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Speech-Centric Work

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"It's like a lot of films one sees today, not that I see very many, but to me they are what I call 'photographs of people talking'."

Virtually all works in most narrative artistic media will feature at least some amount of talking at some point. Generally, in a plot-driven story the dialogue tends to be secondary to the plot, themes, setting etc. while subtly adding to all.

And then there are these, works in which dialogue and speech predominate. A typical scene in works like this consists of two or more characters talking to each other (or sometimes one character speaking by themself, as in the case of one-man theatrical works).

Works like this tend to be based heavily around the Seinfeldian Conversation. If the writer of the work turns to this trope because the writer in question finds they have a facility for writing witty, amusing dialogue, the work is likely to turn into a World of Snark. Genres in which this trope is particularly common include the Courtroom Drama or Slice of Life works. Science fiction authors, even Grandmasters, can have extended sequences where the plot ceases forward movement and two characters discuss weighty topics such as philosophy or history.

At what point does a work qualify for this trope? Difficult to say, and varies with the medium: a play is usually expected to have much more dialogue than a film, for example (except in more experimental theatre). As a rule of thumb, if a typical scene in the work in question consists of not much happening aside from one or more characters speaking, it's probably this trope. That is to say, a significant majority of the work consists of speech of some kind.

Note that, as with all tropes, this is not a bad thing. Works which place a premium on dialogue can often have a much more naturalistic vibe than works in which dialogue is secondary, and end up with better developed characters. On the other hand, when executed poorly these works can end up feeling slow and draggy. The more dialogue, the higher the probability of unintentionally silly situations like Talking Is a Free Action or Narrating the Obvious. In film, it's sometimes seen as a faux pas for the plot to be driven forward almost entirely by spoken exposition—see Show, Don't Tell. In visual media with text (such as comic books or webcomics), writers may run the risk of creating a Wall of Text.

See also all of the various Dialogue tropes. Closely related to Talking Heads. See also Character Filibuster for when a single character talks for an extended period of time. Compare Script Fic, Log Fic and Featureless Plane of Disembodied Dialogue (a conversation taking place in an apparent vacuum), unusually dialogue-heavy sub-genres of Fan Fic. Narrating the Obvious and Talking Is a Free Action are examples of when too much dialogue breaks a viewer's Willing Suspension of Disbelief. Works using this trope are particularly prone to Metafiction, especially The Power of Language.

Contrast Silence Is Golden, No-Dialogue Episode, and Mime and Music-Only Cartoon.


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    Creators with a fondness for this trope 
  • Éric Rohmer's films are known for being highly dialogue driven. He has said that he is not concerned with what people do, but what they are thinking when they do it.
  • Aaron Sorkin (to the extent that the rapid-fire dialogue that is his trademark is often referred to as "Sorkinese"):
    • The West Wing. Each season has an overarching Story Arc, albeit with a sufficiently episodic structure to avoid alienating new viewers. The plot of each episode will generally be entirely driven by dialogue, coupled with conversations between staff members about social and political issues. This series helped to popularize the Walk and Talk technique, a tracking shot which consists of characters walking from one place to another while providing rapid-fire exposition.
    • The Social Network. The film revolves around the founding of Facebook. Most of the running time consists of snarky dialogue between the principal characters, with a Framing Device providing additional dialogue (and sometimes narration). There was so much dialogue in the screenplay, in fact, that director David Fincher ordered the actors to speak much faster than they would ordinarily in order to trim down the running time.
    • Steve Jobs is very similar to The Social Network, as it is also a dialogue-driven biopic about influential people in the tech industry. Just about every scene consists solely of rapid-fire dialogue between characters.
  • Kevin Smith: He's even mocked his fondness for Seinfeldian Conversation, claiming that if he ever did a superhero movie it would be about two guys talking and the action scenes would consist of the heroes walking offscreen to kick ass while the camera remained still before they returned to finish their conversation.
    • The Clerks movies: The bulk of the films consist of Dante and Randal talking about nothing in particular. Jay and Silent Bob, various customers and other assorted characters filter in and out, but there's very little in the way of physical action. This is to less of an extent in Clerks 2 (which even includes a choreographed dance scene), but it is still largely dialogue driven.
    • Mallrats. Brodie and T.S. wander around a mall for a day. There is a plot, and various other characters appear, but that's the main thrust of the film.
    • Chasing Amy. More plot-driven than either of the previous, focussed on the romantic relationship between Holden and Alyssa. There is still abundant dialogue, allowing for development of the two leads (and Holden's partner Banky) and Seinfeldian Conversations about love, romance and sexuality.
    • Even the more overtly whacky Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is primarily dialogue-driven.
  • Quentin Tarantino's films contain a great amount of conversation, occasionally intercut with brief moments of shocking violence. There's a reason his films are sometimes nicknamed "talkies".
    • Pulp Fiction, like many of his films, consists primarily of Seinfeldian Conversations interspersed with sudden blasts of shocking violence. Roger Ebert went so far as to say the film would work equally well as a radio drama.
    • Inglourious Basterds starts with talk, continues with talk, and ends with talk, so much that the usual Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene balance is reversed. Indeed, the action scenes are brutal but brief, and many of the conversations are about insignificant topics, instead serving to increase the suspense as the person being spoken to slowly realizes that they're doomed. Notable examples include Hans Landa's speech about how he's learned to hunt Jews, or the conversation at a bar where Allied spies struggle with a Gestapo officer who has chosen to sit with them.
    • Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino's first directorial film, focuses on a group of criminals dealing with the fallout of a botched heist. The narrative hops between scenes before and after the heist, but never actually shows the heist in question (save for a few bits and pieces of the characters' escapes.) The movie is left with a conversation-focused plot.
    • Death Proof: Besides the two driving scenes, the film is almost entirely talking. This was intended as part of its pastiche of grindhouse films, which were often very talky due to low budgets.
    • The Hateful Eight is similar to Inglorious Basterds, in that the movie consists almost entirely of the "Hateful Eight" being suspicious of each other in a claustrophobic cabin in a snow storm, and brief moments of brutal violence.
  • Richard Linklater:
    • Slacker follows a series of conversations, never for more than a few minutes at a time, by assorted, mostly unnamed misfits in Austin, Texas, as they talk about conspiracy theories, terrorism, unemployment, and their own feelings of being excluded.
    • Before Sunrise. Two characters, Jesse and Celine, wander around Vienna, chatting about nothing in particular and slowly getting to know each other. The sequel Before Sunset, released 9 years later, continues the trend and moves the setting to Paris, where the duo reunites and catches up - fittingly, nine years later. Nine years after that (in 2012) a third movie was released, Before Midnight, which does it again.
    • Waking Life. A disjointed series of conversations between various characters (most of whom are unnamed) about topics encompassing philosophy, psychology, consciousness and ethics.
  • Williams Street, [adult swim] own in-house production studio, is known for this style, due to the No Budget Limited Animation, many of the original comedy animated series, mainly from the early years, relied more on witty writing, especially in the case of Space Ghost Coast to Coast or Sealab2021, which used mostly redubbed footage, or made only small alterations (often in the case of the latter, adding in Stock Footage explosions or adding in blood and violence. Later shows, such as The Venture Bros., Metalocalypse and Superjail!, are much more fluid and dynamic (and especially bloodier), due to larger budgets.
  • Christopher Nolan uses this a lot:
    • Memento. At its core a Psychological Thriller, it is nevertheless driven forward primarily by dialogue. Roughly half of the film, for example, consists of the protagonist sitting in a hotel room providing an unidentified character with Backstory (accompanied by grayscale flashbacks) over the phone.
    • Inception was considered notable in that the film's Expospeak goes on for almost the entire duration of the film.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Death Note consists primarily of dialogue and mind games between Chessmasters. And death.
  • .hack//SIGN became rather infamous for its heavy use of dialogue (there are episodes where literally nothing happens except characters meeting and talking about things) upon release. Fan prefer to think of it as a brilliant allegory of online communities in general.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is usually a particularly talky show, focusing more on the case of the week, the Myth Arc or what it means to have a Ghost in the Shell (including the Season Finale of the first season, though admittedly, it was more of a Dénouement Episode to the previous one's climax.) Note that much of the franchise is pretty talky in general, with the movies being exceptions, and even then, the two are particularly packed with talk.
    • A good example is the fittingly named "CHAT! CHAT! CHAT!", which is an episodes that consists completely of a chat board trying to deduce who the Laughing Man is, with Motoko, also known as the Major undercover noticing if there anything suspicious within the chat board, and seeing if Section 9 can gain any ideas from the board.
    • Another is "MACHINE DÉSIRANANTES", which is about how they are suspicious that the AI in the Tachikomas are becoming too intelligent, and the lack of trust that everyone (except for Batou) has towards them, despite the fact that said Tachikomas do genuinely care about Section 9 and other humans, as shown blissfully unaware that Section 9 is planning to decomission them. Fortunately, it never fully comes to pass.
    • "EQUINOX" is mainly about The Laughing Man Actually Motoko in disguise with the memories the Laughing Man gave her and the CEO of Sereno Genomics, where it's revealed the motifs for all the corruption within the political and medicinal communities.
    • "STAND ALONE COMPLEX", the Season Finale, where the climatic battle has already finished up, and it's about the loose ends, and how Motoko faked her death, and how much of Section 9 went into hiding so that they can quietly expose the corruption. Also, the Laughing Man declines the offer to join Section 9.
    • "AFFECTION" finally shows the backstory of Motoko, which has no action (apart from a fake-out chase scene at the start, while training new recruits), but shows a rather Tearjerker-inducing story of a boy that she once loved, and the last time she saw him, was just before he decided to go with a new robotic body which eventually becomes the Anti-Villain, Kuze as we know him
    • "PAT." is about partly recaping the main plot of ''2ndGig", and the Tachikomas wanting to meet their inventor, Asuda, who is defecting to North America so that he can properly gain the patents for his AI.
  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes mostly alternates between battle and speech (mostly the latter) episodes. And even the battle episodes tend to mostly be characters in universe reacting and talking about the military strategies being used.
  • Bakemonogatari is a light novel series that's already heavy on dialogue. This carries over to the anime adaptation, which can have entire episodes with nothing but dialogue, with visual focus split between the characters themselves and vaguely-related still shots. In fact, the show can fairly be described as a series of very pretty conversations. While other things do happen, characters in conflict will nearly always settle it with words instead of violence - and even then, the winner isn't the one who decides the fight but the one who dominates the conversation.
  • Katanagatari, from the same author as Bakemonogatari, above, is extremely speech-centric for what is supposedly an action series. Characters will meet, talk, decide to fight, talk, draw their swords, talk, have a brief skirmish, talk, there'll be some stunning action scene, then the winner will explain why he won. And then the loser will monologue while dying...
  • Hellsing does have a great deal of action and violence, the characters certainly do love to make great speeches and hammy monologues. For every action scene, there's at least two scenes of the same length of nothing but dialogue... hammy, dramatic dialogue. Oftentimes, the characters will stop in the middle of a fight to rant about something. It really makes the work similar to an old theater production.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans differs from other Gundam shows in that it put a much greater focus on character interaction and the dialogue between them as well as much of the political intrigue that's going on behind the scenes. Action scenes are few and far between, and when they do happen then they often tend to be rather short.
  • Lucky Star is very dialogue-heavy; most scenes consist of the characters just sitting or standing around and talking about mundane subjects. The anime adds more Shout Outs, courtesy of Konata, but there's still a lot of talking.

    Comic Books 
  • Most of the important themes of The Killing Joke, such as what drives men to madness and the exact nature of the relationship between Batman and the Joker, are conveyed via monologues, bits of which are even given an Ironic Echo in the latter parts of the story.

    Comic Strips 
  • Big Nate is probably wordier than most strips. Lincoln Peirce admits that he sometimes reaches 60 to 70 words over a grand total of four panels, saying it’s probably because Nate is such a chatterbox.

    Fan Works 
  • Turnabout Storm, as a consequence of using Ace Attorney's Visual Novel style, is developed in its entirety through conversations accompained mostly by backgrounds and Character Portraits.
  • Most of Chrysalis Visits The Hague consists of long tracts of dialogue interspersed with brief spurts of setting, plot and action (though the Equestria chapters are slightly more plot-oriented). There are even some chapters consisting of nothing but transcripted dialogue.
  • Literally all of The Very Secret Diary is Ginny and Tom (and, for a single chapter, Harry) having a conversation. Justified, as Tom is confined within the pages of the diary, and he and Ginny are writing back and forth, not unlike an internet chatroom.

  • 12 Angry Men. The twelve jurors in a murder trial debate whether or not the defendant is guilty. The Russian remake 12 leavens this somewhat with some fancy swooping camera work, including a couple of Orbital Shots.
  • Annie Hall, as specifically noted by Roger Ebert:
    "Few viewers probably notice how much of Annie Hall consists of people talking, simply talking. They walk and talk, sit and talk, go to shrinks, go to lunch, make love and talk, talk to the camera, or launch into inspired monologues like Annie's free-association as she describes her family to Alvy."
  • In The Breakfast Club five high-school teenagers spend most of their 8 hour detention getting to know each other by talking about their backstories and life circumstances.
  • The Conversation is a psychological thriller that revolves around a surveillance expert working a very hard case, he records the conversation and examines it over and over again via Rewind, Replay, Repeat.
  • The Decline of the American Empire: Basically, 101 minutes of people talking about their sex lives and sharing their opinions about sex. They all act very uninhibited and cool, talking about orgies and such, but they really aren't.
  • Dial M for Murder has one brief action scene; the rest of it is people talking.
  • Faces: The whole movie is talking, as through a series of encounters people are forced to deal with the emptiness and loneliness of their lives in upper-class 1968 white suburbia.
  • Glengarry Glen Ross is a very dialogue-heavy adaptation of a stage play. There is very little action, or even use of props other than telephones.
  • Good Night, and Good Luck., centered around the conflict between journalists and McCarthyism, with all the tension and action occurring through dialogue or stock footage of people talking.
  • The Guilty unfolds through a series of phone calls, being a Police Procedural told from inside an emergency services dispatch center.
  • I'm Not Rappaport is almost entirely just two men sitting on a bench talking to each other. The film expands on the theatre version by adding a bit more action, but is still this at its core.
  • In the Company of Men. The film centres on a sort-of Love Triangle between Chad, Howard and Christine, which is developed almost entirely through dialogue. Most physical actions happen offscreen.
  • The King's Speech. To be expected really, considering the entire film revolves around speech therapy.
  • Locke is an hour and a half of Tom Hardy driving and talking to various people to try to manage his life from inside his car. It comes across as essentially a one-man play set on a motorway.
  • The Maids of Wilko: A guy going through a Hollywood Midlife Crisis returns to his home village, where he spends the bulk of his time on the neighboring farm hanging out with five sisters he used to tutor, who are now grown women. They talk a lot about the past and their feelings.
  • The Man from Earth is a film entirely set in and around a cabin house, mainly the living room, with the various characters - all of whom are either college professors or grad students - doing nothing but conversing. The premise is that the retiring professor claims he's actually 14,000 years old and has survived from prehistoric times all the way to the modern day, and the others try to understand whether he's telling the truth or not.
  • Margin Call. Pretty much all dialogue, most of it even focused around the same few topics. Considering it focuses on a roughly 24-hour period focused on one particular thing/event that has to be explained to most of the characters, this makes sense.
  • The Mother and the Whore is about a Casanova, his girlfriend, and his other girlfriend, and how he eventually gets the two of them to join him in a ménage. There's a little sex, but most of it is them talking about sex and their feelings and each other and their jealousies. They do this for 3 hours and 39 minutes.
  • My Dinner with Andre. Two men have dinner in a restaurant and have a conversation. That's it.
  • Through a Glass Darkly: Want to see 90 minutes of people talking? Well, that and a little dose of strongly implied incest? Karin, Martin, David, and Minus spend a day at a seaside cabin talking about how she's going mad from schizophrenia. This film might be the Platonic ideal of the European black-and-white art movie in which people sit around and talk about the nature of God and human existence.
  • The Russian film What Men Talk About chronicles the conversations that a group of men have during a road trip from Moscow to Odessa.

  • Kiss of the Spider Woman is notable for having no traditional narrative, with all the words being dialogue between the Minimalist Cast, or retelling of films that the one of the characters have seen.
  • Steven Brust's To Reign in Hell, a pastiche of Roger Zelazny, exaggerates Zelazny's tendency to have long sections of dialog with zero added text, by having entire chapters which consist entirely of pure dialog, leaving the reader to infer the identity of the speakers and their tone, location, and actions from what they say. Even fight scenes are presented purely through dialogue.
  • Atlas Shrugged. "Who is John Galt?" This one is particularly notable for featuring, among other things, a monologue which goes on uninterrupted for fifty pages.
  • The novel Who Was That Masked Man, Anyway? is all dialogue. (It's an homage to Radio Drama; the title is a Catchphrase from The Lone Ranger.)
  • In The History of Middle-earth, the short story "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth" ("Debate/Converse of Finrod and Andreth") consists entirely of the two characters (an elven king and a mortal woman) discussing mortality and theology for 19 pages.
  • Aleksis Kivi's Seven Brothers is partly this, in that the story alternates between sections of narration and sections of uninterrupted dialogue, and often actions and events are described in character lines only.
  • A lot of older works (such as Plato's Dialogues, Galileo's treatise on heliocentrism) are written in dialogue form, generally this means that the author wanted his work to be something directed at the common man, by using the dialogue format to mimic the average Joe's thinking process and explain himself accordingly.
    • Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War contains a number of sections which consist mainly of dialogues of speeches (as in: orations). A good example is the meeting in Sparta as to whether or not Athens had broken the peace and whether Sparta and her allies should go to war against Athens and her allies. Here first the Corinthian envoys hold a speech calling for war, then an Athenian delegation justifies their polis's actions, then the Spartan king Archidamos advises circumspection, and finally the ephor Sthelenaidas (in the shortest speech, of course) urges to action, before calling for the final vote. Note that here, as in everywhere in the work, the speeches are not historic, but written by Thucydides to sum up the salient points of the speakers' thoughts.
  • Closet plays, being explicitly written to be only read and not acted out, tends to be extremely dialogue heavy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5 had two episodes which were centered primarily on dialog, in one setting: "Comes the Inquisitor" and "Intersections in Real Time". Both were interrogations, in differing contexts.
  • Car Share revolves around two people talking in a car on their way to and from work.
  • Community's Bottle Episodes tend to fall into this category.
    • In "Cooperative Calligraphy", the group bicker over Annie's lost pen, which quickly escalates after they lock down the study room. Bickering turns to arguments, accusations fly, secrets are revealed, and everyone strips down to their underwear.
    • In "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking", Pierce psychologically tortures the other for treating him badly.
    • Every alternate timeline in "Basic Chaos Theory" except the darkest one.
    • In "Intro To Knots" the group try to sweet-talk their history professor to give them a passing grade. Until he gets tied to a chair, and instead they find themselves manipulated this way and that by Cornwalis, while he tries to talk the group into turning on one another.
    • "Cooperative Polygraphy" is all about the reading of Pierce Hawthorne's will.
    • "Basic Crisis Room Decorum" turns the study room into a crisis room as the gang tries to find out if Greendale gave a degree to a dog.
  • Dan & Becs features almost nothing but Dan and Becs making entries in their respective video diaries.
  • In Doctor Who, Heaven Sent is basically one long Doctor speech, as he tries to find an explanation and an escape for the prison he is in. Even more impressive in that it still quite the Wham Episode.
    • Midnight is basically a horror play, taking place on a shuttle bus. There's eight passengers, a shuttle bus stuck in the middle of an inhospitable planet, something outside that wants to get in, and [A House Divided people fighting among themselves]] out of fear.
  • Gilmore Girls: Many scenes on this relationship-focused show were just characters discussing things that have happened/may happen at another point in the episode/season. Not only were these conversations frequent, they were relentlessly fast-paced and quirky (earning the show comparisons to Aaron Sorkin, above), a style parodied in this MAD TV sketch. Infamously, the size of the show's scripts were usually twice the size of that of a regular 1 hour TV show both due to the amount of dialogue scenes as well as the fast-paced speech pattern of the main characters.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Because showrunner Rolin Jones and most of the screenwriters are playwrights, the series is quite dialogue-heavy, which includes long monologues.
  • In Treatment is composed entirely of sessions between a therapist and his various patients.
  • In The Sopranos, Tony's sessions with his therapist are one of the pillars of the show; talking about his issues and concerns is both a valve of escape for him and an insight on Tony's backstory, soul and mental process. There is occasional violence, but most of the management and character exploration is done via personal meetings and face-to-face conversations.
  • The Trip: It's practically 100% conversations: at restaurants, in the car, on the phone, etc. There is also basically no plot — the only thing that happens is that Steve and his long-distance girlfriend end up breaking up, although they were already essentially broken up at the beginning of the series anyway.
  • Yes, Minister is a satire on the British Political system, mostly showing the system as a World of Snark.

  • Older Than Feudalism: This is a popular format for philosophical works (particularly in Ancient Greece). For example, Plato's works are presented as conversations between two parties. Other examples include George Berkeley's Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous and David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

  • All radio drama, obviously. Even when they're action-packed, by necessity they're about people describing the action. Though when there is a Narrator, whether his speech counts as dialogue is up to debate.

  • Awkward Conversations With Animals I've Fucked is an hour-long monologue by a guy crossing the line twice.
  • As noted above, one-man plays fit this trope almost by their very nature. Examples include Eamonn Morrissey's The Brother, an adaptation of the writings of Flann O'Brien for the stage.
  • Faith Healer by Brian Friel is a series of four monologues by three characters. There is essentially zero physical action, aside from characters standing up and sitting down and the like.
  • The Importance of Being Earnest. All of the scenes in the play consist almost entirely of dialogue, with very little physical action.
  • Several plays by Samuel Beckett:
    • Waiting for Godot. Two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait for a third party named Godot (who never arrives), talking about various things in the meantime. Two other characters, Lucky and Pozzo, appear from time to time.
    • The short play Not I stipulates that the entire theatre in which it is performed be cast in darkness with a single spotlight illuminating the mouth of a character named Mouth. The play consists entirely of a twenty-minute monologue by Mouth, with Beckett stipulating that they should speak so quickly that the audience could not possibly understand what they were saying.
    • Endgame manages to be more reliant on dialogue than Waiting For Godot, since while in that play there's some slapstick, in Endgame only one character is capable of moving.
  • Glengarry Glen Ross (and its film adaptation). The plot revolves around a group of real estate agents who, on pain of being fired, are driven to increasingly unethical methods to ensure a sale. Most of both play and film consists largely of said agents discussing the situation with each other (and propositioning various prospective clients).
  • Cormac McCarthy's play The Sunset Limited is almost all dialogue between two characters, to the point where it is sometimes described as "a novel in dramatic from".
  • Frost/Nixon (movie and play) is based on the historical interviews after Nixon's scandals and resignation. The movie expands beyond the broadcast of the conversation with the setup and circumstances of said interviews.
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (movie and play) is almost entirely driven by dialogue. Four characters share a dinner which quickly turns into a verbal war, a battle of bitter or witty insults between hosts and guests.
  • The play Dial M For Murder (on which the Hitchcock film is based) is almost entirely dialogue.
  • Witness For The Prosecution consists of various people talking in various combinations.
  • The Laramie Project. The script is compiled from interviews, journal entries, news reports, etc.
  • Most works by Anton Chekhov. Most of his plays center on awkward family meals, with little to no actual action occurring. The characters simply talk. Much of their dialogue is purposely banal, with the tension coming from what is not said. The point of this of course, is so that when action does happen it is always a massive shock.

    Video Games 
  • Role-Playing games, particularly of the Eastern RPG variety as a whole have a lot of characters standing around and talking. Unless a company's resources are high and can afford it, fully-animated cutscenes are a rare treat. The real meat of the storytelling has to have some form of Character Development and or plotting, good writing is a must to keep players invested.
  • Best of Three: The entirety of the game consists of your conversation with Grant, guided with a Dialogue Tree. The plot is that you have to prevent an embarrassing secret from your past being brought up, and if it does, you can either deny it or just come clean.
  • Disco Elysium is often compared to Planescape: Torment in terms of sheer text, clocking in with over a million words which is more than Tolkein's Lord of the Ring trilogy combined, including The Hobbit. This is due to every interaction being handled in a dialogue box system and your 24 individual skills being your 'party members' all with a unique voice that becomes more prevalent the higher that skill. It's telling that people considered the fact that the update that added full voice acting for every line in the game was met with disbelief by the playerbase.
  • The Professor Layton series consists primarily of dialogue. The gameplay shines in the puzzle parts, where you must draw lines, move objects, and do some math (even if the game tells you to find an alternate, more creative, harder way).
  • Planescape: Torment is quite possibly the most dialogue-heavy game that isn't a Visual Novel. Entire plot threads, including some major boss fights, can be solved just by saying the right things to the right people.
  • Galatea is entirely built around the best conversationalist NPC in the history of interactive fiction.
  • The Trails Series conveys much of the plot and background through extensive conversations between the sprawling cast of characters both playable and not, with extensive Worldbuilding through the standard RPG textboxes and portraits. It's fully possible to spend an hour of real time with characters talking about their friends, families, catching each other up on exactly what they've been doing, and if you're lucky, some plot. It's what gives the series its identity. That said, the series can occasionally surprise you with dynamic camerawork and moments of unusually smooth animation.
  • Given the series's predilection for numerous (and often very lengthy) cutscenes, it should come as little surprise that the Metal Gear franchise often falls into this trope. In addition to regular cutscenes (which are quite frequently action-oriented) there are generally numerous codec sequences as well, in which the Player Character talks to another character via radio.
  • Dear Esther consists entirely of gorgeous Scenery Porn coupled with long, rambling, Contemplate Our Navels-esque monologues/letters spoken aloud by the game's unnamed narrator.
  • The Stanley Parable is mainly about hearing how the Lemony Narrator will react to each of your choices, with some sinister motifs underneath most endings, and how You Can't Fight Fate.
  • Telltale Games has specialized in this trope, creating games that largely exist to tell a story, and the bulk of the gameplay is making selections on Dialogue Trees.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has a lot of talking involved and lots of reading with the quest texts. Certain scenes may also come with a warning to inform the player that the following cutscenes will be very lengthy and they should set aside time to see them in full without interruptions. Said scenes can go on for 30 minutes to an hour.

    Visual Novels 
Visual Novels as a rule are known for this.

    Web Animation 
  • In its early seasons, Red vs. Blue was, essentially, "People in armor stand around saying funny things to each other." Later seasons have ramped up the action ratio, though the series still relies more on dialogue to move things along than action.


    Web Original 
  • Most of 17776 and its sequel consist of dialogue in text form. Some of it is characters typing to each other, and some represents them speaking out loud.
  • Girl: "Who are you?" Alien: "Er, I'm an alien.": Almost the whole work consists only of dialogue between the two main characters.

    Web Video 
  • French Baguette Intelligence makes Ace Attorney parodies based on Discord conversations, so this is a given.
  • Gag Dubs and Abridged Series in general are this. All that sets them apart from the original story is new dialogue (and possibly some creative editing), so the quality of that dialogue determines whether the series succeeds or fails.

    Western Animation 
  • Due to art-style limitations, (Highly detailed, low framerate) earlier seasons of Archer relied on dialogue for the humor and plot, even during the action scenes. "Killing Utne" notably had a minute-long scene where the entire cast was off-screen staging two corpses to look like a Murder-Suicide. (It's worth noting that Adam Reed created both Archer and Sealab 2021, a series with the same style.) Art Evolution eventually allowed for better action scenes and more visual comedy.
  • Bojack Horseman's signature dark wit and depressing observations on personal unhappiness come through the monologues of its anthro cast. As the show marched on, flash assets improved, characters gained more subtle and expressive animation, and more action-based visual gags became the norm. An episode in season 3 was made to highlight the change as Bojack explores an underwater city with a baby seahorse to reunite him with his family. Since they're using airtight suits, any dialogue that is heard is muffled and brief, conveying the emotions with an abnormally ambient score and animation. The standout episode in this regard is definitely "Free Churro", where the entire episode after the prologue is an unbroken monologue by BoJack at his mother's funeral, while the prologue itself is a (shorter) monologue by his father, Butterscotch (both of whom are voiced by Will Arnett, who is the only voice actor in the episode).
  • Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. Every scene is either one of Katz's therapy sessions or a conversation between him and one of his friends or family.
  • Most animated shows from The Dark Age of Animation were dialogue heavy by necessity. Due to the small budgets and short production time, they had to make do with Limited Animation, so most of the effort went to writing the dialogue, often to the point of Narrating the Obvious. Chuck Jones derisively referred to these cartoons as "illustrated radio".
  • The second season of The Boondocks seemed to be a lot heavier on dialogue than other seasons, having fewer action sequences and visual comedy. However, this may have been re-allotment of the budget, as when there are action sequences, they tend to be longer and more complex, with "The Return of Stinkmeaner" being made almost entirely of them.
  • Oscar-winning 1962 short The Hole consists entirely of two construction workers having an aimless conversation about random subjects like buying insurance or the danger of nuclear war.
  • Parodied in The Simpsons's episode Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood with an arcade game based on My Dinner with Andre. The only options available to the player are "Tell Me More", "Trenchant Insight" and "Bon Mot". Released in 1993, the gag becomes even more hilarious with both the modern popularity of Visual Novels and the prevalence of Dialogue Trees in Role-Playing Games.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force relies on characters playing off of each other with absurd and witty dialogue as much as it does absurd situations, in part because of Limited Animation (much like Archer above).