A Trope Maker is the first unambiguous example of a particular trope. Though there may have been similar things in the past
, these are the works that defined their respective tropes.
See also Trope Codifier
, which is the example of a trope that defines all other uses. If a Trope Codifier
is very different in outlook than the Trope Maker, then the Trope Maker worked on an Unbuilt Trope
And, of course, don't confuse with Ur Example
— the earliest example that has the essence of the trope, but may not have the actual connotations and may be missing details. However, it's the Trope Maker which starts the consistent enough pattern to be called a trope.
To provide a concrete example of all three, the Detective Story
's Trope Maker is Edgar Allan Poe
's Dupin stories, and Sherlock Holmes
is the Trope Codifier
; but the Ur Example
may well be "The Tale Of the Three Apples"
in 1001 Nights (The Arabian Nights)
Related: Trope Namer
If you make an entry here, expect some heavy challenges.
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Anime & Manga
- Astro Boy — The first modern anime to make its way to the United States, it also included the first Anime Theme Song. It was a creation of Osamu Tezuka, who also defined the style of manga and anime for decades with it and other works.
- Cutey Honey — Pre-battle speeches, naked Transformation Sequences, female monsters of the week, and several other Magical Girl Warrior tropes owe their existence to her.
- Dragon Ball — Made shonen anime big in the Western world and probably made most of the tropes it named.
- Fist of the North Star — Made and codified several shonen tropes as well as Manly Tears.
- Mazinger Z — The first Humongous Mecha to be piloted by a human, which is why they made a point to show Koji coming out of the robot in the intro. The first Super Robot to launch its fists at enemies.
- Mobile Suit Gundam — Often considered the first Real Robot show, as it was the first to portray the robots as common military equipment. Later series took this idea further, however (see below). It was also an early anime adopter of Anyone Can Die.
- Princess Knight — One of the first Shoujo series.
- Ranma ½ — Created the entire genre of an Unwanted Harem attached to a Celibate Hero.
- Codename: Sailor V and Sailor Moon — Was the first to combine the classic Magical Girl genre with sentai and superhero themes (both by the same author and in-continuity with each other, Sailor V came first, but was developed in parallel with Sailor Moon, the later becoming better known).
- Science Ninja Team Gatchaman — The origin of the formal Five-Man Band concept, which predates even Super Sentai.
- Mazinger Z, Gatchaman, and Getter Robo are the three candidates for first Combining Mecha. Mazinger is the weakest of these because while it is two entities coming together to form a whole, there's only one pilot and robot.
- Raideen — First Transforming Mecha.
- Space Battleship Yamato — The first epic Space Opera.
- Super Dimension Fortress Macross — It popularized the Transforming Mecha genre; also sometimes considered to be the first "true" Real Robot show, as every mecha was mass-produced, and not a hint of "prototypes" being the focus. Also, Macross Missile Massacre.
- Magical Angel Creamy Mami — the very first Magic Idol Singer anime.
- Superman — There's a reason they're called Super Heroes.
- Watchmen — Despite being one of the most beloved comics around, you can blame this for heralding the Dark Age of Comics.
- Although you can trace the idea of a masked hero with a secret identity all the way through pulp fiction back to Victorian literature, George Brenner's The Clock, first seen in Funny Pages #6 and Funny Picture Stories #1 (both published in 1936), was the first masked crimefighter in comics and introduced tropes like the secret identity and socially respectable alter ego, the crimefighting sidekick, and the use of gadgets by the heroes to the medium. To date the character only appears in references, and has fallen into the public domain.
- Hellblazer — Created and introduced many Urban Fantasy tropes such as Post-Modern Magik and Blue-Collar Warlock. Also started characters being Exiled from Continuity, with the protagonist John Constantine as Ur Example.
- Sallie Gardner at a Gallop — Depending on how exactly we choose to define "film", this might be the very first, produced in 1878. Roundhay Garden Scene from 1888 would then be the oldest surviving film.
- The Sneeze — The first thing ever to be caught on actual film (as opposed to paper, like earlier experiments were).
- The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari — Circus of Fear, Looks Like Cesare, Cuckoos Nest, Twist Ending.
- Equilibrium — Gun Kata.
- The Maltese Falcon — Generally considered the first Film Noir.
- It's a Wonderful Life — First example of It's a Wonderful Plot, for which it also is the Trope Namer.
- Jaws was the first wide-release film, opening in hundreds of theaters at once instead of a gradual release with the movie travelling from town to town. As a result, it was the first Summer Blockbuster.
- Seven Samurai — Contained a lot of film firsts, such as recruiting a group of quirky heroes to achieve a goal and introducing the main protagonist in a way unrelated to the plot. Sometimes is considered to be the first modern action movie or first modern epic movie.
- Since You Went Away — First use of the Train-Station Goodbye.
- Toy Story (and by extension, Pixar themselves) — Bringing the All-CGI Cartoon to the big screen.
- Scanners — Created the Psychic Nosebleed and Your Head Asplode as part of its Body Horror take on Psychic Powers.
- Cat People — Cat Scare. But despite the name, they used a bus.
- Intolerance — Generally considered to be the first epic movie.
- Birth of a Nation created the modern Hollywood movie as it stands today.
- Godzilla (1954) — The Tokyo Fireball was created by, and is a staple of, everybody's favorite giant radioactive lizard. He also invented kaiju and tokusatsu!
- Bullitt — Cowboy Cop. Unbuilt as his behavior royally screws up the case.
- Superman — Not the first Superhero Movie by any means, but it was the first true Summer Blockbuster to feature a comic-book hero as its lead.
- Blade Runner — Invented cyberpunk in film, along with Gibson.
- The Great Train Robbery — The first Western.
- Although it is difficult to determine for sure, the first entertainment on moving film appears to have been the 1895 short L'Arroseur arrose, viewable here. This is the first time in film a 'script' was used rather than simply filming everyday life like boxing matches, cock fights, or people leaving a factory after a long day of work. It's an old gag of standing on a hose to stop the water, waiting for the guy to look into the hose to find the problem, and releasing the pressure on the line to squirt the man in the face. It's film being used for the first time to tell a story.
- Akira Kurosawa made everything we know about chanbara.
- Star Wars — One of first movies to utilize the Used Future in film and popularized the Space Western. Along with Jaws, it also effectively created the concept of the Summer Blockbuster.
- 12 Angry Men — Rogue Juror
- The Kid — First film Dramedy.
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first English-language full-length animated film.
- El Apóstol, from 1917, was the first feature-length animated film.
- Bringing Up Baby — Dinosaur Doggie Bone.
- Dr. Strangelove— Riding the Bomb
- Jayne Mansfield is probably the Trope Maker for Dark-Skinned Blond, partly because Hollywood movies were just switching over to color when she came along (1955).
- Various legends and folktales from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries about Countess Elizabeth Bathory provide the origins the Blood Bath myth for rejuvenating beauty and youth.
- The Epic of Gilgamesh — One of the earliest known written stories. If there's a written story that was written before it, we don't know about it.
- The Elric Saga — Formally introduced fantasy to the Order Versus Chaos dichotomy, which Dungeons and Dragons codified into the Alignment System that we all know and love (or loathe) today.
- J. R. R. Tolkien —
- Conan the Barbarian — Created the Heroic Fantasy genre, especially its Darker and Edgier variants. Arguably has a basis in Samson from The Bible.
- Edgar Allan Poe — Normally known as a horror writer, he also invented the modern detective story and modern science fiction.
- Pulp Magazines — Created Weird Science
- H. G. Wells — One of the earliest science fiction writers, many science fiction tropes originated in his novels and short stories.
- His short story "The Chronic Argonauts" (1888) and novel The Time Machine (1895) are the source of the term "time machine", and thus a Trope Maker for Time Travel — but not the Ur Example, because a few authors had time machines before Wells.
- The War of the Worlds (1898) is the first large-scale alien invasion in literature.
- Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth is considered the first sci-fi story, although there are Ur Examples.
- Dune took Used Future to the logical extreme and has been copied countless times.
- H.P. Lovecraft — Created Lovecraftian horror, although there are a few Ur Examples.
- A Clockwork Orange — The familiar strapped-into-a-chair-with-your-eyelids-taped-open method of Brainwashing.
- Childhoods End made the Ominous Floating Spaceship trope.
- Sherlock Holmes — Arguably created the first Supervillain Big Bad, Professor Moriarty, and the Sherlock Scan.
- Nick Carter created the a boy sidekick, and the Rogues Gallery.
- The Leatherstocking Tales — James Fenimore Cooper's Hawkeye was the trope maker for The Gunslinger and the romantic concept of the American Frontier. Trope codifier, not the trope maker, for the concept of the Noble Savage / Magical Native American.
- Don Quixote — Made many Spanish tropes. The first Deconstruction, many critics consider it the first modern novel too, because it wasn't about ponies and princesses and was written by a commoner, not a nobleman.
- Lensman — Created the Space Opera genre.
- Vernor Vinge — Invented computer-networking-as-virtual-reality (later codified by Gibson.)
- The Vampyre. The first vampire literature in the English language. Lord Ruthven was a Daywalking Vampire who drank blood, was incredibly seductive, and of aristocratic stock. When slain he would simply rise from death upon the next moon.
- Isaac Asimov — Most science fiction in the past 50 years, particularly the robot subgenre, owes a lot to Asimov. Even Star Wars is based on Foundation.
- Mark Twain — Can be argued that he was the first true American novelist in style, though not the first American-born writer (i.e. Henry James, Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe), but his style was much less dependent on the European style of writing. He can be counted as both a Trope Maker and Trope Codifier of American literature
- Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter of Mars, along with his Venus books, defined Planetary Romance.
- The Devil and Daniel Webster — Created the Jury of the Damned.
- L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Kicked off the whole Worldbuilding thing.
- The works of William Gibson: Acknowledged as the father of Cyberpunk and many related tropes.
- Friedrich Nietzsche's Also Sprach Zarathustra arguably created the Monster Clown with the evil-and-murderous-yet-holier-than-thou jester-man, No-Name-the-Clown.
- The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer is recognized as one of the first uses of satire and sarcasm in English.
- Beowulf — Defined the hero's journey for every protagonist from Middle-English on.
- A Sojourn in the City of Amalgamation, in the Year of Our Lord, 19— is this for the Dystopia.
- Hiroshi Aramata's Teito Monogatari is widely credited as the first modern Japanese fantasy novel to heavily feature onmyodo mysticism, which became a major trope in Japanese pop culture.
- Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's In a Glass Darkly (1872) had the first Occult Detective with Dr. Martin Hesselius, and also created the Lesbian Vampire with Carmilla, one of the segments of In a Glass Darkly.
- Communion by Whitley Strieber, the allegedly true story of the author's experience of a UFO abduction, includes the first noted reference to an extra-terrestrial Anal Probing in public media and has inspired just about every joke about rectal probes, much to Strieber's dismay, ever since.
Live Action TV
- The Adventures of Pete & Pete — among the first of many American sitcoms to feature all of the following things: on location production, lack of a laugh track and the single camera setup. The fact that it was a children's show on a cable network meant that most were unaware of this new style of sitcom until Malcolm in the Middle (the Trope Codifier) helped popularize it in the late 1990's.
- Pete & Pete is more or less tied as the Trope Maker with The Larry Sanders Show, which started around the same time. However, since Larry was not only broadcast on a cable channel but one you had to pay extra for, that meant that fewer people outside of its small cult audience were likely aware of the shared innovations of Sanders.
- You're probably asking yourself "but what about M*A*S*H?", well, that's a different trope altogether (and it also drastically predates all other shows with this style by decades, it being very ahead of its time in that respect).
- An American Family — The first contemporary Reality TV program.
- Bewitched was said to have inspired the first Magical Girl anime.
- Dark Shadows laid the groundwork for similar fantasy, Monster of the Week shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed and Supernatural.
- Degrassi Junior High. Before it there were afterschool specials populated with one-shot characters, there were ensemble dramas with teenage characters and there were teen Sitcoms, but it was the first Teen Drama.
- Fawlty Towers is the maker and codifier of the Fawlty Towers Plot. Even though it only ran for twelve episodes, it's still considered one of the most influential sitcoms of all time.
- The French Chef with Julia Child was the first nationwide Cooking Show and Child was the world's first actual "celebrity chef", predating Britain's Graham Kerr by a decade.
- Good Times — Wilona Woods was the Sassy Black Woman and the Drop-In Character.
- Guiding Light — The world's first Soap Opera, originating in 1937 on CBS Radio and making the move to TV in 1952. It finally ceased production in 2009.
- I Love Lucy — The first syndicated Sitcom. Almost every single "wacky" sitcom situation that you can think of was either born on this show or at least popularized by it.
- Lizzie McGuire — paved the roads of every Disney Channel sitcom post-2000s with its format.
- Mister Rogers' Neighborhood — The definitive work in educational television programming.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus — Changed the word "Kafkaesque" to "Pythonesque"; made "surrealism", "sex jokes" and "British comedy" go hand in hand from then on. The quintessential British comedy around the world.
- Star Trek: The Original Series — Believe it or not, technically it was the first Space Western, as that's how Gene Roddenberry pitched it. Popularized Space Opera and created quite a few tropes of its own.
- Tales Of Tomorrow — This nearly forgotten series was TV's first Genre Anthology.
- Talk Soup — Started the snarky pop culture daily (at the time)/weekly clip show. First aired in 1991, ended in 2002. Revived in 2004 as The Soup, spun off The Dish, Sports Soup and Web Soup. It has imitators in Infomania and Tosh.0
- Wide World of Sports — Invented the Sports Anthology genre. The sports nets like ESPN wouldn't exist without it.
- Password — First game show to have a definitive Bonus Round
- Bill Monroe created bluegrass.
- Ougenweide created Medieval Rock/Metal music by combining medieval texts and melodies with modern Rock and Hard Rock.
- The Beatles, with almost every subgenre of rock music after them. Musicologically speaking, in this day and age, to say a certain rock band is "Beatles-like" is redundant.
- With Richard Lester, they made the first music videos with the films A Hard Day's Night and Help! and with their promos for Rain and Paperback Writer. MTV credited Dick Lester as the father of music videos. His response was asking for a blood test.
- The Who directly created Punk Rock, and also innovated in hard rock. Along with Led Zeppelin, made heavier rock and metal as we know it.
- Despite there being one before it (by the same group, no less), Tommy by The Who is the first—is the rock opera. (Well, okay, The Who had done two other things before which you might call rock operas—"A Quick One, While He's Away", "Rael"—but the former was a track long and the latter two tracks so neither counts.)
- Additionally, The Who+The Beatles=Power Pop.
- The Yardbirds are practically a who's-who of blues-rock guitarists (at different times, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page numbered amongst their members). They popularized riff-driven songs and pioneered the use of fuzz, distortion, feedback and innovative recording techniques. And evolved into...
- ...Led Zeppelin, who created heavy metal, along with Heavy Mithril, and Viking Metal.
- Credit Prog Rock to King Crimson, Yes, Procol Harum and The Moody Blues.
- Kraftwerk, the first band to really experiment with electronic music. You might even say they were the first "new-wave" music group.
- Black Sabbath, the first band to use detuned guitar in a metal context, although they are more of the trope codifiers, because they took disparate elements (dark lyrical themes, riff and guitar-driven music, heavy distortion, drug abuse, and tough attitude) and put them together to create what's known today as "heavy metal".
- Iron Maiden and Judas Priest first blended hard rock with heavy metal.
- Pink Floyd established progressive rock as psychedelic.
- X Japan is arguably the creator of Visual Kei (or at least, the first band to collect all of its elements into one band concept and name it a name similar to "Visual Kei")
- "The Four Seasons", by Vivaldi, was the world's first symphony, defining classical music forever.
- Beethoven was the world's first Romantic composer. And Debussy defines the Modern movement that followed the Romantic.
- While the biggest influences on Stoner Metal had been around for a while before the genre itself formed, Kyuss and Sleep were the first bands to actually make music in that style.
- Even though there were some innovative music videos before they came along, Russell Mulcahy and the directing team of Godley and Creme (former bandmates in 10cc) were the Trope Makers as far as creative, groundbreaking music videos go. Back when even Michael Jackson was just doing in-studio "performance" videos, Mulcahy was shooting filmic videos on location and Godley and Creme were using innovative visual effects and creating whole stories for their videos that put the focus away from straightforward performance videos.
- The Stooges are the Trope Makers when it comes to punk rock. While there may have been other artists before who laid the groundwork for punk, they were among the first to put all the pieces together and perform what could reliably be considered punk rock.
- R.E.M. essentially created the Alternative Rock genre with their debut single, the original "Radio Free Europe." As noted in one biography, the single "...marked the point in time where post-punk turned into alternative rock."
- On a more limited level The Velvet Underground more or less invented the Obligatory Bondage Song with "Venus in Furs" (on their debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico).
- Yellow Magic Orchestra was the first Synth Pop band. While Kraftwerk was the first to do live performances of electronic music, YMO was the first to do it without playing up the instruments' novelty.
- Lļkė Ümläüts? Thänk Blue Oyster Cult.
- Queensr˙che, Fates Warning and Dream Theater are generally considered to be the first three Progressive Metal bands.
- The entire oeuvre of Shoe Gazing was essentially a bunch of bands trying to sound like My Bloody Valentine's first album. A significant fraction of modern indie rock is bands trying to sound like their second.
- Skream popularized dubstep with what is believed to be the first proper dubstep song called midnight request line
- Metallica's "Kill 'em All" (specifically "Hit the Lights" the first recorded song from the album, released for the compilation album "Metal Massacre" in 1982) is usually cited as Thrash Metal's Trope Maker, but some give that honor to Venom's "Welcome to Hell," and dub Metallica the Trope Codifier.
- The Age of Love's self-titled (and only) single is widely considered the first true trance song.
- Kriegspiel was the first war game, created by a German nobleman to train his generals in military strategy. The name means "wargame."
- Dungeons & Dragons — The first pen-and-paper role-playing game put into publication and would countinue to define and set standards for the entire industry. As technology marched on it would influence digital firsts such as Ultima and Rogue, thus responsible for the entire computer and console RPG genre.
- Dungeons & Dragons was also responsible for Record of Lodoss War. Everything that series has contributed (such as long anime elf ears) might not have been imagined without it. The creator of Record of Lodoss War (Ryo Mizuno), did for Japan what Gary Gygax did for the West and published Sword World: the most popular Japanese Tabletop Game ever. The implications are massive, since Sword World is said to be the inspiration for later anime, manga, light novels, video games... in addition to the continued success of the current Japanese Tabletop Game market.
- Call of Cthulhu was the first major horror RPG, and is the acknowledged Trope Maker of the Sanity Meter, a variation of which can be found in almost all horror RPGs that followed it (e.g. Humanity in Vampire: The Masquerade, the Madness Meters of Unknown Armies, etc, etc). As with Dungeons & Dragons, this aspect is often copied in video games as well as tabletops.
- It's a rare collectible card game that owes nothing at all to Magic: The Gathering. It could be argued that there's no such thing, since Richard Garfield essentially invented (and patented!) the idea of a game with collectible pieces.
- Adventure — Created the console Action Adventure genre, and the first Wide Open Sandbox game.
- Body Harvest — The first 3D GTA-like. The game was made by the company who became Rockstar and introduced many of the ideas which would be fine-tuned in their next game, Grand Theft Auto III.
- Boiling Point: Road to Hell — Open-world first-person shooters.
- Cabal— A shooting game that spawned a lot of clones such as Blood Bros and Wild Guns.
- Castle Wolfenstein — First Stealth-Based Game.
- Colossal Cave — Created the Interactive Fiction/Adventure Game genre (it's even the Trope Namer on the latter).
- Columns — Match Three Game
- Doom created many tropes of the Space Marine genre.
- Dragon Quest — Created the Eastern RPG genre.
- Dragon Slayer — The first Action RPG of Japanese origin and would have influence on Action Adventure as well. Published in 1984 by Nihon Falcom for PC88, it introduced the core gameplay that series such as Hydlide and The Legend of Zelda would expand upon: underground labyrinths, an overworld, item inventory, and puzzle dungeons.
- Elite — Credited as being the first truly open-ended videogame, as well as being the first truly 3D game for home computers.
- Stonkersnote , Nether Earthnote and The Ancient Art Of Warnote — Co-makers of the Real-Time Strategy genre, despite how little-known they were compared to the latter Dune II (which was mistakenly considered as a Trope Maker of the genre, rather than being Trope Codifier / Genre Popularizer).
- Final Fantasy — Pioneered many RPG tropes.
- Final Fantasy VII — Introduced the modern trend of heavy CGI in most JRPGs.
- Fire Emblem — Defined the Strategy RPG genre.
- Half-Life — Established many of the tropes of later FPS games.
- Golden Eye 1997 — More or less defined the standard of the FPS genre on game consoles, establishes or popularizes many tropes seen in later FPS games.
- Grand Theft Auto — Popularized and defined the standard of the Wide Open Sandbox game.
- I, Robot — First game to use polygon-based graphics, camera control and a sandbox option. All of this in 1983!
- Jet Set Radio — Pioneered the usage of Cel Shading in video games.
- Kana: Little Sister — Defined the utsuge-tropes in Japanese visual novels for the English audience.
- Karate Champ — First Fighting Game.
- Marathon — The first true example of Mouselook.
- Metal Gear — Invented the stealth-based games, and also has some primitive third-person cover shooter gameplay, which was later codified with Rainbow Six and Gears of War.
- Metroid — Invented the Metroidvania genre.
- Modem Wars was the first networked multiplayer game.
- Myst — Launched the Beautiful Void subgenre, and popularized Scenery Porn in PC games.
- Pac-Man — The first Maze Game.
- Pinball Construction Set — the first Game Maker.
- Pong — The first successful Arcade Game, and the first home Video Game System, laying out many of the basics.
- Princess Maker — The first modern presentation of a galge with romantic elements aimed directly towards the player. Released in 1991 for the PC-9800. One year later saw the release of Graduation, introducing the now common school setting and female classmates. Tokimeki Memorial came about in 1994: it was the revolutionizing dating sim that presented winnable girls with complex personalities and challenging standards to win their love.
- Railroad Tycoon — Created the business simulation Tycoon genre.
- Rogue — Y'see, there's this type of game called a Roguelike... Also called "dungeon-crawlers".
- Nekketsu Kouha Kunio Kun/Renegade - established the foundations of the Beat 'em Up genre as we know it, or the "belt-scrolling" beat-em-ups at the very least, which was built upon by Double Dragon and its own sequel.
- R-Type — Introduced the idea of a formal system of powerups each of which did a specific thing (as opposed to the Gradius system of using powerups as currency). Introduced the idea of a controllable Attack Drone, and the Reflecting Laser, Charged Attack and Battleship Raid tropes.
- Scorched Earth — Turn-based Artillery.
- Shin Megami Tensei — Created the Mons RPG sub-genre. Its source material, Digital Devil Story, is a brutal deconstruction of the genre, making it unbuilt.
- SimCity — Created the Sandbox/Simulation Game genre (or at least popularized it).
- Sonic the Hedgehog — Pioneered the Mascot with Attitude.
- Space Invaders — Created the Shoot 'em Up genre.
- Space War — The first real Video Game!
- Star Raiders — The first first-person space simulator.
- Street Fighter II — Created the idea of a gallery of fighters from which you could pick and fight against. Also, stages.
- Super Mario Bros.. — More or less defined the Platformer genre.
- Super Mario 64 — Did what Super Mario Bros. did... In 3D, thereby creating the 3D platformer.
- Super Smash Bros.. — Created the Mascot Fighter genre.
- Tetris — Truly popularised the Puzzle Game. A good majority of puzzle games are Tetris-like.
- Tomb Raider — Created many of the tropes of 3D Action Adventure games.
- Ultima — Created the RPG, First-Person Shooter and MMORPG genres.
- Virtua Fighter — The first successful 3D Fighting Game, and one of the first to use more realistic fighting styles as opposed to Ki Attacks and projectiles.
- Wolfenstein 3D — The first popular FPS.
- Yie Ar Kung Fu — The first Fighting Game to feature health bars, female fighters, more than one Victory Pose for any fighter, groin attacks, a Mirror Match (the final opponent has the same moveset as the protagonist), and fighters of different fighting styles (though each is an extension of kung-fu).