The 40 most repeated game quotes

Film and television quotes are so entangled with our language that their origins are irrelevant to most speakers. We use Seinfeld-popularized neologisms and phrases constantly without considering how they became popular (“shrinkage,” “close-talker,” “not that there's anything wrong with that”). But games are a younger medium, and for a time were thought to be the realm of only children and socially-inept geeks. HA HA HA. NUH-UH! Hardcore gaming culture is wriggling its way into the mainstream as you read this (it had to make a brief stop at Hipster Town on its way, but it’ll get there).

Some of our in-jokes won’t ever stick to the masses (a good thing), but as time goes by, videogames will inevitably secure a stronger influence on our culture’s hive-database of quotable quotes. We, however, will always be the cool kids who were irritating each other with these gaming quips before the masses fully caught on.

“You have died of dysentery.” - The Oregon Trail

The first version of The Oregon Trail was developed in 19-fuggin’-71 – so it’s like, really old, and stuff. It wasn’t until the '80s, however, that it became the phenomenon it did. If you went to elementary school in the United States during the mid-‘80s or early ‘90s, you probably played Oregon Trail. It was all sanctioned by the politickers ("Computers in the classroom, you say?! Well it's just so damn crazy it might work!"), but it felt like we were getting away with something when we named our settlers “Poop” and “Dick” and laughed when they died of horrible diseases. We learned nothing.

Pretty much any quote from the game deserves to be on this list, but "You have died of dysentery" is, for whatever reason, the one that became a million crappy t-shirts. But The Oregon Trail is more than that - it’s a whole generation’s first experience with personal computers, hunting, and infectious diseases.

“It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.” - Zork

Like Oregon Trail, Zork is one of the great grandfathers of gaming - practically just a legend to younger gamers. Even the name “Zork” is the product of obsolete slang – it was an MIT term for an unfinished piece of software and stuck at some point during the game’s development (had it not stuck, the game would have been called the far-less-compelling “Dungeon”).

Though it wasn't the first game ever made, the opening paragraph of Zork I is as significant to gaming as “We the people” is to the United States:


Such succinct power! But Zork’s opening lines didn’t stick quite as firmly as the ominous "grue" line, which is now the stuff of bumper stickers and coffee mugs. What is a grue? Zork explains:

The grue is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is adventurers, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its fear of light. No grue has ever been seen by the light of day, and few have survived its fearsome jaws to tell the tale.

“Want some Rye? ‘Course ya do!” - Return to Zork

Yes, Zork again. Actually, Return to Zork - with graphics! Everyone who played this game remembers this puzzle and this old bastard with a thing for whiskey. And even if you never played the game, you’ve probably heard the puzzle’s irritating-as-shit repeated line:

If you want to relive the frustration, check the whole sequence below:

“Wakka wakka wakka” - Pac-Man

Pac-Man is what out-of-touch reporters continue to believe videogames are, because, along with Pong and a few others, Pac-Man was a cultural phenomenon up there with hula hoops and inline skates. Is "wakka" actually a quote? Maybe not, but just about anyone can mentally recreate the game's trademark sound, and that's pretty damn insane. 

“It’s-a me, Mario!” - Mario Bros. Series

How many times in a row can you listen to this before you want to poke holes in your eardrums with pencils?

“But our princess is in another castle!” - Super Mario Bros.


Damn it! She's always in another damn castle! And not only that, but, as pointed out by Top Cultured, that bastard Toad thinks the whole thing is pretty fuggin' funny:

Above: Bitch

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  • Jordo141 - July 15, 2009 10:57 p.m.

    Yes!!!!! I love collecting quotes. Time to note some more gaming ones down for future reference.
  • mikeydo00 - July 15, 2009 11:17 p.m.

    C-C-C-C COMBO BREAKER!!!!!!!!!!
  • Defguru7777 - July 15, 2009 11:20 p.m.

    I love how two of these are ones you guys use in Talkradar all the time ("C-c-combo breaker" and "I'd buy that for a dollar!"). I didn't really start seeing repeated lines until the last half of the article. Awesome job!
  • nadrewod999 - July 15, 2009 11:24 p.m.

    Hey! Stay awhile and listen! Would you kindly explain why the cake is a lie and why A nuclear launch was detected? War. War never changes. It will always be OVER 9000 nuclear launches detected. CURSE YOU, VIDEO GAME DEBATERS!!!!!!! That was fun, let's do it again sometime. ;)
  • GR_HenryGilbert - July 15, 2009 11:27 p.m.

    I am here to tell Tyler Wilde that he is dead wrong, They Live is great!!!!
  • civver - July 15, 2009 11:28 p.m.

    So that's where "A winner is you" is from. Good article btw.
  • Usgo - July 15, 2009 11:31 p.m.

    good memories of that game over screen for metal gear solid. since i sucked at it at first.
  • Usgo - July 15, 2009 11:37 p.m.

    sonic BOOM!
  • Kikyabut2 - July 15, 2009 11:39 p.m.

    dude, that was hilarious, a guy telling u how 2 yell at people XD
  • Sidnapolis - July 15, 2009 11:40 p.m.

    "Uh-Oh! The truck have started to move!" - Metal Gear "This guy are sick" - Final Fantasy 7 "Watch out, Barret! Attack while it's tails up! It's gonna counterattack with it's laser!" - Final Fantasy 7 I love mistranslations.
  • TURbo - July 15, 2009 11:40 p.m.

    I'd buy those hadukens and nuclear launch dectected for a dollar.
  • babo_u_da - July 15, 2009 11:42 p.m.

    lol "nuclear launch detected"... i thought "not enough minerals" would be on but nuke is still a good alternative
  • oneshotfinch - July 15, 2009 11:46 p.m.

    Great list. That E.A Sports guy was a highlight.
  • R0N1N - July 15, 2009 11:48 p.m.

    Kinda sick of seeing the Dysentary quote on ironic, "retro" t-shirts. Half of the douchebags probably don't know what Oregon Trail is.
  • skyguy343 - July 15, 2009 11:50 p.m.

    cod 4, first mission, gaz gave me my fave video game quote EVARZ "I like to keep this for close encounters."
  • GigantoBear - July 16, 2009 midnight

    Why does it say NBA Jam in the War never changes audio box? ALso:@Skyguy343 I think that line is from "Aliens"
  • TheBeard - July 16, 2009 12:02 a.m.

    Surely: "M-M-M-M-Monsterkill!!!" and Duke Nukem did the quote far far better, as well as all of these:
  • clucky120 - July 16, 2009 12:09 a.m.

    it's a recent game only a eight barely anyone thinks the same but COD WAW has good quotes. grab a rifle
  • CH3BURASHKA - July 16, 2009 12:22 a.m.

    The president from Bad Dudes looks like the Rorschach actor from the Watchmen movie.
  • AnonymouZ - July 16, 2009 12:24 a.m.

    I can't believe you guys didn't compare the "War... war never changes" line to the beginning lines of MGS4... where they state otherwise.

Showing 1-20 of 171 comments

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