I loved this from Adventure (the inform port version):
You are on the edge of a breath-taking view. Far below you is an active volcano, from which great gouts of molten lava come surging out, cascading back down into the depths. The glowing rock fills the farthest reaches of the cavern with a blood-red glare, giving everything an eerie, macabre appearance. The air is filled with flickering sparks of ash and a heavy smell of brimstone. The walls are hot to the touch, and the thundering of the volcano drowns out all other sounds. Embedded in the jagged roof far overhead are myriad twisted formations composed of pure white alabaster, which scatter the murky light into sinister apparitions upon the walls. To one side is a deep gorge, filled with a bizarre chaos of tortured rock which seems to have been crafted by the devil himself. An immense river of fire crashes out from the depths of the volcano, burns its way through the gorge, and plummets into a bottomless pit far off to your left. To the right, an immense geyser of blistering steam erupts continuously from a barren island in the center of a sulfurous lake, which bubbles ominously. The far right wall is aflame with an incandescence of its own, which lends an additional infernal splendor to the already hellish scene. A dark, forboding passage exits to the south.
The bear roars with delight.
Especially because the game is usually so conservative and taciturn with descriptions.
I like this from Holwing Dogs:
I have been cut off from the passion of religious women
This quote from an early Curses quotebox:
Curses are like young chickens,
they always come home to roost.
– Robert Southey (1774-1843),
“The Curse of Kehama”
Not great by its own but chilling in context and memorable (Anchorhead):
Something is nagging at you, preventing you from sleeping… suddenly you
remember – you’ve left the front door unlocked.
Another one that needs a lot of context but becomes deeply funny over time, mostly because it and variants of it are usually used as the set up to very funny jokes. But since each choice gives a different joke, this set up is the most memorable part to me (Birdland):
DEPUTY: (monotonously) State your job title.
DEPUTY: And what is the function of a sheriff?
(for instance, here’s one response):
YOU: There’s folks in that town yonder need our protection and we’re gonna be the ones what protect 'em.
DEPUTY: The purpose of the sheriff is to ensure the safety of the community?
YOU: (chewing on something) I reckon.
DEPUTY: Very well. Demonstrate the behaviour of a human sheriff.
(You spit out whatever you were chewing. It lands in a spittoon in the middle of the road that you weren’t previously aware of. An old bird perched outside the dry goods store nods approvingly when he hears the ping.)
I replayed Galatea recently and I vividly remembered the opening, although not the exact words:
You come around a corner, away from the noise of the opening.
There is only one exhibit. She stands in the spotlight, with her back to you: a sweep of pale hair on paler skin, a column of emerald silk that ends in a pool at her feet. She might be the model in a perfume ad; the trophy wife at a formal gathering; one of the guests at this very opening, standing on an empty pedestal in some ironic act of artistic deconstruction –
You hesitate, about to turn away. Her hand balls into a fist.
“They told me you were coming.”
For a Change has a lot of wild ones. I like part of the opening:
Sleep gradually departs from your eyes. A small stone has been insinuated into your hand.
The tagline of Taco Fiction is really funny to me due to the way the game sets up and subverts expectations:
Taco Fiction is a game about crime.
And I’ve remembered this scene in Deadline Enchanter a lot:
All right, then. This is one of our ancestors, its body stretched out, its ribcage splayed open. There’s a white glow coming from the chest cavity. You saw how I made a little window before? In the cell? Imagine using your heart to power a prismatic chute for four thousand years.
So the Folk are considered “late model.” We rebelled against the early models and took control of The City. Most of us consider it ancient history, and many of the Folk don’t even know that the creatures inside the infrastructure of The City used to be our overlords. My grandfather would have stories about them, I’m sure.
No one knows who made us who we are.
And one more from Cactus Blue Hotel:
Neon bloomed into the desert. It started small, like a flickering star, but it began to grow, as if neon tubes were being spawned from nothing. Above the cactus, a blue flower began to grow, petals spread towards the night sky.
And the hotel bloomed with it.
Dingy railings now freshly painted. Door plaques glimmered. And cars began appearing in the parking lot, as if they’d been there all along, and it only took the blue light of the motel sign to make them visible.
Dean, bathed in the glow, smiled. “Worth waiting for, isn’t it?”
(I found these by going through my played games list and trying to remember what stuck with me)