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Welcome to Corneria!note 

"Don't speak to me again! I refuse to speak t— dangit! No! Leave me alone! Leave me! Please do not repeat the exact same words exactly the same in exactly the same tenses, exact same speed, exact same tone! Are you insane or what? I wanna go inside that clam thing!"

One common feature of most Role Playing Games are random townspeople that you can talk to and pump for information. However, many developers leave this as a low priority, giving them very limited dialogue that is endlessly repeated each time the Player Character engages them. Usually, it will just be a single sentence or two with little bearing on the plot (most often just giving some local flavor to a town) or a single sentence with some minor hints of the plot (that someone who actually matters will explain in more detail). Often goes hand in hand with poor translations (where the same dialogue that was given lowest priority during the writing will get even lower priority for translation).

Most of the time, individual NPCs don't have anything useful to say, but if you Talk to Everyone, you get a complete enough picture that you can figure out what to do next. (And if your current objective really is to talk to everyone, they might change their lines to indicate when you've succeeded.)

It's especially humorous if you go back to an old town after a major event and the townspeople are still giving the same dialogue they had before (e.g. they still lament over the dragon stealing their sheep long after you've killed it). It can be vexing when you try to envisage the NPCs as people and think they might tell you anything informative. Though in real life, you would most likely hightail it out of the town because you would consider all the NPCs as either insane or part of some satanic cult.

Many more recent games make a halfhearted attempt to avert this by giving NPCs two pieces of dialogue at a time that they alternate, changing no more often than their one-line counterparts. Another method is to change the dialogue of everyone in the town after you've beaten that town's Fetch Quest (or even after you've completed other plot events), but even this quickly becomes unrealistic if it never changes again. It can get particularly ridiculous when, say, The Very Definitely Final Dungeon has risen and the fate of the world is obviously in the balance, but the NPCs still won't talk about anything other than their livestock or their love lives.

Of course, every dialogue tree ends somewhere, so this trope will always pop up sooner or later.

Compare Dialogue Tree, which this is related to.

This is an Acceptable Break from Reality since the programmers can't put in endless random dialogue, and as far as the game knows, the player loaded an old save and hasn't played in two years, and needs to be reminded of the current MacGuffin or Plot Coupon to go chase after.

Very common for Memetic Mutation - even if a video game really does have quite a lot of variation in its reactionary dialogue throughout the game, any serious fan of the game is going to play it enough to hear some lines repeatedly, making them an easily-understood in-joke between fans.

Not to be confused with the planet Corneria from Star Fox or the town Coneria/Cornelia from Final Fantasy. The trope name is from a parody of the latter game.


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  • In the NES version of Punch-Out!!, your opponents would spout one of a handful of phrases between rounds. Lampshaded in Studio C's parody of that game.
  • Extremely common in The Legend of Zelda. Some examples below:
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: A character repeatedly states that "I am Error." There is also a character who lives in the woods named Bagu. As in a messed up recursive translation of Bug. Error. Bug. Programming jokes. He also triggers different dialogue/events in people, but aside from his appearance is not connected to Error in any way. This page explains it all.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, there's an aversion. Many NPCs say different things depending on the day and time, whether you've done certain things, and what mask or form you present. Even if you aren't going for 100% Completion, getting to know them all really enhances the game's emotional depth — such as if you talk to people awaiting death on the night of the third day.
    • Lampshaded in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: One of the posters in the Sturgeon's house reads, "If the person's advice is strange or cannot be understood, one should not feel shy. One should simply ask the person to repeat the statement by pressing A again. More often than not, if one asks politely, a person will say the same thing over and over again until the meaning is clear."
  • The Metal Slug series of games has this with the reoccurring Mini-Boss character, Allan O'Neil, who will taunt players during gameplay with a series of pre-programmed quotes, such as "Come on boy! You're minced meat!". In the first game, it makes sense because only two characters, Marco and Tarma, are available, but in the sequels when players can select a female commando (like Eri, Fio and Nadia), during the battle against Allen he will inexplicably continue taunting players with a "Come on boy!"
  • In La-Mulana, the elder has a wide variety of sayings which include useful hints as well as gratuitous Take Thats at Nintendo games, but past a certain point in the game will only repeat, "The wind is restless..."
  • Alice in Wonderland (2010): Despite being a modern game for the Wii, the video game version of Tim Burton's film has this with a number of the talking flowers.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: Lampshaded near the beginning of the game, Farah is telling you how to use the Dagger of Time. If you do not use it within a certain time, she tells you again, with the same words, to which the Prince replies, "You already said that!", although Farah says, "No I didn't!"
  • Guise of the Wolf has castle guards that say nothing but "Good evening, milord" and "Helps to have a map."
  • Overlord I: There are only a few lines for any given group. For example, your "servants" in an evil playthrough will get one of three lines: a complaint about the revealing outfits you gave them, a comment that they wouldn't be allowed to wear said outfits back in the village of Spree, and a threat to hit your main advisor with a poker if he doesn't stop ogling them.
  • Hollow Knight has an Overly-Long Gag version with Zote the Mighty. If you save him three times (Greenpath, Deepnest, the Colosseum of Fools), he'll move to Dirtmouth and lecture Bretta (the only one who will listen) about the 57 precepts he lives his life by. Once he reaches the end, he'll start over again. And if you defeat Grey Prince Zote a couple of times, Bretta will notice.
  • Darksiders has a quest where you have to rescue Azrael from the Black Throne. Every time you go near him, Azrael will constantly say to you "The beams... redirect the beams." and later "One last beam, and I'll be free..."

    Adventure Game 
  • Amusingly justified in Professor Layton and the Curious Village by the fact that almost all of the NPCs turn out to be - ahahaha - Ridiculously Human Robots.
  • In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, Homestar Runner does this during a cutscene.
    Strong Bad: All messages from the King of Town get intercepted with extreme prejudice by my idiot filter.
    Homestar: But I sent you all kinds of reminder e-mails!
    Strong Bad: Idiot filter.
    Homestar: But I sent you all kinds of reminder e-mails!
    Strong Bad: Idiot— nevermind.
  • A rather ironic one in Gabriel Knight 1. While most characters are happy to repeat what they just said when asked the same question, the university professor states "I'm not in the habit of repeating myself." He does this EVERY TIME you hit a repeated topic, thus repeating himself. (The game does allow you to repeat his dialogue through a tape recorder function.)
  • Though largely played straight in The Legend of Kyrandia, Malcolm's Revenge does have one funny aversion. Try to make Malcolm eat a Fish Cream Sandwich and he’ll give you more than twenty-five different phrases culminating with something like "Stop touching me with that damn thing!"
  • In the first episode of Sam & Max: Freelance Police, asking Bosco "Do you have any..." enough times will eventually result in Sam running out of things to say. Max tells him he can just start over again.
  • In Simon the Sorcerer, when Simon finds the wizards in the tavern, they're trying to remember the rules to the board game they're playing. If the player doesn't interrupt them, their conversation goes on for ages before it finally repeats.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Subverted in Half-Life 2. Most human or vortigaunt Non Player Characters have a relatively limited vocabulary, but there are at least two known cases of a so-called "All-Knowing Vortigaunt" indistinguishable from a "regular" vort except it has a huge list of stock lines, some of which actually give away important parts of the game's backstory and plot, or bend the fourth wall.
    "Your bright face obscures your darker mask. We call you sib, although your mind and meaning are a mystery to us. Far distant eyes look out through yours. Something secret steers us both. We shall not name it. We have endured these chafing bonds for eons, yet a single moment of further servitude seems intolerable! How often have we slipped our yoke, only to find it choking us again. Let this war end in either total victory or our extinction. No further compromise shall we allow. We take our stand beside you, here, upon this miserable rock."
    • Zig-zagged elsewhere in the game. Some human NPCs repeatedly speak a single line when interacted with, while others will speak a series of lines and then remain silent.
    • Lampshaded in Half-Life when a scientist says to a Barney "You know, you tend to repeat yourself" — something of which the scientists are equally guilty. NPCs talking to each other at all outside a cutscene was uncommon back then.
      "Do you know who ate all the doughnuts?"
      "Why do we all have to wear these ridiculous ties?"
    • Averted in the Half-Life Fan Remake Black Mesa, which gives unique interaction dialogue to many of the Black Mesa staff found throughout the game.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. takes this to new irritating levels, especially in the bar area where people repeat the same dialogue over and over again. Plus they stop you using your gun to vent your frustration. It's really no surprise whatsoever that nearly every mod for the game in existence either stops them from repeating the lines or simply makes them all stop talking altogether.
    • Also, in one area of the game (one of the factions that you are sided with), there is a guard there who will repeatedly say "Get out of here, Stalker" and, no matter what, constantly repeat this single line over and over and over again. You can hear it here:
  • The gamemod They Hunger has this right in the end during the boss fight. Your helicopter pilot tells you the same thing again and again: "Come on, shoot that bastard!"
  • Far Cry 4 has the usual suspects with both enemy and friendly dialogue, but a more glaring example is Rabi-Ray-Rana's radio broadcasts, which either provide background exposition or comment (and hang lampshades) on the player's actions and accomplishments. His spiels are usually hilarious the first or even second time. They get old after the third or fourth or fifth or sixth or seventh time the player has to listen to him ramble about how clean his asshole is due to his owning a bidet.
  • One of the things Angry Joe criticised in his review of the Rambo game was the fact that the officer of a group of adversaries near-endlessly repeats the encouraging phrase "He's a man, not a god!" to his underlings.
  • Bioshock Infinite lampshades this in extra dialogue from the Lutece twins. If the player sticks around after the first coin toss, Rosalind will make a couple of comments encouraging Booker to leave before finally giving up and threatening to repeat herself. Sure enough, the player can hear the same three lines repeat should they choose to wait.
    Rosalind Lutece: If you don't go, I'll be forced to start repeating myself.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Diablo II:
    • The guards in the city of Lut Gholein only say "Welcome to the palace" and "Stay out of trouble".
    • Flavie: "Take care! The Corrupted Rogues in the wilderness ahead are not to be trifled with."
    • The temple guard says the player "may not pass" before the quest is triggered, and Flavia can warn the players who have not yet completed the first quest that they are "not ready" for the tougher enemies.
    • OTOH, almost every NPC has four or five "random" lines, plus quest-specific dialog, so Welcome To Corneria is somewhat averted.
  • Actually, Diablo was much worse than its sequel. Outside of quest info, the 3 most useful Non Player Characters only had the following lines.
    • "Stay a while and listen." - Cain the Town Elder
    • "What can I do for you?" - Griswold the Blacksmith
    • "I sense a soul in search of answers." - Adria the Witch
  • You're gonna get a lot of this in the Dynasty Warriors: Gundam series. While characters have multiple lines derived from whatever mission they're in, their responses to simple and common things, such as beating 100 enemies is limited and get very repetitive. Yes, I KNOW you're Master Asia, now shut up about it!
  • The camp soldiers from Dynasty Warriors 7 onward always say the same things no matter how many times you talk to them (until you advance the plot—then they update to a new set of repeating phrases).
  • The Wind Road has the village stage, where NPC characters will repeat all their lines, again and again. You can run back and forth down an alley, and each time they'll loop their words.
    Noodle Vendor: Tasty noodles! Tasty noodles!
    Candy Seller: Delicious iced candied fruit!
    Stall Keeper: Take a look! Take a look!
    Woman Mourning Dead Husband: Today is the seventh day of your passing...

  • Completely averted by Legends of Equestria: Every single NPC in the world (and there are hundreds of them) has at least ten lines of idle dialogue, in addition to any quest-based scripts. The devs also have a backstory written for each, a promptable dialogue option where the NPC will explain how they earned their Cutie Mark, but the feature is still being completed.
  • City of Heroes, though the game's mechanics tend to mask it well. Any "contact" whose missions have been exhausted will repeat the same line explaining that "and now we are done" and any who have not been introduced will direct the player to speak with someone else, instead. Even worse are the civilians roaming the streets, who will repeat a single random line every time they are spoken to. Interestingly, civilians whose names start with a particular letter can give out meta-game information, such as total hours of playtime or players currently in the surrounding zone.
  • RuneScape tries to avert this, probably. Doing quests, miniquests, or generally changing the world will change available dialogue lines in conversations with people, or change the people themselves. A few select NPCs, most summons, and the common level 2 men and women have a bank of possible dialogue lines or whole conversations, but it's not a large one. Some conversations react to stimuli like your inventory contents - for example, if you have a few sharks in your inventory, one of the summons suddenly starts saying trivia facts about them, one out of a few available every time you chat to it. On the other side, the conversations are fixed in their contents and will always go exactly the same if you keep stumbling upon the same ones and/or choosing the same lines to say in them.
  • Capital City Guards in World of Warcraft actually manage to be useful, as they can be asked for directions. They all share the same (rather extensive) Dialogue Tree per city, but still. As with Warcraft, the NPC spoken dialogue will go into "pissed" when you pester the same NPC long enough, but with only about two sets per race/gender, the variation isn't quite as much. A few NPCs use lines directly from Warcraft III, though.
    • There is some variation for the guard talking to a few of the different classes. Rogues are told by city guards that they are being watched, with Stormwind's guards wishing they were allowed to drag you to jail.
      • After the "betrayal" of the Forsaken, orc guards are placed in Undercity and will normally insult any race other than orc. Forsaken players even get threatened, but the guards still tell them the location of places. Orc guards will also be a little miffed at you if you play a warlock, orc or not, and will mention not trusting you.
      • Per the blood elf stereotype of snobbery, Silvermoon City's guards are complete jerks with almost everything you ask them. For instance, if you ask them for the mining trainer, they call you crazy; if you ask them for the hunter trainer they call you backwards.
  • Final Fantasy XIV tries to avert the trope with varying degrees of success. Most NPCs will have their dialogue change as you progress in the main story and certain characters will also change what they say in certain side quests as well. However, the changes only go so far and you'll eventually see the character lines still spewing the same speech related to events that you cleared ages ago.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean Online, NPCs that don't need to be talked to at the moment, such as those who aren't part of a quest, will respond with generic dialogue about rumors of Cursed Blades, Raven's Cove, and Bounty Hunters.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Republic Spaceport on Taris has holograms of Governor Saresh, which play an obnoxiously loud speech whenever you get close to them, even if you're leaving the planet. There's no way to avoid, as they're right next to the personal starship elevators, so the best you can do is mute your volume.

    Platform Game 
  • Averted in Psychonauts, there is so much conversation that it can go on for minutes without repeating, and it updates often.
    "First, we drove one mile. Then we drove five miles. Then we took a left. Then my sister saw a jack-rabbit. Then we stopped and had lunch. Then we drove five miles. Then we made a 'U'-turn. Then we drove one mile. Then we stopped for lunch. Then we..."
    "Does this story have a climax?"
    "Did I mention the part about the jackrabbit?"
  • Sonic The Hedgehog: Dr. Robotnik/Eggman has a habit of doing this during his boss battles. Examples include "Take this! Take this! Take this! Take this!" and "You know what they say? The more the merrier!" Also, "GET A LOAD OF-GET A LOAD OF-GET A LOAD OF THIS!", "NO WAY! I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS!" and "TIME FOR A CHANGE OF PACE! TIME FOR A CHANGE OF PACE!
    • Big the Cat (from Sonic Adventure): "Froggy, where are you?" Talk to him during the part of Sonic's story where Big is standing in the hotel, and he says this every single time. Big's line in particular stands out because this is downplayed in the rest of Adventure; the dialogue of the NPCs in the hub worlds (especially Station Square) will change as you progress through the story. It's not always related to the story progress either; some NPCs have their own minor sub-plots that unravel over the course of the game, such as the woman who has a crush on the burger shop worker. For bonus points, some NPCs will even appear, disappear, or move around between levels, reflecting the passing of time, rather than just standing in one place for the entire game.
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2: Lampshaded and Subverted by the Whomp King.
    Whomp King: It makes me so mad! We build your houses, your castles, your... Arrrgh! I'm tired of this speech!
  • Theta vs Pi 7 lampshades this with the characters in Theta Tavern. The bartender warns you they may repeat themselves as they've all had a bit to drink.
  • The player might think this will be the case with Squid, the chatty fourth wall-breaking AI antagonist from Will You Snail? that won't hesitate to insult poor gameplay, but this trope was actually intentionally averted as an artistic decision to prevent Squid's dialogue from becoming repetitive and boring. Squid can only say each of his voice lines once, and he'll run out of things to say eventually. The only exception is his powerpoint presentation room, where he'll repeat the same evil speech over and over again.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Blizzard's Warcraft and Starcraft games subvert this. If you click a unit (or an NPC in World of Warcraft) enough times, it will start Breaking the Fourth Wall, saying One Liners from movies, referencing Real Life, or noting some absurd detail about its fictional existence. The (incomplete) GameFAQs list of Warcraft III "pissed quotes" is over 90 kilobits big.
    • And in Starcraft and Warcraft, clicking on a critter enough times will cause it to explode. (No Splash Damage, though)
      • In Warcraft II there was splash damage. It was the ordinary explosion like the ones caused by the fireball spell. The damage was minor, and the time spent on clicking would be a complete waste.
  • World in Conflict tries to avert this. As is the case for most RTS games, clicking on a unit will usually result in the officer or NCO acknowledging you; click on a squad currently engaged in a firefight and you'll get a terse message such as this: "Infantry! In combat!"
  • Similarly, Company of Heroes has dialogue that changes if soldiers are currently doing something. For instance, clicking on an American infantry squad while they're fighting will reward you with "I'm a little fucking busy right now!"
  • Axis & Allies has subtle variants of this. Most units will simply acknowledge orders you give them, but order American Engineers (a non-combat unit) to attack and they'll respond with "Huh... A break from work."

  • Dwarf Fortress: Before the updates to dialogue system, all that NPCs would talk about with each other was recent monster attacks and related deaths, to which they always replied "It was inevitable". In adventurer mode you ended up overhearing a lot of this, inevitably resulting in the phrase achieving memetic status.
  • Happens all the time in Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja. Especially egregious in that 1) sitting through it is mandatory, provided you want to do such exotic things as repair your equipment, access items you've put into storage, buy or sell things, or save the game outside of a dungeon, 2) every single time you want to do any of the aforementioned actions, 3) it seems to be unskippable (the manual says something about holding A to speed the text up, but it's never seemed to help much), and 4) this isn't some NPC giving you a one-line greeting—oh no, these are full-blown conversations, complete with responses, counter-responses, and often counter-counter-responses.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Arcanum: NPCs have variations on the same lines that vary depending on who's being asked and who's asking (people with low intelligence, half-orcs and ogres get insulted first). These change over time as your quest objectives get updated.
  • Divinity: Original Sin: Most NPCs have a very short script of dialogue they will go through endlessly when not engaged in conversation by a player. Most egregious are the vendors in the Cyseal market who constantly bark about their goods, "Potions to bemuscle you! Scrolls to entussle you!" in an area the player will spend a lot of time in. Among them, the cheese vendor became an Ascended Meme with a quest in the sequel, Divinity Original Sin 2 mockingly bringing back the speech of the Man of Many Cheeses in the mouth of a new character. Despite a patch being released to address the issue, it only added a slight delay between a character ending their lines and going back to repeating them again, very much allowing it to become annoying.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: Although it's downplayed significantly compared to its predecessor game, characters still often go through loops of their outside-of-dialogue lines whenever not speaking to a Player Character. Most notably encountered in Driftwood, where various merchants cry out from their stall, similarly to Cyseal in Divinity Original Sin 1, the town crier who stands a few feet away from the merchants, endlessly informing you of the same bits of news over and over, and in the city of Arx which features many characters having incidental conversations while the player party wanders through the town.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • The guards by the front gate of Tantegel Castle in Dragon Quest, Dragon Quest II and Dragon Quest III apparently have nothing to say that's more important than welcoming the hero(es) to the castle where they're standing guard. Seeing how the first three games take place years apart from each other, this tendency seems to have been passed down from generation to generation.
    • Dragon Quest II parodies this several times in the Game Boy Color remake.
      • An NPC in Cannock has 1 line of dialogue, describing the Prince of Cannock as "vacant, but basically a decent person"; if the Prince of Cannock is in your party, he will repeat this dialogue but become horrified when he sees the Prince.
      • An NPC in Tuhn will complain that her grandfather says the same things over and over again (though she herself does the same thing).
      • You can meet the grandson of the first game's big bad, who will give you advice if you promise to beat Hargon. Say no, and he'll call you mean-spirited. When you talk to him again, most of his dialogue is identical, but before he offers advice he'll say that he hesitates to help mean-spirited people like the player.
    • Averted substantially in the past of Dragon Quest VII. The townspeople will change dialogue after every major event occurs on their island. They will also change one more time when you go back to visit after finishing the next island. Mostly played straight in the present.
    • Mostly averted in Dragon Quest VIII, where dialogue will sometimes change not only after major events but in response to the day/night cycles (assuming they're not asleep). Considering how big the game is, the writers likely raked in overtime on this. Heck, it can depend on who your character up front is. If you go to Jessica's hometown, for example, with Jessica up front, the dialogue will be different from the dialogue you see as Hero.
  • Final Fantasy X-2: Lampshaded to hell and back, especially with certain people in Luca.
    Man on bench: I can't think of anything interesting to say, so I keep on repeating the same old stuff.
  • Final Fantasy IV has people from Kaipo saying lines from as far back as Rosa joining the party, even after Zeromus is dead and Rosa is crowned Queen of Baron.
  • Working Designs loved to parody/lampshade this trope. Indeed, very few NPCs in their games didn't result in a decently complex dialogue between them and the main characters. The same sort of thing (minus the parody) could be found in the Grandia series, made by Game Arts, the same company responsible the Lunar series that Working Designs is best known for. In both series, revisiting towns from earlier in the game will invariably result in new dialogue from the NPCs.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind has very little spoken dialogue which does get repetitive rather quickly. However, text-based conversation dialogue options are quite numerous and change based on the NPC's profession. (Try, for example, talking to a Savant. Exhausting all of their dialogue options can take a real-life hour.)
    • Oblivion has more spoken stock lines for its NPCs than most games, but if you talk to them a lot (or just listen to them talking with each other), the lines quickly start to repeat. Sometimes, the dialogue will be surprisingly detailed but have no purpose: the Atius and Sintav family members in the Imperial City will start a classic "Shaggy Dog" Story. Other generic dialogue will comment on any artifacts you're carrying, whether you look sick or not, or point you towards the nearest inn or specialty shop. Guards are also psychic, able to comment on your Light Armor skill even if you're decked out in full plate. Also, if you raise a skill to above 70, get ready to hear about it from every single NPC you meet.
    • In Skyrim, some dialogue is repeated enough times by different characters to reach Memetic Mutation levels, such as the infamously specific "I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee". Unlike many other games, the dialogue does update to acknowledge the player's accomplishments... inconsistently. Some NPCs will greet you warmly, then become gruff during the conversation. City guards will mock you as the rookie in the Companions even if you've since become head of the organization, while the court mage of Whiterun is notorious for suggesting you go join the College of Winterhold to learn more about magic even if you're wearing the Archmage's robes.
  • In order to make the world believable, Fallout took some pains to avoid this trope. Most of the plot-irrelevant NPCs have dialogue that evolves with both time-of-day and the plot, and some of them even react based on their specific circumstance, such as whether or not you're entering their home for the first time. Even the most unimportant NPCs have multiple possible responses that are randomly displayed when you interact with them. As a result, it's pretty jarring when this trope is deliberately exaggerated by the Children of the Cathedral NPCs you meet at their Cathedral: many of them have exactly the same dialogue as each other, at all times of day - this is done to emphasize that they are being brainwashed. When you speak to one of the more talkative Children inside, a possible conversation starter is "You know, every time I talk to someone, people keep repeating everything they say over and over again."
  • Fallout 3 has Three Dog and President Eden of Galaxy News Radio and Enclave Radio, respectively. Since most players have their radio on most of the time - if not all of it - the banter given by these two tends to get really repetitive. Three Dog comments on in-game events, although the changes in his monologues can be pretty far-between. Of note, however, Three Dog does make mention that he's pre-taping his segments, which is how he can talk to you while the station is broadcasting him talking about current events.
    • Megaton's residents disguise their lack of dialogue by being standoffish and telling you they don't want to chat. With the same few lines, of course, but it's a neat effort.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has the NCR troopers saying "Patrolling the Mojave almost makes you wish for a nuclear winter." very, very often.
    • "We won't go quietly. The Legion can count on that." is another very common line from the NCR military.
    • "When I got this assignment I was hoping there would be more gambling."
    • "We've got stuff we're not even allowed to sell, people! Only at Mick and Ralph's!"
      • Of course, that one is justified: it's low-tech advertising (paying someone to stand on the main street, where plenty of people with caps passes through, and shout store slogans), not actual dialogue. Truth in Television to boot, as that's how advertising was done prior to the invention of radio.
    • On good terms with Caesar's Legion? Expect every Legionnaire you encounter to greet you with "Ave. True to Caesar."
    • "NCR officials at Camp McCarran were relieved when technical difficulties with its monorail line to the New Vegas Strip proved easy to fix. One anonymous official told us a serious mechanical failure would have been a disaster because of the age of the train and the scarcity of the replacement parts."
    • Primm apparently demands that its sheriff will swear in every other day.
    • Unusually, generic NPCs will often have the same line read by several different voice actors.
  • The Shadowrun game for SNES has one egregious example. In the Caryards, you can either leave by paying King 4000 nuyen, or you can fight (and kill) him in the arena; if you take this latter route, the NPCs in the Caryards will still act as if King is still alive. (This is all the more annoying given their dialogue mostly consists of jeering about how you'll never beat him.) News travels very slowly in these parts...
  • Golden Sun has an interesting variation on this. While most NPCs follow the trope to the letter, you can also cast the Mind Read Psynergy on just about anyone, revealing their thoughts in the form of a second static line of dialog. What makes these lines interesting is that they often reveal info the NPC doesn't want to give, or reveals them to be big hypocrites.
    Meditating guy's thoughts: "... ... ... I sense impure thoughts from the man next to me!"
    Other Meditating guy's thoughts: "... ... ... I am hungry."
  • The World Ends with You, like Golden Sun, includes mind-reading, with the twist being that you cannot talk to most of the NPCs to begin with, and you can't mind-read the ones you can. Every NPC on a given screen will have a totally different thought, but thoughts repeat if you go to different places, and look at different people, thinking the same thing. Throughout the length of the game, these thoughts actually progress in related chains, including some related thoughts (male and female thinking of each other) being intentionally funny.
  • An interesting variation occurs in the first two Gothic games. The non-plot-essential NPCs fall into categories — like Rebel Camp Miner or Castle Guard — and every member of a given set has identical clothes and has the same dialogue, but the dialogue takes the form of a multiple-choice conversation, just as if you were talking to a more important NPC. They'll give the same answers every time, but behave more like information points than tape recorders.
  • Played embarrassingly straight in Black Sigil... if you visit one particular town as soon as you get the airship, NPCs will reference events that haven't happened yet.
  • The Ultima Underworld games were like this as well. All non-named NPCs fell in groups like "outcast", "guard", "goblin" or whatever, and you could have the same dialog with all NPCs in the same group.
  • Other Ultima games have the player falling into this role since the three phrases you can say to any NPC are "name" "job" "bye". Ultima VII lampshades this by having an actor who portrays the Avatar describe his dialogue as very repetitive.
  • The inhabitants of the Hub Level in the Paper Mario games update their dialogue after every chapter, so if you Talk to Everyone every time you return, you'll get entirely different dialogue. The inhabitants of the various villages, however, mostly play this straight, usually having only "before chapter", "after chapter", and possibly "after game" dialogue.
  • Dark Cloud 2 also averts this by updating the dialogue of most NPCs every chapter. Many characters will also say different things depending on whether you are using Max or Monica. However, if you repeatedly talk to the same NPC, they will repeatedly say the same thing.
  • Lunar Knights has a combination of the two different lines and updates after each chapter variants, although some characters do have extra lines of dialogue for giving out quests.
  • Very much averted in EarthBound (1994) and Mother 3. You won't get nearly as much from this series if you don't Talk to Everyone, because the game developers love adding in plenty of extra NPC lines for towns you'll never visit ever again. A particularly big example being Happy Happy Village, which is slowly turning back from the strange cult town it was into a normal town as you progress through the game. People slowly turn back to normal, many other people will apologize, and the red house will open revealing a Mr. Saturn. Also, as a sort of hidden line near the end of MOTHER 3, in the basement of the Empire Porky Building, if you talk to Flint six times he'll comment about his baldness. If you talk to him again he'll comment about the metaphor he used for his baldness.
    • Note that both Threed and Happy Happy Village both undergo changes that modify the dialogue of just about everyone in town. This is done after you've completed all the dungeons in the area and, in any other game, would leave town without a second thought. Furthermore, in EarthBound (1994) there exists a Playable Epilogue. Yes, you can speak with every single NPC in the world, each of whom has new dialogue.
    • Subverted in MOTHER 3. A Pigmask gives you a gift thinking you're the Masked Man and tells you it's strictly in a friend sense. Talking to him again yields the same message; however closer inspection will reveal that it's not the Pigmask saying it, but Lucas, the Heroic Mime since the start of Chapter 4.
  • Titan Quest approaches this differently: NPCs that can be talked to generally have several paragraphs of speech (all of it voiced), and no two will ever say the same thing...but this is balanced out by the fact that only a few NPCs in each town can be talked to. And since the player character is a Heroic Mime, it's all monologue rather than dialogue...and it doesn't ever update except with NPCs that give quests (though since the game is linear and one rarely needs to backtrack, this isn't particularly noticeable).
  • Pokémon lampshades it as much as it plays it straight throughut the franchise.
    • In HeartGold and SoulSilver to quote an NPC: "To the north is Pewter City. To the south is Viridian City. I know, I know. I sound like a sign."
    • Also averted during the brief time in HeartGold and SoulSilver where you're wearing a Team Rocket uniform: everybody you talk to in the Goldenrod Pokémon Center and Department Store (save for the store clerks, nurses and so on, Lampshaded by another NPC as professionalism) will actually have different dialogue if you talk to them in uniform, with some being frightened and others merely annoyed.
    • NPC behavior is also lampshaded in Pokémon X and Y, with a Hiker expressing concern for another hiker who has been walking back and forth on a bridge for days, then realizing that's he's been standing in the same spot for days himself. In an icy cavern, yet another Hiker says he can't stop shouting because he thinks he'll freeze if he does. A Nurse Joy who is identical to all others working at every Pokémon Center appears as one of the spectators at the Battle Maison, and if you ask her to heal your party, she says it's actually her day off.
    • Averted full time in Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. As you progress into the story, NPCs will have different remarks on what's been happening. For example, if you return back to Krane after Snagem steals your Snag Machine, both he and your mother will notice it, even though you're not required to talk to them during that part of the game.
  • Subverted in Chrono Trigger. One NPC appearing randomly in the middle of a mountain level seems to have two equally meaningless lines, switching back and forth each time you talk to him. But if you go through the cycle a couple of times, he'll eventually give you an item on the condition that you don't talk to him anymore. Played straight when, if you continue talking to him anyway, he goes back to repeating the same two lines as if nothing had happened.
  • In Chrono Cross one of the Devas will chastise you for searching his personal treasure while he's in the same room. After the fourth time, he will reply "That's the Xth time you've looked at my treasure." After your 21st attempt, he'll finally give up and let you have it if it means you'll leave him alone.
    • The pot and barrel in the Arni restaurant insist they are a pot and barrel upon inspection. Only after the third inspection will they unwillingly hand over their contents.
    • Also, on the S.S. Invincible during the Ghost Ship attack, one of the pirates tells you something, then, if you talk to him again, says "You wanna hear it again?" before repeating himself. He adds this line every time after the first, making it a lampshade hung straight.
  • BioWare is kind of strange about this. Random civilians throughout their games will consistently have 3-5 distinct lines of dialogue. Sometimes, they'll even be able to comment about other weirdnesses: the NPCs at the beginning of Hordes of the Underdark, for instance, will remark if you're carrying weapons or running around in your underwear, chat about being the same race (if you aren't human), and even flirt if your Charisma is high enough.
  • In the Penny Arcade Adventures series, unnamed NPCs in each area would generally share two or three lines of dialogue among them, which cycled through as you spoke to them (either one guy repeatedly, or one after another), while named NPCs typically had two or three lines apiece. These would usually change as the player progresses through the game.
  • In the game Tales of Symphonia, although he only has one line, if you talk to a certain NPC enough (something like 50 times) then he gives you an item (and says something different.)
    • In the sequel, most NPCs have about 3 lines of dialogue that reset every time you enter the area. They also tend to change dialogue depending on the events of the story. Even so, it follows this trope fairly faithfully.
      • Lampshaded in Tales of Symphonia when you talk to one of the king's bodyguards and he will say "Stop making me say the same thing over and over again!"
    • In the majority of Tales of... games, this is the case. However, NPCs often have varied activities depending on your actions, and they're frequently updated constantly throughout the game, to a remarkable degree.
    • Zelos gets different dialogue, at least from female NPCs...
    • Tales of Berseria subverts this by having each NPC highlighted with smiley face chat icons, which turn dark gray and into normal face icons to let the player know the NPC is done with his/her dialogue. NPCs will also shuffle in-between events, so with the exception of some key NPCs related to the plot, there will be a fresh batch of new NPCs to talk to each time you clear an event, etc. in each town. In addition, there are also special voice chats which are only said once and are highlighted with exclamation marks instead of smiley faces.
  • Lampshaded in Jay's Journey multiple times. One instance has an NPC repeatedly say his line, despite Jay's protests, when he's blocking a shortcut. In another, Jay himself pretends to be an NPC to throw The Dragon off track, and he does so by simply saying "Welcome to Lango!" completely out-of-context.
  • Lampshaded during Angela's opening scenario in Trials of Mana right after the fortune teller tells her to go to Wendel and seek advice from the Priest of Light. A nearby male NPC complains that "this fraud" told him the same thing despite his question being whether or not his next child would be a boy or a girl.
  • Averted in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. Asking an NPC the same question more than once will get an annoyed response of "We just talked about this" or something similar.
  • As expected from a Long Runner, townsperson chatter in the Suikoden series has evolved over time. After all, if the player is expected to Talk to Everyone, using everyone as world-building props can only make a better product. However, the character of Qlon, from the first game, deserves special mention: pretty much all he did as an NPC was say the name of the town he lived in. Once recruited, he moves to the Player Character's castle...and proceeds to happily parrot its name for the remainder of the game.
    • "Welcome to [Chosen Name] Castle! ...I feel so good!"
  • In the last .hack game, one NPC casually states that, since every other player says the same thing, this cannot be a real MMO (which it isn't, of course)!
  • Lampshaded in Anachronox, where a crazy character rants about how everyone repeats the same dialogue over and over. Naturally the other NPCs don't believe him. Later in the game, he'll give you a powerful Mystech as a way of making sure you remember who he is.
  • Freelancer isn't quite as bad, but NPCs have a boringly limited repertoire when it comes to verbal conversation with Edison Trent. Thank goodness you can at least skip the cutscenes when you have to interact with said NPCs.
  • At Gringotts in the Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone GBC game, the player can talk to two different goblins who both claim to be counting piles of thousands of rubies... but no matter how many times you talk to them, they're still counting up from ruby number 95.
  • MARDEK RPG plays this straight in most cases, but then it was made wholly by a single person (wholly including the graphics, music, plot, and programming), takes up about 22MB of space and has so many of those single-line characters it's justified. Besides, the single dialogues are often quite hilarious and are usually all different, making checking out every person in a location a fun thing to do. All of the ten or so playable characters in the third installment have one line for every location, though, and three pieces of dialogue unlocked with leveling. BioWare could be proud.
  • Slime Forest Adventure is an Edutainment Game developed by a single individual. The dialog for NPCs wasn't exactly a high priority.
  • Zig-Zagged Trope in Legend of Mana. Some NPCs are more expressive than others, and if you are patient enough you can cycle through all of the dialogue so that they repeat themselves.
  • In TaskMaker, the NPCs all have five lines: happy, neutral, angry and frightened, and parting words if killed. This trope is increased in the sequel The Tomb of the TaskMaker, in which many of the monsters only say "Arrr!" regardless of mood.
  • The beginning of the third dungeon in CIMA: The Enemy parodies this by starting off in a village. The main characters attempt to start conversations with the villagers until they quickly give up. Ironically, the game itself is guilty of it as well.
  • Annoyingly evident in Ys Book I & II, as each person has only one message for Adol at any given stage of the plot, and talking to them twice in a row will usually make them repeat their entire message, no matter how long.
  • In Mystery Case Files: The 13th Skull, trying to interact with characters when they don't have yellow arrows above their heads will result in this sort of a response. Since most of the characters in this game are less than friendly, the remarks are often of an unpleasant or even threatening nature.
  • Played fairly straight in most Shin Megami Tensei games, though often if you can revisit a place later dialogue will have changed at least a little to reflect the changing circumstances of the story. The Persona games avert this fairly consistently, especially in 3 and 4 where you spend almost a year in the same city or town and meet a lot of the same people every day. They might have the same dialogue for a week or two, but eventually it will change to reflect some personal event in their lives or plot development.
    • Persona 2 averts this on an even wider scale. Completing a dungeon or even mildly progressing the plot affects the dialog of nearly every single NPC in the game, and this happens at every location in the hub world and all individual shops, your party members included. The game also subverts this in that some NPC's dialog and even circumstances can be manipulated through the game's rumor system.
  • Averted to some extent in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Merchants and other important NPCS generally have half a dozen different things to say, some of them in response to quests you've performed for them.
  • Holy Umbrella has Lampshade Hanging on this in the Playable Epilogue, where one of the returning NPCs says: "This is the house next to the entrance to Thurgical City. I've been saying this sorta thing for the whole game!"
  • Undertale like literally almost every other trope ever connected to RPGs, messes with this one in several ways:
    • According to one of his phone calls, Papyrus has been working on "a few sentences to stand around and repeat." If you call him again in the same room after he says this, he just repeats "a few sentences to stand around and repeat."
    • The Echo Flowers exist to repeat lines from other characters over and over.
    • After discovering his ability to use determination to "save his game", Flowey eventually grows bored of interacting with the residents of the underground because of this trope. The reason he messes with the protagonist so much is that they, not being bound by this, are the most interesting thing to come into his life in a very long time.
  • In The Witcher 3, most generic NPCs have 2 lines that they repeat when you interact, sometimes if you just come close enough they speak. Sometimes these lines are sentences, single words ("Hm? Yeah? Hm? Yeah?"), grunts, or other sounds (coughing seems to be a common one in the poorer and dirtier areas)
  • In Ravensword: Shadowlands, NPCs have a habit of always repeating the exact same greeting when you initiate conversation with them.
  • CrossCode lampoons this, lampshades it, and plays with it to horrifying effect in the same game. The game takes place in an MMO, so the in-game NPCs have a limited amount of dialogue and possess a limited amount of dialogue and rarely take into consideration player responses, meaning it takes very little effort for the nearly-mute Lea to interact with them, leading to hilarious conversations - there's even a conversation at the beginning of Bergen Village where an NPC and an in-universe player recreate the Trope Namer, only with the player actually having more brain cells than Fighter and getting legitimately annoyed by the NPC's single line of dialogue. And then it gets horrifying when Lea is dumped into the Vermillion Wastelands, where a lot of NPCs are repeating bizarre things until you realize that these are actual in-universe players who are losing their minds due to being trapped in a hostile environment they can't escape or log out from.
  • Worthy of being mentioned for its complete and utter aversion of this trope is the Trails Series where various NPCs will have different dialogues whenever an event has passed. Or the fact that they're located in different areas compared to where they were previously. Some of them even have as many as seven to ten dialogue boxes before they repeat their last statement. All of which helps to sell the idea that these people have their own lives and stories going on around the player characters, whose main story quests are simply one of many such tales that are being told and happening in Zemuria. The fact that each and every character in the franchise has some form of ongoing tale in the background is actually one of the incentives for players to find them and talk to them to find out what's changed sicne the last time they saw them. Even some of your party members in the party hub will have different dialogues depending on where you're at in the story. Not only this, but the series has, to date, four different arcs, and certain of the NPCs even have their own stories that span multiple arcs. This ultimately results in scripts in the hundreds of thousands of words, and is a major contributor as to why it takes a year or more for each game in the series to be translated and localized outside of Japan after the initial release.
  • Invoked Trope in Super Neptunia RPG when the party arrives at Leanbox Harbor seeking the Resistance against Bombyx Mori, they are greeted by a woman who says "Hello. Welcome to Leanbox Harbor." Neptune comments that she has a hunch that if she talks to her again, she'll just say the same thing. Despite this, she decides to press her luck anyway and, sure enough...
    Woman: Hello there! Welcome to Leanbox Harbor.
  • In Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars, the town greeter from Nexton will only say his greeting lines. When you ask him for information on the dragon, he'll lean in as if to whisper something important to you, only to say, ""
  • The writers of the first Xenoblade Chronicles 1 game put an astonishing amount of work into this system. Every single NPC can be spoken with and cycles between two dialogue boxes at a time. These dialogues are unique to each individual character (even the hundreds of unnamed townspeople have their own bespoke dialogue), and they all update multiple times as the game's story progresses; the game ends up with thousands of individual text boxes. The updated dialogues are typically consistent with what the character said before, so players who make a concerted effort to back-track and Talk to Everyone can watch the stories of these random unnamed colonists unfold in parallel with the game.
    • Named and unnamed NPCs follow NPC Scheduling, spawning in and out of the world depending on the time of the game's 24-minute day/night cycle. This adds to the diversity of responses and makes it very difficult for completionists to be sure they've met and talked with every one of them.
    • Named NPCs are added to the game's Affinity Chart, and their dialogue can update in response to a change in their relationship with another NPC.
    • Some named NPCs will move to a different location and start a new life with the people there, either as a result of game's story events, or the player convincing them to move to Colony 6; their dialogue will obviously update to reflect these events. There are even some unnamed NPCs who do this, but the player would only recognize them if they had already spoken to them enough to get familiar with their speech patterns.

    Simulation Game 
  • Animal Crossing features six (eight in the newest installments) personality types for the Non Player Characters, each with their own unique interactions with the player or other NPCs. While this limits the repetitivity, if the player finds themselves with more than one of the same personality type in one town, it can get quite annoying to talk to all of their neighbors only to hear them all say the same thing. Another problem this creates is that the villagers will often repeat basic tutorials, such as how to shake fruit from trees or use tools.
    • This was at its worst during Wild World, where each villager was assigned one thing to say at the beginning of each hour and that's all they'd say during that hour. New Leaf gave each personality type a pool of things to talk about and randomizes which ones they'll say, so you'll still occasionally hear basic tutorials long after starting the game, but only rarely. The villagers were also given the ability to become progressively friendlier toward you as they get to know you better and also start getting annoyed if you talk to them too much in too short a period of time.
    • This became Fridge Horrific in Pocket Camp, when, during a Splatoon-themed event, Chip would react with his usual hunger for seafood when presented with the Inkling squid and Octoling octopi the player could catch.
    • New Horizons became almost instantly infamous for the handling of its first Bunny Day event, where not only were players inundated with the Easter eggs that can be used as crafting ingredients, but villagers seemed to only be interested in repeatedly telling them that eggs can be found by shaking trees and breaking rocks.
  • Played with in Millennia: Altered Destinies. When contacting one of your agents among the four races, they will either hold the same exact conversation with you each time you call them in that time period or will remember that you've already called them before, depending on how the event is scripted. While this can be attributed to Time Travel, this happens even if you haven't performed a time jump between conversations.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Assassin's Creed is ridiculously guilty of this, especially with guard dialogue. "You dare steal in my presence? That will cost you your life!" tends to get wearing after the tenth time. Probably the strangest part is that they had multiple actors record the exact same lines. So in different towns, you'll encounter different beggar women, with different voices and accents, yet they will both same the exact same piece of dialogue, word for word. Every town also has a street preacher reciting the exact same speech about standing up to King Richard's forces. Sure it makes sense that it repeats, as he reciting it to whatever crowds gather, but why is he the same in every city?
  • Thief
    • Mostly avoided in the original three games. Though there was some occasional repetition in what Non Player Characters (including guards) said, the dev team was consciously trying to avert this as much as was possible at the time. Many of them tend to spout a surprising amount of memorable lines.
    • The most recent iteration has strangely limited NPC dialogue. Guards will often repeat phrases ad nauseam, sometimes even while a cinematic is occurring. Of particular note is Garrett's first encounter with Orion, during which a guard outside will say his line over and over again in response to a line his friend did NOT say.
      Guard: Not enough for my liking. I can still see your face.
  • The Dishonored series:
    • In the first game, Dishonored, the player character is given a Heart that offers randomly selected comments about each environment, plot-relevant character, or NPC type. The Heart's dialog has been tweaked for the second game, with random Non Player Characters being given more consistent moral judgement and lines added to indicate when all possible comments about a subject have been made.
    • They also have a pool of dialog choices based on their type and current activity. Some lines get Call Backs in the DLC:
      • Guard: Think you'll get your own squad after what happened last night?
        DLC Guard: Sir, I just wanted to say, congratulations on getting your own squad!
      • Guard: Shall we gather tonight for whiskey and cigars?
        DLC Guard: Are whiskey and cigars all you ever think about?
    • Dishonored 2 introduces a new type of enemy called the Clockwork Soldier. Their dialog choices are pre-recorded audio by their creator intended for diagnostic and testing purposes.
      "Make a note. Remove this playback after the final field test."
      "This playback indicates some detection without certainty."
  • The Hitman World of Assassination Trilogy have an emphasis on Opportunities and Mission Stories, whereby certain NPC's have a conversation that gives you subtle hints about what to do, about game mechanics and/ or what the Target is currently doing, and what they're about to do. Other times it's just an NPC talking to another person about frustrations or other fluff to make the game world more alive. For example, in Paris, the lower floor security guards are jealous of the well-dressed, more dapper looking high-security guards, while in HAVEN Island a couple in the pool talks about Ljudmila Vetrova and her interest in Jason Portman.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Warframe: This is mostly avoided by the NPCs, whose dialogue changes depending on the situation (i.e. getting higher standing in Cetus or Fortuna will trigger friendlier responses than when you first arrived). This is played entirely straight by the Operators outside of cutscenes. They have a limited array of dialogue that plays randomly no matter what you're doing, leading to some awkward exchanges like "Phew, that was a close one" after you obliterate a room full of Mooks in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Splatoon 3: Played with. Callie has a few lines of random dialogue she'll repeat if you continuously talk with her, some of which get updated or replaced as you progress through the story. Among these lines are a few where she'll express shock or confusion over whether or not she's been repeating herself during your little talks inbetween levels.
    Callie: Wait. Did we have this exact conversation, or was that just a dream...

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown: The original game had this problem with Bradford's limited, often-repeating mission briefings, but Enemy Within rectified it somewhat by adding more descriptions.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • In The Godfather game, pretty much every civilian has only so few lines to use. It gets bad when random mobsters all say the same lines over and over. This becomes particularly noticeable when the player talks to them directly as each Family mobster has clearly different voices and lines in that case, but their passing and fighting dialog is all apparently been done by the same person.
  • Universal Studios Theme Park Adventure has this with the theme-park-goers. Most of the time. However, persevering through the lines of repeated dialogue may yield a few hilarious gems, including:

Non-video game examples:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • In a Filler arc the characters have to play a virtual-reality RPG, there is one example of this despite the apparent intelligence of most of the rest of the game - the characters attempt to cross a desert and fail, only to be greeted by an old man who tells them they need a specific card to cross the desert. The heroes try to get more information out of him but he just repeats the same line.
    • Another filler arc that featured many of the same elements revealed that Gozaburo Kaiba had a biological son, Noah, before adopting Seto and Mokuba. When Noah was in a car accident, Gozaburo uploaded his mind into a computer to save him and provided him with a virtual world to keep him occupied. He went to the trouble of making the world fairly detailed, but it had obvious limitations, this being one of them. In short, Noah is one of the few characters to actually be driven mad by this trope.
  • This is done in the Greed Island arc of Hunter × Hunter, where trying to ask an NPC specific questions that he doesn't know just results in a generic "...What?" response.
  • Level E: "Welcome to Tarsting Town!"
  • The cast of Love Hina encounter this when they end up in an RPG-like world.
  • In episode 5 of Log Horizon when Shiroe is discussing about non-player characters, the background shows a female NPC who keeps on saying "Welcome to the village of Arb" no matter what the players ask! This is used to underscore how the NPCs of post-Catastrophe Elder Tale subvert this trope; they have names and backstories and emotions.
  • In Hero Union BBS, Hunter is summoned to a retro video game called "Darkness Quest". During his attempts to communicate with the game's characters, he learns that every single NPC repeats the same lines of dialogue over and over again, much to his frustration.

    Comic Books 
  • Noob has the recurring non-player characters do this upon their introduction. For the rest, they seem to have a Dialogue Tree so complex that their Ungrateful Bastard attitude is the only verbal reminder of their nature.
  • In Top 10: The Forty Niners, Jetlad shares a train box with Private Iron, a robotic soldier who can only say the same few sentences over and over. Private Iron is later seen at the precinct being beaten in the interrogation room because police don't realize this and think he's willfully holding information out on them.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Back to the Future Part II features Marty walking into the "Cafe 80's" and is hounded by Ronald Reagan and Ayatollah Khomeini "video waiters" who repeat their recommendations forcefully until Marty shows the machines who's boss and declares that all he wants is "a Pepsi".
  • The Stepford Wives has a scene in which Joanna's friend keeps repeating the same couple of sentences despite her attempts to encourage her to snap out of it, leading her to catch on to the fact that she's been replaced by a robot, which she has caused to malfunction.
  • A variant occurs in Young Frankenstein. They take a train from New York to Transylvania. In the New York station, two background characters are having a bizarre conversation. In Transylvania, they have the exact same conversation, only they've both switched to German.
  • In eXistenZ, characters within the eXistenZ game respond only to specific pre-written lines of dialogue; if anything else is said to them, they simply repeat their previous line.
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle takes place in a video game that the characters are trapped in, with all the NPCs speaking solely in canned expository dialog or riddles. If they are interrupted by someone else, they simply pause momentarily before repeating their dialog. As such, Nigel cannot give nearly as much of an explanation as the characters want and flirting with the guards will not work.
  • The title character in The Truman Show starts being aware of the true nature of the town he lives in by observing the repetitive behavior of certain people around him - unlike the people he usually interacts with, who are skilled actors with a mix of scripted and improvised lines, they're extras that are just meant to give the appearance of a town full of people, so they just travel the same routes and do the same thing over and over.
  • In Free Guy each NPC has a coded line they say when a player passes to create ambience, such as Guy's "Don't have a good day, have a great day". Millie finds it annoying as it's a sign of just how underutilized her AI engine is. After learning he's just a program, Guy is furious as it's just more proof that he's not real.
  • Space Station 76. The TherapyBot doesn't actually offer any psychoanalysis; it just spits out a platitude whenever a key word is spoken. Captain Terry finds this out after he's ordered to take 20 hours of mandatory therapy after his "Close Personal Friend" is promoted.

  • Forever Gate: This is why humans don't respect the gols; they're only programmed to do one thing which means they can't have more than a superficial conversation.
  • In the fourth Magic 2.0 book, the characters trapped in Todd's game are forced to deal with this when encountering certain NPCs. The first time is a wizard, who keeps repeating the "call for adventure" half a dozen times until they say the right words. Other times, they deal with poorly-written scripted NPCs, who respond to questions with completely unrelated answers (apparently, Todd expected them to ask different questions).
  • Like a Fish Understands a Tree has Living Program Oemor, the only sentient character in his game, who has been programmed to fall in love with the player, Susan. Susan, George, Tracy, and Oemor finally beat the game together, and Oemor reaches the chamber where an NPC based on Susan is being held. However, she can only say "Oemor my love? Is that you? Have you come to save me? Oemor my saviour set me free so I can once again return to my land and my dear father" over and over again. Oemor, who has gotten to know the real Susan through her entries in an in-game diary, is devastated by how different "she" is in person.
  • Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon: Boxxo can't speak, but can instead play one of the select few messages. These are enough to at least let others know how he feels.
  • This is the case with some ghosts in Rivers of London; the ones Peter and Abigail call "Loopers" are just a mindless recording of the events leading to their death, while "Simulacra" have a limited ability to react to others that Pete specifically compares to video game characters. "Entities" have more developed personalities, although Peter still isn't sure they'd pass the Turing test.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Scrubs: Old M.C., only ever saying "bust a move." This does not go unnoticed.
    J.D.: ...part of me wants to talk to her, part of me wants to—
    Old M.C.: Bust a move?
    J.D.: You have a problem, sir! Seek help!
  • In 3rd Rock from the Sun, Dick first encounters Christmas on a large scale. A woman manning a Christmas donation stand says "Merry Christmas" whenever Dick puts a coin in the box. Obviously, that woman is coin-operated.
  • The RPG Episode of Warehouse 13 overlaps this with But Thou Must!. Pete and Claudia encounter an NPC based on Artie in Fargo's virtual reality game. Pete tries to grill him for information, but he keeps repeating the introductory dialogue until they say yes.
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • Whenever the Emergency Medical Hologram is activated it starts with the same stock phrase, "Please state the nature of the medical emergency." Later in the series, he has the opportunity to change the phrase but decides to stick with it.
      EMH: Please state the nature of the medical emergency.
      Torres: Why do you always have to say that?
      EMH: I can only speculate about my programmer's motives. Perhaps he thought I would be summoned for... important reasons?
    • The episode "Heroes and Demons" mostly takes place in a holodeck program of Beowulf. Each time a new crewman enters the program, the holodeck characters start with the same dialogue, even though their programming is sophisticated enough to hold a realistic conversation. The scriptwriters specifically used this trope to remind the audience of computer role-playing games.
    • Likewise in "Worse Case Scenario" which is based around a holodeck program simulating a Maquis mutiny. The program always starts with Chakotay approaching the player character in a corridor on the way to the turbolift and starting the same conversation.
    • In the holodeck program The Adventures of Captain Proton, Dr Chaotica's head minion Lonzak greets any new player by demanding they "Halt, in the name of Chaotica!" Players can either choose to be taken prisoner and brought directly to Chaotica, or fight Lonzak and then sneak into the Fortress of Doom via the Secret Underground Passage.
    • In "Nemesis", Chakotay is shot down on a planet where handsome guerillas are fighting monstrous aliens who commit atrocities For the Evulz. He's taken to a village where a young girl greets Chakotay by placing a garland of flowers around his neck, and later decides to fight alongside the guerillas after seeing her and the other villagers dragged off to be executed. Turns out the whole scenario is designed to brainwash Chakotay and other conscripts into hating the enemy. Chakotay is taken back to the village at the end of the episode only to find it as good as new and is shocked when the exact same girl greets him in the exact same manner.
  • In the Arrow episode "Inmate 4587", Oliver wakes up every morning in his cell to the same guard saying "Morning, 4587. Beautiful day."
  • Studio C in "Mike Tyson Punch Out" points this out with Doc, as Little Mac demands he give him some actually advice instead of four stock phrases.
    Doc: "Listen Mac, Dodge his Punch and Counter Punch!" "Dance like a fly, Bite like a Mosquito!" "Yes You C—"
    Little Mac: YOU BOOKED A FIGHT WITH MIKE TYSON! He's the World Heavyweight Champion and I weight 107 pounds. So this is how I die! Goodbye Doc! I hate you forever and always!
    Doc: "Join the Nintendo Fan Club today!"
    (Little Mac gives him a look)

  • Occurs fairly often in Data East's Batman pinball, due to the small number of voice clips available. Hearing the Joker declare "Oh, there'll be a hot time in the old town tonight" gets tiring after the fifth iteration...
  • Data East's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has the same problem. Hope you like hearing "Serious pizza!" a lot, because by god you will.
  • Can occur in Diner if the players take too long to fill a customer's order.
    Boris: "Hey! Get lead out!"
  • Cue Ball Wizard is notorious for constantly calling the player to shoot the ramp.
    Shooter: "You sure need that ramp shot."
  • This is a frequent complaint against Data East's Lethal Weapon 3, especially with Leo Getz's (Joe Pesci) lines.
    Leo: "Okay, okay, okay..."
  • Played with in Stargate; while the instructional callouts can get repetitive, holding down both flipper buttons before launching a new ball will reduce their frequency.
  • Hitting an already-lit Hat Target in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends will prompt Rocky to yell "Wrong hat!"... repeatedly.
  • The "Skulduggery" table of Full Tilt! Pinball repeats its hoary old pirate quotes fairly frequently.
    "Aye, walk the plank!"
  • Shaq Attaq is annoyingly infamous for its highly-repetitive callouts.
    "Shoot the basket!"

  • Most characters in the Cool Kids Table game The Wreck only say one thing, but they tend to be long speeches. When Oran Hibley is asked to repeat a specific part of his speech he instead starts the whole thing over, leading Josh to respond "Mash A! Mash A!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • This can be a sign that mockery bugs are about. Anyone consumed by a mockery monarch will be converted into a drone that appears like they did in life, but has only confused, fragmented memories of their previous existence. This causes them to repeat one particular phrase like "Midnight and all's well!" or "Here's your change!" regardless of context, while they do things like take empty buckets to and from the town well or keep chopping firewood to useless splinters. If confronted, a mockery drone might shed its humanoid shell in a burst of gore and attack as a human-headed giant centipede, all while it repeats the only sentence it remembers.
    • The Planescape setting describes petitioners like this. They are the souls of the dead who have incarnated on a plane that matches their Character Alignment in life, or the home of their god. They're very fixated on embodying their alignment and eventually merging with the plane or their god's realm, and so any attempt to deal with most petitioners will very quickly swing back around into this as they're so monomaniacal.

    Web Animation 
  • Unforgotten Realms: This one was played with in the first episode. Rob, having decided to voice most of the characters, played an NPC "realistically": only saying one thing; this went on until Mike corrected him. And in the next episode, there was an NPC who could only say "Press B to jump", and in fact continued to say it when no one was talking to him. Who then died accidentally, at Mike's character's hands.
  • In The Adventures Of Ledo And Ix, the titular pair's visit to a town turns sour when they discover that every citizen is "automated," mindlessly repeating the same few sentences or frames of animation. One of the few times the trope isn't Played for Laughs.
    Ledo: Get some sleep. You need the hit points.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Used intentionally in Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles as your first hint something is seriously wrong with the citizens in a town. Every single one remarks "Hello. Lovely weather we are having, isn't it?" in an emotionless tone with no expression. The unit is thoroughly freaked out by the uncanny nature of the people while T'Phai is freaked out by humanity's odd obsession with the weather. Of course, it turns out the citizens aren't exactly human...
  • Steven Universe: In "Rose's Room" Steven accidentally creates a facsimile of his town which, being too large and complicated for Rose's Room to handle, glitches. One result is that the people he creates just say one or two simple sentences based on what Steven thinks they would say. The fake version of Greg seems a bit more developed, probably because Steven knows him so well, but after a few minutes begins to break down into nonsensical platitudes and air guitar riffs.
  • In an episode of Rick and Morty, the titular characters plus Morty's dad, Jerry, get trapped in an elaborate alien simulation as part of a plot to scam Rick. Jerry was picked up by accident, so the aliens set his simulation to run on minimum capacity, which means that he keeps running into the same three NPCs over and over again, complete with said NPCs repeating the same phrase. Jerry fails to notice.
    Senior Citizen: Slow down!
    Attractive Woman: Looking good.
    Mail Man: (fist pumps) Mah man!

    Real Life 
  • Customer support call centers are often given a script that they must follow no matter what. This gets very irritating for someone who gets shuffled around departments and have to answer the same questions over and over again. It's even worse if it's not a live person at the other end but a phone bank Dialogue Tree.
  • Parrots can speak, but being animals, to them it is just a sound that they repeat whenever they like. Typically, depending on the species and how much you say certain words, they also learn only three or five words or sentences in a lifetime. You can only hear "Polly wanna cracker?" so many times before it begins to get a bit annoying, and God help you if they pick up on your swearing.
  • In Moebius, Improv Everywhere stage this in real life.

I like swords.note 


Welcome to the Beach Shack

Eiko and Squid Girl travel into town to start their adventure before coming across NPCs repeating dialogue.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / WelcomeToCorneria

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