7 Different Types Of Horrible Video Game Dialogue

7 Different Types Of Horrible Video Game Dialogue

Dialogue is a tricky thing to pull off in a video game. It’s already more difficult to suspend disbelief over a video game character, and once you put words into that character’s mouth, it becomes that much more challenging. Few writers have the know-how to script lines and make them feel authentic. But then again, some of it may just come down to confusion. Take for example…


Obviously, this is the most forgivable type of bad dialogue. Someone had a little too much confidence in his or her ability to translate from one language to another, and so, we get classics like this one from Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins. But it’s minor, and we get the general idea; no harm, no foul. But then there is also…

Plain Carelessness

At some point, the buck has to stop somewhere. Because if it doesn’t, you get dialogue like this. This is just a lack of proofreading. And with these old games, there was such a lack of dialogue to begin with, so whatever dialogue they did have, they needed make it count. But even when it’s grammatically correct, it might just be a case of…

Captain Obvious

Captain Obvious can rear his head in several different ways. It can be a character stating, “I am dead,” as he’s dying. It can be a character who’s narrating what he’s doing as he does it. Or it could the end screen of a game like Bad Dudes, which has all the subtlety of a rock.

As games got more advanced, they did away with direction booklets. Instead, they started including in-game instructions, it gave birth to whole new genre of…

Tutorial Talk

Metal Gear Solid was perhaps a bit more self-aware than others, but games started smashing the 4th wall by explaining control pad functions to the player. It created a brief moment of dissonance in the player’s head — who is my instructor speaking to, exactly? But interaction from character to character isn’t necessarily any better, especially when it deals with…

Budding Romance

This is sort of a lose/lose proposition. A convincing love story is a tough feat, and usually the less said, the better — characters should demonstrate their love with actions instead of words, which has a tendency to make everything sound cliched, blunt, or awkward. The more advanced RPGs, rather than scripting every single action, wisely allow for multiple options. And one of them is usually a…

Horrible Decision

This is the deliberately bad dialogue. It almost tempts and dares the player — what will happen if I choose the stupidest option out of the four? In decision-based game like The Walking Dead this rarely ends well, but it doesn’t stop us from creating a save point, and trying it anyway

That covers the major categories of terrible game dialogue. Everything else falls into…

Just Ridiculous

There are no words.

What are some of your favourite bad dialogue moments? Let us know in the comments.


  • Bad dialogue in games is far more tolerable when it hasn’t been voice-acted and exists just as text.

  • I am sorry, but the plot to Bad Dudes is an example in good writing. it is brief, to the point, and you understand the task ahead of you. Sure they could have included all kinds of filler like where the ninjas are from, and why the kidnapped the president, but you got every thing you needed to want to punch the ninjas in the face. now if only I was a bad enough dude to do so…

  • I think my favourite bad dialogue from a video game would have to be this classic:


    Also: all the dialogue from Zero Wing. There’s a reason why All Your Base jokes continue to survive in the online zeitgeist.

  • Pfft… an article about bad dialogue and not one mention of “All Your Base Are Belong to Us!”

    On a side note I was expecting another lazy article of various pics and I get treated to a decently written and amusing article! Well done good sir!

  • “I am error.”

    This was actually the right translation, as the NPC’s name was “Era/Ela” (Error), and iirc, there was another NPC character called “Baggu” (Bug). Error and Bug…I think that’s pretty clever.

    (The game is Zelda 2 btw, for those that didn’t know)

  • How has “All your bases are belong to us” not been mentioned in the article or comments? That would have to be the most famous that fits in the first category

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!