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Misused: BFG

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Feb 11th 2013 at 8:55:14 AM

Much as I am loathe to TRS a trope as venerable as BFG, it needs help. Its intended meaning is something along the lines of somebody wielding an M2 Browning .50 machine gun as if it was an assault rifle, but it's been repeatedly misused for artillery pieces, anti-aircraft guns, and even warship cannons. I've been checking on it and have removed inappropriate wicks on work pages when I've seen them, but I don't have the time or inclination to keep that up forever.

I suggest a title more indicative of its actual meaning. I've already altered the laconic from "Big Fucking Gun" to " A gun so huge that a single person shouldn't be able to heft it."

SeptimusHeap from Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Feb 11th 2013 at 9:33:02 AM

Witn 2742 wicks and 1193 a rename is a steep proposition. I think that people just ignore the B in the name.

Nohbody "In distress", my ass. from Somewhere in Dixie Relationship Status: Mu
"In distress", my ass.
Feb 11th 2013 at 9:39:44 AM

I think more a mass cleanup and definition tweaking would be what to consider before going for a rename, with the inbounds count.

If that doesn't, ultimately, solve the problem, then a rename might be in order.

edited 11th Feb '13 9:40:21 AM by Nohbody

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AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Feb 11th 2013 at 10:12:10 AM

I think this name has caught on too much to be changed, honestly. I believe the core problem is that this is one of them cool tropes where it's a badge of honour to list an example of your favourite gun.

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Feb 11th 2013 at 11:19:43 AM

I suppose Plan B would be to add a Bold Inflated note on the description that reiterates that this is not for artillery or Wave Motion Guns.

edited 11th Feb '13 11:20:03 AM by StarSword

SeptimusHeap from Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Feb 11th 2013 at 11:22:13 AM

I think that in a way a Wave Motion Gun counts as a BFG. Ditto for artillery.

Madrugada Zzzzzzzzzz Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
Feb 11th 2013 at 11:34:46 AM

Only if they're being used by a single individual. Any gun that is not generally a single-person portable gun that is being used by one person counts as a BFG.

The important point is not how the gun operates; it's that no single individual should be able to tote it around and fire it alone.

For instance, the example from Phule's Company already in the page. The fully-automatic shotgun the Sinthian tries to use qualifies as a BFG for him: he's about two feet tall, built like a slug (the creature, not the ammo round) and weighs perhaps fifty pounds. That it's a perfectly normal individual gun for a human to use individually doesn't change that.

edited 11th Feb '13 11:40:15 AM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Feb 11th 2013 at 11:38:02 AM

So in other words, if a ship mounts a spinal mass accelerator capable of delivering 1 megaton to the target, that's not a BFG. If a Badass Normal walks around carrying a mass accelerator capable of same, that is a BFG.

edited 11th Feb '13 11:38:25 AM by StarSword

Madrugada Zzzzzzzzzz Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
Feb 11th 2013 at 11:40:40 AM

Yes. The discrepancy doesn't have to be that extreme, but talking about the very same gun, in one case it's not a BFG and in the other it is.

edited 11th Feb '13 11:41:33 AM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Xtifr World's Toughest Milkman Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
Feb 11th 2013 at 11:47:57 AM

What about a Living Ship carrying a gun larger than it is? grin

Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
Noaqiyeum The it-thingy from the October Country Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
The it-thingy
Feb 11th 2013 at 11:51:31 AM

I think part of the decay might have started in exactly that way - 'this gun is far too large for the person carrying it' extends quite reasonably to 'this gun is far too large for the vehicle on which it is mounted'.

Anyone who looks dangerous is dangerous. Anyone who doesn't look dangerous is dangerous and sneaky.
Madrugada Zzzzzzzzzz Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
Feb 11th 2013 at 11:56:20 AM

A living ship is living, but it's also a ship, a vehicle. It was designed and constructed. A BFG is a weapon carried by a person. No, not a BFG.

edited 11th Feb '13 11:58:10 AM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Feb 11th 2013 at 12:35:28 PM

I would agree with removing all examples about weapons that aren't carried by a person. It's also about the size of the weapon, not the power of the shot. Doesn't count if it's a Hand Cannon, nor if the character's using it with a bipod or lying down, such as large snipers/AMRs.

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Larkmarn Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
Feb 11th 2013 at 1:13:28 PM

How about a mecha with a massively oversized cannon?

Feb 11th 2013 at 1:15:49 PM

No. Mecha are vehicles.

Goal: Clear, Concise and Witty
Feb 11th 2013 at 1:26:17 PM

And weapons that are designed to be used with Powered Armor (e.g. StarCraft Marines' Gauss rifles)?

SeptimusHeap from Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Feb 11th 2013 at 1:27:56 PM

They are weapons, I think.

m8e from Sweden Relationship Status: Wanna dance with somebody
Feb 11th 2013 at 2:37:45 PM

Mechanical Life Forms (like Transformers) count as people too, right?

Feb 11th 2013 at 2:47:53 PM

I'd allow it. Besides, I think I remember an instance in Transformers Cybertron of the Tagalong Kids working together to fire a fallen Autobot rifle.

SeptimusHeap from Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Feb 11th 2013 at 2:54:30 PM

I think we are sidetracking a bit here. The question here is whether a rename or cleanup are worthwhile - remember, that in the past we've had issues with things north of 2000 wicks since it's hard to assemble a workforce that large.

Feb 11th 2013 at 3:23:00 PM

We could always just loosen up the definition to match the misuse... (Not saying we should, but we could.)

Feb 11th 2013 at 3:40:38 PM

I'm gonna start keeping track of the solutions:

  • rename to prevent misuse
  • description rewrite/alteration to prevent misuse
  • accept trope evolution and rewrite description to allow such examples
    • My rebuttal: At which point, where is the distinction between this and Wave Motion Gun or similarly powerful vehicle weapons?

edited 11th Feb '13 3:41:35 PM by StarSword

Feb 11th 2013 at 3:44:13 PM

Uh, I reread the trope description, and there is, as far as I can tell, not a single word that defines this trope as being "too heavy for an individual to lift." It's "defined by its bigness," and it's a "visual metaphor for power," but I can't find anything about the inability to lift it IRL to be even a secondary definition, let alone a primary.

What's going on?

Feb 11th 2013 at 3:53:09 PM

"A BFG might have a mounting or bipod, but the main use in-story is for our warrior to sling it around as a personal weapon. With gritted teeth. While standing knee-deep in a pile of spent brass, shouting Get Some!"

Nothing ambiguous here. A weapon held by a person, although it seems to be too big to do so.

Goal: Clear, Concise and Witty
Feb 11th 2013 at 3:55:19 PM

That says nothing about it being impossibly (or even improbably) too heavy to lift, though. I can't see anything in that paragraph that would exclude any sort of large personal weapon that a sufficiently strong warrior could lift IRL.

Given that, I have no idea where this idea of what the trope is "supposed" to be about came from. Are we just arguing over something that's not really there?


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