We often tend to evaluate writing in games in terms of great characters or an exciting overarching story. While the games on this list certainly contain that too, they also have great quotes, those memorable one-liners or philosophical observations, that stays rooted to the memory long after most other aspects of the game have been forgotten. While there are certainly plenty of other great quotes out there, these, in our opinion, are some of the very best the medium has to offer.
"Stand in the ashes of a trillion dead souls, and ask the ghosts if honor matters. The silence is your answer." - Javik, Mass Effect 3
It's locked behind DLC and we are still not quite sure if honor matters or not, but Javik does help to infuse Mass Effect 3 with a certain sense of grandeur.
"You can't break a man the way you break a dog or a horse. The harder you beat a man, the taller he stands." - The Jackal, Far Cry 2
Far Cry 2 is the bleakest game in the series, so it's a good thing that the main villain himself provides you with some motivational words.
"What is man? A miserable pile of secrets!" - Dracula, Castlevania Symphony of the Night
According to Legends of Localization this infamous line wasn't even in the original japanese release, but was added in the English localization. If that's true, the translator deserves to be placed alongside Dostojevsky, Kierkegaard and Sartre as one of the great voices of existentialism.
"The Flames of Revenge? Couldn't even melt a marshmallow." - Vergil, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3
It's fitting that Vergil was a Roman poet of great renown, for this line delivered by his namesake when defeating Ghost Rider in the fighting game Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 is nothing short of inspired.
"I don't know you, and I don't care to know you." - NPC's, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
While Skyrim's "an arrow to the knee" is undoubtedly the most meme-worthy line from The Elder Scroll series, the radiant dialogue system in Oblivion created some truly bizarre and memorable conversations between random NPC's. Our favourite is this one that bizarrely often was used to start conversations.
"War is where the young and stupid are tricked by the old and bitter into killing each other." - Nico Bellic, Grand Theft Auto IV
That protagonist Nico Bellic delivers this heartfelt line while his cousin Roman gently nods off, perfectly encapsulates the unique blend of bleakness and humour that made the story of Grand Theft Auto IV so memorable.
That was too close. You were almost a Jill Sandwich! - Barry, Resident Evil
Jill Valentine almost gets crushed to death by a descending ceiling, but luckily her partner Barry provides some emergency psychiatry by delivering one of the best quotes ever.
"The past is a puzzle, like a broken mirror. As you piece it together, you cut yourself, your image keeps shifting. And you change with it." - Max Payne, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
Inspired by the classical detective fiction of Raymond Chandler, Max Payne is spewing as many metaphors and similes as he is firing bullets. There is plenty to choose from, but this one hits the hardest.
"In the dark times, should the stars also go out?" - Steban, the student communist, Disco Elysium - The Final Cut
We could probably have included the entire script of Disco Elysium as it's the best written game, well, ever. Yet we are limiting ourselves to just one, and while plenty of lines contain more wit and literary flair than this one, it's probably the most poignant of them all.
"Your mechs might have copper-wiring to re-route your fear of pain, but I've got nerves of steel." - JC Denton, Deus Ex
JC Denton is one the coolest protagonists in video game history as he one minute discusses history and politics with all the confidence of a drunk philosophy undergraduate, while the next he is deliver's killing one-lines in true Arnold Scwarsnegger-style. While he at one time literally kills an enemy with just his words, this line, spoken to the mechanically augmented Anna Navarre, is still his very best.
Do you remember any other great quotes? You are more than welcome to add them in the commentary field below.