Video Games in general tend to be this. Go into just about any video game themed message forum. You're bound to see some pretty heated debates over which console system is better, which genre-specific game is better (this is especially true of JRPG's), etc.
YouTube videos that show someone playing a video game will generate similar responses. Playing games is such a serious business that there will be at least one comment that says the person playing sucks, the person playing is is doing it wrong, or how they (the person commenting) can do so much better than the guy in the video.
Likewise, well known video game critics, journalists, and analysts are treated as either people who know what it takes to set things right in the video game industry or people that are just paid to troll everyone.
There's also people who will gladly point out any errors you make regarding details in a video game, its characters, or anything else you got wrong, even if you later admitted you flubbed up or 300+ other people already commented on the same mistakes. Some people will just point out the mistakes while others will question your sexuality or if you're even a true fan. Better hope you get the details right the first time!
Online play in general can tend to be this. Some have played so many matches and put in so many hours that it's reasonably not just their job but their whole lives. This can go further depending on who they play with and against, as well as style of play.
Pokémon battles are so important in its world that people, including kids as young as 10, are allowed to wander around, doing nothing but Pokémon matches.
The Pokémon TCG games for Game Boy take this trope to a ridiculous extent, creating a civilization apparently based around trading and battling with Pokémon cards.
The first generationPokémon games featured many characters who didn't speak of Pokémon or the geography of their native town. One guy said something along the lines of "What? Are you expecting me to talk about Pokémon? Not everyone does that, you know."
The anime, various mangas, and the games themselves to a lesser extent, also show Pokémon being used for other tasks that have nothing to do with battling. Fighting, Ground and Rock Pokémon are used in construction tasks that involve heavy lifting and/or digging into the ground, Fire Pokémon are involved in glassblowing and blacksmithing, Water Pokémon are used in firefighting, Poison Pokémon serve as living garbage disposals, Electric Pokémon are used to provide backup sources of energy when the main power in a building goes out.
Archaeological evidence in the game's universe shows that Pokémon battling is thousands of years old, predating most other forms of warfare. The bigger surprise is that they actually didn't invent guns. The Fantasy Gun Control is invoked in Pokémon Black and White. In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 we get our first major glimpse into the media of the Pokemon world where Pokémon supplant all weapons in conventional fiction storylines. For instance - in a bank heist movie, the cops and robbers use Pokémon instead of guns.
Firearms have appeared in the anime. It's just that the Does Not Like Guns trope applies to the Moral Guardians in the United States, so those episodes generally did not get dubbed.
It's not just in-universe, either. Fans of the Metagame treat it as Serious Business, spending about as much time choosing which Pokemon to use, breeding/catching, raising and training their teams as some do with real animals. Selective breeding is done, sometimes through several generations, to get the right stats, nature ,ability and moveset, and exact numbers of wild Pokemon are fought to perfectly EV train (EV=Effort Values,the experience numbers that go up each time a Pokemon battles but aren't linked to XP, the points that gain levels) the Pokemon. Then held items and berries are added in. Metagamers also frequently use computer software to find just when to hatch an egg or catch a wild Pokemon to get a flawless or near flawless specimen, often shiny. The entire thing can take many hours to complete. The game itself has an entire community that has built rules and holds competitions aside from the official Nintendo ones and has even grouped the Pokemon into tiers of usefulness. And Arceus forbid anyone be revealed to be a hacker or using hacked Pokemon. Shortcuts with Rare Candies or Game Shark codes are a surefire way to have your team slaughtered as well. Anyone who isn't totally devoted doesn't really stand much of a chance in competitive battling, as it doesn't matter if your team is all level 100 if you haven't taken the time to build your team properly. It's caused a bit of Broken Base between hardcore competitive battlers and more casual gamers and turned some metagamers into the "Stop Having Fun" Guys. Game Freak has countered this in the Sixth Generation by letting EVs be viewed and increased by way of Super Training. Obviously, the "Stop Having Fun" Guys didn't really take this lying down, viewing the change as dumbing things down for the casuals.
Go takes this to new levels with arguments over whatever team one is on, people actively catching Pokémon during the night, and even snatching other people's phones just for the concept of catching a legendary.
Sun and Moon even has one in universe about, of all things, Seaking:
Trainers who are crazy for Seaking are divided into horn enthusiasts and fin enthusiasts. The two groups do not get along well.
Similarly, in Mega Man Battle Network series, the entire world revolves around the NetNavis, glorified sentient computer programs, and their fighting; there's classes in the public elementary school about fighting viruses with your Navi, and such oddities can be found online as coffee shops and in the sixth a fish stick vendor where you spend "real" ingame money on treats for these Navis. The series alternates between treating Navis other than Mega Man and Bass as sentient or not. Though technically, in regards to the virus battling classes, the state of online networks in the Battle Network world does actually make viral infections serious business: utilities and appliances getting shut down, information getting stolen, vandalism, etc. So having Virus Battling classes there amounts to basic self-defense courses here... but the coffee and fish sticks are still pretty silly.
Saving the world often involved logging into a computer or surfing the Internet. Some of the games tried to amp up the danger factor by introducing a final boss whose power had a direct effect on humans, but in the end, logging in and running an anti-virus program ("virus busting") was all it took to defeat it.
In the fan-made RPG Barkley Shut Up and Jam Gaiden, basketball is Serious Business. In the dystopian 20 Minutes into the Future, basketball has been outlawed after a "Chaos Dunk" destroyed New York, and almost every basketball player in the world was killed in "The Great B-Ball Purge". Hilarious if only because of how serious everyone is about it, and surprisingly fun to boot.
Lampshaded in-game with the opening dialogue box "Warning: this game is canon."
The author filibusters if you want to save. Remember, they're vidcons, not console videogames. And don't even get started on vid cons.
Especially blatant in Final Fantasy VIII and X. In the former after time has been compressed, you can still find members of the card-gaming club from Balamb Garden in the blasted wasteland that is left, and in the latter you can use the save-crystal deep inside of Sin to go play Blitzball.
The combination of blitzball being Serious Business and a growing distrust in the Church of Yevon means that you can still play Blitzball after the Church has declared your party guilty of murdering a Maester, treason, practicing witchcraft without a license, jaywalking and every other ecclesiastical crime Bevelle could find. One of the Luca Goers even comments that treason means nothing in the sphere pool.
You get this poem in X-2 after completing a certain side-quest. involving monkeys.
Subverted in the Gamecube game. In the beginning it looks like the world has a Pokémon level of affection for gathering Robo parts and fighting with them (Even your elderly Landlord has one and is an adept fighter) but once you go outside the city and learn about Rahu, the invisible being of mass destruction and how it nearly wiped out all of Earth's life, but was only able to be stopped since it thought a children's toy (the first robo) was a threat and fused with it, making it able to be hurt and repelled, while not destroyed fully. Those dangerous guns on tiny robots and the society's focus on learning to fight with them make perfect sense once you consider they were all secretly being prepared for battle for when Rahu showed up again so the last bastion of humanity stood a chance.
It gets worse than that. Custom Robos are apparently vital to police work.
Need for Speed: Underground and Underground 2 started off giving street racers enough money to buy import sports cars, but Most Wanted 2005 and Carbon finally went to over-the-top extremes showing quite a bit of street racers with enough gold to buy German supercars won from street racing alone!
On the other hand, Most Wanted 2005 seems to take place in a world where no other crime ever happens ever, so the police can afford to send dozens if not hundreds of cruisers, heavy SUVs, helicopters, and specialized Corvettes for an anti-street racing unit after you (and only you) in a single chase. It seems without poverty, hunger, disease, or violent crime of any kind, there's just more money going around.
While court trials are Serious Business in real life, the Ace Attorney games elevate this to a new level with how over the top their cases get. And while being a lawyer is quite a respectable career in real life, they're practically superstars in the gameverse.
Spirit Mediums, too, seem to take it a little too far. But what mother wouldn't be an accomplice in a murder framing her niece just so her daughter can be the family's successor?
Phoenix's assistant/sidekick Maya considers anything she's interested in to be Serious Business. The sad part is, she usually finds at least one other person who wholeheartedly agrees with her, leaving Phoenix to wonder if he's the Only Sane Man.
Also, Apollo tends to be tired in the morning because he was up all night shouting at the top of his lungs so that his OBJECTIONS are extra impressive. That's dedication, man.
Manfred von Karma takes the serious business of being a prosecutor Up to Eleven. He is so obsessed with having and maintaining a perfect record (i.e. a 100% conviction rate, regardless of whether any of them were actually guilty or not) that he murders a defense attorney over a penalty. And in case that wasn't enough, he also took the man's son under his wing and trained him to be a prosecutor every bit as cold and obsessed with winning as he was.
Everyone in the courtroom (including the main character) react to holes in their story being pointed out as if they had been physically struck.
Similarly, Trauma Center achieves this not by making serious business out of something trivial (lifesaving surgery really is serious business) but by taking its seriousness way over the top.
Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan: Never, ever let anyone tell you that male cheerleading is not the most epically serious thing you can imagine. OSU, BITCHES.
Elite Beat Agents: Cheerleading is so important that there's a top secret organization dedicated to dispatching highly trained cheerleading agents in response to emergency situations.
The rather unknown party game Poy Poy treats throwing stuff at each other like the biggest thing ever. Okay, said stuff is things like big rocks and rockets but still...
Deus Ex: Invisible War. Templars. Majestic. Illuminati. Nanites. Aliens. Nothing to bat an eye about... But competing coffee franchises? SERIOUS BUSINESS!!!
The bonus-chapter of The World Ends with You parodies that: In this Alternate Universe, everything revolves about the game Tin Pin Slammer, which is actually just a tiny little mini-game in the main storyline. In this Alternate Universe however, Tin Pin Slammer's power is so great, it actually "managed" to make Neku become an hopeless optimist, instead of an Ineffectual Loner. (Count the times Neku's only two smiling Cut-scene-sprites are used in the main storyline. Now count how often they are used in the bonus chapter) Optimist-Neku also parodies the protagonists of shows like Yu-Gi-Oh!, by holding monologues a lÃ¡ "Oh Tin Pin, how happy you make our world!" or "All these different people can only be united by one thing: TIN PIN SLAMMER!!"
The reason an important party member was absent for Week Three is because he fled to this alternate universe and wouldn't leave because he was having too much fun playing Tin Pin Slammer. And this guy is essentially god.
In Super Robot Wars Original Generation, the virtual reality mech sim "Burning PT" is rather popular, enough that the championship match Ryusei participates in is held in a packed stadium.
Never mind the fact that the whole thing was a Government Conspiracy to discover Newtypes Psychodrivers in the first place.
Nintendogs: hundreds of people will turn up to watch dog competitions multiple times per day, every day, and are clearly paying to attend each time since how else would the generous prizes be funded?
Apparently the boys and girls of the Puyo Puyo franchise are very much aware that they're playing a PUZZLE GAME and it's Serious Business to them. Because apparently, if you lose, you die. Mostly. Any puzzle game with a storyline can have this happen. Just finish Panel de Pon with at least one loss on your record and watch.
In the later games of the Tony Hawk series, the ones with actual stories, this is a given, but Tony Hawk's American Wasteland takes the cake. First off, skating is a means of expression that Da Vinci himself could never fully comprehend. Second, it also gives you superhuman strength, speed, and jumping... power and allows you to slow the passage of time around you. Well, if you undergo the Training from Hell provided by Old Master Master Zen, that is. Not only do the Black Widowz, the most powerful gang in Los Angeles, rule the streets with skating, but the fearsome Skate Club domestic terrorist group uses their moves to level entire buildings.
Somewhat humorously, though, it's made pretty clear that BMX (which you can also do in the game) is really not that big a deal; the guy who teaches it to you is a spastic nobody who pays you to get lessons from him.
Inverted in Avalon Code, where the Judgment Link, a sacred ritual for purifying monsters, is played as a sport.
Jak X gives us Combat Racing. Sound like a good thing to watch on your day off? It brings in more than its home city's entire yearly budget. Crime lords are willing to kill to ensure their bets pay off. And according to G.T. Blitz, it could become bigger. Sure, it's not as basic as a card game, but come on, a sport based around driving in circles shooting people is this big?
Well, Twisted Metal seems to be serious business for Calypso, just because he's a Magnificent Bastard. It's serious for the competitors because Calypso's a Literal Genie who'll grant them a wish if they win. It's serious for everyone else because there's a chance they'll get gunned down by crazed clowns in ice cream trucks.
Before them, there was MegaRace, released in 1993. The futuristic rail shooter/racing game is framed as a virtual-reality game show, with you as the contestant. How serious is this show? Between every race, you get cutscenes showing giant TV monitors mounted to just about everything, from buildings to billboards to satellites in orbit over the planet to ensure that EVERYONE is watching Mega Race, no matter where they are. The company hosting the show has enough clout that they can build tracks for this show anywhere, and it's implied by the game's host that the company silences anyone who tries to protest. And just to drive home the point, there's a meter on your dashboard showing the ratings you're pulling in; you're encouraged to keep that meter full, with the host tossing in the implied threat of you getting booted off if you let it run out.
Apparently in Artix Entertainment's Sci-fi RPG Mechquest, piloting giant robots is such serious business that your characters actually GO TO SCHOOL FOR IT. Although how important the school is doesn't seem to be explored...
Which means, for the most part you're just blowing up other Mecha with your mecha. The whole "university" thing seems to be more of an Excuse Plot than anything else, but DAMN if it isn't an awesome one.
However, if you think about it, it makes sense: There are many dangers in space that can come to the planet and destroy it, using this mecha technology, like pirates, dimensional aberrations, crazy fanatics, a giant evil organization with hundreds of years that has a armada strong enough to seize a planet in few days, and some cute bear ghost. So a school like that is actually a logical option, if you need something to backup the useless sabotaged armada of your planet.
In Dragon Quest IX, Innkeeping is serious business. One of the sideplots involves this organization called the Syndicate of Pubs, Inns and Taverns (SPIT) that regulates every inn in (almost) every town to make sure they're up to scratch. Every year, they hold a competition called the Innys for the best inn in the land, with the main judge being the KING. The innkeeper who wins this award earns a massive gold trophy and earns the title of InnCredible Inntertainor. One of the main characters, Erinn, comes from a long line of Inncredible Inntertainers and is expected to continue this proud tradition. When her innkeeping friends discover this, they start bowing at her feet. If this isn't Serious Business, then the fact that there's an Innkeeping MAFIA definitely is.
Hot drinks are an in universe serious business in Iji to the Tasen and potentially the Komato. (It's ambiguous in the later case as all of their advertisements are incredibly over the top.) Tasen logs describe it as "plasma hot" and state that you shouldn't be able to tell if you're drinking it or have been hit in the face with a plasma cannon. This is not a hyperbole: the cups have to be made out of what they use to armor their elites and the threat of running out is listed above the Komato, a genocidal race that currently doesn't know their location.
Psht. The drink cups aren't made out of Elite armor, they're made of the stuff that's used to plate Komato Sentinels. For the price of a Sentinel you could arm FOUR Annihilators. And it's still probably more efficient. Repeat, their drink cups are made of armor that halves all direct hitpoint damage and ignores armor damage ENTIRELY. Yeah, it's serious business alright.
Similar to the Final Fantasy minigame examples, there's a minigame in Last Scenario that is extremely serious business. Saraswati shows up all over the world in the process of trying to learn how to play Hex better, and who gets increasingly creepily obsessive and insane as the quest continues. When you last talk to her, she has been possessed by the spirit of a sorcerer who used the game as a Soul Jar, and flips out and tries to kill you. But even without taking her into consideration, everyone is always willing to play Hex, no matter the situation.
In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, trains are Serious Business. You begin the game as a train engineer apprentice on graduation day, a ceremony that involves the princess essentially knighting engineers. It gets pretty ridiculous soon after, where part of a track disappears and the characters are at a total loss as to how to proceed, even though it turns out the place you're trying to go to is a trivially short cave away (apparently no one's heard of walking anywhere). Partly justified in-universe as the train tracks turn out to be a Cosmic Keystone that keeps the Sealed Evil in a Can imprisoned.
Train tracks are serious business if you hope to provide a developing kingdom large enough to require a rail system with trade and transportation. Though Princess Zelda could stand to learn how to delegate the engineer selection process.
In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, nearly everyone you meet — regardless of whether they're in deadly peril or even already dead — is eager to "fuse Kinstones" with Link: match up broken halves of supposedly luck-altering ceramic circles, which Link finds in bushes and under rocks. Admittedly a successfully fused Kinstone usually does place a new treasure chest somewhere or open a new path, which might justify the almost universal interest... if anyone besides Link ever went looking for the results of successful fusion.
In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, masks are Serious F-ing Business. The entire culture of Termina seems obsessed with masks, and they also have a huge mask-themed festival every year where everyone wears masks. In fact, a traveling salesman who sells only masks comes around for the occasion. There is even a bar in Termina that, instead of a membership card, requires all customers to wear a cow mask for service. Then there is the couple's mask, which is extremely important as it is needed for two people to get married. If something happens to the mask, they don't get married! The most serious example of all is Majora's Mask itself, which was crafted centuries ago by a tribe of, most likely, dark wizards to be used in ancient hexing rituals by invoking the power of the sinister, malevolent, demonic god, Majora. When the skull kid wears this mask, it takes control of him and causes the moon to fall on Termina, killing everyone in sight! Yeah, that's no Halloween costume. Although, technically, Termina is a mirror of Hyrule, so there might be a reason why everybody obsesses over masks. But considering how many magical masks there are they might have a good reason.
It made a bit of sense in the first game, where the citizens of the village were all robots who were programmed to be obsessed with puzzles. Why excellent puzzle-solving ability is proof that you are worthy to take care of the old mayor's daughter is another matter. Even if it is somewhat justified, early on in the game, someone was just killed and someone gives you a puzzle to solve.
In the third game, Layton apparently has a reputation for being a whiz at puzzles, and a few of the puzzles you get in that game are from people who challenge him to see if he's really all that. However, that only explains some of them, and it's still kind of Hand Wave-y.
Mortal Kombat was one of the earliest videogame examples. Control of the multiverse depends on a kung fu tournament, one where you are allowedencouraged to kill your opponent.
Fighting games in general are set in this type of universe. Whether you're just looking to have some fun, insulting a girl at a bar, or one step away from taking over the world, one word will determine what happens next. FIGHT!
Guilty Gear had May fight Faust because she thought he was bald. He wears a bag on his head.
No one seems to care about the demigods fighting in the middle of their/street/factory/parade. They'll even cheer them on, sometimes.
Averted in Canvas 2. Only the artists themselves and a few others take the world of painting that seriously.
Meteos. It's a puzzle game with little colored blocks falling down, and you have to match them so they launch into the sky, and before they fill the screen. The story? Those things are meteors that are actively destroying planets, and sending them back is the only way to survive. One of the endings does a double inversion of this trope though: After meteo is destroyed, the remaining planets decide to play Meteos as a simple sport. The denizens of the planets are very serious about this sport, though.
Played with by Inazuma Eleven - soccer is frequently treated as Serious Business, yet our protagonist Endou tends to continually insist that soccer should ideally be, above all, a fun and enjoyable sport (it's a bit of a Berserk Button for him if anyone uses soccer for evil purposes, which is usually what the villains are doing). Even when there's an Alien Invasion trying to take over Japan using soccer to demonstrate their power. And then there's Inazuma Eleven GO, which takes place in a future where Japan has degenerated into somewhat of a dystopia precisely because everybody takes soccer way too seriously. Save for the protagonists who are trying to turn things around.
Several of the side jobs in No More Heroes. Collecting coconuts, mowing lawns, and pumping gas has never seemed so important. "Coconuts are more valuable than human life!"
In the Dead Rising series (especially Dead Rising 2), many of the psychopaths (i.e. crazed human killers and the bosses of the game) are people who take their jobs very seriously. This ranges from a mailman who carries around a shotgun and continues to deliver mail during the zombie apocalypse to a crazed cannibalistic chef who attacks you with a frying pan and kitchen knives, to a mall security guard who hangs a man for "stealing food" during the zombie outbreak.
These aren't just average Joes who thought that the end of the world was no reason not to clock in to work. These are people who saw people eating people, which then in turn got back up and ate other people. These guys aren't just determined mailmen and hard-working mall-cops. These are normal people who witness the apocalypse firsthand and went batshit insane because of it.
Certain psychopaths avert this. The Vietnam Vet had a flashback when his granddaughter was eaten, and thought everyone was either vietcong (zombies) or civilians to be interrogated (humans). He returns to normal after you defeat him, apparently now aware of what he had done, and seems genuinely sorry for it. Those who suffer traumatic experiences in wars do tend to have flashbacks that overtake their personalities, and it can get quite serious with them.
For context, Runterra's equivalent of the United Nations runs a Gladiator Games tournament that resolves major political issues in place of devastating wars that may involve Fantastic Nukes.
In Ghost Trick, the wildly popular character Missile is a Pomeranian who gives an epic speech on how being a dog is Serious Business. He then proceeds to save people's lives.
The LBX, which are part model kits and part functioning robots, in Danball Senki. For what are supposedly kids' toys, top of the art tech is dedicated to them, completed with Ace Custom and Super Prototype. And almost everything is solved through LBX battle, including an assassination.
Dustforce is Serious Business: The Game. Your main characters are ninja janitors in a world where excessive filth can turn people, animals, and random objects into monsters.
Summon Night's Swordcraft Story subseries treats weapon crafting like this. Apparently, it's considered dishonorable for a Craftknight to fight with a weapon made by someone else, even in life or death situations.
Justified in that it's one of the requirements of being a craftknight: If you can't forge a decent sword by yourself, for yourself, you have no right to be called a craftknight.
The unreleased outside of Japan Famicom game Takeshi's Challenge plays this trope for laughs as everything in the game is nothing but a Guide Dang It! and Everything Is Trying to Kill You. The creator of the game apparently hated video games and he wanted the game to reflect that notion. If you managed to beat the game, sit at the screen for 5 minutes and the creator himself will tell you to stop taking this game so seriously.
Tales of Symphonia. Cooking. If you don't do much sidequesting, it's just a game mechanic to heal your party members after battle, although Regal does have a skit where he waxes poetical about cooking, and there is one part in the main plot where you have to make curry. BUT THEN you have the option of fighting a cooking duel in Meltokio, and you find out that there's an entire league of evil chefs, and the Wonder Chef's mission in life is to save the world from their cruel clutches. So basically, the Wonder Chef is a food superhero. He bestows an honorary title (and adorable chef's outfit) on Regal and then says this:
Wonder Chef:But Now I Must Go! I hear the cries of those suffering at the hands of the Dark Chef!
During the Citadel DLC, Zaeed becomes obsessed with winning a stuffed toy from a claw game for a kid. Really obsessed. And prone to cursing the game out when he loses.
Zaeed: What could be more important than Zaeed Massani not getting bested by some fucking kids' game?! Shepard: You really want one of those plushy toys. Zaeed: Goddamn right, I do!
During the party, Zaeed and Garrus are planning home security for Shepard's apartment: laser trip wires to smash a glass feature and cut an intruder to ribbons, setting a spa to boil if anyone but Shepard uses it, a coffee maker that explodes. And them first hoping Shepard does not find out then warning of a code s/he has to input, then run like hell.
From the same DLC, what finally makes Shepard say "It's Personal"? The villain attempting to throw out Shepard's space hamster. S/he can't believe that his/her squadmates aren't saying anything, but eventually assumes they're just dumbstruck at the audacity.
Shepard: [reading off the tag on the hamster cage] ...has no place on a military vessel and - oooh, that is so not okay!
EDI talks about assigning specialists to maximize efficiency. While in the second game, this was important in the final mission, EDI is doing it at a party. And Kaidan is too judgmental to be the "mingling" specialist.
Call of Duty: Ghosts has female special forces. For a series that attempts to be realistic some fans care very much about this, not able to overlook Rule of Cool and Acceptable Breaks from Reality like they can with other aspects of the game. (And apparently ignoring the fact that the game is set in the near future, when female Special Forces might well have become a reality.)
The series as a whole has quite a few elements that is very serious, from becoming god like online to perks, weapons, attachments, additions and removals, and what is considered cheating or unfair. The Commando class with certain perks in particular being a particularly contested issue, as was quickscoping, to the point Sarah Michelle Gellar brings it up in Nazi Zombies.
In Robopon, Dr. Zero tries to kill Cody several times throughout the games, usually by siccing robots on him or attempting to blow him up.
Kamat, the Legend 4, used his/her influence to build an army.
Dr. Disc was so determined to defend his title of Legend 3 in the first game that he kidnapped Cody's love interest, who was Disc's own daughter.
In Airfix Dogfighter, the game is set in a human house and the characters are two factions of WW2 scale models that wage war between each other. Both sides of the conflict treat this as if it was an actual real-life war, with them referring to individual rooms as strategic territories with serious-sounding names.