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Terracotta Soldier Man
"Ambiguous Name" also applies, since I think that's at the heart of the issue.

Anyway, I've noted a distinct tendency for this trope to be misused as Exactly What It Says on the Tin (i.e. simply noting the existence of "some kind of force field") rather than the specific scene in the trope description.

From a random sampling of pages where the trope is found:

Correct Use


Ambiguous or Unclear

I'd like to propose that we rename this trope to something like Force Field Flicker to avoid the ambiguity.

edited 25th Mar '12 12:44:24 PM by Specialist290

The Arkham Asylum example is correct.

The Hunger Games example might be fine too; the little shimmer in the air that indicates a force field is plot point. Katniss needs to learn to recognize it to avoid walking into the edge of the arena. Downplayed at best, because it's really hard to see and you can't actually touch it without getting fried to death, but there is a visual indication.

edited 25th Mar '12 12:59:29 PM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
Well, it's a Stock Phrase, and says as much in the description.

However, I would like to see a few more wicks checked before I'd vote in favour of a rename.
The Internet misuses, abuses, and overuses everything.
It shouldn't be an ambiguous phrase... if someone recognizes the trope. If you get it once you read it, no problem. So I guess there is a question of whether it's ambiguous enough to enough people. My first guess about the problem is that it's the missing supertrope: all kinds of force fields. All potholes flow downstream, after all. So if we had a really intuitively named force field super trope, and made sure we had missing sister tropes like Glowing Force Field, wouldn't that help quite a bit?

Full disclosure: I coined the trope name.

edited 25th Mar '12 2:11:29 PM by pawsplay

[up] Well, the general method to see if it's ambiguous to enough people is to check how it's actually used in wicks. That's usually far better than having a crowner about it, as crowners are with people who's either overanalysed it or just ran by barely checking what it was about.

edited 25th Mar '12 2:32:42 PM by Feather7603

The Internet misuses, abuses, and overuses everything.
The examples, at least, look pretty clean.
Dragon Writer
This article is about invisible force fields, right?
[up] Well, the act of poking them, which makes them briefly visible, yes. Poking them with your nose is also acceptable.

edited 25th Mar '12 6:33:33 PM by Feather7603

The Internet misuses, abuses, and overuses everything.
 9 Dragon Quest Z, Sun, 25th Mar '12 6:40:25 PM from Somewhere in California
The Other Troper
The name seems like a stock phrase in some cheesy kid's works, where rather than just say it's what it is, they say it's "some kind of X". Please rename.
I'm on the internet. My arguments are invalid.
 10 Deboss, Sun, 25th Mar '12 6:54:07 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
They're invisible force fields until they interact with them.
Dragon Writer
^ Okay, that I can see*. Question though, is this about the barrier itself (invisible except when something touches it; like the Thexder entry), or the scene where a character is probing it?

edited 26th Mar '12 8:19:34 PM by Stratadrake

I'd say it's about the way that force fields deal with the Rule of Perception. If you have a force field that's supposed to be invisible, you have to have some way to demonstrate to the audience that a force field is there, and that's this trope. It should cover any instance where there is an obvious Rule Of Perception patch to inform the audience of the presence of an invisible force field, whether that's a flash of light, a ripple, a crackling noise, expositional dialogue, a scene of someone knocking on it or crashing into it...etc.

This is sort of a Broad Strokes definition, but I think it's good because:
  1. The description talks about both the flashy crackly version and the expositional dialogue version, and
  2. The examples list is fairly diverse.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
[up] I don't even think it counts as Broad Strokes* when it just cuts out details that aren't necessary to begin with. The important parts are that it's an invisible forcefield, and there's an explicit scene with the sole purpose of showing that there is one (humour purposes aside).
The Internet misuses, abuses, and overuses everything.
 14 Ekuran, Mon, 26th Mar '12 8:47:59 PM from somewhere. Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
How about we call it Force Field Shine and call it a day?
[Insert seemingly profound or amusing phrase here.]
 15 Deboss, Mon, 26th Mar '12 8:52:58 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
My preference would be to make it about the barrier with a visual cue and then the scene just a form of Show, Don't Tell.
I think it also covers cases where there are no visual cues, though, and it has to be expositified through dialogue or whatever. A hypothetical exchange in a Radio show, for example, could still be an example of this trope:

Alice: What's wrong, Bob?
Bob: There seems to be an invisible force preventing me from entering this room.

Rhymes with "Protracted."
Dragon Writer
A Visibly Invisible Force Field (or barrier) ?
 18 Dragon Quest Z, Mon, 26th Mar '12 10:52:25 PM from Somewhere in California
The Other Troper
The trope is that it's only visible when touched. So the name should reflect that.
I'm on the internet. My arguments are invalid.
Is it the sound too, or just the light that you see when you touch it?

[up] Well, as I interpret it, it should count with any method of conveying the presence of an "invisible" force field to the audience.

Visible Invisibility is similarly flexible; it covers showing just the outline, making the character partially transparent, distorting the air, or even keeping the character completely invisible but having the camera stay centered on them as they move. I think we could do something similar here.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
Dragon Writer
I agree, that's why I gave the suggestion I did.
I don't see a convincing pattern of misuse. I think we just need more force field tropes to stop the square pegging.
Wait, do we have an actual trope for just force fields? Missing Supertrope Syndrome?

[up] I didn't see when I looked. @4
Total posts: 61
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