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YMMV / Real Life

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  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: This is omnipresent too, though it's particularly prevalent amongst religious and political issues.
  • Anvilicious:
    • The entire World War Two arc was basically just the writers saying "fascism is bad, mmmkay?" over and over and over again for six seasons.
      • And yet the moral just won't click.
    • Nine, counting the Spanish Civil War cutscene, although that one was poorly written and confusing.
      • Meanwhile some hack was going over a newly independent Poland and decided that after making its breakout appearance on world maps that it was going to have its epic. It digressed into antics including Loads and Loads of Characters leading into a Gambit Pileup that caused wars with the Soviet Union and Lithuania, an internal coup and border disputes with Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Reads like train wreck Fan Fiction culminating with the invasion by Hitler. God was likely on one hell of a bender when he wrote the interwar period in the region.
    • The War on Terror story arc. It got real old real quick with its morals, but it stuck around with its various spinoffs for nearly twenty seasons before it ended.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • The War On Terror Arc has been going on for over thirteen seasons, and the resolution (presumably the end of terror) is nowhere in sight.
    • The War on Communism / Cold War arc lasted a record-stretching 75 seasons and supplied a major Crisis Crossover of the 20th century. Some characters seem to be unaware that the arc ended, and continue to build massive bomb shelters and stockpile ammo in case of a commie takeover. Some would love to see the arc brought back, since they enjoyed the power they had during its continuity.
      • The class war against billionaires and their conservative/libertarian enablers has been going strong and has outlasted the communism arc.
    • The Crusades, which lasted almost 200 seasons. The early arcs were okay. Big fights, mighty nations fighting. They'd been setting it up for hundreds of seasons. There was some Seasonal Rot with the later ones, though. The Children's Crusade, for example, or the Fourth Crusade, which never made it to the Holy Land. Instead, it turned on Constantinople and destroyed the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines would regain power about sixty seasons later.
    • The War On Drugs arc had so little success, and met with so much apathy, that it was put Out of Focus without even being aborted.
    • Ditto the "War on Poverty", which was arguably a Red Herring.
    • The "War on Christmas" storyline keeps being brought back every December to collective eyerolls, due to its Anvilicious themes and Creator's Pet protagonist preaching to Strawman antagonists.
    • The "COVID pandemic" arc, which has lasted almost all of 2020, and still seems not to be wrapping up until well into next season. Not helping matters is the fact that the arc has resulted in many people having to stay in their homes and avoid socializing and many forms of entertainment being postponed or outright cancelled, resulting in a total lack of interesting storylines.
  • Archive Binge: People have spent their entire lives exploring the backstory (in fact, there is an entire career path dedicated to this). This has been known to lead to the ultimate Archive Panic. Just to make things even harder, much if not all of the archive is written by Unreliable Narrators, and From a Certain Point of View is almost universal.
  • Archive Panic: It's got anywhere from thousands to billions of years of backstory (depending on who you ask), which each area having its own complicated intertwined histories and conflicts. Learning about even half of it could take an entire lifetime.
  • Ass Pull: Just when someone thinks they know everything about how the game is played, a curveball's thrown (on personal or server-wide levels) that changes everything.
  • Awesome Music: Has its own page.
  • Breather Level: Holidays, including sabbath/days of rest (once per week is a common standard). Not everyone uses these days to pursue leisure activities, though. And not everyone gets them either.
    • Contracting an annoying yet contagious disease that means a young character cannot attend school. Some players try to fake illness for just this reason, although their rate of success varies.
    • Most people are forced by hit point decrease to undergo a mandatory breather level for at least a few hours out of every 24. How much time the level takes to complete, and how beneficial it is in restoring hit points, varies greatly by person and circumstance. Many players view semi-interactive cut scenes during these breather levels that may on occasion interrupt the level. Sudden decreases in some stats such as Bladder Capacity may also interrupt the level.
  • Broken Base:
    • One of the biggest is the release-date history. Many claim it took billions of years of trial-and-error programming to get the final product, others claim the head programmer put it together in a week as a pet-project. And even the identity of the head programmer is in question (for the matter, whether there even is a head programmer is a subject of constant debate). Some claim to be in contact with him or her, and also claim they know his or her true vision for the product and how is should be used, while others argue he or she wants something completely different. There are also others that denounce any claims as hoaxes. The fact that the lead appears to insist on speaking through other people and not openly to everyone doesn't help matters.
    • Food stamps/EBT/LINK is a big one as well. Some say people who are on any sorta welfare are just abusing/misusing it, then another side says it's helpful for people who do have legit disabilities or cannot work.
  • Cargo Ship: Goes back a lot further than battery-powered toys.
  • Cliché Storm: Good luck finding a character archetype that isn't included.
  • Contested Sequel: World War II. On one hand, it had really improved action sequences, a more focused story, and enough Heartwarming Moments to warrant its own page, but on the other hand, it reused the villains from the first one, had the infamous "Genocide" story arc, and had an uncomfortably higher body-count even discounting that. And it's had tons of follow-up spin-offs too. Despite the Broken Base, one thing most people on both sides agree on is having no interest in a third installment in the series.
  • Creator Worship: Hoooo boy. Talk about the Trope Maker!
  • Crossover Ship: A small minority of characters write Show Within a Show, self-insert fan fiction, which can lead to this.
  • Crossing the Line Twice: Played somewhat straight, although instead of becoming funny, something just becomes acceptable. Happened in the World War 2 arc, and also happens in some levels like Iran.
  • Death of the Author: Friedrich Nietzsche took this approach to interpreting Real Life. Whether this counts as an example of the trope depends very much on whether said author exists.
  • Die for Our Ship: Unfortunately, in extreme cases, it can become literal. Also, in a case of being a bit too Literal-Minded, many sailors have invoked this trope, especially during warfare.
  • Disappointing Last Level: Old age. Despite its widely advertised shortcomings, still considered preferable to the alternative.
    • For many, the last few weeks/days of school before vacations. Also applies to Fridays before weekends, assuming one is lucky enough to have weekends off.
    • For certain niche gamers, the periods before the next game in their favorite series/genre gets released. This is also copious outside of gaming; fans of A Song of Ice and Fire are a frequently cited example due to the author's Schedule Slip, though this has abated somewhat since Game of Thrones Overtook the Book Series.
    • Sundays in general.

  • Ending Fatigue: Earth has several different scenarios named "countries", each one with a boss that rules it. Those bosses are renewed from time to time, to keep the game interesting, but the developer team did not design all scenarios well. Some badly designed scenarios have bosses that stay much longer than they should, and the "Refresh" button does not always work as expected.
  • Epileptic Trees: There are a numerous fan theories that the gamemasters secretly staged elements of series canon, such as the Apollo moon landing and the WTC terrorist attack. Every attempt to explain The 'Verse seems to fall into this, due to a combination of Shrug of God and an extremely complicated Kudzu Plot.
    • Most (if not all) religions fall under this category, as well.
  • Fan Myopia: Oh, come on. Who doesn't know about Real Life?
  • Game-Breaker: Each era has an example. Steel, gunpowder, and the airplane are good examples. Currently, nuclear weapons. Such an extreme example that their usage is formally banned, and many want them to be removed completely. Being born to a rich family will let you surpass many of the financial problems everyone else has to deal with.
    • If you have a lot of money, there are more arbitrage opportunities available to you that let you gain even more money.
  • Gameplay Derailment:
    • Oh so very much, a lot of which becomes codified and part of business as usual, to the point that it's hard to believe it was ever derailment in the first place.
    • Agriculture and animal husbandry allowed humans to control their own vegetation and livestock instead of having to hunt and gather for it as intended, to say nothing of modern technology.
    • Even the evolution of human beings themselves, or multi-celled organisms, or life itself would have counted as this at the time.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The Trope Namer. Also, some parts of Africa like George W. Bush... due to his spending tons of money on AIDS programs there.
  • Genre Shift: In the beginning of the series, the genre can be considered as Historical Fiction or Low Fantasy. Now, the setting is getting closer and closer to really hard sci-fi.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • In several paths, it's possible to make large amounts of money simply by moving other people's money around. Unfortunately, overuse of this bug in seasons 1929 and 2008 almost caused the entire system to crash.
    • During the George Bush arc the "Become Rich By Moving Other People's Money Around: The Good Version" (the one carried out by the public servants) was pushed up to 10 with the "economic stimulus package". The more edgy Obama arc pushed this up to 11.
    • A group of players found a way to combine the intuitive, physics-based control scheme with levels that weren't designed for specific maneuvers, and created a whole new minigame!
    • Occasionally the random character creation results in a character with an unbalanced skill tree, where some basic skills are either underleveled or outright missing — this can lead to annoyances such as reduced XP gain, slower movement speed and/or reduced agility or lag & pathing issues... not to mention that all too often other players either make fun or insult players trying to find help, and some even pretend the glitch doesn't actually exist and that anyone who claims to be affected by it is lying, lazy or seeking attention. In worst cases, the glitch and other player's reactions are so unfair that some players just stop playing altogether. However, the bug does have it's advantages as well; players spawned with it often gain more XP for less work on their preferred skill (sometimes to the point of giving them slightly easier access to the "celebrity" status), and the increased occurrence of random perks (such as Sherlock Scan) can be extremely helpful. Thankfully, many players have started to consider it as a feature instead of a bug.
    • Henry VIII famously exploited a bug called the Protestant Reformation in the religion system to reroll his marriage and pregnancy stats until he got the outcome he wanted. The developers ended up leaving this bug in the system until the Thirty Years War update made it a feature.
  • He's Just Hiding!: A small chunk of the fan base thinks prominent players, most notably Elvis Presley, faked their own Game Overs and moved to more remote servers, with many claiming to have proof of encounters with them. This has been all but Jossed as the seasons passed well beyond average hours logged for players who started in the 1930s or so.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: The ongoing ”Corona Virus” arc has already been criticized for being too similar to previous pandemic arcs (”The swine flu” and the plague arcs, to name a few). Especially since the ”wash your hands” aesop has already been predicted by viewers from the very first episode.

  • Moe: Most child characters have at least a few moments of this. Boy/girlfriends can also qualify.
  • Never Live It Down: Ask some viewers, and they'll tell you that the whole thing was ruined by a woman eating a fruit near the beginning. While no-one can verify if said episode actually existed or if it's just a case of Fanon, these fans feel that even after thousands of seasons, the characters can only be redeemed by a very specific method.
  • Padding: This applies to the series as a whole. While the Pilot Episode (dubbed the "Big Bang" by most fans) was fairly well-received, the following several billion seasons were criticized for a total lack of significant characters or plot events. The series picked up again with the introduction of the Earth story arc. Despite suffering a fair bit of Seasonal Rot since then, this is the story arc that is ongoing to this day and shows no signs of ending any time soon.
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story: While there is an extensive and highly detailed backstory for the world, along with a main arc that is happening right now in real time, outside of those who take the historian or anthropologist careers, most people skip over the story and focus on the social and money-grinding aspects.
  • Protection from Editors: The creator clearly believes the work is perfect as it stands and needs no editing. According to one (possibly apocryphal) anecdote, when one of the staff criticized the first chapter, the creator had him and his friends fired. Said ex-staff member and his friends would go on to form their own rival studio that would attempt to change the characters and plots even further.
  • Seasonal Rot: Although newbies tend to like the Cretaceous more, Jurassic fans are quick to note that the favored dinosaurs of that era (Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops) are mere stand-ins for the Killed Off for Real Allosaurus and Stegosaurus. Some even argue that the whole thing went to pot after the Triassic (and the less said about the seasons after the monkeys took over, the better.)
    • Winter. Everyone becomes much more grouchy, not to mention the cold. Those who are focused on the more temperate areas also have to contend with increased congestion due to tourism.
    • Older fans tend to think more fondly of the earlier seasons, while most newer fans feel that the more advanced technology really helps the show and that the earlier seasons suffered from unfortunate implications such as Monochrome Casting, and like the show better now that most actors have (more or less) equal screentime. It should be noted that even many older viewers agree with at least some of the changes, and that those who feel that the entire show is ruined by them are the Vocal Minority.
    • Many fans, even and possibly especially younger fans, weren't too fond of the 2016 and 2020 seasons, and the ones in between weren't held in much higher regard (often because of the changes in 2016.)
    • A bad season even has its own phrase: Annus Horribilis note 
    • Sometimes, however, seasons that people thought were awful in the moment can be reassessed at time goes by.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
  • Sequel Displacement: World War II is far more remembered than World War I. The Third Punic War is where Rome kicks Carthage's butt; anyone remember what happened in the 1st and 2nd? Also, frequently happens to monarchs: Everyone remembers Henry VIII. Henrys I-VII, not so much (with the possible exception of Henry V).
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Considering the incredible number of gold saucers, this was inevitable, really. You can make a decent living from a few of these, but unfortunately they're usually the least fun.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: Characters in Real Life can spend up to twelve years learning the background and physics of the world. Some additional skill trees take even more time to learn, depending on person to person.
  • Squick: Approximately 25% of the internet. Shock sites compose at least 10% of this. Certain sites can actually be High Octane Squick. Heck, there's a bunch of this outside the Internet.
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guys:
    • The responsibilities and reduced free time that comes with growing up.
    • The generally accepted criteria for a 'good' life. Not happily married with children and a 'respectable' job? You, sir, fail at life.
      • More often than not this aspect of the trope plays itself straight.
    • Demanding parents can bring this up even earlier than normal. "We're so worried about little Timmy's academic performance, his pattern recognition is lacking, he can't seem to grasp phonics, and he's small! Heaven knows what it'll be like when he's born!"
  • That One Boss:
    • The SATs.
    • Those following the Medicinal path can look forward to the 5 hour long MCAT. Fun.
      • Up to Eleven in France where those aiming for high-school teaching can expect written exams that can last for as long as 7 hours.
    • Interviews, for those who've neglected their social training.
    • Occasionally, an actual boss.
    • Actual showdowns / encounters with arch - enemies can count.
    • In fact, let's just lump in the whole Employment drill. This got even worse in the Recession arc.
    • School bullies, to whoever has been intimidated. Doesn't help that these are optional bosses that not every player has to face...
    • Drill instructors, for those who choose the Military path. Doubly so on servers where said path is mandatory.
  • That One Level:
    • The 20th Century has World War I, the Great Depression, World War II. The fact that all of these occur one right after the other is brutal, and many people were glad when they got through it.
    • The 21st Century had the War on Terror and the COVID-19 Pandemic. While the latter may not have been too bad depending on which class was chosen, the latter affected you no matter what you did.
    • The 100 Years War is the longest battle sequence in the story. You could have literally started living in it the moment you were born, and have died before it ended of natural causes.
    • Education in general is quite hated by the fanbase, but the most notorious are arguably the middle school and high school levels. On top of it, middle school is when the below-mentioned puberty mostly takes place, and high school is around the time when the employment mechanic will be introduced for many.
    • For the Western Roman faction, the Hun invasion was almost impossible to beat. Eventually the Roman faction won, but at such a cost as to eventually result in the faction's demise.
    • The "IRS Audit" level has proved roundly unpopular. Same goes for the "minimum wage job" stage. However, the "divorce" stage is probably one of the most hated in the entire game.
    • Air travel, post-9/11. Particularly, the early section where you have to get through security.
    • Throughout history, Afghanistan has proven itself to be That One Level for various factions. From The Hellenistic arc up to the current arc, it tends to leave factions a bit frustrated. It's been nicknamed "The Graveyard of Empires" for this reason.
    • Puberty. At least it gives you some decent stat buffs and a huge new set of character class options.
    • Finding a mate if your stats aren't high enough or you belong to the wrong class. Orcs have a much harder time at it than paladins.
    • Obtaining the almost-randomly occuring "cancer" glitch usually ends in your game ending, although every now and then people have survived it. A large amount of modders are currently trying to find a way to stop it from occurring.
    • The "Somalia" area is considered by many players to be the deadliest location one can find himself in the game (Outside of insta-kill-without-the-necessary-equipment ones like space and the ocean) and for good reason: PVP is fully enabled in almost all locations inside it with little to no punishment, and the player-killers themselves are usually armed with end-game weapons. Luckily, it has practically no rewards outside of a 100% map completion run, so most players Just Ignore It and those who spawn inside try to get out of it as soon as possible. (Somaliland is a sub-area of Somalia which, while somewhat dangerous, is considerably better than the rest of it, so players who are curious about how the area looks like are advised to visit it instead.)

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