The number 25 appears all over the place in Macross Frontier - it's the 25th migration fleet, the Macross-class ship is called the Macross Quarter (=25 percent!), the hero mecha are VF-25, one of the characters is a quarter alien, etc. Whether all this leads up to something actually meaningful is still up in the air. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Macross Frontier celebrates the 25th anniversary of the franchise.
Similarly, the number seven crops up all over Macross 7, to the point that they withheld 3 episodes from broadcast so that the series would be 49 episodes (7 squared) long.
Fairy Tail also has 7 as the arc number. The dragons all disappeared on July 7, x777. There was also a 7 year timeskip (where those who went to Tenrou Island were frozen in time for seven years by the spirit of their first master, Mavis Vermilion, to protect and heal them).
Because Four is Death, Death Note has 4×10n. 40 seconds after writing a name in the Note, the person dies. 400 seconds is the amount of time a Kira has to write circumstances surrounding a death after they've written in a cause of death.
In Haruhi Suzumiya's Endless 8 arc, there are 8 parts and it takes place during August (the broadcast of this ended at the beginning of August as well). A bit less obviously, turning an 8 sideways gives you the infinity symbol.
In Monster, Johan's hospital room number is 402; Eva stays at a hotel in room 402. For good measure, the number of people poisoned at the Red Rose Mansion is 42, and the apartment of the "Thursday boy" is 204.
In Darker Than Black the number 201 (Hei's Contractor Messier Code) tends to find its way into everything.
It shows up more often than any number. It was Sena's number for the Deimon entrance exam. Sena's birth date is December 21. It was Hiruma's winning number from blackjack, earning them enough money to return home from America. Even Yamato's prediction of 42-0 for the Deimon-Teikoku game could be interpreted as 2 * 21 = 42. When Hiruma and Agon combined for the Dragon Fly, their jersey numbers are 1 and 2 respectively. Also Yamato before the Japan-America game confronts Mr Don at a casino and bets on red. The ball lands on Red 21.
Future GPX Cyber Formula: The number 11 plays a part in the Double-One arc. The story takes place during the 11th CF Grand Prix, Asurada has been upgraded into the Super Asurada AKF-11, and it is also the title for 2 consecutive championship wins in CF. In addition, the first episode of the OVA came out in November of 1992.
Speed Racer has 5's in many places; in one episode, Speed applied for some big testing program and was by total coincidence assigned the applicant number 555. (This is unsurprising, considering the Punny Name given the series in Japanese.)
The number 7 is one for Katekyo Hitman Reborn!. 7 Vongola Guardians, 7 Arcobaleno, 7 Real Funeral Wreaths, 7 Flames of the Sky and Earth each... well, you get the idea.
The most important one is the Tri-ni-set, or 7³, which are made up of 3 sets of 7 rings: the 7 Vongola Rings, the 7 Mare Rings and the 7 Arcobaleno Pacifiers. 7³ is also said to be foundation of the world.
In Soul Eater, the number 42 shows up a lot with things related to Death, Death the Kid, or Death City. This is a pun on how in Japanese "4-2" is pronounced "shi-ni", which sounds like "death".
In the second Ghost in the Shell movie, "2501." Interestingly, in the first movie, the significance of this number is explained immediately, but because of what happens during that movie, it's sudden presence in the sequel is not immediately explainable. It means the Major, who has merged with and become one being with the Puppetmaster (aka Project 2501,) is keeping an eye on Bato from the net.
The number 52 appeared throughout The DCU for a year between 2006 and 2007, hinting at the mystery surrounding the weekly series 52. While eventually the title was explained (it referred to the 52 parallel Earths that had been newly created)why the number itself kept popping up in the unlikeliest places never was. The real reason was that the writers were told to salt their stories with "52" references, with the expectation that it would become meaningful later on. Most writers treated it as an oncoming cataclysmic event, with characters randomly spouting the number (or even having aliens scream the number in phonetic English. In hindsight, reading such references in context rarely yields anything remotely related to parallel Earths.
Note that it still exists as an arc number, with the recent DC relaunch having 52 new titles. Whether it still means anything or not will have to be seen.
In V for Vendetta, 5 is a recurring number. "V" is even the Roman numeral 5. V (who tends to speak in iambic pentameter) was patient number 5, in a room marked with the Roman numeral "V". V's motto: Vi Veri Vniversum Vivus Vici (V.V.V.V.V.).
JLA #19 & #20: Odd things keep happening around the world, all related to the number 7. It turns out, this synchronicity was the result of 7 split photons trying to re-connect through "spooky action" and sending out messages to the universe in the form of warped probabilities, and the only hero who can stop the craziness is The Atom, who was the 7th person to join the JLA in its history.
7 in the Scott Pilgrim saga. It becomes more readily apparent when Scott finally reaches Gideon, Ramona's 7th and final evil ex. There's only 6 books in the series however, because two of her exes (a pair of twins) are defeated simultaneously in the 5th book. There are also mini-arc numbers for each ex; most wear their numbers, and coincidentally have them around them. Except for, again, 5 and 6, who get the number "11" (which is 5+6). Scott Pilgrim himself is usually connected with the number 0.
The regular Beagle Boys from Disney comics all have prison numbers consisting of two groups of three digits and those three digits are always 1, 6 and 7. Do the math and you discover that there are no more than 36 Beagle Boys, except that there is an endless supply of the Specialist Beagle Boys (the only regularly used Specialist in the stories being Intellectual-176, or I-176 on his prison uniform).
A113 pops up a lot in animated films, particularly those from Pixar. It's the number for the animation room in the California Institute for the Arts (CalArts), where most modern animators learned their craft.
Magnolia uses the numbers 8 and 2 often in conjunction, leading to a quote of Exodus 8:2 and the plague of frogs it describes.
666 shows up a lot in The Doom Generation, most often in the form of some purchase or another costing $6 and 66 cents.
In Donnie Darko, Frank the Bunny tells Donnie that the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. Donnie then writes these numbers on his arm to remember them.
In Lucid, a 2005 Canadian film, the number 209 comes up frequently; clocks display 2:09, the group therapy group is group 209, etc. This is because, except for the beginning, it was All Just A Dream. The main character is dreaming, staring at a digital clock, and it is 2:09 in the morning.
In Inception, Cobb forces Fisher to tell him the first six numbers that come into his mind, claiming that his father might have given him the code to his safe without Fisher knowing it was a code. Held at gunpoint, Fisher comes up with 528491. Since it is all a dream in which all the details are filled in by the dreamers, this number becomes the code for all further locks they later encounter in the dreams. Even the rooms in the Hotel have the numbers 528 and 491, even though one is supposed to be the one right below the other.
In the Alfred Hitchcock film The 39 Steps, the numbers 3 and 5 appear quite frequently. A couple examples include the numbers 5 and 10 (5 x 2) appearing in the corners of the film, the title being "39" (3 and 3 x 9, or 3 x 13), and the scenes being roughly 3 - 5 minutes in length. The significance is not present in the film itself, but a theme of bread and fish is seen throughout the film as an alleged reference to The Bible, where Jesus Christ takes 3 fish and loaves of bread to feed 5,000 people.
In the Dragaera books, everything related to the Dragaeran Empire comes in 17, or in powers of 17. All novels in the series have 17 or 34 chapters, a custom that began by accident.
All significant numbers in the Discworld gravitate towards 8. There's an 8th color in the spectrum, being the 8th son of an 8th son makes you a wizard (and a wizard's 8th son is a sourcerer), Box 5 from The Phantom of the Opera becomes Box 8 in Maskerade...
Illuminatus does this with 5 and 23, and to a slightly lesser extent 17. 5 is mostly associated with the Bavarian Illuminati and 23 with the Discordians (though there are exceptions in both directions). It specifically adds two extra elements to the Hegelian triad of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis: parenthesis and paralysis.
Harry Potter has 12, 7 (7 books, 7 years at Hogwarts, 7 horcruxes, 7 children in the Weasley family, Harry takes 7 classes from his first to third year, 7 floors in Hogwarts castle, 7 Quidditch players on a team, Wolfsbane potion must be drunk every 7 days to prevent transformation...), and 9.75 (Platform 9¾; school year of 9¾ months; Harry spends 9¾ years in the Muggle world). The Harry Potter wiki has an extensive list on uses of the number 7 in the series.
42, the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It's what you get when you multiply 6x9. In reality though, this was because 6x9 was the distorted version of the real question imprinted on Arthur Dent's brainwaves, due to the fact that he was not actually the race meant to live on earth. The real question, "what is 6x7?", would have been the reveal if the original human race had not been accidentally replaced. Note that it actually does equal 42 in base 13 math. People asked the author if this was intentional:
Douglas Adams: I don't make jokes in base 13. No one makes jokes in base 13.
The number 19, in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. Notable for the characters becoming very Genre Savvy about it, including Eddie figuring out a password in the nick of time because he knew 19 was in there somewhere. The number 99 becomes a lesser arc number, which is the result of King getting nearly killed in the year 1999.
Humorist Dave Barry seems to have a thing for the number 2038. This likely has to do with the "Chuckletrousers Incident" (partially recounted in Dave Barry In Cyberspace), in which Dave Barry accidentally sent a profanity-filled message to his Usenet fan group instead of by e-mail to Michael Bywater, whom he was replying to. Michael Bywater subsequently claimed to have received 2,038 forwarded copies of the message. It may or may not also have something to do with the 2038 Problem.
The Fire has 64, for the number of squares in a chessboard.
J. R. R. Tolkien juggled around a whole bunch of neat numbers that kept cropping up, but this seems less intended to mean something and more characteristic of fairy-tales and mythology in general.
The Lord of the Rings uses the number Nine. There are 9 Nazgûl, who wield the 9 Rings for Mortal Men. There are 9 in the Fellowship, because Elrond chose them to match the Nazgûl. Frodo has 9 fingers at the end. There were 9 people who touched the One Ring (Sauron, Isildur, Deagol, Sméagol, Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, Tom Bombadil, Sam). In Real Life, 9 was an Arc Number both in Norse Mythology and popular Medieval Christianized astrology (where it represented perfection, a "trinity of trinities") - both of which influenced Tolkien immensely.
Magic rings come in sets of 3, 7, 9, or 1. There are 5 wizards. The Hobbit has 13 dwarves (plus one hobbit, picked for the lucky number). The Silmarillion has 7 gods plus 7 goddesses, and 3 Silmarilli. Tolkien sure liked prime numbers. Also, 9.
10 is important in The Stormlight Archive. For example, there are 10 Heralds we meet at the beginning of the first book, 10 orders of Knights Radiant, 10 forms of surgebinding, 10 levels of voidbinding, the 10 Fools, 10 original Silver Kingdoms, 10 major gemstones, 10 trait combinations.
In A Void by Perec, a book written without the letter 'e', the two numbers are 26 and (always referring to the fifth out of all the 26 things being missing) the other is 25. (Meta: referring to the missing 'e'. Which really only works in the original French because there's no 'e' in 'vingt' (twenty in French).)
A lot of things in The 39 Clues come in groups of 7, and ironically the number 39 is completely meaningless.
Each Deltora Quest series has a different Arc Number related to the number of Plot Coupons the characters are looking for: 7 in Deltora Quest, 3 in Shadowlands and 4 in Dragons Of Deltora
The numbers 7 and 77 seem to be a recurring motif for the Djinn in Children Of The Lamp.
In Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex, Artemis becomes obsessed with the belief that the number 5 is good and the number 4 is evil, and goes to great lengths to use 5s and avoid 4s as much as possible, which is one of the first signs that he's going insane.
47 appears an awful lot in Star Trek. Many joke that it's "42 adjusted for inflation," and many sci-fi shows, notably Stargate SG-1, also see 47 cropping up frequently, most likely in tribute. It's become something of a Numerological Motif and/or in-joke in the sci-fi community at large. Trek's 47s were started by writer Joe Menosky, a graduate of Pomona College, which is the origin of the "47 Society," a group proclaiming that 47 is the quintessential random number. In the 1960s, a Pomona professor named Donald Bentley produced a "proof" showing that all numbers are equal to 47. Just for fun, one of the main libraries on the campus is named "The Borg" in part as tribute to this connection between the school and the show/movies
Star Trek has a more compressed example in the TNG's "Cause and Effect," featuring a Groundhog Day Loop in which the Enterprise is repeatedly destroyed. On the final iteration, the characters keep encountering the number 3, and discover that it's a message from themselves in the previous go-round telling them how to avoid destruction.
J. J. Abrams and his writers apparently tried their hardest to get the number 47 to appear in every single episode ofAlias.
The X-Files frequently uses arc numbers with the most common being 1013 (series creator Chris Carter's birthday and the name of his production company) and 1121 (Carter's wife's birthday). Use as times (10:13) and dates (November 21st) being particularly common.
During the fourth season of CSI NY, the number 333 popped up in a lot of episodes (Mac would be called at 3:33am, or a murder on the 3 train at 33rd St station).
Barely an episode of the third season of Ashes to Ashes goes by without 6-6-2-0 showing up. It turns out to be the collar number Gene was wearing when he was killed.
On Classic Concentration, contestants who picked square #22 were reminded that that is host Alex Trebeck's lucky number.
The number 11 crops up so often in Shoebox Zoo that it almost becomes irritating.
Every episode of Touch has its own arc number, which is usually first show written by Jacob in his notebook. The number of the episode appears throughout: as everything from times to dates to addresses to phone numbers to ....
In Doctor Who series 7, specifically once Clara becomes a companion, a few numbers start cropping up. First, "Eleven" remains from since the beginning of series 7 (since this is the eleventh Doctor), but also the number twenty-three. Clara, for some odd reason, doesn't seem to acknowledge the existence of the number; she mistypes a "123" password as "124," and in a diary she's had since she was a kid, she has her age listed for every age except 23, which she skips.
The date 23rd of November (i.e. 23/11) has been cropping up a lot, for obvious reasons.
The number "39" is sometimes used for things related to Hatsune Miku, because the digits 3 and 9 can be read as "mi" and "ku" in Japanese.
Weird Al has the number 27 appear a number of times in various songs, album covers, specials etc.
The 27 Club, which includes any popular musician who dies at the age of 27, such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse.
In the Gorillaz-verse, the number 23 seems to come up an awful lot, as noted in the "autobiography" Demon Days.
Marilyn Manson with 15 (which is both Manson's birthday - January 5 - and the Devil's card in Tarot).
John Lennon loved the number 9 (Revolution 9, #9 Dream), and was born on the 9th of October.
Taylor Swift's lucky number is 13. She would often be seen writing the number on her hand during concerts and her Fearless album had 13 tracks.
99 Luftballoons uses the number repeatedly.
The number 23 for The KLF. Note that one of the many names used by The KLF is the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, named for a Discordian cult in Illuminatus. The number 23 is also an Arc Number in Discordianism, and the band's work contains many references to both Discordianism and Illuminatus!.
Sound Horizon's Märchen makes mention of or alludes to the number 7 numerous times, examples from which range from obvious (it's based on 7 fairy tales and Seven Deadly Sins; it starts off and ends with a countdown from the number 7), to obscure (Snow White is said to have become the "fairest of them all" at age 7 in the original fairy tale; the "bonus track" is a collection of 29(3x7) sound snippets, each 7 seconds in length.)
The number 70 is referenced in a lot of Boards of Canada songs, "The Smallest Weird Number" being named after one of 70's properties. Most of the time the number is called "Sixtyten," in reference to the number's name in French. Furthermore, their independent record label is called Music70.
Dream Theater's "Octavarium", from the album of the same name, revolves around the idea that "everything ends where it began" and uses the number 8 and the octave (C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C) as an example. What's more is that it's the eighth track on their eighth album and its length in minutes (twenty-four) is divisible by 8. Various other elements in the song also allude to cycles and/or the number 8.
Ever since it became the title of their breakthrough album, Rush has loved the number 2112. It's been the key to unlocking a DVD Easter Egg, the source of many video jokes on their Time Machine Tour, and represents one possible time on the Clockwork Angels clockface (2112 = 9:12 PM in military time).
Alban Berg was very preoccupied with the number 23, which turns up in all sorts of musical and mathematical codes in his works. He died (officially) on Christmas Eve 1935, but some of his friends insisted that his death really occurred on the 23rd hour of the 23rd day.
Thirty Seconds To Mars has the number 6277 appearing in their music videos and other promotional material. Numerically, it spells out MARS.
In Les Misérables, the number 24601 (Jean Val Jean's prison number) is repeatedly referenced, mainly in his struggles with Javert.
In RENT the song seasons of love turns around the repetition of 525600, the number of minutes in a year, as a way to emphasize the shortness of life and all that can be accomplished in that time, harkening to the broad themes of the show.
Romeo and Juliet: Juliet is between the ages of 13 through 14 years old in the story. This fact is put on emphasis during the play, from Juliet being the 13th character to appear on stage, to Romeo calling her name 14 times. This suggests that the play was putting importance on Juliet's surprising wisdom in spite of her age and youth to emphasize her immaturity.
Mythology and Religion
Greek Mythology had number 12 as a sacred number and its all over the place, without even sporting a duodecimal system. 12 Gods in Olympus (although not only 12 supernatural beings dwelt there), 12 hours in a day - 12 hours in a night, 12 labours of Hercules, 12 months in a year, and many more. Especially the latter seems to have been forced to be 12; a month, as its name suggests, is a full circle of the moon (29.5 days), however the ancient Greek calendar had 365 days. Their chosen system was to have twelve months alternating between 29 and 30 and have an extra 11 days not assigned to any month so they would remain 12. The same number was sacred in Egypt and probably originated from Mesopotamia.11 and 12 are special words in Greek, not resembling the format of other numbers in the teen region. The same is true in Germanic languages and possibly other languages of the Indoeuropean family.
40 appears in The Old Testament quite a bit. (So do 7 and 12, but they also show up frequently in other works from that time...) Examples include Noah's Flood (it rained for 40 days and 40 nights) and the Exodus (which lasted 40 years). It also pops up in the New Testament, when Jesus fasts for 40 days and is tempted by Satan.
To be fair, at the time of writing the word for 40 also meant "an unspecified large number", just as in modern English the word "a couple" can mean either "exactly 2" or "an unspecified small number"
7 tends to represent an endless or uncountable amount.
By Jesus' day "77" or "70x7" had a similar use. Adjusted for inflation?
3: The Bible does the Rule of Three a lot, but the New Testament identifies it with God (as in the Trinity). Also, Seraphim have 3 sets of wings.
To the ancient Hebrews, 3 represented consistency. Thus the prophet Isaiah's freakout when he found himself in the throne room of God with angels saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” because it meant that God was consistently holy while Isaiah . . . wasn't. Keeping this in mind, we also know that 7 represented the "perfect number" to many cultures at the time, including the Jews. The number 6, therefore, was short of perfection; so the number 666 represented consistent imperfection. *
Which is ironic, because mathematicians consider 6 a perfect number - the smallest such number, being an integer which is the sum of its own factors (other than itself) - 1 + 2 + 3 = 6.
4: Usually identified with the created world: "The 4 winds of the Earth", "the 4 corners of the Earth", and the 4 beasts who stand before the Throne which show up in both Testaments. Also, there are 4 Gospels.
7: Applied to time and refer to completion. 7 days in a week, and the 7th is the Sabbath. Likewise, every 7 years was a Sabbath Year when the fields were supposed to lie fallow, and the 50th year (7x7+1) was the Year of Jubilee, when all debts were cancelled, Jewish slaves were set free, and land reverted back to its original owner. 7 also shows up in prophecies about the end of the world: Daniel's "7 Weeks" and there's a whole host of 7s in the Revelation of John (7 seals, 7 bowls, 7 trumpets, 7 heads on the Beast, just to name a few.)
This was aided by the fact that the Real Life city of Rome is renowned for having 7 hills. The Revelation was likely referring to Rome when it said "The 7 heads are 7 hills" to get past the Roman censors.
12: The Human Race. There were 12 sons of Jacob, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 stones representing them on the High Priest's garments, 12 gates in the New Jerusalem, and 12 disciples. The disciples didn't think it was a coincidence, either: after Judas hanged himself, they drew lots for a replacement.
Norse Mythology has the number 9 all over it. There are 9 Worlds, Odin learns "9 runes and 18(2x9) charms" and at Ragnarok, Thor will slay the Midgard Serpent but be poisoned by its dying breath, and stagger back 9 steps before falling dead himself.
In Native American mythologies, at least in North America, the number 4 shows up a lot. Mayan mythology also used the number 13, while plains mythologies liked the number 7.
23 and 5 (= 2 + 3) are significant in Discordianism (and the source of the Jim Carrey film above).
Eberron: 12+ 1, a Baker's dozen. The guy who designed Eberron is named Keith Baker. There are lots of examples where you get 12 obvious things and a 13th hidden one. 12 dragonmarked houses — and the eradicated (?)13th dragonmark of Death. 12 Planes — and the sealed 13th Plane of Xoriat. 12 moons — plus the 13th dark moon. 12 nations in the Khorvaire continent, plus Cyre... the 13th nation, which is now the D&D equivalent of Fallout.
Mocked, like so much else, in the Planescape setting for AD&D. According to the Rule Of 3, everything always appears in sets of 3. Since reality is very much defined by what people believe, this remarkably often proves to be true. Though some cynics quite rightfully point out that it works with every number if you just look long enough.
Almost everything in Exalted is based around the number 5. This is even the case when it looks like it isn't; there are 7 types of Exalt - Solar, Lunar, Terrestrial, Sidereal, Alchemical, Abyssal and Infernal - but since the last 2 are based on corrupted Solar shards...
There are only 3 Lunar castes... But there used to be 5.
7 also appears, usually with mystic connotations.
Again with the Lunars - their source book suggests you can consider the Lunars to have 7 castes as well as 3 or 5: the 5 original castes, the casteless, and chimerae.
Likewise White Wolf's 3 main New World of Darkness settings are also based around the number 5. Vampire has 5 Clans & 5 Covenants, Mage has its Paths & Orders, Werewolf has Auspices & Tribes. The limited gamelines, however, cheerfully break the pattern.
The Kingdom Hearts series tends to make heavy use of the numbers 3, 7, and 13, though the first two are played more subtly.
A more subtle one: Xemnas, the final boss of Kingdom Hearts II, is the number 1 of the Organization; Marluxia, from Chain of Memories, is number 11 - double one. The final boss in 358/2 Days is no.i...an imaginary number whose algebric square is -1.
They managed to get two arc numbers into the recipe for Ultima Weapon in KH2. Without the mandatory Energy Crystal (which cuts crafting requirements in half), it requires 13 pieces of Orichalcum+ to forge (which is more than the amount that exists in the game). With the Energy Crystal, though, the game rounds up to 7.
The D'ni culture (which you first get glimpses of in Riven, and pick up through every other game and novel) has a base 25 numbering system. The little toy in the classroom in Riven does a good job of showing you the basics; it uses only 4 symbols plus a 0 (the '5' is just the '1' turned on its side, and a '6' is a '5' with a '1', and so on). The only tricky part is numbers with more than one digit: while they arrange things in 5s, their numbers go up to 25 (5x5) before you see another character.
The name Riven is 5 characters long.
The title Riven: The Sequel to Myst is 5 words long.
Pentagonal architecture and pentagrams are prevalent in the game world.
The original CD-ROM version came on 5 discs.
There are 5 islands, 5 entrances to the Big Bad's lair (one per island), a series of 5 associated color-symbol puzzles to unlock them, and a 5-step code to get in.
There is a 5-step code to enter the Rebel age.
The submarine on Jungle Island has 5 stops.
Knocking 5 times on the door of one of the Jungle Island dwellings will elicit a response from the people living inside.
7 in the Marathon trilogy, and later Halo. In fact 7 appears to be an Arc Number for Bungie Studios in general: many of their event dates, character names, and even their fan club (The 7th Column) feature the number 7 or multiples of 7. Even the studio Microsoft set up to handle any future Halo products after Reach is called 343 Industries.*
There's a strong implication implies the number 12 is evil, what with the Sinister Dodecahedron, fuzzy dice killing you if they get boxcars, the level 12 quest being to start a war, etc. This may or may not be related to Jick's apparent hatred of the number 13. Look at the object numbers carefully.
And there's so many references to the number 11 in the game, it's ridiculous. It's not even funny.
And of course, the number 23FNORD
That and using/attaining 37 ("In a row?!") of anything is always funny.
Infocom games have 69105 as the traditional answer whenever something needs to be counted.
More of a Chekhov's Gun, really, but 2-1-6 is important in Fallout 3. It's introduced at the very beginning of the game as the chapter and verse of the PC's mother's favorite Bible passage, Revelation 21:6. It's mentioned a few times during gameplay. Fully 20 years later, at the very end of the game, it recurs as the keycode to the MacGuffin — 2-1-6. The importance of this sequence is NEVER explicitly told to the player by anyone who would know it, but it does show up as one of the response options when the player is interrogated for the code (providing the closest thing to a direct clue in the game as to what the code might actually be).
Also in Fallout 3, the number 2 scrawled on the walls of nearly every building with a heavy Raider presence.
87 residents of Vault 87 died from "unexplained" causes.
Vaults 101 and 108, the latter of which is also half of 216.
Fallout New Vegas has 6. 6 Couriers, 6 items, 6 destinations. You can also find a canyon wall full of graffitti telling Courier 6 to come home.
Vault 13 from the first game, which is plagued by many misfortunate events, from the water chip malfunctioning to the possible takeover by the Super Mutants.
The number 7 has a cropped up constantly in many of Nasu Kinoko's works. Examples include the 7 Servants of the Holy Grail War, Ciel being the 7th agent of the Burial Agency (which is, of course, made up of 7 members), the 7th Holy Scripture (Nanako), the 17 Piece Dissection (Shiki's 'signature move'), the 27 Dead Apostle Ancestors and so on. It is explained in Tsukihime that the number 7 is considered "the most perfect number".
Several Silent Hill games use at least one Arc Number to add to the creepy factor; in Homecoming, for instance, every clock in the town of Shepherd's Glen is stopped dead at exactly 2:06. This later becomes the solution to several puzzles. Cutscenes and scattered documents imply that "206" was Alex's room number during his horrific stay at Alchemilla Hospital; in the cutscene before the final boss fight it is also revealed that 2:06 is the time when his little brother Joshua died.
The magic number in Half Minute Hero, as one might guess, is 30. Each of the 4 main modes is 30 stages long, and also 30 seconds long, barring any attempts to turn back the clock.
Pi in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots shows up on number plates on cars, posters on walls, and in the lyrics to a song, amongst other places, probably to symbolise how Ouroboros-shaped the plot is. To a much lesser extent is 893 - both part of Drebin's name, and the maximum number of bullets you can carry for any given caliber.
Certain radio frequencies pop up in nearly every game after they're introduced and are nearly always used for the same thing - your commanding officer is near-always at 140.85, saving your game is near-always done by calling 140.96, and so on.
There are 27 levels in the main dungeon of Dungeon Crawl, the maximum level of a character is 27, and skill levels are also capped at 27.
Grand Theft Auto has 69 popping around in many places, from the number of a fire truck to a military base.
In Oktober, 636 seems to crop up a lot. None of the characters seem to know what it means; however, due to their extreme Genre Savvy, they've learned to note its importance.
11 in Billy Vs SNAKEMAN. For instance, the game's webmaster and creator goes by the name of the "Eleventy Billionth Hokage", and multiples of 11 are frequently used in bonus multipliers and some of the mini-games ("Over 11000", anyone?)
8492 in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War. Towards the end of the game, it is revealed to be the the callsign of the Belkan aggressor squadron, which doesn't officially exist but acts as a shadowy nemesis of the Wardogs/Razgriz.
Similar to the Silent Hill example above, Eternal Darkness seems to really like 3:33. Alex is woken up at 3:33. The clock in the main hall of the mansion? Stopped at 3:33. And it should come as no surprise that when you find a puzzle involving a clock, it has to be set to... yep, 3:33.
In Achron, the AI Echo is fond of repeating the number 76013, which is ultimately revealed to be the number of time loop iterations so far.
The Elder Scrolls and the number 9. Often expressed as a form of "8+1". There are 9 Divines in the Imperial religion, comprising 8 conventional gods and 1 human who is worshipped as a god. There are 9 provinces in the Empire, and 9 districts and principal cities in the provinces of Skyrim and Cyrodiil. The Amulet of Kings has 8 small jewels and 1 large jewel.
The Sub Machine series uses 32 a lot: In Sub 2, Mur plans to leave the lighthouse in the next "32 days"; in Sub 4 it took "32 years" to explore the Subnet, including "32 chambers filled with sand"; in Sub7 the Winter Palace was built in "1832" etc. This may or may not be a reference to Discordianism.
The number 7 shows up a lot in Fallen London, especially in connection with a certain quest.
The Armored Core series has the number 9 which first appeared with the fandoms memetic final boss Nineball/Hustler One, now every time you see something with the 9 you'll be shitting your pants due to them being a badass. The most notable example is White Glint from For Answer who is rank #9 and the game says that there better than the rank suggest. And before you ask, the jokes with Cirno have been made
Bemani musician DJ YOSHITAKA composed a large number of songs that are specifically 185 BPM.
The number 17 pops up a lot in Ever17. And if it isn't 17, it's somehow divisible by 17.
The image from this page comes from Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors. To elaborate: 9 victims, 9 hours to escape, numbered doors from 1 to 9, 9 seconds before the numbered doors close when they open them, and 81 seconds (9x9) to find the detonator-deactivation-scanner once inside, in the Nonary game that happened 9 years ago, 9 clovers were handed out by Snake.
And ICE-9 despite being a Shout Out to Cat's Cradle.
And to top it all off, the final puzzle is a sudoku puzzle, which is all about sets of 9.
The digital root of all the known ages of the characters is a 9. Ace/Ichinomiya (50) + Snake/Niels (24) + Santa (24) + Clover/Yotsuba (18) + Junpei (21) + June/Murasaki (21) + Seven (45) + Lotus/Yashiro (40) = 243 = 2 + 4 + 3 = 9.
In the Captain's Quarters after telling Clover about the bookmark Santa gave you she takes 6 paces to the left, 6 paces to the right, then 6 paces to the left. 6+6+6=18 > 1+8=9. 18 is also 9x2.
A key aspect of the game revolved around the calculation of Digital Roots. Although not explicitly stated, calculating a Digital Root is mathematically equivalent to calculating the number modulo 9.
The passnumber to the coffin is 14383421. Multiply that number by 9, and you get 129450789: the actual numerical value of everyone's bracelets.
In fact, 9 seems to be the arc number of the whole Zero Escape series: the sequel, Virtue's Last Reward, once again has 9 players, now with the objective to obtain 9 points and become able to open the 9 door in the facility they're in.
The visual novel Sekien No Inganock: 41 Creatures who brought doom to Inganock, 41 Kikai standing behind someone's back and 41 people disappearing every year.
The plot before the core arcs questioned the existence of a 19th person, the events of the series were built up for 19 years, and the core arcs themselves revealed that the true age of a certain person who is heavily involved in the murders is 19. Lampshaded and invoked by Furfur and Zepar in Episode 6 in the fantasy duel, where the duelists are asked to walk 19 steps away from one another.
07151129 was scrawled on the walls in Episode 3. It's also repeated ominously in a song on the VN soundtrack.It's the code to a safe, specifically, the code to the "Golden Land" which contains the liquidated gold from the island.
More than that, July 15th is Battler's birthday, and the 29th of November is the day "Yasu" solved the epitaph and became 'Beatrice'. Thus it is the combined birthdays of a pair of lovers.
For the When They Cry universe, we have 34. Miyo's name (as well as Lambdadelta's), can be read as 34, and the controversial file in Higurashi was called File No. 34. Less related is the fact that Shannon's real name can be read as 34.
In Yu No we frequently hear about 400 year periods of time, which turns out to be when Dela Grante and Earth make their closest causality based passes and thus travel between the 2 is somewhat possible.
Gunnerkrigg Court has 113. The number is also something of an Author Catch Phrase for Tom Siddell; considering that the number has appeared in his artwork that predates and/or has nothing to do with Gunnerkrigg, it does seem more likely that the number has personal meaning for Mr. Siddell, rather than a meaning specific to the comic.
Homestuck of MS Paint Adventures gets a ton of mileage out of this trope. As of yet, the numbers have no actual significance, but that doesn't stop the fandom from speculating wildly whenever they show up.
First there's 413, usually as a form of 4-13 (4 minutes and 13 seconds, 4 dollars and 13 cents, etc.), corresponding to April 13, the date the comic began and when most of the comic takes place. It appears everywhere, (either as 413, 4-13 or 4-1-3) from the numbers on timers, to times, dates, the versions of computer programs, the numbers used in Terezi's Typing Quirk, sums of money, and more. Variations like 3-14, 1-43, 1-34 or 4-31 pop up as well. It's probably not a coincidence that Andrew Hussie moved to area code 413.
The number 612, or 6-12 (or 2-16), also appears, usually in relation to the Trolls. (June 12, 6:12 AM, 612 hours, 6 hours and 12 minutes...) often as a form of 12 divided into two groups of 6.
Later in Act 5 Act 2, 10-25 starts appearing as well, 1025 being 413+612.
Several characters are associated with numbers as well: Sollux with 2, Vriska with 8, Nepeta with 33, Karkat and Kankri/The Sufferer with 69, Gamzee with 420
In Narbonic, 5478 pops up occasionally. For example, Artie was originally Lab Test Subject RT-5478. In Real Life, it's the author's birthdate.
Despite the title, Sarah Zero is brought to you by the number 28.
9 is an in universe example in Drowtales. The old world had 9 moons, the old religion worshipped 9 deities. The Chelian council has 9 seats, for the leaders of the 9 great clans. All student groups in the Orthorbae consist of 8 students so counting the teacher, there are always 9 people in a classroom during the courses. The school itself has only 8 towers though, which leads a number of characters to speculate that there had to be a 9th one at one point. there still is, the cavern's fake sky is covering it up.
Ben Drowned: Also known as Haunted Majora's Mask Cartridge story, has 423 popping up in pretty much everything related to the story.
April 23rd or 4/23 is the date on which Ben drowned.
The BEN file in the game was saved at an owl statue in the Stone Temple at 23:04.
One of the pages on the official website (Youshouldn'thavedonethat.net which is now down and redirects to the Within Hubris forum) had "for the fold number 3" written at the bottom of it. For = 4. the fold = 2 (folding in half) and number 3 is self explanatory.
A recurring gag in SlimKirby's Lets Plays is his hatred of the number 41. This is an in-joke referring to his friend, fellow Let's Player ShadowMarioXLI.
42 in Demo Reel. Rebecca has gone through 42 jobs in a very small space of time, and Donnie's age is 42. It can't be stressed enough about how much he doesn't look it.
Downplayed when the Game Grumps take a look at the strange Miis contained on a used Wii Arin bought. Most of their names have "677" on them, and Jon thinks it's some sort of code. (Subverted in the end: the original owner explained it was the Wii contained on the store floor for people to try out, and thus many people made weird-looking Miis with bizarre names.)
Parodied in Aqua Teen Hunger Force's100th episode. It shouldn't take a century to figure out the number. I'll give you 'til 1:00.
In Nickelodeon's Doug, the number 47 gets used a lot.
Cotton Hill from King of the Hill constantly referred to the number 50 as an estimate probably because of his favorite accomplishment during the second World War in which he took out 50 Japanese enemy soldiers an event that also cost him his shins.
Rugrats: Lou Pickles, and his obsession with the number 15.
Young Justice is set on Earth-16 of the DCMultiverse, with 16-year-old Aqualad as its leader. Superboy and Miss Martian are aliens that are roughly equivalent to 16-year-old humans, with Superboy being a clone grown for 16 weeks prior to the first episode. Time stamps are often at 16 minutes or 16 hours. The second season is set in the year 2016, and its first episode begins at 16:00.
When co-creator Greg Weisman was asked on Ask Greg about the signifigance of the number 16 on the show, he replied with "*Chuckles evily*".
3.14..., the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, is known as Pi (π).
Not to be confused with 1.618..., otherwise known as Phi (Φ), the number at the heart of the Golden Ratio. The Golden Ratio (1.618... or (1+(√5))/2) to 1) can be found everywhere in nature. It really is freaky when you learn more about it.
Phi is the ratio where a portion of a line is to another portion as the whole is to the first portion, i.e. (Φ+1)/Φ=Φ.
Additionally Φ^2=Φ+1 and Φ^-1 (or 1/Φ)=Φ-1.
Not necessarily a number, but the Fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21...) appears just as much in nature as Phi (which makes sense seeing as they're related).
There's also e, or 2.718... And i, or the square root of -1. By the way, e^(i*pi)=-1.
There's also 2*pi, the ratio of a circle's radius to its circumference. There's a movement to start using that number (represented by Tau (τ)) instead. For example, e^(i*τ)=1, sine and cosine both have a period of τ, etc.
The first Feigenbaum constant, 4.669 201 609(...). It turns up in all sorts of chaotic systems and fractals, for example in the ratio of diameters of circles in the well-known Mandelbrot set. The discovery of the number's universality was key in the development of chaos theory.
Mostly averted in programming, where repeatedly using a number whose significance may not obvious is known as using "magic numbers" or "magic constants"; this is generally thought to be bad style, making code harder to understand. The alternative is to declare a constant, tying a unique name to the number that can be used in place of it.
Played straight with programing limits, where anyone who didn't know better would wonder why the numbers like 8, 256, and 1024 show up so much. The answer is since data is digital (1 or 0) the amount of data that can be stored in any given number of bits, n, is 2^n. It also has the effect of causing numbers that are (2^n)-1 showing up a lot.*
The extra place is reserved for 0
. And if one of the bits are being used as a sign bit, you also see -(2^(n-1)) and (2^(n-1))-1 very often. Note that there are 8 bits in a byte, so n tends to be a multiple of 8. These numbers are most apparent in old RPGs where the limit to a stat would be 255 a lot.
Everyone even a bit versed in European history knows about the multitude of revolutions that broke out all across the continent in 1848. The most successful was arguably the one in Hungary that required not one but two superpowers to break down*
the country was under Habsburg control for quite some time and the revolution was aimed at changing this; taking advantage of the fact that most of the Habsburg forces were bogged down in the west, Hungary actually managed to fight off the local forces and gain independence... until the Russians entered the fray on behalf of the Habsburgs
. At various points in modern history (especially after the world wars and during the 1956 revolution), oppressed Hungarians strived for reestablishing the 1848 government without success. Today the postal code of the Hungarian government is 1848.
There's a reason one book on English history was titled 1066 and All That ("All That" being the rest of English history).
In shipyards, it's important to keep up with which parts belong to which ship either being built or serviced. Therefore, all ships are assigned a yard number (though letters can also be used, especially in yards that have been around a while), which are stamped onto the parts that belong to that ship. 401 can still be made out on one of RMS Titanic's propeller blades.
10^40, or ten thousand trillion trillion trillion. It's roughly the radius of the observable Universe in electron radii. It's also the ratio of the gravitational and electrical forces between a proton and an electron. Squared, ie 10^80, it's the number of protons in the observable Universe. Cubed, ie 10^120, it's the ratio between the observed value of the vacuum energy and its predicted value by quantum mechanics.