We all have that favorite quote from our favorite video games. Oftentimes you can still hear the line said in your head, maybe even more than you remember playing the game itself.
That’s because there’s a lot of power in dialogue, and when all things come together for a character in a particular moment of dialogue it can truly become the biggest moment of any video game. Or even of an entire franchise.
The quotes that grab us most are those that are impactful while remaining most true to the character, situation, or game series.
With that in mind, here are some of the best video game quotes of the last twenty years:
- “…Remember - no Russian.”
Whether you were horrified or enthralled, likely a mix of both, the above quote introduced the player to the most controversial and destructive scene in Call of Duty history, a group massacre of innocent civilians in an airport that the player controls and (in part) executes.
The quote comes from Vladimir Makarov, who certainly has his own legacy in the Call of Duty universe. Through quotes like this, Makarov’s character was built beautifully as a sinister villain the player was scared to ever see again.
The quote at first crosses the player as an objective – kill all the Russian civilians in the airport, which is the following mission and gameplay. In the end, however, the quote is revealed to have been in reference to language.
Markov is asking the group that attacks the airport not to speak Russian, so that when Makarov betrays the player, an American CIA agent in the group, the incident is blamed on America which then sparks Russia to go to war with America, vital to Makarov’s plans.
- “The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world.”
This quote, said by G-Man in Half Life 2, is both majorly applicable to the Half Life universe and also serves as an overarching quote on the world. It speaks to the impact surroundings have, even on the greatest of minds.
It serves as an introduction for the massively successful Half Life sequel, and certainly sets the stage for what many consider the best video game to date.
- “Had to be me, someone else might’ve gotten it wrong.”
For many gamers, this quote may even still trigger a tear.
This quote comes from Mordin Solus, a character in the Mass Effect series, in Mass Effect 3. Solus says it as he sacrifices his life to go back and restore a cure for the “genophage”, a genetic weapon against the Krogan race that would be used to sterilize and kill them. Solus creates the cure, and returns to die for it to be properly taken care of and dispersed, leaving Shepard, and the player, with this single, entirely true to character quote to remember him by.
- “What is better - to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?”
This quote is perhaps the most insightful of them all, and brutally true to the character (dragon) that utters it, Paarthurnax, in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.
The quote comes as the player confronts Paarthurnax about a group called The Blades that think he deserves to die. After the player tells Paarthurnax this, he responds that he does not blame The Blades for not trusting him, as he would not trust another dragon, citing that dragons have “the will to dominate.”
Afterward, Paarthurnax issues the above question to the player, to ask if the player thinks the same as The Blades. It not only is perfectly true to character for Paarthurnax, who considers himself more aware and trustworthy than other dragons, it also is a beautiful moral quandary in reality as well.
It’s a question everyone has a different answer for, and remains a relevant question even to this day.
With Legends of Ellaria on the way, we can only hope we deliver on quotes and characters as strong as these great video game lines create.
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