10 Video Game Quotes That Hit Me Hard
Various gaming quotes I've come across and constantly think about years later.
I’ve been playing video games since I was a kid, back when I was filled with anxiety and had a hard time with multiplayer games. I still do have a hard time playing PUBG, even though I paid the full $30 to have it on my computer. I’ve thought about Overwatch, knowing its ranking systems and awesome story beyond team-based online gameplay could maybe fit my style a bit better. But I think it’s just the way I am—I prefer story-based games that I can enjoy at my own pace, without having to rely on others.
As an avid gamer and also a writer and editor, I like to make note of script that catches my eye, particularly quotes that characters say during a game. Here are ten quotes I’ve come across that really made me think, either in terms of the story or real life, or both, and in no particular order.
Perusing through this list, you can probably figure out my gaming preference.
Oh. And *SPOILERS* ahead.
1. "The obvious path is humble. Safe. But pays the wage of a cook, not a champion." —The Lion Statue, 'Jade Empire'
This is the first thing I ever heard in a video game that made me go "Ooooh..."
The Lion Statue in Master Li's back room has two tests (both of which are quite easy if you understand primary and secondary colors in their most basic forms). If you complete the first one, a voice tells you about obvious paths and the difference between cooks and champions.
I can't tell you the amount of times I have written this quote down or told someone about this. It's an amazing rendition of telling someone to try the harder route while sticking to the vocabulary of the game (cooks and champions).
It even fits with the alignment mechanic that BioWare is known for, as the "good" alignment usually tends to be the harder road than the "bad" alignment. Whenever I played the evil route, I would always feel like I completed the game in half the effort.
In real life, it's even more complicated. In anything you do— sports, work, school—if you take the easy route, you're safe. But you'll never rise above anything if you stay there. You need to work hard to be a champion.
2. "A wise dragon once told me, 'Aim high in life, but watch out for flying boxes.'" —Revilo, Spyro the Dragon
Revilo is a gem. All the dragons are gems, actually, but this guy hit me with the first quote I ever remembered. It wasn't that my five-year-old self could actually recall this quote off by heart, but in every playthrough I did of the game, I was able to remember exactly where this dragon was, what level he was in, and that he was talking about boxes.
Flying boxes to be exact. Who expects flying boxes in any situation? In the context of the game, the following boss fight with Jaques has the player literally avoiding pixelated boxes being thrown at them at high speeds. But this quote means way more than that.
“Aim high in life,” is said so often in so many ways, you could classify it as a cliché. We know that it means “Strive to be the best you can possibly be,” or other words in a similar fashion. “Watch out for flying boxes” however—like I said, who expects that?
That’s the point.
Reach for the stars (eugh... cliché in my mouth), but be careful and ready for surprises along the way.
Maybe I got a little too deep with the Spyro quote but you get the idea.
3. "Stand in the ashes of a trillion dead souls and ask the ghosts if honor matters. Their silence is your answer." —Javik, 'Mass Effect 3'
Mass Effect is a pretty big series. I don't really recall too much about 3... but I do remember this.
This quote comes up when Shepherd and Javik talk about honor and their fight with the Reavers, Sheperd suggesting it's worth it while Javik is claiming it isn't. What Javik says hits me not just in Mass Effect but also in all games and stories of war. You'll see throughout this list that I mention a lot of other BioWare games, particularly Knights of the Old Republic. This quote is like something Canderous Ordo said:
"Win or lose, as long as the fight was worthy, then honor is gained. The glory at having triumphed over impossible odds is what drives us. If there's nothing at stake—your possessions, your life, your world—then the battle's meaningless."
Canderous' statement is the complete opposite of what Javik is saying, despite both of them recovering from similarly tremendous war losses. Granted, Canderous lives for battle, whereas Javik and his nation didn't —at least not in the same way.
This quote also made me think of big wars that we've had in real history, for example, World War II and the kamikaze pilots. If you asked the dead, both the pilots and the people they crashed their planes into if honor mattered, what would you hear? The government at the time coaxed kamikaze pilots into crashing their planes into ships and other targets for the honor it would bring them.
Does that still stand for when they are dead?
4. "We share blood. We are not brothers." —Noob Saibot, 'Mortal Kombat 9'
Meh, you could argue whether Mortal Kombat is more of a multiplayer game or a single-player game. Maybe the earliest versions were more multiplayer, having played from MK1-4 with my brothers. Deception, Shaolin Monks, and Armageddon all started to bring in the missing element of story mode, and it's a continued theme in the next installments.
This quote came from MK9, near the end when you play as a cyberized version of Sub-Zero. Up until that point, Sub-Zero—previously Tundra—had been seeking to avenge his older brother, the original Sub-Zero; he even took his name as a way to pay his respects.
If you weren't aware, MK9 is a remade, alternate reality version of all the previous games, in which Raiden tries to make a future where Armageddon doesn't happen. Because it is a remake, I was already aware that Bi-Han (the first Sub-Zero) would become Noob Saibot, and Kuai Liang (ex-Tundra) would become the new Sub-Zero. I never knew if they would meet, and if they did, I was expecting a not-so-nice family reunion.
I did not expect this reunion to be as heartbreaking as it was.
Kuai Liang, pleading with this darkened version of his brother, is suddenly hit with "We share blood. We are not brothers," a rather emotional blow. Imagine saying something like that to any family member—it would be terrible (unless that family member was terrible, but that's a little different). Especially if they had been working so hard to mend or work on your relationship.
I just found out that in MK11, Kuai Liang also says this same line to Bi-Han after they fight again. It would seem that family ties really have severed now.
5. "The stars shine during the day too, you know. It's just that the human eyes can't see them because of the bright light of the sun. But... if you look up... the stars are always with you. As long as you don't forget that, the stars will always be watching over you." —Leon, 'Star-Crossed Myth'
Yeah, don't make fun of me—I indulge in the odd Japanese otome game once in a while. Of them all, I expected Leon from SCM to be a lighter read, especially with how mean and disrespectful he was at the beginning of his route. Boy, was I wrong.
As the first route released for the game, his story is based more around the main problem of the series: that a God of the stars such as himself cannot fall in love with a human, and vice versa. The other problem is that he has a "Mark of Sin" on his chest, which doesn't allow him to return to the Heavens unless he can figure out how to get rid of it. It seems easy at first to help him fix his problem without falling in love, but eventually, as the two spend enough time together, they begin to have feelings.
What makes it worse is that it starts to become more and more obvious why his Mark of Sin is fading—that it requires him to learn what love is in order for it to fade away and for him to return. Yet, the more he falls in love with the MC, the less he wants to leave... and the closer he gets to the time when he has to.
He says this to the MC when she just figures it all out and he is about to disappear for the Heavens for good. He suggests in a roundabout way that he will always watch her, however, even if he won't be there anymore. I'm not crying.
6. "The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Watch for that moment, and when it comes do not hesitate to leap. For it is when we fall we learn whether we can fly.” —Flemeth, 'Dragon Age 2'
Flemeth has a lot of good stuff in the Dragon Age games. Another game I have yet to finish (give me a break; the first Dragon Age was really long), but that doesn't mean I don't constantly think about this quote. I don't remember the context, unfortunately, but I don't think you need the context to appreciate the wise scriptwriting this quote required to bring it into being.
She is saying here that society is afraid to take big risks because they think they may fail, but that we should always take the big risks when he see the chance. The "for it is when we fall we learn whether we can fly" means that we need to become more comfortable with recognizing that we may not fly in the end.
But it never hurts to try and find out.
I don't have a whole lot else to say about this one, but I think it's more important outside of its context than within.
It's similar to the Jade Empire quote—take the easy road to avoid the pitfall and stay on level ground. But you will never get the chance to fly above if you never take the leap (like a champion).
7. "I long for the day when men turn away from invisible monsters and once more embrace a more rational view of the world. But these new religions are so convenient—and promise such terrible punishment should one reject them—I worry that fear shall keep us stuck to what is surely the greatest lie ever told." —Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, 'Assassin's Creed 2'
I don't bring this one up because I believe in it, nor do I bring it up because I don't. My own beliefs aside and unrevealed, I spent the entire first Assassin's Creed game learning about the Crusades and two sides of a religious argument, half expecting the next installment to reveal that Altaïr followed a specific faith.
That was not the case, as the Codex revealed quite the opposite. It also hit me that, with the Assassin's code, they would be the kind of people who wouldn't follow a faith, believing in true freedom and all (so yeah, I can be a little slow).
The Codex, written by Altaïr himself, divulged into the various happenings and thoughts he had while studying the world as Master Assassin. One of the last notes is where this quote comes from, in which he expresses his disappointment in society for believing in "invisible monsters" (AKA God) rather than looking at the world more literally. He states that people should spend the time to research into why something happens, rather than saying "God is the reason" (hence, "convenient"). A bold belief, especially for the setting and its presence in a video game.
These are some heavy beliefs, and likely ones that some people may not take so lightly. The "monsters" bit can also be offensive to those who follow a faith. I will not say if I agree with him or not about religion, as I want to keep those thoughts to myself. At the very least, I will agree with him in that people should not be forced to follow a religion—speak and commentate openly about religion whether you believe or not, but you should never be forced to believe in something if you don't.
8. "It is a terrible thing to fall... but far more terrible is to admit it." —Kreia, 'Knights of the Old Republic II'
Is it getting obvious I really like old BioWare games?
It's too bad I never had the chance to play the first Knights of the Old Republic, although I did at least do my homework on Revan history.
This quote goes hand in hand with the perplexing conundrum that is Kreia. Is she good? She must be because she's helping you out and reteaching you how to use the Force. She saves you from trouble twice. She teaches you history and gives you advice. Is she evil? Well, she did betray you, and she is a dark Jedi.
She admits here that she fell, but she... didn't?
Kreia is a character in a classic BioWare game, which means that the characters—including the player—follow this good/evil scale. In most previous games, characters will either have their principal alignment, or they'll fit in a gray area that follows the player with whichever alignment the latter chooses. In some cases, characters aren't influenced in either direction (as is the case with Jade Empire).
Kreia... never does either of those.
KotOR in general, has the lovely feature of showing characters' alignment, which is affected by both the player's alignment and their influence on the character (if the character likes the player, they will show the same alignment and vice versa). I remember first playing the game and getting all frustrated that Kreia's alignment wouldn't move! It was so weird, I thought my game was broken because Atton everyone else's alignments were changing but not hers.
Turns out, that was the point—she was never meant to be influenced by the Exile because she just wasn't. She was neutral, because she has yet to admit that she has already fallen. A truly gray character.
9. "Uh, hey, do me a favor. Maybe sometime, uh, you could check inside those suits in the back room? I'm gonna try to hold out until someone checks. Maybe it won't be so bad. Uh, I-I-I-I always wondered what was in all those empty heads back there. You know... oh no..." —Phone Guy, 'Five Nights at Freddy's'
I played the first Five Nights at Freddy's on my phone before I had a laptop that could run it, and made it all the way to Night 5. But this night... Night 4. This night gave me chills, listening to Phone Guy being slowly hunted down by the animatronics he was working so hard to protect.
I was actually surprised he didn't freak out during the phone call. He was calm, asking the next night guard after him to go check out the suits when he got a chance; something that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, considering that the Phone Guy could check it out himself if he survived, and the next night guard would only exist in the position if Phone Guy didn't survive. He had to have been under so much stress that he couldn't even hyperventilate in the security room.
I don't have a whole lot else to say about this one. As I said, it gave me chills playing it at night in my bed on my phone, listening to a recording of someone slowly dying through my earbuds.
10. "So tell me — What are you willing to sacrifice to do the right thing?" —King Logan, 'Fable 3'
Of all the quotes on this list, King Logan from Fable 3 is inarguably the one I consistently quote the most. This includes that Jade Empire one.
Even though Fable 3 wasn't my favorite game to come out of the series, (in fact, probably my least favorite gameplay-wise), the story and decision-making that they incorporated was definitely much more complicated than in its predecessors. And the game does not let you go long thinking otherwise.
All games like this have a "first decision"—one that you are required to make but is really just a test because in the end, it doesn't mean anything; your alignment stays the same regardless. Logan's first decision for you is simple:
Pick one to have killed:
- The protestors outside; or
- Your childhood best friend
Most would choose the protestors, but through this decision, you are plagued with the knowledge that the protestors are there because Logan had been stripping them dry of all resources, including money, food, and fair wages, and has even made things so dire in Albion that families have had to rely on child labor. Yikes.
Not to mention, throughout this decision, your childhood friend is telling you to choose them to die because your friend believes in the protestors' causes. At the same time, the protestors plead to let them live because the protestors have children at home.
Did I mention your decision is timed? If you don't choose one in the allotted time, Logan kills both of them.
It's a good thing this is in a video game, because I would be having a mental breakdown.
Logan accompanies this choice with asking, "What are you willing to sacrifice to do the right thing?" What is the "right thing" that he speaks of? Well, that is all up to you.