Sega's American marketing campaign is an example of "take that" taken to extremes that have rarely been seen since. Aside from the classic marketing slogan "Genesis Does What Nintendon't", there's this commercial taking a jab at the Game Boy's monochrome screen. Later Sega commercials had random people throwing PlayStation off skyscrapers, among other things.
An early advertisement for Shinobi Kid, the game Sega later released as Alex Kidd in Shinobi World, showed that the first boss of the game was named "Mari-Oh". The final version changed his name and redrew his face to look less like Mario's, but he still would shoot fireballs and shrink when weakened.
At one point in Double Switch for the Sega CD, four Italian mobsters appear. Two of them are named Mario and Luigi. They confront this one guy Brutus, who owes them money. Once you save Brutus's life, and most of the mobsters get subdued, Brutus yells at the one fleeing mobster "Tell Mario and Luigi their days are numbered!"
A promo video for Sonic-Xtreme had a live action Mario bemoaning how his series fell into obscurity due to Sonic. Ironically, Mario would be bigger than ever with the 3D platformer trope codifierSuper Mario 64 while X-treme was cancelled before it could be released. In the case of the latter, it has many fans wondering what could have been.
Battle Mania, the Japanese version of the Sega Genesis game Trouble Shooter, had a code that extended the Sega logo joke to have one of the heroines stomping on a Super Famicom. The Japan-exclusive sequel Battle Mania Daiginjou had some familiar-looking flying enemies with red hats, yellow capes and green mushrooms.
Sega took this to such a length that Nintendo actually had to fire back, something they rarely did before and have almost never done since; including the below mentioned Yoshi's Island and Donkey Kong Country 2 gags, they actually went as far as to take out a double page ad/Wall of Text explaining how the Genesis and SNES were all but identical in most respects (and that the SNES was actually superior in some ways, namely graphics and, especially, sound). As The Angry Video Game Nerd points out, every aspect of the SNES was more technologically advanced then the Genesis apart from its processor, which Sega used in their adverts to try and make the Genesis look better.
Shortly after the Turbo Duo system for the TurboGrafx-16 was released, its American distributor TTI saw it fit to release an incredibly anti-Sega advertising campaign featuring Johnny Turbo, a rotund superhero of sorts who defended the honor of the first CD-based gaming system by fighting off the evil Feka corporation and its cronies for making the same claim with their own CD gaming system. The comic was bad enough that it would have qualified as So Bad, It's Good at best on its own, what with its weak counterpoints of the Sega CD's capabilities, implications that Sega employees are Not Even Human (to the point of naming that trope) and even blatant Ho Yay-laden surreal imagery toward the end. But some investigation revealed that it was much more a take that toward video game executive producer John C. Brandstetter, who the main character was modeled and named after, than Sega. The entire sad story has to be seen to be believed.
Poking around gravestones in the original Japanese release of the original Final Fantasy would reveal Link's grave. In the North American version, this was changed to Erdrick's grave, which was also used for the European PlayStation version. Erdrick was the ancestor of the hero in the first Dragon Quest, which was much more similar to Final Fantasy than Zelda was. Later re-releases of Final Fantasy would restore the name Link, to the confusion of many Western gamers. Also, the original English translation's text for the gravestone was made hilarious in hindsight when the publishers of Final Fantasy and Dragon Questmerged.
The Nameless Mod allows you to find the Daikatana weapon that does little damage to enemies, harms you as you use it, and takes up a large amount of inventory space.
2027 has a subtle one to Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Reading a newspaper in Paris may have a small mention that there are other media outlets besides Picus. Picus was the only media company seen in Human Revolution.
In Jill of the Jungle, produced by Epic, the action would be interrupted from time to time for a newspaper headline about some more famous video game character admitting that he just wasn't as cool as Jill.
Apogee Software swung a punch of their own in Monster Bash. In the backstory, Johnny Dash, the ten-year-old hero of the game is dragged under his bed and informed that his puppy had been kidnapped, along with numerous other dogs and cats. Upon being informed that his puppy had been kidnapped, Johnny's response is: "Who did this! If it was that Jungle Jill girl down the street, I'll kick her butt again!"
Don't forget first releases of original Jazz Jackrabbit and its "Apology Mode" (code used to run it was APOGEE), referring to fact that at point of release of JJ (1994), many games of Apogee still ran in EGA or even CGA graphic mode, where as VGA 320x240 256 color mode was industry standard at the time (EGA/CGA used 16 colors).
At the end of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, you find yourself in the Video Game Hero Hall of Fame, alongside Mario, Yoshi, and Link. There's also a sign that says "No Hopers", under which one can see Sonic's shoes and Earthworm Jim's gun. Strangely enough, Earthworm Jim was an SNES game, just like DKC2, though it was also released for the Genesis/Mega Drive.
Many Nintendo and Sega video games from the 16-bit era would tease you for trying to input a player name associated with the rival company. Considering what Sega went on to do later (producing third-party titles for other platforms, Nintendo's included), the entire smear campaign on both sides has become hilarious in hindsight.
Uniracers would tell you the names Sonic and Sega "are not cool enough." The final boss of the game could also pull a number of Interface Screws on you, one of them being "Hedgehog Speed" which was actually super-slow motion.
Yoshi's Island included a fast blue hedgehog enemy that was pretty easy to trounce.
True Crime: Streets of LA features random background billboards for "Jockstrap", featuring an anonymous man's midsection, with a logo almost exactly like that of Grand Theft Auto publisher Rockstar Games. Furthermore, if the lead character received a call to attend a car jacking, he would often reply with "Grand Theft Auto? That sucks!"
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas fired back, with billboards for the True Grime street cleaners. Prior to that, one of the assassination missions in Vice City had you killing five men with names suspiciously reminiscent of the main characters from GTA clones.
True Crime: New York City fired back at GTA in one of the side missions for cab driver Freddie-upon receiving the mission Marcus remarks "Man, now I gotta be a cab driver for this fool? Next thing you know, I'll be flying remote-controlled toys and shit!" referring to the widely hated Zero missions in San Andreas.
Grand Theft Auto III took a jab at the Driver series by sending the player on a mission to kill a Camp Gay undercover cop named Tanner, who is described as "strangely animated" and "more or less useless outside of his car."
Driv3r hit back with the "Timmy Vermicellies", some dudes in ridiculously bright-colored clothes with floaters on their arms. Coincidentally, Tommy Vercetti from Grand Theft Auto: Vice Citycouldn't swim, and had a bright turquoise shirt. Also, Calita is a take that to Catalina from GTA III.
GTA San Andreas then fired back in the mission where you must find and steal Snoop... uh, ahem... Madd Dogg's rhymebook. Shortly before you reach it, one of Madd Dogg's bodyguards is sitting on a couch, playing some unseen video game, and suddenly says "Man, how did Refractions mess up so bad? TANNER. YOU SUCK ASS". Coincidentally, too, Driv3r was developed by Reflections.
Quik the Thunder Rabbit, a Platform Game released for the Amiga by Titus Software involving a fast-running anthopomorphic white rabbit, had a joke at the expense of Sonic the Hedgehog. In the intro of the game, a tiny blue hedgehog is slowly making his way over a road before Quik zooms around the corner, causing the rodent to scurry away and leap off a cliff. Nothing like attacking what clearly inspired you...
The Splinter Cell series has a number of subtle jokes at the expense of rival stealth games, most notably Metal Gear. For instance, in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, interrogating one of the guards causes Sam to demand he hands over some ammo, to which the guard says something like "What, you think if you shake me enough a bunch of bullets will fall out of my pockets?" Also in the second game, the characters comment on the ridiculous codename of "Mortified Penguin", which seems to be a reference to FOXHOUND's "Adjective Animal" naming convention. Oddly enough, Creator/Ubisoft (the developer of Splinter Cell) have collaborated with Kojima Productions on a few occasions, so these are most likely friendly jabs.
Metal Gear retaliated in Metal Gear Solid 3's Snake vs. Monkey game, where Snake suggests letting "Sam or Gabe" take care of the monkeys. The latter is a reference to Gabriel "Gabe" Logan, from the Syphon Filter series. His CO responds with "this is the genre we turned over every leaf in."
Splinter Cell also took a jab at Gordon Freeman in Chaos Theory: "Crowbars are for geeky video game characters."
Splinter Cell takes a jab at James Bond as well. If you grab an enemy guard, Sam informs a mook that "He's a real spy, not one who drinks a martini and wears a tuxedo, one that has a lot of blood on his hands."
Splinter Cell also took jabs at itself. The third game's missions generally got rid of the three-alarm-game-over limit that several missions in the first two games had, and Sam and Lambert referred to this in a conversation early on, even as Lambert asked Sam to be careful.
One of the trailers for Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has a Russian guard on a motorbike say to Snake upon being held up, "What is this? A Grand Theft Auto? We're not in a Vice City...this is a jungle!"
Metal Gear Solid 4 seems to be peppered with take thats aimed at video gamers and Internet culture as a whole.
The original jokey trailer for MGS4 featured Raiden fighting against what appeared to be Sam Fisher over a director's seat which held the coveted "main character" designation. As it turns out, after Sam throws Raiden off a cliff, he takes off his mask to reveal Solid Snake dressed up as ol' Sam complete with Sam's gun.
The first MGS4 trailer showed what looked like a First-Person Shooter. Phrases like "Finally a Policy Switch?" and "Forget Pre-rendered Stuff - Format: Playstation Scenes!" flashed on screen. Then, the camera swept out of the point of view of the "player", and it turned out to be a random guard whom Snake swiftly disarmed. Then up came the writing : "No! This is no FPS! This is MGS! MGS for TGS on PS3!"
The rivalry between Capcom and SNK resulted in numerous swipes. After Art of Fighting was released, Capcom created Dan Hibiki for Street Fighter Alpha as a mockery of AOF protagonists Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia. Not to be outdone, SNK gave Yuri Sakazaki new moves that were explicit parodies of Ryu, Ken, and Sakura's. Eventually, both companies decided to profit from the rivalry with the Capcom vs. SNK games.
Not to mention that Dan's new Ultra Combo in Super Street Fighter IV, "Haoh Gadoken", which is a spoof of a commonly used desperation move from Ryo/Robert's moveset.
In Street Fighter Alpha 2, if you enter "SNK" as your initials after getting a high score, the game will change it to "CAP".
Additionally a few Street Fighter characters appeared at the end of KOF '94 as victims of Rugal who were turned to statues.
When the "Enter Your Name" screen in Pokémon Red and Blue is skipped by hacking or using a cheating device, the player and the rival have somewhat meaningful names. The player's name becomes NINTEN, and the rival's... SONY.
In Duke Nukem 3D, in one level the ground is briefly shaken by an earthquake, toppling a building that resembles id Software's headquarters, prompting the hero to comment "I ain't afraid of no Quake!"
When Duke encounters a dead Space Marine in a secret room, he wryly comments "that's one Doomed space marine". In turn, the protagonist of the somewhat lesser-known FPS Blood would come across a mangled, nearly dead Duke-lookalike hanging upside down, exclaiming "I've got time to play with you!" (a reference to a self-referential Easter Egg found in DN3D's first level).
Duke Nukem 3D actually has a number of references to various visual productions. There's a mock-up of Itchy and Scratchy from The Simpsons on some screens in one level, a recreation of the Star Trek: The Next Generation bridge that's been damaged hidden in another, several dead movie characters in various levels, various decorative items that mention something from a movie or TV series, and large portions of a number of levels are based on sections of movies.
In a level of Duke Nukem Forever, a soldier offers duke a suit of Power Armor that looks suspiciously like Master Chief's from Halo. Duke's reply? "Power armor is for pussies."
One of Duke's quotes from Duke Nukem Forever: "I hate valve puzzles!" And another one, which is also a throwback to the Space Marine one above: "That's one dead space marine!"
Serious Sam takes some potshots at Duke Nukem in almost every title thus far. For example, the Sirian council in Serious Sam II requested Sam's help because some "blondie guy" was "taking forever". In that level was a secret area called Duke's skeleton, which was a skeleton hung from a tree with still a very particular haircut. Sam's comment on finding it. "Dude, you've been hanging there, like, FOREVER."
The fan-made Serious Sam Forever trailer doesn't help matters.
The entire series is a big Take That spoof of the unbalanced and frequently abusive Japanese court system. It culminates in Apollo Justice, where Phoenix, fed up with the current trial system and its unfairness, introduces the Jurist System.
April May tapping Mia's Phone while staying in the "Gatewater Hotel" is a obvious Take That at the Watergate Tapping Scandal.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has a Khajit named "M'aiq the Liar", who has some funny responses to different topics. In the sequel, Oblivion, he returns with a few snarky comments — one of them being "People always enjoy a good fable. M'aiq has yet to find one, though. Maybe some day." This seems to be a Take that to the similar game Fable.
Daggerfall's manual includes this little take at the Unpleasable Fanbase: "People who play role-playing games need more than some pretty graphics and nonstop action to whet their claymores; they want depth and character and wit and drama. They want the thickest, most involving novel that they've ever read translated to their 15" screen, with themselves as the hero. That's what I love about people who play role-playing games. They're so reasonable."
Apogee had a bit of a joke at the expense of Commander Keen in Bio Menace, where Keen is one of the hostages in the second episode. In the backstory for episode 4 of Commander Keen, a character gets Keen's name wrong. Apogee repeated the incorrect version of Keen's name in the dialogue when you rescue him in Bio Menace.
Right in the middle of the GameCube vs. Xbox vs. PlayStation 2 feud, one volume of Nintendo Power published a letter from a fan complimenting the writers on managing not to resort to this. The writers jokingly responded by claiming that the Xbox would cause brain damage if you dropped it on your head, and that the PlayStation 2 ate small children. The latter joke became a Running Gag.
When a fan commented on how creepy the concept of the Kid Hero often was, Nintendo Power simply said: "The next time a child with a sword attacks you, simply feed it to the nearest PlayStation 2.
IRL example: Microsoft's various take that moments against the PlayStation 3, such as crashing a PS3 launch party by bringing a boat with a gigantic Xbox 360 banner into the background as cameras were rolling, or offering chairs for the patient people in lines outside stores waiting for their PS3 — the backs of the chairs contained a seemingly innocent URL which led to a site where Microsoft pretty much took the piss out of 360 having been on the markets for ages before PS3 and how all that waiting must have been tiresome.
BioShock in general can easily be interpreted as a take that to Ayn Rand's Objectivism philosophy. Especially when one considers Andrew Ryan's name is almost an anagram of Ayn Rand. The Big Bad is named Fontaine, but uses the pseudonym "Atlas", obvious references to Rand's books..
In a similar vain, Bioshock: Infinite (from what we know) could be seen as Take That to blind Nationalism.
And generally, the series as a whole is simply just a big ole' Take That at extremism in any form, which Word of God supports.
Also, it seems just for the hell of it, Francis from Left 4 Dead hates Ayn Rand, amongst MANY other things.
Someone made a rather infamous Game Mod for Doom called Doom: Rampage Edition. The reaction was bad of course, and the author defended his work by claims of autism. Anyways, a prominent member of the Doomworld community said he could pull a better wad out of his ass. A week later, "A Better Wad I Pulled Out of My Ass" was released on idgames.
The upbeat, optimistic, and very much non-angsty Zidane, male lead of Final Fantasy IX, delivers an affectionate barb to his predecessors. "No cloud, no squall shall hinder us!". Likewise, the encyclopedia in Star Ocean Till The End Of Time gives the normal meteorological description for "Squall" and then continues with "Speaking of squalls...oh, never mind".
When stepping into a dark room in Prey, the protagonist comments that he's "Doomed," a jab at the frustrating flashlight/weapon swapping in Doom 3.
Helter Skelter is the first assassin that Travis kills prior to the events of No More Heroes. He happens to be a cigar-smoking albino with more than a passing resemblance to Dante from Devil May Cry. He gets unceremoniously decapitated in the game intro with Travis commenting that he "couldn't tell if he was the shit...or just plain ol' shit!". This has led some people to believe that Mr. Suda51 isn't too fond of Dante or his series.
Then there was the rank five match against Letz Shake, whose weapon was a gigantic earthquake machine that had Cell processors and Tri-Core engines, and which was controlled with what appeared to be a Power Glove and a set of Virtual Boy-esque goggles. After powering up for what seemed like forever, a dashing fellow in a white suit, wielding a beam sword like Travis's, proceeded to drop out of the sky and destroy Letz and his earthquake machine in one slash.
Right before the rank one match, Travis has a conversation with Jeane during which she takes a stab at Duke Nukem Forever: "What if the game gets delayed? You don't want this to become No More Heroes Forever, do you?"
Suda gives us some Fanservice of the non sexual kind when we get to fight Helkter Skelter's brother. Who is a not so subtle jab at Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII, the man has a vendetta against Dante and his stylish swordsman ilk.
The Dark Sun universe game Wake of the Ravager has a large Take that to Ultima VIII in a journal you can find in the game, mostly mocking the plot holes and lack of resemblance to earlier Ultima games.
This was in response to a surprisingly nasty Take that in Ultima VIII itself. It contained an in-game book called "The Eye of the Boulder", which mocked the competing game series Eye of the Beholder for requiring a large number of floppies, having inferior graphics and sound, using a restrictive movement system and having bad storytelling. Both the Eye of the Beholder and Dark Sun series of games were published by Strategic Simulations, Inc.
In a leaked gameplay trailer for the MMO Jumpgate Evolution, the fighter squadron in the video indicates that they have been ordered to attack "Battlestation CCP" who have been edging into their territory with "Operation Trinity". CCP being the name of the company which designed and runs the MMORPG EVE Online, and "Trinity" being the name of one of the recent large expansions to the EVE universe, primarily the graphics content of the game. Some call it coincidence, but others are certain that the footage of "Battlestation CCP" exploding in a ball of fire nicely explains the competing developers' outlook on their rivals.
Which is hilarious in hindsight as it's been nearly two years since the intended release of Jumpgate Evolution without a single news update on their main website since late 2009, making the game a solid contender for being Vapor Ware. Eve players would've enjoyed the last laugh if they had cared.
Pretty much the entire plot of Ultima VII: The Black Gate was an extended, thinly veiled attack on Electronic Arts. Not too much of a surprise, considering the purchase of Origin by EA not long afterwards...
Sony's legendary "$299" press conference, which pretty thoroughly took the wind out of Sega's press conference.note For those not in the know, Sega of America's president at the time had announced at E3 1995 that the Sega Saturn, initially meant to be released in September of that year, was instead already available as he spoke for the suggested retail price of $399. The very next keynote after this was Sony Computer Entertainment America's president announcing the PlayStation's launch price above.
And the "$599" press conference two generations later. It is legendary for the opposite reasons, and the subject of many more take thats in years to come.
And then there's "$399" in the generation after that. See below for more details.
There's also Kenji Eno's take that to Sony. At a press conference were Eno was going to announce platform exclusivity to the PlayStation, he abruptly announced that his games would be exclusive to the Sega Saturn, with the overhead display first showing a PSX logo which changed to a Saturn logo, and stomped on a plush of one of Sony's mascots.
Kessen 3 contains several Take Thats against the general characterization of Oda Nobunaga in fiction by casting him as the hero instead of a demonic baby-eating villain (the Onimusha series in particular, which features Nobunaga as the final boss in a couple of its games). During a battle with Akechi Hidemitsu (the true name of Onimusha's main hero Samanosuke), defeating him as Nobunaga treats the player to a special cutscene where the two treat each other as Worthy Opponents rather than a demon facing off against a holy warrior.
And in Samurai Warriors Chronicle 2nd and later 4, Yagyu Munenori (the father of Yagyu Jubei) is portrayed as an honorable swordsman, as opposed to the turncoat he appeared as in Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams. This also simultaneously gives a Take That about general portrayal of 'dastardly Munenori' in other stories.
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter for Nintendo 64 featured one Easter egg called "Quack Mode" which lowered the game's frame rate and caused the graphics to become more blocky. As the name hints, this was a Take that aimed towards the then-popular first-person shooter Quake.
Quake fired back with the N64 version of Quake II, where the instruction manual tells you "What are you waiting for, Dinosaurs in fog?".
Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade took a stab at attorney Jack Thompson over his crusade against video games. They donated $10,000 in his name to the charity Thompson would have donated to, had he not been lying. "For Jack Thompson, Because Jack Thompson Won't". To explain: Thompson was a Florida lawyer who made video games his Moby-Dick, using tactics that amounted to harassment to try to get these "murder simulators" essentially banned forever. He offered a challenge to game makers: produce a video game to his very exacting demands and he would donate ten grand to charity. The hook, here, is that Thompson felt game makers were forging murderers out of children, and so his challenge was for the makers to put themselves into the game as targets, specifically as targets of unspeakably vile and grotesque murders. The challenge was phrased as a "You don't dare do this because you know I'm right", and Thompson very obviously never expected the challenge to be met. Which it was. An indie developer produced Thompson's demanded gameexactly, effectively calling Thompson's bluff, which, lo and behold, was in fact a bluff. Thompson tried to weasel out of it and then Penny Arcade stepped in and donated in Thompson's name, basically to grind the salt into the wound. It was an excellent moment for schadenfreude, as Thompson, obviously, came out looking like a gigantic tool right away. Thankfully For The Lulz, Thompson was not quite finished looking like a gigantic tool:
And then Jack Thompson tried to sue them for donating in his stead. The judge got in on the take that by throwing Thompson's case out and threatening his license.
Not just sued, he tried to have them arrested for "harassment". You gotta give it to Thompson. It takes a lot of courage to try to get two guys arrested for giving money to charity (money he himself promised to donate but didn't).
Child's Play is a charity that those two also set up to try to counteract the "gamers are evil" stereotype in media.
Tomonobu Itagaki, of the Dead or Alive series, cannot give an interview without taking a dig against any competing fighting series. According to Itagaki, Namco once dissed the Dead or Alive series in a Japanese ad for Tekken 4. Whether it was a genuine diss or good-natured ribbing by their part is unknown, as the company also had a friendly rivalry with Sega, in which the two companies cross-promoted Virtua Fighter 4 and Tekken 4 in a series of ads.
La-Mulana is a take that to the current generation of video games; the game's MSX-like graphics and gameplay are in response to newer games being extremely flashy and having less challenge than their older, tougher ancestors. And then there's a couple quotes from Elder Xelpud targeted at Nintendo and the NES. One Game Within a Game is a Take that at Dating Sims and their players: "Real women don't operate by game systems!" A more subtle Take that concerns F1 Spirit 3D: its ROM is the cheapest of all the MSX ROMs that have to be bought, and the only thing it ever does (when used in combination with the Contra ROM, which is also ludicrously easy to obtain — its MSX2 version was a Porting Disaster) is make the player more vulnerable.
In the third game in the original Spyro the Dragon trilogy, refusing to pay Moneybags to open the bridge in the level Crystal Islands results in him threatening to turn you into a blue hedgehog.
In The Curse of Monkey Island, Guybrush Threepwood meets the Flying Welshman, a ghostly character who has been stuck in the misty ocean for years. He complains to Guybrush about the mist, to which Guybrush responds, "I like mist. I think it's pretty." Welshman: "Well sure, mist is pretty. But egad, is it DULL." An allusion to the game Myst, apparently.
AdventureQuest and its spin-offs, MechQuest and Dragon Fable, have spoofs and references coming out of their ears. There are even a few places in each game where it would be easier to list what ISN'T in this category.
Another Twilight slam occurs in AdventureQuest Worlds, in the boss fight of the Werewolf/Vampire War against a sparkly vampire by the name of Edvard, whose girlfriend Beulah dumped him for a werewolf (Ouch). For the first few days after the war ended, he was the weakest war boss in the entire game, with only 900 hit points and rather weak damage.
Another such ad for AdventureQuest Worlds makes fun of the ever-pervasive Evony banner adverts (namely the ones with the Ren-Faire-dressed Gaussian Girl that say "Play now, m'lord") by having a player character pose heroically in front of the text "Slay free, play indiscreetly" while wearing nothing but boxer shorts.
A trailer for Saints Row 2 features not-so-subtle jabs at Grand Theft Auto IV by asking the viewer if they'd prefer "taking bored friends to go bowling" or "watching TV in the game" to spreading raw sewage on houses, doing crazy stunts or running around naked, all of which you can do in SR2.
In the mission "Saint's Seven," Pierce proposes a plan to rob the Poseidon's Palace Casino that the Boss and Johnny Gat consider to be overly complex and (worse) boring. His plan is the exact same plan used to rob Caligula's Palace in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. (In case you were wondering, the Boss and Gat's alternative plan consists of "run in, shoot everything that moves, blast the safes open, and drive like hell away.")
The introductory cinematic to one of the Mayhem minigames makes reference to "Zach Johnson," a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of infamous anti-video game crusader Jack Thompson, who is described as "a nutjob lawyer who gets hard at the idea of a lawsuit."
Shortly after Diablo III was announced, a number of fans took umbrage at the "colourful" outdoor scenes, which included realistically rendered rainbows in waterfalls. The response of Lead World Designer Leonard Boyarsky was this.
In Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, when asked by Peter whether he likes "the new duds", Wolverine tells him that it makes him look like one of those emo kids who like to complain about how hard their life is when they don't know true pain. A bit of a dig at both emo kids and the maligned Spider-Man 3. Peter replies to that with "Oh my god, you dork! You have a MyFace page, don't you!", an obvious jab at the "Social Networking" sites of MySpace and Facebook.
The Nintendo DS game based off of Duck Amuck is full of this trope in gaming. One of Daffy's tuants for failing a minigame is "Maybe you should try a game that's a little. less. challenging."
The opening sequence before "Diamond Mine, Mine!" has Daffy saying "Egads! I'm in some low res game from the 70s. Oooohhhohoo..."
Even better is the sequence from "Low Poly Daffy" *comes out of the machine that was supposed to turn him into a 3D character* "What The..? I said 'Next Gen' you slob! NEXT GEN!!"
Back in 1993, Myst and The 7th Guest were launched, displaying novel, but similar, production methods. The 11th Hour, sequel to Guest, has a Take That to its competitor — a copy of a game called Missed, with similar cover art, can be seen lying in a font full of filth in the chapel.
The freeware Tetris clone Lockjaw originally had some modes that poked fun at Tetris DS and "guideline" Tetris games in general, such as "Ridin' Spinners" and Dual Marathon.
The "Vs." mode, included in the final cut, is explicitly labeled as a Take that to Tetris DSin the game's manual.
The same author of Lockjaw also developed Luminesweeper, a Take that to not only the PSP's high price and Lumines not taking full advantage of the PSP's hardware capabilities, but also as one to people who mispronounce "Lumines" as "loo-mines" instead of "luminous".
In Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2, during one of the between-mission Space Marine dialogues reference is made to a former campaign in Kaurava (location of the Soulstorm expansion), during which the Space Marine captain is described as being an idiot. Soulstorm was developed by Iron Lore Entertainment rather than Relic, who developed the rest of the series. The result was an Obvious Beta which became infamous largely due to Narm, in particular said captain's bizarre voice acting resulting in 'Sphess Mahrines' as a fandom meme. The exact line is given by a Space Marine who fought at Kaurava:
Space Quest IV let the player search through a clearance box of video games while looking for the Space Quest IV Hintbook. The games were parodies of other publishers' releases at the time, such as Sim Sim. The harshest parody was Boom!, a Shallow Parody of Loom which was advertised as having "No other characters, no conflict, no puzzles, no chance of dying, and no interface" — a blatant Take that to Lucasarts' philosophy of avoiding Unwinnable games and gratuitous player deaths.
This could be a mistaken reading of the dialogue, or it could be a very subtle take that, but keep a bunch of marines alive enough in Halo: Combat Evolved, especially in a Warthog, and they will start to comment: 'Man, this never gets old!' When you've been doing nothing but driving or shooting for about fifteen to twenty minutes this begins to look like a Take That.
The score ranking system in the Civilization series compares your exploits to famous leaders throughout history. The lowest ranking? Dan Quayle.
To top that, one of the corporations you can start is Creative Constructions: The Ending sentence: "Perhaps if a construction executive had been present during the designing of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, it would already be complete and accepting donations for renovations."
In Postal 2's Apocalypse Weekend expansion, the final mission on Saturday is to recover the Postal 2 gold master disk from Running With Scissors' underhanded former publisher, Bullfish Interactive, leading to a boss fight with the company CEO Phraud Hogslop. Incidentally, in the real world, Running With Scissors terminated their deal with publisher Whiptail Interactive over breaches of contract on the latter's part...
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. had a shot at Half-Life, where Gordon Freeman winds up in the zone, making a log of his short lived experience in the Zone, how he traded his crowbar for food and died shortly after.
It's not much of a take that when, in his log, he's disappointed he couldn't FIGHT BEARS in the zone - his very first log just complains about the lack of killing anything.
Which is also a take that against the developers themselves... mutated bears were originally supposed to be in the game, but removed before release. One of the only ones that wasn't still in the game's code.
Rock Band 3 has you "kill" 53,596 HOPOs for an achievement.
Valve then parodies themselves of the achievement with another achievement called "The Littlest Genocide", requiring players to kill only 10% of the original amount of zombies for the Zombie Genocidest achievement.
Zoey and Francis's comments on the statue of Atlas in the airport, another Take that at Ayn Rand and arguably a BioshockShout-Out.
A more obvious take that for Dead Rising is a graffiti on the wall that says "Otis, Out of film, no helicopter, Zombies are too fast. Not going to make it, Frank West".
This was more likely a friendly poke, since the Left 4 Dead included friendlier references to DR, like a message congratulating the dev team on the release of Dead Rising 2 hidden in The Sacrifice comic. For what it's worth, the DR team returned the favor in DR2 by having wall graffiti saying "DON'T STARTLE THE WITC-".
Bill in The Sacrifice sometimes says anyone who runs around filling up things with gas is an idiot. He says this due to how gasoline will become very rare in an zombie outbreak. This is a jab at the Left 4 Dead 2 survivors, where they are required to get gas for a car, a generator, and a boat.
The 2nd level in The Passing has the survivors go through an under the river tour with the end of it marked by a sign saying "Coming in 2010!" Sometimes Coach may say "Coming in 2010? But phase 1 ain't done!" This is a jab at the Fan Dumb that complained how Left 4 Dead wasn't "finished" when Left 4 Dead 2 was announced.
At one point in Return To Zork, you are shrunk and placed inside a water-filled ship-in-a-bottle to find a Plot Coupon. If you search around, you can find a skeleton dressed in the same outfit as Guybrush Threepwood, with similar music in the background. The text reads "Guess his 15 minutes are up."
Which would have been way funnier had it said ten minutes, as this is how long Guybrush can hold his breath underwater.
The Mushroomy Kingdom stage is a representation of the first two stages of Super Mario Bros. 1 as barren wastelands because they've gone unexplored for over twenty years. The reason they look so dead? Because Real Is Brown!
Snake's Codec piece regarding Sonic is a joke that was lost in translation, as Snake's Japanese voice actor is the son of Dr. Eggman's actor, thus the dislike. Also, hedgehogs are a Snake's worst nightmare in nature. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out why.
Eat Lead The Return Of Matt Hazard had a huge one on Final Fantasy VII. The sixth boss is named Alto Stratus, a type of cloud. This character can only talk in text boxes, which Matt needs to click. He goes on and on about how he was sent to kill Matt. When one of his text boxes is just "..." Matt throws a rant on how much time people waste reading those. Then you finally fight him, and Alto moves in a FF-like ATB bar system. And the description for the achievement/trophy for beating him? It's "Forecast: No clouds ahead"
Also, the game takes a shot at Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. The opening plot twist was for Matt to be killed of in the first level and be replaced by Sting Sniperscope, a then-unheard of character.
The viral marketing campaign for the game blatantly attacked Activision's business "ethics" with this press release from the fictional company, Marathon-Megasoft.
The paper shredders in Glider 4.0 were labeled "Fed-O-Matic," and appeared in rooms named "The North Room" and "North by NorthWest", after Oliver North.
Uplink delivers a Take That against the FBI in an Easter Egg if you visit the Steve Jackson game's website, claiming to start tracking you as a hacker.
Guitar Hero V delivers a Take That against everyone who was upset by the changes in Judy Nails in Guitar Hero 3. The game almost totally reverts the changes... but notes that she now does music directed towards whiny, self-important teenagers.
In the opening cinematic for Brutal Legend, the band Eddie is working for is a painfully obvious jab at the entire genre of nu-metal who get hideously killed by Ormagoden, the 'avatar' of classic heavy metal.
Rock Band 2 has one towards a band AND towards one of its biggest sponsors. In Band World Tour mode, occasionally you'll get random events asking you to do a benefit show or to do an encore in addition to the songs you chose, etc. One of the challenges is to do a sponsor show with Hot Topic to play a song by Paramore. If you choose to do it, you'll get a decent amount of cash... And lose 25,000 fans in the process as well. This was later patched (the official reason is players got confused when they lost fans).
The first game contains a take that against chicken hawks if Kaidan is in the party for the "Our Own Worst Enemy" assignment, and a rather ironic take that against the video game industry itself if Ashley is in the party on Noveria. In the former case, Terra Firma representative Charles Saracino asks for Shepard's endorsement, as the opinion of the first human Spectre and a decorated marine carries a lot of weight. Eventually, Kaidan's patience wears thin:
Kaidan: So you can say "I support our troops," and get into office because of our sacrifices, huh?
Then there's the take that against the Moral Guardians who complained about the sex scene, in "Bring Down the Sky" (PC version) - a computer file in a radio station talks about how they'd received complaints that they were encouraging people to sleep with aliens.
Mass Effect 2 has a person selling video games on the Citadel uttering a different take that about the industry and Fan Dumb every few seconds.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines has one from the latest unofficial patches made by fans that restored some of the originally planned content in the game, such as history of the vampire player character. The optional background for one of the vampire clans is "video game publisher", which proceeds to explain that the player character ruined lives and so forth. Considering what happened to Troika Games in no small part thanks to their publisher, this seems amusingly accurate. And the vampire clan, which the video game publisher is embraced into? Nosferatu.
In Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth and Cloud are routinely voted as two of the best characters in the series. The in-game manuals for Dissidia: Final Fantasy have Penelo just not getting the appeal behind either of them and decides neither of them is all that interesting. This is ironic when you consider Penelo was a generic "quirky" character that spent basically all of XII in the background.
During the Madden NFL/NFL 2K war, both EA and Sega had one screenshot on the back cover depicting its cover player making a play at the expense of the other game's coverboy (ex. Marshall Faulk stiff-arming Brian Urlacher on the back cover of Madden NFL 2003, Terrell Owens doing the same to Ray Lewis on ESPN NFL 2K5).
E3 2010 was full of take that on all sides. A particularly memorable one was Nintendo talking about how glasses 3D was weak and showing off their glasses-free Nintendo 3DS immediately before Sony's glasses 3D-heavy announcements.
World of Tanks has a series of advertisements that poke fun at more "common" games, namely EVE Online, World of Warcraft, and your typical Tank Simulator and Racing game. The World of Warcraft one has your typical fantasy "tank" (as in the character archetype) curb stomp a group of players, only to get run over by - you guessed it - a tank. The other, non-gameplay trailers are roughly the same thing, only modified for each different subject matter.
In the original Age of Empires, one of the campaigns is set in Ancient Japan. The games include wildlife as various opponents, including stronger, more powerful versions of each. So what is the first enemy encountered in the Yamato (Japanese) campaign? "LionKing".
This is more of a "British"note It's also, in fairness, a super picky American thing than a strictly "video games" thing, but Ben There Dan That features one about beer in the alternate universe where the UK has become the 51st American state. The schlocky "authentic English pub" has two drinks on tap: a robust and delicious British lager, which the lily-livered American barman won't serve to anyone who can't provide more ID than is really advisable to carry in day-to-day life, and something watery and soulless, which would only qualify as "ale" (or, for that matter, "alcoholic") if you bribed the truth-in-advertising guys.
The flash game Crush the Castle, possibly being the prime example of causing a case of Follow the Leader that soon turned into the mobile-based sensation known as Angry Birds, since it shares a similar premise and physics engine as the former, had a Take That against the latter with its installment Crush the Castle 2 Players Pack. Beating its Undead Mode where you fight off a Zombie Apocalypse unlocks a chicken as a projectile. It has practically zero mass, does meager damage on impact with castle walls, and disappears on contact, making it the least effective projectile in the game.
At some point in World of Warcraft, there was an outdoor raid boss that summoned a mob named "Demented Druid". Their tactics? Moonfire spam.
In the short story, Heart Of War, Garrosh complains about, among other things, the failure of the trolls to retake the Echo Isles from a single witch doctor. This reflects some player complaints about the trolls not retaking the Echo Isles until Cataclysm, despite the fact that the mastermind is (apparently) killed in a low level quest.
Portal 2 has one in the start of "The Itch" chapter. Wheately has shamelessly stolen test chambers from GLaDOS while claiming them as his own work and has made test chambers that are incredibly easy to solve and have silly writings on the walls out of wall tiles and light fixtures, which spell TEST. Valve stated in their commentary they wanted the first few test chambers from Wheatley to feel like how a first time level designer would make a level, which is a not too subtitle jab at people who flood hosting web sites with poorly made or plagiarized levels.
There's a hack of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, titled Sonic 2 Dimps Edition, which is a large-scale Take That at recent Sonic games developed by Dimps, particularly the first episode of Sonic the Hedgehog 4. Notable features include random speed boosters everywhere, an altered soundtrack, physics tweaks and a heavy reliance on the homing attack.
Ivan Ruce: It seems pretty obvious to me that no one wants to see a Flashpoint Rising in the Green Sea Region.
Moreover, the v1.99 patch for Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis actually both renames that game to ARMA: Cold War Assault and removes the Codemasters-created Red Hammer campaign. The former may have been legally necessary... the other, not so much.
In December 2006, the staff of Kingdom of Loathing released an item called the "Yuletide troll chrysalis" in Mr. Store, which hatched into a familiar that provided extra stats, occasional healing, and items (in the form of Christmas carol parodies) that could buff players. The reaction was extremely negative, as a number of players suggested increasing its healing effect and axing the carols - in other words, stripping away its only unique feature. Mr. Skullhead, one of the creative team, did not take this well, and launched into a rant at the "Stop Having Fun" Guys, lambasting them for how they only wanted an "Optimal Ascension Familiar" that had no picture, description, or any other flavor, but merely did positive things and printed stats. On April Fool's Day of the following year, an Optimal Ascension Familiar became available... as one of the worst familiars ever put out, with negative effects rivaling the (intentionally) crippling Black Cat. There are many such instances in the history of KOL, but this is likely the most notorious.
Adventures To Go takes a snipe at AIG - when Finn first joins the eponymous adventurer's guild, he refers to it as ATG. Severn, the man at the office next door, tells him that the abbreviation "makes it sound like some failed bank or insurance company".
In The Binding of Isaac, Judas' fez is a jab at Phil Fish, who voted against Isaac creator Edmund McMillen and his comrades at the Independent Games Festival, thereby being considered a Judas.
Hotline Miami also joined in the mockery with the Phil "Fish Mask" which translates all dialogue to French... that's it.
In Retro City Rampage, the Player feels a sudden urge to go on a "stomping rampage" after playing the "stomping simulator" ''Super Stomp Pals", which leads into a long Take That against anti-violent-video-game activist Jack Thompson (the guy who coined the term "murder simulators"), the Australian government, and parents who don't take personal responsibility for the games they let their kids play.
The hot springs scene with Buxom handmaidens in Asura's Wrath can be seen as a subtle take that at God of War's sex minigames. There are a few others, such as Asura basically defying the idea of a rampaging demi-god having to be completely ruthless to be a badass.
Lollipop Chainsaw makes some priceless jabs toward modern-day pop stars like Katy Perry and Justin Bieber. Also, in Chapter 4 (the chapter where Juliet and Nick keep being sucked into various arcade games), Nick says, "If a little dude in a red cap and blue overalls pops out at me, I am seriously gonna vomit all over myself."
Game Dev Tycoon took a jab at people who pirate video games by releasing their own cracked version on torrent sites on release day. The cracked version plays normally until you get to the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 era, where you find out that all of your profits are being drained by pirates.
There's an achievement in Pro Cycling Manager 2011 and 2012 for winning the Tour de France with a French rider.
At E3 2013, Sony unleashed a massive take that against Microsoft by basically saying the PlayStation 4 will not do any of the things Microsoft's Xbox One will do (required online connection, limits on used games, etc.).
The online posters that declared things such as, "Yes, we use your TV too...to play games." (a jab at Xbox One's E3 conference focusing on TV features)
And just to add insult to injury, the PlayStation 4 retails for $399, a hundred dollars less than Microsoft's console.
An early advertising campaign of the MMORPG Wonder King depicted human personifications named "WonderKing" and "Maple" dueling. The personification of "Wonder King" always wins the duel with "Maple" defeated.
After Zynga made a ripoff of Tiny Tower, Tiny Tower responded by adding an in-game quest called "Beware of Dog" (Zynga's logo is a bulldog), which involves ripping off another company's game. Even better, the icon for it is one of the in-game citizens in a devil costume.
PAYDAY 2 has an achievement called Fish A.I., which is a jab at the Call of Duty franchise that boasted having advanced A.I. for fish in one of their games.
Tails attends the Really Bad Plot Developer's Trade Show partially because he "might get to throw things at the Archie Comics people" (when the game was released, the comic was smack in the middle of its Dork Age).
Also at the convention, there's a sign saying "Meet the AoStH writers!"
In the release trailer for Scribblenauts Unmasked, one of the last scenes shows the Stephanie Brown iteration of Robin running down the villain Black Mask with a motorcycle, a take that to the former's horrible mistreatment in the Batman storyline, "War Games".
In DJMAX Portable, the song "Dreadnought" has a background animation depicting a national leader with George W. Bush's face (but with eyes censored out) as a power-tripping imperialist. When Pentavision released an "International" version of DJMAX Portablenote adds Japanese and English language options; the game is still Korean-region but the PSP is region-free anyway, "Dreadnought" was removed and replaced with another song.
The Image Song"It's Not Ero!" is about *Hyun-ae's relationship with the protagonist, and the very first lyrics insist that Hate Plus is no "ero story" with "smutty CGs".
The launch trailer for Cel Damage HD takes a shot at the online multiplayer phenomenon that has plagued console games since the late sixth-gen era. Watch it here.
A very amusing advertising campaign for Monster Hunter featured a ton of this:
Ironbeard: "Are ya kiddin' me!? I dunnae geddit. I mean, what's so "deadly" aboot a wee bit 'o' crab fishin'!? Are they trappin' giant sea beasties, with deadly, venomous fangs!? Or electric fire-breathin' creatures, with razor-blade claws!? NO! They're catchin' iddy, bitty crabbies! I mean, look at 'em! Pah! Be careful, ladies: one 'o' these things might give ya a might nasty pinch!"