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Video Game / DLC Quest

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DLC Quest is a 2011 satirical Indie Game developed and published by Going Loud Studios for PC, Apple Macintosh, and Xbox Live Arcade that takes Downloadable Content to its logical extreme. In this game, everything needs to be purchased. Including things like "Pause" and "Walk left".

Naturally, in keeping with the parody of shameless consumerism in modern video games, there is a Mission-Pack Sequel: Live Freemium or Die, which sends Player on an all-new quest to collect coins and spend them on even more DLC (oh, and save some villagers from a monster or something).

A sequel of sorts was released in 2017 that parodies shameless consumerism even further: Loot Box Quest.

DLC Quest contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Better than a Bare Bulb: Yeah, pretty much everything in this game is Lampshaded in one way or another.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Your horse arrives just in time to save the day! Hopefully you've bought that horse armor DLC pack!
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Buy DLC to skip the grinding! Buy DLC to trade your sword for a gun! Buy DLC to get armor for your horse! Etc.
  • Chekhov's Gag: The horse armor. Not just a shout-out! It turns out your horse comes to the rescue in the final battle, and if it's not wearing the armor, the bad guy will easily kill it and then kill you.
  • Cliffhanger: When entering the boss room for first time, credits roll. Of course, you can buy the ending DLC pack.
  • Cosmetic Award: "Awardments" are basically in-game achievements, and amusingly earning them also earns genuine achievements for the game on Steam and Xbox.
  • Deconstruction Game: The game is all about satirizing overreliance on Downloadable Content.
  • Double Jump: The first game has a double-jump, which has to be bought, of course.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Defied. One NPC asks you to perform several mundane quests for him. You say "No."
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: A planetary explosion occurs in the ending of Live Freemium or Die as a result of the Shopkeep selling Player a BFS so enormous and powerful that swinging it causes the world to spontaneously shatter.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: One DLC is a zombie pack, described as "This really doesn't really fit, but our marketing department said every game needs zombies."
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: As the trailer puts it:
    "DLC = Downloadable content. Quest = Quest."
  • Exaggerated Trope: This game is all about taking DLC practices to the extreme, particularly how some games go so hard on the Microtransactions you can barely play the game without paying for at least a few extra things after already buying, which is parodied here through the fact you literally can't play much of the game without buying something right after getting into the game, specifically the ability to jump and move left.
  • Excuse Plot:
    • Parodied. The opening cutscene shows you and a princess—helpful arrows will point out which is which—as she is kidnapped by a bad guy, also identified with a helpful arrow. Finally, the bad guy grabs the princess and runs away, and another arrow helpfully provides a label saying "Motivation".
    • Parodied further in that while this quest does exist, in practice the game is ultimately about you collecting coins so that you can get more DLC which enables you to collect more coins so you can get more DLC...
  • Fanservice: Mocked with the five-coin swimsuit DLC that changes every single characters clothes for the rest of the game. (Everyone is an 8-bit sprite, including the player and the princess.)
  • Fatal Flaw: The true Big Bad of both games would be nearly unstoppable in his final plan if not for the crippling flaw of greed, as the DLC shopkeep loves money so much he's willing to sell DLC packs of weapons that can hurt and eventually kill him just for a quick buck.
  • Fight Woosh: Right before the random encounter. It's lampshaded, of course.
  • Follow the Money: Coins. Which occasionally form the shape of a helpful arrow to point you in the right direction.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: The two shopkeepers are exactly alike. When you meet the second one, you question him on it, and he claims you've met his long-lost brother.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: Achievements are called "Awardments" in-game, though in the Steam version, the Steam achievement popups still say "achievement".
  • Joker Immunity: Exaggerated, Parodied, and Exploited. The bad guy is well aware that you can't kill him (because if you did, they wouldn't be able to make a sequel) and he rubs it in your face. In fact, you can shoot him in the chest and he survives, seemingly without a scratch.
  • Level Grinding: Parodied with literal grinding—you have to grind a sword on a grindstone 10,000 times before you can use it. But you'll probably want to buy the DLC to skip that.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Live Freemium or Die is less optimized and more prone to loading areas than the first part due to the developer not seeing it as important enough to delay for fixing. Naturally, there's a DLC for a day-one patch to fix that.
  • Long-Lost Relative: The Hand Wave for the Inexplicably Identical Individuals is them being long-lost twin brothers.
  • MacGuffin: Lampshaded with how the princess is named "Princess MacGuffin".
  • Memetic Mutation: Rather viciously parodied in-universe with Lamp, the town 'comedian' in Live Freemium or Die, whose 'jokes' basically consist of witlessly regurgitating various pop culture and video game memes ("It gets a laugh, like, a third of the time."), much to Player's frustration whenever you interact with him. Once you've interacted with him enough times, you can buy DLC which results in him dying from being repeatedly shot with arrows.
    Player: Looks like he took an arrow ... to the knee. And to the face. And several to the back. Yep, that'd do it.
  • Metroidvania: It's a platformer with a lot of backtracking involved to find the necessary items for progression.
  • Microtransactions: The premise of the game is satirizing having to pay for extra things to use in a game you already bought, specifically by making it where being able to do anything requires you to buy yet another DLC pack.
  • Moose and Maple Syrup: The sole point of the Canadian Dialog pack in Live Freemium or Die is tacking a questioning "eh?" on the end of most dialogue sentences, alongside making it where the DLC store Apologises a Lot.
  • Multiple Endings: There's a good ending if you bought the horse armor and a bad ending if you didn't.
  • Only Sane Man: Player just wants to get on with his quest, but is continually exasperated by all the crippling DLC limitations, pointless Fetch Quests and complete morons he has to deal with.
  • Product Placement: Parodied. During the second game, BUY POP billboards appear everywhere (you can pay for making them go away, which just replaces them with advertising for the studio that made the game), and there is a POP ZONE - BROUGHT TO YOU BY POP area.
  • Rainbow Speak: Like many other aspects of RPGs and other games, Live Freemium or Die parodies the tendency of text-heavy games to highlight important words with colored text through the Incredibly Important Pack, as the Mayor is literally unable to tell you his quest until you buy the DLC to allow him to "speak" in color.
  • Random Encounters: Parodied. There's one random encounter, and it happens in a fixed place at a fixed time. When they said it was "Random", what they really meant was that the character you encounter is named "Random".
  • Real Is Brown: Parodied with the High Definition Next Gen Pack which does nothing but making everything brown and pale. It references the trope name in its flavor text.
  • Save the Princess: The goal of the first game is to rescue Princess MacGuffin.
  • Schmuck Bait: There's a sign in the snowy area that mentions how so many lives were lost installing spikes at the bottom of a pit, which sounds a lot like the game trying to trick you into avoiding a secret area. Turns out that no, there is indeed a spike pit at the bottom. You are given an Awardment for ignoring the warning to sate you explorer's curiosity, though, so you at least get something by falling for the bait.
  • Sequel Snark: "That was pathetic! How do you expect them to make a sequel if you killed the badguy?"
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spikes of Doom: Live Freemium or Die introduces the concept of platformer death, and naturally the most common source of dying will be spikes on floors, ceilings, and walls.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: One underground path has a conspicuously placed sign that says "This is a dead end."
  • Treacherous Quest Giver: The frequent quest parodies naturally means the "secretly evil quest provider" would be lampooned too, only the game goes an interesting route about it with it turning out that the true villain of both games is the DLC shopkeep himself, who is determined to keep the adventure going because it lets him make more DLC to get more money from you.
  • Treasure Is Bigger in Fiction: Coins in this game are large.
  • Troll: There's a sign near the troll saying "No solicitors", and when the player realises he needs a better weapon, the troll responds, "Problem?"
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Actually grinding at the grindstone manually without buying the DLC leaves you with some extra cash, which you can use to buy things other than the Double Jump Pack when it's needed to get enough coins to actually finish the game. Soon you will have no money to even buy the pack and be unable to access the ending.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You get an awardment for killing all sheep and humans in the game, including the shopkeepersnote . This becomes a plot point in Live Freemium or Die.
  • Visual Pun: One collected item in Live Freemium or Die is the "Humble Indie Bindle", which references the Humble Bundle discount site for indie games while also literally being a "humble" bindle.
  • Wall Jump: Wall-jumping replaces double-jumping in the second part.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Parodied. The first thing you have to do is buy the ability to move left and jump.