Who can forget their most cherished memories from beloved games of old, like the catchphrase-filled Legend of Zelda and Pokémon, or even the likes of say Duke Nukem and Gears of War? Some of the greatest moments and saddest memories from video games involved the indoctrination of the greatest lines, most insightful sayings, and misunderstood translations. Whether you’ve played them or not, the following video games have not only outlived their releases and personified themselves within the pantheon of video game history, they’ve also proven to know just what to say and when best to say it.
The following titles have been earmarked as having the greatest video game catchphrases of all time for a multitude of reasons. Either the internet seamlessly weaved them into the fabric of pop culture, or the particular mission was too difficult to beat, and even still more simply showcase the brilliance in these games’ storytelling. Overall, they helped shape the culture of video games themselves and will only continue to add a breath of life to their namesakes and franchises of yesterday to implore their continuation today.
"I used to be an adventurer like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee.”
It's one of the most infamous of all the best video game catchphrases, and it always seems to bring a giant smile on my face whenever it's heard in-game. Told to you by random guards who float throughout the expansive universe, the "arrow to the knee" dialogue became an instant riot and tore through the internet (like a majority of these did).
As a player, hearing this said from one of the many various guards, it just adds a flavor of sentience and life to the game. You unwittingly feel connected with that guard, and feel pity as to his situation. And, as all of these mentalities flow through your mind, you fail to notice the massive Elder Dragon that has landed on top of him, now spewing hot flames your way in an angry rage. That's Skyrim in a nutshell.
"This is my grandson, what's his name again?"
Gary was never a truly likable character. He was snobby, bullish, kind of a dick, and seemed to always show up at the worst times to challenge you. But nothing in Pokémon is as memorable, or as confusing as the fact that Professor Oak somehow never can remember his own grandson's name. I think it's because you, the player, is Oak's favorite, but what do I know.
It's a common theme that runs throughout the Pokémon saga, and admittedly makes for one of the best video game catchphrases. I could never understand how Professor Oak could be so oblivious, and even when we do see "Gary," or "Red" or "Blue"—whatever you may have named him, since this is the game's way of giving you some control—he's either so much of a bully, or just a plain old brat, that you end up skipping all his useless dialogue.
"War. War never changes."
The opening crawl and rolling message that pieces all the story together in Fallout 3 truly encapsulates the world and destructive nature behind the game. It's set in a post apocalyptic world that seen some truly horrifying things, beside of course the various nuclear bombings that tore across America.
You seem to understand the whole meaning of this theme by the end, after involving yourself in small proxy wars and factions. As a weary and brave vault dweller traveling the wastes in search of your long lost father, the all too menacing deduction made by the narrator, who is voice acted by Ron Perlman, paints a dark and desolate image of a place without mercy, devoid of happiness, and in constant war.
"All we had to do was follow the damn train, CJ!"
It's among the greatest Grand Theft Auto games of all time, and quite possibly shaped the whole landscape of the open world genre: San Andreas. It's not only a world full of corruption, murder, gang violence, crazy hippies and drug abuse, it's also got one of the most difficult missions in video game history.
The well-forgotten train heist, which involves you jumping a dirt bike onto the top of a train while shooting at a rival gang, is by far the most difficult and excruciating mission to accomplish. One of the best video game catchphrases, though, is spoken by Sweet, oftentimes moments before you fail the mission (to a heavily bitten lib or girded teeth):
"All we had to do was follow the damn train, CJ!"
In the final showdown with your enemy, whether it's between the computer or a friend, the number one phrase, and among the greatest video game catchphrases is the legendary "Finish him!" mantra that leads to the inevitable (and often brutal) final blow to your foe.
Mortal Kombat has been an iconic franchise, and still continues to blow our minds and rip out our hearts to this day. The latest game in the series registered a need for fans to look into the best and worst characters that defined Mortal Kombat. Despite that, it's been readied identified that the game itself is the real persona to actually finish him! "Him," being us fans, of course.
"Snake? Snake?! SNAAAKE!!!"
Now written within the annals of video game history, Metal Gear Solid's iconic quote, said by Solid Snake's various comrades throughout the story, encapsulates the premise of video game quotes in of itself. The main reason for this is due to the fact that it meant Game Over.
Hearing that cry for Snake and a certain unfounded desperations was only an added bit of sentience to the game, or in other words, it gave the characters the exact words you felt, in certain cases. And, like most of the greatest video games of all time, it led to a variety of memes and internet montages that literally defined the game later into its long history. If there ever is a Metal Gear Solid: The Movie, let's hope this quote gets added.
"Thank you, Mario! But our princess is in another castle!"
There’s no shortage of Super Mario quotes, they wouldn’t call him super if otherwise. He’s the man in the red hat and his famous pitch, among the greater video game catchphrases of all time, is uttered whenever you'd finally beat a mission, or simply finish the current world.
It became a pop cultural hit for, among being an annoyance of a saying, it also pointed out that no matter how hard you tried in Super Mario Bros., you seemed to never truly get what you want. Like the princess, for instance, I mean come on! How many times can this well-protected chick get abducted by a giant dinosaur, who by the way must have at least 30 something castles? As you can see, it turned into a laughing riot, and was even made into a song, but nothing will be as memorable as that first time seeing it, all giddy and happy you've won, only to find out you're not even close.
"The cake is a lie."
Spawning a record breaking sequel and an unbelievable fan base like no other game (other than maybe Minecraft), Portal revamped the traditional puzzle play and opened players to an entire plethora of awesome features. One of which is the obvious "portal gun," a weapon that allowed the player to literally travel between walls, floors and ceilings in order to beat certain objectives and, of course, finish the game.
Hidden within a secret crawl space of the testing area within the game, accessible only later in the game, one can find a little message left by previous test participants. It can be found among various other sayings, an intricate line that means—what exactly? Well, cake is the promised in-game reward, so among other things, the message is a particular warning, one that may or may not go right over players' heads.
"It's dangerous to go alone!"
Told to you by an unnamed old man in the very beginning of the entire series, Link's character accepts a sword before donning his own image and deciding to save the princess. It's a beautiful story, in of itself, and the context of this phrase is to showcase the various ways you seemingly aren't alone, even when it seems you might be.
That's the beauty in the Legend of Zelda games. While the character of Link may have a host of conquests and missions to achieve, all while tackling monsters and creatures (or just plain old bad guys) of all kinds. At least you're prepared, and you know how unsafe it can be without your trust sword at your side. Thanks unnamed old man!
"We all make choices, but in the end, our choices make us."
With characters like Atlas and Frank Fontaine, it can get tricky choosing just who exactly has some of the best video game catchphrases. Andrew Ryan wasn't exactly the most influential of the bunch, or even the most inspirational of video game characters, but he's demonic attitude and dark demeanor served to paint him as the scariest individual in BioShock.
The game has a plentitude of moments that are strikingly memorable, like the opening scene itself and the players' own introduction to Rapture with the sign bearing: "No Gods or Kings. Only Man." This ideal is coming from the same mind of Andrew Ryan, creator of the city of Rapture. BioShock is a heartbreaking story, and Ryan is one of the key aspects of its downfall.
"Do a barrel roll!"
Legendary Nintendo 64 aerial based video game, Star Fox 64 became even more than the instantaneous classic that it was with the induction of the all-too popular "barrel roll" phrase, which was rendered into cyberspace analogs in 2004. Peppy Hare's iconic saying would seemingly be inducted into the best video game catchphrases, simply in the showcasing of your deflecting maneuverability in the Arwing space ship.
It became a smash hit once again when, in 2011, Google added an easter egg to their search engine by enabling the screen to literally preform a barrel role when searchers typed in "do a barrel role." While it grew into this iconic pop cultural image, some still say a Star Fox barrel roll isn't, and wouldn't even help. I guess it all depends on the player.
"All your base are belong to us."
The 1989 Japanese arcade game known as Zero Wing may not have been the greatest game ever made, or even remotely understandable, but then again nothing on the Mega Drive made sense, that's probably why it was readapted into what we all know as the Sega Genesis.
Despite being relatively clunky, on top of an even worse intro translation taken from its native Japanese, Zero Wing would become an internet sensation for these very reasons. The opening portion of the game reveals the setting to be 2101, when an alien cyborg by the name of CATS takes control of the Japanese space colonies in violation of a signed UN peace treaty. His voiced phrase, one that would be heard for generations, went as follows:
"All your base are belong to us."
Whatever that means.