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A mortal decides to take the role of God into their hands

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Snowy66 on Oct 3rd 2017 at 3:24:54 PM
Last Edited By:
Snowy66 on Jul 14th 2018 at 8:57:48 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Formerly called Playing God, but name changed to make less confusing.


http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/aya_1.png
God is the almighty creator who decides the laws of creation. Generally no one else is able to possess such power or be able to make such choices. But that won't stop individuals from trying to take up the role of the almighty father. For whatever reason, this person has decided that divine action is required and they are the only one suited for the job. After all, God doesn't seem to do much these days, mysterious ways be damned.

Through science, magic, or even plain old military power, an individual decides they are tasked with making decisions that only God should. They may decide who lives and dies, they will create new life, they will change the events in history, they will bend the very laws of reality.

May overlap with A God Am I. However the distinction is that this person doesn't necessarily see themselves as a god. Instead their motivation comes from carrying out what they believe to be the will of a god, which may or may not be themselves.

While particularly common with villains with god complexes, it can just as easily be a hero who is forced to play a final unethical hand out of desperation. Though the heroes may decide this is one of those powers that no man should have.

Reasons may vary, but common instances of this trope occurring include:


Anime and Manga
  • Light Yagami from Death Note becomes this after acquiring the Death Note. He decides that the world is a mess and he would use his newfound powers to create a perfect new world where he would rule as a god.
  • In Dragon Ball:
  • Haruhi Suzumiya is a rare example where the titular Haruhi isn't even aware she is playing up this trope, where for the most she's under the impression that she's an Ordinary High-School Student. But nonetheless still qualifies as she is a Reality Warper who literally created the current reality that the story takes place in. This makes her the unknowing goddess of said universe, who possesses the power to change or destroy it on a whim.
  • Dr. Genus from One-Punch Man. An Evilutionary Biologist under the belief that humanity had unlimited potential but were all less developed than he was. Genus' goal was to make humanity evolve so that he could live among equals. However he was rejected by society as a lunatic, so went and carried out his experiments by himself. In his own lab assisted by clones of himself, he created new 'superior' species that he intended to replace humanity. He promptly gets stopped by Saitama who wipes most of his creations out, which leads him to have a Heel Realization that he is the one who needs to change and not humanity.
  • In Overlord (2012), Ainz decides to run his kingdom like a benevolent dictatorship, believing an immortal lich will avoid many of the mistakes a living king might make out of impatience, short-sightedness or putting emotions before reason. While he doesn't consider himself a god (or much of a planner), his immediate subordinates do (as they used to be NP Cs programmed to follow their player's command), and he so impressed one of the native humans she started a cult dedicating to spreading word of his greatness.
  • In Sword Art Online:
    • Akihiko Kayaba created a virtual world where he trapped thousands of players and made this their new reality. Kayaba effectively had power over life and death, declaring that players could never leave until they cleared SAO.
    • Nobuyuki Sugou, who also made a virtual worlds and stole many SAO survivors from Kayaba and rule over them as Game Master with administrator powers. However Sugou takes it even further than Kayaba by being a Mad Scientist who attempted to unlock the power to control the mind and soul, which he thought of as God's work.
    • Quinella the high administrator of the Underworld who absorbed the power of the Cardinal System so she could become the true God of the virtual world. Through her ambitions for power she pretty much succeeded in becoming a true god.

Comic books

  • Watchmen
    • Doctor Manhattan is a deconstruction of this. He is literally a Physical God who upon being revealed to the public is forced into a "godlike" role by the government where he would help to effortlessly end wars. However when the public turns on him, after he is framed by Ozymandias for giving several people cancer, he gets fed up with humanity and abandons it. He then resides on the moon while the world could have ended in nuclear war for all he cared. Ultimately Doctor Manhattan is a rare example of a god figure turning his back and refusing to play god. By the time he finally decides to do something, it's too late and Ozymandias has already wiped out New York City. He becomes closer to the traditional depiction of this trope with the reveal he was the one who triggered a Cosmic Retcon and created DC's New 52 continuity.
    • Speaking of Ozymandias, he also qualifies for this trope. Knowing humanity is on the verge of destroying itself due to the threat of the Cold War, Ozymandius takes it upon himself to trigger a series of events that climaxes in the destruction of New York City and the death of millions. This would lead to the United States and the Soviet Union to believe they were under extraterrestrial attack (the film changed this to Doctor Manhattan himself) and would unify against the common threat.
  • Parodied in a The Simp Sons comic, where Professor Frink and Doctor Colossus take over as coaches of two kids' baseball teams. Both scientists equip their teams with all sorts of robotic gear to enhance their improvements. When the day comes that the two teams face off against each other, both scientists amp up their teams proficiency. There is actually a setting on the level of control they have called "Playing God" which causes havoc across the field. Colossus and Frink both have a My God, What Have I Done? upon seeing they have gone too far.
  • Chief Judge Cal from Judge Dredd goes mad with power, and harbors delusions of godhood. Upon hearing the phrase "nobody's perfect," Judge Cal presumes that every citizen of Megacity One has violated one law or another somewhere in their lifetime, and that everyone should be executed immediately. Though the other judges are loathe to go to this extreme, Cal has the backing of the alien Kleggs to enforce his wishes.

Films

  • Avengers: Infinity War reveals Thanos' endgame is to use the Infinity Gauntlet and erase half the life in the universe from existence. His reasons stem from his beliefs the universe will succumb to an Overpopulation Crisis due to limited resources, so half the universe must be exterminated to ensure the other half can survive. [[spoiler:He does just that by the end of the film, gathering all of the Infinity Stones and kills half the life in the universe with a snap of his fingers.
    Thanos: If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist. It needs correction.
  • Bruce Almighty has a literal example which pokes fun at this trope. Bruce Nolan decides that God is doing a terrible job and after endless complaining, the almighty father himself hears him out. God decides to grant Bruce his godly powers, so that he can prove he can do a better job at being God.
  • Christof from The Truman Show as the director of a world built around a TV show. He's essentially the god of Truman's world deciding everything that happens in one man's life. He can create event after event to hinder Truman's quest to escape Seahaven: traffic jam out of nowhere and then dispersing it again, forest fire, leak at nuclear power plant.
    • He really plays god when he decides to raise the sun hours earlier than its supposed to:
    Christof: Cue the sun!
    • He does so again when he localizes a storm above Truman's boat and orders lightning to strike it.
    Christof: Hit him again!
  • Billionaire industrialist Hugo Drax from the James Bond film Moonraker is discovered to have a cloaked satellite stocked with select couples to repopulate the Earth after his airborne neurotoxins have eradicated existing "undesirables." Drax, of course, will be supremely in charge of everything thereafter.
  • Dr. Totenkopf of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. He dedicated his life to extracting specimens from every species of the world, experimented in creating new lifeforms, and made a giant rocket to serve as an ark to both safeguard the species within as well as disintegrating the Earth as a flood. A recording of Dr. Totenkopf has him quoting extracts from the Bible and replacing himself as God himself.

Literature

  • In Animorphs, the Ellimist found himself in this position. Initially he was an exceptionally technologically advanced being who sought to encourage the prospering of civilizations with his aid, however he came into conflict with a similar being known as Crayak who's goal was to expunge all life. Crayak challenged Ellimist to games where the fate of civilizations depended on the outcome, however this abruptly changed when the two erupted into full scale conflict and attacked one another. The battle finally ended when Crayak tricked Ellimist into entering a black hole, but rather than destroying him, it ended up merging him with the fabric of space-time and turning him into a true Physical God. Using his newfound powers Ellimist would stop Crayak from destroying any more lives. However, Crayak soon figured out Ellimist was behind this and too made his way into the fabrics of space-time, where the two of them agreed to no longer fight openly and instead play their cosmic scale game with the Animorphs and Yeerks as game pieces.
  • In The Count of Monte Cristo: The Count decides that he will become an agent of God, doing good and righting wrongs wherever he goes after he sees that God put him in a position to do so (making him rich, educated and a complete unknown after fourteen years in a prison with an Omnidisciplinary Scientist abbot), but more importantly getting revenge on the people who put him in jail in the first place. He does so, but becomes ever more radical in his actions (he doesn't hesitate to target his enemies through their children and ruins a banker without considering that it might affect others as well), and only stops when he realizes he's caused an innocent (well, legally innocent) person to die by driving Villefort's wife to poison her in-laws and stepdaughter, Villefort figures it out and demands that she commits suicide but neither of them expected her to take her son with her) and nearly destroyed one of the few people who he's sworn to protect (Maximilien nearly commits suicide when he hears Valentine de Villefort might die, when the Count only saw her as a means to torment her father). This leads him to spare the last man he'd sworn revenge on and then retire from the world.

Live Action — TV

  • Doctor Who:
    • The Master is particularly fond of doing this. Many of his plans involve becoming "master of all" and ruling civilizations.
    • The Doctor usually averts this, humbly thinking himself as just a lonely survivor traversing the universe and lending a hand. However he himself is guilty of this in "Water of Mars" where for the first time he decides he is above the "laws of time" and that he can decide what events will happen.
      The Doctor: The laws of time are mine! And they will obey me!
  • Damien Darhk from Arrow, who wished to create a utopia. He created H.I.V.E. and led a group of loyal followers who would reside in an arc, while Damien played Noah and wiped out life on Earth with nuclear fire.
  • In The Flash:
    • Barry Allen is guilty of this where after reaching his Despair Event Horizon, he decides to go back and change history to save him mother's life, creating an Alternate Timeline known as Flashpoint, although he's later forced to undo this to a Close-Enough Timeline.
      Savitar: And it would've stayed that way, but then you decided to play God. You created Flashpoint and changed everything.
    • DeVoe, the Big Bad of Season Four, feels that humanity has lost its grace and needs intervention via "The Enlightenment". His Evil Plan involves using a satellite to transmit dark matter worldwide which will reset everyone's minds to a primitive state, allowing DeVoe to 'reteach' everyone as he sees fit.
  • Hugo Strange from Gotham. A Mad Scientist who spends his time resurrecting the recently deceased as his experimental creations.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Invoked in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. When asked what he wants for Christmas, Crow answers, "I want to decide who lives and who dies."

Newspaper Comics

  • Prince Valiant calls out the inhabitants of a secluded cove for playing god in one story arc. The town council has dispatched some key citizens for minor peccadilloes, including the cove's seagate keeper. Without him, Viking raiders entered the cove unopposed, where they begin sacking the town with little resistance.

Video Games

  • Mega Man Zx :
    • The Project Haven, started by Serpent, the Big Bad, aims for creating a new world of peace where people are freed from their hate-filled hearts and suffering. To this end, he secretly stages "Maverick uprisings" where people (who are all different mixes of man and machine) are slaughtered and become Cyber-elves that he feeds to Biometal Model W so he can use it to become a powerful "Mega Man" that will rule the world. He mentions that the power of Model W is not destruction, but rather rebirth and evolution... And that "evolution requires sacrifice".
    • In the second game, Master Albert feels that "Mega Man" (people who can merge with Biometal) is the next step of humanity's evolution, and so he aims to Restart the World with his superweapon, Ouroboros, and leave the worthy people to become Mega Men in the wake of the new world, with him as the new god.

Web Original

  • Invoked by Lex Luthor in "Death Battle'' episode "Iron Man VS Lex Luthor" where he accused Tony of this before declaring himself of it as well.
    Lex Luthor: Fool, you're just like all the rest. Building a suit to save the world, trying to play God. Let me tell you something Stark! There's only one man in the world that's fit to play such a role! Me.

Western Animation

  • Ben 10:
    • Anyone who acquires the powers of Diagon would be given this temptation. Vilgax immediately deems himself a god when he gets granted Diagon's power. However when Ben uses Ascalon to strip Vilgax of the power, he also gets faced with this predicament. Vilgax tries to goad Ben into being a god, telling him that with the combined power of Diagon, Ascalon, and the Ultimatrix he could rid all evil for good and get anything he wanted. Ben very nearly succumbs to the temptation, but ultimately uses the power to undo the damage done earlier and to release himself of the power.
    • In Ben 10: Omniverse, Ben is forced into this in "So Long and Thanks for the Smoothies". After failing to stop the Anihilaarg from destroying the universe, Ben uses Alien-X to recreate an almost exact copy of the universe. This comes back to bite him hard in "Universe vs. Tennyson" where Ben gets put on trial by the Celestialsapiens for altering the universe without permission.
  • In the episode of Futurama, "Godfellas", Bender is left drifting in space and becomes God to a civilization of tiny humanoids which set up a township on his chest. Unfortunately, his attempts to play god fail abysmally, culminating in a rival colony on his rear starting a nuclear war and killing everyone off. He then meets an entity that may or may have not been actual God, who reassures him he could have done worse and advises him to use a "lighter touch", which he demonstrates by manipulating Bender into rescuing some monks Fry and Leela left locked in their monastery in their search for Bender.
  • In Green Lantern: The Animated Series, after Aya turns off her emotions and defeats the Anti-Monitor, this new emotionless, mechanical Aya decided that 'emotions were a flaw' and sets about acquiring enough energy to travel back in time to the birth of the universe so she can remake it without sentient life ever existing.
  • In The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror VII" episode "The Genesis Tub", Lisa accidentally creates a civilization of microscopic humanoids. Watching them evolve at a rapid rate, she had no idea they worshipped her like a god since she was their creator.

Feedback: 41 replies

Oct 3rd 2017 at 6:43:46 PM

"When a villain gains superhuman abilities or achieves his dearest dream, one can expect him to gain delusions of godhood." That's the header for A God Am I. How is this different from that?

Oct 3rd 2017 at 9:48:22 PM

Most of these examples seem to fall squarely under A God Am I already. In addition, we've got God For A Day for when people actually do get divine powers for a while.

Oct 3rd 2017 at 10:48:58 PM

There can be overlap with A God Am I, but the key difference is the person only believing they are a god (which can be due to a variety of reasons like arrogance or hallucinations), while this trope is specifically they are actually trying to be god.

Example. A Pharaoh can just sit on his throne and tell his servants "I am a god and I'm going to be worshiped", he thinks he's a god but hasn't actually done anything to back up his claims.

Contrast someone Playing God, a Mad Scientist who wants to actively take up God's duty and reshape the evolutionary path of humans. He's not just sitting their passively thinking it, he's going to great lengths to accomplish it.

@intastiel. For instance, Light Yagami both believes himself to be a god due to his power, but is also taking up god's role in judging who lives and who dies. But then we have someone like Vegeta who after attaining Super Saiyan is so arrogant he believes himself to be a shiny golden god. But he really isn't at all and does not perform any of god's duties.

Oct 4th 2017 at 12:09:15 AM

On the fence about this one. I want to see more examples that don't fit under A God Am I if its description was broadened by a sentence (eg. "Sometimes, the characters will actively try to take up a god's duties" or similar).

Oct 4th 2017 at 2:32:56 AM

Okay, here's one.

  • In Ben 10 Omniverse, Ben Tennyson is forced into this in "So Long and Thanks for the Smoothies". After failing to stop the Anihilaarg from destroying the universe, Ben uses Alien-X to recreate an almost exact copy of the universe. This comes back to bite him hard in "Universe vs. Tennyson" where Ben gets put on trial by the Celestialsapiens for altering the universe without permission.

Oct 4th 2017 at 4:19:48 AM

^ Seems to be less "Ben tries to play god with the universe" and more "Ben found a god-like way to recreate the universe because he had to, being the hero and all".

Also, tropes are flexible, so I think believing to be a god can lead to trying to be one. Sounds like a fairly logical consequence.

Oct 4th 2017 at 4:49:43 AM

The phrase and concept itself is very common in fiction with "playing God" often dropped around. Wikipedia even has a page for it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playing_God_(ethics) It's one thing to declare yourself a god, it's quite another to try to be the God.

I had an example from The Flash above where Barry's actions of changing history and creating Flashpoint were also considering Playing God. Savitar literally accuses Barry of this.

Oct 4th 2017 at 4:56:12 AM

  • In the episode of Futurama, "Godfellas", Bender is left drifting in space and becomes God to a civilisation of tiny humanoids which set up a township on his chest. Unfortunately, his attempts to play god fail abysmally, culminating in a rival colony on his rear starting a nuclear war and killing everyone off. He then meets an entity that may or may have not been God, who reassures him he could have done worse and advises him to use a "lighter touch". Which He demonstrates by manipulating Bender into rescuing some monks Fry and Leela left locked in their monastery in their search for Bender.

Oct 4th 2017 at 1:15:40 PM

Oct 4th 2017 at 5:50:07 PM

^^ Bender there does think of himself as a god as soon as he starts getting worshipped. Its also one of the first tropes listed on the Recap page for that episode.

Oct 4th 2017 at 9:55:58 PM

Think of this as a subtrope of A God Am I. Often both will occur, but not always. Literally all that's required for A God Am I is saying or thinking "I am God". But thinking it alone won't guarantee they'll try to be god. Heck, someone with no god complex could Play God and be closer to a god than the guy actually thinking he's a god. Weather Wizard from The Flash 2014 believes his powers immediately make him a god, yet all he did was rob banks, so not Playing God.

For a God Am I, the person has to want to be a god. Whereas Playing God can be out of reluctance too.

And in Bender's case he didn't decide to be a god on his own. He was put into the position unvoluntarily. He had to choose whether or not he should be a god under special circumstances.

Oct 4th 2017 at 10:19:52 PM

So? A God Am I is just having delusions of godhood, like how the phrase "Playing God" is generally used to refer to a deluded person trying to be God. There's very little difference between those two.

On Futurama, the point is that Bender isn't God, he only allows himself to believe he is due to his narcissism and isolation.

Oct 5th 2017 at 2:52:09 AM

@Dust Snitch. That's the thing. Playing God is not about delusions of godhood. It's when you want something done, which in a typical setting can only be possible by someone godlike. For that reason someone who does not believe they are a god, can still be Playing God.

In the context of the overlap.

It's easy and all to claim "I am a god", while with Playing God it's saying "here's my proof"

Playing God is defined by the intentions and the actions, while A God Am I is defined by thoughts and beliefs.

Oct 5th 2017 at 11:24:56 AM

Just remembered another Mystery Science Theater examples:

Oct 5th 2017 at 6:56:14 PM

^^ Can you give me an example where there's no overlap?

Oct 6th 2017 at 4:17:50 AM

There's already a few on the page.

  • In The Flash 2014, Barry decided to play god, changing history by saving his mother and creating an alternate timeline. He decided who got to live and die, but he at no point thought of himself as a god.

  • In The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode, Lisa created a civilization of micro humans. They worshipped her like a god since she was their creator, even though she himself has no such thoughts.

  • In One Punch Man, Dr. Genus desires to evolve the human race to its full potential. While he does see himself as superior to humans, he does not see himself as God himself. The proof of that is he wanted to make humans his equals so he could fit in, rather than rule over them.

Oct 6th 2017 at 5:03:16 AM

Hm, I think the problem is that what exactly a god's duties are is pretty vague, and that's if we're just talking about the Christian God. He can theoretically do whatever he wants, so to see "creating a virtual world" and "creating alternate timelines" on the same page is casting a really broad net. That way, any malevolent Reality Warper or time traveler can fall under this trope just by virtue of their actions, even if the godlikeness is never pointed out. I think having the "playing god" aspect acknowledged in-series is a pretty good qualifier, and will avoid misuse.

(Also, isn't the Sword Art Online example just A God Am I, since there's nothing godlike at all about virtual reality and they're doing it out of a desire to powertrip?)

Other tropes you might want to link in the description: Evilutionary Biologist, Reality Warping Is Not A Toy, No Man Should Have This Power

Oct 7th 2017 at 7:13:21 PM

@Synchronicity, it wouldn't be restricted to the Christian God. Just any divine being in whatever the context.

I do agree my trope description could be better. I'm open to suggestions on how it can be improved for clarity. From what I can gather, it's an action that holds weight in such a way that no any ''one" person should have that kind of power. The usual candidates would be "choose who lives and dies" and "change course of history".

In regards to time travel, merely some random interaction in the past isn't enough to qualify. The character needs to have the actual intentions they are making a big change.

For SAO, while a virtual world itself isn't Playing God, in this context their respective virtual worlds completely govern how players live. Kayaba took away a large portion of player free will by forcing them into a death game, having complete GM control over their VR world, and had power over life and death. Sugou also falls into the category due to human experimentation to acquire control over the human soul.

It's like the Truman show example, Christoff completely controls his world and is explicitly stated to be Playing God (by official reviewers I think).

Oct 6th 2017 at 8:42:14 AM

If this trope is about how "no any ''one' person should have that kind of power," then would it act as a super-trope to Reality Warping Is Not A Toy and Creating Life Is Bad?

Oct 6th 2017 at 4:58:18 PM

^^Yes it would. In fact someone already made a redirect for Playing God on Creating Life Is Bad.

Oct 7th 2017 at 6:43:27 AM

The Laconic is way too long, it should be cut down to one sentence.

Oct 7th 2017 at 7:07:32 AM

Yeah, everything from "Super Trope" on should be put at the bottom of the description.

Oct 7th 2017 at 7:54:15 AM

Newspaper Comics

  • Prince Valiant calls out the inhabitants of a secluded cove for playing god in one story arc. The town council has dispatched some key citizens for minor peccadilloes, including the cove's seagate keeper. Without him, Viking raiders entered the cove unopposed, where they begin sacking the town with little resistance.

Oct 7th 2017 at 6:41:46 PM

Film

  • Billionaire industrialist Hugo Drax from the James Bond film Moonraker is discovered to have a cloaked satellite stocked with select couples to repopulate the Earth after his airborne neurotoxins have eradicated existing "undesirables." Drax, of course, will be supremely in charge of everything thereafter.

Feb 1st 2018 at 11:30:00 PM

Feb 2nd 2018 at 1:34:06 AM

I've always interpreted "playing God" as deciding purely on a whim who lives and who dies. Death is meted out willy-nilly with little to no cause.

Comic Books

  • Chief Judge Cal from Judge Dredd goes mad with power, and harbors delusions of godhood. Upon hearing the phrase "nobody's perfect," Judge Cal presumes that every citizen of Megacity One has violated one law or another somewhere in their lifetime, and that everyone should be executed immediately. Though the other judges are loathe to go to this extreme, Cal has the backing of the alien Kleggs to enforce his wishes.

Jun 17th 2018 at 10:35:31 PM

"Playing God" is proven to be too broad, and this draft already lists the various meanings.

@draft maker: The draft shouldn't say whether taking on God's duty is good or bad. I've seen some cases in fiction where God is a job and can be easily taken by mortals (although there may be tests for it).

See also God Job.

Jun 17th 2018 at 11:25:38 PM

^Okay. So how would you suggest I narrow it?

I've put in your other suggestions.

Jun 18th 2018 at 12:41:50 AM

Omniscient Morality License is another related trope; they're usually excused if the one holding the license is god or another sufficiently powerful being, and mortals who plays with this trope are often called "stepping into god's boundary".

Jun 18th 2018 at 1:48:08 AM

  • The Count Of Monte Cristo: The Count decides that he will become an agent of God, doing good and righting wrongs wherever he goes after he sees that God put him in a position to do so (making him rich, educated and a complete unknown after fourteen years in a prison with an Omnidisciplinarian Scientist abbot), but more importantly getting revenge on the people who put him in jail in the first place. He does so, but becomes ever more radical in his actions (he doesn't hesitate to target his enemies through their children and ruins a banker without considering that it might affect others as well), and only stops when he realizes he's caused an innocent (well, legally innocent) person to die by driving Villefort's wife to poison her in-laws and stepdaughter, Villefort figures it out and demands that she commits suicide but neither of them expected her to take her son with her) and nearly destroyed one of the few people who he's sworn to protect (Maximilien nearly commits suicide when he hears Valentine de Villefort might die, when the Count only saw her as a means to torment her father). This leads him to spare the last man he'd sworn revenge on and then retire from the world.
  • Overlord 2012: Ainz decides to run his kingdom like a benevolent dictatorship, believing an immortal lich will avoid many of the mistakes a living king might make out of impatience, short-sightedness or putting emotions before reason. While he doesn't consider himself a god (or much of a planner), his immediate subordinates do (as they used to be NP Cs programmed to follow their player's command), and he so impressed one of the native humans she started a cult dedicating to spreading word of his greatness.

Jun 18th 2018 at 8:08:23 AM

Sorry, I meant that Omniscient Morality License should be in the bolded list of tropes. "Deciding how things should go because you know how things would go" is one of the meanings of "playing god", so that if you're a mere mortal you'd be reprimanded for it.

Jun 18th 2018 at 8:19:52 AM

^Ah okay. Though I merged it with God Job because there seems to be overlap between the two

Jun 24th 2018 at 3:15:02 AM

^maybe, but that's the best I can come up with for the moment, because the previous one caused too much confusion.

Jun 24th 2018 at 8:56:50 AM

I don't think this trope needs a picture. You can't tell Thanos is "doing God's duty" from that pic alone. And Avengers Infinity War has zero mention about gods (unlike other examples), let alone from Thanos or towards him, so it's not an example, as nobody considered him doing a "god's duty".

(...unless you mean that "doing god's duty" is a form of blaming/accusing by us specifically?)

Jun 24th 2018 at 7:49:27 PM

I wanted to find one of him doing the finger snap but there isn't one at the moment.

Well examples don't always directly use the word "God", in his case it's because he's making the decision that no single person should be allowed to call the shots on. One very common application of the trope is "deciding who lives and dies" and halving the universe in half definitely falls under that.

The reason I went with Thanos is because I wanted the image to be an example where it didn't overlap with A God Am I.

Jun 24th 2018 at 9:24:57 PM

^ so this trope is about viewer's accusations all along. Noted.

Speaking of Thanos, he's doing it for the universe, thanks to the gauntlet; scale matters here. Does "deciding who lives and dies" count as "playing god" when, say, you're a medic who're treating a lot of injured victims or you're a general who ordered his men to assault a city?

Jun 24th 2018 at 9:35:24 PM

^Both actually. The whole "no one should have that kind of power" thing in play. Though not every example has a viewer explicitly expressing their views to the performer.

Precisely. Scale is very important when considering this trope. It must be outside of normal level and the intention behind the act must be taken into consideration to differentiate it from "standard mass murder".

Also on second thought I think you were right in that image isn't representative enough. So I'll change it.

Jun 25th 2018 at 1:53:41 AM

^ by "viewer's accusations", I'm saying that we, tropers, and not (necessarily) the in universe characters (or narration), think of their actions as "doing god's duty".

I don't know if that is actually an issue or not (part of me is afraid that this kind of thing will lead to heated debates among tropers), so I'd like to see other tropers' opinions on this.

  • Mega Man Zx
    • The Project Haven, started by Serpent, the Big Bad, aims for creating a new world of peace where people are freed from their hate-filled hearts and suffering. To this end, he secretly stages "Maverick uprisings" where people (who are all different mixes of man and machine) are slaughtered and become Cyber-elves that he feeds to Biometal Model W so he can use it to become a powerful "Mega Man" that will rule the world. He mentions that the power of Model W is not destruction, but rather rebirth and evolution... And that "evolution requires sacrifice".
    • In the second game, Master Albert feels that "Mega Man" (people who can merge with Biometal) is the next step of humanity's evolution, and so he aims to Restart The World with his superweapon, Ouroboros, and leave the worthy people to become Mega Men in the wake of the new world, with him as the new god.

Jun 25th 2018 at 4:59:23 AM

^ Oh I see. Well it would help if it's acknowledged or implied in-universe, but instances that are obvious enough wouldn't be exempt.

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