nord in skyrim intro
Image Source: Bethesda via Twinfinite

10 Biggest Video Game Meme Moments of All Time

Memes, memes everywhere

Video games have a special brand of memetic humor that other media just can’t compare with. Interactivity adds a whole new layer to relatable moments in entertainment, giving particular moments longevity that other media can only dream of. This selection of memes originates from the games themselves. If a meme isn’t discoverable in-game, it isn’t included here. As such, relatable commentary on gaming in general isn’t included. These memes are so humorous and uncanny that they’ve seeped into the collective unconscious meme culture and simply won’t leave. Here are the ten biggest video game meme moments of all time.

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10. My Face is Tired (Mass Effect: Andromeda)

Female main character facial expression in Mass Effect Andromeda
Image Source: Bioware via Twinfinite

Mass Effect Andromeda came out two years before the travesty that was Anthem. It was a time when Bioware fans still held out hope for quality sequels brimming with sharp dialogue choices and brilliant characterization. Well, until they finally started seeing the characters of Mass Effect Andromeda in action. Preview footage of the game’s stilted facial animations was floating around and people couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Was this really the Bioware that gifted us Mordin Solis and Wrex Urdnot? We expected more from Bioware, and instead, we got this:

‘My face is tired’ pretty much summed up Bioware’s trajectory from this point onwards. It’s not that Mass Effect Andromeda was a bad game, it just wasn’t on the level of previous entries in the celebrated series. Characters were incredibly dull compared to past Mass Effect games and the plot was threadbare, but at least the combat was the best it had ever been. By contrast, Anthem had no redeeming qualities, truly representing just how tired our faces would be seeing disappointing Bioware releases. Enjoy this supercut of hilarious Mass Effect Andromeda moments from the meme expert, Crowbcat:

9. Dr Wahwee (Mega Man 8)

mega man 8 character portraits
Image Source: Capcom via Twinfinite

Mega Man 8 broke new ground for the series when it introduced voice acting and PS1-enhanced cinematic scenes in December 1996. The game still retained the best precision platforming in the business, but the story was structured more like a Final Fantasy game with its interjection of voice-acted cutscenes.

Mega Man 8 tried to go really epic with its cutscenes, swallowing a mix of anime and Transformers in equal measure, but bad voice acting and an underwhelming story held it back from reaching its potential. The voice acting in Mega Man 8 is often criticized as some of the worst in gaming history. Dr. Light trying to pronounce ‘Dr. Wily’ encapsulates just how awful the voice acting for Mega Man 8 was. He sounds like an 80-year-old learning to speak for the first time. Here’s the infamous “Dr. Wiwee” scene:

Gamers ate up the voice acting in Mega Man 8 and helped make it one of the most memed games of all time. Maybe it’s Mega Man 8’s awful voice acting that caused fans and Capcom itself to second-guess putting story into a Mega Man game. But I, for one, welcome story in Mega Man if it leads to more ‘Dr. Wiweee’ moments like Mega Man 8 gave us.

8. Tidus’ Laughing Scene (Final Fantasy X)

tidus forcing a laugh
Image Source: Square Enix via Twinfinite

Of all the memorable Final Fantasy memes, Tidus’ awkward laughing scene with Yuna in FFX stands out the most. Spira’s cycle of death doesn’t leave much room for levity and jokes, making Tidus the perfect foil for the serious tone of the setting. Tidus isn’t all goofball though, since we get numerous sincere and earnest monologues chronicling his journey through Spira. But nothing the game threw at us prior could prepare for the infamous laughing scene. Here is the scene in its entirety:

The scene occurs as Tidus and crew hike up the steep steps to one of the many pilgrimage shrines for Yuna to defeat Sin. The party witnessed the destruction of a village just days prior, and Yuna’s demanding role is taking a toll on her. Spirits are at a low when Tidus suddenly belts out some forced laughter. Many critics of the scene lament the tonal whiplash and hamfisted acting, but I contend the scene fulfilled its purpose perfectly. Tidus’ laugh was supposed to sound artificial and forced because that’s the point. The fake-it-to-make-it attitude of Tidus highlights his role in the party as a much-needed fish out of water. His cringe behavior helps lift the party’s spirits, and none so more than Yuna, whom the pilgrimage hinges on.

Nevertheless, the laughing scene with Tidus deservedly became an iconic meme through the ages. My favorite riff on the meme is a soundtrack mod that replaces all the midi instruments with Tidus’s laugh. Every single track in the game is recreated with the infamous laugh and it’s absolutely glorious and horrifying in equal measure.

7. C’mon, Roach! (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt)

Geralt riding Roach in The Witcher 3,
Image Source: CD Project RED

Roach is the true MVP of the Witcher universe. Roach never leaves Geralt’s side no matter how tough things get, often breaking space-time to do so. Being a Witcher is a lonely path indeed. Being maligned and ridiculed as a mutant freak everywhere one goes can be rough, but thankfully our trusty steed, Roach, never judges us. It’s fair to say that Roach is Geralt’s pillar through the Witcher games, and it wouldn’t be out of line to say Roach is Geralt’s one true friend through it all. That’s what makes this meme so endearing; it’s wholesome and true to the lore of the series.

This meme is often represented by GIFs or screenshots of Roach teleporting to Geralt in the most uncanny of places, like this one:

roach meme
Image Source: Twinfinite

The top of buildings and cliff faces are a common spot to see Roach suddenly mounting. And there’s no shortage of wild glitches with Roach bugging out with the terrain either. Geralt’s gruff, “C’mon, Roach” is a memorable line in itself, being said any time you call your trusty steed to your side as you gallop through the wide open world like this video showcases:

We’ll never forget Roach’s role as Geralt’s right-hand horse, even if Roach is technically the name of any horse that happens to aid Geralt.

6. Darkness!!! (Kingdom Hearts)

kingdom hearts 4 reveal vs darkside heartless
Image Source: Square Enix

Ah, Kingdom Hearts; no other game attracts memes quite like Square’s Disney hybrid RPG series. While this spot in the list could easily go to a dozen specific moments throughout the series, the sheer amount of times the word ‘darkness’ is said tops them all. Kingdom Hearts loves expounding philosophical about the dichotomy between darkness and light. The most common enemy throughout the games happens to be a dark implike creature called Heartless and the villainous Organization XIII don dark robes. As if visual indicators weren’t enough, ‘darkness’ is said countless times as shown by YT user gothwood9’s video:

The word ‘darkness’ is uttered no less than 500 times throughout the series. Granted, KH consists of a whopping 15 games, not counting the two browser/mobile live-service games. The best thing about the darkness meme is how relevant it is to the overall story and lore of the series. Ansem, Seeker of Darkness sums up the villains’ philosophy best when he states:

All worlds begin in darkness, and all so end. The heart is no different. Darkness sprouts within it, it grows, consumes it. Such is its nature. In the end, every heart returns to the darkness whence it came. You see, darkness is the heart’s true essence.

Whether it’s Ansem, Xehanort, or Maleficent, some antagonist or another can be heard waffling on about darkness in the Kingdom Hearts series. Memeworthy though it is, darkness is a major theme of the series and something that will always stay with it in the future.

5. What is a Man? (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night)

dracula speech in castlevania
Image Source: Konami via Twinfinite

What is a man but a pile of miserable secrets? You might think I just quoted Nietche or Sarte, but that’s actually from a Castlevania game. Okay, every gamer knows this infamous line, but still, it is quite pretentious. The goofiness of the line is heightened further with the stilted voice acting.

By comparison, the Japanese voicework is more measured and cool, and the actual line takes on a different meaning. Here’s a more direct translation of Dracula’s line from Japanese, “Foolish drivel”. Yep, that’s all: foolish drivel. As Legends of Localization points out, the English localizer for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night altered the meaning to make more sense to English speakers with a ‘ye olde’ style.

To gain a better grasp of the context, here’s the full conversation between Richter and Dracula as it exists in the game:

Richter: Die monster. You don’t belong in this world!

Dracula: It was not by my hand I was once again given flesh. I was brought here by humans who wished to be me tribute!

Richter: Tribute!? You steal men’s souls, and make them your slaves!

Dracula: Perhaps the same could be said of all religions…

Richter: Your words are as empty as your soul! Mankind ill needs a savior such as you!

Dracula: What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets. But enough talk… Have at you!

Despite how corny this sounds with the hammy voice acting, the sentiment fits Dracula’s character as an inhumane pretentious emo edgelord wonderfully. This meme has sparked many conversations on translation and localization in the gaming space and continues to entertain with its enduring cheese decades later.

4. Hey, Listen! (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

navi flying around hyrule
Image Source: Twinfinite

Navigational aids in games were nothing new when Ocarina of Time was released in 1998, yet Link’s fairy companion stuck out like a sore thumb for players. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve heard Navi chime in with the iconic, “Hey, listen!” throughout my time playing Ocarina of Time. Navi acts as Link’s navigational compass through the game and never seems to shut up, even after Link grows up.

Navi was one of the very first memes I remember encountering back in the early 2000s. I’d often hear kids chime, “Hey, listen!” at school and online forums at the time, and it’s even more prevalent nowadays. Here’s an audio sample of Navi saying the iconic line, if you haven’t heard it:

There are several reasons why Navi resonated as an early video game meme. Most obvious is the industry-wide transition to 3D during the N64/PS1 days. Zelda’s first 3D game was always going to be more complex than Mario 64 due to its expansive Hyrule environment and tense sword battles. Navi was meant to be your objective marker, objective hint, and Z-targetting assist to help you navigate the new 3D realm.

Later Zelda games went on to hand-hold the player so much more than Navi that the old nagging fairy doesn’t seem so bad by comparison. Oh, and you’re not alone; Shigeru Miyamoto wasn’t so keen on Navi’s constant input either. A rare 1999 interview with the legendary Nintendo designer reveals he wanted to eliminate the hint system altogether for Ocarina of Time.

3. Skyrim (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)

nord in skyrim intro
Image Source: Bethesda via Twinfinite

13 years after its launch, Skyrim remains one of the most popular open world games of all time. Dynamic NPC schedules, tons of dialogue, a flexible physics engine, and a humongous Nordic open world all contribute to Skyrim’s tremendous meme success. There are too many memeable moments to possibly cover here, so I can only skim the surface of Skyrim’s rich meme ocean.

The intro scene to Skyrim has been memed to Sovrngarde and back, with the line, “Hey, you. You’re finally awake,” being made into pillows and bedsheets around the world. But for every funny story moment, there’s that repetitive NPC dialogue that just cracks us up, such as every single guard randomly telling the player, “I used to be an adventurer like you …” well, you know the rest.

Lastly, Skyrim has been memed for its constant stream of re-releases over the years. The game got re-released so often that Keenan Michael Key even made a skit about it being playable on Alexa. To this day, people still joke that they’re playing Skyrim on their calculator, and it’s not that far from reality.

2. All Your Base Are Belong To Us (Zero Wing)

villain giving speech in Zero Wing
Image Source: Williams Electronics via Twinfinite

Few gamers have actually played Zero Wing, but all know the infamous quote. “All your base are belong to us” was really nothing more than a localization error of the game’s opening cutscene. The Japanese version of the line is, “With the help of Federation government forces, CATS has taken all of your bases,” CATS being the villain saying the line. Zero Wing was a 1989 arcade game, and the meme took off by the late 90s with GIFs floating around the early internet days. As such, Zero Wing earns its status as one of the earliest video game memes of all time.

Zero Wing was only the start of a rich tradition of hilariously scuff game translations. I was just as tempted to add Final Fantasy 7’s “This guy are sick,” Metal Gear’s “I feel asleep!” or Zelda 2’s “I am error.” Video game mistranslations are something of a relic of the past with the modern emphasis on quality control dedicated careers in game localization. As such, infamous mistranslations like “All your base are belong to us” are a wonderful relic of the past to be treasured. Man, the grammar checker really hates me after writing that entry.

1. Oblivion (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion)

oblivion guard
Image Source: Twinfinite

The Elder Scrolls series is a fertile oasis of memes and Oblivion stands above all others as the meme monarch. Oblivion was released in the pivotal year of 2006, when next-gen tech was firing on all cylinders. Oblivion featured a plethora of next-gen tech that broke our collective gaming brains at the time. The extensive character creator was leaps and bounds above the competition, and the Havok physics engine made interacting with stuff in the gigantic environment unpredictable. Oblivion also marked one of the first time a game set NPCs with unique schedules synchronized to a day/night system. All of these next-gen features combined to form a sandbox of unprecedented dynamism and meme creation.

Some of the memes that resulted from this sandbox include the comically serious guards warping to your location with the line “Stop right there, criminal scum!” whenever you committed a crime. And of course, the thousands of NPCs sharing a tiny pool of a half-dozen actors, resulting in uncanny dialogue and voice changes mid-cutscene.

There’s even a blooper of an actress flubbing her line when you talk to certain NPCs:

And who can forget the Adoring Fan who follows you around? Oblivion’s physics engine is showcased wonderfully as one flings the Adoring Fan off one of Cyrodilll’s many mountaintops.

Oblivion is a true meme generation machine, and it hasn’t slowed down whatsoever nearly 20 years after its initial release in 2006.

That completes our list of the ten biggest video game memes/meme moments of all time. Sound off in the comments regarding what entries I omitted and have at me! If you’re in the mood for this kind of zany list, check out our 10 shortest-lived live service games and strangest Dragon’s Dogma 2 character creations.


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Author
Matthew Carmosino
Matthew Carmosino is a freelance writer for Twinfinite. He started gaming in the mid-90s where his love for SquareSoft RPGs like Chrono Trigger changed him forever. Matthew has been working in the game industry for two years covering everything from story-rich RPGs to puzzle-platformers. Listening to piano music on a rainy day is his idea of a really good time, which probably explains his unnatural tolerance for level-grinding.
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