The 20 Most Iconic Video Game Quotes of All Time

The 20 Most Iconic Video Game Quotes of All Time

Video games have come a long way since the days of incessant bleeps and bloops that once characterized the medium. The art form’s ability to tell stories and express emotions through text and voice acting has made it infinitely more immersive — so much so that many of these quotes and tidbits of dialogue have been forever etched in the minds of gamers everywhere. From the quintessential gaming catchphrases to the makings of popular internet memes, these are the 20 most iconic video game quotes of all time.

1. "The cake is a lie." — Portal (2007)

What was once a simple reference and joke made by the game’s development team has now become a far more expansive and philosophical phrase to describe real-world frustrations. Symbolizing the manipulative nature of the game’s antagonist GLadDOS, “The cake is a lie” has quickly gone on the represent empty goals that are precipitated by false sources of motivation. 

CakethumbMarc-Anthony Macon on Wikimedia Commons

2. "Snake? Snake?! SNAAAAKE!" — Metal Gear Solid Series (1998-present)

If you’ve ever played a 3D iteration of the long-running Metal Gear Solid series, then this line is certainly one you’re very familiar with. Synonymous with the franchise’s dramatic game-over sequence, this iconic piece of dialogue emphasizes the high-stakes, cinematic quality that the MGS series is famous for. 

1024Px-Sdcc 2011 - Solid Snake (5973627660)Jjvaca on Wikimedia Commons

3. "You have died of dysentery." — The Oregon Trail (1971)

Can you think of another game that lets you contract a brutal form of Gastroenteritis? Probably not. This is exactly why this grim line from the classic educational computer game has seemingly struck a chord with netizens as of late. Emblematic of the game’s harsh nature and notorious difficulty, this line serves as a humorous reference to one of gaming’s most beloved icons. 

OregonFeldBum on Wikimedia Commons

4. "Hey! Listen!" — The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)

Navi’s frequent (and frequently annoying) call to the player has become infamous among gamers and fans of the beloved Zelda series. Despite its essential function as a helpful guidance tool throughout the game’s story, the line’s irritating and persistent nature is what stuck out the most to gamers everywhere. 

1024Px-The Legend Of Zelda Ocarina Of Time 3DKigsz on Wikimedia Commons


5. "Waka waka waka." — Pac-Man (1980)

Not so much a quote as it is noise, Pac-Man’s iconic “waka waka waka” is a ubiquitous part of gaming’s most tenured and legendary Frenchies. This rudimentary sound epitomizes the stripped-back and simple nature of early gaming, making it an instantly recognizable and nostalgic piece of gaming history. 

Giorgio-Trovato-Fd5Gupsmn O-Unsplash

6. It's time to kick a** and chew bubble gum... and I'm all out of gum." — Duke Nukem 3D (1996)

Duke Nukem’s crass and over-the-top persona is fully displayed with this legendary quote that originated from John Carpenter’s cult hit classic, “They Live.” Duke’s B-movie action-hero bravado breathed new life into the line when it was uttered at the start of Duke Nukem 3D, serving as a fun and memorable line from one of gaming’s most beloved protagonists. 

1024Px-Duke Nukem Forever At Pax Prime 2010 (4956509224)

7. "Get over here!" — Mortal Kombat (1992)

The preceded line to Scorpion’s signature spear attack move has easily become one of the most recognizable quotes in all of gaming. Emphasizing the ruthless and violent nature of the game’s iconic character roster, “Get over here!” is an indisputable staple of the long-running Mortal Kombat series. 

1024Px-Mortal Kombat 11 Karakter Seçme EkranıNetherRealm Studios on Wikimedia Commons

8.  "It's dangerous to go alone! Take this." — The Legend of Zelda (1986)

Delivered by a helpful old man who bestowed on Link his very first sword, this quote has since become an oft-referenced staple of gaming and pop culture. Serving as a symbol of readiness in the face of adventure, many gamers have used the quote to indicate the start of a new journey.  

1024Px-Game & Watch The Legend Of Zelda 2Artistosteles on Wikimedia Commons

9. "Finish him!" —  Mortal Kombat (1992)

Another iconic phrase from the storied Mortal Kombat franchise, this line is meant to prompt players that they can use one of their fatality moves to execute their opponent. The ruthless and dramatic delivery of the line has made it a gaming staple, that truly epitomizes the unflinching brutality of everyone’s favourite gore-filled brawler. 

1024Px-Pax South 2015 - Mortal Kombat Arcade (16165005248)Daniel Benavides on Wikimedia Commons

10. "War. War never changes." — Fallout Series (1997-present)

Originally delivered by legendary actor Ron Pearlman in the first Fallout game way back in 1997, this iconic quote has been a persistent staple of all 4 major Fallout releases. Highlighting the unchanging and cyclical nature of war, this quote perfectly sets the stage for the game’s dreary and decrepit vision of a post-apocalyptic world ravished by conflict. 

1024Px-Fallout-Merch (20301205046)Tim Bartel on Wikimedia Commons


11. "Do a barrel roll!" —  Star Fox 64 (1997)

This popular internet meme was first uttered by Peppy Hare in 1997’s Star Fox 64. Originally meant as a rather enthusiastic reminder to perform the aerial combat technique, the phrase has taken on a new life in Internet culture as an accompanying caption to images or GIFs where a subject is mid-rotation or about to perform a full rotation to humorous effect. 

Ryan-Quintal-Gyrzxsbry3S-UnsplashPhoto by Ryan Quintal

12. "All your base are belong to us." — Zero Wing (1989)

Resulting entirely from a case of poor translation, this hilarious phrase has become a seminal meme in the gaming community since the advent of early-2000s GIF animation that brought it to the forefront. This charming little piece of localization error is emblematic of early gaming’s less refined production values. 

Chapa All Your Base Are Belong To UsJjvaca on Wikimedia Commons

13. "Hadouken!" — Street Fighter Series (1987-present)

The famous battle cry of gaming’s most beloved and recognizable fighters, Ryu and Ken, is used to signify the use of their signature energy attack. The quote is iconic among hardcore and casual gamers alike, epitomizing the popularity and staying power of the Street Fighter franchise. 

Street Fighter Old LogoCapcom on Wikimedia Commons

14. "Thank you, Mario! But our princess is in another castle!" — Super Mario Bros. (1985)

Toad’s heartbreaking message of futility is an iconic and memorable staple of the Super Mario Bros. franchise. Following the player’s painstaking completion of a level, this line is delivered to remind the player that they have not yet rescued the princess and must look elsewhere, perfectly encapsulating the persistently challenging nature of video games. 

Raymond-Chiu-Smspxhll3Xa-UnsplashPhoto by Raymond Chiu

15. "I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee." — The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)

Part expert world-building, part brilliant fodder for internet memes: this line is uttered by one of Skyrim’s many NPCs along the player's journey. Woefully explaining the stark contrast between the player’s character and those around him, this humorous line has gone on to become a popular internet meme with many repurposing the phrase “I used to (blank), then I took an arrow in the knee” for a variety of contexts. 

1024Px-The Elder Scrolls V - Skyrim LogoBethesda Software on Wikimedia Commons

16. "It's-a me, Mario!" — Super Mario 64 (1996)

The fun and playful spirit of gaming’s most cherished franchise is put on full display with this enthusiastic introduction by the moustached plumber himself. First appearing on the iconic Super Mario 64 title screen, the catchphrase has become synonymous with the Nintendo mascot and his cheerful personality. 

1024Px-Atomic Orange N64ZabMilenko on Wikimedia Commons


17. "Rise and shine, Mr. Freeman." — Half-Life 2 (2004)

Delivered by the game’s infamous G-Man (an antagonist described as a “sinister interdimensional bureaucrat”), this cryptic greeting to Gordon Freeman marks the start of the acclaimed Half-Life 2. It perfectly encapsulates the eerie and suspenseful tone of the game as well as being shrouded in the mystery of who the G-Man is and what his motivations are. 

1024Px-Half-Life 2 Survivor - BackPhil Kates on Wikimedia Commons

18, "Remember, no Russian." — Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)

Preceding one of the most brutal and controversial sequences in all of gaming, this line is synonymous with the provocative and boundary-pushing narrative of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The line has become a watershed moment in gaming, representing the risks and ethical dilemmas of portraying realistic trauma and suffering in an interactive entertainment experience. 

1024Px-Modern Warfare 2 Booth At Igromir 2009 (4081175453)Sergey Galyonkin on Wikimedia Commons

19. "Ah s***, here we go again." — Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)

Woefully uttered by protagonist Carl “CJ” Johnson at the onset of the iconic gaming sequel, the line has gone on to become a massive internet meme. Due to its relatability as a symbol of something inevitable and unwanted taking place, the quote has taken the internet by storm for its seemingly infinite meme potential. 

1024Px-Abandoned Gas Station With GraffitiJim on Wikimedia Commons

20. "Would you kindly?" —  BioShock (2007)

Introduced to the player at the start of 2007’s beloved and highly-acclaimed first-person shooter Bioshock, the seemingly polite request is just a sign of sinister things to come. Ultimately serving to alter the player’s perception of their actions, this simple yet surprisingly deep line emphasizes the game’s analysis of free will and manipulation by way of invoking altruism. 

1024Px-C2E2 2014 Contest - Big Daddy (13922255977)GabboT on Wikimedia Commons