Web Animation / Extra Credits

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From left to right: Scott, James, Daniel and LeeLee

"Because games matter!"

Extra Credits is an animated webseries, formerly published by The Escapist, then PATV and later self-published, which is is hosted by James Portnow (writing), Daniel Floyd (narration), Dan Jones and Scott Dewitt (art), the latter's spots formely belonging to Allison Theus and Elisa "LeeLee" Scaldaferri before they left to work on other projects. The hosts use the series as a means to cover many issues pertinent to the video games industry, in particular what goes into the creation and development of video games, what video games have to do to become recognized as a legitimate artform, and creating intellectual discourse on important issues in the video game community.

The series uses a voiceover over top of static, minimalist illustrations and funny pictures culled from various Internet sources, with emphasis on Visual Puns. This aspect is heavily inspired by another series made famous by The Escapist.

The show strives to be both lighthearted and humorous while providing an insightful look into the inner workings of the video game industry, in a topic of the week format, often tackling many of the most prevalent and controversial topics in the gaming industry, such as topics regarding Diversity in games, piracy, video game addiction, and the unreasonable working conditions faced by many game developers. The show also manages to be thoroughly researched on the topics it is covering. This shouldn't be surprising, as James, Daniel, and Allison are all well-immersed in the industry; James is a game designer himself, Daniel was an animator for Pixar Canada (and contributor to OC ReMix), and Allison is a concept artist.

Due to a money-related misunderstanding, Extra Credits' run on The Escapist drew to a close. After a brief "hiatus" period on YouTube, they moved to PATV. Proof, if needed, that the two groups are on the same wavelength.

As of January 2014, PATV has ended their 3rd party hosting, meaning Extra Credits primarily hosts using their YouTube channel once again.

Pre-Escapist episodes can be watched here.

The entire archive from during and after their days at The Escapist can be watched here. The episode guide can be found here.

It doesn't stop there—besides EC, a few more series started on the channel:

  • James Recommends - In which James recommends mainly under-the-radar games that you might not have tried or even heard of.
  • Design Club - In which Dan breaks down levels/elements within certain games, analyzes them, and explains their meaning.
  • Extra Remix - In which attention is drawn to artists from the video game remix community.
  • Extra History - In which historical topics such as the Punic Wars and the World Wars are discussed. Sort of like a slightly more light hearted version of Crash Course History.
  • Side Quest - Dan and James do Let's Play, where Dan does the playing and James comments on the design.
  • Extra Frames - A more polished version of The Animations of X

As of October 19, 2015 - The crew has established a brand new sister channel for their more laid back videos that don't otherwise really fit the tone of regular Extra Credits: Extra Play. Currently, Extra Play runs the following:
  • Side Quest - which has been moved here, though Dan now plays alone, due to popular demand to continue the series despite James not being able to join Dan.
  • The Animations of X - Dan plays a game and talks about the myriad of animations and small details of that nature within it, currently taking a focus on the 12 principles of animation using 1 game to highlight each one.
  • The Battle of the Dans - an ongoing series of videos that will show up from time to time whenever the team's three Dans are all together, where they'll pick a game and duke it out over who is the best DAN of them all.
    • Finished. For now.
  • Hearthstone and Tea & Hearthstone- James plays Hearthstone and analyzes and discusses elements of the game.
  • Guest Play - Dan and other people who work in the gaming industry play games while discussing their careers and aspects of the game.
  • Destiny Whaaat? - James discusses some of the more confusing design decisions made in Destiny.
  • Nuzlocke Challenge - Dan Jones, the artist Dan, does a nuzlocke challenge of Pokémon Diamond.


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     Extra Credits Trope Examples 

Tropes which Extra Credits provides an example of:

  • Accentuate the Negative: Averted. Extra Credits tries to avoid outrage and flaming and provide as nuanced a view of their topics as they can fit into a seven-minute YouTube video. At least half the time, they explain the worst of an Internet Backdraft as resulting from somebody's Marketing department putting their foot in their mouth, when the actual issue was a moderately-problematic thing that could have been done better but didn't deserve the vitriol that the Internet was calling forth.
  • Animation Bump:
    • Episode 200 featured a fully-animated dance party at the beginning, and even a few of the usually-still shots of Dan at the podium had more movement than usual.
    • Awesome Per Second has more detailed pictures and a flashy "Awesome Per Second" logo that pops up.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Several abstract concepts discussed on the show are represented visually by some kind of creature. Micro Transactions by "micro-transaction-raptor", a small blue feathered dinosaur; First-Order-Optimal (or FOO) strategies by a foo dog, and user choices by a two headed kangaroo-like beast. Games themselves are represented by green rectangles (probably to emulate the green cases that Xbox games are generally sold in).
    • James is shown to have a plush-doll version of the green rectangle "Game" during the South Sea Bubble "Lies" episode of Extra History.
    • These plush-dolls are now for sale in Extra Credits' store
  • Art Shift:
    • In "Innovation", and whenever a guest artist is invited. They generally imitate the style while putting their own twists on it.
    • In season 4 they added LeeLee to their ranks, and while her and Allison's styles were mostly similar, difference between the two could be seen during certain points.
  • Art Evolution: The show's signature art style went through three iterations during its run, not counting the guest artists. The pre-Escapist videos used a crude, but bright art style employed by Floyd. After the series became weekly, Allison provided smoother art with a more pastel-type color palette. After she was replaced by Scott DeWitt during Season 6, the new artists revamped the style, making them closer to Super-Deformed.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    "Big E3 Developments. New Sony handheld. New HD Nintendo console. And apparently, sports stars don't count as celebrities. I didn't know that."
    • Mentioning examples of serious "mechanics villains" in "Big Bad I - The Basics of Villains in Video Game Design":
    "(...) Maybe you want a true villain of pure evil so that the player feels like a hero fighting them, like the Enchantress, Chaos, Lavos, Maleficent, Tom Nook..."
  • Ascended Extra: LeeLee, previously a guest artist, joined the team in the 100th episode. Dan Jones, also previously a guest artist, replaced her in "Big Bad I - The Basics of Villains in Video Game Design".
  • Author Appeal: James really likes the Cyberpunk genre and Horror Video Games, dedicating several episodes to exploring facets of each of them.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: While covering the Zulu Empire, Extra History depicted topless tribal women, which the limited art style showed as having breasts but no nipples.
  • Berserk Button: Poorly-made propaganda games. Well-made propaganda games don't always set their world on fire either, but poorly-made propaganda games inspire epic rants like these.
    • The big problem they have with propaganda games is willfully misinforming the audience. While Call of Juarez: The Cartel can't really be described as propaganda, it is such a disrespectful hack-job of the Mexican Drug War that it deserves everything it gets.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Given the idealistic tone of the series, they rarely criticize games unless they have a really good reason. However, there are a few episodes where they simply tear a game apart, such as the one about Call of Juarez: The Cartel, which uses lots of heavy-handed language; Daniel flat-out calls it despicable and horrid, due to its lazy design and dishonor of the subject matter.
  • Brain Bleach: In the first "Western & Japanese RPGs" episode, Allison does a search for "Eroge visual novels" while working on the episode, only to start scrubbing her eyes out with bleach on viewing the results.
  • B-Roll Rebus: Done in a similar style as Zero Punctuation, the narrative is accompained by relevant and/or related pictures and drawings.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S":
    • James was always shown wearing his blue "J" T-shirt. This was changed after the change in artstyle in Season 6.
    • Generic characters are shown wearing letter-coded clothing, such as "D" ones for Developers and "G" for gamers.
    • Frequently used in Extra History to label the main historical figure or figures being discussed.
  • Captain Obvious: Mentioned by name in the Amnesia episode, complete with a Captain America like drawing.
  • Catch Phrase: James seems to have made "Hello Youtubes! Welcome back to James Recommends!" into one for the James Recommends side series.
  • Caustic Critic: A beautiful aversion. While there are things that piss off the EC team, most of their analysis are done fairly, and often conceding to the problems and troubles the other side of the debate goes through. Even their Call of Juarez: The Cartel review, which is possibly the most negative and judgmental thing they've produced, always speaks professionally and thoroughly justifies every complaint. This is in part due to James working in the industry and both being sympathetic to the troubles that lead to flawed games and not wanting alienate his colleagues. The upside is that they do then share their insights into how these problems come about.
  • Continuity Nod: After receiving her shoulder surgery, Allison's avatar has had a Bionic Arm drawn in some episodes.
  • Crossover: Extra History has a crossover with The Great War. The presenters of both shows make brief appearances in each others' videos, in EC's video on The Zulu Empire IV and TGW's episode South Africa in the Great War respectively.
  • Cute and Psycho:
    • Allison, as she grows more crazed looking as each episode wears on. Lampshaded repeatedly:
    "Uh oh, Allison, put the eraser down, I'm almost done!"
    • The guest artist Erin too.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: There are in several of the stories where things suddenly take a turn for the worse through nobody's fault.
    • In the Justinian and Theodora storyline, a Plague from Egypt rips across The Mediterranean and cripples The Roman Empire. This pretty much ensures that Justinian's dream of a Restored Roman Empire will never come to fruition.
    • In the Seminal Tragedy storyline, near the end, two diplomats are working out an agreement that will minimize the effects of WWI and prevent it from becoming more than a regional conflict ... then one of the diplomats drops dead. For no reason whatsoever. Moments before he could sign the document that would prevent WWI.
    • In the Mary Secole storyline, her business burns to the ground AND her husband die on the same day. Not only are these unrelated, but they also happen out of nowhere.
  • Dear Negative Reader: After their two-part series on faith in games, they got a lot of knee-jerk reactions to their position (most of which boiled down to fact that they switched between the different meanings of the word faith). Normally they sit back and leave the follow up conversation to the viewers to kick around, but the argument got so strong that they felt that they had to make another episode specifically to address it.
  • Dope Slap: In "Easy Games", James delivers one to a hardcore gamer who says that real gamers work for their fun.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • At the show's inception, it was called Extra Credit and not Extra Credits.
    • Occasionally the plaque on Daniel's podium would display "Daniel Floyd".
    • During Allison's tenure as artist on the original run of the series; she employed increasingly bizarre creatures which would represent various themes in each episode. The artists who would succeed her opted not to follow suit and employed their own stamp while keeping to the overall style of the show.
  • Epic Fail: The People's Crusade as detailed in the Extra History concerning the First Crusade. But then, it turns out that it directly helped the actual crusade in the process, causing the Turks to initially fatally underestimate what they were facing.
  • Femme Fatalons: Allison sometimes draws herself with some pretty nasty claws for the sake of a visual cue.
  • Flat Joy: What Daniel does when revealing that they're going to be talking about Call of Juarez: The Cartel. "Ta-daaa."
  • Flipping the Table: The episode "Delta Of Randomness" depicts a player doing a Rage Quit in this manner.
  • Floating Limbs: The main art style has these for all human characters that are not Daniel behind his podium. Guest artists might or might not follow this.
  • Foil: Near the begining of the "Microtransactions" episode, Daniel says that EC is always trying to be the calmer voice, while a crude picture of EC-inspiration Yahtzee shows up, angrily saying, "What are you getting at?"
  • Helium Speech: Daniel Floyd constantly narrates the videos with a voice that's been computer-shifted into this by using Audacity. (Originally it was the result of speeding up the video of his original class project presentation in order to cut down its run time.) This YouTube video shows what he actually sounds like.
    • Tried briefly with Scott in one video before he just coughed and used his actual-sounding voice.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: A lot of the visual puns. For example, Daniel might say, "Let's dive into why", and it'll show a picture of a person preparing to dive into a Y-shaped pool.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: All the characters are loose caricatures of the related characters. Dan is usually the only one speaking, but the other people involved in the project will pop up from time to time.
    • Mike Rugnetta from PBS Idea Channel makes a cameo appearance in an Extra Credits video to mention a related video on the same topic.
  • Mirror Universe: It's been argued that the show as a whole is a Sugar Bowl take on Zero Punctuation, respectively representing the polar ends of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism in respect to how they view the game industry.
  • Mood Dissonance: In the "Open Letter to EA Marketing" video, Daniel reads out-loud the original mission statement for Electronic Arts, a highly idealistic vision for the evolution of video games as an art form. While he's reading this, he shows clips of EA's various cynical ad campaigns that embrace the worst of gaming stereotypes and do little to advance the medium as an art.
  • Must Have Caffeine: The second artist, Leelee, might be this, judging from the sheer number of coffee cups in the "Energy Systems" episode.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Allison is really good at that. Often borders on horror. Notably, after she left the team - this element of the show in terms of visuals became increasingly uncommon.
  • Painting the Medium: The "Awesome Per Second" episode, in which Dan talks about the often-forgotten principle in games that a condensed amount of great is better than a convoluted amount of good. To accentuate this point, the episode is one of the shortest they've done yet but boasts some of their most detailed and in-depth art yet.
  • Porky Pig Pronunciation: "Pedagog... pedagodag..." (shows word "pedagogically" on screen) "This word."
    • Scott in one episode has trouble saying the word "palatable".
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • In "Art Is Not the Opposite of Fun," Daniel uses this trope while questioning the claim that studying what makes games unique will cause them to become worse or less fun.
    "It's the suggestion that we shouldn't explore games further. That all of this inquiry and study and tampering is going to just ruin our favorite hobby. And that is a claim that needs answering. It makes no f**king sense!"
    "I'm willing to wager there's now at least one person out there who now believes more firmly that Mexicans are stealing our women because of this game, and that is f**king disgraceful. It is a shame to what it means to be a designer, and it belies the responsibility we as a group hold when producing mass media. We can do a lot better than this. We can inform, and educate, and entertain, but failing all of that we can at least be honest."
    • In "Games You Might Not Have Tried (Horror Games)," when talking about Song of Saya:
    "... I apologize, what the f**k did I just play?"
    • In Extra Remix - Sixto Sounds, in a less heavy sense.
    "Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to f**king rock out!"
    • And in part 2 their Extra History segment about World War I:
    "... He would have to go into hiding for a while, but... holy s**t is that the archduke!?"
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    "Do not Tangle. With the kind of people. Who install Linux. on their PlayStations. Trust me: You are wasting. Your. Time."
  • Re Run:
    • Almost every episode from the show's run on YouTube was revamped for The Escapist.
    • The "Uncanny Valley" episode they uploaded to PATV was the third time they've covered that topic, once for each incarnation of the show. It was remade from scratch instead of using clips from either of the other versions.
  • Running Gag: Allison's shoulder injury is sometimes rendered as a Deus Ex style cyborg arm.
    • The Extra History episodes since the South Seas Bubble series have always managed to cameo or find a connection to Robert Walpole somewhere
  • Self-Deprecation: The Uncanny Valley episode pokes fun at the show's art and Daniel's narration.
    Daniel: Smartass.
  • Series Mascot: Sort of, considering the nature of the show; the little green boxed "games" complete with faces and stubby arms and legs that show up in nearly all of the regular Extra Credits videos basically serves as this.
    • The Extra History series has a mascot of sorts in the form of Robert Walpole, who cameos in every extra history series ever since the South Sea Bubble due the Running Gag of "It was Walpole".
  • Serious Business:
    • A large part of the series's message is that video game developers should take their medium as seriously as other media.
    • The importance of balancing gaming with Real Life and the serious consequences of game compulsion was detailed over two episodes, and broke the usual style of the show by having James speak directly.
    • The breakdown of Call of Juarez: The Cartel is absolutely brutal in its treatment of the game, condemning it for multiple sins; it starts with how its lazy design indirectly encourages the killing of black people and gets more serious from there.
    • However, in the episode Toxicity, they urged players who love blaming their teammates for not winning to not treat "winning at video games" as Serious Business.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The tone of the series is extremely idealistic: it views the recognition of video games as art as inevitable, treats virtually all developments in the industry as furthering this cause, and views most obstacles in the way as easily overcome.
  • Something Completely Different:
    • Game Addiction (Part 2) where James Portnow sits down in front of the camera and discusses his own past in this area. Daniel even comments on how they tried to do it in their normal, academic style of commentary, but James simply couldn't write a good enough script while remaining objective.
    • Their episode on the controversial bills SOPA and PIPA had James, Daniel and the owners of various gaming websites speaking in live action, urging the viewer to boycott E3 unless the ESA, which is E3's main backer, withdrew their support for those bills. They followed it up the next week with a conventional episode on it however.
    • They did it again with their "Extra Credits supports Firefall" video. There was even some lampshading by the team about it.
    • Funding XCOM, where they talk about... well, funding a real-life XCom.
    • A four-part report on the Second Punic War. This actually got popular enough to generate a spinoff in the form of Extra History (where now, the topics are chosen by their Patreon patrons via votes).
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Dan is definitely not two children in a trench coat.
  • Take That: In "Games You Might Not Have Tried: 16-bit", when Daniel talks about which systems they'll cover.
    We'll be talking about Super NES games, Sega Genesis games, and *picture of Turbo-Grafx 16* ...yeah, just the first two.
  • The Last DJ: Despite the portrayal of a Sugar Bowl community surrounding them, their criticisms of weaker aspects of gaming make them out to be a textbook example of this trope.
  • The Tetris Effect: Discussed in regards to "mechanical transference", using The Witness as an example.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In his personal Youtube channel where he posted his game design presentations before starting Extra Credits, Daniel (or rather his animated self, Cartoon!Daniel) used to express slightly more often (most likely jokingly intended) mean behavior than in during Extra Credits, such as stealing his guest's or James's notes to use them as a script and giving James's email address to the audience despite Cartoon!James jumping onto Cartoon!Daniel's desk and holding a "NO!" sign. In-universe, he didn't escape the consequences, often resulting him to be chased by his target during closing credits. It appears that this kind of behavior was solely intended for comedy. Nevertheless, nowadays Cartoon!Daniel rarely pokes fun of anyone (at least not the staff or guests) and is more often himself a target of jokes.
  • Updated Re-release: the Uncanny Valley episode, mk. 3!
    • The pre-Escapist videos (and even some of the early Escapist episodes) are more representative of Floyd's college-requisite Jade-Colored Glasses, and have been incrementally re-made with new scripts and new art whenever Writer's Block sets in...
  • Very Special Episode: Game Addiction: Part 2. Complete with An Aesop:
    James: Life will always welcome you back.
  • Visual Pun: Very common.
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: The Project Ten Dollar episode ends this way, after Allison threatens to erase Daniel with her pencil eraser for not ending the episode on time.

     Extra Credits Tropes Discussed 

Tropes that are discussed by Extra Credits:

  • Allegedly Free Game: In "Free to Play Is Currently Broken", Dan talks about how free to play games are targeting "whales", or players who spend lots of money on in-app purchases, ignoring players who spend little to no money. This results in games that are devoid of content without spending lots of money, and it alienates players who literally cannot afford to play a "free game".
  • The Artifact: Discussed in "In Service to the Brand", the original BioShock had features which fit the world of Rapture, but in Infinite, those features were included because they were in the originals, but otherwise didn't make sense in Columbia.
  • Boring but Practical / Difficult but Awesome: Discussed in the "How to Play Like a Designer, Part 2" episode in which they explain that "First Order Optimal Strategies" (which require little player effort but give good results such as the "noob tube" or "hundred hand slap") are necessary to allow new players to have a competitive edge and allow them to gain enough confidence and experience to start using more difficult but ultimately even more effective strategies necessary for more difficult levels or matches. He cautions though that any such thing needs to be carefully developed and thought through, as it can create unintentional Game Breakers which might flatten an otherwise expertly plotted difficulty curve.
  • But Thou Must!: "The Illusion of Choice" discusses how this is pretty much inevitable in most games and showcases a few tricks that game designers use to give the player the illusion that their choices are meaningful when they don't really make that much of a difference in the long run.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Warned against in the "Microtransactions" episode, with a crossed-out picture of Jareth from Labyrinth.
    Daniel: Never. Sell. Power. This is seriously micro-trans 101, but we still seem to have this temptation to squeeze the maximum amount of money out of our players by selling them things that alter the balance of gameplay.
  • Character Derailment: invoked
    • They argue that this happened to Kratos in the God of War sequels, which was only exacerbated by Flanderization.
    • They also argue that this is basically what happened to Samus with Metroid: Other M, stating that Samus already had a workable characterization that emerged from the mechanics and backstory of the previous games, and that suddenly ramming a new characterization down the player's throat made Samus worse for it rather than better.
  • Competitive Balance: Discussed in "Perfect Imbalance" in which they, counter-intuitively, suggest that a designer should deliberately introduce an slight element of minor imbalance into play. The idea being that Complacent Gaming Syndrome will set in if everything is perfectly balanced, as players will find the optimal strategies and only play to those. However, with calculated imbalances, players are forced to adjust their strategies as the Meta Game keeps shifting. They recommend a balancing technique of "cyclical balance" as a kind of extended Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors, where Element A is obviously powerful, but has an exploitable weakness to a strategy involving Element B, which in turn has a weakness to something using Element C, etc. League of Legends is cited as a good example of this.
  • Cosmic Horror Story / Eldritch Abomination: In "Why Games Do Cthulhu Wrong", they discuss why video games can't do the cosmic horror genre any justice, at least not without subverting almost everything mainstream video games are about. Video games are usually about presenting the player with a challenge to overcome, and while portraying Cthulhu as such a challenge hits the notes of Lovecraft, it completely misses the music; true Lovecraftian horror is about forces so completely beyond humanity that just seeing one leads to madness, and that are impossible to even fight, let alone defeat.
  • Critical Research Failure: In-Universe, they really lay into Call of Juarez: The Cartel for making extremely basic errors in its portrayal of the terrible Mexican drug wars and indirectly encouraging the grossly racist "they are stealing our women" stereotype — even though, in reality, the reverse is much closer to the truth.
  • Criticism Tropes: Discussed in the "Game Reviews" episode. Analysis focuses specifically on the differences between the informational content of typical movie reviews and the informational content of typical game reviews. The former tends toward more contextual information as to how the film compares to other films, while the later tends toward more descriptive information as to what is in the product. While they concede that the descriptive information is essential, if that is all a video game review is, all reviews end up looking alike and it becomes difficult for a reader to glean perspective.
    • Four Point Scale: Also briefly touches on this, mentioning that to someone who comes into the hobby from outside of it and is more familiar with rating systems for other works such as movies, game reviews would often seem quite misleading when giving numbers.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Discussed in the episode "Hard Boiled". They explain why Darker and Edgier tends to happen with video game franchises, taking Max Payne 3 which they had just played as an example. Some of the reasons cited are misplaced ideals that Darker and Edgier makes something seem more Serious Business, assumptions about what a young audience wants to buy, and the game industry's egregious tendency to Follow the Leader.
    • Revisited in the episode "Growing With Our Heroes", which in contrast to the earlier "Hard Boiled" episode discusses some of the positive reasons why people keep being drawn more mature reboots of older franchises. A lot of it boils down to nostalgia factor, wanting to keep our "childish" things rather than discard them, but try to make them relevant to us at a different age. The key difference in whether it ends up being good or bad has a lot to do with why such a thing happened: if it is to appreciate something from a new perspective of experience that tends to work out well, but if it to try making it seem more serious in fear of judgment, then it tends to end poorly.
  • Developers' Foresight: More-or-less discussed in Negative Possibility Space.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Discussed in the "Piracy" episode. Daniel and James' viewpoint in a nutshell: if it's not available in your country or has been lost in the sands of time, then pirate away. Otherwise, if you like something, just pay for it, and don't be a dick. The episode addresses the flawed arguments on both sides of the debate:
    • For game companies: By releasing their games with annoying DRM, they just provide pirated games the advantage of being free, and giving them the additional advantage of being unrestricted and less buggy, and therefore is not going to help the developers in the long run.
    • For pirates: Any justification you have for piracy based upon the argument that "the game is not worth buying/playing" for whatever reason instantly becomes hypocritical and meaningless once you pirate the said game, because by doing so you have just proved that the game IS worth playing.
  • Downloadable Content: They touch upon the process behind the creation of this, particularly the reason for Day-1 DLC, in their Mass Effect 3 DLC video. They do acknowledge that publishers and developers can abuse this, but state the reasons that sometimes DLC should be necessary to not only keep up the value of the product, but increase the available content in the game, especially in shorter games.
  • Fake Difficulty/Nintendo Hard: Discussed in the "When Difficult Is Fun" episode, distinguishing what is a difficult-but-fun game and what is a punishing game. Specifically:
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Touched upon briefly in "Amnesia and Story Structure" but taken to its logical extreme in "Narrative Mechanics" where they cite Missile Command as a case-study in how a game can tell a story using only its game mechanics.
  • Gender and Sexuality Tropes: Discussed in a few episodes.
    • "Diversity" hints at the several episodes to come.
    • "Sex in Games" introduces the topic, exploring why developers might wish to include sexuality as part of theme or characterization, citing games like ICO as an exploration of intimacy even without sexuality.
    • "Sexual Diversity" uses Persona 4 as a case-study in how including some diversity of sexual orientations can greatly add to characterization in games.
    • "True Female Characters" discusses how to write female chacters. It also cements a theme through these episodes that writing a character like this requires thinking about what expectations that character's society places on them, and what aspects of those expectations they choose to embrace and what they choose to reject, saying that someone who rejects every social expectation placed on them is just as sterotypical as someone who embraces every expectation.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: In the Villains 2-parter, they pointed out narrative villains are not supposed to be evil just to make the world worse. Some could be Well Intentioned Extremists, for example.
  • G.I.F.T.: Not by name, but the episode "Harassment" lays out some ideas on how these people can be expunged from the gaming community. The later episode "Toxicity" discusses the way people treat each other online, including this.
  • In Medias Res: Discussed in the Amnesia episode (see Three Act Structure below), and in the Starting Off Right episode.
  • The Load: In the episode "Minority", they point to this has one of the bad uses of children in games, comparing it to Clementine from The Walking Dead, who is a useful ally.
  • Micro Transactions: Discussed in "Microtransactions". They believe that microtransactions can be very beneficial to gamers and to the industry, giving players the option to spend how much they want on games, from $5 to $500, instead of a flat $60 for everyone. The problem with microtransactions right now is how the industry is using them as a free-for-all gouge-fest.
  • Nostalgia Filter:
    • The topic is touched upon in "Videogame Music". Daniel ponders why gamers are more fond of the old NES themes, despite the better resources available to video game composers these days. Like most topics, he chooses the middle road, stating that there's still great soundtracks being made today, while encouraging composers to stay grounded in their roots and create a strong melody that will endure for years after the fact.
    • Discussed in more detail in the episode "A Little Bit Of Yesterday" where they discuss the popularity of Retraux games and what exactly is that certain something about those older-style games that we are trying to recapture.
  • Power Creep: Discussed in the appropriately-titled episode "Power Creep" as an issue that tends to subtly sneak into Long Running persistent games, be they Collectible Card Games or MMORPGs. They cover why this issue is ultimately bad for business, bad for the player, and how to mitigate it.
  • The Power of Trust: Discussed as its importance between the consumers and the producers of any technology that requires users to share personal information for the sake of functionality during the "NOT a Security Episode" episode.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Discussed in "Shovelware" which shows how this trope exploits consumers and the industry from an economical standpoint.
  • Race Tropes: Touched upon in the episode "Race in Games". In particular, they look at how the context of race-relations can inform the player about a character, using L.A. Noire as an example. They elected to go for that perspective rather than a "how to write racial minorities" bent because they were concerned that would only lead to stereotypes. They went on to say that many of their suggestions about how to handle Gender and Sexuality Tropes apply to Race Tropes as well.
  • Railroading: Discussed in the episode "The Illusion of Choice". For players to feel agency within a game, they must feel like their choices in the game are meaningful, but since any player choice requires extra work from the developers, there is a limit to how much freedom games can give; therefore, games will give an illusion of choice, keeping players on a set path with various tricks to make them think they are the ones in control. It's only bad if the illusion falls apart and the gamers realize they're being herded by the game.
  • Real Is Brown: Poked fun at several times.
    "You see, there's nothing inherently wrong with cutscenes. The fault lies in how we've been using'em. The cutscene is a tool; asking games to forever abandon the cutscene is like asking the carpenter to give up his square, or the painter to never use grey or brown... or the game to never use grey or brown." (followed immediately by a picture of Gears of War).
  • Science Fantasy: This video theorizes that many of the game we play that we believe are of the Science Fiction genre (e.g. Mass Effect, Fallout, and System Shock) are, in reality, this.
  • Sequel Escalation: Discussed in "Spectacle Creep", pointing out how making games "bigger and better" eventually leads to games becoming absurd, and even losing sight of what made their predecessors so successful. This leads to a Continuity Reboot in order to get a franchise back to a more sane level, before spectacle creep sends it back into absurdity.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: How Justinian's ambition to rescue the Byzantine Empire ends up. Aside from his code of laws and the Hagia Sophia, almost all he fought for was undone at the very end, and in less than a century all his territorial gains will recede once more and the dream of reviving The Roman Empire would remain a dream.
  • Stealth-Based Game: Discussed in "Like a Ninja", which points out the differences between stealth-based games and action-oriented games, and why stealth games are either really good or really bad.
    • They also cover why it's hard to put Stealth-Based Missions in action games, because the core feeling of stealth is overcoming obstacles despite being underpowered and plays out more like a puzzle, while action games tend towards overpowering your enemies through combat.
  • Stealth Parody: Discussed briefly at the end of the "Hard Boiled" episode, where they suggest that the Modern Warfare series has become self-aware of how over the top they have gotten through Serial Escalation, and the end text of the episode recommends playing Modern Warfare 3 with the mentality that it is a send-up of modern shooters.
  • Surreal Humour: In the episode on comedy games it's noted that modern games aren't a great medium for normal jokes as the creators have no control over the timing needed to make them work, unlike less popular styles like point and click adventures where using items in certain places could trigger a funny animation or dialogue. Instead they suggest developers embrace and even invoke Good Bad Bugs and have, for instance one in 100 NPCs act in a bizarre way or give every gun a 1 in 1000 chance of firing Abnormal Ammo, like cows.
  • Technobabble: The subject of an entire episode. They link it to the difference between the extremes of the Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness, with hard science fiction on one end and future fantasy on the other, saying that the really inaccurate use of technobabble tends to come when an author cannot commit to a fantastical idea and tries to tenuously ground it with sciencey-sounding language. They then go on to briefly define a few commonly used ideas in physics to give viewers a slightly better understanding of those terms.
  • Three Act Structure: Discussed in the Amnesia episode, particularly with video games and their habit of starting in Act 2.
  • Token Minority: Mentioned in the diversity episode as a bad solution to accusations that there aren't enough female, black, or other minority groups.
  • True Art Is Angsty: invokedDiscussed in the episode "Hard Boiled", where they show that just because Max Payne 3 is Darker and Edgier than its previous entries in its series, doesn't inherently make it more artistic.
  • Uncanny Valley: invoked Discussed in the pre-Escapist episode "Video Games and the Uncanny Valley". Brought up again in the Halloween Episode, "Symbolism 101".
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • invokedThey note how poorly thought-out game mechanics can accidentally send very dangerous messages if designers aren't careful and responsible. As an example, they cite the convention of making certain races and groups the enemy in modern mainstream shooters, which risks dehumanizing them in the minds of players who are required to slaughter them in droves without question. They single out Call of Juarez: The Cartel as an example of a game that does this, devoting an entire episode to ripping apart the Unfortunate Implications within it, concluding that They Just Didn't Care.
    • For example, the only achievement in the game related to "Kill X Enemies" called "Bad Guy", and is done on a level with exclusively-black gang members (whom you purposely incited to violence). Couple that with tweaking reality to fit the narrative (in this case, using one level to depict Mexican drug cartels coming to the US to abduct American women to sell as sex slaves, when the reality is pretty much the complete opposite) and their outrage over this is understandable, even if Hanlon's Razor applied. Oh yeah, and the "heroes" treat the strippers in that latter mission as Disposable Sex Workers.
    • Once more in regard to The Division, due to the games focus on a sleeper cell stationed in America for the purpose of gunning down civilians in a time of crisis with next to no oversight beyond a single individual.
  • Video-Game Movies Suck:invoked The phenomenon is brought up in the video "Why Are There No Good Video Game Movies". There's no single answer, but the biggest ones are that most people who are currently in the film industry (either executives or creative folk) aren't that familiar with video games, since video games themselves are such a new medium while other properties such as works of literature have been around for decades before being properly put into a film format (citing Lord of the Rings as an example of this). Also films based on comic series went through a similar Dork Age.
  • Video Game Remake: "A Generation of Remasters" noted that remakes were becoming more and more common, and discussed the pros and cons of remakes. While it's a good thing as it helps preserve video games and helps new players appreciate the older classics, it is rife with problems. The people in charge of the remake might not understand the fundamentals of the original and screw it up, remakes draw talent away from making new games, and they become a crutch for game companies who see remakes as a safe bet. There is also the cost issue, as any game old enough to need a remake would cost as much as a new game to make.

     Extra History 

Tropes which Extra History provides an example of:

  • A Day in the Limelight: Their brief one-shot episodes on figures who they find interesting but who don't have enough material for an extensive series, examples include Odenathus, Mary Seacole (which is a 2-parter), Samuel Ha-Nagid, Federico de Montefeltro, Lindisfarne.
  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: The British Empire and the East India Company formed the first multi-national drug cartel, illegally encouraging the smuggling of opium into China and "pushing drugs on an unprecedented scale". Ironically, they did this to support their own drug habit — namely importing a staggering amount of tea from China, resulting in a massive trade deficit.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil:
    • The British Aristocracy in "The South Sea Bubble" are almost to a man corrupt liars who end up bringing down the national economy. In "The First Opium War", they go on to sell drugs on an unprecedented scale and use outright invasion to force China to allow this.
    • The Roman Aristocracy in "The Gracchi Brothers" are greedy cowards who conquer foreign lands, enslave indigenous peoples, force Roman Veterans off their lands, and use those slaves to work that land for free (depriving Free Romans of jobs). And they use money, peer-pressure, and, fatefully, murder to keep in line any politicians who attempt to speak for the common people.
  • Artistic License – History: Defied, in that each mini-series includes a "Lies" episode in which James talks about all the things that were simplified, mistaken, and lied about (as well as telling all the interesting stories they couldn't fit in). However, in some cases, especially those parts of history that are controversial and don't really fit a consensus, the series does lean to one interpretation and bias, which to the credit of the creators, is openly admitted:
    • Played straight with the Suleiman mini-series. The episode with him dying shows him hallucinating all his deceased loved ones (all dead, all as a result of his actions) and thinking he was young again before his life became miserable. In truth, there is no way to know for sure what his last thoughts were.
    • Invoked for the series on "The Battle of Kursk", when the Nazi Swastika was converted into Iron Cross. The reasons for this, as stated at the start is that the Nazi logo is banned in Germany and other parts of Europe, and they want the videos to be accessible and widely exhibited, which is why they made this small compromise.
    • The series on Justinian gives his reign and overall campaign to reconquer and restore The Roman Empire a Historical Hero Upgrade. In truth, these conquests were devastating to Italy, and left Rome a shell of its former self and was the principal reason for its decay and depopulation until The Renaissance. The creators admit that they 'like' Justinian and they do insist that he was a dreamer and too overly ambitious to properly sustain his goals but this does mean that the show sentimentalizes his conquest of Italy and demonizes the Ostragoths (whose opinions, views, and side of the story is left untold).
    • More controversial is their series on The Battle of Kursk, where the first episode suggests that Stalin was rejected from membership with the Axis alliance and it portrayed Stalin for resenting this rebuff, presenting the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact not as a treaty of neutrality but as a prelude to an actual partnership between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. This neglects the political context of the Pactnote , and the fact that Stalin, as recent research has shown, used the Pact as "grace period" to rebuild his forces (much as Neville Chamberlain did with the Munich Agreement) and that the main mistake he made was believing that they would invade the Soviet Union at a later date then they did.
    • In Urbino, they blame the decline of the court on an invasion by the Borgia, but the truth is Guidobaldo fled Urbino before Cesare Borgia arrived, and a year later after the death of Pope Alexander VI, Borgia's hold ended and Guidobaldo returned to Urbino now peacefully incorporated into The Papal States. It also fails to mentions that Guidobaldo had supported the Borgia initially only to turn sides (as his father never did). The decline of Urbino had more to do with the fact that Rome envious of other city states for its fame and prestige started to reassert itself in cinquecento (The 1500s).
  • Ax-Crazy: The SS Divisions in The Battle of Kursk, who "fought with the madness and ferocity that had come to characterize these war-criminals and butchers". One specific example within The SS was 2nd Lieutenant Joachim Kruger, who charged a soviet tank by himself despite being twice wounded. At one point a bullet ignited a smoke grenade in his pocket, and Kruger simply took his now-burning pants off and charged nude.
  • Blood Knight: The mini-series on The First Crusade includes The People's Crusade (the peasants who followed Peter the Hermit to Turkey and killed everything along the way) and The Barons Crusade (knights and lords who hacked and stabbed their way from Constantinople to Jerusalem).
  • The Chessmaster: Sir Robert Walpole, who in the aftermath of the economic collapse caused by The South Sea Bubble pulled all the strings to ensure that the only people punished were those whose ruined careers he could climb to greatness.
    Daniel: "At the last moment, somebody tipped Knight off- It was Walpole, Walpole tipped Knight off.
    Daniel: "Oddly enough, for some reason, Knights ledger never made it to prison with him. Who knows where that went- it was Walpole."
    • Walpole is such a Chessmaster that in the Lies episode for every series, James finds some way in which Walpole is connected to the events discussed.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • Everyone involved with the South Sea Company, which at it's height had to make other shipping businesses illegal simply because there wasn't enough currency in existence for both. And all the while The South Sea Company never made any actual money by trading.
    • The Honorable East India Company, which opened an Opium Market in Calcutta and encouraged smugglers to sell it to China despite it being illegal there.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The First Opium War. Britain had more advanced ships, a stronger military, and more disciplined soldiers. Meanwhile the Chinese Military was left in shambles due to mismanagement, inadequate military equipment, and poor discipline, all exacerbated by opium addiction of their soldiers, which they were fighting to stamp out.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: The episode "Palmyra Today", which consists of James describing the destruction of this melting pot's artifacts and architectural masterpieces at the hands of ISIS.
  • Disaster Dominoes: How the Seminal Tragedy of World War I is presented. They make it a point to note that as damaging as Princip's assassination of the Archduke was, it was neither the key action that triggered the war, nor did it make the events that happened inevitable. He noted that the other powers Could Have Avoided This Plot had there not been so much Poor Communication Kills, had there been better timing when messages were sent and delivered, and had anyone made a real effort to avoid war.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • The British Commanders during the First Opium War used strict discipline to ensure none of their soldiers looted or murdered...but beat up a captured British soldier and they'll burn your village to the ground.
    • Like with the British above, Sultan Suleiman prevented his soldiers from looting or murdering (even executing his men for letting their horses eat grass from a peasant's field) ... yet he still massacred Belgrade for daring to resist being conquered by The Ottoman Empire. Sultan Suleiman also threatened to do the same to Rhodes if The Knights of Rhodes didn't surrender, but in the end he they capitulated to his demands. On a personal level, Suleiman had his best friend and two of his sons murdered for perceived slights.
    • The Chinese Emperor orders the execution of one of his diplomats as punishment for making a deal he dislikes. Subverted in that The Emperor doesn't actually go through with it.
    • Empress Theodora convinces her husband Emperor Justinian to execute a pretender to the throne. The reason this is disproportionate is that the pretender not only DIDN'T want to be Emperor, but actually hid under his bed and had to be pried away from it by the mob hoping to crown him. This also counts as Shoot the Dog, as Theadora's reasoning was that there would never be peace so long as there was another pretender.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The overwhelming opinion in China towards opium, which they kept trying to prohibit while the English kept funneling it into their shores, eventually getting their own troops hooked.
  • Femme Fatale: Discussed by James in the Lies section for the Justinian and Theodora as well as the Suleiman the Magnificent series. He notes that both Empress Theodora and Roxelana have negative reputations based on chronicles of its time, but he sees this as stemming from the general sexism of the culture and misogyny to women in power, as such he has tried to give both of them the benefit of the doubt. He does admit that it is likelier that Roxelana was Lady Macbeth to Suleiman than Theodora vis-a-vis Justinian.
  • Final Solution: This was a modus-operandi for Shaka Zulu. Where in the past combat between South African Tribes had been ceremonial (the men from each side stood facing each other, throwing spears and taunting, and casualties are low), the introduction of European Crops greatly increased competition for resources (the crops meant a bigger population, and because they took more water there was less to go around). So Shaka would have his men kill all enemy soldiers, all enemy PO Ws, and almost all enemy civilians. His conquest, and the adoption of his methods by other tribes, came to be known as "The Crushing".
  • Four-Star Badass: Numerous examples since it focuses on many wars:
    • Belisarius, who in the name of The Roman Empire took Carthage back from the Vandals, took Italy back from Ostrogoths, drove back the Persians, and routed a nomad horde threatening Constantinople. All while outnumbered.
    • Admiral Yi, who single-handedly drove the Japanese Invaders out of Korea while constantly outnumbered. The mini-series on him describes him as though he were the ONLY Korean Military Leader at the time who wasn't incompetent or corrupt.
    • Hannibal Barca, who makes Rome tremble and almost destroys Rome itself and later, Scipio Africanus, who un-does everything Hannibal accomplished.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Most episodes of Extra Histories try to look at things from all sides.
    • Subverted in The First Crusade, as during the Lies episode of that mini-series James explains that he tried very hard to look at both sides, yet found the Crusaders more reprehensible the more he researched the subject. James still made a point of mentioning the TokenGoodTeammates of the Christians to show that not everyone on that side of the war was a monster.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Emperor Justinian may have created a legal code considered so just that it's still used today, but don't expect him to be lenient if you try to remove him from his throne.
  • Good Republic, Evil Empire: Averted. Their series on the Brothers Gracchi exposes that The Roman Republic was just as expansionist as The Roman Empire, horribly oppressive to the vast majority of the people and built on slavery and plunder, with the government catering to a small minority of privileged landowners who screw over the soldiers whose sacrifices they are leeching off.
  • Good Shepherd: The Priests and Monks who opposed Count Emicho's Crusade. Specific examples listed by the episode include the Bishop of Speyers (gave Jews in his community his protection), the Bishop of Worms (hid local Jews in his own home ... sadly to no effect as the Crusaders burned it to the ground and killed them anyway), and the Bishop of Mainz (barred the city against the Crusaders, then sent his personal guard to help defend it and the Jews inside from Count Emicho's men).
  • Heel Realization: During the plot to assassinate Archduke Ferdinand, one of the assassins decided not to go through with it because he felt sympathy for the Archduke's pregnant wife.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the Palmyra Today Episode, Dr. Khaled al-Asaad (the head of antiquities at Palmyra) stayed behind during the evacuation of the city to ensure that as many historical artifacts are hidden and/or secreted away instead of running. Because of this he was captured by ISIS, tortured for the location of the artifacts (he never broke, even after a month), and beheaded. He died to save a piece of the shared human heritage.
  • Honor Before Reason: Federico da Montefeltro - the protagonist of the Urbino episode - once demanded that a merchant in his city sue HIM after he forgot to pay the merchant for the products. Federico even wrote the writ against himself personally.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Charles Elliot received word from an opium smuggler that the Chinese were planning on breaking the ceasefire, so he preemptively broke it first. The episode very much implies that the smuggler was lying.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade
    • The series on Justinian gives his reign and overall campaign to reconquer and restore The Roman Empire a Historical Hero Upgrade. In truth, these conquests were devastating to Italy, and left Rome a shell of its former self and was the principal reason for its decay and depopulation until The Renaissance. The creators admit that they 'like' Justinian and they do insist that he was a dreamer and too overly ambitious to properly sustain his goals but this does mean that the show sentimentalizes his conquest of Italy and demonizes the Ostragoths (whose opinions, views, and side of the story is left untold).
  • Historical Villain Upgrade:
    • An In-Universe Example. The mini-series on Justinian and Theodora mentions that Procopius, the court historian of Justinian, wrote a "Secret History" in which Justinian is depicted as a monster - not a metaphorical monster in the sense that he painted Justinian as abnormally evil, a literal monster in the sense that the historian claimed Justinian could detach his head and summon Plague to ravage The Mediterranean. This book was discovered 1000 years later in an archive in a convent, and historians aren't quite sure what to make of it.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • After massacring countless Jews across The Rhinelands, Count Emicho quietly returned to his estate and lived the rest of his life as though nothing had happened.
    • Despite murdering his kin and ordering (or at the very least sanctioning) the massacre of Mediolanum, the Ostrogothic King Vitiges was made a Byzantine Patrician after being disposed. He got an estate outside of Constantinople and lived out his days in peace and comfort.
    • Subverted with Sultan Suleiman. The mini-series on his life made it clear that while he wasn't directly punished for the various ruthless things he did in his life, he died alone and weighed down with regrets over his life's choices.
    • John Blunt, who was mastermind behind the South Sea Bubble (making him responsible for tanking The British Economy and for all the resulting suicides), still died with a lot more money than he started out with AND he got to keep the Baronet that the Government gave him as a reward for managing the South Sea Company.
    • Robert Walpole actually invoked this trope, pulling the webs behind the scenes to ensure that the only people whose corruption was discovered were those whose fall could help his rise to power. Potentially justified, as the episode claimed that everyone's corruption being revealed would result in the British Government itself collapsing.
    • The Two British Sailors who beat a Chinese Civilian to death were tried by Charles Elliot and sentenced to a decade of hard labor back in England ... and as soon as they arrived in England the government immediately threw out the case and let those two sailors go scot-dree.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • In order to peacefully resolve The First Opium War, the Chinese official Qisan and the British official Charles Elliot work out a reasonable deal (one which the series claims is the best China could have hoped for). In return for doing what they were told to ... Charles Elliot was fired by Lord Pamerston and Qison was given a suspended death sentence by The Chinese Emperor (though he didn't go through with it, the sentence was still too harsh).
    • Also from The First Opium War, The British Officers burned entire villages to the ground and used Chinese Prisoners Of War as target practice.
    • The Ostrogoth massacre of Mediolanum.
    • Every time in The First Crusade that crusaders Rape, Pillage, and Burn en-route to Jerusalem, and finally when they sack Jerusalem itself.
    • Likewise every time the Japanese Invaders murdered civilians in Korea.
    • The Viking raid on Lindisfarne, in which the Vikings destroyed sacred religious items, murdered numerous unarmed and innocent Peasants and Clergymen, and enslaving the survivors.
    • The Roman Senate unleash The Purge on Tiberius Gracchus and his supporters, killing and executing hundreds of them, beating Tiberius to death with wood and stone, and then dumping their bodies into the Tiber. Made worse by the fact Tiberius Gracchus wasn't really asking for a Crown as he was accused of doing (he was pointing to his head to warn his supporters that someone wanted to kill him), and that the Senators who killed him were the same type of Aristocrats who cheated Roman Veterans out of their lands.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • In the Lies episode of The Opium Wars, James states that at the time of The Opium Wars there were many people in The West who considered it to be this trope. These days the British war for the right to sell drugs has somewhat less sympathy.
    John Adams: "[...] the cause of the war is the kowtow - the arrogant and insupportable pretensions of China that she will hold commercial intercourse with the rest of mankind not upon terms of equal reciprocity, but upon the insulting and degrading forms of the relations between lord and vassal."
    • The defeat of Count Emicho's Band at the Siege of Mosin (during which Count Emicho's Crusaders were slaughtered almost to a man) certianly counts as this trope considering they had just finished off Massacring the Jews in The Holy Roman Empire.
  • Land of One City: Two examples.
    • Urbino; an Italian city-state whose ruler Federico da Montefeltro turned it into a cultural and intellectual wonderland. When he died, the Borgias invaded the city and snuffed out it's influence.
    • Palmyra; an ancient eastern city-state which retained independence from the Roman Empire, saved it from Persian Invasion, and helped prolong it's life by centuries. Eventually the city was fully absorbed after Odenathus died and his daughter tried to take on the Roman Empire. Sadly, the ruins of Palmyra and all of it's architectural value is being destroyed by ISIS.
  • Leave No Survivors: When Ostrogothic Forces were laying siege to the city of Mediolanum, they offered to spare the garrison if they opened the gates. When the Garrison asked that the civilians inside be spared, "the Ostrogoths made no secret of the savage vengeance they wished to reak on this town". Sure enough, when the Ostrogoths take the town they kill every man inside and enslave every woman and child.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The murder of Tiberius Gracchus and his followers. Since Tiberius was a Tribune, his person was considered sacrosanct. In other words, killing him was not only murder; it was sacrilege.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Justinian's attempt to mend the Schism between orthodox and monophite Christianity not only failed, but also laid the groundwork for a schism between Orthodox and Catholic Christianity.
    • Gavrilo Princip's assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, an act he committed in defense of Serbian Interests, resulted in one of the worst wars in history (during which hundreds of thousands of Serbians perished).
    • The delays caused by those in Austria-Hungary who wished to avoid war caused the Empire to miss it's brief window of opportunity to invade Serbia without objection (the episode stated that nobody would have defended Serbia in a war after the Archduke and his pregnant wife were murdered during a goodwill mission). The desire for Peace ironically resulted in a regional conflict turning into the biggest war in history.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The People's Crusade was such a total failure that the Sultanate of Rum completely ignored the more-competant Baron's Crusade which came after them, allowing The Crusaders to gain the momentum and footholds necessary to become a very serious threat. James even speculates that all of The Crusaders would have been defeated at Anatolia if The People's Crusade had been less of a failure.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • In The First Opium War, Charles Elliot (Britian) and Qisan (China) were both sent to negotiate a peace deal and both worked out a reasonable one. Their reward? The former was fired and ridiculed by his countrymen for the rest of his life, the later was fired and sentenced to death (though the sentence was lifted).
    • John Snow spent his life trying to prevent Cholera from wiping out London again, and his work proved the link between human waste and diseases. Instead of being recognized and rewarded for this, he was ridiculed and dismissed as a crazy person by the leading scientists of the day (the leading theory was that diseases were caused by "miasma").
  • Offing the Offspring: Sultan Suleiman of The Ottoman Empire. First he inherited because his father executed his two brothers, and despite vowing not to repeat such mistakes he still executed two of his sons and his grandson.
  • Private Military Contractors: The Urbino Episode states that these are what the City-States of Italy used to fight wars against each-other, and that Federico da Montefeltro commanded one as a means of bringing money to Urbino.
  • Pride Before a Fall: Britain's first attempt to negotiate an official trade agreement with China failed primarily due to the hubris of both The British and The Chinese. Both believed they hailed "from the most powerful and civilized nation in the world, with the most divine monarch", and things went downhill from there.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Diplomacy usually breaks down in the series because both sides misread other people's opinions or misjudge each other intention's. This is the case of "Seminal Tragedy" (World War I) and the Opium Wars.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Tiberius Gracchus was Blue while his brother Gaius was Red.
  • Rightful King Returns: After being removed from power, Chetshwayo was reinstalled as ruler of the Zulus by the British; the very people who removed him from power in the first place. The reason he was reinstalled was a combination of his popularity within Britain as an eloquent, civilized king, and that the puppet rulers the British put in power after imprisoning Chetshwayo were fighting among themselves and The British hoped he could bring some stability to the area.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Implied to be why Belisarius disobeys Emperor Justinian and finishes off The Ostrogothic Kingdom, as the end of The Gothic War was shown as happening soon after the Massacre of Mediolanum.
    • Also implied to be the cause for The Battle of Blood River; in the mini-series on The Zulus, they murder Boer men who came to negotiate peacefully and then after they attacked the undefended wagon train where those men's families were. The next Boer wagon train to come that way was armed to the teeth and mad as hell ...
    • Played strait with Admiral Yi, who at the end of the war assualts and destroys The Japanese Navy as they attempt to evacuate from Korea. The reason the episode stated for him doing this is to punish The Japanese Forces for their war-crimes in Korea.
  • Serious Business: The "Early Christian Schims" does a good job in explaining how and why debates on whether Christ was both man and god, or part-man and part-god, or all man and all god and other smaller hairs split between these examples were deadly serious in the later Roman era and played a role in the shaping of Christianity.
  • Shocking Defeat Legacy: The Opium Wars were this for China, as it marked the first of many cracks in an Empire that had seen itself as stable and prosperous and entirely isolated. The treaties are known in China and other parts of Asia as "the unequal treaties".
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: In episode four of The First Opium War mini-series, Charles Elliot's ship was smashed against a rock. He survived, but had to swim several miles to shore to avoid being imprisoned and perhaps killed by a nearby Chinese Ship. He reached the shore, was greeted by British Soldiers ... and promptly told that he had been fired months ago.
  • Shout-Out: There are several, but the most obvious one is in The Broad Street Pump mini-series. Whenever they show a miasma-proponent poo-pooing John Snow's research, they always say "You know nothing John Snow!".
    • In The South Sea Bubble, when talking about Robert Knight adding phony names to his ledger in an attempt to hide the rampant corruption in The British Government, some of the fake names he added include Ser Jorah Mormont, Micky the Mouse, and Bart.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: While Extra Histories has not yet discussed the horrors of slavery directly, it does show drawings of slavery in "The Brothers Gracchi" when discussing slavery's economic aspect on Rome. Said drawings show slaves covered in dirt and utterly miserable. One scene even shows two slaves preforming backbreaking labor while a Roman Aristocrat sits back and watches them.
  • Token Good Teammate:
    • Tancred of Hauteville in The First Crusade. During the Sack of Jerusalem, he went out of his way to try to save civilians and even gave his banner to a group that was taking shelter in a Mosque in the hopes that others would see it and spare them. Despite having Tancred's Banner, the civilians in the mosque were slaughtered by the Crusaders anyway.
      • Many Bishops, Priests, and Monks also gave sanctuary to Jews during the pogroms... and many were massacred alongside the people they tried to defend.
    • Charles Elliot in The First Opium War. He was the ONLY British person in this story who is even trying to be fair to The Chinese; he disproved of the Opium Trade, he tried to reach a reasonable peace agreement with The Chinese, and he wanted to minimize bloodshed. In return for these good deeds ... he was fired and sent back to Britain.
  • Troll: Khosrow I of Persia was this to Justinian. During his war he did everything he could to humiliate Justinian. In one example he took the city of Antioch, captured all the civilians, and burned Antioch to the ground. Then instead of enslaving or ransoming the captured Antioch Civilians, he built a new city in his empire called Weh Antiok Khusrau (literally translates to "Khosrow's better version of Antioch") and had all the people of Antioch live there.
  • Values Dissonance: invoked Discussed by James in some of the Lies episodes where he describes how certain customs and events were seen differently in its time than modern audiences would:
    • The Ottoman Court's approach to succession, where upon taking the throne, the Crown Prince would murder his brother, nephews and in-laws is something that strikes audiences as especially cruel and bloody. The Lies section notes that this was the historical practise of Ottoman succession, and he notes that this kind of inter-family purge was meant to prevent the kind of Succession Crisis based Civil War of the kind in Western Europe, and to keep the family dispute from spilling on to the people.
    • In The First Opium War mini-series, The main criticism of the British Government is that they were imperialists who resorted to drug dealing after their incompetent diplomacy failed them. The stigma against opium and drugs, as well as the negative stereotypes associate with drug dealing did not really exist in its time. In Britain it was perfectly legal and even used as a medicine, and at that time it was seen as purely a trade dispute. In the Lies section, they note that many observes such as President John Adams supported the English position seeing the Chinese Emperor as a monarch oppressing merchants, while Karl Marx with typical snark noted that the English did evil, but this evil probably played a role in helping the Chinese society modernize itself, albeit in a way that the English did not intend or aim to achieve. James largely sees it as Poor Communication Kills, the British did not really bother researching and learning about Chinese society before making their demands, while the Chinese underestimated the English having grown complacent in isolation.
  • The Wise Prince: Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. He was a supporter of Serbia, which made his assassination by a Serbian all the more horrific in the eyes of The Austrio-Hungarians.
  • The Woobie: In the "Lies" episode of The Seminal Tragedy mini-series, James speculates that Franz Joseph I of Austria could have been seen as this. James specifically mentions how the man had to watch his entire family die around him (his daughter died of illness, his son committed suicide, his wife and nephew were assassinated).
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters:
    • Gavrilo Princip and his fellow conspirators. While James portrays them in a very negative light on the basis that they murdered two innocent people and started the worst war in history, he does mention in the "lies" portion of The Seminal Tragedy that Gavrilo is seen as a hero in Serbia and that there is a statue there to honor him.
    • The Viking attack on Lindisfarne is shown from both perspectives. It's presented initially from the perspective of the monks and the dominant narrative is of a pagan attack on Christendom; peasants are slaughtered in their fields, monks and holy men are slaughtered in their church, sacred artifacts are stolen and dismantled, and the survivors are taken away as slaves. Then the episode shows the perspective of the Vikings; they saw Christians and other monks as busybody fundamentalists who attacked their religious beliefs and swindled them in trade. Also shown is how the vikings established great trade routes, and how they saw the weak state of Christendom as an opportunity to gain massive amounts of wealth and to forge new kingdoms for themselves and for their people.

     Misc 

Tropes which James Recommends provides an example of:

Tropes which Design Club provides an example of:

Tropes which Extra Remix provides an example of:

Tropes which Side Quest provides an example of:

  • Genre Savvy: Dan gets increasingly savvy as he gets further and further through Dark Souls.
    Dan: <shortly before That Bit in Anor Londo, after several instances of Tempting Fate about how well he was doing> I'm sure I'll die really soon, like... I've gone this far, like, karma's going to catch up with me.note 

Tropes which Extra Frames provides an example of:


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