WikiWanderer on Sep 7th 2018 at 11:32:17 AM
Last Edited By:
Arivne on Sep 19th 2018 at 2:01:47 PM
Page Type: trope
Player and Protagonist Integration taken Up to Eleven. This is a subtrope of Addressing the Player and a form of Metafiction wherein the Video Game incorporates the fact that it is a video game into the story. The player is essentially a character in these games, usually the main character. Even if they are not, they can't help but be the Point-of-view character in a way and their actions will drive the plot or at least influence it in some way.
Sometimes the in-universe explanation for a game being self-aware is that the game you're playing is haunted or otherwise unusual, Which makes it a fictional game and a real game at the same time. This kind of explanation is not always present however, somtimes the characters in the game are just aware that they are fictional and will discuss this with the player and maybe even ask the player for help. In some cases they aren't necessarily aware that they're fictional, but they know something about the nature of the reality the player lives in.
There are cases where the player is controlling an In-universe Video Game character, but the "real world" is fictionalized in some way (Making this a case of a player character being played by a player character being played by the player (who is a character)). Please put those examples under the "YMMV" category.
This trope can be used to make the player feel more connected to what's going on (particularly in a Horror context). A character that breaks the fourth wall is often a Reality Warper. A game on PC may get into the computer's OS to address the player by their real name in a Wham Line. Otherwise the player will usually be referred to as some variant of "the person behind the screen" or some other description that makes it clear who they are speaking to. If this is not the case, then a game is not this trope.
Compare to The Game Come to Life and Trapped in TV Land. Contrast with The Player Is the Most Important Resource and Fourth-Wall Mail Slot, which adress the player in different ways. Contrast with A God is You as well, this is where the reality the player lives in isn't brought up but they exist on higher plane of existence than the other characters (the two can overlap, but make sure the player is explicitly brought up as a person behind a computer screen or something to that effect before adding examples).
note: addressing the player character to send a message to the player is not usually an example.There has to be some element that leaves no doubt that the game is addressing the player directly; and it only counts as this trope if it has a role in the story and isn't just a one-time gag. If the player is mentioned but their place in the world of the story isn't brought up and they don't impact the plot, that's Addressing the Player.
As this aspect of a game is often a Wham Line, beware of unmarked spoilers.
- Contact for the Nintendo DS
- It is an RPG entirely built around this trope; the characters acknowledge the player as an entity from another dimension whom they are somehow able to communicate with, and who uses a computing device called a "Nintendo DS" to exert a mysterious influence over their world. The player is asked for his or her real name (and favourite food, and home town) when starting a new game, and remains a main character in the story from start to finish.
- Turned on its ass by the end of the game, where the characters turn on you. All of them. Including all of the bad guys, and the character you've been playing for the whole game. The last thing you do is fight your character. You win, and your character declares that he hates you, and leaves.
- Doki Doki Literature Club!: The game starts out like a regular Dating Sim, but after Sayori's suicide weird things start happening. Turns out this was the work of Monika, who was jealous that she's not one of the girls you can date and hacked the game to make the other girls less attractive to you. At the end of the game, the game will dig through the player's files and she will refer to the player by their real name.
- Mabinogi has it that the character you play as is the avatar of the player's will, very meta, and characters will bring it up. Most don't know about computers or video games specifically, but understand that you're of a race who form immortal bodies of mutable age and sex to experience other universes where most of you don't treat the place or people as especially real. The implications of this are sometimes touched on in a light manner. Pretty direct.
- MOTHER 3 also asks the player's name in two occasions, once in the Prayer Sanctuary near Tazmily and in the Clayman factory. At the very end of the game, the characters are relieved to notice that the player is okay after what seemed like an Apocalypse How and proceed to converse with him or her a bit. Mostly they thank you for helping out, but they also wonder what our world is like and ask that world to treat you kindly. Finally, they hope that they can meet you again soon. It's hard not to feel a little warm and fuzzy inside during this.
- Omikron: The Nomad Soul begins with a cop from an alternate universe asking you, the player, to send your soul into his universe, possess his recently deceased body, and investigate his death. As the adventure continues, several characters learn that you're the "Nomad Soul" who isn't from their world. Also, your ability possess different people to becomes a major game mechanic. Then it's revealed that the videogame you're playing, Omikron: The Nomad Soul, was actually created by demons, as a way to trick gamers from our universe into sending their souls to Hell.
- OneShot: after clearing the first room, Niko reads a message on a computer monitor, which is clearly intended for the player. The last line of the message is a pop-up: "you only have one shot, Player_Name". Other characters in the game refer to the player as a god, and Niko is the Messiah who is the only person capable of conversing with the player directly. At the end it's revealed that even the fact that the player downloaded the game on their PC is an aspect of the story, as the world is a digital simulation created when it was discovered help would arrive too late.Even the game's trailer fits into this
- The premise of Pony Island is that you have discovered a possessed arcade cabinet, and parts of the game involve going through the programming.Subverted. You're in Hell, playing an arcade game designed by Satan. Initially everything's vague enough, you could believe the player character is supposed to be you, but you eventually discover details about the PC's backstory that make this impossible. In particular, the PC is a knight who died fighting in the Crusades.
- Tearaway's plot revolves around the player interacting with the world to help the messenger deliver a message to them.
- In Teen Titans, At the end of the game, it turns out the reason for all the random chaos is because the developers are putting them through these situations merely to entertain "You there on the couch". You are the Big Bad
- The Ultima games are an example of this, in that while the main character has a defined appearance, it's established that the Avatar actually is the player, using their computer to materialise a new body in another world. The same is true for Lord British, who literally is series creator Richard Garriott.
- Undertale: At the end of a genocide run, the soul inside the player character will thank the player for releasing him (It Makes Sense in Context, we will call the soul "Chara" from now on.) Chara will ask the player whether or not they should erase the world, but will do it regardless of your answer. If you want to start a new game, you have to wait on a blank screen for a while before Chara gives you the option.
- The Back Story states that the arcade machine you're playing on is actually a remote control module from the future, so you aren't playing a game so much as actually piloting a Humongous Mecha in the distant future.
- This creates an odd situation when VO appears in Super Robot Wars, where the Virtuaroids are apparently being controlled by players as per normal, meaning they're fully aware that everyone around them is a fictional character, but they never say anything about it to the others.
- You find yourself in a room is a flash game with the tagline "a game that slowly realizes it hates you and everything you stand for"
- Assassin's Creed
- The series plays with this. the player actually takes control of Desmond, and he is in a computer taking control of a computer reconstruction of one of his ancestors. So while you are controlling a character in an in-universe simulation, parts of the game also have you controlling Desmond.
- Assassin's Creed III: Liberation and Assassin's Creed: Unity are framed as Abstergo-published games that are intended as Templar propaganda, but get hijacked by Assassins who contact you with the bits Abstergo cut out (Liberation) or an entirely new set of data they want analysed (Unity).
- Dragon Ball Fighter Z's storyline starts off with Bulma approaching Goku after the city just got wrecked by mysterious forces. Bulma notices that Goku isn't acting like himself, and can tell something is off. When Beerus and Whis arrive to scope out the situation, they detect that another soul has inhabited Goku's body and is currently controlling it. The real Goku is deep inside and making an effort to communicate. Part of the story itself focuses on the player's soul jumping from character to character to help fight off the villains of the story.
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
- Heavily deconstructs this trope. You control a new character in the series named Raiden, a whiny rookie who underwent extensive "virtual reality training" (meaning, he played a lot of video games) wherein he controlled a simulacrum of the protagonist of the last three games. Though Raiden fancies himself a badass because of that, as he goes about his mission he clearly has identity issues and is using his fabricated self-image to indulge in Escapism and avoid confronting his own personality. Which is exactly why his superior officers, who are revealed as the bad guys, chose him for his mission: they needed a weak-minded dupe longing for escapism to test whether they could control the human race through censorship and information control. As they insinuate that Sons of Liberty itself is the culmination of their efforts, the fourth wall crumbles and the line between player and protagonist blurs into non-existence. You realize you were never playing the game; it was playing you the whole time. But there's a spot of hope: after defeating the final boss, Raiden looks down at his dogtags, which have the player's name on them, and then throws them away, symbolically resolving to no longer be a controllable character.
- Which only lasts until Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, in which Raiden is once again under the player's control. But this time he doesn't seem to mind. Or even notice.
- Spec Ops: The Line is an ambiguous example. At the start the player just controls Walker like any other first person shooter, but as the game goes on and things go wrong several characters have lines with double meanings that could address the player or Walker or both. One notable instance has a character saying "you didn't give us a choice" and "you made us do this" to Walker, but the camera angle makes it look like he's looking out of the screen at you. By the end of the game Walker's gone off the deep end. It's all down to personal interpretation whether you just watched like you would with any other story, he's an extension of you and you messed up, you followed him on his journey to try to fix things, or you forced him to press on and do those awful things.
- The plot of Super Hot starts with the player receiving an early copy of a video game called superhot.exe from a friend. The presence of another "real world" character makes this a downplayed example, as this character fictionalizes the world the player belongs to.
- This trope is implied in The Stanley Parable. You are required to use a code given to you by the Narrator, which Stanley shouldn't know about (Lampshaded), and there is an ending in which the player leaves Stanley's body, leaving Stanley just standing there while the Narrator pleads with him to just go forward.
Non-video game examples:
- In MS Paint Adventures, which is formatted like a text-input adventure game where clicking "commands" brings you the next page, there are a few times where commands prompt the reader and the comic depicts a hypothetical reader reacting to things in the comic. For example, "MSPA readers: react to update" in Problem Sleuth, or any number of examples from Homestuck including "[S] MSPA Reader: Mental Breakdown".
- Pet Scop: Kind of a strange example where the video game only exists on the computer of a Lets Player, and there's a Creepypasta-esque story behind it.
- Dora the Explorer revolves around the main characters asking their viewers solutions to problems (the show was initially meant to be a computer game).
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