Sole Entertainment Option
A trope found mostly in role-playing games or adventure games, where the world's population consists almost solely in communities and towns throughout the world. The hero/party will visit all sorts of towns, ancient civilizations, futuristic/technological utopias, war-ridden dystopias, small towns, metropolises... but generally, there will either be only one form of entertainment or one city where entertainment can be found. Many times, this will be the largest town (but not always), but you can expect that whichever city this can be found, and whatever the form of entertainment is, you will at some point be forced plot-wise to take a part in it.
The odd thing concerning this trope is that, usually, most everyone in the world enjoys the activity. This becomes even odder if the form of entertainment exists solely in one town in the whole world.
The major exception to this rule is that, because they're easy to design, most if not all houses will have bookshelves, implying that reading is a common pastime (never mind that high literacy rates are almost completely a modern trend, making them out of place in medieval-era worlds). Expect to run into Pamphlet Shelf
if you examine them.
More often than not, where this entertainment happens will be the Minigame Zone
Turn Based Strategy
- Final Fantasy, really starting with Final Fantasy VI, made this a regular feature.
- In Final Fantasy VI, the player has to lead Celes through an opera in order to entice Setzer and his Airship to where the party is. This really is the only form of entertainment, other than the Colosseum, that the world will experience.
- Final Fantasy VII strangely does not have this worldwide entertainment in the largest city, Midgar. Rather, they have an entire amusement park just outside one of the smallest cities in the game. And believe me, nothing spells entertainment better than trying to force Chocobos to go the way you want them to go. However, you can also find TVs and arcade cabinets in Midgar (even if not very common, they're there), and the Expanded Universe at least mentions the setting equivalent of the Internet.
- Final Fantasy VIII doesn't really have a city that specializes in the Card Game of the Week, but each city has its own rules. Regardless of this fact, practically everyone plays. Not only that, but people carry all of their cards around with them as they aimlessly walk around.
- Final Fantasy X constitutes the most bizarre example, as it makes the entertainment, Blitzball, very integral to the plot. And yet, though every city has a team that plays in it, there's only one place in the world to play it.
- Justified or at least Hand Waved In-Universe, as large gatherings of Human are said to lure SIN and having stadiums everywhere would be difficult to protect.
- The demise of Sin allows entertainment to come big in Final Fantasy X-2. Whether it's concerts, Sphere Break or games of chance at the Calm Lands, the people of Spira have any number of ways to fritter away their time. But for many, Blitzball still rules and it becomes available in the game's final chapter, albeit in a much different form.
- Final Fantasy XIII has Nautilus, a huge entertainment city on Cocoon that is full of little spherical transports,the Pompa Sancta parade, lots of lights (of course), an amusement park and a chocobo and sheep petting zoo among other things. Not that you ever get the opportunity to actually stick around and enjoy it.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 however, averts this. There are mentions of Video Games, TV shows, movies, artwork, plays, a visitable Casino with Slot Machines, card games and chocobo racing (Though given the Casino exists in another world, it may not count)
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga has a video arcade in Little Fungitown, and a cinema in the middle of nowhere.
- Pokémon does this in several games, in the RPGs especially.
- In Pokémon Red and Blue Celadon City has the Game Corner, which is the closest thing to this trope.
- Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire have the various Pokemon Contests in different locations, with the main Contest Hall in Lilycove City. In Emerald all the Contest types are found in Lilycove City. Their upgraded brethren, Super Contests, are found in Hearthome City only.
- With Pokémon Black and White all of what can be classed as entertainment is in Nimbasa City - which includes a Theme Park, Dance Hall, Sports Arena and the Region's local variation of the Battle Tower. The Gym Leader's hideout is even part of the roller-coaster! Other forms of entertainment are few and far between.
- Black 2 and White 2 add a few more options, such as the PWT outside of Driftveil City and Pokéstar Studios- but again, apparently the only movie theater in the world is the one located right on the studio lot.
- Naturally, there's Pokémon battling itself, which based on the number of trainers a large percentage of the population of the world takes part in.
- Handled somewhat entertainingly in Breath of Fire III: At first, there appears to be only the Contest of Champions to take people's minds off of things (and after the Time Skip it ceases to run). But after the Time Skip, Ryu's journey takes him to Syn City, the "illegal" town, which seems to have an active red-light district. The implication is that the citizens of the world have the world's oldest pastime to entertain themselves. (Let us ignore the Squick factor of there being only one hooker and instead extrapolate the existence of others!)
- Legend of Legaia has an entire tower (town) based off of this. Sol has three or four different activities, but the rest of the towns in the game have little to no entertainment. Partially justified, as the game takes place After the End, and only a few places that had some kind of natural defense against the Mist survived, with Sol Tower surviving due to being tall enough that the Mist didn't reach the higher levels.
- Golden Sun has the optional little gambling games in Tolbi, and the not-quite-so-optional Colloso, which is reminiscent of gladiator fights. The sequel brings back the gambling games.
- Most Dragon Quest games have exactly one (sometimes two) casinos in the world.
- The bubble-world of the first Gothic has a single fighting arena in the Old Camp. The Sect Camp is composed of narcotics-users, and their whole religious cult around the Sleeper, so they have something to occupy their time with. The New Camp is most egregious: asides from mining and rice-growing, there's not much to do. (Well, except for going to the pub.)
- In the German version, the Old Camp had (on the gallow platform at the entrance to the inner keep) the real world Medieval Metal Band In Extremo, performing their song Herr Manelig. This was cut from all other language versions due to copyright problems.
- The Elder Scrolls
- A common theme throughout the series. In most games, you can count the number of entertainment establishments (beyond bars and taverns) on your fingers. In-game books describe or contain several plays, suggesting that theatre is popular, and there are many singers, poets and musical instruments scattered around the games as well.
- Morrowind plays it straight but possibly justifies it. In all of Vvardenfell, beyond the handful of quiet taverns in each town and city, there is one strip club in Suran and one combat arena in Vivec city in terms of entertainment. (The Tribunal expansion adds an outdoor theater in Mournhold.) The reason it is arguably justified is that the Tribunal Temple is a rather solemn organization, and until only about 20 years prior to the events of the game, all of Vvardenfell was a Temple preserve open only to Temple faithful.
- Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri mentions only one one form of recreation per faction when describing the different factions, though this is likely due to the fact that they are unlocked with an early tech, when civilisation on Planet is still rather young and survival itself is a struggle.
Non-Video Games Examples
- In an older PS2/Xbox/Gamecube title, Gladius, YOU were the entertainment, being a school of gladiators and fighting in arenas throughout the game.
- Gladiator Begins, a PSP title released in 2010, has a similar set-up.
- In the Wizarding World of the Harry Potter books, there is only one main sport, Quidditch (with an American game, Quodpot, mirroring the Cricket/Baseball and Association Football/American Football divides in the Muggle world), although others are mentioned, and wizard chess is relevant in the first book only. Likewise, there is only one publicly available broadcast network, the WWN, that's ever being listened to. Of course, there's nothing to stop them going to the cinema or the theatre along with the Muggles or listening to the BBC instead, but canon suggests that this is not common. To put it mildly. To be fair, most of the (small) wizarding population seems to be at least partially integrated with Muggle society.
- In pretty much every comedy set in Medieval the only form of entertainment seems to be watching executions and witch trials.
- Hey, be fair, sometimes they go to jousting matches too.
- Not to mention the ever popular archery contest.
- If its Heroic Fantasy it will be the Tavern.
- In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: There's Quark's. Though Quark does his best providing casino style gaming and holosuites that can accommodate any fantasy. And there was one episode where someone started a business featuring some kind of futuristic slot machine, but they turned out to be Reality Warper McGuffins that were interfering with the nature of probability and they were gone by the end of the episode, never to be mentioned again. Somewhat justified as Deep Space Nine is a fairly small Space Station that serves as a glorified space truck-stop, with a permanent population of a few hundred at most, and it's not like the nearest planet is more than a few hours away. Quark also mentions in the fore mentioned episode that he has exclusive rights to all gaming on the station. Though Sisko is quick to point out that agreement was under the Cardassians and is no longer valid. Still... he is a Ferengi, and they are not above using otherwise illegal tactics to protect a monopoly. There may very well be an unseen reason he's still the only game in town.
- A Klingon restaurant does get mentioned a few times. Apparently it's quite entertaining.