Imagine you're playing a video game. You're not really emotionally invested in it, you just want to beat the game and...HEY! Did that NPC just insult you?! What a jerk! Now It's Personal, and you will not rest until you shut this guy's mouth.
NPCs might taunt, mock, or insult you for a variety of reasons. One reason could be to make a villain seem less likeable to you and more like somebody you just want to punch. Or, if you're playing as a villain, you might go after the good guys with renewed zeal if they piss you off enough by showing their contempt for you. Or maybe you're playing a Fighting Game where everybody gloats after winning.
Can be related to Player Punch, depending on the circumstances. Made more frustrating if the computer is also a cheating bastard. Compare with I Shall Taunt You, Easy-Mode Mockery and Game-Over Man, where the character may or may not mock you for losing.
- The other world leaders in the Civilization series are not◊ above◊ this◊.
- In V, certain civilizations are staggeringly petty and insult you frequently with no intention of going to war. The player can either brush it off, or somberly reply that "you will pay for this in time." This might be to allow role-playing players to pursue a war strategy without feeling guilty.
- In Age of Mythology single-player mode, the AI will constantly taunt you as they cheat their way through the various ages with such gems as, "Only a civilization as advanced as ours gets to survive", "Your civilization has yet to discover fire or the wheel", and, "May all of your villagers be eaten by wild animals." It makes you feel a lot better when you smash their base and army into pieces as they beg for peaceful surrender, though.
- Deadlock took it to a new level, allowing players to send fully voiced, 3D animated boasts/insults/complaints unique to your race at opponents. Some of these approached CMOF level.
- The AI is designed to respond appropriately to these messages allowing you to slowly improve diplomatic relations with the AI by sending praise or goad one to war with insults and threats. And the AI loves to get in on the action too; after a battle expect a string of messages from your opponents either (Depending who sent it) vowing revenge, congratulating you on your victory, or telling you to lay off their friends.
- Enemy pilots will do this fairly often in the X-Universe games (unless you're facing off against Xenon or Kha'ak ships, whose pilots have absolutely no interest in rubbing in comments towards their enemies and let their actions do the talking), even if you're in a vastly superior ship compared to theirs. The page quote is one example of many.
- Enemy factions in Sins of a Solar Empire enjoy sending you whispers. Sometimes it's to tell you to stop baiting the Pirates to attack them, sometimes it's to let you know they've just ambushed a fleet (or a single, automated exploration ship), and sometimes it's just a heads-up that you're about to get wrecked by a Novalith shot.
- In Galactic Civilizations II, on easier difficulties, the computer will let you get away with certain strategies that wouldn't fly on harder modes. But the AI leaders will send you a message making it quite clear that they know what you're doing, and are only unable to take action because "their generals are too stupid to react" (i.e. because you're on easy mode). This was meant for the benefit of game journalists and reviewers, who generally play games on easy mode to save time, to make sure they wouldn't unfairly trash the game's AI.
- In Ready, Aim, Tomatoes, if your shooting accuracy was below 50% in a given level, the game would tell you "Good shooting... NOT!!!"
- The dog in Duck Hunt pops up and laughs at you if you miss every duck in any round, and also in the "game over" screen (see the page pic). This is one of the earliest examples of the trope, and has spawned such anger over time that numerous Flash games have been made that let you kill the dog. It is one dog that most people probably wouldn't mind kicking. Needless to say, his inclusion in Super Smash Bros. is ridiculously cathartic.
- Some of the enemies in the first Mega Man X game will laugh at you if they hit you, namely the pickaxe-throwing robots and the lumberjack robots. (This is a minor Mega Man franchise staple that pops up now and then; it began with Guts Man.)
- A lot of the boxers in the Punch-Out!! series will taunt you, which generally serves no purpose other than providing you with a chance to earn a free star for interrupting it. Sometimes, it even makes them more vulnerable to star punches, which can score you an instant KO or TKO if you land one during a taunt.
- Don Flamenco is a little different; he keeps taunting Mac waiting for him to throw the first punch; at which point Don will dodge and counter-attack (which Mac can then dodge and counter-counter attack).
- In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Lord Ghirahim can steal your sword if you are just flailing the sword around. Upon taking it he taunts the player for their poor skills.
Heh, quite the sword you have here. But so long as you continue to telegraph your attacks like the novice you are, you'll never land a blow.
- In Batman: Arkham Series, the opponent of your current area/mission section will taunt you if you're defeated, and the Joker even does an inversion of this during play by taunting the mooks you are trying to take out, encouraging Batman to kill them and doing his best to frighten the already scared thugs.
- In the remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Facade will laugh at you if you fall into the pits he creates. Hinoxes will also laugh at you if you get grabbed by them, and the Grim Creeper will laugh at you if you miss any of the bats he summons.
- The Blade Runner Video Game has several witnesses that will insult or demean your character while he's questioning them. One comedian even turns this into a stand-up act. While you're on stage with him.
- All over the place in Total Distortion. Voices laugh at you if you run out of time in certain puzzles, and the game's award screen shows "Ha ha! Loser!" if you view it when you die. Probably one of the reasons that the game over song is often more remembered than the game itself.
- The computer players in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl often use their taunts (there is an actual taunt move for each character) right after they've KO'd someone. It can really motivate a person to kick their ass. Though to be fair, the computer probably isn't doing it to be a dick, but to get special points by earning "Instant Poser," a particular designation you can get if you taunt right after KO'ing someone enough times.
- More infuriatingly, they will often taunt REGARDLESS of if they were the ones who actually KO'd you or not.
- Even worse, in Melee, they'll taunt you AFTER YOU KO THEM AND THEY RESPAWN.
- In the original, if you did this in Single Player, you'd get the bonus "Fighter's Stance."
- If you get knocked down during a bout in Punch-Out!! Wii, most of your opponents will laugh at you and make fun of you while you're trying to get back up.
Aran Ryan: Ya got cheeseburgers in those gloves, have ya, Mac!?
- Shao Kahn will taunt you often, either after a knock down or randomly during the fight. It does get quite infuriating; however, it also acts as a time to score a free hit.
- Eternal Champions gave each character a "taunt" move with a practical use: it sapped an opponent's Inner Strength, i.e. the stuff that allows one to perform special attacks. Fine for head-to-head fighting, but since A.I. opponents can freely use any and all special moves even with a completely empty Inner Strength Gauge, it usually just meant the player could never use special moves themselves against a CPU-controlled opponent because they would repeatedly taunt and drain the player's gauge at the start of the round.
- Street Fighter III: Third Strike features this, albeit as a form of Easy-Mode Mockery. The more times you continue after losing a match, the more the A.I. difficulty will lower. When facing the Final Boss, Gill, you can visibly tell that the difficulty has been bumped down if he starts using his Personal Action, which consists of a Evil Laugh, because this is something the A.I. never does otherwise—almost as if the game is using Gill as its mouthpiece to ridicule you. While the taunt raises Gill's attack power, it also leaves him incredibly vulnerable to a counterattack.
- Team Fortress 2's Bots may randomly taunt at human players they have just killed, regardless of the conditions. This can be prevented by typing "tf_bot_taunt_victim_chance 0" in the console (now that it's no longer a cheat as of the Uber Update).
- Even if you turn off bot taunts, the game will still delight in pointing out your body parts whenever you get ludicrously gibbed.note
- AI controlled Tanks in Left 4 Dead will pound the ground and wave its big arms in the air if all Survivors are downed or dead.
Francis: "Yeah, you better hide! Sweatshirt wearin' little wuss."
- And if you're playing as a Hunter in Versus mode, Francis will once in a while reply:
- In Office Jerk, its spin-off Office Zombie, and the Summer Games version, you'll get snarked at if you miss with an object.
- With the Jerk, it can be anything from a snort to actually turning around and laughing, along with other gestures. In the Summer Games version, he'll show you a 0 score card or give you a dramatic thumbs-down.
- The Zombie sometimes snorts, but will usually turn around and laugh at you and then he has to reset his jaw.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic had quite a few raid bosses which would taunt your raid whenever a player dies or your party wipes. Notable for this are the Dread Masters. This is normally stronger in the raiding setting; a player death normally tends to be pretty punishing, especially in Nightmare level content. This could cause tension in some groups, and the NPC's are more than willing to pour a little salt in the wound.
- Brontes will respond to a player death by telling you "That one was not strong enough"
- Raptus will remind you after a player death "In dying, you leave your friends to suffer."
- The Dread Council encounter ends a raid wipe with the line "This outcome was inevitable"
- Firebrand and Stormcaller in Explosive Conflicts will respond to a raid wipe with "All too easy." as a taunting reference to The Empire Strikes Back.
- It's not just when your party screws up either. The raid bosses in SWTOR tend to do a lot of taunting during the encounter.
- Perhaps it's not really necessary to list off all the lines, but they are there, quite numerous, and the trope is lived by the endgame content, especially if your opponent is humanoid.
- Standard for bosses in Worldof Warcraft. If they don't do this, then they substitute bragging or bitching about being interrupted. The Lich King and Deathwing however both do this more frequently than other bosses, taunting you many times over the course of the expansions they appear in. Varimathras in Legion however has the best taunt lines.
- Heroes of the Storm added a rare multiplayer example. 2017's "Heroes 2.0" event added a slew of cosmetics, including Announcer packs that replace a map's default announcer with an alternate character. Alarak, premier Magnificent Bastard of StarCraft II is this trope in spades. He reacts with surprise when the player performs well, ("A killing spree? Will wonders never cease?"), and is dismissive ("Fort destroyed. Substandardly.") or critical ("Sloppier and sloppier.") of in-game accomplishments. He fully embodies this trope when the player falls behind ("And now your killing spree is gone!"), particularly with his commentary on a game loss: "You must be seething right now!"
- Avoid The Noid. Every time you die, the screen fades to a picture of a giggling noid, complete with sound effect of annoying laughter. Also, to complete the game you need to search certain phones. Pick up the wrong phone (indicated by a subtle audio cue) will show a picture of a giggling Noid on the other side of the phone call. Cue annoying sound effect, then he presses a detonator and your phone explodes. You die, see above for what happens next.
- A lot of enemies in the original Spyro the Dragon trilogy laugh and mock you after hitting you, which for some of them can give you an opening to attack. The little wizard-looking guys who hold dragon eggs will do this to you repeatedly —complete with an annoying "Nyah nyah" in Mocking Sing-Song— until you give chase.
- The PS1 game Rugrats: The Search for Reptar has a mission in which you play as Tommy and have to race Angelica around the house to get to the kitchen. If she gets ahead far enough, she will stop and taunt you until you pass her, ultimately giving up the win.
- Donkey Kong 64. There are racing sections against a green and purple beetle, which can be examples of That One Level, even for experienced players. If you lose (and you will, a lot) due to it being able to make you lose coins through Collision Damage, falling off the course for instant failure, or greatly outspeed you on the home stretch, the beetle will laugh at you and victory dance every time you lose. You will soon come to absolutely detest that mocking laugh and dance.
- In most battles against Dr. Eggman in the Sonic the Hedgehog 2d games, anytime he manages to hit Sonic and his friends, he looks at the screen and laughs.
- In Densetsu no Stafy 1 and 2, losing to Ogura's final form will result in him laughing and sticking his tongue out at you. The bosses in Densetsu No Stafy 1, 2 and 3 also have different intro dialogue taunting you if you lose to them and then refight them.
- Wesleyan Tetris has the voice of the programmer provide scathing color commentary on your play. ("Whoops!" "You meant to do that, right?")
- After finishing Super Monaco GP for the Sega Genesis once and continuing it with the best car, a Ayrton Senna lookalike named G. Ceara shows up to tell you that "Your days are gone!!!". Indeed, the instant the race starts he'll leave the player in the dust and he's almost invincible.
- Most opponents in Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4 and later versions will at least acknowledge your presence, but JPP Sonoda on Stage 34 of Story Mode is infamous for declaring "I'm gonna block you!" (and then doing so) four times, with more exclamation marks each time.
- StarCraft: Brood War shows you a propaganda film made by the United Earth Directorate which claims that the UED forces have been decimating the pitiful Zerg in a Curb-Stomp Battle. Then it hands you control of the Zerg.
- In a cutscene preceding one mission in Warcraft III where you are controlling the undead Scourge, the orc leading a charge against you opines that killing a bunch of weak, mindless undead like you guys should be no problem. Also, the Scourge higher-ups just LOOOOVE trolling Arthas in the Human Alliance campaign. Especially frickin' MAL'GANIS, who is possibly the most annoying thing in the game...yeah. Stratholme can fast become much less a race to save the people from a fate worse than death than it is a race to make that damn Dreadlord shut the hell up already.
- In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, rogue AI CABAL loves to taunt the player, regardless of affiliation.
- Age of Empires III gives voice to each of the leaders of the different computer-controlled factions you may face in skirmishes, including the bloodthirsty Cuauhtemoc, the arrogant Frederick the Great, and the humorously philosophical Suleiman the Magnificent. They're all quite chatty, with thousands of recorded lines of dialogue to mock your failures, compliment your skills (as an ally), gloat over a victory, or proclaim your imminent defeat.
- Empire Earth:
- The skirmish AI had taunts like "What comes up must come down!" when you built a wonder (although allies congratulated you on it and sent troops to defend it).
- The second game has even smugger AIs that say things like "You should have turned on cheats!" or "Are you incapable of making your own buildings?" in response to various events (or sometimes out of nowhere). They're more supportive if you're allied with them though.
- In Super Paper Mario, O'Chunks will take a moment to laugh or dance before your character gets up whenever he successfully grabs and throws them (Unless you're using Peach).
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion basically starts you out in a cell. You start the plot by walking up to the gate and listen to the guy in the opposite cell insult you for more than a minute, before finally advancing the plot. You get to kill him later if you join the Dark Brotherhood. Ah, isn't revenge sweet ?
- Mass Effect 2: Harbinger will not shut up when in combat with you. He even taunts your party members specifically, and assures you it's not done when you kill his current host.
- Playing as a Bounty Hunter in Star Wars: The Old Republic, you get an assignment to kill a Sith. When you get to her, she says she's disappointed that it was just some bounty hunter who was sent after her, not even a Mandalorian! If you ask her why, she says that obviously she's going to make short work of you, since she's this badass Sith and you're just some chump who can't even use the Force. Maybe another Sith could beat her, or possibly a really lucky Jedi, but not the likes of you. This is portrayed tragically, and the Hunter can respond with contempt or pity; her defeat snaps her out of it.
- The Halbird dream eater in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance likes striking Sentai-esque poses whenever it hits you (Or the enemies if it's your ally). It's also mostly Immune to Flinching, so you can't really take advantage of it, either.
- In Chrono Trigger, Gato makes fun of you in song if by some miracle he manages to defeat you.
- A number of the bosses in the Tales Series will drop a snarky one-liner when you lose to them. Volt's Tales of Xillia incarnation, for instance, simply informs you that "You lose." (Which you might end up hearing a lot in the sequel).
- In Shin Megami Tensei IV, most enemy demons will let out a roar if they manage to get a free attack, be it due to an ambush, a demon conversation gone wrong, or the enemy in question being one of the Fiends.
- EarthBound for the SNES occasionally have Pokeynote , who starts out as a mild annoyance, occasionally taunt you starting from when you're a third into the game. The stakes doubles if you actually named the characters after yourself and your friends. Even worse is how that fat bastard is also a Karma Houdini and only gets his comeupperance in the third Mother game, that was never released outside Japan
- Ni no Kuni has a Blackjack minigame of all things. Player who find themselves Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer will grow to hate the cutesy dealer due to her constant mockery and gloating in a game that is largely based on chance. She will giggle with glee when she deals herself a perfect hand and insult the player for poor strategy when they make tactically sounds decisions such as sticking on a deal of 19. It doesn't help that she of course has the house advantage, plus it is impossible to shake off the suspicion that The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard.
- The game also includes an original card game called 'Platoon'. The dealer for this game is similarly obnoxious, but luckily she is also staggeringly incompetent so the player will rarely notice.
- Sinistar thinks you're a coward and wants you to know it. RUN, COWARD!
- Blazing Star has mocking comments like "Hey poor player" appear on the screen whenever you die. And if you fail to beat a boss in the time limit, you get to see "You fail it! Your skill is not good enough, see you next time!"
- Metal Slug: the not-quite-Nazi enemies you fight will point and laugh at your corpse if they kill you. However, they scream in horror when they see you re-animate.
- The game over music in Bangai-O Spirits is accompanied with an Evil Laugh, and you will hear it very, very often.
- The prequel to A Dark Room, The Ensign, has the Red Text: A demonic script that prompts you, the player, to give up every time your character gets killed off.
- The enemy god in the Black and White II expansion trash-talks the player quite a lot, even when completely unable to make good on its threats.
- Happens in The Stanley Parable if you spend too much time in the broom closet.
- In the Atari Jaguar game Cybermorph, your onboard AI partner Skylar will diss you every time you craft bumps into an obstacle. Given the game's low draw distance causing mountains to pop up out of nowhere, you can expect to hear her say "Where did you learn to fly?" a lot.
- In the Ace Attorney games, presenting the wrong evidence typically results in everyone present commenting on how incredibly dumb you are. Of course, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as responses to wrong evidence are often some of the funniest parts in the game.
- In Williams Electronics' Comet, the Dunk Tank Dummy constantly heckles the player to goad him into hitting him.
Dunk Dummy: "C'mon, turkey! Hit me!"
- Rudy the Dummy in Fun House is infamous for doing this to the players, as part of his Deadpan Snarker personna.
Rudy: "Now who's the dummy?"
- Taken Up to Eleven by Buzz and Bud in No Good Gofers, whose relentless heckling gives the players even more enticement to hit them with the pinballs.
Buzz: "You're dumber than Bud!"
- Done constantly by the opposing boxers in The Champion Pub
Patrotsky Yirbitov: "Hey, look. The weakling is back."
- Colonel Quaritch taunts the player in Avatar, thanks to custom voice work by Stephen Lang.
- In Full Throttle, the player is constantly taunted by his rival, Francisco Valentino.
- As the game is one big reference to Duck Hunt (with a horror spin), the dog in Duck Season laughs at you very, very often.
- On Pogo.com, there is a casino game called Ride the Tide, which is essentially Higher-Lower (or Card Sharks, for you game show fans) where you play against the A.I. house. You will get a ridiculously "unlucky" run of cards like 3-4-2 or A-Q-K more often than statistically possible, but what likely will tick you off most is that sometimes when you hold ("freeze" in Card Sharks lingo), if the dealer beats your streak by more than two cards, he or she will start talking trash. Play the game enough, and you'll know that unlike most games where you at least can dish out some tasty revenge with a headshot or an ass-kicking, the house will never lose once they surpass your run.