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Technobabble / Video Games

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Technobabble in video games.

  • The presenter in High Voltage's tech demo for their Quantum3 Engine spoke out so much technobabble, it made the E3 2004 tech demo of Unreal Engine 3 look tame in comparison. Terms include "Camera space RGB gloss maps", "tangent space gloss map", "standard tangent space bump maps", and roughly 20 seconds of showing a feature list of about 100+ features..

  • Advent Rising: The descriptions for all the weapons are full of techno babble. Quark mind-drives, entropic energy waves, and grav-shielded singularity cores, just to name a few terms.
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  • Borderlands has numerous examples of this, mostly in mission briefings. An example is a mission from Patricia Tannis:
  • This is done once in the first Command & Conquer, when Dr. Moebius giddily explains what Tiberium is:
    Molecularly, Tiberium is a non-carbon-based element, that appears to have strong ferrous qualities, with non-resonating reversible energy! Which has a tendency to disrupt carbon-based molecular structures, with inconsequential and unequal positrons orbiting on the first, second and ninth quadrings!
    • For Command and Conquer 3, EA took things up a notch and commissioned scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to "provide a white paper describing the biophysics of Tiberium, its atomic structure, its method of transmutation, the form of the radiation that it emits, and the way to harness it for powering machinery and weapons — giving it the same treatment as would be suitable for a scientific journal article on a real substance." Actually, an interesting read.
  • Mocked by the blueprints of your ship in Cosmic Osmo, which point out the Aero-ether Quanto-particulate Detecto Rings and a triple-loop Polar Yagi Recepto-Wod, among other features.
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  • The in-game description for the flashlight in Doom 3 delves into this, just to say that it's an Infinite Flashlight.
    "UAC Standard issue light source. This model utilizes a static transfer power supply, so battery replacement is unnecessary."
  • Fallout 3 has you take the Generalized Occupational Aptitude Test as sort of a way to set up what kind of character you'll be playing with. The first question reads: You are approached by a frenzied Vault scientist, who yells, "I'm going to put my quantum harmonizer in your photonic resonation chamber!" What's your response?
    • One of your responses can be: "But doctor, wouldn't that cause a parabolic destabilization of the fission singularity?"
    • Or you can just say "Yeah? Up yours too, buddy!"
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Hope's given explanation for Lightning's having to return to the Ark every day at 6 A.M. is that it's to "regulate the time distortion". It's never really explained just what this means.
    • Similarly, in Final Fantasy Tactics, Orators have a skill called Mimic Daravon that puts enemies to sleep. Daravon is the person who explains the mechanics of the game in the optional tutorial.
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  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game is even worse with the technobabble than the movies that inspired it. "Charged nucleon jackets" and "fermion absorption rings" are but two examples.
  • This is an actual Skill in Guild Wars, which you earn from the technologically advanced civilization of the Asura. It damages and dazed your opponent.
  • Dr. Judith Mossman in Half-Life 2 has the tendency to speak in technobabble which your character is supposed to understand, and likely does. You however, are not, and likely don't.
    • In Welcome To City 17, he doesn't understand it either, because that is technobabble from twenty years in the future to him.
    • Freeman's doctoral thesis is titled Observation of Einstein-Podolvsky-Rosen Entanglement on Supraquantum Structures by Induction Through Nonlinear Transuranic Crystal of Extremely Long Wavelength (ELW) Pulse from Mode-Locked Source Array. Basically, shooting low-frequency electromagnetic waves through heavy element crystals to make things teleport.
    • "You can call it the 'Zero Point Energy Manipulator' if you really want to."
    • Dr. Kleiner is practically a walking encyclopedia of technobabble when he's busy at work or making public announcements.
    • Parodied in the Half-Life expansion Opposing Force, when Shephard finds an armed nuclear bomb, with instructions for turning it on. (However, Shephard only needs to press a button to turn it off.)
      1. Indispose the gravitronic rev limiter to 11.
      2. Rotate red knob to the on position.
      3. Press button labeled B.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora and his friends have a hard time understanding what Tron is saying when they first meet him, because of this trope. As time goes on, Tron becomes easier to understand as a result of gaining emotions due to his friendship with them. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance implies that this could be the result of the program getting a heart.
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Portal: The 1500 Megawatt Aperture Science Heavy Duty Supercolliding Super Button is, quite simply, a big red button that opens doors.
    • Also, the Aperture Science Material Emancipation Grill. It dissolves all unauthorized material, including, on semi-rare occasions, dental fillings, crowns, tooth enamel, and teeth.
    • Let's not forget the Man Sized Ad Hoc Quantum Tunnels Through Physical Space With Possible Applications as Shower Curtains (portals).
  • Portal 2: The Aerial Faith Plate (a catapult platform), the Excursion Funnel (a blue funnel that pulls you in the direction it's facing), and the Thermal Discouragement Beam (a laser). Faith, Excursion, and Discouragement are licensed trademarks of Aperture science.
  • Appears all over the place in the Ratchet & Clank series, frequently with Big Al. For example, when the eponymous duo encounter him in Marcadia's defense facility during the third game:
    Ratchet: How can you use the city's defense network to play a video game?!
    Al: Simple. I bypass the security server with a 626 hex matrix adapter and reprogram the graphics sub-processor.
    Ratchet: No, no, I mean- urgh! Clank, you speak, uh... "nerd".
    Clank: It appears you have a feedback loop in the induction coils of your DB-3 signal processor.
    Al: Impossible! I ran a recursive checksum on the signal matrix.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
    • Blast Processing. note 
    • Tails has been known to rattle off Technobabble ever since he was finally given a speaking role that revealed he was the team's resident science geek extraordinaire.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 gets points off, though, for referring to a Bernal sphere (the ARK) as a "Bernoulli sphere."
  • This is one of the cruxes of the Co-Op Multiplayer Mobile Phone Game Spaceteam. Each player has a procedurally generated control panel for the fictional Cool Spaceship and a series of instructions, but the instructions cannot always be carried out on their panel; the intended result is for players to yell absurd jargon at each other: "Inflate Nanoflange!" "Set Triweaver to 2!" "Rotate Posidome!" For additional amusement, the tasks and panels sometimes involve mundane tasks like "Rearrange Deckchairs", "Suspend Disbelief" and "Darn Socks".
  • Tales of the Abyss likes explaining the exact mechanics behind its magic system, and its explanations can turn into this. When you're discussing the game and it becomes necessary to explain that it wasn't obvious that a character's fonon frequency was 3.14159 because having the ability to channel a fonon through one's fon slots does not necessarily mean that one is isofonic to said fonon's aggregate sentience... yeah.
  • Unreal Tournament mixes technobabble with a generous measure of Gun Porn in most weapon and item descriptions, so even if bits of it go over your head, you can still be confident of the power it's packing.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 actually has an amusing version near the end where the explanation actually makes perfect sense ( a character states that they can activate an orbital station's retro-rockets to prevent it from crashing into the planet below), but the other characters treat it as this trope because the general tech level of the setting is nowhere near far enough along for them to be able to understand. Also, the explanation is still meaningless because the character in question made it up to get the rest of the cast out of the way while they perform a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Xenogears and Xenosaga are madly, passionately in love with their technobabble. A lot of it's real, about evenly divided between advanced physics, neuroscience, and five or six kinds of Gnosticism (including Jungian psychology, which gets a lot of its terminology from Hermetic alchemy). Admittedly not all of the physics would actually work like that—you can't use quantum entanglement, i.e. the EPR paradox, for a Subspace Ansible, for example, and you probably couldn't use the Collective Unconscious as a hyperdrive, either.


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