The 7 scariest one-liners in video games


The power of a single line of dialogue is insurmountable. Movies and television have long used the one-liner to bring back a central point or theme, but the emphasis on dialogue in video games is still a relatively new concept that has been explored mostly in the last decade. .

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The scariest stunt doubles stay with the players. They’re memorable, turned into memes, and forever tied to the specific character who utters them. Players know them by heart and can quote them on demand. In some cases, they tie into the game’s story to neatly encapsulate its tone in one perfect line. It is for these reasons that the best gaming one-liners have so much stamina.

seven “War. War Never Changes”

fallout 3 game bethesda

The iconic Fall line that will forever embody the series, it’s a perfect opening quote. Thanks to the dark tone of the narrator and the eternal discord of the war of humanity in the Fall series, this line is reusable and often signals the beginning of the chaotic struggles of society and its oppressors.

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War never really changes, just technology and casualties. Unfortunately, this is a video game quote easily applicable to the real world. A little too easy.


6 “Our time is up, John”

  • Red Dead Redemption
  • By Dutch van der Linde

Dutch will forever go down as one of the best antagonists in video game history. Red Dead Redemption and its sequel created a beautiful world filled with change, both natural and societal. Dutch seems aware of this, but if John or Arthur are, it’s still a bit vague.

Relationships are another key theme in the game’s extensive story, namely those with John Marston and his former gang. Dutch’s chilling final speech is one players are unlikely to forget soon after finishing the game.

5 “The cake is a lie”

portal 2 anniversary april 2021
  • Portal
  • By previous GLaDOS test subjects

This one may have become a meme in its day, but everything Portal player knows that the context is much more sinister. This meta one-liner seems to speak directly to the player themselves, referring to the mundane rewards and achievements that are thrown into the player’s path when they complete the objective.

Before it was an internet joke, “the cake is a lie” was something much more disturbingly real.

4 “Come to my website. It’s time… for you to feel the fear!

metal gear solid 3 fear
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
  • By fear

A little hokey, but The Fear is nothing to consider a joke. Solid metal gear is a series that has seen its fair share of villainous soldiers and their extended speeches, and the third game in the franchise didn’t shy away from those tropes at all. Fear is aptly named, and its subsequent boss fight is no walk in the park.

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Above all, it’s The Fear’s delivery of the iconic line that makes it work as well as it does. Voice actors are a crucial part of these one-liners having the effect they do.

3 “I must have a grip”

Hotline Miami 2 Coverage
  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
  • By the son

Psychological thrillers are becoming increasingly popular in the indie game community, but few have the lasting effects of Hotline Miami series. Right off the bat, players don’t know who is real and who is fictional, which makes things a bit tricky in terms of trusting the protagonist as a reliable character.

The hallucinatory aspect of the games makes for some interesting mechanics, and this memorable line has stuck as a fairly simple summary of Hotline Miamithe atmosphere. It’s hard to pull yourself together when the world is falling apart.

2 “A man chooses, a slave obeys”

bioshock rapture slogan

This iconic line is spoken by the architect of the legendary Rapture in the first BioShock Gaming. Without giving away too many spoilers, this directly relates to the nature of the gaming world, and one could discuss video games as a whole.

Game characters largely do what they’re told, either by the player or by the title code. They don’t have the same freedom of choice as we do, which Bioshock series likes to explore, especially through a moral lens. A bizarre and creepy one-liner that sticks to players like glue as they progress through the ruins of a utopia.

1 “No Russian”

call of duty modern warfare entire
  • Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  • By Vladimir Makarov

Only players who have known the terror of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 campaign know these words, but they probably know them by heart. The words spoken before the gruesome airport bloodbath mission are as infamous and chilling as they come.

A disturbing foray into the psychopathic agendas of military death squads. Makarov was as compelling a villain as can be, but this one-liner and his subsequent actions cemented his status as one of gaming’s most sinister antagonists.

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Carolyn M. Daniel