"Talk to everyone. Talk is cheap. You don't talk, you don't learn."
Universal generic gaming advice to when you're stuck in a game and don't know where to go. Nintendo Power
gave this particular advice the top position on a list of "top video game tips".
90% of the time, you're thinking too much and getting too far ahead, and then promptly dying from high level monsters. 95% of the time all people want to tell you
is "Welcome to ______!" over and over. This is frustrating if you've saved at an odd time and are talking to people in an effort to remember where you were supposed to go
Occasionally, just speaking
can cause unseen consequences, like a cutscene or a trigger to a later event. In fact, you'd better have talked to that goose salesman at the very beginning of the game if you ever want Sir Bob to get the Infinity+1 Sword
twelve hours in later. This can reach truly absurd levels, where you can SEE the lever, you KNOW you have to pull the lever, but you simply can't do so
unless you talk to some random NPC who suggests pulling it.
Failure to follow
this advice, particularly in older games, can often lead to a Guide Dang It
scenario. More than one game has a seemingly-obtuse puzzle that is fairly easily solved if you've collected enough information from someone nearby. Then there are games that complicate this further
where talking to a certain random someone can actually cause an optional item to become Lost Forever
if you didn't get the item first.
See also Try Everything
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- The Legend of Zelda
- In Sonic Unleashed you get an achievement/trophy for talking to every NPC in the game.
- Star Control 2: Talking to everyone repeatedly is extremely important. Since the star map is huge, you need hints from the dialogue to have any idea where to go next. Some of these can be very obscure and easy to miss, and you'd better take notes on paper, because you cannot review past conversations. Thankfully, the game has truly excellent writing, so this is not boring, though talking to hostile alien races can get tricky.
- StarTropics enforces this trope.
- Every time you meet a new character in Another Code, you'll have to hear all the conversation options to progress the plot.
- Since Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and Last Window are all about learning about the characters and their plots, this makes sense. However, there is an instance or two where you'll want to not say something to them, lest you find yourself with an early Game Over.
- In the PC game Sherlock Holmes And The Secret Of The Silver Earring, the trope is present in the extreme — not only must you speak with every NPC you find, you absolutely must pursue every single possible line of dialogue or the game will not move forward.
- A DOS Full Motion Video Sherlock Holmes game averts it, however. You receive a better final score for talking to as few people as you possibly can in order to solve a case.
- The Little Big Adventure games make use of this, since friendly NPCs can provide useful info, including tips on what Twinsen is capable of doing as a Player Character. When you have a specific objective, Twinsen will usually ask about it, and if you're talking to the right person, chances are you'll be given some clues — or at least a reminder of what you were going to do when you left the game the last time several weeks ago.
- Grim Fandango relies so much on collecting information that failure to follow this advice on the first playthrough (particularly during Year 2, as Rubacava has quite a few characters you can interact with) will at worst get you stuck, and at best make you scratch your head at puzzles that would otherwise make perfect sense — a lot of crucial conversations are completely optional, and that only makes things worse. There's a reason this game has a dialogue transcript option on the main menu. Below are some of the crueler examples.
- At the end of Year 2, you have to get Glottis kicked out of the cat race track by getting the police chief to raid your own cafe/casino. How are you supposed to arrive at this conclusion? Why, by discussing the problem with the owner of the kitties, Maximino, who is in his office, and who specifically tells you that Glottis has credit as long as you're in business... what do you mean you've never noticed that door before?
- Another conversation, triggered by opening a cabinet in Toto Santos's scrimshaw parlor, reveals that Toto uses liquid nitrogen as a painkiller. Miss it, and you'll tear out your hair upon encountering an already illogical puzzle where you have to freeze some gelatinnote . Also, a puzzle near the end of the game where Manny uses the remains of the liquid to get rid of the sproutella flower in his chest makes a lot more sense if you have heard this dialogue.
- Then there's a scene in the Year 4 where the game, evidently, expects you to listen to a character's insane ramblings long enough to hear a clue (along with some good bit of foreshadowing).
- And, of course, you need to get a certain character to read all of her poetry in Year 2, if you want to know just why exactly the game is titled Grim Fandango...
- The Broken Sword games often fall into this, with the additional complication that you may have to talk to everyone about each and every item in your inventory before you find the relevant dialogue tree.
- Heroine's Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok can easily mess you up on a specific sidequest if you do this: the tutorial specifically tells you that conversation options that are not greyed out have not been tried, telling you to talk to everyone about everything in order to get the most information. However, at one point in a sidequest, the conversation option that is not greyed out is essentially you declining to complete the quest, which you can easily click on if you're just going through all the conversation options. While it doesn't make the game Unwinnable, it does keep you from getting that Last Lousy Point.
- In the Carmen Sandiego games it's talk to the right everybody. At each location on the trail of the thief there's somebody with a clue to the thief's next destination, and somebody with a clue to the thief's identity. Miss the first kind and you'll lose the trail; miss the second kind and you won't be able to get a warrant for their arrest. But misinterpret a clue, and you'll waste your time traveling to a location where nobody you talk to knows anything at all.
- Averted: One Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? actually penalizes you for it as the game goes on: your translator power is limited and you make more and more stops each game. By the final location, you're expected to figure out the next location just from talking to one person, by which point you're supposed to be smart enough to figure out the one clue.
Role Playing Game
- Pokémon : Not only for the standard reasons. But NPCs are awfully keen to give you free items, challenge you to battles and pass on curiously philosophical musings on life, the universe and shorts.
- Not always necessary for plot advancement, but the requirements to unlock some of the hidden scenes, artes, and weapons in the Tales Series can be downright absurd. Didn't talk to that one nondescript NPC before you spent a night in the inn? Sorry, an entire side-quest chain is now completely unfinishable. (Even worse, you may not realize this until you've gone several hours into it.) Some of the games provide incentive to talk to NPCs, particularly Tales of Graces, where Pascal can get three titles based on the number of NPCs you've talked to.
- In Star Ocean: The Second Story, a series of chats will inadvertently remove a power limiter on a boss, making him absurdly more powerful.
- There's a small timeframe in which you're supposed to backtrack to a previous continent so that you can recruit not one, but two characters. Fail to do so and you'll never even know they existed, except that you keep finding these weapon pieces that apparently attach to a laser rifle...
- Early iterations of the Ultima series of RPGs.
- Final Fantasy: Just about every game has some sort of character you speak to in order to get special items.
- During the first visit to Mysidia in Final Fantasy IV, talking to anyone is a gamble because the entire town hates the main character. The bartender poisons you, a random citizen turns you into a frog, and a dancer transforms the entire party into pigs. After a key event, most of the townsfolk stop doing this... except for the dancer.
- There's a trick to this: for the Pig and Frog transformations, you can talk to them again and get untransformed, because the Pig and Frog statuses cancel when recast.
- Final Fantasy VIII: Even animals, sometimes. A dialog tree conversation with a Chocobo, for example, can yield potions if done correctly. In, you can also engage in card games by finding out-of-the-way characters and talking to them.
- In the final dungeon of Final Fantasy IX, you can talk to thin air in certain spots to reveal "spirits" to play Tetra Master with.
- Final Fantasy VII has one during the party's attempt to avoid Shinra's ID check on the train. You only have about 45 seconds to get to the end of the train so the party can jump off safely. However, talking to the homeless NPC lying on the seats during this event (when he had nothing interesting to say the first time you meet him) nets you a good item. Many other NPCs follow suit.
- Final Fantasy XII is possibly the first FF game where a giant spreading megalopolis isn't seemingly populated by just 20 people, but instead...maybe a few hundred. That's not many when compared to real life, and the idea is that you're only seeing a fragment of the population at any given time, but towns and cities seem much more populated than other entries in the FF series. In anticipation of players trying to talk to everyone, only certain people in towns or cities will talk to you- the other people are just fluff to make the area look more populated. This helps calm the player so they don't have to worry about talking to every single person, just the green blips on the map, and it saved the developer a lot of time and space on the disc. It also means that most of the conversations will actually have a point.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, Goofy explicitly identifies this as "Adventuring Rule #17: Collect information!"
- In MOTHER 1, speaking to certain NPCs in the perpetually wintery town of Snowman will cause them to sneeze on you, giving you their cold. A status effect similar to poison, this will gradually deplete your HP.
- In Earthbound, you must talk to a specific Mr Saturn so that he tells you how to enter to Master Belch's factory. No matter that there are like 15 of them and they all look exactly the same.
- This trope is lampshaded in Mother 3, where a NPC says something under the lines of "You just have to talk to everyone, don't you? ... No, I'm not saying that's a bad thing."
- The Magic Candle is one game that simply can't be beaten if you don't spend a lot of time talking to people. Unlike most RPGs, this one doesn't have a strict sequence of events or an obvious Big Bad. Your goal is to repair the seal that keeps the archdemon Dreax from getting out and killing everybody — and to do that, you have to find out how. You'll need bits of information from all over the world to get the instructions and magical items required. Oh, and there's a deadline.
- Mocked in Planescape: Torment, in a conversation with a random old woman early in the game.
"I'll bet ye've got all *sorts* o' barmy questions!" She mimics your heroic stance: "Greetin's, I have some questions... can ye tell me about this place? Who's the Lady o' Pain? I'm lookin' fer the magic Girdle o' Swank Iron, have ye seen it? Do ye know where a portal ta the 2,817th Plane o' the Abyss might be? Do ye know where the Holy Flamin' Frost-Brand Gronk-Slayin' Vorpal Hammer o' Woundin' an' Returnin' an' Shootin'-Lightnin'-Out-Yer-Bum is?" She spits, "Dung, all o' it! Only gets ye in the Dead-Book! I ought ta kick ye in the shins fer even pestin' a poor ol' woman about it all! Now go away an' leaves me in peace!"
- Of course, in gameplay it's played entirely straight.
- The Nameless One quickly becomes infamous amongst Sigil's more knowledgeable residents for his persistant questions, to the point where at least one character tries to run away before TNO can strike up a conversation.
- In the original Ys, you can't leave the first town without literally talking to everyone in it. Only once you've spoken to every person in town will the head of the town guard give you a sword, and they won't let you leave town unarmed (for good reason). Ys II even makes you talk to monsters.
- Morrowind, as quoted at the top of the page, encourages players to talk to everybody. Unfortunately, they all get their information from a single dialogue database, so you'll end up hearing the same thing quite a few times over. However, it may be worth it for some of the unique "latest rumours", "little advice" and "little secrets" mentioned by otherwise unremarkable NPCs leading to knowledge and reward.
- Arena and Daggerfall are worse in use of the database dialogue, as only quest-important NPCs will have anything new to say.
- Oblivion has improved giving all characters a unique piece of dialogue, but almost all of these are uninformative and very, very limited in both number and length.
- Skyrim has further improved the system, adding a large number more context-sensitive and unique dialogue. Even better, they can now have meaningful conversations with each other. The downside is that everyone will be trying to talk to you at once, since dialogue no longer freezes time, and one NPC will frequently be drowned out by three others blathering at you.
- Skyrim's got a particularly ugly one: if you don't talk to a certain Argonian just outside Riften, who's almost never referenced by anyone else, and help her out, then talk with her again, you'll never be able to buy the town's manor.
- Some situations in Custom Robo and Mega Man Battle Network require you to talk to everyone... literally. Or at least most of the people in an area.
- This advice is given to the player in Sunset Over Imdahl, then justified: your character unknowingly has The Plague, and the advice-giver wants you to spread it and wipe out your hometown.
- In Ultima III, you'll eventually run into someone who will say "You should go to bed! It's too late to be playing Ultima!"
- Star Trail was particularly bad about this. There are at least a few quests that can only be solved by checking every single house in 300 house town, where 298 of the people in those houses will tell you to go away.
- Persona 4 scatters its Fetch Quests across the NPCs in town and at school, such that you'll want to either talk to everyone regularly (at least once per in-game month) or consult a guide to catch all the quests.
- Sailor Venus's route in Chapter 2 of Sailor Moon: Another Story requires you to talk to every single person in the streets of the Rias Village in order to proceed - for no better reason than just having to spend some time waiting for some ceremony to start.
- Rune Factory
- In Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon, you must speak to all of the townspeople to get all of the basic farming equipment that previous games have given you from the beginning, much to the chagrin of the player. Without an FAQ, some of the tools are very difficult to find. The game requires you to talk to everyone in town in order to start your next day on the farm.
- In Rune Factory 3, your first quest is, quite literally, to introduce yourself to everyone in town.
- Harvest Moon
- The original Harvest Moon for the SNES had you began in town with the shipper ordering you to introduce yourself to everyone in town. The problem, of course, is the same as Animal Crossing below in that by the time you've spoken to most of them, you're stuck trying to remember not only who you've spoken to, but also where you have or haven't looked. Festivals from time to time are the same way, forcing you to run around and talk to everybody to progress, except that now every person is in the town square and much easier to find.
- Actually, the only people you really have to talk to so you can continue the game is the five bachelorettes, the animal-seller who gives you a bag of grass and the seed-seller who gives you the watering can.
- Harvest Moon: Back to Nature for the Playstation presented the choice to whether or not to let the mayor take you around and talk to everyone. Accepting, actually has him do this in cutscene form similar to the introduction cutscene so not only do you not have to be on the lookout for them, you also can't stop midway.
- Animal Crossing has the tradition of forcing the player in their first job at the beginning of the game to talk to every single towns-person in their town. Mind you, you usually don't have a map handy unless you go to the postboards of it. Sometimes you can easily find them in their house, but often they will be outside wandering. This is even worse in the more recent games as the map is no longer divided into screens, and animals are free to wander the whole town. Even moreso, pity the person who joins in on another player's file, and the town has up to 15 residents if it's on the Cube. Oh, did I mention they don't tell you who you have, and have not talked to? Hope you have good memory.
Turn Based Strategy
- In Shining Force II, talking to random people proves ridiculously useful. Kiwi and May join your party, completely out of the blue, just because you talked to them in Granseal and Rubble, respectively. Then again, this game is notorious for having people join you for the silliest reasons.
- Ace Attorney: The entire exploration/investigation part of the series is made of this trope. Basically, to advance in the plot, you need to talk to everyone and choose every dialogue option, as well as explore every tiny bit of the scenarios and "present" relevant objects in your inventory to the appropriate person (which, usually, opens up another dialogue tree with them).
- Somewhat less infuriating in Dual Destinies, as when conversation options change, you're visually shown the change, and you always have the option of asking your partner what should be done next. In addition, the "Notes" system explicitly points out your current investigation objectives.
Non-video game examples:
- This trope is derided in pen and paper roleplaying games where, thanks to the presence of a GM, you really can talk to all 130,000 inhabitants of New Gundark if you really want to. The movie The Gamers: Dorkness Rising lampshades this by depicting the new player talking to the first person she comes across (a merchant) and trying to gain intelligence about the plot from a lowly NPC. The other players incinerate the merchant to discourage her from doing this. Much to the chagrin of the DM, who was about to give them the information they needed through the mouth of the NPC. In this particular case, it was less "talk to everyone" that the other players hated, so much as "talk to anyone"...
- Mocked in 8-Bit Theater — specifically, the version of this trope where you have to talk to someone non-obvious to advance the plot. This happens a time or two in Final Fantasy I, the game on which the comic is based. For instance, learning to speak Lefeinish requires you to go find the Slab (a.k.a. Rosetta Stone), then take it to the random NPC Dr. Unne so he can interpret it for you... apparently just on the evidence that he's a doctor. Though he did mention that he was studying their race...
- The real problem with the Dr. Unne quest is that you meet Dr. Unne in Melmond, at the beginning of the second act, in which he introduces himself and expresses incredulity that you've never heard of him before. The next mention of him is in Onrac, at the beginning of the third act, by a random NPC who mentions the good doctor is studying the Lefeinish language. You then get the slab from the dungeon nearby, and have to remember where you saw Dr. Unne in order to learn the language. The problem is that the time between meeting Dr. Unne and getting the slab can be as much as 10 hours of gameplay, with four dungeons in between, and several towns with their own multitude of NP Cs.
- The NPCs in Gold Coin Comics really want the main character to go to the tavern.