- Ace Combat: Assault Horizon: During the Dubai Mission, if you initiate DFM against an enemy fighter while over the ocean, there is a chance that it will lead you down and under the hotel's arch in the harbor. If you follow through, your wingman will exclaim "This isn't Ace Combat!" This references the numerous times in the previous games where you pulled stunts like flying under bridges or into tunnels, things that real air force pilots would not even dream of.
- The release of a trailer for the MMORPG Perfect World was criticised for, among other things, having too much lens flare. Their response? A new trailer... "Now with more lens flare."
- Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: "Say it with me now, The Cheat: licensed games are never good!" Guess what the game itself is.
- In Fable II, one can read any gravestone in the game. One reads "PDM, This is the best grave in history and will change the way people look at final resting places forever." It's a perfectly normal grave. Also, Peter Molyneux's middle name is Douglas.
- Tombstones in RPGs generally carried the (nick)names of the development team and short jibes at their expense. Ultima, Breath of Fire, Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy all did this at one time or another in their series'.
- Fable III has a side quest where you enter the world of a tabletop roleplaying game run by three gaming geeks/amateur wizards. The quest ends with you striking down the evil Baron with the Sword of Baron-Slaying, and one of the gamers complains "What kind of rubbish game lets you kill the villain in one hit?", no doubt a reference to the infamous anticlimactic confrontation with Lucien at the end of Fable II.
- In the opening sequence of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts 'N Bolts, Rareware pokes fun at its own reputation for "collect-a-thon" gameplay, thanks to its resident fourth-wall demolition man, the Lord of Games.
"Now then. In line with Banjo Tradition, your challenge will consist of collecting as many pointless items as possible."
- At one point, L.O.G. claims to have been laughing the whole time while designing the Canary Mary races in Banjo-Tooie.
- In one of the press releases, Rare announced that after making the game, they'd probably go back to being rubbish again.
- There's also the nods towards Grabbed by the Ghoulies's total failure and the Banjo series having much, much, MUCH fewer games than "That Italian gentleman".
- "Bear put these on vehicle so float. If not enough, vehicle sink, like this game at market." — Mumbo
- In fact, almost all of the humor in the game is derived from how much the game sucks, gaming has left Rare behind, etc. Is it just a show of typical sardonic Brit humor, or did the company truly have no confidence in their own product whatsoever?
- The two Discworld games starring Rincewind have him continually complaining about all the inane items, insane puzzles and fetch quests he was expected to collect, solve and achieve, respectively. The first game, near the end, contained a man who supposedly sold all those ridiculous puzzles and quests, and Rincewind had a very cathartic time shouting at him. He even tricks him into getting bashed over the head by the Librarian. Discworld 2 even has it look like a fetch quest is about to be put up, only for Rincewind to shout at the quest giver and then use Insane Troll Logic to get the item anyway.
- Final Fantasy Tactics has a tutorial mode featuring several lengthy Auto Pilot Tutorials, narrated by Professor Daravon. Mediators in the same game can learn the "Mimic Daravon" skill, which puts its targets to sleep. Given the quality of the translation, especially in the tutorial, Confusion would have been just as appropriate for the English version.
- One might also note that Daravon's first name is "Bordam."
- Final Fantasy V Advance has a nameless NPC mock Squaresoft's Mario Kart clone, Chocobo Racing and/or the tedious Luck-Based Mission minigame of Final Fantasy X:
"Wouldn't chocobo racing be totally extreme?... No, I guess not."
- Dmitri of Backyard Sports mocks the games' lack of good AI and their focus on the characters rather than gameplay.
- Done several times in The Curse of Monkey Island. First, when Guybrush tells an actor that his Shakespeare rewrite sucks, the actor continues practicing for it, telling Guybrush that now he knows he's produced a work of unredeemable trash, he's guaranteed to get a lot of attention (which Guybrush finds strangely encouraging). Second, Guybrush is talking to a talent agent, who describes his job as "making his living off the hard work and talent of others". Guybrush says "You're a project leader on a computer game?". When examining a horror trilogy, Guybrush wonders why trashy media always comes in threes (Curse is the third game in the Monkey Island series). Guybrush also has the option to guess that the "Secret of Monkey Island" is that a sequel can never be as good as the original.
- And way back in The Secret Of Monkey Island, at the very end you have a choice of four Aesops for Guybrush to claim to have learned over the course of the game. One of the options is about the inadvisability of shelling out good money for a short video game.
- Matt Hazard: Blood, Bath and Beyond is full of self deprecating jokes related to itself and the previous game. At one point, the title character even claims that said previous game is "now available in bargain bins everywhere!"
- Mass Effect
- The games salesman in Mass Effect 2 does this amidst his normal Take That lines directed at Gamestop and Copy Protection; one line has him saying that he misses the old-school role-playing games where it took five hours of real-time to fly between locations and you had to remember to drink water, whereas RPGs now are all "big choices" and "visceral combat."
- The weapons and upgrades are protected by 'Fabrication Rights Management'? Almost funny enough to make up for the Digital Rights Management protections on the PC version of ME1.
- Conrad Verner. In the interim between the two games he's attempted (and failed) to take Shepard's place as the galaxy's saviour. Bioware uses the opportunity to take potshots at themselves:
Shepard: So, you just wander the galaxy, righting wrongs?
- Also, there is an argument by investors on how the attacks on human colonies will lead to a huge amount of business for the prefabricated building companies. The first Mass Effect used the same 2 or 3 prefabricated buildings for all content except the main story line.
- There's also several shots at disliked missions or elements from the first game, such as a couple in a store arguing about gene therapy for their child and saying that maybe they should turn to a random stranger to solve their problems, or Tali getting annoyed when she's reminded about the elevators, or Mordin saying that, when he served in a military squad, at least he, "Didn't have to purchase own equipment." Plus there's Miranda's annoyance when stuck in an elevator during her loyalty mission, during which she whacks the control panel with her omni-tool and screams for it to hurry up, which causes the elevator to speed up and the obnoxious music to shut off.
- The "Lair of the Shadow Broker" DLC contains several jabs at the previous game, from the poor handling of the Mako to the simplistic hacking.
Shepard: Remember when you could just slap omni-gel on everything?
Liara: That security upgrade made a lot of people unhappy.
- Mass Effect 3 takes shots at some of the most mocked lines from the second game.
- Garrus' "I'm in the middle of some calibrations" line when he doesn't have anything important to say:
Garrus said he had to attend to the Normandy's weapon systems. Something about calibrations. Shepard:
Sounds like Garrus.
- Jack's "I will destroy you!" (itself a prod at enemies' lines in the first game) is mocked by her students.
- Thermal clips were introduced in the second game as an ammo system, whereas the first game had unlimited ammunition. Conrad doesn't think the clips are a very good idea; as he puts it, "You might as well be going back to limited ammunition."
- The Leviathan downloadable mission has EDI running references on "Basilisk" in her database. One of the entries she reads aloud describes a mid-level boss enemy in Galaxy of Fantasy that is infamous for "synched-animation instant kills" and commenting that the players regularly complain it is overpowered. Many of the actual game's Demonic Spiders are reviled by the fanbase for being able to use synched-animation instant kills on the player if they get too close.
- Both the Mako's handling and the Hammerhead's fragility are mocked when Vega and Cortez get into an argument over which is better.
- And then came the Citadel DLC, which included half a dozen ambient conversations with multiplayer classes griping about certain issues, ranging from early-release classes being jealous of the flashy moves and fancy equipment of more recently released ones, to an infiltrator with an extensive list of grievances about a pickup game with some noobish ex-Cerberus Vanguard with no clue what he was doing.
"Shepard." "Grunt." "Shepard!" "Wrex." "Commander Shepard." "Shepard, Shepard, Shepard." "Wrex... Grunt..."
(getting shot at) "Hey, that's cheating! We're on a ladder!"
"I don't suppose you need anything... calibrated?"
- Flemeth does this in Dragon Age II, describing herself as "An old hag who talks too much."
- In the Legacy DLC, apparently some of your party has taken to noting the similarity of various locations features features into a Drinking Game.
Varric: We passed a broken pillar, you know what that means.
Isabela: Everyone take a drink!
The last time you played this game, didn't Isabela tried to "get Orlesian" with a lyrium vein
Aveline: Carry on, then.
- The DLC Mark of the Assassin gives us a nice bit of dialogue mocking the games lack of locations outside Kirkwall and its much maligned recycling of levels.
Merril: It's so exciting to be out of Kirkwall. It seems like we haven't left there in ages.
Hawke: We do seem to spend a ridiculous amount of time in the city.
Merril: Ah I needed this break. I was starting to think every part of Kirkwall looked alike.
- Alan Wake:
- In the midst of a long winded rant by Smug Snake Dr. Hartman, Hartman mentions that one of the mental patients is in the production of video games. In a very derogatory tone of voice, he says it's "utter trash, but it does require small amounts of creativity." Whether or not this fully qualifies as Self-Deprecation is unclear, however, because Hartman is clearly someone whose opinion shouldn't matter much to players.
- In Alan Wake's American Nightmare. One of the complaints of the first game was the small enemy variety, and a manuscript page in American Nightmare states that the Dark Presence in the first game lacked imagination.
- One trailer has Mr. Scratch mocking the ending of the first game. According to that same trailer, Remedy's writing staff consists of Sam Lake and a potted plant.
- A trailer for Duke Nukem Forever is filled with jokes related to the insane amount of time it took to make this game.
Random Woman: What about the game, Duke ? Was it any good ?
Duke: Yeah, but after 12 *bleep* years, it should be !
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has an extended segment just to make fun of The Scrappy, Raiden, from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Let no one say Hideo Kojima can't make a joke at his own expense. The game also features an extended lambasting of the somewhat whimsical design of the Metal Gear vehicles in general, with the military expert Sigint explicitly pointing out that putting a tank on legs rather than treads makes little logical sense.
- The marketing slogan for EarthBound was "This Game Stinks!" And it came with scented stickers with unusual smells.
- Hyperdimension Neptunia has the two characters IF and Compa who are the personification of the companies (Idea Factory and Compile Heart respectively) who made the game. They do not get any Limit Breaks at all, something that other characters (even DLC ones!) do. Averted in the second game where they got some serious buffs including a Limit Break and a Combination Attack with each other.
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- The Legend of Zelda:
- In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, there is a Bonus Dungeon whose reward is the Ice Arrows. In Desert Colossus, close to the entrance to the Spirit Temple, there's a Gossip Statue that tells Link that the Ice Arrows aren't a worthy reward for beating that dungeon, thus referring to the potential little use of that item in the game.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, one of the corpses in the Temple of the Ocean King laments that he was unable to use the pad controls instead of the touch screen. The latter is how the game is controlled, as it's a Nintendo DS game.
- Many gamers were unhappy about being unable to drive the cars present in Postal 2, particularly after the Grand Theft Auto series became popular. It became possible to ride on Segways in the third game... but your weapons' options were massively limited. The Postal Dude doesn't let this pass unsnarked:
"'Postal has vehicles now!' Thanks a lot, assholes."
- Also in Postal 2, if one reads the tombstones in the graveyard during the "Piss on Dad" section of the game, they'll get this gem.
Postal 2 plot, brutally murdered April, 13 2003
- Blizzard Entertainment and Valve regularly do this, making fun of their release schedule.
- Blizzard even went as far as to both trademark "Soon" and explain how Soon works.
"Now"——-"Very Soon"———"Soon"———"Soonish"——-"The End of Time"
- There is a Jak and Daxter trilogy DVD, written by the games' original staff, in which Daxter narrates and summarizes what happened in the first three games. His hour-and-a-half long spiel occasionally jabs at moments lots of players reported to be frustrating. Him talking about the ending of Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy and the bright, shiny light behind the door takes the cake.
And then we found it! After working our butts off in this adventure, after collecting every stinkin' power cell in this entire crazy world, clawing my paws to the bone, we got—that's right, drumroll, please—ab-so-lu-tely nothin'. Zippo, nada. Hello?! That sucked. That SUCKED. I'll send you my therapy bill and a receipt for the broken game controller.
- Borderlands 2:
- The intro of Borderlands 2 mentions that at the end of their journey, the Vault Hunters only found tentacles and disappointment... Which is basically how many players reacted to the ending of the first game.
- When Axton throws down his turret, sometimes he'll say "Hey stand in front of this." taking a shot at how in the first one the turret could only shoot if an enemy was in front of it.
- There's also an In-Universe example near the end of the game, when Claptrap is attempting to hack some defense turrets so they'll attack enemies rather than the player, his reaction to his success is this:
THAT ACTUALLY WORKED!!! The turrets are fighting for us now! I actually did something!
- Next Level Games, a Canadian game studio, essentially made fun of their own nationally in their version of Punch-Out!! with the character Bear Hugger.
- Ditto with publisher Nintendo and Piston Hondo.
- Near the tail-end of Bio Shock Infinite, Booker and Elizabeth find themselves warped into the Under Water City of Rapture from the first two games. Booker's reaction?
Booker: A city at the bottom of the ocean? Ridiculous.
- When Booker and Elizabeth go to the Hall of Heroes Gift Shop, they find some Duke and Dimwit machines, Elizabeth remarks about the third one made; "It's the newest in the series, I heard it was delayed three times!", This is a reference to the delays that 2K and Irrational Games made to Bio Shock Infinite.
- If Valve's memory served them right, then down bellow is how their conversation with a member of the community went while making the Robotic Boogaloo for Team Fortress 2 went...
VALVE: Help, we forgot how to do our jobs! Please make a new update or else the giant iguana posing as Gabe Newell will fire us and have us escorted out by security in that order!
MODEST COMMUNITY MEMBER: Fear not, incompetent Valve employees, the community is here to save the day once again. We have but one stipulation: we will not make robot hats under any circumstances and that's final. Unless you pay us lots of money.
- Mega Man Xtreme 2, the big bad sets up a "game" by placing eight robot masters for the heroes to defeat before he challenges them himself. X replies that the game is pointless.
- Rune Factory 4's Manual references North American translator and publisher XSeed Games having mistranslated the Sechs Empire as the Zzyzx Empire in their earlier work on Rune Factory Frontier, suggesting that the empire briefly changed its name due to a practical joke or illness-induced delirium.
- The Byteria franchise is produced by a one-man studio with Game Makers and whatever stock graphics they include. A fourth wall isn't affordable, either, so the characters frequently ridicule them.
- Flower, Sun and Rain does this to extremes with a child in chapter 7 who slams the game he's in for many things, including: "Are polygon faces look totally different from our 2D art!", "The music is all just rip-off's", as well as questioning the believability of the plot point of terrorists targeting such a small island, how "Catherine", the game's all purpose puzzle solving tool even works, and why the main, Mondo, wears a black-suit all the time. The goal then becomes trying to stop the kid from destroying the game by smashing the fourth wall to pieces.
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag: As the game opens, you are playing a researcher for the newly formed (fictional) company Abstergo Entertainment, which collaborated with the In-Universe version of Ubisoft note ... to present the story of Aveline de Grandpré, a fallen Assassin who rediscovered the light with the help of the Templar Order, and is collaborating with them again on Devils of the Caribbean, a severely modified pseudo-history of one Edward Kenway. The internal marketing and external promotional material that you can reveal throughout the game are masterpieces of Stylistic Suck, with the voiceovers horribly mispronouncing the characters' names and blatantly ignoring the historical context of their actions. In the end, they release a Michael Bay-esque trailer advertising the "wine, women, and adventure" of the era, utterly in contrast with the more genuine story that you actually experience in the game. While this reflects Abstergo's attempt to sell Templar propaganda to the masses, it is also an obvious knock at the real life industry of which Ubisoft is a part.
- Fallout 3 had a much-maligned ending which didn't make an awful lot of sense and had several characters behaving... very strangely, given the context. The expansion pack Broken Steel retcons the previous ending, including a new bit with the super-mutant Fawkes lampshading his own previous actions and pointing out there would be absolutely no reason for him to react that way.
- In Animal Crossing: New Leaf:
- When a normal-type villager visits your house, they may tell you about a video game they've been playing where "you run your own town but also have to keep all these needy animals happy."
- When you play hide-and-seek on the island, Tortimer will introduce it by saying that hide-and-seek "is good, wholesome fun—unlike those newfangled space-age vidya games you kids play."
- Romancing Walker includes the FLARE Bat, a recurring monster and the author's avatar which the protagonist cannot stand at all and always trash talks it upon an encounter.
- Everything Cranky Kong says in the Donkey Kong Country series and manuals is this trope up to eleven. It's all about how much better games were in the arcade days, how the stories are complete crap, the features in the manuals are pointless and the characters are idiots.
- Every single RPG Super Mario spinoff has a number of jokes that mock aspects of the main series. Mainly the silliness of Peach constantly getting kidnapped. Heck, even the main series makes fun of that plot point from time-to-time.
- The DLC for Dead Rising 3 pokes fun at Capcom Sequel Stagnation with its name: Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha (SUDR3ARHEEXPA).
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Primarily, the recurring Joke Character/Author Avatar M'aiq the Liar existed to poke fun at the games' Fan Dumb. Now, M'iaq pokes fun at the developers themselves, as well as some of their design choices for the previous game.
"Nords are so serious about beards. So many beards. M'aiq thinks they wish they had glorious manes like Khajiit." note
"M'aiq carries two weapons, to be safe. What if one breaks? That would be most unlucky." note
"M'aiq is very practical. He has no need for Mysticism." note
"It does not matter to M'aiq how strong or smart one is. It only matters what one can do." note
"M'aiq loves the people of Skyrim. Many interesting things they say to each other." note
"M'aiq saw a mudcrab the other day. Filthy things." note
- MadWorld has Howard and Kreese, the game's Combat Commentators, absolutely rip apart all the game's design team in a way only they can. Some sample commentaries:
Howard: How can you tell which one is the lead programmer?
: He's the one not getting laid more than the other programmers.
Howard: (To the Lead Character Designer) Hey, that guy was in my "how to draw for slow learners" class.
Howard: Animators are the ones who bring the action to life.
: I think you mean the ones that get no
action their whole
- And for a little in-universe self-deprecation
: Frame designers?! These guys couldn't frame Howard
for sex crimes!
Howard: Wow, they must really suck!
- It wasn't actually licensed by Harmonix themselves, but they still allowed the album "Ziltoid the Omniscient" to be used the in their games series Rock Band, with Ziltoid himself constantly reminding the player how stupid s/he looks playing around with fake instruments and doing what the game tells him to do, but you have 43 minutes (the length of the album) to change his mind. It doesn't work; he still thinks it's for nerds.
- A developer case in Far Cry 4. Turns out Willis really didn't like Far Cry 3's protagonist, Jason Brody, in the slightest.
- In 2013, Jick, creator of Kingdom of Loathing, announced an update that added a few new features to Monster Manuel. One of those features was that Manuel's Monster Compendium would now report an enemy's initiative stat. The announcement ended with the following sentence:
Jick: Also, the way this game handles initiative is idiotic. Who wrote this crap.