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Jan 6th 2017 at 6:14:34 PM •••

Examples of a literal dancing bear?

Oct 12th 2014 at 3:05:57 PM •••

I've pruned incorrect or zero-context examples from the page - see below. The aim of the trope is to highlight where an aspect of the production has made it more famous than anything else. It's not a place to point out a gimmick that had no public reaction or interest. Some also need to be rewritten for conciseness or to give more context.

    Film 
  • Incubus, filmed entirely in Esperanto and starring William Shatner.
  • Andy Warhol's Sleep and Empire.
  • Mel Brooks decided to make a Silent Movie. Titled Silent Movie. In 1976.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe contains at least a few genuinely entertaining movies, but most of its appeal to the general public seems to come from the uniqueness of a comic publisher starting its own film studio, and later having that studio's franchises do a Crossover, keeping movies as a Shared Universe.
  • The films of Ray Harryhausen have this kind of appeal. Most of them are not what one would normally call "good" movies, but they still fill people with a sense of wonder at Harryhausen's skill, patience, and attention to detail.

    Live Action TV 
  • A fairly common element of the Philippine entertainment scene is the loveteam: an actor and an actress who are constantly paired with each other on projects. Many fans watch shows featuring these pairings simply because the actors are in a real life relationship, or the fans themselves are hoping for a real life romance to happen between the two. Producers often cash in on these by hyping the off screen romance instead of the project's merits. Worse, some often fabricate a supposed romance to generate interest.

    Music 
  • Various novelty covers of songs, from 8-bit remakes to ukelele renditions to metal versions of decidedly on-metal songs (or decidedly non-metal versions of metal songs).
  • Any posthumous "collaboration," particularly one where the artist has been dead for a while.

    Video Games 
  • Fracture, made even more egregious with the fact that its sole selling point - terrain deformation - feels underutilized.
  • Choice of Games received a fair bit of buzz for their Heroes Rise games, simply because they're text-based Interactive Fiction that's been picked up by Steam for distribution.
  • Lately both Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Black Ops have had a very tiny and, depending on one's opinion, useless gimmick in their DLC maps. Two good examples were the "Usable Elevator" and "Destroyable Shortcut" in Black Ops.
  • In Dark Void, not counting the playable prologue, you get to the jetpack about halfway through the game, and yet it is hardly utilized from then.
  • For all its flaws, Kane And Lynch: Dead Men was certainly an ambitious game, and yet IO Interactive decided with the sequel to strip nearly all of the most unique qualities of the first game and simply focused on a typical (if perhaps more functional than the first one) cover-based Third-Person Shooter with a documentary-style visual gimmick (and a Last Stand perk). The results were rather divisive.
  • Heavy Rain attracted attention for its highly cinematic presentation and unique gameplay that focused heavily on quicktime events. The game was most ambitious for having its story as its selling point, thus the cinematic presentation and streamlined gameplay. While critics praised it for its unique qualities, many gamers and critics alike panned it for its poor writing.
  • The hacking mechanic in Watch_Dogs, allowing the player the chance to abuse Everything Is Online in a Wide Open Sandbox, has many gamers salivating at the thought and preordering. Whether the game itself is any good remains to be seen.
  • All of the mindjacking didn't prevent Mindjack, the underlying game based around it, to be just another forgettable cover-based shooter.
  • The cancelled Guitar Hero 7 was going this route. They were going to make a new guitar that was close enough to the real thing that it would make the game exponentially more difficult, but not close enough to teach you how to play, and give you venues that responded to the song. They spent so much money on these new features that they couldn't afford a good soundtrack, which is kind of the point of music games in the first place.
  • Reasonably complex / commercial-grade games made entirely by one person tend to get a lot of attention for this, irrespective of their actual quality. Some examples include:
    • Cave Story
    • Dwarf Fortress
    • Touhou, although the fact that the cast is made up almost entirely of Cute Monster Girls might also have something to do with it.
      • It's also a Dancing Bear on another front: If it weren't for its characters and massive array of fan works, it would be simply be dismissed as yet another shmup series. In fact, many fans don't even play the games.
      • Also, it's one of the few Bullet Hell games most people are familiar with. And for good reason! Some of the bullet patterns are mind-blowingly complex! (Just look at the page image for Bullet Hell.)
    • Aurora (4X)
  • Although the Atari 2600 was a dedicated games console, and not a general-purpose home computer, Atari released a "BASIC" programming cartridge for it in the late-1970s. This came with a keypad (to overcome the lack of a keyboard), but otherwise had to live within the existing hardware limitations such as 128 bytes of RAM (tiny against even the most limited home computer such as the unexpanded ZX 81 with 1024 bytes!)note  and no built-in text generation hardware.note  Given that, it's astonishing the designers got it to work at all, but it's still generally accepted as being bizarre and unbelievably limited compared to even the most crude "real" home computer BASIC.

    Western Animation 
  • The failure to properly invoke this trope is actually a theory as to why Kung Fu Panda 2 did not make nearly as much in the U.S. as the first Kung Fu Panda. Just like every Dream Works Animation film before it, Kung Fu Panda was sold domestically on its huge A-list celebrity voice cast (which was insanely good, even by their usual standards) without revealing too much about the story. The film did very well, but it turned out to be the last time that DreamWorks was able to play the "celebrity voice" card domestically to any effect. Every project they did after Kung Fu Panda that tried to employ it (Monsters Vs Aliens, Megamind) disappointed at the box office, and that coupled with the diminishing star power of a lot of the original Kung Fu Panda actors ("Jack Black IS the Kung Fu Panda!" didn't have quite the same ring to it in 2011 that it did in 2008) meant that selling the sequel the same way they sold the original wasn't a good idea... but unfortunately DreamWorks did just that, and as consequence Kung Fu Panda 2 pulled in $50 million less domestically than the first film.

Jul 14th 2012 at 1:54:44 PM •••

  • Tite Kubo's previous work Zombie Powder began to draw attention in the West, not because its story was lauded or its artwork was praised, but because he was the Mangaka of Bleach and fans were interested in seeing his first work.

This trope is about works famous because "some gimmick involved in the production," not because they were associated with someone who later became famous.

  • Eversion would just be another retraux platformer if it wasn't for Zaratustra's inclusion of a button which allowed you to bend reality.

Unusual? Perhaps, but not really a production gimmick.

Oct 18th 2011 at 2:56:36 PM •••

Just posting here to say that this is the best name I've seen for a trope yet. Please never change this. It conjures such a wonderful image.

Nov 18th 2010 at 6:11:53 PM •••

OK, so what am I missing here? What makes TRON not an example of this trope?

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Nov 19th 2010 at 1:17:45 AM •••

What you're missing is that it's already listed.

Nov 19th 2010 at 6:46:35 AM •••

D'oh! OK, that's a good reason. But it also shows why it's a good idea to fill in the "Edit Reason" box, particularly for deletions. I thought I was in some bizarre Edit War with rabid TRON fans who didn't understand the Tropes Are Not Bad principle or something.

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