Follow TV Tropes


Mad Libs Dialogue

Go To

"How - are - you - supposed - to - learn - when - the - words - are - spread - out - and - doesn't - sound - like - normal - speech?"

Mad Libs Dialogue is the practice of recording lines with certain parts missing (often numbers and names of people, places, or teams) and later filling them in appropriately with separate recordings. For example, a Madden NFL announcer may comment (with the bracketed words represent spliced-in dialog):

"The [Jets] are leading the [Bears] [fourteen] to [thirteen] here in the [third quarter]."

This allows the voice actor to just record one line and have the game put the pieces together as needed. It saves space and time, and it's necessary in situations where there are so many possible dialogue permutations that it's impractical to record every single one individually.

If it's done well, this effect is hardly noticeable. But if it's done poorly, you start to notice half-second delays, changes in voice tone and pitch, and possibly even instances where the program can't find the correct line and it spits out the wrong recording, a blank space, or an error message. The latter instance is often Played for Laughs in fiction.

Essentially the spoken version of Multiple Choice Form Letter or Hello, [Insert Name Here]. Unrelated to Mad Libs Catchphrase.


    open/close all folders 

  • An ad for tax resolution company BlueTax does this very blatantly with its phone number. This is because of the underlying marketing technique; they air the commercial during different time slots with different numbers for each one. That way, the execs can track which numbers get the most response and gauge the effectiveness of the advertising.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the English dub of Digimon, the Digimon call their names and attacks using this technique. It becomes obvious in an episode of Adventure 02, where Flamedramon uses his signature move, Fire Rocket, but instead of calling his attack, he says his name. ("Flamedramon! The fire of courage!")

    Audio Play 

    Live Action TV 
  • The Daily Show had a correspondent do this to describe the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006. Jon Stewart noticed that her report seemed like it was describing the much-earlier Yom Kippur War, and she replaces all the combatants, politicians, and dates with the current ones, showing that all the wars in the region are pretty much the same.
  • In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, Mike and the bots are so dissatisfied with the film that they call its customer service hotline. They get a pre-recorded message, where every mention of the film's name is obviously spliced in.
    "Thank you for calling the [Overdrawn at the Memory Bank] customer service center."
  • One episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers had Bulk and Skull doing a video project for class. However, Skull's inept editing skills resulted in Bulk "saying" Mad-Libs Dialogue like "I have no class" and "Mrs. Appleby can't teach", to the amusement of their classmates.
  • Parodied in a sketch on That Mitchell and Webb Look, where three billionaires attempt to give away prizes by phone, only to have everyone hang up on them because their voices all sound like pre-recorded announcements.
    Your telephone number has been specially selected in our [Wednesday] draw!
  • On Parks and Recreation, Leslie fakes this when trying to trick Andy into going to City Hall:
    Leslie: (imitating computer voice) Because of a local disaster, you, [Andy Dwyer], must go to the evacuation center at [Pawnee City Hall].
  • Parodied in The IT Crowd, when Jen calls up a different IT support call centre and mistakes the person who answers the phone for a recording.
  • Fonejacker has the flatline/ticketline calls, where the prankster imitates the stilted cadance (and unreliability) of voice-activated automatic telephone systems.
  • The People's Court has this in spades:
    "This is the plaintiff, (name of plaintiff, followed by a description of why he / she suing the defendant). He / she is suing for (x amount of money)."
    "This is the defendant, (name of defendant, followed by a description of why the defendant feels he / she shouldn't have to pay the lawsuit). He / she is accused of (pun related to what the defendant is being accused of).note 
  • The denouement of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer pretends to be Moviefone has the real Moviefone guy angrily banging on his door and shouting, "I know you're in there, [Cosmo!] [Kramer!] You're stealing [my job!]"

  • The intro of "Crack Hitler" of Faith No More is an example of the public transport stuttering effect (see "Real Life" below): "Flight-8-1-0-to-Miami-Now-boarding-gate-12..."

  • Disneyland Records:
    • The read-along book and record sets by them do this at the beginning of each of their books.note  This is the original intro:
    "This is a Disneyland original Little Long Playing Record, and I am your story reader. I am going to begin to read the story of [insert name of story here]. You can read along with me in your book. You will know it's time to turn the page, when Tinker Bell rings her little bells like this. (sound of "chimes ring" as described in the second version of the intronote ) Let's begin now."
    • For releases in the mid-late 1970s onward, this intro is used:
    "This is the story of [name of story]. You can read along with me in your book. You will know it is time to turn the page when you hear the chimes ring like this. (sound of chimes ring)note  Let's begin now."
    • For adaptations of the various Peanuts specials,note  a special intro is used:
    "Hi. I'm Charlie Brown. You can read along in your book as you listen to the story. You will know it is time to turn the page when you hear the chimes ring like this. (sound of chimes ring) And now we present [adaptation of Peanuts special]."
    • Some read-alongs used variations on the first two intros; especially the second intro (e.g., Roger Rabbitnote  calling it "the story, the yarn, the tale of Who Framed Roger Rabbit"), but these are the most common.

  • Done rather well in Bally's Eight Ball Deluxe, to call out the shots the player should make. The sequel, Eight Ball Champ, didn't pull it off as seamlessly.
  • Rudy in FunHouse (1990) talks like this, using a different nickname for each player.
  • Pat Lawlor's first game, Banzai Run, also this technique.
    "He's challenged [opponent name]!" (when you light a rival)
    "What a move on [opponent name]!" (when you defeat a rival)
  • In No Good Gofers (also by Pat Lawlor), Buzz will address each player by a different nickname.
    Buzz: "Hey, [name], don't choke!"
  • Gorgar was the first pinball game to use this technique, and he only had a seven word vocabulary:
    "GORGAR!" / "SPEAKS!" / "ME!" / "GOT!" / "YOU!" / "HURT!" / "BEAT!"
  • Done with some of Hardboiled Detective Nick Spade's dialog in WHO dunnit (1995), particularly during interrogations.
    Nick Spade: "Tell me more about [character name]."
  • Occurs in Stern Pinball's Harley Davidson with the announcements of the remaining distance to the next city.
    "[One hundred] [and] [fifty] [three] [miles to] [Pittsburgh]."
  • NBA Fastbreak does this whenever the announcer mentions the teams currently playing.
    "Today's game features [the Los Angeles Lakers] against [the Vancouver Grizzlies]!"
  • Junk Yard uses this whenever the player acquires a piece of junk.
    "Great! Now you need the [hair dryer]."
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (Jersey Jack) uses this during the Map Award animation, which depicts three separate wheels spinning to reveal the exact bonus:
    "[Add]... [one]... [ball]!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • The electronic board game Mall Madness does this. A typical example:
    "There is a sale at [the shoe store]."

  • Leap Frog's My Pal Scout and Violet plushes, Story Time Pad and LeapTop toy laptops have this function in addition to Hello, [Insert Name Here] in that the owner can also program their favorite food/fruit, color and animal into the toy via USB cable which will get integrated into some of the toy's speech and songs. Surprisingly, it worked pretty well.
    • V-Tech's clones of Leapfrog's toys, Smart Cubs Cody and Cora, also has the same capabilities, except that instead of into songs, V-Tech's toys tries to create mad-libs stories. However, the toys sound more mechanical and less well implemented than Leapfrog's attempt.
  • Some of Publication International's sound books do this, as the book may come with an interactive electronic module that plays games with the reader.
    Clifford the Big Red Dog telephone book: (emulating an answering machine) You have [two] new messages. Press [two] to hear your messages.

    Video Games 
  • Some military simulation games use this, with varying rates of success:
    • Flight sims such as Total Air War have aircrews using stock dialog spliced together, which has obvious gaps — but since the reports need to be stated clearly, it comes off as the airmen taking their time to ensure their message is clear and concise, and doesn't seem out of place. Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies also does this with AWACS SkyEye's combat dialogue ("[Rigley Air Base], [at vector] [3][6][0], [4 miles]").
    • Operation Flashpoint, on the other hand, didn't do so well ("OH NO! [Six] IS DOWN!") Somehow, the radio communications become even more robotic in the sequels, Armed Assault and ArmA 2. Scuttlebutt is that the developer had a falling out with the publisher after the first game and just didn't have the budget for "generic" combat lines.
    • Microsoft Flight Simulator uses Mad Libs Dialogue for air traffic control and pilot communications, but in Real Life these are so standardized and suited for this sort of thing that there's even an add-on called VoxATC that will recognize your spoken chatter if you deliver it in this manner.
    • Digital Combat Simulator has ATCs, and to a much lesser extent your WSO in the F-14, who have jarring changes in tone, inflection, and volume when talking. This is especially evident with the Russian and Chinese ATCs who sometimes sound like the quality of their microphones greatly degrades or improves with each new word.
  • The AFL video games are terrible at this. Any time a player's name or a stat is brought up, there is a distinct pause, and usually a change in tone of the commentator's voice.
  • Tonka Construction mostly avoids this, with only a few exceptions:
    Rusty: First, let's demolish the area. Then we'll—clear the site!—so the lot can be surveyed.
    Rusty: Next time, I'll let you talk to the—guys—your—self!
    Dirk: Nice job, young'un. Move—Tonka Air Support—back to the train and click to drop it off!
  • The original World Series Baseball for the Sega Genesis went to the absolute extreme with this — virtually every single word was spliced. "[Welcome] [to] [the] [game] [between] [the] [Dodgers] [and] [the] [Cubs]. [The] [Cubs] [take the field!]"
  • Beginning with at least the TurboGrafx CD system, some games for some CD-ROM based video game systems will have this message if someone tries to play them in a CD (i.e., audio-only) player:
    "Kore wa [video game system] you no game disc desu. 1 kyoku / track me ni, game no data ga haitteimasu no de, saisei shinai de kudasai.note 
  • Abomi Nation is a non-voiced example: As a Roguelike, dialogue is procedurally generated to drop your teammates names' in where appropriate. The specific teammate referenced is also randomly generated, which can lead to oddities such as Abomis mourning teammates they never met.
  • Some of the Barbie PC games suffer from constant use of this trope, seeing as Barbie says out your player's name with a voice clip of it in them. With the immense list of names that were recorded (around 50,000 of them in one game as the box claims), it likely made sense for the developers to only use one voice recording of it per name, which can lead to some... odd examples as she completely changes her tone of voice whenever she says your name. Here's an example from Lazy Game Reviews and Pushing Up Roses' playthrough of Detective Barbie in The Mystery of the Carnival Caper.
    "Clint! [LGR promptly yelps as PUR laughs]"
  • Borderlands:
    • The first game's "Zombie Island" DLC uses this in-universe for a computerized P.A. system, played heavily for laughs:
      "Thank you valuable Jakobs employee for your continuing patience during this transitional [Zombie Apocalypse]. Your satisfaction is very important to us."
    • In Borderlands 2 there's a set of collectible ECHO recordings found in the Bloodshot base, including two from amoral weapons dealer Marcus:
      "Dear [Roland] — I can’t help but notice the [Bloodshots] you are fighting pack some seeerious firepower. If you are going to have a chance against them, you’ll need to up your arsenal — you could always arm your men with some high-quality munitions from my store. If you buy from me, those [Bloodshots] will be dead in no time!"
      Followed a minute later by:
      "Dear [Bloodshots] I can’t help but notice the [Crimson Raiders] you are fighting pack some seeerious firepower. If you are going to have a chance against them, you’ll need to up your arsenal — you could always arm your men with some high-quality munitions from my store. If you buy from me, those [Crimson Raiders] will be dead in no time!"
  • Chrono Cross has a very interesting non-voice version. Because there are tons of characters, and many characters have their own VerbalTics, the side character dialogue was dynamically "tinkered" with for each character, allowing some to call the Silent Protagonist "Sergey", "Mister S", "Sir Serge", etc., and others to drop their g's, add a lisp, or speak all in capitals. Although this generally was pretty good, there were a few goofs where you might have two apostrophes in a row, for example, or a name that ended in two Y's, or a name that just didn't work with a Y at the end (Franco turning into "Francoy", for example).
  • City of Heroes has an occasional bug where a villain will say something to the effect of "You can't stop me, [HERO NAME]!" (where the character's name should be, but apparently someone messed up the namespace code). Invoked by players who literally name their characters "Hero Name". It's also done on purpose in some Nemesis missions to show how imperfect the Automatons are:
    "Manticore": "You think that hurt? [SARCASTIC COMMENT 304 NOT FOUND]"
  • In the Dark Souls series, this naturally emerges, given there are only so many phrases one can insert into in-game messages. Not that this has stopped creative players from leaving lewd phrases.
  • While Deltarune doesn't have spoken dialogue (for the most part), there are two characters in Chapter 2 who are commonly depicted with this trope in fan works:
    • Spamton G. Spamton has an Electronic Speech Impediment where he'll occasionally utter [Stock Advertising Phrases!] in square brackets. In voiced fan depictions, these phrases sound like they were pulled from ads and randomly inserted into his dialogue.
    • Queen Speaks With Every Word Capitalized And With Barely Any Punctuation So Because She Is A Computer (Smart): Some Voiced Depictions Will Have Her Pronounce Every Word As Its Own Sentence Thus Adhering To This Trope And Making Her Sound More Computer-Ish
  • In Elite Dangerous, station traffic controllers use mad libs dialogue to fill in the blanks much like in a flight simulator. Ship make, the first three letters of the player's name in the NATO phonetic alphabet, landing pad designation, and distance to landing all use the system. Thanks to concise voice overs and some minor radio static, it blends together well, and the different controller voice actors use noticeable differences in how they cut off the words; the neutral "American" voice is sharp, while the Russian accented controller has more flowing speech.
    Station control: Delacy Alfa-Bravo-Charlie, proceed to dock at landing pad 3-4.
  • Final Fantasy XI and XIV, being MMORPGs, give the players an optional version of this with their "auto-translate" features, a selection of a few hundred common words and phrases that, if viewed by a player in a different-language client, will be properly rendered in their language. Actually being in a cross-language situation is uncommon, and players end up mostly using it for lewd jokes.
  • Freelancer uses this one to generate the dialog of every non-storyline NPC. It causes a rather jarring effect if your computer is slow, as the cuts in the dialog are immediately evident. Sporadic bugs in the procedurally generated dialogue also led to somewhat comical hiccups when NPC ships would call themselves to beg for assistance or provide backup.
  • Arcade game Gauntlet used this heavily, with brief but noticeable pauses between audio snippets. It's the Trope Namer for Wizard Needs Food Badly, which would come out as "Wizard (beat) needs food (beat) badly!"
  • In Grand Theft Auto V, the police dispatcher when you get a wanted level talks like this, with lines like "Citizens report a stabbing near the summit of Mount Chiliad" or "Suspect last seen driving eastbound in a gray van".
  • Half-Life features Mad Libs Dialogue in several situations, such as the HEV Suit ("[Seek] [medical] [attention]"), the HECU soldiers' dialogue, and the Black Mesa PA system — the latter has a ton of words that are never even used in the game. The fan remake Black Mesa also uses this for the opening tram ride.
  • Humongous Entertainment relied on this non-stop. The Backyard Sports were easily the worst offenders ("From the 45...Pete...tees it up...Steve...back to receive...lands on the...24...collects it at the...32...finally brought down."). The older floppy disk versions of the DOS games relied on this much more due to the lack of space.
  • Hypnospace Outlaw: Counselor Ronnie's Totally Radical rap about not "shonking" (which is doing a fictional suppository drug), "Snub the Nub", has an alternate version named "Snub the Drug" with all mentions of shonking haphazardly replaced with general drugs, creating this effect.
    If you're a cool teen, d-d-don't insert a [drugs]!
    If your friend tells you to put [drugs] in your [mouth], don't do it! Don't-don't do it!
    And by the way... if you're not a [drug taker], nice one, man! (Yeah!) Stay safe out there.
    (Watch the [drugs], dude!)
  • Jen Taylor lends her voice to the Xbox Live version of 1 vs. 100, announcing how many of the mob is left and the answers the One chose. Unlike Chris Cashman, who does live announcing, Taylor's lines are prerecorded. It's typically done well, but it sometimes slips into "The One has eliminated [Eight] opponents. It's now One versus [Sixty] [Three]."
  • The Super Jeopardy! game on the NES contains this:
    Announcer: For [TWO] [hundred] points, the answer is...
  • Played for laughs in the VR game Job Simulator, which uses a mad-libs method similar to the Futurama entry below: the robot's dialog is smooth except when customization is necessary.
  • Used to a particularly jarring degree in the earliest Jump Start games from the mid '90s. The developers appear to have been banking on kids not noticing.
    • However, this is actually averted in 5th Grade - one of the games is literally Mad Libs. However, you have to pick words that make sense. Because Jo Hammet is literally reading their thoughts, the player must pick specific answers for Jo to determine what she is supposed to do to disarm the bomb. Further averted in that the words aren't read.
  • In LEGOLAND, when Mr Bimble gives you an appraisal for your park, he says, "You now have [insert number here] chances to pass an appraisal before the park is closed," as well as "You still need [insert things you still need]". This, coupled with the voice, can actually be quite funny.
  • In Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards, purchasing a condom will lead to a series of questions regarding condom preferences, repeated back to Larry by the store clerk for all to hear. Using the payphone leads to a phone survey with a series of questions. When the payphone calls back, a message is given with the answers the player typed in. Game Grumps provides an example.
  • An old edutainment game called Li'l Howie's Fun House (both the Great Math Adventure and the Great Word Adventure) had Mad Libs Dialogue that varies from being handled well to being painfully obvious. The game asks the player to give Howie their name and age; however, as the entire game is voiced, it's very easy to see how this can go wrong. Characters tend not to refer to you by name, but rather a pre-selected list of "really cool nicknames".
  • MLB Power Pros has a better version than most sports games. It has two different recordings for each player name and team name: a neutral sounding version when introducing the player or reacting to a negative play, and an excited sounding version when reacting to a positive play.
  • Sports video games like Madden NFL and the FIFA Soccer series do this to deal with the many possible permutations of any given match; interestingly, they do this doing their respective sports' real-life commentators. The FIFA series in particular shows how the progression goes; early games weren't counting on a Curb-Stomp Battle and wouldn't be able to handle a 10-0 score (John Motson might waffle on about an "exciting game" or say "I think we'll need a calculator," but that's it), but later games have a huge array of commentary options and can handle not only blowout scores, but also provide club- and player-specific storylines for most major teams around the world, and even condemn overly violent tackles and string together enough clichés that it's now a remarkable simulation of the real thing. It turns out to have all come down to disk space.
    • This also includes iRacing, where your spotter, in races where he's present, will communicate the locations of cars in close proximity to you if you can't see them in front.
  • Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 does this in spades. Example.
    [Mrs. Pac-Man] [is hit by] [the basin!]
  • Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64 does this when Mario is announcing the player names. For the characters imported from the GBC version, he says "Guest" in place of the actual names you give them.
  • Mass Effect 2 has an advertisement on the Citadel that includes the name of one of your current party members. If you bring Jack, the name will be "Citizen ID file not found".
  • The MechWarrior series has this to varying degrees in the voiceovers for the on-board computer. In MechWarrior 2, she speaks with noticeable gaps in her speech (Planet Twycross, ambient temperature 3 5 1 degrees). 3 and 4 have a much more human voice and drop most of the Mad Libs dialogue. Returns in Living Legends, where Betty has pauses when notifying the player on status "Base ECHO FIVE Under ATTACK" or "Right External DAMAGED"
  • Night Trap has mad libs dialogue every time the villains discuss changing the traps' control code from {old code} to {new code}. These scenes are very important for the player to catch, lest they lose control of the traps.
  • Averted by Theme Hospital, where the Announcer gets a separate line of speech for every single announcement in the game with no Mad Libs, even when you might reasonably expect them (for example, the emergencies have a separate "staff announcement" for each disease). This makes the speech seem a lot more natural.
  • Used as a game mechanic in Oh...Sir!! The Insult Simulator, where the point of the game is to string together insults from a pool of random phrases.
    "[Your mother] [admires pictures of] [a frightened school boy] [and] [supports] [the communists] [you twit!]"
  • In The Oregon Trail II, there's a glitch where the diary will sometimes say "[name] [have/has] an infection."
  • In the PaRappa the Rapper games, you are encouraged to "freestyle" lines in the songs to get more points. Because of the way the lines are cut apart so that each word corresponds to a button press, attempting to "freestyle" often leads to this trope. In fact, simply playing the game as intended can sound like this trope. The sequel does a better job at masking the spliced lines when playing the game normally.
  • The PlayStation 2 game Lets Make A Soccer Team doesn't do this very well; Alan Green will call a goal with a flat recording of the player's name (or more commonly, his shirt number) followed by "DELIVERING AN ''AWESOME'' SHOT!" You'll also hear this at least twice per match:
    Alan Green: [The current time is] [X] [minutes] [gone]. [Team's hometown] [are playing well, but they're not creating enough chances].
  • In the third and fourth generation Pokémon games, there was an "Easy Chat System" that let players communicate by selecting a string of phrases and words from a list, probably to allow for multiplayer chatting without the potential for profanity. Even if the player never engages with it for that purpose, they'll still encounter it by way of NPC Trainer dialogue at the Battle Frontier. And naturally, sentences put together in this manner end up looking really awkward. It's best seen in Emerald's Battle Frontier, where every opponent speaks like this, resulting in bizarre lines like "POUND THE THICK FAT ON MY BELLY DRUM!" or "I AM GOING TO ENJOY AN EGG." Later generations still have a few trainers shout out similar inanity as a nod to the old system.
  • Done by the announcers in the Pokémon Stadium series, especially in Battle Revolution.note 
  • Poker Night at the Inventory has to do this to describe the hands at every showdown. Poker Night 2 resolved this by making GLaDOS the dealer, so they don't even have to bother making that dialogue sound seamless because it's a robot whose dialogue always sounds stilted and stitched-together:
    GLaDOS: The little robot has [a pair of fiiives]. The player has [two pair]. The player takes the pot.
  • Portal and Portal 2 both parody the phenomenon. Most often, it's malevolent AI GLaDOS, who usually finds new and eloquent ways to insult you but occasionally forgets critical information and pronounces a placeholder such as "subject name here." Per Rule of Funny, even the generic placeholder lines are recorded in a jarring overly-robotic monotone, making them extremely obvious:
    GLaDOS: Unbelievable! You, [subject name here], must be the pride of [subject hometown here]!
  • Postal 2 has a noticeable case of this for shopkeepers. Whenever you go up to someone to buy something (or for some errands, paying a late fee for a book or paying a ticket), they will say something along the lines of "That will be [five] dollars." NPCs have multiple dialogues for numbers depending on the pricing, most of the time not feeling natural, particularly in a complete inability to say both digits of a two-digit number correctly (e.g. "that will be [twenty] [uh] dollars" for something that costs 25).
  • Psychonauts: When you are not talking to Boyd, he rambles on about connections to his conspiracy theory. It's done very well and most people have to listen for a while before they figure out it's a bunch of quotes randomly strung together, especially since the splices are almost completely unnoticeable due to his insane mannerisms. It's also displayed in the tutorial with Vernon Tripe, who will go on a long, boring tangent about his dog forever if you stand by and wait.
  • Punch-Out!! has an accidental example in Super Macho Man. He calls his attacks with Surfer Dude lingo, but only finishes the phrase if they connect. If he misses, the phrase is interrupted with his disappointed interjection. Popular phrases resulting from this include "Release the... Bogus." and "Crunch... Dude?"
  • Used a couple of times in Ratchet & Clank:
    • In Ratchet & Clank (2002), Qwark congratulating the winner of the Blackwater Hoverboard race is this. Despite personally being in the city, Qwark's dialogue has the winner read out in an automated voice.note 
      "[Hi folks, Captain Qwark here! It is my distinct honour to welcome your Hoverboard Intergalactic Champions! Lets give it up for-] [Ratchet. And. Clank.]"
    • In Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, this is how the "Galactic Greeting" balloons work, with the sender's recording being spliced into a pre-recorded message. The amusing part is that the sender is clearly frustrated at this process in their clips:
      "[Hello] [Ratchet and Clank], [you lucky devils], [Angela Cross...] [has sent you a galactic greeting!]"
  • Resident Evil: Outbreak has a button dedicated to "ad-libs", a quick comment which either characterizes the person briefly, or (supposedly) aligns with the context of the situation at hand. There's also the option to use the right analog stick to spout more consistent phrases, such as character names or instructions.
  • Parodied in Satisfactory, where loitering around a special collectible item will trigger several different phrases from your AI assistant ADA compelling you to gather the item, one of them being supposedly a botched attempt at doing so by manipulating your character's feelings:
    Relaying message: "Hello, this is {% MATERNAL_FIGURE %}. I have taken ill and need your help to find a cure. Doctors say that the only remedy is alien artifacts."
  • Used in Sewer Shark for Catfish the nav-bot's directions.
    Catfish: Catfish to Ghost, the dang thing bit me! Vector [twelve] [three] [niner].
  • The Soul Series has historically done a good job with this, although there have been some hiccups. Marathon modes would have trouble when you started reaching numbers higher than twenty and the game wouldn't give itself enough time to say the number ("[Round] [Twenty-F][FIGHT!]"), Soul Calibur III randomly sped up the announcer ("[ASTAROT-][VERSU-][TALIM][FIGHT!]"), and Soul Calibur IV didn't have the budget for this, so it just recorded a handful of Captain Obvious lines to use in any situation.
  • Lampshaded in South Park: The Fractured but Whole, where after the side quest "Touch The Sky" you'll be accosted by the Rednecks, and one of them will list out all of the options you have chosen for your character sheet in a comically stiff manner.
    Skeeter: Well well well, look what we've got here.
    Cletus: We've got ourselves a [GENDER], [SEXUALITY], [RACE], [ETHNICITY], [ALIGNMENT], [RELIGION].
    Skeeter: Dang Cletus, why you talkin' like that?
    Cletus: (whispers) Dialogue tree.
  • The two video game adaptations of Space Hulk have this in virtually every line of dialogue. Because there were a small pool of voice actors and the lines were semi-randomly generated to reflect various events in game, you had obviously spliced lines with objects and marine names, some parts in a quiet and grim manner, some in a bombastic delivery and even some in a different voice. This lead to gems like this:
    "*Crackle* [Akhad.] [GET OUT OF MY WAY!] [I cannot see the] [ARCHIVED RECORD VIEWER!]"
  • The first two SSX games use this technique for Rahzel reading out the tricks. It's especially impressive in SSX Tricky where he reads out the trick in full, including Frontside/Backside, the rotation amount, the TYPE of rotation (Misty/Rodeo), if you pulled two Grabs/Ubers in the trick or not, and more.
  • The PC game Stay Tooned! contains a Mortal Kombat parody in which an announcer yells the names of the characters fighting:
    Announcer: [Tai Chi Chisel] [Versus] [Kung Fu Frank] [(Evil Laugh)]
  • As mentioned in the page quote above, the Mario's Early Years series suffers from quite heavy use of this trope, and it's not even done well. It's used for literally every single line of dialogue in the game, as for some inexplicable reason, the developers decided to record the lines from the main voice actor (who sounds like a child) into separate words, leading to a lot of issues. Not only are the tones of each word different, each one sounds like it's going to end the sentence, and you can blatantly tell where the words stop and are then spliced together. This means that the game spews out sentences like "Let's- Go! To? Alphabet! World.", "What. Animal! Makes. This! Sound?" and "You? Picked. The! One. That! Is? X. It. Is? The! Opposite! Of? Y."
  • Used in Super Smash Bros., particularly in Classic Mode where the announcer tells the player who they'll be fighting next. However, the splicing is quite obvious in some places, as the Large-Ham Announcer has a single inflection for every character, and they don't always match up well ("[Luigi?] [versus] [Metaaall] [ZERO SUIT SAMUS]"). Melee has 2-on-2 Classic Mode matches where the announcer throws in a very emphatic "AAAND" that seems out of place everywhere ("[versus] [Jigglypuff!] [AAAND] [Mewtwo!]")
  • Tales of Symphonia has another non-voice use. At the colosseum, the announcer will refer to you as "[contestant] the '[title]'!". This works flawlessly in almost all cases, with the notable exception of "Lloyd the 'Aargh Me Hearties'!"
  • Deliberately invoked in Thief II: The Metal Age, where the steampunk guard robots' lines are stitched together from a set of pre-recorded phrases.
  • Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side slips into this with your name, particularly in the DS remakes. Each possible name pronunciation (selected from several common Japanese names) is pre-recorded by the guys' voice actors, then spliced into conversation. Unfortunately, each name was only recorded once, and it's in a fairly normal, flat voice, meaning that everything from a melancholic mumble to a motormouth rant to a Love Confession is appended with an emotionless tag at the end.
  • Wave Race 64 does this under two circumstances:
    • The track introductions...
      "Welcome to [track name]."
    • ...and the occasional notification how much of a time gap is between the player and an opponent after each lap.
      "You're about [number] seconds [ahead/behind]."
  • Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego Deluxe features Warren the Warrant Robot. He helps you with issuing warrants and always talks in Mad Libs Dialogue.
  • The Adventure Game version of Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? (1997)? features a level in the ancient Incan empire, where a man reads off numbers from a type of counting board. The numbers are constructed out of Mad Libs, but the correct answers to the puzzles have separate voice recordings, so it always sounds right.
  • WWE Crush Hour, a Vehicular Combat game sponsored by the WWE, is notorious for having horrible Mad-Libs Dialogue from Jim Ross. The most famous piece is his emphasis on "THE TWISTY ROCKETS!"
  • Many WWE wrestling games use this. The most egregious example is the infamously bad commentary of Smackdown! Just Bring It, which featured Michael Cole saying things like ''This [Singles] match will be an important match!" and "[The Undertaker] executes a perfect [The Last Ride]!".
  • In the X-Men (1992) arcade game, much of Magneto's dialogue (aside from the infamous "Welcome... to die!") seems to be spliced together even when it doesn't need to be, such as "[I] [KILL you!] [X-Chicken!]" and "You are [DEAD!]" Most of his catchphrases can be summed up in this video.
  • The X-Universe games create voice dialogue on the fly for virtually all the spaceships. It's always noticeable, unfortunately, because whoever spoke the lines gave the wrong intonations for many of the words, so a sentence sounds like it's over when it's not, and words at the end of the sentence sometimes sound like they indicate the sentence isn't finished yet. X: Rebirth drops the system entirely.
    Player: Where is the nearest shipyard?
    Random Teladi: Somewhere far behind the [NORTH GATE]. Good profit!
  • You Don't Know Jack uses Mad Libs Dialogue for most of its hosts' speech, especially for things like rules spiels or references to the players' standings.

    Web Original 
  • Musician George Hrab parodied this trope in his video produced for the Atheist Community of Topeka.
  • Technology Connections: In "The VHS cassette was more clever than Beta", Alec dubs in the exact measurements of how much more tape the Betamax tape transport mechanism uses than VHS. The captions even say the numbers are obviously dubbed in.
    Alec: The beta machine needs [12] more inches of tape. That's about [30] centimeters.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied on Futurama in the episode "I Dated a Robot", when Fry downloads a copy of Lucy Liu into a robot body. The robot's dialog is smooth, except when customization is necessary. This gets played with near the end of the episode, when the Liu-bot performs a heroic sacrifice, and starts speaking a little more naturally... for a moment.
    "You are one sexy man, [PHILIP J. FRY]."
    "It's amazing the way you [NOTICED TWO THINGS]."
    "Oh [FRY], I love you more than the moon, and the stars, and the [POETIC IMAGE NUMBER 37 NOT FOUND]."
    "You should write a book, [FRY]. People need to know about the [CAN EAT MORE]."
    "I'll always remember you, Fry — [MEMORY DELETED]."
  • The South Park episode "The Return of Chef" featured Chef in spite of his voice actor Isaac Hayes having left the show. All of Chef's dialogue was spliced together from older episodes, and it all sounded really weird. Interestingly, this was deliberate; it was spliced poorly (and hilariously) to show that he was brainwashed, and it was spliced together well when he was snapped out of it.
    "I wanna [MAKE LOVE] [TOo] [ya] [AASSholes] [chil'ren]!"
  • The Simpsons loves to parody this trope:
    • From the stock corporate video shown at camp in "Kamp Krusty":
      Krusty: Krusty can't be here right now, so allow me to introduce you to my friend, [Mister Black.] I want you to treat [Mister Black.] with the same respect you'd give me. Now here's [Mister Black.]
    • From "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson":
      Voice: Thank you for calling the parking violations bureau. To plead not guilty, press one now. (Homer dials 1) Thank you. Your plea has been [rejected.] You will be assessed the full fine plus a small [large lateness fee.] Please wait by your vehicle between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. for parking officer Steve [Grabowski.]
    • In "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday", Homer and Moe discuss the upcoming Super Bowl, but they use Mad Libs Dialogue (while obscuring their mouths with beer mugs and clearly using different recordings), ostensibly so that they could record over the original dialogue and always keep the episode topical. But since it's a gag, they never did that, so the episode is stuck in 1999:
      Homer: Hey, Moe, you wanna come with me and Wally to the Super Bowl?
      Moe: Oh, absolutely! My favorite team's in it! The [Atlanta Falcons].
      Homer: Yeah, they're good, but I wouldn't count out the [Denver Broncos].
      Wally: Yeah, I hear that President [Clinton] is gonna be watching with his wife [Hillary].note 
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Karate Island", when SpongeBob receives the tape inviting him to said island, SpongeBob's name is very clearly spliced in, and read out in a completely different voice to the rest of the narration. It's one of many clues that the whole thing is a scam, but SpongeBob doesn't notice.
  • One episode of Steven Universe starts with the title character being given a magic mirror that is allegedly broken. It's intended function is to answer any question that gets asked, and it does this by repeating clips of things that were already said and mashing them into sentences. It turns out that it's really Lapis Lazuli talking to Steven through the mirror...
  • On The Venture Brothers, the Guild of Calamitous Intent's video invite to Dr. Orpheus does this in hilariously inept fashion: Watch and Ward are reading a scripted skit "personalized" by periodically inserting the recipient's name — by means of awkward pauses where an obviously different speaker announces "Dr. Orpheus and team" in a polite monotone while Watch and Ward cover their mouths with their hands to hide lip movements (or the lack thereof).
  • In WALL•E, when the recording of Shelby Forthright gives instructions on how to return the Axiom to Earth, the ship's name appears to have been dubbed in, suggesting the message was made for other ships in the BnL fleet as well.

    Real Life 
  • GPS programs do this with their voices:
    "[After] [two hundred] [meters] [turn] [right]. [Go straight] [for] [three] [miles]."
  • It's a traditional part of the waiting room at the DMV ("[Now serving] [number] [B] [eighty] [four] [at window number] [ten]").
  • Automated phone systems do this; the voice speaks in sentences strung together from a bank of pre-recorded phrases, which often leads to unusual grammar and intonation. Some companies have tried to more accurately simulate human speech, only to slam straight into the Uncanny Valley.
  • Answering machines tend to do this, especially when listing phone numbers, times, and dates ("[Sunday] [Two] [Oh] [Eight] [P.M.]"). Their Spiritual Successors voicemail do this as well with the traditional "You have [one] new message."
  • The self-service checkout at the grocery store will often do this when talking to you ("You have purchased [six] [doughnuts] for a total of [three] [dollars] [...And 99¢]. Please move your [doughnuts] to the belt.")
  • Public transport tends to do this routinely. If you're waiting for a train or a plane, rather than have a live announcer handle everything that's going on, it's much easier to have a computer which can put together every permutation of departure time, departure platform/gate, service type, and destination — in multiple languages, no less. These tend to be unintentionally hilarious, as they sound universally obvious and awkward (with every individual entry sounding like it should end the sentence), and their banks of rarely-heard entries all sounding the same (you'd half expect to hear "[Train service to] [Yokohama] [suspended] [because of] [Kaiju attack] [We apologize for the inconvenience.]") Announcements like this on trains themselves have the additional wrinkle of being hard to hear over the train noise and, in big cities, the Long List of possible connections you can make at the next station.
  • Air traffic control often sounds like this with real people, at least partly because they have to be very sure everyone is understood and often deal with people for whom English isn't their first language (hence the strict standardization of terminology). This is why flight simulation games tend to be more realistic in spite of using Mad Libs Dialogue to replicate this. And computerized dialogue does happen in real life when broadcasting ATIS (Automatic Terminal Information Service) to pilots (e.g. [La Guardia Airport] [Information] [Alpha], [main landing runway] [31], [transition level] [50], [visibility] [13] [kilometers], [temperature] [23], [end of information] [Alpha].")


Video Example(s):


Mad Libs Gravestone

Mad Libs Dialogue because it's literally a game of Mad Libs

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / MadLibsDialogue

Media sources: