YMMV: Game Theory

The fanfic

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    Tropes specific to the fanfic series as a whole 

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Precia. The reader is not as privy to her inner thoughts compared to other characters, which leads to certain ambiguities such as her actual feelings about Fate, or how much of her interactions with Nanoha are genuine.
    • Nanoha. It appears that breaking her utterly is a favorite pastime, and by doing so appears to bring about a whole new character based upon that break. This could be argued as a Author Appeal, though, as the Deconstruction of the retelling as a whole makes her decisions have consequences, and therefore her sense of willing, good-natured kindess and heroism does not go anywhere. Aleph, reasonably so, does like to break down Nanoha.
  • Author's Saving Throw: At one point a number of readers expressed concern that the timeline changes could have prevented Quint from encountering and adopting Subaru and Ginga. Earth Scorpion then gave an infodump which promptly alleviated any reader concerns, and it was subsequently noted in-story that Quint is in the process of adopting the two. And then Power Games revealed they were abducted during the events of Game Theory.
  • Better Than Canon: The world building is very, very good, and it's a lot more internally consistent than the canon material. Fight scenes are also nicely planned and well-described, and the characters make proper use of tactics.
    • The removal of numerous Idiot Balls also makes for a much smoother narrative.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Nanoha and Momoko are the only members of the Takamachi family with a strong innate talent for Magic. This doesn't seem unusual, considering that magical talent comes from the mother in this fic, but then you realize that Kyouya was from Shiro's first marriage and Miyuki's actually Nanoha's cousin; Nanoha is the only child of the family Momoko actually gave birth to!
    • It's mentioned occasionally that Nanoha's telepathic voice sounds almost musical, and it's revealed that she has a good natural singing voice in chapter 11. She also controls The Garden of Time's defenses by singing. Hmm, Lyrical Nanoha?
  • Genius Bonus: References are occasionally made, both in-story and in the world building, to computer programming terminology. The name Game Theory itself refers to the study of strategic decision making, which is fitting considering that's Precia's whole shtick in this fic.
    • In fact, the battle between Fate and Nanoha during the Jewel Seed activation at the hospital can be considered an example of the Nash equilibrium of the Prisoner's dilemma. Rather than cooperate to seal the Jewel Seed, Fate and Nanoha each try to stop the other one from sealing it (the "defection" option), which ultimately results in a bad outcome.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight / Harsher in Hindsight: Depending how you look at it. In the prototype stages of the canon, Chrono was designated as the villain. Now look what happened.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Precia. She's a selfish, manipulative bitch, but it's hard not to feel sympathy for a grieving mother who wants her daughter back, especially since she's not horribly abusive like in canon.
  • Les Yay: Even more than in canon. Nothing sexual yet, though, since Nanoha and Fate are only nine.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Precia. Damn, but that woman is smooth.
    • The Epilogue of Game Theory drives this home.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Precia. Check the quotes page for Aleph's reaction.
  • The Woobie: Despite the changes, Fate is still a woobie.
    • Nanoha too, in later chapters.
    • Quint gets major woobie points in Power Games.
    • Pretty much everyone, at one point or another.

    Tropes specific to Game Theory, first part of the story 

  • Accidental Innuendo: Yuuno fiddled with his Device in both hands, and sighed. ... It felt wrong in his hands. Eek!

    Tropes specific to Power Games, second part of the story 

  • Designated Hero/Designated Villain: Spoofed in Tea and Alicia's omake - both girls try to label either Nanoha and Fate or the TSAB as the villains and heroes of Game Theory. Understandable, as both girls are oppositely biased.
  • Les Yay: The third chapter has Vita quoting love poetry to Hayate.

The webseries

  • Author Tract: The Wii U-centric theories are this regarding MatPat's opinions on the console, although a more obvious example would be the sociopathic Mario theory.
  • Ass Pull: MatPat never explains why or how he came up with his theories. Especially the more bizarre ones look suspiciously like he didn´t try to come up with true theories, instead making interesting ones, when thinking about this.
    • Whether this is true or not, the joke theory about Mario being a communist is definitely one.
  • Awesome Music: "Science Blaster", the opening theme for the series that was made specifically for the show.
  • Broken Base: The more controversial theories, such as "Mario Is Mental", "How Fast is Sonic the Hedgehog", the first few Pokemon theories and the "Wii U Is The New Virtual Boy"/"What Gamers Want" trilogy of videos.
    • The "Mario Is Mental" theory gets flak for the fact that not only does it rely heavily on old sources that have been retconned away from continuity, it also depends on the viewer to assume an extreme Ron the Death Eater interpretation of Mario.
    • The Wii U one got an angry reaction out of some Nintendo fans for its comparisons to the Virtual Boy, Nintendo's least successful game system to date.
  • Critical Research Failure: While he puts in a lot of effort, these occur at times:
    • In the video about Majora's Moon, a huge point is made about how little mass the moon has, and how it hitting the planet would do next to nothing. However Mat then goes on to talk about how the increased gravitational effects of the falling moon would do far more damage than the moon itself... completely forgetting that the gravity an object exerts is determined by its mass, and that such a tiny moon wouldn't have anywhere near the effect of the Earth's full size moon.
    • The video revolving around Wario's flying farts infamously had him claim Wario is ten feet tall despite being obviously shorter. He later turned this into a form of self-depreciation for future research failures.
    • He has drawn some criticism for his "What Gamers Want" trilogy for appearing to distort facts to get his opinions across (His usage of sales numbers regarding tired franchises vs innovation and calling Nintendo a bully when it comes to indie developers and YouTube copyright claim, ignoring the fact many indie developers are working on the Wii U and, the 2013 LP fiasco aside, Nintendo is rather lax about people posting videos on YouTube as a quick search result will show; Nintendo even later started up a new YouTube affiliate program in 2014 in order to help small time content creators who lack special affiliations with groups like Maker Studios or Fullscreen a chance to keep monetizing videos and not worry anymore about content ID claims).
    • His theories comparing the Wii U to the Virtual Boy fail to take into the fact the Virtual Boy is infamous for being faulty and capable of causing permanent eye damage, things the Wii U isn't being criticized for. Though he was able to draw several other parallels between the two consoles.
    • The video revolving around Bullet Bills becomes this after claiming the largest Bullet Bill is the golden Banzai Bill, despite it being the same size as a normal Banzai Bill and the King Bills from New Super Mario Bros. Wii are far larger then the golden Banzai Bills.
    • The Morph Ball theory fails to take into account the 3D games, especially Prime, have shown clearly that Samus actually turns into the ball, not curl up into the shape when it is used, thus rendering the entire theory moot. This is made all the more irritating by how he shows the clip of Samus having the power-up attach to her in Prime when it's recovered, but passes it off as her actual activation of the feature when the the two are separate visuals.
      • The Morph Ball episode also doesn't take into account most of the advantages that the Morph Ball grants. It minimizes her size in every direction, not just one, it maintains or even increases her mobility and allows her to navigate small areas very quickly. They didn't seem to have researched any use for the Morph Ball beyond reducing Samus' vertical height.
    • The video about games being Anti-LGBT got some flak for mentioning how one gay character in a video game was called "negative" for being interested in S&M, when that very character is a clone and would have just as easily qualified in the "inhuman" category he mentioned in the middle of the video.
    • In the infamous "Mario is Mental" video, MatPat claims that "there is no Peach toy" in Mario vs. Donkey Kong, when there was a Peach toy shown in the same video where he said this.
    • In his part 2 episode of "FNAF Mysteries Solved", he theorizes that the Purple Guy's identity is Phone Guy, and brings up some fairly solid evidence to back it up, going so far as to suggest all the voice messages you hear in all three games were recorded prior to the prequel FNAF 2 to clear up the confusion with the Purple Guy's final scene in FNAF 3. The only problem with this is he fails to recognize that the very first recording you hear in FNAF 1 refers to the ''Bite of 87'', something the Purple Guy could never have known about if his death was indeed before the second game took place. He also fails to take into account that Phone Guy refers to the new animatronics in the second game, something he could have never known would exist before they were even created.
      • Another hole in the theory comes from the Phone Guy's death. The audio of the fourth call implies that his death is caused by a mass confrontation of animatronics, which does not match the death of the Purple Man. This is odd, since Matpat cites the phone call as evidence that the Phone Guy is the murderer (specifically, the "check in the suits" line being applied to Springtrap.) The theory's timeline is also flawed, since the games imply that the Purple Man returned to destroy the animatronics after the first game's events. If he had gone before the first game like the theory suggests, the animatronics would not have been there to antagonize the player.

  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Despite being a fan of Nintendo, MatPat is still willing to call out the big N for making poor business decisions and not learning from their mistakes.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: He gives Handsome Jack this treatment in his Borderlands 2 video, arguing at the end he really is the hero wanting to bring peace while not mentioning some of his more grievous crimes from the games, like his murder and torture of innocents, running the city of Opportunity like a dictatorship, and ejecting four innocent scientists out an air lock on the mere suspicion that one might be a traitor, giving Moxxi and Lilith decent motivation for betraying him
  • Face of the Band: MatPat; as far as most people care, Gaijin Goombah and DNSQ don't exist.
  • Fandom Rivalry/Friendly Fandoms: With Gnoggin, a similar show on Youtube, to the point where flame wars have broken out in the comments of videos on both sides. It doesn't help that Gnoggin has made at least three videos specifically to discredit MatPat's theories, and several people treat Gnoggin as the "Let's talk smack about Game Theory" channel. There's also the allegations that the Game Theory about Smash Brothers being about Masahiro Sakurai's disillusionment with the series and the games industry in general is directly ripping off Gnoggin's theory about Super Smash Brothers being about living with autism. Even so, Gnoggin's videos get posted to the Game Theorist subreddit as they come out, and several fans of the Game Theorists are fans of Gnoggin and vice-versa.
  • Heartwarming Moments: While the presentation is extremely YMMV, the ending to the "What Gamers Want" trilogy has him desperately wanting Nintendo to learn from its mistakes with the Wii U and move on because he wishes to see them succeed despite his misgivings throughout the run.
    • His Draw My Life video for seeing his enthusiasm and thankfulness towards his fans for getting him 500,000 subscribers.
    • His speech at the end of "The Dark Side of MOTHER", helped immensely by the fact that "Smiles and Tears" is played in the background. I think it speaks for itself:
    When Shigesato Itoi set out to create a different kind of RPG, one based on the real world, he did just that. And didn't limit himself to simply replacing tonics with hamburgers and merchants with department stores; he dealt with issues you see in the media every day: rape, religious fanaticism, violence. But handled them with a dash of humor, and a heaping spoonful of bizarre storytelling. EarthBound isn't about a boy trying to stop an alien menace; it's about a boy growing up, leaving his home, and experiencing both the good and the bad of the world. That's why Giygas is so scary; he's based on the moment Itoi lost that childhood innocence. And that's why the ending of the game is so satisfying, because Ness faced that darkness and made it through, becoming a young adult. He's grown up, and we as the player have cared enough to get him there. It's truly a triumph of the gaming experience, and one I recommend to anyone. But hey, that's just a theory. A Game Theory.
  • Memetic Mutation: It's become popular for gamers to post theories that end with "But hey, that's just a theory... A GAME THEORY." A lot of the time, it's making fun of the series.
  • Most Annoying Sound: MatPat's own voice can be this to some people.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Five Nights at Freddy's videos.
    • All the Fridge Horror that comes from his Watch_Dogs videos. He doesn't end it with his usual catchphrase, either, highlighting just how serious this is.
      "That is the world of Watch_Dogs. That is our world. And that isn't a theory: it's a fact."
  • Old Shame: MatPat seems to feel this way about his boobs episode.
    • It's the only one you can't watch on the mobile app. That and "Zelda, Potions, and Power Bands".
  • Ron the Death Eater: Mario has constantly been on the receiving end of this from MatPat himself ever since his theory where he is portrayed as a sociopath. Nintendo itself sometimes gets this treatment oddly enough, especially during the Wii U arc. This continues in his "Toad's Deadly Secret" episode, where he proposes that Peach is the true Big Bad of the Mario franchise, using her parasitic followers to run the Goombas out of their native homeland, with Bowser as the tragic, reluctant Big Good just trying to combat a parasitic threat.
  • Snark Bait: For its aforementioned Critical Research Failures.
  • Tear Jerker: While mostly heartwarming and sweet, MatPat's Draw My Life gets a little depressing when he talks about his failed dream of wanting to be an actor.
    • His theory that the Super Smash Bros. series is the story of the life of Masahiro Sakurai Doubles as Heartwarming, given his usual jabs at Nintendo.