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Addressing the Player

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"I'm collecting player's names for a school project. You know, players just like you! That's right, you—The one holding the controller."
Tony, asking the player's name in EarthBound (1994)

It's quite common for a video game to ask your name, if only to give a sensible title to your save file or to help you attempt to dethrone 'AAA' from the top high score slot. Sometimes it even allows you to name your blank-slate Heroic Mime, so all the pretty girls can moan your appellation through the love scenes.

However, some games are aware enough that they are games to actually ask your name and will be genuinely interested in the reply. They don't try to foist your name onto a pre-existing character. They don't file down your name and never use it again. They use your name to actually address you, involving you as a 'character', or they use it in a strange Metafictional way in order to involve you, discard you, scare you, or just confuse you. May cause the game to lose some emotional punch when the characters are begging "President sk8rnijna" not to take funds from their charity.

Note: This trope is not for generic messages directed to the player along the veins of "thank you for playing!" Those go into Thanking the Viewer.


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    Action Adventure 
  • Emogame addresses the player as a loser who has been baited to the center of all emo music to replay a scene from The Neverending Story and is insulted in the ending to "GO OUT AND DO SOMETHING YOU FAG!"
  • While The Legend of Zelda games are normally just straight examples of Hello, [Insert Name Here], The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass also has an element of this. As part of a Justified Tutorial about the touchscreen, you're asked to sign for a parcel. Much later on, this signature reappears unexpectedly.
  • Ōkami asks you to draw a symbol onto a mask you use as a disguise. Sometime later, this same symbol appears all over the walls of a town in trouble, implied to have become popular for a reason not explained.

    Adventure Game 
  • Douglas Adams's adventure game Bureaucracy has you fill in a form to the software company at the start of the game, setting the tone. The seemingly-irrelevant information it asks for (such as 'least favourite colour', 'last employer but one', and 'ex-boyfriend/girlfriend') are used as names of characters and descriptions of objects. The whole cluster is meshed into an ID number which is essential to solving some of the puzzles.
  • In Farnham Fables, hitting "P" on the title screen will let you create a profile file, which contains your name as well as which episodes you've completed. If you have a profile file loaded, instances where the narration addresses the player (usually as "dear viewer") will instead use your name, and a few interactions will be slightly altered depending on which episodes you've played.
  • Gibbous - A Cthulhu Adventure uses a downplayed version. Namely in that Kitteh follows the cursor around with her eyes as it moves across the screen.
  • In The Legend of Kyrandia III: Malcolm's Revenge, the player character is Malcolm, who was the Big Bad of the first game. Malcolm has been annoyed throughout the game by his good and evil shoulder angels, Gunther and Stewart, and he finally yells at the player about it. You must then decide whether he will keep Gunther, Stewart, or both.
    Malcolm: You! Out there! I think it's about time you started taking some responsibility. You decide which of these idiots I should keep and who should go. I'll accept your decision, whatever it is.
  • On Spy Island in Poptropica, the monitor in the headquarters has "Welcome, Agent/Director [last name]" displayed on it.
  • In STAY (2017), you are not a specific character; you are simply the person on the other end of Quinn's chat program. Lampshaded during the opening credits.
  • Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders has Zak do this once. Usually, attempting to pick up ungrabbable items will net the, "I can't pick that up" line. Try to pick up Mt. Rainier, however, and Zak will turn to face the player and address them directly.
    Zak: Get real!

    Beat Em Up 

    Fighting Game 
  • In Samurai Shodown, Iroha is a maid serving an unspecified master. Word of God has confirmed the player is her master. In the 2019 game, her story mode explicitly has the player (as her master) accompanying her on her journey, and she addresses you directly several times.

    First Person Shooter 
  • In Destiny 2, the Ahamkara are incredibly powerful and bizarre "dragons" who consume paracausal powers and can grant wishes, and are able to survive after death and whisper to those who wear their bones as armor. They gleefully whisper to their wearers, offering gifts and wishes in exchange for violence and destruction, and will offer their boons to anyone, and in one lore entry, they directly address the player, and implies that the player is their way to escape the prison that is the game world.
    Skull of Dire Ahamkara: "O BEARER MINE." What kind of talking skull would address its host that way? A stiff, stuck-up old fossil, not me. Ahamkara: the illusion that one's ego depends on an object, or an idea, or a body. Some people say you should have no ahamkara. Some people say you need to have the right ahamkara. All I know is that YOU are not an illusion. Understand? This world around you, the people you meet—they're a little thin, right? Cardboard and drywall. Cheap theater. Come on, try it out! Say: "I am more real than this." Feels good, doesn't it? "I am the only real person here." Isn't it like their insults and their bullets just went a little... soft? I came to find you, only you, because you're special. You're from somewhere real. And together we can burn our way back there. Can't we, o player mine?
  • In Deus Ex, you are asked for your real name, but all the game's characters refer to you by your Code Name of JC Denton. As you play the game, you can read newspapers which tell skewed versions of how you accomplished previous missions, while the evil conspiracy reveals your true name (the player's) and brands you a terrorist.
    • At the end of the game, when you find the cloning lab you were born in, the real name you entered will be used in the records you can access.
    • Throughout the game, characters who know you will refer to you on a first name basis in e-mails. Since these don't use your full name, this is actually fairly subtle.

    Light Gun Game 
  • In Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge, the main character usually only refers to you as "partner", but there's a code that allows the characters to address the player by a chosen name.

    Massively Multiplayer Online Game 
  • RuneScape even lampshades this in one quest, when the troll you're talking to says about your name that it's not the worst he's seen; some have numbers and stuff and things that aren't words at all. Some human NPCs also say similar things when the player tell them their name is weird. For most cases, the NPC refers to the player by their name, "adventurer", a region-specific honorific or a combination. For example, if you do a certain quest, the Fremenniks will call you by your Fremennik name, and attach the title "Spinewielder" if you wear skeletal armour.

    Party Game 
  • WarioWare:
    • WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$: The game asks for your name and sex, and uses it as the name of the prince/princess Kat and Ana have to rescue on their stage, and the name of the cab passenger on Dribble and Spitz's stage. Wario also addresses you by name in things like the stage select screen.
    • Series-wide: Some trivia style micro games also like to insert questions such as "Is X a male?" (where X is the player's name). Don't get confused if someone else created the current profile.

    Platform Game 
  • The caption for level 5 of Karoshi 2.0 is, to the surprise of many players, whatever they had in their clipboard at the time.
  • Klonoa:
    • Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil ends with a picture of a book and Klonoa's ring, along with the message "Good morning, (name of save file)." This is because the idea behind the Klonoa games are that they are meant to take place entirely in dreams, so the end is you "waking up" from the dream.
    • Klonoa: Door to Phantomile did it too. During the credits, the book's pages are turning back, showing pictures of events from the game, and then when it closes, it shows a close-up of the cover, with the player's name written underneath the logo.
  • The setup program for the PC release of Sonic Adventure DX (not the Steam release, the one released before that) includes a narration displayed during installation written as if Sonic himself was talking to the player.

    Puzzle Game 
  • In the Dark Tales series (which are puzzle and Hidden Object Game combos), no one calls you by whatever name you enter at the start of the game; they all call you "Detective," or in Dupin's case, "my friend." However, a few of the installments provide you with achievement certificates or letters which are addressed to you by that name. There are also a few installments which include newspaper articles about you and Dupin working on a case, and these identify you by name.
  • In the Professor Layton series, you are addressed as a personal friend of Luke's, to whom he's writing the letters which narrate the events of the game.
  • Unpacking: A strange case. The album used as a save file is an actual item in-universe, and since it has the name you entered that's presumably the protagonist's name, even though they clearly have their own identity.

    Racing Game 
  • DiRT 2 uses the name you tell it at the start to refer to you through the whole game, even in voiceover: The game has a wide selection of names by which the other racers can call you, and even if your name isn't on the list, you can choose a nickname too. It's also particularly impressive when the game gives you Boss Subtitles at the start of a race, telling that you are the racer who's most likely to win.

    Rail Shooter 
  • Zombie Raid has an odd example: You are asked to input a three-letter name before starting the game, which appears on a gravestone about a quarter of the way through the first level. Despite the protagonist being a detective called Edward Windsor, he reacts as if it were his grave and comments "No no, I can't be dead!" before a cannon-wielding zombie blows it up.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • In Patapon, after the Patapons ask your name, and you reveal it to them, they hail you as their god, and address you as 'Oh, Mighty [Player]!', begging for your help or attention.
  • The Stronghold series uses the entered name mostly just for profiles. However if you enter a common name, from a list of well over two hundred, when the game starts the voice of your scribe says "Greetings Lord/Lady [NAME]!". Entering the name "Lord Vader" results in an Easter Egg.

  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Darkness/Explorers of Sky, it's your name that shows Dusknoir that your character is Grovyle's old partner (along with your bizarre Dimensional Scream ability, of course).

    Role Playing Game 
  • Advance Wars: The original game does this as the advisor, but the concept was dropped in later installments.
  • Ancient Evil uses this for purposes of scariness. One room contains seven crosses, from which hang six decapitated corpses, with the heads piled in a corner. By each cross is a sign naming its occupant (e.g. Gutripper The Warrior.) The final, unoccupied cross bears the name you chose at the start of the game. (This is the game's only usage of Hello, [Insert Name Here]—it seems to be banking on the probability that you named your character after yourself.)
  • Baten Kaitos:
    • The original game uses your name (and gender) as the name of a "guardian spirit" which guides Kalas, who will (at times) turn directly to the camera and address you by name. Shame the voice acting has to leave a very noticeable gap where your name is.
    • The prequel, Baten Kaitos Origins, contains a different spirit, which is referred to as "he" regardless of which name you enter. Disconcerting, perhaps, for any female gamer, but unlike the first game, the spirit actually has a role in the plot besides simply telling the main character what to do. However, once you figure out exactly WHAT that role is, you may be less than glad about this.
  • Contact for the Nintendo DS is an RPG entirely built around this trope; the characters acknowledge the player as an entity from another dimension whom they are somehow able to communicate with, and who uses a computing device called a "Nintendo DS" to exert a mysterious influence over their world. The player is asked for his or her real name (and favourite food, and home town) when starting a new game, and remains a main character in the story from start to finish. It's turned on its ass by the end of the game, where the characters turn on you. All of them. Including all of the bad guys, and the character you've been playing for the whole game. The last thing you do is fight your character. You win, and your character declares that he hates you, and leaves.
  • The SFC remake of Dragon Quest III does this. At the beginning, it asks you for your real name (using Japanese only). It doesn't do anything with it until the credits, where it prints the player's name in Latin letters.
  • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade casts the player as the 'tactician', and the lords will face the screen to address you by name. Fire Emblem returns to this in Heroes of Light and Shadow, Awakening, Fates, and Three Houses, making the player one of the main characters and a member of the fighting army.
  • Mother:
    • In EarthBound Beginnings Ninten's father asks for the player's name on the phone in Snowman. Lloyd's father also asks for it in the middle of the swamp.
    • EarthBound (1994) had probably the most emotionally gut-wrenching version. They ask your name once in Toto, where Jeff's roommate Tony asks for it for a school project, and later in Tenda Village after they overcome their shyness. In the end, the characters must fight a boss invincible through standard means, which requires use of Paula's oft-overlooked Pray command. As Paula prays, she calls out to various characters the player met on their adventures, and, to finish the boss off, calls out to the player, and begs them to wish them success with all their heart.
    • The Japanese version (Mother 2) asks for the name in two ways, similar to Dragon Quest III. The first time, in Toto, the game asks for your name as it is written in English—only Latin characters are available. The second time, in Tenda Village, the game takes the Latin name previously inserted and attempts to convert it to Japanese writing—this can be modified by the player if it is incorrect. The Japanese name is used in the climax of the Final Boss battle (as explained before) and the English name is used at the end of the credits sequence.
    • Mother 3 also asks the player's name in two occasions, once in the Prayer Sanctuary near Tazmily and in the Clayman factory. At the very end of the game, the characters are relieved to notice that the player is okay after what seemed like an Apocalypse How and proceed to converse with him or her a bit. Mostly they thank you for helping out, but they also wonder what our world is like and ask that world to treat you kindly. Finally, they hope that they can meet you again soon. It's hard not to feel a little warm and fuzzy inside during this.
    • Mother: Cognitive Dissonance does this. A clerk at a Pigmask recruit station asks you, the player with your hands on the keyboard (who is looking surprised and then amused), your name. You are then talked to at the end of the game by Niiue, who muses that you look like an Earth person in the light and thanks you for your help telling Alinivar when to use PK Harmony.
  • NieR:
    • Whatever you decide to put in as your character's name is called out by a supporting character during a cutscene.
    • And in the end, In order to save your daughter Yonah, you must enter the name of the person she loves above all else. Take a wild guess. In addition, it's also the final confirmation the game asks you if you want to view ending D, which deletes all your save data.
  • In the indie RPG OFF, you the player are treated like an actual character, and many of the main characters talk to you directly. You can even turn on the protagonist and fight him as the Final Boss.
  • OneShot gives the player the role of a god. The player is tasked with guiding Niko, a lost child, through the game. Niko addresses the player directly. Throughout the game, the Entity, who wants to destroy the world, communicates with the player via both text boxes and files generated outside the game folder. The Entity also attempts to manipulate the player into leaving the world to die.
  • In Panzer Dragoon Saga, the player is actually a character in the story thought of as a god by many cast members. The ending has the characters address him directly and thank him for his help.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, when Mario and his companions have to take a ship to their next destination, one of the villains disguises himself as a member of the crew to follow him. At one point he pulls the camera aside to talk to you directly, saying that yes, his disguise may be glaringly obvious to you, but please don't rat him out to Mario, okay?
  • Stella Glow: Sense Data talks to the player in an unflattering way if the ending achieved is the Bittersweet Ending, as she feels that were certain actions and choices that could have led to a happier ending (referencing indirectly the secret Golden Ending). Fortunately, the game has a New Game Plus so the player can try to unlock it in the next playthrough.
  • Super Mario RPG uses your save slot name as a password. (To re-create a scene from the Donkey Kong Country promotional video, released around the same time, name your slot "Diddy".)
  • Occurs just once in Undertale, if you reload the game after seeing the Golden Ending. Flowey points out that, while the characters have all earned a happy ending, you still have the power of Save Scumming them back to the beginning. He uses the name you gave the Fallen Child at the beginning of the game, seemingly under the impression you're one and the same. You're not, but the only character who knows that is the Fallen Child themself, and they only tell you at the end of the Genocide route, so Flowey's mistake is understandable.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • The Element Dolls and Operator refer to the player as "Master" in DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou. Saya interacts with the player in the Xbox 360 Mode.
  • Max and Eshiria do this with the player in Raiden V, referring to the player as his callsign "Raiden".

    Simulation Game 
  • Animal Crossing gets you to "tell" Rover/Kapp'n your name when you first arrive by train/taxi/bus (It all depends on the version) and throughout the game, the villagers will always address you by name. Starting with Wild World, villagers will come up with a nickname later on, and eventually other villagers may start using that nickname.
  • At the start of Black & White, you're asked to input a profile name for your save. If you just happened to enter a name that's included in an internal list of common names, then the game will sometimes whisper that name to you throughout.
  • Harvest Moon 64 has one of these in the credits. While most Harvest Moon games only ask for a name for your character to give NPCs thing to address you by, 64 ends its credits with "And now, [player name], thank you very much."
  • Wonder Project J asks your name and entreats you to teach an android boy the fundamentals of life and humanity. Makes for a pretty nasty Player Punch if you don't do a good job: the young android will shout — using your name — that he hates you.

    Sports Game 
  • Overlapping with Thanking the Viewer, Punch-Out!! Wii has this when Little Mac retires after completing Mac's Last Stand. At the end of the credits, it shows "(name of Mii in save file) as Little Mac".

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Assassin's Creed II does this In-Universe. When Ezio enter the vault under the Vatican, Minerva begins to the explain things Ezio has no way of knowing about while barely acknowledging his presence. When he calls her out, she says she is not speaking to him, but through him. She turns to face directly at the camera and addresses Desmond (who is viewing Ezios memories in present day), leaving Ezio very confused and Desmond unnerved.
  • Metal Gear Solid: In the Twin Snakes remake, when Ocelot is explaining the "rules" of his torture "game" to Snake, he takes a moment to turn to the camera and speak directly to the player, warning them: "Don't even think about using autofire, or I'll know!"
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty uses it in a way that, depending on your interpretation, might be a deconstruction of the trope. Right at the beginning of the main story, the game asks for the player's name, sex, nationality, date of birth and blood type. Right at the end, Raiden reveals to Snake the dog tags he's been wearing ever since the Gainax Ending kicked off, and they have the player's details on them. He observes (when Snake asks) that he doesn't know the name, and throws the tags away. This might mean that since the game is over, Raiden refuses to be under your control anymore. While Raiden is playable once more in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, it's worth noting that Hideo Kojima intended to end the series with the second game. This part of the game was once the Trope Namer—"Anyone You Know", after Snake's question to Raiden as to the identity of the name on the tags.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain does this again but this time, it's Big Boss himself congratulating and thanking his "phantom," Venom Snake, for being an extension of his legend. Which also extends to the player.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • All the Element Dolls, as well as the Operator and Hina in DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou address you as "Master".
  • Spec Ops: The Line:
    • The game registers the name of the profile you are playing it on, and has that name listed as "Special Guest" in the opening credits.
    • In Chapter 8, after Walker and pals horrifically scorch a bunch of enemy soldiers and innocent civilians with white phosphorus, Lugo takes the opportunity to shout "This is your fault, goddammit!" But look closely at where he's pointing: He's not pointing at Walker, but rather past Walker and at the camera, basically blaming the player for this atrocity.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Daughter for Dessert,the prologue, introducing Amanda’s birth, Lainie’s death, and the start of your business are given in a beginning-of-game monologue. This gives you the chance to pick the protagonist's name, and also to use an alternate name for Amanda.
  • Digital: A Love Story will ask you for your real name and to choose an internet (well, FIDOnet) nickname. You will be addressed by your nickname for most of the game, but when Emilia is copied over to your computer, she will address you by your real name.
  • Doki Doki Literature Club! plays with this by having the game ask you for a name, using it consistently throughout most of your play, but later on when addressing the player directly (rather than the player's in-game avatar) it actually goes so far as to extract the player's username from either the OS or a running video streaming program.
  • In Melody, the bartender asks for MC's name at the beginning, prompting the player to enter his name.
  • To Heart 2 Another Days asks for your name when you start Ikuno's route (which is the only time in the game where you are not Takaki; it's essentially Manaka's scenario in To Heart 2 as seen from Ikuno's perspective) and uses it for one of her two endings, where she returns to the hospital and meets you there.

    Other Games 
  • Dead by Daylight:
    • K-pop-star-turned-serial-killer The Trickster, when loading into a pre-match lobby, will sometimes wink directly at the player. Whether he's thanking you for being an adoring fan or for giving him a chance to show off his skills is anybody's guess.
    • When selected, The Unknown will run right up to the camera and disappear under it... then give an extreme close up by swaying into frame with a Scare Chord. When it does this, it can say a number of things, from a simple "Hello." to "Why so nervous tonight?" to "You give me the creeps."
  • Starting off as the Bachelor in Pathologic, you talk to avatars of the game's developers who refer to you, the 'player', though at the time you can only respond as the character, who's bewildered as he's neither an actor nor a gambler. Doing well enough means getting an opportunity to meet "the people behind everything" (even harder than getting to meet the gods who made the world!), which means another conversation with the developers. This time you get to choose to talk to them as the character again, or as the player of the game.
  • Throughout the Rabbit Games series, images flash on screen of Percy trying to speak directly to the player.
  • When The Darkness Comes accesses your computer files and puts your name into the game to speak to you directly and increase the feelings of horror.

    Non-Video Game Examples 

    Real Life 
  • The E.T. Adventure ride at Universal Studios asks for your name at the beginning. At the end of the ride, after you've saved the Green Planet (well, after you've ridden through it and everything's better), E.T. says the names of all the riders. (If you've got a reasonably common name, that is. If your name is particularly unusual, a voice unit similar to what Stephen Hawking is used instead.)


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Anyone You Know


Cat Burglar Intro

Peanut informs the viewer at the start that this is an interactive short, encouraging them to have the remote, controller, phone or mouse ready when the questions pop up.

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