Season Seven has entire serials dedicated to affectionately parodying things. First, there's The Game-Maker Must Be Crazy, (54-58), which is of Metal Gear Solid 2. Then there's Still Waiting for Half-Time (59-63), Half-Life 2. Then there's the bookends of Quinquenquoi, (64 and 73) which are of BioShock. Episode 64 is of Nightmare House 2, a Half-Life mod. The Epic Quest in A Flat Minor is of a hodgepodge of prog albums. ..so yeah.
How can we forget the earlier ones? Episode 8 contains parodies of Sonic 3. 18 contains an expy-of-sorts of popular DOOM mod Sonic Robo Blast 2. Most of Season Four is a tribute to the "secretcity" maps in Half-Life mod Sven Co-op.
Then there's the special scripts. DCA09 returns to the "secretcity" maps. DCAHall2 is Gears of War. DCAHall3 Tale Two takes inspiration from Metroid and Stephen King while paying a beautiful tribute to Marble Hornets. Tale Three is the original Nightmare House mod for Half-Life 2.
Anachronic Order: Averted in that the episodes follow a loose-yet-strict timeline, then played straight with the Future episodes, the spin-offs, the RP, and.. well, everything else.
Author Avatar: The Writing Writer, "Ulysses," DJay32, all the same character. He's as much a character as the rest of the cast, and despite very clearly being the one writing everything, he still has trouble keeping things orderly.
Author Tract: Inverted— we find out all about the author, but not his morals or any general message. Other than "Always write a consistent narrative."
Breaking the Fourth Wall: What fourth wall? DJay speaks directly to and responds to the characters so much that he's technically a protagonist in his own right. The various antagonists always make a point to take him down somehow.
Breather Episode: A lot of episodes, or in the case of Season Seven, Breather Serials. Even though they're still Wham Episodes, they're just not.. quite.. as shocking as others.
From DCAHall3 but still prominent later, "Ulysses."
Buffy Speak: Used a lot, especially in the earlier episodes written when the author was still ten, eleven, twelve.
Butt Monkey: Quartz, the third-party chao made by one of the creator's best friends. He has never appeared once without being killed in some way.
Cerebus Syndrome: DCA started off as a comedy fanscript series about chao, made when DJay was ten. It continued like that for a while, but then Deej started experimenting with drama in Season Five. Season Six was a little more dramatic but still Narm-y. Season Seven? Holy fuck. There's still comedy, but the tension, plot, and the occasional horror are definitely more prominent than ever. Season Eight just goes further downhill up until the multiple canonical endings.
Cham. His disappearance in the very first episode, later retconned as his death, comes back all the way in the Season Six Season Finale.
In DCAHall3, the aisle of trees, and the hole with a ladder inside.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The earlier seasons had a lot more chao. The later ones tend to stick with the main four (Shade, Dark, Red, Shadow).
Comic Trio: The Poker Gang. note Sans fancharacter Dark Tails, who was killed off pretty quickly.
Companion Cube: Episode 39 is the DCA adaption of Portal, so.. yeah. Also appears in follow-up Episode 40.
Continuity Lockout: After Season Six, DJay tried making half an effort to avoid this and stop with the "epic" adventures so he could reestablish a proper solid continuity. Trope came back in greater numbers for the literally epic serial-heavy Season Seven. It's not really possible to just jump into an episode randomly.
Cool Car: In Episode 61, the protagonists get an Aston Martin DB 9 to aid them on their quest across Half-Life 2. Shadow soon wrecks it, though, and they are given a Fiat Panda as replacement, much to Shade's sulky chagrin.
Sancheria and everything around it, particularly the Subway and the Manor.
The city of Chao Talk. Period.
Episode 88 gave us the "impossible world." Not much is said about it, but there's something in the sea that winds up taking over the entire show.
Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Half the chao in the earlier episodes talked like this, the basis being that they were babies and unable to pronounce their 'R's.
Evil Laugh: Used to occur a lot in earlier episodes.
Fake Band: Rubber Goose, the band held by the main protagonists.
Flanderization: Inverted. The cast was very cartoony, extreme, wacky, and caricature-like in the early episodes. As time went on, they started to get a lot more realistic, a lot more serious, their defining traits starting to lock horns and blend.
Four Is Death: Played with. For the majority of Season Four, the chao are in a city where they can respawn indefinitely. They take advantage of this and die a lot.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: Actually pulled off in a text-based series. In DCAHall3, there are a lot of what look like typos. They're foreshadowing. Then, in Log Entry #33, "Forest Off-Limits," there is the occasional word that is slightly different (a "you" instead of "me," a "seize" instead of "sees").
For the third, the chao took on theme costumes: Marble Hornets! Shade was Alex Kralie, Red was Brian, Shadow was Jay, and Dark was a toaster. ..that is, Tim, mask and all.
Halloween Episode: Three of them, each considerably larger and scarier than the last.
Hammer Crazy: Amy Rose's future self, in DCA710, "Part Two of Fear."
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Shade and Dark, to the point of some pretty beautiful scenes where Shade is promising to Dark that they won't die, or where Dark is convincing Shade that he rocks, that he can get through the adventure without getting viciously murdered by Metal Sonic.
Most things in DCAHall3. "Scruple" and "Tenebrosity," for example, are synonyms of specific words.
The 'cast' of "Bound to a Stream of Consciousness," too. "Captain Curator" is a reference to Silence of the Lambs as well as to the character's insisting on being treated like a leader. "Ness" is your average kid who battles his evil side at one point. "Jim Rennie" is an overall selfish and passively oblivious character. "Logic" is the kind, calm, generous female character. And of course, "Ulysses." A protagonist who can't decide upon a name, who is the subject of many a lengthy story, who used to be "stuck in an endless war" but is now "sailing off on the usually-calm, sometimes-dangerous, always-monotonous seas."
Meta Guy: Meta show. But, out of all the characters, Red is the one who does all the meta theories and speculation.
Mind Screw: Everything that has anything to do with the name "Ulysses." ...*shudder*
Nothing Is Scarier: What the hell happened to the climax of DCAHall3? It's pretty clear some serious shit went down, some serious traumatic shit, and after "Bound to a Stream of Consciousness" in the previous act, you'd think we'd get to see how traumatizing the script can really get. But no! There's nothing.
Offscreen Teleportation: Happens a lot with the Veteran's Committee. They never just "appear." They always walk in.
Oh Crap: Happens frequently. Hell, it happens a lot in just DCAHall3.
Only Known by Their Nickname: In Season Seven serial Still Waiting for Half-Time's fourth part, every character gets a codename. One new character, Adrian Ruthford, codenamed "Jack White," is rarely referred to by anything but "White."
Put on a Bus: Dark Tails. Needless to say, he hasn't been a Poker Gang member in a very long time. Though he made an appearance in Episode 60, where he probably died. But he died fighting. In a fire. Laughing maniacally. He went out with honor.
The ultra-Mind Screw, super-horrifying, allegorically depressing and all-around disturbing Log Entry #47 of DCAHall3, "Bound to a Stream of Consciousness?" Yeah, no, that was thrown in when DJay was listening to EarthBound music one night.
For that matter, just about everything is thrown into DCA.
Title Drop: Well... there's a lot of meta-talk, if that counts.
Chapter 30, "Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats," is a wham chapter.
Episode 81 had the Hiatus and more talk of Ulysses.
Episode 85 was the end of the entire show, giving us Metal Speedy and Future Shade being possibly evil. And also the end of the entire show.
Episode 88 doesn't even technically exist, yet its existence cancels out the canonicity of 85's ending. It's a Wham Episode on a very meta scale, and then it consists of a lot of frequent whams. Like EAT being the Instability and Red Metal and IT and 8 and 5, and the entire show being just a "passion play" put on by these eldritch creatures. And, of course, Amphis is Red.
What Could Have Been: When you think about it, the plot of the show so far relies on the fact that the original Season Two is gone forever, so everything about them is technically a Beta. From that, we got the Beta Avengers, who've essentially changed the plot of the series. So what would have happened if DJay had saved the episodes of Season Two?
"I thought we were playing Go Fish."
White Void Room: The Space/Time Rip Beyond the Planet of Pure Dooky, or "STR" for short.