Misused: Game Breaking Injury

Deadlock Clock: 28th Jul 2014 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [11]
Actually, there are a whole rat's nest of problems, but mass trope misuse is, I believe, the biggest.

The last, recent trope repair shop discussion on this trope came to the conclusion that the trope's description was pretty clear and that it was its own defined trope and not a duplicate of some other trope. Which is true. But that was never the problem.

The problem with the trope description is that it begins with an Example as a Thesis describing a very specific scenario, and then the rest of the description does nothing to say that the trope could play out at all differently. It was even stated in the discussion that the EAAT was too restricting, but in the end, they decided that having a clearly defined and workable trope wasn't important enough for them to "scrap such a nicely written introduction and just put a dictionary definition in its place."
Furthermore, because the description had "such a nicely written introduction," the tropers involved in the discussion didn't bother to check any of the examples (Sorry, one guy did, but he seems to have been largely ignored by everyone else). Thing is, barely any examples fit the overly narrow definition. I say "barely any" instead of "none" because some examples don't have enough context for me to be able to say for sure, and because there is just one example concerning The Undertaker that actually fits.

The last discussion differentiated this trope from You Can Barely Stand like so:
  • Game-Breaking Injury: An injury that shifts the tide of a battle, making winning much harder for the sufferer. Usually kicks in only after some time, and always is inflicted before the battle. *My additions, inserted to add to clarity, are in bold.
  • You Can Barely Stand: They keep on fighting despite the incapacitation.

While the description makes the trope distinct from You Can Barely Stand, the examples don't. Almost all of the examples are about people who carry on and win epically even after being significantly handicapped (some are injuries from before the battle, some are acquired during the battle). Some aren't even that. There's the vary, very rare example that actually follows the "An injury that shifts the tide of a battle" definition, yet even those don't follow the exact scenario from the description. Some other examples are about how in a fight, one character does something so devastating to another that the victim can no longer fight, sometimes even for good, which I believe is covered under Career-Ending Injury. A number of examples also fit under Crippling the Competition, where an opponent intentionally injures the character in question before a battle.

What Iím saying is that this trope needs some work: either way, unless we want to make this a duplicate of You Can Barely Stand, a lot of examples need to be cut. The Example as a Thesis needs to be removed completely, or else all the examples save one will need to be cut (and that means no more trope, right? Minimum of three). My personal opinion, though many tropers may think this is a bit much, is that we should just cut the entire damn thing. The description is distinct, but it defines a trope that, judging from the examples, does not actually exist and is essentially only used as a duplicate for You Can Barely Stand, Career-Ending Injury, and Crippling the Competition. Even if we clean up the description and the examples, it'll only get misused again and in a year, we'll be right back where we started.

edited 26th May '14 7:33:17 PM by Erivale

2 Willbyr9th May 2014 05:16:48 AM from North Little Rock, AR , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Clock is set.
So wait... What exactly does "injury that shifts the tide of battle" mean? You get stronger after an injury?

If it's anything like that, I agree with you; something's gotta be done.
[up]An injury that makes it harder for the person with the injury to fight. But that's more or less irrelevant. The problem is that this trope is almost entirely misused because of its very definition. It's too specific, and any attempt at generalizing it will simply create a duplicate of some other trope (the examples themselves all belong in one of three separate tropes anyway).
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
So.... a re-write of the description is being asked for?
A rewrite would be nice, but I'm not sure what it would be rewritten to. The whole trope is just an extremely, extremely specific version of Drama-Preserving Handicap. We could make it so that it's an injury specific version of Drama-Preserving Handicap (so, instead of the character being weakened by any manner of things from weaksauce weaknesses to being exhausted to being hit by Green Rocks, it would be specifically an injury weakening the character), but I'm against that for several reasons: one, it'll be largely redundant with Crippling the Competition, two, it would be an almost complete clone of You Can Barely Stand, and three, the trope name tends to make the trope easy to misuse.

And speaking of misuse, that's the real problem. the example list is a mess. Almost all of the examples are what you could call a "game breaking injury", but the vast, vast majority of them fit under a pre-existing trope, rendering this "trope" largely pointless. To wit, the tropes covered in the examples list include:
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: You hit something hard enough to take it out, or something, but you also cripple yourself in the process
  • Career-Ending Injury: A guy has taken an injury so bad that he's permanently out of the running for whatever he's doing. (most of the examples on the page involve the person taking said injury during a battle that they went into perfectly healthy)
  • Crippling the Competition: A guy goes into battle with a disadvantageous wound because his opponents deliberately damaged his abilities beforehand. Edit: Or possibly the opponents deliberately cripple him during the fight as a battle tactic to make the rest of the fight easier. The trope description isn't very specific on when the crippling happens.
  • You Can Barely Stand: A guy who is seriously wounded, exhausted, or disadvantaged in some way comes face to face with an enemy, but fights even when he shouldn't be able to.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: A guy goes into the fight and kicks ass, and at the last moment before delivering the finishing blow, suddenly becomes effected by a wound he took beforehand, and which had never bothered him before, but which will go on to put him at a significant disadvantage for the rest of the fight. There is only one example of this definition (about The Undertaker) in the list.

Edit: Come to think of it, after going through all of the examples, I figure it's possible to make this a trope about somebody taking an injury specifically in battle (and not beforehand) that makes it much more difficult for them to fight, an injury which could go on to become a Career-Ending Injury if it's long-term effects are severe enough. In other words, a trope about an injury that both a) makes a battle more difficult for the victim, and b) occurs during that same battle. This hypothetical trope would have some overlap with Crippling the Competition (Crippling the Competition is all about the intent behind the crippling), but would, in my opinion, be a separate trope. It would also be a possible cause for a situation where You Can Barely Stand. it could be by accident, on purpose (overlap with Crippling the Competition), because of something the victim's opponent did, or even because of something the victim did (like Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu, for example)
It should be noted that Game-Breaking Injury is referenced in the descriptions for both Crippling the Competition and Career-Ending Injury, and judging by the contexts in both articles, this aforementioned definition appears to be the definition they're using.

edited 15th Jun '14 7:31:37 AM by Erivale

7 IndirectActiveTransport20th Jun 2014 01:47:30 PM from Chicago , Relationship Status: Coming soon to theaters
Best Of All Time Baby
Honestly, trying to narrow the definition seems like a mistake here, as does having a whole bunch of tropes around it. Crippling the Competition should cover more than just causing physical injury to them (can't exactly go up the creek without a paddle, no matter how good of shape you're in) so why should game breaking injuries only occur before battle? Why should they even be limited to battle? What's wrong with a wood cutting competition or basketball game where someone has a stubbed finger?

Tropes Are Flexible is one of our mantras after all. So, Square Peg, Round Trope is too but these still serve the same in-story purpose so worrying about these particular specifics don't seem worth the time.

edited 20th Jun '14 1:50:59 PM by IndirectActiveTransport

That's why he wants you to have the money. Not so you can buy 14 Cadillacs but so you can help build up the wastes
I agree that tropes are flexible, but to be honest, any way to broaden the definition that I've been able to come up with only allows for examples that fit under a different, pre-existing trope. If the general consensus among the tropers in this discussion is that that situation is fine, I'm not going to argue. Just as long as the definition is changed away from what it is now, because that's not working at all.

Edit: [up] Very good point about the Only-in-battle thing. To be perfectly honest, I'm actually not that into that specific usage, but it was the scenario used in the original trope description, and I was more using it as an example than anything. The ideal trope should be able to cover any sort of situation in which an injury would be disadvantageous, including but not limited to battle, but once again, the current trope description does not allow for that.

edited 22nd Jun '14 9:35:01 PM by Erivale

9 IndirectActiveTransport23rd Jun 2014 03:26:04 AM from Chicago , Relationship Status: Coming soon to theaters
Best Of All Time Baby
Of this trope "family", I'm for changing all of the descriptions, just in ways to make them broader, as broad as the titles themselves imply they are, not confusingly narrow.

For this particular one, it is game breaking injury, not "fluke injury that occurs just before battle". There are plenty of ways to end up in the situation and still have a separate page for crippling the competition (which can be done without physically injuring them, so long as they compete less effectively)
That's why he wants you to have the money. Not so you can buy 14 Cadillacs but so you can help build up the wastes
10 Willbyr25th Jul 2014 05:42:58 AM from North Little Rock, AR , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
11 Willbyr29th Jul 2014 06:01:47 AM from North Little Rock, AR , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Clock's up; sending this one to the locker room.
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
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Total posts: 11