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.
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.
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.
"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."
"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!"
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:
Primarch Victus: 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.
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.
Fans of the series (or even just players of this game) are probably accustomed to Bosses' 'long speeches about their motivations, history, etc,... So just before his boss battle, Sam starts one of those "It's about ideals..."'' only to stop himself and remark that Raiden probably heard enough of those and to just fight.
The marketing slogan for EarthBound was "This Game Stinks!" And it came with scented stickers with unusual smells.
The HD versions of Sonic Unleashed features Eggman Robots that can can be spoken to as civilians, when visiting Eggman Land after completing the game. Three of said robots are named, "EF-MD1991"note The "MD" designation was left unchanged in North American releases, despite the Mega Drive being called the Sega Genesis over there., "EF-DC1998" and "EF-XB2006". Talking to EF-XB2006 prompts the robot into saying how he is the youngest of the fighters and therefore lacks experience. He's also apparently clumsy and is rubbish at doing anything right... it seems Sonic Team themselves didn't find THAT particular Sonic game any good. Also, once you complete Crisis City in Sonic Generations and release Blaze, she laments the fact that she was captured to begin with with a line that's rather... open for interpretation:
Blaze: Sonic, I hope we can keep this slip up of mine just between the two of us, all right?
At the Sonic Boom festival, Sega released a trailer for the upcoming re-release of Sonic Adventure 2 declaring themselves "The masters of secrecy"... before showing all the webpages that revealed the existence of games like Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and Sonic Generations and declaring that the game will be "leaking onto consoles" this Fall.
The Tumblr page announcing Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice states in its tags that it's going to be a lot better than the last one. Which, considering Fire & Ice is a sequel to the Nintendo 3DSSonic Boom game, and Fire & Ice is also for the 3DS, this turns Rise of Lyric into Canon Discontinuity.
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.
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.
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:
Claptrap: HOLY *** 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.
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 BioShock 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.
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.
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 the real-life publisher of the Assassin's Creed series... 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.
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.
"Nords are so serious about beards. So many beards. M'aiq thinks they wish they had glorious manes like Khajiit." note In Oblivion, there were no facial hair options, which was often criticised by fans. "M'aiq carries two weapons, to be safe. What if one breaks? That would be most unlucky." note Breakable Weapons was a series mainstay until Skyrim, where weapons do not break any more. "M'aiq is very practical. He has no need for Mysticism." note The Mysticism school of magic, another series long-runner, has been removed for Skyrim. Most of the spells have been shoved into the Conjuration school. "It does not matter to M'aiq how strong or smart one is. It only matters what one can do." note Before Skyrim, the games used an attribute system as well as a skill system. The attribute system is gone, and the skill system is greatly simplified. "M'aiq loves the people of Skyrim. Many interesting things they say to each other." note Oblivion was widely criticised for very basic and highly repetitive NPC chatter. "M'aiq saw a mudcrab the other day. Filthy things." note A reference to the much-parodied bit of Welcome to Corneria from Oblivion.
Kreese: 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.
Jick: Also, the way this game handles initiative is idiotic. Who wrote this crap.
In the ending of Putty, when the robot identifies Dazzledaze, a list of actions pops up on Robo Cam. Though "terminate target" is the selected action, the alternatives include "avoid graphics as a living."
Firebird Software once released a ZX Spectrum game compilation titled Don't Buy This, containing some of the worst games sent to them for evaluation. If contemporary reviews are to be believed, the title was entirely justified.
On the review section for the Steam listing of Undertale, while the scores are perfect, the quotes themselves are anything but.
“The puzzles aren't particularly impressive.” 10/10 – Destructoid
“I have a couple of issues with the user interface.” 10/10 – PC Invasion
“If there’s a criticism to be had, it’s that sometimes Toby Fox doesn’t know when to let a joke go.” 10/10 – Jimquisition