Voice with an Internet Connection
"Okay, X.A.N.A., what do you have in store for us this time?"
"I'll send you the valve locations as you go. Damn if the internet isn't a thing of beauty."
The Voice with an Internet Connection is the helpful person at the other end of the main character's earpiece. They give the character all sorts of useful advice that is either blisteringly obvious or frustratingly cryptic, presumably sourced from the Internet or some other information compendium.
In some cases, the Voice has an unexplained video and audio feed
, and in others, an explained video and audio feed
. Rarely, the voice will rely on information from the main character to tell them what is going on. In this last case, there will be a dramatic scene where the screen cuts to black and the Voice screams with concern for the main.
The character varies in personality from grizzled commanding officer to cute young nurse to English scholar, but the two things the Voices have in common are a complete knowledge of whatever the main character happens to be doing and a complete lack of physical presence. Most often, this character is the opposite gender to the character to whom he or she speaks.
The Voice with an Internet Connection serves two purposes. The first is as a way of explaining things about the world to the player or viewer, and the second is to give a solo character someone to talk to, allowing character development for somebody who'd otherwise be silent for the duration. If the main is the strong and silent type
the Voice talks more, sometimes saying what the main normally would.
The name Voice with an Internet Connection is taken from the fact that these are the archetype's only defining traits, and in many cases, the character's only role. Naturally, therefore, the character appears far more often in modern day and science fiction than in other genres, and almost
never in fantasy, where the Voice's role is generally played by a more physically present bookworm. However, the "internet connection" needn't be literal— every once in a while you may see, for example, a distant wizard sending the results of his scrying.
This character is prone to dying
, probably because they're a mentor of sorts and the job comes with its occupational hazards
. They may also betray or demoralize the protagonist
, or in video games, the player
Related to The Voice
, Expositron 9000
and Mr. Exposition
, the Voice with an Internet Connection is distinguished from them by being a disembodied character who advances the plot as well as a character with a distinct personality.
Compare Mission Control
, Earpiece Conversation
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Anime & Manga
- Appears in various forms in Serial Experiments Lain, including a talking mouth, Yomoda Chisa, and several others (including Lain).
- All the characters in Ghost in the Shell have neural implants that allows them to communicate with each other entirely by thinking without any need for either microphones or headsets, which they regularly use for silent coordination during opperations.
- The detective L from Death Note starts the series as this, aiding the police task force in their goal to catch the serial killer Kira from the shadows. L eventually reveals his face to a select few of the task force, but to the general public, his only identity is a digitized voice and the letter "L" on a computer screen.
- Juiz from Eden of the East. Just a female voice on a cellphone. She is also scarily competent at doing just about anythingnote one asks of her, usually within several seconds of the request being made. She's actually an extremely powerful AI with connections all over the nation, her actual processors being housed in roving trailers.
- Barbara "Oracle" Gordon starts serving as Batman's mission controller after the events of The Killing Joke leaves her paralysed from the waist down.
- In the 2009 Batgirl series, Calculator's daughter Wendy, following her paralysis in Teen Titans, takes on the alias of Proxy to serve as mission control in Oracle's place when necessary.
- In the pre-New 52 continuity, Red Robin has a controller in the form of the former Anarky, now paralyzed but wired into the Net.
- The Punisher: The Punisher has had a couple of controllers, most famously Microchip.
- Aleph in Global Frequency, who was hired specifically for being a Brilliant, but Lazy internet whiz. Her job is to sit in a chair, look up information for dozens of agents simultaneously, and save the world.
- A very easy way to fact check yourself is to look it up on the internet. So when someone speaking on a podcast does this (and oh, how they do) it is quite literally a Voice with an Internet Connection.
- Mirror's Edge has Mercury, Faith's fellow runner and mentor, who guides her on her rooftop routes using the (presumably hacked) city plans on the computer in his hideout. He also berates her if she's taking too long...
- Miller becomes one near the end of the game.
- Mirror's Edge under water, i.e. Hydrophobia Prophecy, has Scoot, who even sounds much like Merc.
- GLaDOS from Portal.
- Alice Murray and "S3kshun8" in Army Of Two; S3kshun8 has no voiced lines and only speaks in Leet Lingo, so in order to understand what he's saying requires understanding of 1337 and fast eyes.
- Battlefield: Bad Company has B-Company assisted by radio opperator Mike-One-Juliet, on which Sweetwater has a big crush without ever having met or even talked to her. He's constantly pestering Redford to give her messages from him and affectianlly calls her "Miss July". When the four soldiers are sacrificed and abandoned, she takes the risk of acting against orders and provides them with intelligence to get her boys back home safely. Though she's usually very proffessional, she seems to hope for them to share a part of the (stolen) gold with her.
- BioShock: Atlas, your guide via short-wave radio through most of the game. All other NPCs in the game seem to have this ability as well, though Atlas is the most prominent and helpful. Helpful in terms of gameplay, at least. Plot, on the other hand...
- Severin from BloodRayne 2.
- The Voice of the Agency in Crackdown.
- In most of the Splinter Cell games, Lambert (and occasionally Grimsdottir and Brunton).
- Deus Ex had several of these, starting with Alex Jacobson as your tutor. Explained in-game with nanotechnology providing the audio and video uplinks. Somewhat unusual for the trope, you get to meet everyone who communicates with you this way "in person", except for the AIs Daedalus and Icarus — though you do meet Helios "in person" in the last mission.
- The Nameless Mod has Evil Invasion or That Guy (depending on faction). The first you meet in person, the 2nd you can meet a hologram of, created because he is too lazy to leave his apartment (he shows up in person in the WC ending). The Nameless Mod also uses the infolink as a game mechanic. As you can't save while it's active, they proceed to have a character repeatedly call you during a very precarious jumping puzzle. The Nameless Mod allows the player to connect to the mod's IRC channel ingame; it is explicitly suggested (in loading screens) that he use it for help.
- 2027: Titan and its subroutine and Xander fill in on this role for the majority of the game. Other characters will fill it as well as the game progresses.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution Sarif, Pritchard and Malik fill in this role. Other characters also gain this ability, making Adam Jensen wonder how people keep getting his info link frequency.
- Commissioner Rowdy Betters in First Encounter Assault Recon.
- The original Metal Gear for the NES had several of these, with Big Boss being the most prominent.
- Any and all of the Codec contacts in the Metal Gear games — including the "cut to black and screaming" bit for the Game Over screens if the hero is killed. Although, the video and audio feed is explained by use of the nanomachines in the title character's blood stream.
- Hardgrove in Black Market. Except for when he's lying.
- Inverted in a stroke of genius in Lifeline (Operator's Side, in Japan), if poorly executed. YOU are the voice on the other end, trapped in the control center of a monster-infested space station, helping the heroine through the puzzles and combat in the game. Technical limitations for the voice control were the main flaw — but the idea was solid.
- In Metroid Fusion, Adam is unusual in that he is himself a computer, although it turns out that he is actually the brain of Samus' old (human) CO, Adam Malkovich, who died some time ago during the events depicted in Metroid: Other M.
- Adam again in Metroid: Other M before his Heroic Sacrifice, and General Dane and Aurora Units 217 and 242 in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
- Alister Fletcher and Zip from Tomb Raider: Legend and Tomb Raider: Underworld (although in Underworld they don't talk much and Alister dies). Zip is originally introduced in the forth chapter of Tomb Raider Chronicles.
- Bungie seems to be totally in love with this trope:
- Marathon had the artificial intelligences (Leela, Durandal, Tycho, Thoth, and... that thing) as well as Blake and T'Fear. The
marine Security Officer never says a word.
- Oni had Shinatama (a robot, sort of)
- Halo: Combat Evolved had the AI Cortana, who was generally inside the Master Chief's suit.
- In Halo 2, when playing as the Arbiter, the Voice is usually supplied by Tartarus or Half-Jaw.
- In Halo 3, the role of Voice with an Internet Connection is generally played by Commander Miranda Keyes or Sergeant Johnson, until late game when the Chief rescues Cortana.
- The Halo series in general makes good use of this trope to build tension and emphasize those moments when the character is really on their own, such as the levels "343 Guilty Spark", "Uprising", and "Cortana".
- The Internet in Sam & Max: Reality 2.0.
- Anya in TimeSplitters: Future Perfect.
- Anya in Gears of War.
- In the Samurai Jack game for the GameCube, a scientist in one of the later levels begins communicating with Jack claiming he needs his audio help to find a computer. He explains he secretly slipped a device on Jack, and Jack expresses uncomfortability with that.
- A rare fantasy example would be Zyzyx, the protagonist's familiar demon in Sacrifice. While he's actually present on the battlefield, since he's an immaterial spirit and unable to do anything besides observe and speak he's functionally equivalent to this trope.
- The Advisor from Star Wars: Republic Commando.
- Similarly, in the game Dark Messiah the main character has the sorceress Xana in his head. Xana is actually a demon, and near the end of the game after a bit of near death you get to turn into her. It's a useless power, but looks cool and for the briefest of moments you have no weapon. You can't even use the power in front of allies and soon enough you can cleanse yourself of her. Unless you feel like being the bad guy.
- Arthur the AI in The Journeyman Project 3 resides inside your translation chip for most of the game. He's represented by fairly cute cartoon with blinking eyes that lives in your HUD, offering up hints, obscure historical definitions and providing the backstory to people who haven't played the previous games and is responsible for some of the plot independent of you. When he does acquire a human-form hologram he appears as a man in a top hat.
- There is a similar thing in the game Temporal (make your time!) with TP. She resides within your Tertiary Processing Unit and appears on your HUD as well (as much as that game has a HUD).
- In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Tetra slips a magical stone into Link's pocket which allows her (and later, the King of Red Lions) to see what you're doing and communicate advice.
- All the other characters from the Star Fox series. They'll talk to you to give you advice ("Do a barrel roll!"), inform you when they're in trouble, or yell at you when you shoot them or steal their kills.
- Both this, and Snake's Codec above, were carried over to the Super Smash Bros.. games as Easter Eggs. There's even an amusing scene in which Slippy Toad contacts Snake!
- In System Shock 2 the player is assisted by a Dr. Polito, who has baricaded herself in a room with computer and communication access, but had died before the beginning of the game and is instead used as a cover by SHODAN, who is imitating her voice pattern, which is a subversion of Rebecca Lansing's role in the original System Shock.
- Hunnigan in Resident Evil 4. Unusually, she's pretty much completely useless. And when the baddie hacks into your Code — your radio frequency, he tells the player character about upcoming ambushes. No, Really.
"You'll never escape my hedge maze, Meeester Scott Kennedy!"
- The Command & Conquer series were probably the first to justify this trope as an actual plot element for an RTS game. Specifically, the Tiberium series introduced the Electronic Video Assistants, an expert system designed to monitor the status of all troops on the battlefield in real time instead of using a brigade of human officers to do the same significantly slower. It became especially noticeable in Tiberian Sun where the EVA installed onto the Kodiak is a fully sentient AI and no longer just spouting pre-recorded messages like its predecessor. Red Alert, since it was originally intended to be a prequel, gave the player an experimental EVA prototype but from Red Alert 2 onward, there is a Mission Control in the form of the AFGNCAAP's female intelligence officer instead.
- The only exception might be Yuri who's personally commanding his forces. The "commander" is implied to be a split personality of his and therefore doesn't need this trope.
- The Terrans in Starcraft have a similar situation, with AI "adjutants" responsible for distributing orders and collating intelligence.
- Hendrix of Red Faction is one, although you see him in person on a few occasions.
- Roll Caskett from Mega Man Legends 1 and 2.
- Blackbird from the early RPG/FPS Strife. One of the first such characters in a computer game and once referred to by PC Gamer as the sexiest thing to ever come out of your PC speakers.
- Dan. Subverted in that you do encounter him in the flesh at a few points, and at one point he's taken hostage and can be killed if you don't make plans to ensure otherwise.
- Interestingly, later in the game a Komato Berserker may take up residence in the control room and acts as this AGAINST the player, which openly pisses Iji off.
- In Mercenaries, Fiona Taylor, your mission support, serves as this. In the first one she's generally helpful, but get's so repetitive during the sequel it quickly gets into Stop Helping Me! territory.
- The later Rainbow Six games usually have this, and they typically are pretty helpful. Except for the NSA Agent. He turns out to be The Mole anyways, so his bad info that almost gets you killed over and over again actually makes sense in context.
- Eye of the Beholder 2 has Khelben as "Voice with a Crystal Ball" (this being a fantasy game) that pops up a few times to give unnecessary advice. Subverted in that one of the times he pops up, it's actually the disguised Big Bad who tells you that the only way to get past the next room is to let the monsters there kill you and let an "amulet of resurrection" bring you back to life. Given the fact that your previous communication was abruptly cut off by a magic barrier, it's not terribly convincing.
- Tomas in Spyro Shadow Legacy does this through telepathy.
- In The Conduit, both Mr. Adams and Prometheus fulfill this role.
- In the Sly Cooper series, almost every main and supporting character qualifies for this trope, though, It's usually Bentley.
- BlazBlue: Iron Tager has one that goes by the name Kokonoe in his story.
- Touhou pulls this off in Subterranean Animism, as the "options" in the game are effectively two-way radios to the youkai on the surface, who also have the ability to sense the world around the options. The protagonist is essentially sent into harm's way simply as a proxy for the youkai you choose, since the surface youkai are barred from going into the underground. The youkai partners tend to make statements about just how comfortable they are at home while the protagonist is risking her life.
- Batman: Arkham Asylum
- Like in the comics, the Oracle serves this role to the player.
- Early in the game, the Riddler hacks the channel they use, and he harasses Batman on it at intervals (usually when you solve one of his puzzles) for the rest of the game.
- Inverted for the goons with the Joker talking over the speaker system. He alerts them when you take down one of the suicide-collar-wearing henchmen. He's otherwise about as helpful as you'd expect the Joker to be.
Joker: Listen to me Batman, I want you to hurt these guys, they mean nothing to me! Do your worst! Hahahaha!
- The "Guardian Angel" in Borderlands is a definite portrayer of this trope.
- Borderlands 2 has a rare example of the Big Bad being this, in that Handsome Jack often calls the Vault Hunters up just to annoy them with insults and taunts. The Guardian Angel once again functions in this role, and this time in a greater capacity.
- In the first Penumbra, you're guided by Red, a miner who's been trapped underground for decades and has pretty much gone insane. After a while, he loses track of you and doesn't even know if you're still alive, but he's so lonely that he keeps broadcasting radio messages anyway. The second game replaces him with Clarence, the Tuurngait's personal representative inside your skull, who spends half his time trying to get you killed because he hates his existence, and the other half trying to keep you alive because he's scared to die.
- Alien vs. Predator 2
- Multiple characters, from the Marine's campaign. Mostly Tomiko though.
- Initially Tequila in AvP 2010, but when she's incapacitated you get administrator Katya. Ironically, Tequila complains about Katya talking too much, completely forgetting the time when she refused to shut up.
- Depict is based around a Voice with an Internet Connection that actively lies to you. Whatever it says, you must do the exact opposite to stay alive, no matter how much it pleads with you to trust it and how often it tells you you're going to get yourself killed.
- MINERVA: Metastasis and its predecessor Someplace Else has the player being directed (as well as regularly reminded of their chances of survival) by an unseen character named Minerva-the Roman name for Athena. The titular voice makes reference to various mythological characters and stories, equating the character to Perseus. At first its clear that Minerva views the player as a mere pawn in her plans to undermine the Combine's control of humanity, but as the mission progresses she becomes more concerned with the player's well being.
- At the start of MadWorld, Jack dons an earpiece that lets him contact his sponsor, Agent XIII. In his other ear, he has a CODEC that lets him speak to Amala, his contact with the Bureau of Justice. Partway through the game, he breaks XIII's earpiece, but XIII/Lord Gesser continues to give advice by hacking into the CODEC. At the finale, Jack punches out the CODEC as well, abandoning the Bureau.
- EDI, the Normandy's resident artificial intelligence (who, surprisingly, is not out to kill Shepard) in Mass Effect 2.
- She does enjoy seeing humans on their knees. That was a joke.
- Before she came along, and to a limited extent afterwards, Ace Pilot Joker served as your eye in the sky and general coordinator.
- Mass Effect 3's multiplayer mode features a nameless Alliance commander who gives you updates as your mission objectives change. He can be rather insistent.
- Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones provides a rare, possibly unique, fantasy example. The Dark Prince, the manifestation of the Prince's darker side from the Sands of Time, occasionally gives the Prince tips on enemies and how to proceed - when he's not urging the Prince to give in to his more violent desires.
- Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy uses telepathy as a Psychic Powers equivalent.
- Overlord has Gnarl, your chief minion, who communicates with the Overlord through the Tower Heart.
- The Guildmaster from Fable. Unfortunately, he's the king of the Most Annoying Sound.
- In a rare villan version, Dr.Eggman becomes this in the Sonic Adventure 2. During the Cannon's Core stage, he'll either tell you where the security door that you'll need to destroy (Tails), or your objective for a particular point. (Rouge, Knuckles, Sonic) During Eggman's segment, Tails fills in this role.
- Bain in PAYDAY: The Heist serves this role and it is implied that he is the brains behind all the heist plans in the game. Bain tells you what you need to do for each objective and he also warns you of special enemy units being deployed or when an assault from the cops is going to begin.
- Zombies, Run!: Since the game is nearly entirely audio-based, almost every speaking character winds up fulfilling this role, the few exceptions being the other Runners and the antagonists. Sometimes the 5K Trainer will have a character "go running" with you, but for the most part? Every character you hear will be in the communications compound, looking over scanners and cameras to tell you where the zombies are and keep you safe.
- [REVIVE] has GOV, or Generic Omnipresent Voice, guide you through the testing grounds as a means of conducting his experiments with Life Syrup.
- The Pet Professional's unseen assistant/dispatcher is actually named Voice.
- Wrench in Antihero For Hire is another female example, but occasionally becomes a little more involved in her role as Queen of All Hackers.
- Multiple in Homestuck, although somewhat subverted in that all of the Voices later appear in the flesh. At first, Rose was this for John, although later (particularly after Rose entered the Medium) the trolls started taking over this role more.
- Also, Doc Scratch (aka White Text Guy) was this to Rose, giving her information on how the reality-controlling game she and her friends are playing could be broken, despite being in another universe than her. Never precisely lies, but then he doesn't consider Exact Words or lies of omission as lies.
- Fides in Shadowgirls.
- Subverted in Sluggy Freelance strips where Torg infiltrates something Mission: Impossible-style, listens to somebody encouraging him over the radio, then explains to Bun-Bun that this is just a tape record he listens for encouragement.
- SOTF-TV has the team mentors, which every once in a while give advice to players on their team on how to play the game. Some of the "advice" from specific mentors are... dubious at best, though.
- Dragon is widely considered the most powerful Tinker on the planet. She also happens to be an AI, and while she can move from vessel to vessel she is understandably hesitant to reveal her true nature to anyone thus she suffers from extreme agoraphobia and communicates entirely as disembodied, computer generated voice. Oh, and as a constantly changing series of incredibly advanced Mechs.
- The Art teacher in the YouTube series Goth Lyfe.
- Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond, who continued to be Batman into old age vicariously through Terry McGuinness.
- It's even lampshaded in the first episode featuring the elderly Barbara Gordon, who wants the new Batman to back off from a case, only to turn to Bruce and wonder if she should be talking to the older Batman.
- Wade in Kim Possible in the early seasons. However, in later seasons he was shown to be a more active field member.
- Beyond Mission Control, Jérémie of Code Lyoko has this role, especially in Season 4 where the heroes are translated close to some supercomputer in various remote places on Earth. Good thing that Everything Is Online.
- Gimpy was this for Nitz and co. in Undergrads after he went off to Tekerson Tech, though he also had video feed.
- A somewhat amusing example in the case of the 21st-century Afghanistan campaign was "Widow Six Seven", a forward air controller in Helmand Province who would at times flirt in a British accent with female pilots... only to be later revealed as Prince Harry of Wales, third in line to the British throne.
- Used by televangelist/faith healer Peter Popoff for the personal information about his congregation he was supposed to be getting from God, as exposed by James Randi.
- The Siri application for the iPhone.
- As seen in Apollo 13, CAPCOM (Capsule Communication) is this for the US space program. Normally, this station is the only one that can directly send a transmission to the crew, to avoid a dozen different system controllers giving instructions simultaneously. CAPCOM is normally a fellow astronaut, as NASA felt they would best convey what was going on in Mission Control in a way the astronauts would understand.