repressed, he gets some quality time with a ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' CharacterSheet that lets him use his accumulated experience, aka 'Karma', to respec his Flaws and Edges, boost his stats and resources, and Awaken as a Shaman.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film Live Action]]
* In the [[Film/{{Jumanji}} film adaptation]] of ''Franchise/{{Jumanji}}'', the classic example of TheGameComeToLife, shortly after Alan and Sarah start to play, each roll of the dice unleashing [[EverythingTryingToKillYou scores of animals]] and HostileWeather on the town, Alan [[spoiler: [[TrappedInTVLand gets sucked in]]]] and Sarah flees. Years later, she finds out that the game has been very quietly running very quietly in the background of ''[[BrokenMasquerade her entire adult life]]''. Subverted in that Alan and Sarah only [[spoiler: PeggySue back to their childhood]] ''after'' the game is over and the [[ResetButton damage is undone]]. They use [[spoiler: their adult memories to make better choices this time through]].
** Possibilities include the game rewinding time or it creating a simulated copy [[spoiler: of the ''Earth'']] in a pocket reality and running it [[spoiler: for years]].
** As opposed to ''Film/{{Zathura}}''; while it's quickly apparent to the characters in that movie that they're TrappedInTVLand, Sarah has no idea that she still is too.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* When Shirou stumbles into the [[SummoningRitual Heaven's Feel]] and becomes a master in ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' he's gifted with a viewable CharacterSheet that explains about the Heroes, their skills, stats and abilities, all in RPGMechanicsVerse terms, even how many turns an area spell lasts for. More than once the characters quantify mana in dialogue, and then spend the rest of the scene treating it literally like MP. This does not get him, or much of the main cast for that matter, [[WakeUpGoToSchoolSaveTheWorld out of going to school]].
** It should be noted, however, that Servants' abilities are something that every master views differently based on what feels natural to them. The whole 'RPG CharacterSheet' method is simply [[TheHero Shirou's]] subconscious way of quantifying the information.
* ''{{VideoGame/Persona 3}}'' has the [[HelloInsertNameHere protagonist]] stumble into what amounts to a [[TheHiddenHour pocket universe that's merging with the real world]]. Awakening his Persona allows him to feel when his stats go up, usually in town or at school, and the Social Links he makes enhance his affinity for the Suits of Tarot cards he uses in patterns on a Fusion Table to summon entities.
** The protagonist and most of his team even have the option to [[spoiler:[[WistfulAmnesia reconstruct]] the {{Masquerade}} for themselves, [[DownerEnding although this is not a good thing]].]]
* The bottom screen in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' doesn't even exist until you get your cyber-gauntlet, as part of the hero discovering that his quasi-medieval society is [[BrokenMasquerade simply the surface]]. It provides mapping functions, AugmentedReality for icons to appear in dungeons, and a menu screen for controlling your demons.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}'' has a mundane town being influenced by an 'Illusionary World' that gives [[PlotCoupon orbs]] whenever people meet certain acheivements. The protagonists start employing PeggySue methods to collect them all. Viewing the VisualNovel and the anime as a linked timeline, work done in the first makes for a [[spoiler: a happy ResetButtonEnding for the family]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Han Jee-Han wakes one morning to find he can see tags floating above the heads of everyone, including himself, because he's become ''Webcomic/TheGamer.'' He soon stumbles into a secret world of fighters and martial artists who can create and break instant dungeons. Han's abilities are uniquely aspected among 'natural ability users', in that he can [[CharacterSheet see stats]], his body and mind grow through pop-up quests and exercises, and he has a GridInventory. While it allows him to interact in new ways, his view of the world isn't more 'real' than anyone else's.
** The TropeCodifier.
* When Dongtae accidentally rolls one of the ''[[Webcomic/DICETheCubeThatChangesEverything Dice: The Cube That Changes Everything]]'' he allows a nebulous GameMaster access to his phone. The Objectives provided give him more dice which he uses to boost his previously hidden CharacterSheet which had unluckily been all ones. It's apparent from one of the sequences that all souls in his world roll for their permanent stats before starting a new life, but forget everything on being born.
* Subverted by ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''. No-one, besides possibly John, seems surprised that Sburb creates and manipulates physical matter. Programming languages like ~ATH can alter reality anyway. The class and tier system are game elements, but the countdown doesn't create the [[spoiler: meteors. [[ArcWords They were already there]].]] The [[spoiler: PeggySue loop]] only happens when they're already [[TrappedInTVLand Trapped In Game Land]].
** The ''layered'' BrokenMasquerade, however, is played ''very'' straight.
[[/folder]]

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