Addressing the Player
aka: Anyone You Know
"I'm collecting player's names for a school project. You know, players just like you! That's right, you—The one holding the controller."
It's quite common for a video game to ask your name, if only to give a sensible title to your save file or to help you attempt to dethrone 'AAA' from the top high score slot. Sometimes it even allows you to name your blank-slate Heroic Mime
, so all the pretty girls can moan your appellation through the love scenes
However, some games are aware enough that they are games to actually ask your name and will be genuinely interested in the reply. They don't try to foist your name onto a pre-existing character
. They don't file down your name and never use it again. They use your name to actually address you
, involving you as a 'character', or they use it in a strange Metafictional
way in order to involve you, discard you, or just confuse you
. May cause the game to lose some emotional punch when the characters are begging "President sk8rnijna" not to take funds from their charity.
- While Zelda games are normally just straight examples of Hello, Insert Name Here, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass also has an element of this. As part of a Justified Tutorial about the touchscreen, you're asked to sign for a parcel. Much later on, this signature reappears unexpectedly.
- Ōkami asks you to draw a symbol onto a mask you use as a disguise. Sometime later, this same symbol appears all over the walls of a town in trouble.
- WarioWare asks for your name and sex, and uses it as the name of the prince/princess Kat and Ana have to rescue on their stage, and the name of the cab passenger on Dribble and Spitz's stage. Wario also addresses you by name in things like the stage select screen.
- Some trivia style micro games also like to insert questions such as "Is X a male?" (where X is the player's name). Don't get confused if some one else created the current profile.
Real Time Strategy
- Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil ends with a picture of a book and Klonoa's ring, along with the message "Good morning, (name of save file)." This is because the idea behind the Klonoa games are that they are meant to take place entirely in dreams, so the end is you "waking up" from the dream.
- The first Klonoa did it too. During the credits, the book's pages are turning back, showing pictures of events from the game, and then when it closes, it shows a close-up of the cover, with the player's name written underneath the logo.
- The setup program for the PC release of Sonic Adventure DX (not the Steam release, the one released before that) includes a narration displayed during installation written as if Sonic himself was talking to the player.
- In Patapon, after the Patapons ask your name, and you reveal it to them, they hail you as their god, and address you as 'Oh, Mighty [Player]!', begging for your help or attention.
- In Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of Time and Darkness/Explorers of Sky, it's your name that shows Dusknoir that your character is Grovyle's old partner (along with your bizarre Dimensional Scream ability, of course).
- The SFC remake of Dragon Quest III does this. At the beginning, it asks you for your real name (using Japanese only). It doesn't do anything with it until the credits, where it prints the player's name in Latin letters.
- MOTHER did this, too. But it was asked by Ninten's dad on the phone in Snowman, and also by Loid's dad in the middle of the swamp.
- In Pokémon Red and Blue, your name is vital to the MISSINGNO. glitch. Which letters or symbols you have in certain slots for your name will determine if the glitch generates Missingno, M-block, or a different glitch Pokemon. Missingno was the most common,though. And why did so many players get Missingno? They named their character after the anime lead,Ash. That name has just the right letters in the right places to trigger Missingno.
- EarthBound had probably the most emotionally gut-wrenching version. They ask your name once in Toto, where Jeff's roommate Tony asks for it for a school project, and later in Tenda Village after they overcome their shyness. In the end, the characters must fight a boss invincible through standard means, which requires use of Paula's oft-overlooked Pray command. As Paula prays, she calls out to various characters the player met on their adventures, and, to finish the boss off, calls out to the player, and begs them to wish them success with all their heart.
- The original Japanese game asks for the name in two ways, similar to Dragon Quest III. The first time, in Toto, the game asks for your name as it is written in English—only Latin characters are available. The second time, in Tenda Village, the game takes the Latin name previously inserted and attempts to convert it to Japanese writing—this can be modified by the player if it is incorrect. The Japanese name is used in the climax of the Final Boss battle (as explained before) and the English name is used at the end of the credits sequence.
- MOTHER 3 also asks the player's name in two occasions, once in the Prayer Sanctuary near Tazmily and in the Clayman factory. At the very end of the game, the characters are relieved to notice that the player is okay after what seemed like an Apocalypse How and proceed to converse with him or her a bit. Mostly they thank you for helping out, but they also wonder what our world is like and ask that world to treat you kindly. Finally, they hope that they can meet you again soon. It's hard not to feel a little warm and fuzzy inside during this.
- Baten Kaitos uses your name (and gender) as the name of a "guardian spirit" which guides Kalas, who will (at times) turn directly to the camera and address you by name. Shame the voice acting has to leave a very noticeable gap where your name is.
- The prequel, Baten Kaitos Origins, contains a different spirit, which is referred to as "he" regardless of which name you enter. Disconcerting, perhaps, for any female gamer, but unlike the first game, the spirit actually has a role in the plot besides simply telling the main character what to do.
- Of course, once you figure out exactly WHAT that role is, you may be less than glad about this.
- Contact for the Nintendo DS is an RPG entirely built around this trope; the characters acknowledge the player as an entity from another dimension whom they are somehow able to communicate with, and who uses a computing device called a "Nintendo DS" to exert a mysterious influence over their world. The player is asked for his or her real name (and favourite food, and home town) when starting a new game, and remains a main character in the story from start to finish. It's an unusual game.
- Turned on its ass by the end of the game, where the characters turn on you. All of them. Including all of the bad guys, and the character you've been playing for the whole game. The last thing you do is fight your character. You win, and your character declares that he hates you, and leaves.
- Super Mario RPG uses your save slot name as a password. (To re-create a scene from the Donkey Kong Country promotional video, released around the same time, name your slot "Diddy".)
- Fire Emblem: The Sword of Flame casts the player as the 'tactician', and the lords will face the screen to address you by name.
- Same for the first Advance Wars (as advisor), but both series dropped the concept in later installments. As the first six Fire Emblem titles as well as the first six Nintendo Wars titles were never released outside Japan, this was done to attempt to make the games more immersive for western players.
- In Panzer Dragoon Saga, the player is actually a character in the story thought of as a god by many cast members. The ending has the characters address him directly and thank him for his help.
- An obscure RPG known as Ancient Evil uses this for purposes of scariness. One room contains seven crosses, from which hang six decapitated corpses, with the heads piled in a corner. By each cross is a sign naming its occupant (e.g. Gutripper The Warrior.) The final, unoccupied cross bears the name you chose at the start of the game. (This is the game's only usage of Hello, Insert Name Here—it seems to be banking on the probability that you named your character after yourself.)
- The former Trope Namer is Metal Gear Solid 2, which uses it in a way that, depending on your interpretation, might be a deconstruction of the trope. Right at the beginning of the main story, the game asks for the player's name, sex, nationality, date of birth and blood type. Right at the end, Raiden reveals to Snake the dog tags he's been wearing ever since the Gainax Ending kicked off, and they have the player's details on them. He observes (when Snake asks) that he doesn't know the name, and throws the tags away.
- This might mean that since the game is over, Raiden refuses to be under your control anymore. Which becomes ironic, considering that Raiden is playable once more in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
- Assassin's Creed II does this in-universe. When Ezio enter the vault under the Vatican, Minerva begins to the explain things Ezio has no way of knowing about while barely acknowledging his presence. When he calls her out, she says she is not speaking to him, but through him. She turns to face directly at the camera and addresses Desmond (who is viewing Ezios memories in present day), leaving Ezio very confused.
- Douglas Adams's adventure game Bureaucracy has you fill in a form to the software company at the start of the game, setting the tone. The seemingly-irrelevant information it asks for (such as 'least favourite colour', 'last employer but one', and 'ex-boyfriend/girlfriend') are used as names of characters and descriptions of objects. The whole cluster is meshed into an ID number which is essential to solving some of the puzzles.
- In Deus Ex, you are asked for your real name, but all the game's characters refer to you as JC Denton, your codename. As you play the game, you can read newspapers which tell skewed versions of how you accomplished previous missions, while the evil conspiracy reveals your true name (the player's) and brands you a terrorist.
- At the end of the game, when you find the cloning lab you were born in, the real name you entered will be used in the records you can access.
- Throughout the game, characters who know you will refer to you on a first name basis in e-mails. Since these don't use your full name, this is actually fairly subtle.
- Harvest Moon 64 has one of these in the credits. While most Harvest Moon games only ask for a name for your character to give NPCs thing to address you by, 64 ends its credits with "And now, [player name], thank you very much."
- To Heart 2 Another Days asks for your name when you start Ikuno's route (which is the only time in the game where you are not Takaki; it's essentially Manaka's scenario in To Heart 2 as seen from Ikuno's perspective) and uses it for one of her two endings, where she returns to the hospital and meets you there.
- Gothic frequently reminds you about how it doesn't care about your name.
- In Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge, the main character usually only refers to you as "partner", but there's a code that allows the characters to address the player by a chosen name.
- At the start of Black & White, you're asked to input a profile name for your save. If you just happened to enter a name that's included in an internal list of common names, then the game will sometimes whisper that name to you throughout. Creepy.
- Especially when interspersed with the other word constantly whispered, "death."
- In the FIFA football/soccer games, you get to name your avatar in manager mode. You can also create a player which along with the FIFA 2009 addition of Be a Pro seasons gives you the chance to have the footballing career you never had.
- The NCAA Football and Madden NFL series have something similar as well with Road to Glory and Superstar modes, respectively, where you control a single player, often named after yourself, and guide him through his college and pro careers, respectively.
- The rail shooter Zombie Raid asks you to input a three-letter name before starting the game, but the protagonist is a detective called Edward Windsor. About a quarter of the way through the first level, Edward finds a grave with the name you put in and blows it up, remarking, "No no, I can't be dead!"
- Punch-Out!! Wii has this when Little Mac retires. At the end of the credits, it shows (name of Mii in save file) as Little Mac.
- Di RT 2 uses the name you tell it at the start to refer to you through the whole game, even in voiceover: The game has a wide selection of names that the other racers can call you by, and even if your name isn't on the list, you can choose a nickname too. It's also particularly impressive when the game gives you Boss Subtitles at the start of a race, telling that you are the racer who's most likely to win.
- RuneScape even lampshades this in one quest, when the troll you're talking to says about your name that it's not the worst he's seen; some have numbers and stuff and things that aren't words at all. Some human NPCs also say similar things when the player tell them their name is weird. For most cases, the NPC refers to the player by their name, "adventurer", a region-specific honorific or a combination. For example, if you do a certain quest, the Fremenniks will call you by your Fremennik name, and attach the title "Spinewielder" if you wear skeletal armour.
- The Stronghold series uses the entered name mostly just for profiles. However if you enter a common name, from a list of well over two hundred, when the game starts the voice of your scribe says "Greetings Lord/Lady [NAME]!". Entering the name "Lord Vader" results in an Easter Egg.
- Animal Crossing gets you to "tell" Rover/Kapp'n your name when you first arrive by train/taxi/bus (It all depends on the version) and throughout the game, the villagers will always address you by name. Starting with Wild World, villagers will come up with a nickname later on, and eventually other villagers may start using that nickname.
- In an unusual example, the caption for level 5 of Karoshi 2.0 is whatever you had in your clipboard at the time. Nonetheless, it surprised many players.
- Whatever you decide to put in as your character's name is called out by a supporting character during a cutscene (at which point Yahtzee regretted the naming choice of "Twattycake").
- And in the end, In order to save your daughter Yonah, you must enter the name of the person she loves above all else. Take a wild guess.
- In addition to that, it's also the final confirmation the game asks you if you want to view ending D, which deletes all your save data.
- In the Professor Layton series, you are addressed as a personal friend of Luke's that he's writing the letters that narrate the events of the game to.
- Emogame, a free indie flash game, addresses the player as a loser who has been baited to the center of all emo music to replay a scene from The Neverending Story and is insulted in the ending to "GO OUT AND DO SOMETHING YOU FAG!"
- Digital: A Love Story will ask you for your real name and to choose an internet (well, FIDOnet) nickname. You will be addressed by your nickname for most of the game, but when Emilia is copied over to your computer, she will address you by your real name.
- The Japanese simulation game Wonder Project J asks your name and entreats you to teach an android boy the fundamentals of life and humanity. Makes for a pretty nasty Player Punch if you don't do a good job: the young android will shout — using your name — that he hates you.
- NHL Hockey: Not only in the "Be A Pro" modes, but within exhibition games (starting with NHL '12), where a player will be given a highlight package of their best goals or hits.
- In the indie RPG OFF, the player is treated like an actual character, and many of the main characters talk to you directly.
- Spec Ops: The Line does this a subtle version. The game registers the name of the profile you are playing it on, and has that name listed as "Special Guest" in the opening credits.
- The ET ride at Universal Studios asks for your name at the beginning. At the end of the ride, after you've saved the Green Planet (well, after you've ridden through it and everything's better), E.T. says the names of all the riders.
- If you've got a reasonably common name, that is. If your name is particularly unusual, Stephen Hawking says your name. (That is, they use what is essentially a copy of Stephen's voice unit to attempt to convert your name into sound.)