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. When you sit down for a match, you're not just Bob the Ordinary High-School Student
or Bob the White Collar Worker
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.
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Anime and Manga
- 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.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: After the earliest portions of the manga, which revolved around games in general, the Trading Card Game of "Duel Monsters" took center stage, with its players being referred to as "Duelists". 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.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Just like in the anime it came from, you are a Duelist.
Live Action TV
- Robot Wars, a show where people built robots to fight each other with, called its contestants "Roboteers".
- Blood Bowl calls the in-universe team members "players" and the real-world players "coaches" to avoid ambiguity.
- Pokémon: You are a Pokemon Trainer, who leads a team of Pokemon into battle against friends in playful competitions, and against enemies for the fate of the world.
- The original Starcraft single player campaign would call the player Magistrate, Cerebrate or Praetor depending on which race's storyline you were playing through.
- In Warcraft II, completing a campaign level gave you ever-increasing ranks (peon, peasant, grunt, warchief...) after every mission... unless you cheated, in which case it would only call you a cheater.
- Capsuleers from EVE Online.
- League of Legends calls the Player a Summoner.
- 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.
- The Soviet campaign of the first Red Alert had you start as lieutenant and progress to general.
- All Evony players have the title "Lord" to fit with the game's feudalistic objective of conquering and developing cities, and because of the ad campaign.
- In the Kingdom of Loathing, An Adventurer Is You!
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the player is the Dragonborn, which is super handy since the Dragons have started reappearing and only a Dragonborn really stands a chance of defeating them and saving the world.
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind did something similar, with the player character in question being the Nerevarine, the reincarnation of one of Morrowind's greatest warriors, Indoril Nerevar, and the focus of an ancient prophecy.
- Many achievements in World of Warcraft have a title as their reward, and there's a lot of them.
- In Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword, you play as the Tactician.
- In Might and Magic VII, the player characters becomes the (feudal) Lords of Harmondale after completing Noob Island. The first story arc after that is about getting the title the respect and prestige it is supposed to have.
- Dungeon Crawl gives the player a title based on the level of player's highest skill. The game goes as far to having different titles for different gods (if the player's Invocation skill is their highest), and if the player's highest skill is Unarmed Combat, it even differs between higher Strength (Grappler and the like) and Dexterity (Black Belt and the like). All these combinations mean that there are way over two hundred different titles possible.