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Running Gag / Video Games

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  • Pick a BioWare game - any BioWare game - and there's guaranteed to be a reference somewhere to "Go for the Eyes, Boo! Go for the Eyes!"
  • Deadly Rooms of Death: In Journey to Rooted Hold, a series of "runners" attempt to relay a message, which loses information each time it get's passed on. The City Beneath has two gossipers who chat about Beethro's latest escapade. The Second Sky has the Critic, who follows Beethro everywhere to make sarcastic comments about his swordplay at every opportunity.
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  • Sonny has one about Felicity knifing Veradux in the face. The first time they meet, he almost lines up a shot and she throws a knife at him. The second time they meet, she throws a knife at him as she escapes, prompting a shout of "ow! My face! Again!". When she shows up later and joins your party, Sonny comments "quick, cover your face.". She also has an attack in-game that inflicts a debuff described as the victim having a knife in its face.
  • Sam And Max: The second ever example of Sam letting Max answer the phone (Look in the Sam and Max entry in Western Animation for the other) occurs in the last episode of Telltale's second episodic season. Hell freezes over, at which point the phone starts ringing and Sam just stands by and lets Max answer the phone. Max also won the Nobel Peace Prize, and Sybil lets him be the official at her wedding.
    • During the Telltale games episodes, you can ask Bosco for various ridiculous items, which he almost invariably doesn't have, including "hats in the shape of a cow udder", "Self respect" ("Ha, got you!" "No, I understood the question, all too well."), "Vegetables in the shapes of naturalists" (Which is a shoutout to the first game, "Sam and Max hit the road") "Ketchup" (which he does have, but it takes him a second to realize he was asked about an actual thing), and "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (to which his answer was "Who's asking?"). In the last episode of Season 1, Sam asks for items which would have made every previous episode trivial (except the second, where the item either would have been useless or wouldn't have existed yet). He has all of them, and you later find them right behind the lottery tickets.
      • In season 2, he's not running a store any more, but you can still torment him by asking him, even when he's naked in hell. In the first episode, Sam asks for "passive aggressive payback disguised as innocuous customer inquiry?"
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  • In Tales of the Abyss, every time the party needs to recap anything for an NPC, Jade makes Guy explain. There's no obvious reason why Guy should get stuck with the task. (Mercifully, the actual explanation occurs during a Fade to Black.)
  • Whenever the party gets involved in something bad in Tales of Vesperia, expect Yuri to remark that he must be cursed.
    • "The sign of Victory!"
  • Tales of Symphonia has a few: Raine's cooking being terrible (carrying on from a gag that started with Tales of Phantasia's Arche), her fear of water, Colette apologising at every little thing, Lloyd's hatred of Dwarven Vow #7 ("Justice and love will always win!"), Zelos flirting with every girl he meets, Sheena (and Colette's) clumsiness, Raine's love of archaeology, Lloyd's "Give me your name and I'll give you mine" line he uses to anyone who asks him who he is (lampshaded at one point when Genis asks why he didn't say it and Lloyd responds "It's not worth it"), Genis being smart (almost to the point of Insufferable Genius) and Lloyd being dumb, etc.
    • A small gag that occasionally occurs in the Z-button skits involving Zelos and Sheena, after the former says something perverted and/or insulting towards the latter:
    Sheena: You better shut up or I'll smack you!
    Zelos: Don't say it after you've smacked me!
  • A recurring joke in Tales of Graces is the messed-up "We are... awesome!" victory skit. Variants include Pascal hogging the screen, Hubert's glasses almost getting stepped on, and even Asbel lamenting that his team is unable to coordinate.
    • Asbel's desk. It starts off messy and stays that way. Going back to it has him comment how he needs to clean it. Even after 7 years and 6 months... it's still messy.
    Asbel: (thinking)"One of these days I'll clean this desk up."
  • The Tales Series also has some jokes running between games. Observe the following:
    Colette: Our weapons are - love!
    Genis: Justice! And?
    Kratos: Ugh...hope.
    Luke: Our weapons are status-!
    Jade: Scheming!
    Anise: Playing dirty
    Estelle: Our weapons are love!
    Yuri: Justice!
    Luke: You're weak!
    Guy: You're a hack!
    • ...and then mix it up with a dash of Cloudcuckoolander and we get this madness in Tales of Vesperia:
    Yuri: You're weak.
    Karol: You're a hack!
    Estelle: You're whack...teehee!
    • Also there's poor Veigue, who, after adding a dash of Ascended Meme and Big Word Shout, can be depended on for a dramatic KUREAAAAAAA in any cameo appearance. He doesn't do it in Tales of Graces, however. For some reason, he's also lurking in the background of every single Tales of Theatre 5-minute short.
    • There's also a random one poking fun at Perpetual Frowner Asch. In Tales of the Abyss the eternally dependable snark king Jade says "you look like you swallowed a bug...oh wait, you always look like that." And then in Tales of Vesperia, you can find a signboard that details the fighting styles of all the Abyss party members - but all Asch's entry says is "always looks angry."
    • Much like Gundam and their tendency to cast Daisuke Namikawa as their would-be Scrappies, Tales has a recurring gag to assign English dub VA Liam O'Brien as the Smug Snake minor villain that could end up as a Hate Sink.
    • Dhaos' susceptibility to the "Indignation" spell can be seen as this as well, with it always dealing severe damage and always making him shout This Cannot Be! when it's cast in any crossover game he's in. Even his expy Sekundes from Tales of Eternia ends up a victim of this.
  • Starting with SimCity 2000, most incarnations of The Sims franchise feature the phrase "Reticulating splines" each time the game starts up.
    • This running gag became so popular that a number of completely unrelated games from other companies now make references to it. Kerbal Space Program (along with many other games) will sometimes show the line on its Loading Screen, and Minecraft has it as one of its random splash messages. Meanwhile, Don't Starve apparantelly spends some time at startup "reticulating pines." This has practically become a running gag in video games as an industry.
    • SimCity also has a strange fascination with llamas, starting from the medium simulation speed setting in 2000 ("Llama"). 3000 had a llama giving you the Tip of the Day, in The Sims the minor-league team where you could play in the sports career is The Llamas, and the llama love is brought back in Sims 2: University (the llama is Sim State University's mascot). SimCity 4 kicks this up a notch with a cheat code which turns your advisers into llamas. In Sim Life, one of the default animals that you can put on a world is the Llama and the game's tutorial even has you use them during the tutorial. In adition, in the status screen when you check an animal, one of the random moods they can have is "I just saw a llama!"
    • SimCity 3000 also has running gags with kitty kibble shortage, broccoli (carried over to SimCity 4), and Fourth Wall breakage.
    • SimCity 4, meanwhile, has running gags about you living a life full of luxuries.
    • Spore has an homage to this line — if you're loading a game in the Creature Phase, one of the phrases is "Reticulating spines".
    • The Sims 3 continues with this running gag, as well as the one with Llamas.
  • The reviewer The Spoony One was pissed that The Thing PC Game had so many fuseboxes you had to waste time on to open doors, and had a "Fuse Box Count" that popped up whenever you saw one. Since then, it pops up whenever you see a fuse box in any other game.
    • He also reused the Hollywood Squares gag in his Let's Play of SWAT 4, shouting "You FOOL!" whenever the AI partners dropped a flashbang in his face.
  • Speaking of spooniness, Final Fantasy IV has a strange example in that the running gag is for every remake, direct sequel, and Call-Back to the original "Final Fantasy II" translation as opposed to every subsequent game. Every time, no exceptions, the phrase in question is "You spoony bard!" Other dialogue has been changed in every redoing of the game, but not that single line. It carries over into Dissidia, where Tellah is one of the helper characters an refers to Edward as a spoony bard. But then it goes the extra mile in Duodecim, where Kefka gets in on the action, referring to Kuja as a spoony bard in some of the text-box dialogue.
  • Barrett's train metaphor comes up a few times, though it's only a memetic occurrence.
  • Final Fantasy VIII has a subtle one: no one ever shakes Zell's hand. He'll offer and be ignored. Everyone else will get the offer to shake hands (Squall usually won't do it) except Zell. Later on, he can occasionally be seen wiping his hand off before offering it out, thinking his hand just might be dirty. However, wiping his hand on his butt in front of whoever he wants to shake hands with is not any more effective at getting someone to shake it. He's eventually put out by this, but, being Zell, shakes it off. He can't get any hot dogs either (flavored bread in the original).
  • Tidus waking up on a new shore after Sin attacked; it happens like 7 times over the course of the game. It's also the manner in which he is revived in Final Fantasy X-2.
  • In Final Fantasy XII several characters refer to the Dalmascian Resistance as the insurgents, prompting Ashe to correct them.
  • Final Fantasy XIII: Barthandelus knows exactly what buttons to push to piss the main party off. He manages to push Snow's button (his fiancee, Serah) every time he is encountered, the result always being Snow charging head-on at him, only to be violently bounced back off a Beehive Barrier. It works all three times. The man never learns.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has FATEs, which are random events that happen throughout the overworld that involve monsters or other enemies players have to defeat waves of or take on a boss. Each FATE has a description and several of them will always poke fun at the Lalafell being eaten or are in the danger of being eaten/abused due to the race's small childlike size.
    • There's also a running gag with Gerolt where every time you go to him to make a relic weapon, he's always forced to do so in order to pay off his debt to Loan Shark Rowena. This happens in each expansion and when you reach the end, Gerolt's debt is paid but he incurs another one equal to or greater than his old debt.
  • For Final Fantasy in general, we have Gilgamesh, a recurring Plucky Comic Relief boss character that is technically the same guy from Final Fantasy V (Not a rehash, the same exact person), just caught in the endless void of dimension hopping who shows up in other games in the franchise. Even those that were made before Final Fantasy V.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Throughout the series, the characters debate on the correct denomination of a ladder (ladder or stepladder?) whenever you examine such a object. The ladders first appeared for flavour, then just for the sake of the Running Gag, and never had any relevance to the cases, except in the third case of Apollo Justice, where examining a (step)ladder clues you into a possible escape route for the murderer.
    • There's also a running joke in the first game about how difficult Edgeworth seems to find getting witnesses to state their names and professions.
    • There is also Wright presenting the Attorney's badge, something that nearly every NPC in the first game reacts to (future games restrict this to giving reactions to only recurring characters), often questioning why he is doing so (possible joke at the process of Try Everything). Lampshaded in Apollo Justice.
    • And then there's Gumshoe telling him that real men wear a police badge.
    • Detective Gumshoe and his constantly falling salary. He gets it raised at the end of AAI2. He takes a while to understand what just happened.
    • In AAI, we have Edgeworth always yelling "Nnnghoooh" during moments of distress. And Edgeworth will cringe at it every time Kay Faraday brings it up to make fun of him.
    • Also there is Phoenix's defense line about unidentified person in a costume/mask: "Anyone could wear that! Even me!" Recurring, but not exactly a gag until it hilariously culminates in him saying it about waitress' uniform in the third game. The Judge asks that he stops.
    • Phoenix cross-examining animals. First with a parrot in the first game, then an orca during the DLC episode of Dual Destinies. In Spirit of Justice the judge asks Phoenix if he's going to do the same thing to a dog, but Phoenix declines, "at least this time".
  • In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, no one knows who Luigi is, even Bowser, who calls him "Mr. Green Mario Brother Guy". Likewise, in Paper Mario 2, where Mario was repeatedly mistaken for Luigi in one side quest even Luigi's biggest fan thinks Mario (dressed in green at the time) is Luigi, which in a moment of hilarity the real Luigi shows up which the fan accuses Luigi of being the impostor and calls the police.
  • In every game in the Paper Mario series except Paper Mario: Sticker Star, there is some variation of a group of wizards whose names all start with Merlon who always tell some sort of long, boring story, during which Mario falls asleep. When he wakes up, they ask "Are you even listening?" to which Mario replies with a nod.
    • And there's also the tendency for important elderly characters to not say Mario's name right.
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door had at least one NPC say Mario's name wrong, mistake him for someone else or have him go by an alias in each chapter, up until Chapter 7. Examples include the "Luigi" example mentioned above from Chapter 6, plus a detective who assumes he's Luigi because he has "overalls, cap and a moustache", an elderly koopa mispronouncing his name as "Murphy" in Chapter 1, the elder Puni calling him Marty-Oh and Mario going by the alias "The Great Gonzales" in Chapter 3 (in this case, the partner you meet in the chapter refers to Mario as "Gonzales" for nearly the entire game).
  • In a few Mario games (including Super Mario Sunshine and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door), the fact that Princess Peach has been kidnapped AGAIN does not escape notice, and makes for a quick joke.
    Toad NPC: Mario! Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser! No one could have predicted this!
  • Onmyōji: Kyūmei-neko's utter inability to defeat Seimei.
    • Kohaku's insisting to other people (mainly Hiromasa) that it is a fox, not a dog.
  • The characters from the Atelier series seem to have an unhealthy fascination with barrels, and will shout "Barrel!" every time the player examines one.
  • In Super Robot Wars:
  • Sound designer Dan Forden's infamous "Toasty!" cry in the Mortal Kombat series.
  • "Metal Gear?!".
  • Left 4 Dead has Francis' hatred of everything he encounters, which goes from where they are ("I hate forests", "I hate hospitals") to everything else ("I hate Ayn Rand", "I hate the Internet"). He should probably change his name to Bonecrusher.
    • He eventually Lampshades this by saying "You know what I don't hate? I don't hate vests."
    • Also lampshaded in Crash Course between Francis and Zoey:
      Zoey: Francis, they have the latest issue of Hating Everything Magazine here!
      Francis: I hate latest issues!
    • Left 4 Dead 2: Did ah ever tell you 'bout the time my buddy Keith...
    • A survivor shooting a helicopter pilot because he was an infected and causing them to crash seems to be the running gag for the two Left 4 Dead games.
  • Half-Life 2 has Barney Calhoun continually making oblique references to some incident involving a cat and a teleporter, possibly in homage to The Fly (1958).
  • Mentions of Wirt's wooden leg in the Blizzard game Diablo have spread to the other Blizzard game Warcraft (and all sequels/spinoffs that follow).
    • Speaking of Blizzard, they also have a running joke about how Darkness called... but I was on the phone, so I missed him. It started as Stop Poking Me! quotes from a bunch of villainous characters in Warcraft III, and now spread all over Heroes of the Storm.
    • There's also the "Secret Cow Level" in Warcraft, which even found its way to one of World of Warcraft's loading screen. "There is a secret cow level in this game! it's called Mulgore!"
  • The Overlord series and pumpkins. In the original game, it was restricted to your minions being able to wear them as makeshift helmets and a farmer who treated them as sinister Companion Cubes. Raising Hell upped the ante by adding Killer Pumpkins and the Mama Pumpkins that create them. From then on, pumpkins and characters bizarrely preoccupied with them have been a comedic fixture of the series. Gnarl put it best in Overlord: Dark Legend when he said "Damn pumpkins! Laying around all day... being orange."
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog series, starting with Sonic Adventure 2, Amy thinks someone else is Sonic, runs up behind them out of nowhere, and hugs them, and seconds later Amy sees she was mistaken.
  • In Project X Zone, Frank West will try to sneak pictures of attractive women he comes across. In the case of Kaguya Nanbu, he sneaks five pictures.
  • Apparently, Nasu took a great deal of interest in the character popularity polls of Tsukihime and the fandom's reaction to certain characters who have been Demoted to Extra, becoming the source jokes in the fandom and ran with it in Kagetsu Tohya. The result? Ciel constantly paints or outright breaks the fourth wall out of depression for her low popularity. In the side story Ciel Sensei, she eventually teams up with Kohaku (whose Batman Gambit nature was also downplayed and turned into a joke) against Arcueid because she's the only heroine to score lower in popularity. Satsuki is eventually kicked out because she never actually got heroine status and can't answer questions about her route.
  • On the comp.sys.sinclair newsgroup, every "what is this game?" request will get at least one reply to the effect that "it's definitely not Stonkers". This is sometimes subverted, e.g. if the game described is a Platform Game, someone might reply "it's definitely not Jet Set Willy".
  • Knights of the Old Republic has HK-47's "Meatbags!" and general insanity, along with Mission's repeated use of "Bantha poodoo."
    • In the second game, Atton makes an astute observation: "Why is it that everywhere we go, I end up in a cell?"
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, Vette mentioning her fear of dying in whatever situation the Sith Warrior happens to be in.
    • The somewhat frequent appearance of the dark sided dialogue option [shock him/her] for the Sith Inquisitor.
  • Given your party's status as a walking band of racial stereotypes in Neverwinter Nights 2, some running gags are unavoidable: Khelgar's constant belligerent drunkenness, his constant insistence that Elanee is underfed, Shandra's constant complaints about being a farmer stuck on an adventure, and Grobnar. No more need be said about that last one.
  • Most of the 3D Zelda games have a running gag in which the final boss can be defeated, or at least distracted, with normal household items:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past let you beat Aganim who was Ganon in disguise by deflecting his shots with a bug-catching net. This was later referenced directly in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which lets you distract Demise, the Demon King with the Bug Net and deflect lightning with it.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time allows you to swipe an Empty Bottle at Ganondorf's magic ball attack and deflect it, so you don't have to use a sword. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker repeats this against the Phantom Ganon fight. Finally, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess allows you to distract Ganondorf by taking out your Fishing Rod, allowing you to get in some free hits.
    • In most games, attacking the cuccos will result in Link being mauled by an invincible army of them until he leaves the area. However, in Twilight Princess, attacking them will allow you to swap bodies for ten seconds.
    • In Skyward Sword, Fi always makes reference to the Bokoblins' obsession with "fashionable undergarments" when analyzing them.
    • Tingle and his obsession with fairies and driving you bankrupt.
  • The Grand Theft Auto games have several running gags within their in-game radio stations and commercials. These include:
    • A war between the United States and Australia.
    • "Freddy needs a nanny, because he's been a very naughty boy!"
    • DJ/Talk show host, Lazlow (who's actually a real life talk show host who wrote some of the dialogue for the game), getting fired from one radio station and hired by another by the next game.
  • Black Isle / Troika has regular instances of Squick / Black Humor bestiality. Fallout 2 has an omnisexual farmer's son. Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura has a sheep as a worker in a brothel (that the player can purchase the services of) and Temple of Elemental Evil has a cut content brothel that also included an option with a rooster.
  • Linear RPG has Kliche waking up wet every single time.
  • In Bayonetta, Enzo's Cool Car never seems to get through an angel fight intact, and sometimes, Bayonetta herself is the reason the car gets wrecked. Enzo also nearly gets his balls crushed about once a game, once by a falling gravestone and once by Jeanne's bike. Poor guy.
  • It is guaranteed that any more games in the Dragon Age franchise are going to include Sandal standing in a room full of dead Darkspawn/demons including multiple Ogres and Pride Demons, and responding to any questions about what happened with "Enchantment!"
    • Shale's hatred of birds, to the point of a shopkeeper in the second game telling Hawke a story about a massive decline in the Ferelden pigeon population.
    • All the suggested/past offscreen references to Oghren taking his pants off, always reacted to with either shock or horror.
    • Alistair's catchphrase "Swooping is bad" from the first game became this in the second. Whenever someone as much as used the word "swoop", somebody is bound to bounce it back (e.g. by Alistair's himself in his cameo and by Varric during his random banter with Merrill in the Legacy DLC).
    • By the time of the third game, everyone is creeped out about how Nugs, little docile pig-rabbit creatures, have hands on all four appendages. Even the giant rideable mount versions, known as "nuggalopes".
  • Mass Effect 2 has a turian outside the Wards that repeatedly tries to get through the security checkpoint. Every one of his exchanges with the security officer ends with him saying "You humans are all racist!"
    • Similarly, the first game has the human trying to return a product at a shop in the wards.
      • He's still there in the second game. Two years later.
      • In Mass Effect 3, you can help him get his refund for his 15-credit toaster.
    • Reporter Khalisa bint Sinan Al-Jilani getting punched due to Shepard having had enough of her adjective nouns. In a bonus video from the Lair Of The Shadow Broker DLC, she gets punched out by a krogan. And, if you got back later, by a volus! BioWare must really hate reporters like her... In Mass Effect 3, she also tries to punch Shepard back. Shepard can respond by headbutting her.
    • Any time you happen upon dead bodies with Grunt, there's a good chance Grunt will ask if anyone else is feeling hungry. Given a Call-Back in the third game if Grunt survives holding off the Ravagers.
    • Commander Shepard's dancing being hilariously atrocious.
    • Javik's repeated Cultural Posturing towards the "Primitives" in this Cycle and telling Shepard to throw things out the airlock.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, Roxas can't really go to HalloweenTown without getting a pumpkin bomb to the face courtesy of Lock, Shock, and Barrel. Also, Ven's drowned goldfish.
  • In Portal, The Rat Man's obsession with cake. "The Cake Is a Lie!"
  • Portal 2 has truckloads of them.
    • The automated announcer's comments about various "apocalyptic scenarios" during the first test chambers.
    • GLaDOS taunting Chell about her adoption and Parental Abandonment. This is also a Call-Back to an offhand claim GLaDOS made in the first game. Similarly, GLaDOS taunting Chell about her supposed weight issues. Wheatley tries to get in on these gags later, only for GLaDOS to hilariously shoot him down.
    • The Weighted Companion Cube is a running gag across the entire franchise, but in one particular test chamber, GLaDOS uses Rule of Three to Yank the Dog's Chain by repeatedly disintegrating it.
    • Chell being a Heroic Mime and the other characters commenting on it. Similarly, Chell supposedly having brain damage from extended hibernation.
    • Wheatley is a living fountain of running gags: his belief that if he performed an action he would die, his ineptitude at hacking, his inability to accomplish things without Chell's help, GLaDOS' insistence on calling him a moron/idiot, his ineptitude at designing test chambers, his ineptitude with Death Traps, and more. Let's just say that his ineptitude in general is the biggest running gag of the entire game.
  • Suikoden series has a few, most notably the "Schtoltenheim Reinbach III" pseudonym and Viki sneezing and teleporting herself to another game events during the victory feasts at the end of the games.
  • One of the missions in City of Heroes sends the player character(s) to rescue a Dr. Stephen Fayte, who is constantly being mistaken for a powerful sorcerer even though he is "merely a gifted surgeon, and nothing more." His captors repeat this phrase verbatim several times when he's found, as if they're under the influence of a Jedi Mind Trick ... but that's impossible, for Fayte is merely a gifted surgeon, and nothing more.
  • Halo: Reach probably qualifies, given the number of times after a cutscene Noble Six is getting up off the ground and picking up a gun.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Series wide examples:
    • In Morrowind, there are three separate instances of nude Nord barbarians, as a result of them offending the witch they were escorting. Later spoofed in the Tribunal expansion, where you find another nude Nord who is quite vocal about having never escorted a witch; he's nude because Mournhold is hot.
  • Fallout features a running joke and Mythology Gag in the form of Harold, a FEV mutant with a tree called Bob (or is it Herbert?) growing out of his head. He shows up again in Fallout 2 and makes jokes and references to the first game. Finally in Fallout 3 He shows up again, completely mad from his 200 years of life and still very friendly.
    • Fallout: New Vegas also has Cass and a few other NPC's who will make jokes and snide remarks about events from the second game.
  • In EarthBound, the cameraman that appears frequently will, rather than using the stock phase of "Say cheese!", tells the player to "Say 'fuzzy pickles!'"
  • News tickers during pre-mission cutscenes in the first two Splinter Cell games make mention of a US Army general named Fisk, who suffers his third heart attack in the first game, and then his fourth and final one in Pandora Tomorrow.
  • Every single Dragon Quest game has a reference to "Puff Puff", at least in the Japanese version. It's seldom spelled out directly, but in most cases implied to be Marshmallow Heaven.
    • Additionally, every game that includes a Dharma Temple/Alltrades Abbey will have, somewhere in said Temple/Abbey, and old man who wants to be a young girl. It varies from game to game and translation to translation whether he simply wants to be a little girl or a Bunny Girl, though.
  • Pokémon
    • The starting town having a fat guy marveling at the power of modern technology/science, usually with a nod to whatever new feature has been added to that generation of games.
    • The ever-present fisherman with his team of six Magikarp.
    • A variant of "I like to wear shorts! They're comfy and easy to wear!" has showed up in every generation.
    • Every game features a Hiker who starts each battle by laughing and ends it by telling you he has hay fever.
    • Spinoff games Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia and Guardian Signs both repeatedly mention people being "bound up with rope tied a smidgeon on the tight side."
  • Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai! has several:
    • One such example would be the dog whistles that each member of the family carries which, when blown, will have Wanko come running if she is within earshot. Unfortunately, this response is so deeply ingrained that her feet respond automatically, causing it to often be used against her, particularly when exam time comes around and there's studying to be done. Exploited for Mood Dissonance during her route, when Yamato uses it to locate her after she's run away from home.
    • The anime has one for Miyako starting episode 2 - each episode begins with an attempt by her to win Yamato's heart through increasingly ridiculous means, all of which fail.
  • Live A Live includes a pair of son-father (son will always be called Watanabe or variations of thereof). In various timelines, the father will always have the worst of luck of being killed randomly and then his son would hilariously cry over his death and drag him away. They could be encountered naturally, or require some tinkering in how you play.
  • At the end of each Jakand Daxter game, before Jak and Keira can kiss, Daxter shouts out "Hey!" and interrupts them. The third game has Jak doing this to Daxter, while Jak X subverts this.
Daxter: Hey! Will ya kiss her already? Sheesh!
  • Ratchet & Clank:
    • From Up Your Arsenal onwards, the series has a running gag in the form of Dr. Nefarious's unfortunate tendency to seize up and broadcast Lance and Janice, the plot of which becomes increasingly ridiculous with each new episode.
    • Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time: The Great Clock is located at the exact centre of the universe... Give or take fifty feet.
  • For some time now, the change list for every update in Minecraft has referenced Herobrine, a character from a creepypasta that reached meme status in the community.
  • Smith the horse in Ultima, who consistently will give you a hint to help you solve the previous game.
  • The Reality-On-The-Norm series has a human Running Gag in form of the crazy bum who keeps switching to a new identity every game. His identities include soldiers, aliens, fictional characters, a Jewish Mother, etc.
  • An odd version of this from Fire Emblem Awakening, where the biggest version of it was actually the earliest and before the joke had been established! Kellam the Knight has a running gag in the game of being incredibly easy to overlook considering he wears massive amounts of armor. One character even comments "How can you be so stealthy in all that armor?" They routinely make references to this joke, from many of his spoken lines, to his supports and appearances in cut scenes, and even his epilogue. It even features in gameplay - he's the first character whom you need Chrom to talk to in order to recruit, and it's entirely possible for a player who doesn't know this to miss recruiting him entirely! Then if one takes a good look at the cover art, they see someone whose face is mostly blocked by the main characters knee.
  • In the Nancy Drew game series from Her Interactive, you seem to be following a still-unseen weirdo named Sonny Joon from one game to the next. Wherever an investigation takes you, doodling, UFO-obsessed Sonny is likely to have worked there, vacationed there, or corresponded with someone there, only to leave some time before your arrival. Also, references to Koko Kringles and Krolmeister show up at least once in each game
    • From an Ascended Meme, Nancy saying "It's locked." in her very deadpan voice.
  • In Sakura Wars, Erica Fontaine constantly bumping into things, complete with Circling Birdies.
  • Pikmin 2: Louie is obsessed with food, to the extent that he is far more concerned with documenting the culinary uses of the various predators he encounters than working out how to survive when faced with them. This comes to a head in the secret ending where it's revealed that he was the one who ate the golden pikpik carrots in the first place, and had actually lied about the monster that supposedly ate them, also revealing after the fact that everyone (i.e., the characters and the players) "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot.
  • Robopon has destroying Dr. Don's time machines every time you return from the past in the second game.
    • Getting a Snorkel to breathe underwater. This happened in both games.
  • The Kid's typical entrance into an area in Bastion is to just come flying in and land right on his face. It eventually stops being funny by the end of the game when, after a vicious beating by the Ura, the Kid returns to the Bastion in his usual manner...and then doesn't get back up.
  • In every cutscene in A2XT, Kood tries to explain the plot, while Demo, Iris and raocow ignore him. Meanwhile, Sheath was there too.
  • Dion in Tears to Tiara 2 continuously try to be popular with the girls, to no avail. Daphnis regularly makes offhand Ho Yay comments accompanied by an appropriate reaction from his master and love interest Elissa. Kleito and Tarte keep arguing over worshippers. The final one is a Chekhov's Gag.
  • The Bizarre Adventures of Woodruff and the Schnibble: The little man who pops up and questions whether you've paid your taxes.
  • Judge Grams mispronouncing Florentine's name in Fleuret Blanc. It's implied she may be doing it on purpose; if she makes eggs for Florentine's special luncheon, she claims that she was suddenly inspired to make eggs Florentine that day and doesn't know where she could have gotten the idea.
  • In the PlayStation 2 and GameCube versions of Donald Duck: Goin' Qu@ckers, every cutscene that plays before a boss battle has Donald's cousin Gladstone Gander get comically injured and then say that he found a nickel.
  • In Delicious 5: Emily's Holiday Season the local Elvis impersonator keeps showing up wherever Emily currently happens to be working and asks for a hamburger, which he never gets. When finally a hamburger drops out of the sky right in front of him at the end of the game, he asks for ketchup.
  • A running gag spanning multiple games started with Dead Rising and it's "Zombie Genocider" achievement for killing 53,594 zombies, a.k.a. the entire population of Willamette, Colorado, the town the game takes place in. Left 4 Dead had the bright idea to one-up them by including an achievement called "Zombie Genocidest" for killing 53,595 Infected, and the gag started going from there as various games started to one-up the previous achievement by increasing the number by 1.
  • The Talos Principle: Frogs are people too. Originally you can argue this with Milton, and if you find the floppy disc with Serious Sam: The Text Encounter on it in Road to Gehenna, you can argue that with Ennui. In addition, you can write "Frogs are people too" on a wall with the paint bucket if you trigger the former conversation.
  • Persona 5: Morganna, the team's Funny Animal cat and resident Butt-Monkey, regularly gets thrown by other party members. This includes in the opening animation by Ryuji, and as you're escaping the Pyramid dungeon by Ann.
  • The Touhou Project has three running gags involving resident Cute Witch Marisa Kirisame: The first one being her introducing herself as Reimu Hakurei, the local shrine maiden, or as a maid, nurse or whatever else have you, while never even bothering to get off her Flying Broomstick or changing out of her pointy hat and black dress. The second running gag is Marisa's Boss Subtitles insisting that she's just your average, every-day "Ordinary Magician." This particular gag has evolved over time with the Boss Subtitles getting ever more insistant to the point that, at present, it's outright approaching Suspiciously Specific Denial territory... The third running gag is Marisa's kleptomania and her insistance that she's just "borrowing" the things she steals and that the people she steals from can have their stuff back when she dies... which would've been a possibly reasonable argument, given that most of her victims are centuries old Cute Monster Girls, if it wasn't for the fact that the running gag coupled with this one is that Marisa's stealing stuff because she's trying to brew up an Elixir of Immortality.
  • In Undertale, the Annoying Dog has an inexplicable ability to pop up in storage places (including the player's inventory) where it's neither wanted nor expected. It also has a habit of stealing things that the characters have or want, including Papyrus's special attack, a legendary artifact from a shrine, Toriel's cell phone (potentially, more than once even!).... Another gag is Frisk finding something to eat but something ends up making that food inedible, like dumping all the ketchup on your fries (or burger)
  • The Fatebinder in Tyranny is often given the option to [Glare Silently] in dialogue. This can be pretty effective if done sparingly, but if the player goes for glaring silently at every possible juncture? Terratus is a World of Snark, so characters eventually start cracking jokes about the Fatebinder's curious habit of grim, brooding silence. Eb will do a sarcastic impersonation of the Fatebinder's glare, and Tunon, who really hates it when the Fatebinder tries it on him, will eventually mockingly demand to know why the Fatebinder's "speech is often stilled as if by some great terror or apprehension". (Though if the Fatebinder replies that it's to let people incriminate themselves with their own words, Tunon will be begrudgingly impressed.)
  • The protagonist of the Ys franchise, Adol Christin, starts many of his adventures via getting shipwrecked and losing all of his equipment from his previous adventure. This notably happens in the first game, Dawn of Ys, Ark of Napishtim, and Lacrimosa of Dana.
  • Xenogears has Big Joe, a strange flamboyant man who keeps appearing in increasingly-unexpected locations.
  • The stuffed moose head in the Quest for Glory series. It always appeared in the adventurer's guild (except for the third game). The moose head first showed up in King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human and has since made a cameo in various Sierra games such as Leisure Suit Larry.
  • Ken Williams, the founder of Sierra, making in a cameo in Sierra games such as Kenny the Kid, sitting in a bar in Larry games, Kenny the dog, one of the whipping henchman at Scumsoft and much more.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm has several:
    • Til’s lack of patience with Anonymous, and her turning his avatar into a frog.
    • Tyalie’s constant attempts to make friends with the bad guys.
    • GmasterRED stealing credit for Catie’s deeds in increasingly outlandish ways.
    • Out-of-place onions popping up all over the Bonus Dungeon, culminating with the boss’s true form being an onion.
  • The Banjo-Kazooie series' use of Sequel Hooks is both an in-universe and meta example, which is partially due to the games having both Medium Awareness, and No Fourth Wall, and partially due to the games being made by Rare, a company with a history of being Trolling Creators. This goes all the way back to the first game, and its promise of a sequel that would allow Banjo and Kazooie (and the players) to get the ice key and two eggs that were all literally unobtainable (at first; long story).note  This carries over to Spiritual Successor Yooka-Laylee, made by Playtonic Games (a company consisting mostly of people who used to work at Rarenote ).
  • Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass: Multiple:
    • Information Guy being the Butt-Monkey, which often involves him getting killed horribly, like by Buck, or being impaled on a stalagmite.
    • In the Wilted Lands, every member of the Petty Thugs seems to have a different idea of what "the first rule of gooning" is. The secretary says that it's "getting here in the nick of time", the instructor says it's "brush your teeth after every meal.", the Information Guy video for the GECE is... never said, and then the instructor changes his to just following orders, the Prospective Goon says it's "work together with your friends so you can achieve your dreams", the pool-playing goon has "don't make fun things less fun"
  • Nippon Ichi may have dropped their plans of creating a sequel to their game Makai Kingdom, but it didn't stop them from including its planned main character, Asagi, as a Secret Character in many games following that. More often than not, Asagi laments the fact that she doesn't have a game to herself and attempts a Hostile Show Takeover, before being thwarted and joining the player's party.


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