Ambiguous Name: Plot Coupon That Does Something

Total posts: [47]
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Then the Plot Coupon does something, making this title even more meaningless. (I just read that page now.)

I'm not saying this as a troper, but a reader. If I came across Plot Coupon That Does Something page while reading about video games and sucking up time, I would think the title does not know what the subject even is. And with a description that's been unclear for how long too...

I would do a wick check if I have the time, but currently I do not.

edited 11th Oct '13 8:11:50 PM by MikuruFan

Before moving this discussion to checking wicks...

I find no record of this article having even gone through YKTTW. The Discussion Page doesn't link one, and performing a wiki search for "Plot Coupon That Does Something YKTTW Discussion" also doesn't turn up a corresponding article, either.

So to recap:

  • Obviously non-indicative, seemingly redundant title.
  • Obviously unclear, confusing description.
  • No signs of this article having even been created through normal, accepted means and methods of creating new tropes in the first place.

Does an article looking this increasingly horrendous even need (nay, deserve) a wick check? Even if anyone could make a case for keeping something tied to this page as the basis for a trope article, it should go back to where it never was, pass through YKTTW, and get launched properly, the same way everything else does.

edited 11th Oct '13 9:31:19 PM by SeanMurrayI

28 AnotherDuck11th Oct 2013 09:36:12 PM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
[up]Don't be so dramatic.

YKTTW is not a requirement for trope pages.

The That Does Something part of the name is vague and non-descriptive, and the Plot Coupon part is largely irrelevant.
You mean it's got nothing to do with Plot Coupon, and that it doesn't do anything? I find that contrary to the trope's description.

Wick checks aren't important just to see if something is wrong; they're important to see what is wrong, and thus what solution would be best.
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Plus, a wick check could reveal misuse too. That could indicate a larger cleanup than what was expected, and as long as this is here it could be done right away.
I mean that the tile Plot Coupon That Does Something is encumbered with redundant Word Cruft, as we've already established that a an ordinary Plot Coupon, by definition, is already "doing something", making the qualifier "That Does Something" confusing and meaningless. The "Plot Coupon" portion of Plot Coupon That Does Something is irrelevant because, in the end, this article is supposedly describing something that's supposed to be entirely different than Plot Coupon (which it is already incorrectly insinuating "doesn't do anything").

edited 11th Oct '13 9:51:17 PM by SeanMurrayI

While I agree that it's a terrible name, a check could help determine what the new name should be.

edited 11th Oct '13 9:51:01 PM by MikuruFan

If I'm looking at this correctly, the related tropes go something like this:

So, as an example, let's take the Holy Grail. If people just want it because it's the friggen Holy Grail, and it could just as easily be a gigantic diamond, a Super Prototype death ray, or the recipe for the world's best chocolate chip cookies as far as the function it fills in the plot, then it's a MacGuffin. If people want it for a specific reason and it has to be the Holy Grail (eg, using its power to defeat The Antichrist, for example), then it's a Plot Coupon. If it's a Plot Coupon and has another, less portentous function (eg, in addition to being the only thing with the power to defeat The Antichrist, drinking from it gives you a temporary Healing Factor) then it's a Plot Coupon That Does Something.

Is that correct?
I really like that.
To be honest, I was never especially clear on exactly what the distinction is between Plot Coupon and MacGuffin. The page itself even points out that they're often used interchangeably.

But this page doesn't seem unclear to me at all, besides that awkward bulleted list I talked about before. Hyperbolic floccinaucinihilipilification aside, I fail to see why it needs to be renamed without any need for evidence of any kind of actual problem, and if all we're going on is blind assertion, then we might as well lock this thread as a waste of a valuable TRS slot.

edited 12th Oct '13 12:59:56 AM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
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I think I was the one who added the line comparing PC and MG because the terms do get commingled outside the TV Tropes wiki — we can't pretend they're two unrelated things. I think the distinction is that a MacGuffin focuses on the object's identity (i.e. irrelevant to its effect on the plot) and the Plot Coupon focuses on the need to obtain it (which is often the case with Mac Guffins anyway).

I'd be willing to call it something like Gameplay Coupon in the sense that it's similar to the Plot Coupon in nature but it's videogame specific because in addition to serving a narrative function it is also 100% usable during actual game play.

edited 12th Oct '13 6:14:32 AM by Stratadrake

Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Can also be useful in tabletop gaming and Calvin Ball. It isn't videogame specific.
37 SeptimusHeap12th Oct 2013 08:04:21 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
I am not sure on videogame specific. If an item is used as a Plot Coupon in a story but also in other contexts that aren't part of the plot resolution, where would that go?
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
That looks like the opposite of this trope.
40 AnotherDuck12th Oct 2013 12:34:59 PM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
I've always seen it as a Plot Coupon is a McGuffin you cash in to advance the plot. It's something you actually need to obtain to further the plot. A McGuffin can be just the goal no one ever reaches.

You don't have to give the Plot Coupon up for it to count as one, but it has a specific use in the plot. If it's a Plot Coupon That Does Something it has a practical use aside from that specific purpose. Which technically makes it an combination of a Plot Coupon and a piece of equipment or a functional item.

So it can't just be one of the many items in Zelda or Metroid, as they're tools you use exactly as they're intended (Sequence Breaking aside), even if you technically use them to get past specific obstacles similar to a Plot Coupon. For instance, the Master Sword in the Zelda games usually has an impact on the plot, aside from just being a better sword than the previous. Maybe not the best example, as it's also an example of Sword of Plot Advancement, which is a subtrope to Plot Coupon That Does Something.
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I have tweaked the trope def for Plot Coupon That Does Something, trying to match what Native Jovian wrote in post 32 and Another Duck wrote in post 40.

I wonder if we should merge Plot Coupon That Does Something into Sword of Plot Advancement? Right now I wonder if a Sword of Plot Advancement is just a Plot Coupon That Does Something And Is A Sword. I am familiar with the Crystal Stars from Paper Mario:

  • In Paper Mario 64 and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, your Star Powers are tied directly to the Plot Coupons — Star Spirits or Crystal Stars, respectively. When you collect a coupon, you receive one additional unit in your Star Power meter, and learn a new ability (which might heal you, buff your stats, or attack your enemies).

If there would be only one Crystal Star, and it would get new powers as you proceed through the game, then it would be a Sword of Plot Advancement. It seems that the only reason that the Crystal Stars are not a Sword of Plot Advancement is because there are more than one Crystal Star.
Sword of Plot Advancement is a subtrope specifically for weapons (and shields and armor and whatnot). It's a very common way to execute the trope that has enough of its own examples to split off. (Which is, like, the whole point of subtropes.) Crystal Stars are not weapons, unless you are using them to physically bash your opponent in the head.

edited 30th Oct '13 12:06:09 AM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
[up] OK. I am now against merging the tropes.
44 Cider1st Nov 2013 11:55:00 AM from Not New York , Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
The Final ECW Champion
This trope should not exist. A plot coupon that does nothing is a mac guffin. A plot coupon that does something is a plot coupon that is not a mac guffin. The crystal shards in Kirby 64 can open portals. They do something (albeit, not in gameplay) and thus are not mac guffins. You still need to gather them to move the plot forward, thus are plot coupons. The umbra gear in the Golden Sun games serve a game play function and the different pieces have to be gathered to finish the third game's plot. The triforce pieces in The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker do not do anything at all and so are macguffins but still are needed to move the plot forward, making them plot coupons.

See, we have an unneeded trope page, the one that is the topic of this discussion.
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45 case14th Nov 2013 06:16:39 AM , Relationship Status: I want you to want me
"Plot Coupon Perks"?
46 SeptimusHeap14th Nov 2013 08:06:38 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
In my home, a Plot Coupon is not a MacGuffin. Consider a quest-like plot setup; the quest is for the MacGuffin, but the Plot Coupon is the object you need to get through the quest and to the MacGuffin.
[up][up][up]Yes, most plot coupons do actually do something at some point. It's not a very good name. But the trope is specifically about plot coupons that the player can freely use, as opposed to the common type of plot coupon that only does something when the plot tells it to.
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Total posts: 47
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