This is one of those weird and personal articles about video games and I’ve been asking myself while writing it if I should really do this. But I’m a gamer and this list is relevant to video games so why not.
The list below contains some (not all) of the quotes that I remember throughout my long years of gaming. It is worth mentioning that not all of these quotes are supposed to have a deep philosophical meaning, instead, some of them present the gravity of the situation amplifying the feeling of that moment to a great extent. The quality of the voice acting is also part of the main reason why, after all these years, I still remember what some would consider banal video games lines.
Crysis 2 – The hyping trailer
“Like Atlas before you, the weight of our world rests on your shoulders.”
These words spoken by Hargreave haven’t made it into the game and they were presented in one of the Crysis 2 trailers, but they resonate incredibly well with the idea of the one hero. This one quote builds up the hype of the game by underlining the challenge that awaits the player in order to save the world. Sadly, the incredibly hyping trailers of Crysis 2 could not be matched by the poor storyline of the game, but this doesn’t take away the importance of this sentence that stayed with me to this day.
Diablo 2 – A good story teller
“Stay a while and listen.”
What is to say about Deckard Cain? I doubt there are many PC gamers who don’t know this character. He was a member of the Horadrim who dedicated his life to warn humanity and guide its heroes during the darkest days. He was also keen on storytelling and could talk a lot about the past.
I’ve heard this line maybe thousands of times in my hardcore years of Diablo 2 and I still like to hear it every once in a while. Now that Deckard Cain has passed away, I will miss his crazy stories that always proved to be true.
Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm – The Queen of Blades
“I am the swarm. Armies will be shattered. Worlds will burn.”
This quote is from the opening cinematic of Hearth of the Swarm which shows the Zerg swarm tearing apart Mengsk’s forces on Korhal. While this is just a nightmare haunting the mind of a now humanized Kerrigan, as the game progresses it turns out to be more of a vision and The Queen of Blades actually invades Korhal to seek revenge or justice (maybe a little bit of both).
Starcraft 2 might have an underwhelming story, but Blizzard still knows how to write some epic lines to build up the hype for their games and these lines are perfectly placed in high quality cinematic videos. Looking forward for the Legacy of the Void opening cinematic!
Bioshock Infinite – Father and daughter
“Booker, are you afraid of God?”
“No, but I’m afraid of you.”
I was excited about Bioshock Infinite but playing it didn’t satisfy my need of Bioshock. I felt it was an overrated game, probably because it had such big shoes to fill and it sadly didn’t even manage to correct some of the weaker gameplay elements of the first Bioshock. But I’ve already covered this in another article (The most overrated games in the recent years), so I won’t go on.
I knew this quote from one of the trailers, yet I’ve waited for it for the entire game. It comes in a moment when the relation between the characters is not that stable anymore and shows how terrifying Elizabeth’s power is if she can scare even a guy that charges head on against an entire city to save a girl. The voice acting is amazing and captures the tension in a thrilling way, making this scene my favorite in the entire game.
Diablo 3 – Justice versus Valor
“You cannot judge me, I am justice itself!”
Diablo 3 is one of the most poorly written games by Blizzard. Yet this quote has sticked with me since the first time I heard it (and I heard it more than once because you know... Hack & Slash game…) and, ironically, it’s masterfully written and well placed in a great CGI cinematic.
After what looked like a life and death duel between two brothers that serve the same goal, the booming voice of Tyrael, the archangel of justice, reminds Imperius that even if he is a leader he’s not above justice. This is an epic moment, presenting the turmoil in the Heavens that makes the angels blind to the upcoming danger that is going to engulf both the Sanctuary and the High Heavens.
Warcraft 3 – The fall of Lordaeron
Through the sword Frostmourne to which Arthas sold his soul in order to defeat the Dreadlord Mal’ganis, Ner’zhul now whispers into the young prince mind and his warm welcoming home is about to turn into the worst nightmare for the Kingdome of Lordaeron.
Ner’zhul: “You no longer need to sacrifice for your people. You no longer need to bear the weight of your crown. I’ve taken care of everything.”
Terenas Menethil II: “What is this? What are you doing my son?”
Arthas Menethil: “Succeeding you, father.”
As the bloody crown rolls down on the steps in front of the throne, Arthas speaks about his new order that shall shake the very foundations of the world and one of the greatest villains of the Warcraft universe is born out of one of its greatest heroes. From this point forward, Arthas is going to take a dark road, killing those that stand in his way, in order to reach the Frozen Throne and become one with Ner’zhul under the form of the Lich King.
Terenas Menethil II death will mark the end for Lordaeron, but his part of the story was not over. His spirit, trapped in the Frostmourne is released when the sword finally shatters. Like a good father, Terenas e is going to stand next to Arthas during his last moments, after the Lich King was defeated.
A touching story, that begun with the eagerness of a young prince to protect his people and ended with him harming them.
Bioshock – The death of Andrew Ryan
It is no secret that Bioshock is one of my favorite games of all times. Its somewhat sick and twisted story, the creepy atmosphere and the satisfying gameplay make Bioshock a game to be forever remembered. With all its quality, especially in writing, there was a slim chance that Bioshock would not have at least a sentence on this list.
“A man chooses, a slave obeys.”
These are the last words of Andrew Ryan before his death at the hand of his own son (the player), one of the most unpredictable and epic moment in history of video games. The symbolistic behind these words covers the entire idea of the game, as Ryan himself searched for freedom at the bottom of the oceans. They also characterize the main character in a bizarre way by proving that he was never free but rather part of the grand scheme of a man who’s set on controlling everything.
As each swing with the golf club hits Ryan in the head, mutilating him, he continues to repeat this one sentence. A powerful scene and tragic ending to a man that tried to escape the human’s corruption and build an utopia at the bottom of the ocean, but even down there it wasn’t safe from man’s never-ending lust for power.
Bioshock – The Wild Bunny
“I want to take the ears off, but I can’t. I hop, and when I hop, I cannot get off the ground. It’s my curse, my eternal curse! I want to take the ears off, but I can’t! It’s my curse! It’s my fucking curse! I want to take the ears off! Please take them off! Please!”
It is hard to believe that someone will remember this? Guess what, I do! I can’t remember any poem from my schools days, but I can recite Sander Cohen’s sick poem on the spot at any time, day or night.
There is more to this poem than meets the eyes. At first it seems to be the rumbling of a mad man. But looking deeper it reveals the frustration of an artist that can’t escape the things that the world of Rapture has done to him and he was driven insane by this. He wears a mask that he can never take off because he is too ashamed with what he has become both physically and mentally.
This poem is representative for the state of disarray that Rapture is in after ADAM and the plasmids.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Welcome to the future
“I never asked for this.”
This is a line from the cinematic trailer and in-game that shows Adam Jensen stand on the augmentations that were made to his body after the incident that almost killed him. Now more machine than man, Jensen has to uncover a global conspiracy that could send the world into a dark age (an unavoidable future), while he accommodates with his new self.
This quote is shortly followed in the trailer by another line equally remarkable:
“If you want to make enemies, try to change something”
Jensen’s words not only describe humanity’s fear for change, but also the dangers in trying to change something, even if that something is already broken.
Dragon Age – The watchers
“In peace vigilence, in war victory, in death sacrifice!”
Grey Wardens were founded during the first Blight, more than a thousand years before the action in Dragon Age: Origins, the order holds great secrets even in their motto. They swear to protect the world from darkness and are waiting their entire lives, restlessly, for a Blight to come. In the end, darkness itself starts to take over their minds and they go to die so they don’t become the monsters they protect the world against. A long life of vigilance and fighting ends with a sacrificial death, that is the destiny of a Grey Warden.
Half Life 2 – Always confusing
“The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world.”
G Man is confusing as always right from the beginning of Half Life 2. It’s hard to really get the true meaning behind these words, but the possibilities are countless. Gordon Freeman has been through some strange places, but one thing is sure, he was the right man in every situation. The world has changed in the many years he was missing, but now he has returned and he is clearly going to make the difference (more or less, the story didn’t end yet, but doesn’t seem to get an ending anytime soon).
Fallout - War
“War. War never changes.”
How many times I’ve heard this through my many restarts of Fallout 1 and 2 or the many playthroughs of Fallout Tactics. The series has changed, a lot, but the quote remained, untouched by time and having the same horrifying meaning, summing our bloody history in just four words… (How screwed up is this?!)
Writing down these lines brings me to an odd realization. Many of the quotes are not even from my favorite games or games that I consider very good and as I think more about this it makes sense. A game doesn’t have to be a masterpiece to have something truly memorable in it and this article stands as proof for that. I might not praise some of the games above, but I can still appreciate what was good in them, even if it was one line, if that line got stuck in my mind it’s probably because it has something special over many other lines. I look at video games not just only as a form of entertainment, but as art and writing articles like this reminds me of how much artistic beauty there is in every well created video game and this makes me happy.