Basic Trope: A Game Master has a very tight control over the Tabletop Role-Playing Game
Straight: Eric runs a "Stars & Lights" game in which his players have very little choice in the direction the story takes.
Exaggerated: Eric is pretty much just telling a story to his players, not even letting them decide what their characters do.
Downplayed: Eric, through his role as DM, heavily implies that a certain path is the best one to take. He hopes that the players don't go Off the Rails too much.
Eric has been railroaded by other Game Master and thinks it's the way Tabletop Role-Playing Game are suppose to work.
This part of the game takes place in the past.
Eric plans on having a big reveal at the end that would have fully justified the railroading, such as the world they are adventuring in is actually a creation and anything off the "main path" doesn't actually exist.
Inverted: Eric begs his players to stop adhering to every fantasy trope and to treat the game as a Wide Open Sandbox.
Subverted: Once Eric gets the story arc going, he lets the players decide what to do.
Double Subverted: As long as it's what he wants them to do.
Parodied: The game is set on a train, and the players play the game on a train.
Zig Zagged: Eric switches between this and sandbox mode much to the other player's chagrin.
Averted: Eric is a fair GM with a huge sandbox for his player.
Discussed: A player has his character complain about how he never seems to have any choice in things.
Deconstructed: The players are all too aware of Eric's insistence on keeping things going in exactly the direction he wants them to. They quickly get bored of having practically no control of their own adventure, and abandon him and his games.
Reconstructed: But they come back when they realize they don't like games with no plot run by other guys, or when they figure out that he's the best GM they've got.
Played For Drama: The heroes have been spending the whole campaign unknowingly doing the bidding of the Big Bad, who deliberately set it up so that they have to go in the direction he planned if they wish to go anywhere at all.