William H. Glass once said that “the true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.” Alas, it seems as though alchemy remains an imprecise art, because writing in video games has had something of a bumpy ride over the years.
As narratives have become a more crucial part of the gameplay experience, we have been treated to all manners of exposition. When it works, it helps to hook in the player, immersing them in the rich tapestry that the game has laid out before them. When it doesn’t, it’s jarring – a veritable spit take that leaves gamers shaking their head in dismay. Today, we are exploring those unfortunate situations where the prose leaves us morose; these are some of the most cringeworthy examples of writing found in video games.
Devil May Cry
Writing lowlight: “I should have been the one to fill your dark soul with liiiiiight!”
Devil May Cry’s Dante is a fine character who, on occasion, spouts out some ridiculous nonsense that he would probably prefer for us to forget. His cocky, laid-back attitude certainly appeals to the rebel in all of us, but his one-liners don’t always hit their mark, particularly when they involve enormous avian foes.
The most infamous line, bellowed in agony over his fallen ally, is a textbook example of dialogue that no voice actor could possibly salvage. You may think you can do it, but keep in mind – you have to shriek the word ‘light’ at the top of your lungs. It’s probably best if you attempt this in a church for the full effect. I’m sure the reverend would understand.