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Break Them By Talking / Video Games

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  • Baldur's Gate:
    • In the sequence of mysterious dreams in the first game, the sinister presence lurking behind the Player Character's soul makes itself known and tries to bend them to its will, sometimes in words but just as often in images. The last dream ends with the equivalent of a "World of Cardboard" Speech, where the protagonist recognises they can control their own fate.
    • In BG II: Shadows of Amn, there is a similar but less focused sequence of dreams where something that looks like the Big Bad lectures you.
    "Why do you stand for this!? Why do you submit to the flesh when death is bred in your bones?"
    • Turns out though that it isn't quite what it seems. By the point the lecturer is replaced by your sister you'll have figured out the origin...
      "What does an eternity of nothingness matter when you can defeat all your opponents as easily as one... two... three... four... FIVE!"
    • In BG II: Throne of Bhaal, this is done by some wraiths to both the protagonist and their possible love interest by taking the forms of their lost loved ones and making hurtful accusations. It's a ploy to make the victims break down and become easy prey.
  • Before the final battle in Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, Big Bad Mephistopheles does this to each of your party members in turn, turning them to his side unless you can talk them back out of it.
  • Planescape: Torment:
    • Ravel, a mid-way adversary, confronts any and all characters in the party with a (de)moralizing tirade about how their particular history of suffering, self-deception, and misdeeds have shaped them, noting that in the end it was these things that led them to follow the lead character on his quest, so ensnared in circumstances that the choice never truly was their own. Though she is promptly defeated after this, the things she alludes to usually cast the pasts of both the NPCs and the Player Character in a new (and usually less pretty) light.
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    • The Nameless One himself can use the technique on the resident Knight Templar, which convinces him to pass on as there's nothing worth holding on to in his unlife any longer.
    • Famously, the Player Character can do this to the Big Bad himself multiple ways: by explaining to him the answer to what is the Driving Question and Armor-Piercing Question of the game What can change the nature of a man?, by simply having a strong enough mind (high mental scores score), by manipulating him, or by knowing your name while he does not.
    • The previous Practical Incarnation does this literally to a member of the society Sign of One, who believe that only one's own self is real and the rest of the people are imaginary. The incarnation proves to the member that actually, he is the one who doesn't exist – making him speechless and vanishing him from existence.
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  • In World of Warcraft, as you progress through the questline to create Shadowmourne, a legendary weapon to match the The Lich King's own, he whispers to you about how you and he both harvest souls for your own ends, he too once sought a weapon of great power, how he commands powers beyond you, et cetera.
  • Archer in the visual novel Fate/stay night hammers Shirou. And considering Archer IS Shirou from the future, he knows exactly how to reduce him to complete Heroic BSoD.
    "You need to become a hero. That is your only emotion, and it's not even your own. You knew. Yes, but you kept that from yourself. I remember, it's not that you felt guilty for being the Sole Survivor. You just admired your Kiritsugu; he looked so happy when he saved you. But you went too far. It would have been fine to admire him. But he left you a curse. I don't even need to say it. That is everything for you. Your ideal is borrowed. You are only imitating what Kiritsugu wanted, what Kiritsugu thought was right. A superhero? Don't make me laugh. Over and over you said you wished to help people, but that's not even your wish. It's conceited to think you could help anyone! That's right! You admired his desire to save people because it was beautiful! But none of that feeling was your own! What else can you call that but hypocrisy!? Driven by your need to help someone, you don't notice how wrong you are! But it's all fake. You can't save anything. You don't even know what you wanted to save in the first place! That ideal is a failure. It's all fantasy. If you can only live holding on to that, drown in your ideals."
    • The worst part about Archer's speech is that, unlike the modified version above, halfway through it he starts to talk about himself, using "I" instead of "you."
  • Far Cry 3: Our protagonist, Jason Brody, accidentally landed on an island that turned out to be a pirate stronghold and his friends brothers were immediately kidnapped as hostages. Eventually, he's captured and their leader, Vaas, asks a simple question as Jason is waking up, "Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?" Vaas goes on a tangent about how insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, expecting different results. If you think about it, says Vaas, life is composed of little everyday moments of madness, like "a bunch of pricks doing the same thing over and over again expecting shit to change!" Yet for some reason, despite Vaas already having "killed" Jason, here he is about to kill him again, and it's not like Vaas is crazy. He then drops Jason into deep water weighed down with a cinderblock...and when Jason survives that, Vaas finds him again, and says one thing before simply shooting Jason in the chest. "Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?"
  • AM from I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream does this to his captives at the beginning of the game.
  • BlazBlue:
  • In Neo Contra, Master Contra does this to Bill Rizer in Stage 5 of the game as he reveals that he's the real Bill Rizer the whole time and that Bill Rizer is actually a clone of the original Bill Rizer. He also goes as far as to taunt Bill about remembering personal memories, as well as his memories being pieced together by a military database. This drives Bill into a brief Heroic BSoD until Mystery G pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to save Bill and Jaguar from being killed and tells Bill that he's the real Bill if he lives by the original Bill's ideals regardless of being a clone or not.
  • Several enemies in Kingdom of Loathing fight this way. They will tell the player character something so hurtful, disgusting, or frightening that it does physical damage. For instance, nearly all the normal enemies in a 2013 sidequest zone attack by pointing out the player's fears, like death, loneliness, and poverty.
  • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Sam and Monsoon attempt to do this to Raiden to prove he's Not So Different from them. They succeed, but not in a way they intended, as Raiden reawakens his "Jack the Ripper" personality and becomes far more bloodthirsty.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords Kreia uses these in conjunction with her mind invasion techniques to inflict this upon the Exile's companions, breaking them into his/her service.
  • Every single boss in American McGee's Alice. The tougher the boss, the more Mind Screw they pour on in the Boss Banter. Justified in that every boss represents a self-destructive component of her own psyche (the Jabberwock in particular is Alice's guilt over surviving the fire that killed her family).
  • In Devil Survivor, Kaido delivers a particularly blunt one to Keisuke if you don't prevent their confrontation. Then he kills him and follows this up by calling Atsuro out over his anger.
  • Malefor from The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon is able to make Spyro and Cynder doubt everything they've done in three games, though Cynder gets the worst of it. He makes her doubt herself to such a point he can retake her mind and turn her evil again, then continues to lecture Spyro as the poor guy is getting beaten down by his brainwashed girlfriend. Even though Sypro saves Cynder with the Power of Love, the shocker comes from the fact the fact we, and they, have no idea just how much of what Malefor said is true. His menacing Voice of the Legion also helps.
  • In Metal Gear Solid, many of the Foxhound members but in particular Liquid would enjoy lecturing Snake on how he is honestly no different than them, and how his superiors continually use him to further their own ends while screwing him over. Their speeches ultimately fail not because Snake figures out they're lying, but because he decides it ultimately doesn't matter: he has a mission, it's a good mission, and he's going to finish it. Their accusations come back to haunt him later in his life.
  • Eve from Parasite Eve really enjoyed giving these, usually combined with The Reason You Suck Speeches to Mind Screw Aya into either giving up or joining her.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations, Mia Fey delivers one of these to the possessing spirit of Dahlia Hawthorne, pointing out that every single Evil Plan she's made has resulted in failure and shame, including the one that she made from beyond the grave. The Fey/Wright clan has always been there to stop her and as a ghost she's doomed to eternal failure. This revelation horrifies her so much that it winds up exorcising Dahlia from Maya's body completely.
  • In case 3 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, Aristotle Means delivers one of these to Athena for thinking she could get her childhood friend Juniper Woods found innocent, calling Athena out as an amateur lawyer who doesn't have what it takes. Athena nearly gives in to despair until Juniper and her friends chime in to back up Athena.
  • In Persona 3, Takaya does this to the S.E.E.S. on several ocassions such as calling their endeavors to end the Dark Hour futile, and especially on Ken, who he mentions to that if the boy does not get his revenge now, Shinjiro will die sooner or later due to the side-effects of the latter's drugs.
  • The Shadow Archetypes in Persona 4 have this as part of their nature: As they are the anthropomorphic personifications of their originators' repressed feelings and fears, they will relentlessly hound their owners with the knowledge they are made of in an attempt to make their owners face up to their fears and accept them as part of themselves, becoming personas instead. Trying a Shut Up, Hannibal! on them is not a good idea.
    • The Big Bad does this too (see the series page), as does the Normal ending's Final Boss, but he gets Shut Up, Hannibal!'d so hard his persona reverts into a shadow and possesses him.
  • Mega Man Zero 4: The Ragnarok Colony Drop has gone completely out of control, and Zero thought he destroyed the one behind it all. Until:
    Dr. Weil: I told you... I can't die! No one can stop Ragnarok now.
    Zero: If I destroy Weil's core, the explosion will take Ragnarok out with it... If Ragnarok is blown apart, it no longer poses a threat!
    Dr. Weil: Are you even capable of it? The Reploid hero, protecting justice and humanity! I am one of those humans you have sworn to protect! Do you have it in you to defeat me?!
  • Happens three times in Tales of Vesperia. First, Phaeroh explains how Estelle's power is killing the world, that killing her, while morally wrong, is the only way to prevent it, and finding an alternative is pointless. Later on, Alexei details how the world has become an utter crapsack and that its only hope is to be "reborn" (under his totalitarian rule). Finally, at the end, Duke explains why sacrificing humanity is the only way to destroy the Adephagos, and also why he beieves humanity deserves to die for the various atrocities they've committed throughout history. All three times, Yuri tells the speaker to stow it.
  • Castlevania: Judgment: Aeon does this as part of his hyper attack. He's got one for every possible opponent, including himself.
    against Simon Belmont: Not even the storied Belmont clan can stand against the power of time.
    against Alucard: You, who bear a heavy cross: what does eternity hold for you?
    against Trevor Belmont: Even a man named "Legend" is but a babe in the face of time.
    against Grant Danasty: You live for the sake of others. Your tale will be passed down for eternity.
    against Sypha Belnades: No matter how powerful the magic you wield, you will never surpass time.
    against Eric Lacarde: Jealousy of the whip does not excuse your arrogance with the lance.
    against Maria Renard: You are fated to walk a difficult path. Enjoy yourself while you can.
    against Shanoa: You seek a dangerous power. It, too, is governed by time.
    against Carmilla: Your quest for eternal beauty is doomed. Nothing withstands time.
    against Cornell: Everything resolves in its own time, regardless of your desires.
    against the Golem: Even artificial life is subject to the laws of time.
    against Death: You govern the fate of Death, but even fate is a truth bound by time.
    against Dracula: Even the Lord of Darkness cannot escape time.
    against himself: Mimicking my form will not allow you to rule time.
  • In Xenosaga: Episode I, Virgil gives a brief one to Shion just before he detonates a group of Realians in an attempt to stop a Gnosis invasion:
    Shion: Stop it! You have no right to play god with their lives! Using them as bombs... I won't let you do this!
    Virgil: So whaddya gonna do about it? Tell me, why haven't you disabled that function? Sure it's factory-loaded, but you of all people shouldn't have any trouble removing it. Since you care about them so much, all it would take is a little tweak, and they’d be free as birds... And yet you don't. Why not?
    Shion: protocol dictate...
    Virgil: Exactly! It's protocol! In other words, you’re just like me, bound by that protocol. We're the ones that give them a reason to live. Am I wrong?!
    Shion: But I —
    Virgil: That’s the difference between us and them! Am I wrong?! So, why not give it to them? A meaning to their pitiful existence!
  • GLaDOS of Portal gives some pretty solid speeches through the course of both games, but they're usually so ridden with sarcasm and crazy that most players find them more funny than frightening.
    Do you know the biggest lesson I learned from what you did?
    You tested me. I tested you. You killed me. I —
    - oh, no, wait. I guess I haven't killed you. Yet.
    Food for thought.
    You've been wrong about every single thing you've ever done. Including this thing.
    You're not smart, you're not a doctor, you're not a scientist, you're not even a full time employee. Where did your life go so wrong?
    • Cut content of the second game has GLaDOS delivering some pretty devastating ones. It makes you wonder if they were cut simply for being too nasty compared to the generally humourous tone of the game.
  • Several of the patient interview tapes in the Batman: Arkham series count. The ones in the first game are largely the patients trying to break their therapists, while in the second game, they are mostly Doctor Hugo Strange trying to break the inmates.
  • Monokuma tries to do this frequently in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. "Shut Up, Hannibal!" is the typical response. The true identity behind Monokuma, Junko Enoshima, is a master of this, and will frequently add a Sadistic Choice, complete with an Awful Truth, to further break her victims.
  • Skyrim: the Stormcloaks are currently rebelling against the Imperials (which, despite their name, are not at all villainous) because it was forced by the Aldmeri Dominion to outlaw Talos worship after losing the Great War. Sybille Stentor, the Court Wizard of Solitude, delivers a magnificent one to the Dragonborn aimed at the Stormcloaks as a whole when asked why Skyrim's previous High King refused to support them.
    Sybille Stentor: Because the Dominion is a sleeping beast that Skyrim cannot slay alone. Because many Nords are part of the Imperial army even now. Because the food and resources we get from the Empire are important to our people. Because even if we can't openly worship him, Talos the god was once Tiber Septim the man, and this is his Empire.
    • While both factions have Grey and Grey Morality, the Stormcloaks generally come off as somewhat difficult to empathise with, especially if someone has come through Morrowind and Oblivion. After fighting for a unified Tamriel for the better part of four games, it can be more than a bit hard to side with a bunch of pretentious, racist Nords. Especially when the leader of the Stormcloaks is revealed to be a Manchurian Agent under Thalmor control.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, the Courier can do this to a captured Legionnaire if s/he has a high enough Speech skill.
    • In the original Fallout, the Vault Dweller can do this to the Master if s/he has proof that the Master's plan to replace humanity with mutants is doomed to failure.
  • In the "Bad" Ending of Thunder Force VI, a message from ORN Faust is played calling for Earth's surrender. It contains many parallels to Guardian's Last Message from V, albeit using bleaker analogies to make its points.
  • In Spec Ops: The Line: A rather brutal one is delivered to Captain Walker, and by extension the player by Colonel Konrad/Walker's subconcious
    Konrad: The truth, Walker, is that you're here because you wanted to feel like something you're not. A hero.
  • In the Mass Effect 2 DLC, "The Lair of the Shadow Broker", The Shadow Broker attempts to give one to Liara T'Soni, noting that he knows everything about her and she knows nothing about him, and is simply "fumbling in the dark". She turns it right back around on him, with some obscure facts about his species and educated guesses about him specifically, driving him into an epic Villainous Breakdown and Unstoppable Rage.
  • The Super Famicom JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has the 'Talk' as one of the main functions. When used, a character trash talks an enemy to lower its MP. Once the target's MP reaches 0, it faints. This works rather well if you don't want to figure out the Puzzle Bosses that you can't hurt physically, like Death 13.
  • A particularly devastating one hits at the end of the First Chapter of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky when Professor Alba/Weissmann the Faceless reveals himself to Joshua.
  • Freedom Planet: Brevon tries this on Lilac, pointing out that her headstrong attempts to thwart his plans have only succeeded in putting her friends in harm's way, and since his master plan is just to get off Avalice (sure, he's taking the Kingdom Stone, a major source of energy for Avalice, with him, but still) she's just ensuring that he stays on the planet longer and causes more damage. Torque eventually reminds her that Brevon is an intergalactic warlord, and even if he got off the planet, there's no guarantee his campaign of conquest wouldn't affect Avalice down the line.
  • The Flood Gravemind/Precursors of Halo take particular joy in this tactic. During the Forerunner-Flood War, their secondary tactic was delivering these to key Forerunner figures in galactic defense; a few excellent examples of such are noted in the "Literature" section.
  • In the backstory of Darkest Dungeon, this is how The Ancestor finally manages to get rid of a deranged, prophesying homeless man that somehow knew of nearly scheme and project he was plotting. After several failed murder attempts ranging from starving him out in a stockade, clamping ball-and-chains on him and leaving him to drown in the water, and multiple knife stabbings, he finally found success in luring him towards the excavation in progress of digging out the Hell Gate and personally telling him every detail of his plans, shredding the last of his sanity apart and driving him to tear his eyes out in maniacal panic.
  • In Bioshock, Frank Fontaine delivers several of these to Jack after The Reveal that Jack is just a Manchurian Agent he personally crafted to help him take over Rapture.
  • For City of Heroes We have Lord Recluse whose, intellect, wits and charisma are so potent he can frequently do more damage with a well worded speech so single sentence than the laser mounted spider talons grafted to his spine. Aside from winning over nearly every evil meta-human he has all of a minute to talk to he manages to utterly destroy the self-esteem and/or confidence of opponents like Manticore and Tyrant; If you are lucky like the former he will just make you second-guess yourself then strike while you are consumed with doubt, if he really wants to cut deep like he did to the latter though, he can and will send you into full mental-break-down mode.
  • Used by Miss Talmage in the Social Fu final boss battle of Black Closet. It can cause your student council party members to abandon you if their Loyalty stats aren't high enough. When she tries it on the player, though, you shrug it off pretty easily.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog CD: The Bad Future theme of Metallic Madness in the JP soundtrack attempts to do this to the player by featuring a robotic voice saying some demotivational words:
    "You can't do anything, so don't even try. Get some help. Don't do what Sonic does. ...Sonic, dead or alive, is m-m-mine!"note 

Example of: