Gaming's most ridiculous one-liners

For the most part, video game writing isn't very good. It's a cliché, but with good reason. Sometimes, you fire up a game and get Planescape: Torment, The Last of Us, Uncharted, The Witcher 3, or Horizon Zero Dawn. More often, you wind up with poor Japanese-to-English translations, derivative stereotypes, characters that don't make very much sense, overwrought voice acting, and—if you're really lucky—outright nonsense.

A certain group of fans wouldn't have it any other way. Sure, video game dialogue can be bad, but it's gloriously bad. Video games throw characters and players into extreme, ridiculous situations. Why not have lines that match? The result may not rival high literature, but it's going to be memorable—and ridiculous—either way.  

'Invincible am I who threw my life away to become a cyborg gladiator! Invincible, but a little lonely.'

Many fighting games mimic the over-the-top melodrama of the kung fu films that inspired them. Some temper their genre leanings with a healthy sense of humor, too. Depending on how you feel about that thing, World Heroes 2—a Street Fighter II knockoff developed by Alpha Denshi and SNK—serves as either the best or the worst example of both. Every single one of its post-match taunts could be put on this list. Neo Geegus, a shape-shifting steel soldier, uses his victory to champion the Democratic party. Rasputin threatens to hug you to death.

But if we're only going to choose one line from each game, Brocken's is the clear favorite. He sums up his entire origin in a 13-word boast (well, he left out the part about being a Nazi, but in this political climate—or any political climate—that's probably a wise move). But that's not enough. He also takes the opportunity to reveal some out-of-character vulnerability, lamenting his solitary existence even as he stands over his fallen victim.

A robot Nazi soldier with feelings. That's a twist we absolutely didn't see coming.

'Jill, here's a lockpick. It might come in handy if you, the master of unlocking, take it with you.'

Resident Evil borrows a lot from B-movie horror, including the quality of the dialogue. It's poorly written—and the performances are even worse. That helps cement the series firmly in the schlocky horror movie tradition, but it also results in a number of hilariously bizarre catchphrases, many of which have become memes or inside jokes.

And yet, even in a game filled with clunky one-liners, Barry's instructions to Jill regarding locks and lockpicking stand out. In part, it's the awkward sentence structure—quite simply, no human being on the planet speaks that way. Partly, it's the awkward and transparent attempt to mix gameplay instruction with a random piece of "character development."

Mostly, however, the line's infamy results from calling Jill "the master of unlocking." How did Jill earn such a prestigious and oddly specific title? If she's a master, why doesn't she have a lockpick already—or, if she's really that good, why does she even need one? So many questions, and so, so few answers.

'Oh, hi. How are you holding up? Because I'm a potato.'

Portal and Portal 2 are funny games. Throughout the two adventures, the psychotic artificial intelligence GLaDOS taunts the series' hero, Chell, with passive-aggressive threats and insults. She's usually polite, but it's very, very clear that GLaDOS is up to no good.The potato line perfectly captures both sides of GLaDOS' personality—she starts out friendly before quickly devolving into barely constrained rage. But that's only half of it. See, there's no metaphor or symbolism in the above quote.

About halfway through Portal 2, Chell's guide, Wheatley, becomes mad with power and dethrones GLaDOS as the queen of the Aperture Science laboratory, forcing GLaDOS to find a new power source in the form of a potato battery (y'know, like the ones at a kid's science fair) and team up with the test subject she's spent the past game and a half tormenting. It's gloriously weird in a way that only ever pops up in video games, and this line embraces the absurdity of the whole escapade—without sacrificing GLaDOS' character in the process.

'I drink to prepare for a fight. Tonight I am very prepared!'

Can you imagine a game like Punch-Out!! coming out today? It's not just the Mike Tyson endorsement, which admittedly hasn't aged well. The game hinges on a number of reductive cultural stereotypes, most of which aren't exactly flattering. Glass Joe, the easiest opponent in the game, is French, perpetuating a long-standing misconception about the French that started after they surrendered in World War II. Dragon Chan is just Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan mushed together (they all look the same, right?) and played for laughs. Let's not even get started on Don Flamenco.

And yet the worst offender, by far, is Soda Popinski—or, as he was originally known, Vodka Drunkenski. That's right: one of the characters in Punch Out!! embodies the drunk Russian stereotype. When Punch-Out!! moved from the arcades to home consoles, Nintendo tried to soften Drunkenski's image by changing his name, but unless you're a child, it's still obvious that Vodka—er, Soda—is supposed to be drunk. He spends most of his time chugging out of a bottle. He admits that he's been drinking all day in the above quote.

It's not really funny. Alcoholism is a serious disease. Shame on you, Nintendo. We expect better.

'Your fists of evil are about to meet my steel wall of niceness.'

This line, from Fatal Fury Special, often graces lists of the worst Japanese-to-English localizations in video games. We don't speak Japanese, but it's not just a bad translation that makes Tung Fu Rue's odd taunt so memorable. After all, the quote doesn't have any typos. Grammatically, it's sound.

It's the content, not the form, that makes no sense. Okay, so "niceness" isn't the opposite of "evil," and doesn't really shield people from anything. That's a bad word choice. Other than that, however, it's just a string of bad metaphors. Fists can't be evil, niceness doesn't build anything, and what are you doing punching a steel wall in the first place? It's all utter nonsense. Maybe it flows better in the original Japanese. In English, however, it's a mess.

Still, compared to Fatal Fury's other zingers, which include lines like "You make me so angry, ya big silly" and "Blood is thick, but syrup's thicker," that wall of niceness is downright poetic. It's perfectly in character for Tung Fu Rue, too. When the confused old man takes enough damage, he transforms into a massive musclebound hulk. In other words, just like his dialogue, Tung Fu Rue doesn't make a lick of sense.

'I don't have time to explain why I don't have time to explain.'

After Halo brought a sweeping space opera to Xbox consoles all over the world, fans had sky high hopes for Bungie's next big franchise, the multiplayer-focused shooter Destiny. They were disappointed. While patches and expansion packs eventually transformed Destiny into something resembling the game's original promise (and Destiny 2 ended up being a legitimately good game), Destiny's plot wound up so mangled that it wasn't worth saving. Thanks to a tumultuous development cycle, the game's story is hazy, complicated, and relatively inaccessible.

Nothing epitomizes Destiny's storytelling failures like the Exo Stranger, a mysterious being who shows up during Destiny's main campaign in order to… well, we're not sure. She shows up, gives you some vague warnings, hands over a weapon, and then disappears. Nobody knows what her motive or grand plan is because, like she says, she doesn't have time to explain.

But she's clearly not in much of a hurry, since she's able to explain that she's out of time with the most circular, wordy excuse possible. In many ways, the Exo Stranger's signature line is a lot like Destiny itself: needlessly complicated, maddeningly obtuse, and ultimately saying absolutely nothing.

'Hi! I like shorts! They're comfy and easy to wear!'

The non-player characters that pop up in various Pokémon games aren't deep. For the most part, they only talk about Pokémon. That's why, whenever someone speaks about any other topic, it's exciting—even if the person's enthusiasm doesn't make much sense.

It's not just that the kid, christened "the Short-Pants Boy" by the collective Pokémon fandom, likes a certain piece of clothing. After all, people in the real world spends thousands of dollars and countless hours collecting sneakers. Why should shorts be any different? No, it's that the youngster is just so enthusiastic about his shorts that makes him appealing. Of course, claiming that they're "easy to wear," which is true of any pair of pants that actually fit, helps make the whole exchange memorable, too. Don't chalk all this shorts hype up to a mistranslation, either. The original Japanese dialogue might be understated when compared to its English counterpart, but the kid's pumped about his shorts in both versions.

The youth's unchecked glee has made him a favorite among Pokémon aficionados, but fans aren't the only ones who like the Short-Pants Boy. Developer Game Freak dropped a number of references to the kid in later Pokémon games, letting everyone know that they're in on the joke, too. The Shorts-Pants Boy isn't the most memorable character in Pokémon canon, but don't take him for granted. The game wouldn't be the same without him.

'Jesus hot sauce Christmas cake!'

True to its genre, Until Dawn is full of great one-liners. Until Dawn is an interactive slasher film—a particularly campy one, even—and like the movies that inspired it, much of the game's dialogue is (intentionally) over the top. It's also hilarious, at least when the game slows down and gives you a break from madly trying to keep all the wayward teenagers alive.

Unfortunately, not every Until Dawn quote qualifies for this list. For one, many of the best lines—like, say, Jessica's giddy curiosity when Mike suggests inviting Josh to a threesome—require the surrounding conversation to make any sense. Ridiculous, sure, but not a one-liner. Others need context. When Ashley exclaims explains that she saw a ghost and "it looked like Hannah, or maybe Beth!," you need to know that Hannah and Beth are twins to really get it. Finally, Until Dawn stars teenagers, and they swear like teenagers. Finding a line we can repeat on a family-friendly site takes a bit of effort.

Thankfully, Mike's exclamation of surprise, "Jesus hot sauce Christmas cake!" works great. It's arguably the silliest line in the game—we're fairly sure that nobody in history ever uttered that phrase before Until Dawn's cast took to the recording booth—and even better, Mike completely undercuts it by swearing in the very next sentence. Man, if you're going to go to such extreme lengths to keep things clean, commit. Anything else is just a waste of breath.

'Warning: water contains water. Water is hot. Water will get you wet. Please do not sue us.'

Most of gaming's most memorable one-liners aren't funny on purpose, and with good reason: comparatively, there aren't that many truly funny games. Some of the old LucasArts adventure titles—Sam & Max Hit the Road and Grim Fandango, for example—qualify. There's Portal, Portal 2, and Monkey Island, of course. Grand Theft Auto, Saint's Row, and Borderlands try to wring laughs out of absurd situations by going as low as possible, but depending on your tastes, your mileage may vary.

Add the Paper Mario series to the list. See, the Super Mario universe wasn't built to tell stories more complicated than "the Princess has been kidnapped, go rescue her." Forcing a narrative onto a surreal, illogical world like the Mushroom Kingdom is a great source of comedy. Taking Super Mario's weirdness, and then having characters react to it like real people, is even better.

When it works, you get scenes like Paper Mario: Color Splash's Redpepper Crater, where the above warning sign lives. That's not the only joke in the scene, either. A few minutes earlier, Mario decides to hop into the hot springs with a group of Toads. They're a little skeeved out. "I feel like we know each other pretty well, Mario," one says. "But not 'watch each other take baths well,' you know?" Another brims with self-confidence: "Hey man. If you've got it, flaunt it. And boy, have I got it."

You sure do, Toad. You sure do.

'You know what they say: all toasters toast toast!'

And then, on the other end of the spectrum, there's this. Hotel Mario is already an outlier in the Mario canon. It appeared on the Phillips CD-i, not a Nintendo console. It's also one of the few Mario games that Nintendo didn't develop. As the story goes, Nintendo simply licensed its characters (including the casts of both the Mario and the Zelda franchises) to Phillips, and then sat back while Phillips cranked out a few ultra low-budget adaptations of better games.

In Hotel Mario, the titular plumber must battle his way through seven hotels—that's right, hotels, not castles—in order to rescue Princess Peach. In order to succeed, he'll have to close every door in every hotel by navigating platforming challenges. Along the way, the player will also be "treated" to a number of shoddy animated cutscenes, including the one above. Nothing about Hotel Mario makes much sense, and while it's not terrible, it isn't great either. If Mario wasn't so dang popular, people probably would've forgotten all about it by now.

But at least Hotel Mario gave us this line, which ranks among the most ridiculous in gaming history. On the surface, Mario's claim seems a little dubious—we're pretty sure nobody says that, and if they do, we certainly do not know about it—but in order to really appreciate the line, you need to hear it spoken out loud. For some reason, Hotel Mario makes Nintendo's cartoon plumber sound like a low-ranking Mafia goon. The difference between Mario's happy, child-friendly appearance and the low growl of his speaking voice is outright hilarious.

And yet it could be even worse. It could be Detective Pikachu.