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5 Best Fictional Video Game Languages of All Time, Ranked

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Fictional languages are perhaps some of the most psychologically taxing things to develop. Make them convincing, though, and a video game can be twice as immersive and equally, if not even more intriguing. Fill it with complex ciphers and codes, however, and you’ll soon come to discover that many budding linguists will happily hurl themselves into learning its every squiggle and syntax.

So, which video games have actually managed to develop such an influential language over the years? Which dialects have become so iconic, that you could quite easily place them without having to hear so much as a second word? Well, here’s how we see it. Here are, in our opinion, the five best fictional video game languages to date, ranked.

5. Various (World of Warcraft)

World of Warcraft houses far more than just the one race, and it’s practically bursting at the seams with foreign languages, cultures, and locales. And while a large chunk of each race does employ a predominantly English vocabulary, there are, of course, a select few that favor a native language, some of which require a dictionary and an intense lecture to comprehend.

For the most part, you’ll find that Azeroth and its surrounding regions are rife with local dialects that are somewhat easy to follow. As you become something of a globetrotter, though, you’ll eventually discover the countless other languages that make up the continent. From Orcish to Darnassian, Zandali to Gutterspeak — Azeroth boasts more lingos than the vast majority of rival MMOs. And it’s because of this, that we have to give kudos to Blizzard Entertainment.

 

4. Dovahzul (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)

Ah yes, the language of the dragons. As if Bethesda didn’t do enough to construct one of the most immersive role-playing worlds of all time already, eh? Turns out, though, for every race that’s conjured, there’s a language that yearns to be chronicled. And what better way to make a game with such a legendary prowess even more iconic than to develop Dovahzul, a tongue that is native to none other than dragons?

Dovahzul is a language that descends from a  Scandanavian dialect, and it mainly consists of runes and slashes. It isn’t the most complex fictional language in the gaming world, but it does employ a rather weighty dictionary. And honestly, only the series’ biggest know-it-alls will have the luxury of being able to speak it fluently. Persevere, though, and you could just go on to make up the 0.05% of die-hards who know it like the backs of their hands.

 

3. Hylian (The Legend of Zelda)

The Legend of Zelda is known for many things, one of which is its native language, Hylian. Although the language is predominantly text-based, the series has, believe it or not, altered it six or more times since its inception, spreading it across Old Hylian, and New Hylian. And it makes sense, when you think about it, as each game is set in an alternate version of Hyrule.

Hylian, though, isn’t the only language you’ll find in the kingdom of Hyrule and its surrounding regions. Let us not forget that Nintendo has also built entire arcs around the Gerudos, Zoras, and the Minish, each of which have their own native tongues. And so, while Hylian is perhaps one of the most familiar languages in the franchise, there’s definitely a lot more to onboard, so long as you’re willing to go out of your way to find it.

 

2. Al Bhed (Final Fantasy X)

Square Enix devised a way to keep players entwined with Final Fantasy X long after its main story wrapped up, which was to embed a whole other language that players could both learn and decipher in the game itself. This language, Al Bhed, couldn’t be understood from the moment you plunged into the campaign, though. By collecting Primers and their corresponding translations, however, you could slowly piece together local phrases and, in turn, learn a whole other lingo.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a New Game+ in Final Fantasy X, meaning you couldn’t just go back with the Primers that you had acquired in the first run and apply them in a second. You could, however, take note of the Primers and manually decipher the conversations, which was, in all fairness, ridiculously time-consuming. Was it worth the hassle? Well, it depended on how much you loved Final Fantasy X and the Al Bhed, I suppose.

 

1. Simlish (The Sims)

I, for one, remember trying to Shazam a song way back in The Sims 2 era, only to realize much later down the line that it wasn’t actually being sung in English, but another language known as Simlish. This make-believe gibberish was, of course, a language that shaped not only a new thread of musical ventures, but an entire anthology of dialects and phrases. And as it stands today, it is perhaps one of the most recognizable video game languages, period. Who’d have thought, right?

To be fair, I can’t remember the last time I used the word “boobasnot” in a conversation, but the fact that I know exactly what it translates to in English just goes to show how much of an influential language Simlish really is. It’s so iconic, that you could hear just a single phrase and be able to place it in a heartbeat. So, you know, litzergam for that, Maxis.

 

So, what’s your take? Have you ever felt the urge to pick up one of the above languages? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.

Jord is acting Team Leader at gaming.net. If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.