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Shieldage
topic
11:07:09 AM Jun 14th 2014
edited by 198.204.214.230
Replaced the Life Is A Game page with a redirect to this one as it's a more descriptive title and a trope page that I've been putting time into through YKTTW. Had also been worried that Life Is A Game as a trope title violated the No New Stock Phrases rule, but one of the moderators has indicated that it is safe.

Original 6/8/14 Life Is A Game entry by sunandshadow:

Life Is a Game may be referred to in different corners of the internet as The Video Game Plot, [Fandom]: Game of the Year, or [Character] The Gamer. This trope involves the main character living in a world with video game mechanics. (Often the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stat system and perk system from Fallout, though other game systems and original systems are also used; a gallery of unlockable avatars from which the player chooses one to start a new game with is very common). This creates a time loop or groundhog day situation because each time the player dies they return to the beginning of the game (or to the last save, but they always have the option of starting over).

The main character is typically a Peggy Sue who is the only genre savvy character in the setting. See also [1]. The story may start with the main character's first death, motivating them to set right what once went wrong in classic fixifc style.

The trope name comes from Rebuke X 7's series of LIAG fanfics; in the first, Naruto: Life Is A Game, the main character discovers and uses a "Life Is A Game forbidden jutsu" which creates the trope situation.

This trope often comes along with a whole set of smaller-scale video game tropes, such as a stat system, level grinding, Sidequests, an interface for viewing relationships with NPCs, achievements which unlock new avatars, perks, and other options for future playthroughs, and some type of inventory [2] [3] [4]. This trope is mainly influenced by survival, RPG, and dating sim game genres.

Compare and contrast "Groundhog Day" Loop, Groundhog Day, Peggy Sue, Fix Fic, Mental Time Travel.

Warning: Possible spoilers
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Examples

    Fanfic 

Harry Potter
  • (add HP fanfics here please)

Naruto
  • (add Naruto fanfics here please)

Fallout
  • (add fallout fanfics here please}

The Gamer
  • (add The Gamer fanfics here please)

Prince
  • (add 1/2 Prince fanfics here please)

Log Horizon
  • (add log horizon fanfics here please)

    Canon 

Anime & Manga
  • In The Gamer the main character, a normal schoolboy, awakens a magic power in himself, and this power takes a form shaped by the fact that the boy is a gamer.
  • In Log Horizon thousands of players of an MMO become trapped in a suddenly-more-real version of the game world.

Film
  • The Matrix shows characters hacking a simulation that other characters consider the real world. Individual time loops aren't possible, but the simulation as a whole can be reset.

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