Voice with an Internet Connection
The Voice with an Internet Connection is the helpful person at the other end of the main character's earpiece. They give the character all sorts of useful advice that is either blisteringly obvious or frustratingly cryptic, presumably sourced from the Internet or some other information compendium.
In some cases, the Voice has an unexplained video and audio feed, and in others, an explained video and audio feed. Rarely, the voice will rely on information from the main character to tell them what is going on. In this last case, there will be a dramatic scene where the screen cuts to black and the Voice screams with concern for the main.
The character varies in personality from grizzled commanding officer to cute young nurse to English scholar, but the two things the Voices have in common are a complete knowledge of whatever the main character happens to be doing and a complete lack of physical presence. Most often, this character is the opposite gender to the character to whom he or she speaks.
The Voice with an Internet Connection serves two purposes. The first is as a way of explaining things about the game world to the player, and the second is to give the character someone to talk to throughout the game, thus developing the character as either a philandering badass or a chick with 'tude. The former is for all male characters, and the latter for female characters, unless the main is a Heroic Mime. If the main is the silent type the Voice talks more, sometimes saying what the main normally would.
This character appears far more often in modern day and science fiction than in other genres, and almost never in fantasy, where the Voice's role is generally played by a related character.
The name Voice with an Internet Connection is taken from the fact that these are the archetype's only defining traits, and in many cases, the character's only role.
Related to The Voice, Expositron 9000 and Mr. Exposition, the Voice with an Internet Connection is distinguished from them by being a disembodied character who advances the plot as well as a character with a distinct personality, something rare outside of videogames.
Anime and Manga
- A good number of Real Robot anime have characters called operators, who provide the link between the protagonist's Humongous Mecha and HQ; like many Real Robot tropes, this one started with Mobile Suit Gundam.
- The SEELE monoliths from Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- Appears in various forms in Serial Experiments Lain, including a talking mouth, Yomoda Chisa, and several others (including Lain).
- The detective L from Death Note starts the series as this, aiding the police task force in their goal to catch the serial killer Kira from the shadows. L eventually reveals his face to a select few of the task force, but to the general public, his only identity is a digitized voice and the letter "L" on a computer screen.
- Juiz from Eden of the East. Just a female voice on a cellphone. She is also scarily competent at doing just about anything one asks of her, usually within several seconds of the request being made. She's actually an extremely powerful AI with connections all over the nation, her actual processors being housed in roving trailers.
- Barbara "Oracle" Gordon in the later comic books continuity.
- The Calculator also plays this role for the villains.
- Calculator's daughter Wendy recently got into this role in the pages of Batgirl following her paralysis in Teen Titans.
- Red Robin also had one (pre-New52), in the form of the former Anarky, now paralyzed but wired into the Net.
- The Punisher has had a couple of them, most famously, Microchip. Of course for some reason he does a hell turn with his face, though he says it was to snap Frank back to reality. Or something.
- Aleph in Global Frequency, who was hired specifically for being a Brilliant but Lazy internet whiz. Her job is to sit in a chair, look up information for dozens of agents simultaneously, and save the world.
- In the past, occasionally, Deadpool's Weasel was this.
- Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight.
- The Beast sometimes serves in this role in the Secret Avengers.
Films -- Live-Action
- In both National Treasure movies, Riley communicates with Ben via earpiece to guide him through whatever government building he's trying to steal something from.
- The operators in The Matrix.
- In Sneakers, the team use several sources, including the Internet, to guide the point man through their missions. Most notably, Dan Aykroyd gives Robert Redford fairly detailed instructions out of a book on how to defeat a keypad lock (we only see Redford nodding and saying he understands). It turns out to be kicking in the door.
- The Tomb Raider movie adaptations.
- Used by Sedgewick at the end of The Emperor's Club to cheat at a trivia competition (vastly updating the cheat-sheet-in-the-sleeve method he used in the same competition when he was at school).
- Connie is this for Frank and Will in Unstoppable.
- From Serenity, the aptly named Mr Universe.
"From here to the eyes and the ears of the 'verse, that's my motto."
- In Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game series, Jane, an AI created from an alien-made psychic disturbance on the internet.
- In Artemis Fowl, Foaly.
"I'm right there with you, darling. Unless you trigger a land mine, in which case I'm in the Operation Room."
- In Lisa Mason's The Golden Nineties, the main character is given a voice AI named "muse" which is implanted in her head when she goes back in time, to keep her on her mission. It immediately begins to malfunction due to changes in the past affecting the future.
- In World War Z, a "Skywatcher" helped a downed pilot through her radio to keep on going and reach a pick-up point. Was later revealed it could have been all in her head as said radio was apparently broken. Or it could have been a goddess.
- In John Sandford's Kidd novels, Bobby Duchamps (a Genius Cripple). The fourth Kidd novel, The Hanged Man's Song, opens with Bobby's murder; until that point, neither the protagonist nor we had ever seen Bobby in person.
- In Otherland, Olga Pirofsky has it while Storming the Castle.
- The title character of The Amazing Life of Dead Eric: Eric uploads his mind into a military supercomputer, but accidentally moves it entirely instead of just copying it. This kills his body. So what does he do? He gets the scientists at the military base to install a wireless internet connection into his brain, sets up his body to run on batteries and goes on as if nothing had happened. So he is basically the Voice with an Internet Connection (almost literally) for his own body.
- Haymitch from The Hunger Games, much to the chagrin of the main character.
- Regularly in Mission: Impossible, at least one character will be remotely monitoring the other members the situation through explained audio and video feed (i.e. hidden wireless camera on other members' brooches). Not that it's useful since a villain will almost always accidentally chance upon the other member right before a major commercial break, but a few times they do help the other member talk their way out. Making this trope older than the Internet.
- Chloe O'Brian in 24.
- Cleopatra 2525 has The Voice. Interesting in that the main characters don't know who she is (though we do get to see her eventually) and finding out her identity is part of the plot.
- Although we get to see her, Theora from Max Headroom, and to a lesser degree, Bryce, both fit this trope. In addition to Theora, all other controllers qualify, as this trope is essentially their job description.
- Al from Quantum Leap.
- Chloe Sullivan from Smallville fits this trope in the later seasons, since she can't actually go with Clark into danger, but still wanted to help. She even plays this role with the as-of-yet unnamed Justice League, who refer to her as "Watchtower". (A double Mythology Gag, reflecting both the League's headquarters in the comics and animated series, and Oracle's Clock Tower.)
- "Eyes Only" (a.k.a. Logan) from Dark Angel.
- The Lone Gunmen from The X-Files and then later The Lone Gunmen.
- In one episode of The X-Files, Byers infiltrates a high-stakes poker match with various military executives. Langley feeds him information over an earpiece about various systems from military aircraft. He is eventually found out after one exec mentions a nonexistent production process; Langley finds no information and forces Byers to bluff his way out.
- In the pilot to The Lone Gunmen, Langley infiltrates a stockholder meeting and causes a scene while Frohike steals a computer chip from the back room. The voiceover only comes into play when Frohike tells Langley to cause a distraction to cover their escape.
- The current series of Knight Rider has three of these, and all of them are redundant because KITT has shown he can just do that sort of stuff himself anyway. Fortunately the three bridge bunnies still have some job security: one is Da Chief, another is the Sassy Sexy Secretary, the third is the Sidekick Chop Suey. Also, all three of them have varying degrees of technical expertise.
- Leverage uses this all the time, usually with Hardison acting as the Voice. Then there was Chaos, his Evil Counterpart for another crew.
- The aptly-named Mister Voice in Go Go Sentai Boukenger.
- The (nixed) Phone-a-Friend lifeline on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was basically a time-limited version of this. It was supposedly cut because there was no way to check whether or not the friend was using the Internet to answer the question (which wasn't against the rules, but was a Game Breaker nevertheless).
- Basically the purpose of Allison on Kratts' Creatures except she had a Magical Database rather than the Internet. And she could somehow follow the brothers' adventures on a monitor even though they were explicitly not being followed by a camera crew in-universe. And the footage was edited in spite of it supposedly being live.
- Penelope Garcia in Criminal Minds and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. To the point where, if Garcia has to be on-site, something really bad has happened.
- Rose in Republic of Doyle.
- Orwell for The Cape. Interestingly, she is the Big Bad's daughter.
- Finch to Reese in Person of Interest. Subverted in that he leaves the Internet Connection to get physically involved in the Mystery of the Week fairly frequently.
- And then Inverted when Reese is recuperating from a gunshot wound sustained in the previous episode.
- Played for laughs when Reese's protectee asks him who he's talking to. He responds, "Tech support."
- Harry Flack in Fortune Hunter.
- A very easy way to fact check yourself is to look it up on the internet. So when someone speaking on a podcast does this (and oh, how they do) it is quite literally a Voice with an Internet Connection.
- Adventures in Odyssey: Arem, for the sake of the medium and its depiction of an instant messenger.
- Mirror's Edge has Mercury, Faith's fellow runner and mentor, who guides her on her rooftop routes using the (presumably hacked) city plans on the computer in his hideout. He also berates her if she's taking to long...
- GLaDOS from Portal. Nuff said.
- Alice Murray and "S3kshun8" in Army of Two; S3kshun8 has no voiced lines and only speaks in Leet Lingo, so in order to understand what he's saying requires understanding of 1337 and fast eyes.
- Battlefield: Bad Company has B-Company assisted by radio opperator Mike-One-Juliet, on which Sweetwater has a big crush without ever having met or even talked to her. He's constantly pestering Redford to give her messages from him and affectianlly calls her "Miss July". When the four soldiers are sacrificed and abandoned, she takes the risk of acting against orders and provides them with intelligence to get her boys back home safely. Though she's usually very proffessional, she seems to hope for them to share a part of the (stolen) gold with her.
- BioShock (series) features a voice with a radio connection: Atlas, your guide via short-wave radio through most of the game. All other NPCs in the game seem to have this ability as well, though Atlas is the most prominent and helpful. Helpful in terms of gameplay, at least. Plot, on the other hand...
- Severin from BloodRayne 2.
- The Voice of the Agency in Crackdown.
- In most of the Splinter Cell games, Lambert (and occasionally Grimsdottir and Brunton).
- Deus Ex had several of these, starting with Alex Jacobson as your tutor. Explained in-game with nanotechnology providing the audio and video uplinks. Somewhat unusual for the trope, you get to meet everyone who communicates with you this way "in person", except for the AIs Daedalus and Icarus -- though you do meet Helios "in person" in the last mission.
- The Nameless Mod has Evil Invasion or That Guy (depending on faction). The first you meet in person, the 2nd you can meet a hologram of, created because he is too lazy to leave his apartment (he shows up in person in the WC ending). The Nameless Mod also uses the infolink as a game mechanic. As you can't save while it's active, they proceed to have a character repeatedly call you during a very precarious jumping puzzle. The Nameless Mod allows the player to connect to the mod's IRC channel ingame; it is explicitly suggested (in loading screens) that he use it for help.
- 2027: Titan and its subroutine and Xander fill in on this role for the majority of the game. Other characters will fill it as well as the game progresses.
- Deus Ex Human Revolution Sarif, Pritchard and Malik fill in this role. Other characters also gain this ability, making Adam Jensen wonder how people keep getting his info link frequency.
- Commissioner Rowdy Betters in First Encounter Assault Recon.
- The original Metal Gear for the NES had several of these, with Big Boss being the most prominent.
- Any and all of the Codec contacts in the Metal Gear Solid games—including the "cut to black and screaming" bit for the Game Over screens if the hero is killed. Although, the video and audio feed is explained by use of the nanomachines in the title character's blood stream.
- Hardgrove in Black Market. Except for when he's lying.
- Inverted in a stroke of genius in Lifeline (Operator's Side, in Japan), if poorly executed. YOU are the voice on the other end, trapped in the control center of a monster-infested space station, helping the heroine through the puzzles and combat in the game. Technical limitations for the voice control were the main flaw—but the idea was solid.
- In Metroid Fusion, Adam is unusual in that he is himself a computer, although it turns out that he is actually the brain of Samus' old (human) CO, Adam Malkovich, who died some time ago during the events depicted in Metroid: Other M.
- Adam again in Metroid: Other M before his Heroic Sacrifice, and General Dane and Aurora Units 217 and 242 in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
- Alister Fletcher and Zip from Tomb Raider: Legend and Tomb Raider: Underworld (although in Underworld they don't talk much and Alister dies). Zip is originally introduced in the forth chapter of Tomb Raider Chronicles.
- Bungie seems to be totally in love with this trope:
- Marathon had the artificial intelligences (Leela, Durandal, Tycho, Thoth, and... that thing) as well as Blake and T'Fear. The
marineSecurity Officer never says a word.
- Oni had Shinatama (a robot, sort of)
- Halo had the AI Cortana, who was generally inside the Master Chief's suit.
- In Halo 2, when playing as the Arbiter, the Voice is usually supplied by Tartarus or Half-Jaw.
- In Halo 3, the role of Voice with an Internet Connection is generally played by Commander Miranda Keyes or Sergeant Johnson, until late game when the Chief rescues Cortana.
- The Halo series in general makes good use of this trope to build tension and emphasize those moments when the character is really on their own, such as the levels "343 Guilty Spark", "Uprising", and "Cortana".
- Marathon had the artificial intelligences (Leela, Durandal, Tycho, Thoth, and... that thing) as well as Blake and T'Fear. The
- The Internet in Sam & Max: Reality 2.0.
- Anya in Time Splitters: Future Perfect.
- Anya in Gears of War.
- In the Samurai Jack game for the Game Cube, a scientist in one of the later levels begins communicating with Jack claiming he needs his audio help to find a computer. He explains he secretly slipped a device on Jack, and Jack expresses uncomfortability with that.
- A rare fantasy example would be Zyzyx, the protagonist's familiar demon in Sacrifice. While he's actually present on the battlefield, since he's an immaterial spirit and unable to do anything besides observe and speak he's functionally equivalent to this trope.
- The Advisor from Republic Commando.
- Similarly, in the game Dark Messiah the main character has the sorceress Xana in his head. Xana is actually a demon, and near the end of the game after a bit of near death you get to turn into her. It's a useless power, but looks cool and for the briefest of moments you have no weapon. You can't even use the power in front of allies and soon enough you can cleanse yourself of her. Unless you feel like being the bad guy.
- Arthur the AI in The Journeyman Project 3 resides inside your translation chip for most of the game. He's represented by fairly cute cartoon with blinking eyes that lives in your HUD, offering up hints, obscure historical definitions and providing the backstory to people who haven't played the previous games and is responsible for some of the plot independent of you. When he does acquire a human-form hologram he appears as a man in a top hat.
- There is a similar thing in the game Temporal (make your time!) with TP. She resides within your Tertiary Processing Unit and appears on your HUD as well (as much as that game has a HUD).
- In The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, Tetra slips a magical stone into Link's pocket which allows her (and later, the King of Red Lions) to see what you're doing and communicate advice.
- However, since it is never explicitly stated that the King of Red Lions can communicate to you in this way, this troper spent quite some time thinking that it was still Tetra talking to Link.
- All the other characters from the Star FOX series. They'll talk to you to give you advice ("Do a barrel roll!"), inform you when they're in trouble, or yell at you when you shoot them or steal their kills.
- In System Shock 2 the player is assisted by a Dr. Polito, who has baricaded herself in a room with computer and communication access, but had died before the beginning of the game and is instead used as a cover by SHODAN, who is immitating her voice pattern. Which is a subversion of Rebecca Lansing's role in the original System Shock.
- Hunnigan in Resident Evil 4. Unusually, she's pretty much completely useless. And when the baddie hacks into your Code—your radio frequency, he tells the player character about upcoming ambushes. No, Really.
"You'll never escape my hedge maze, Meeester Scott Kennedy!"
- The Command & Conquer series were probably the first to justify this trope as an actual plot element for an RTS game. Specifically, the Tiberium series introduced the Electronic Video Assistants, an expert system designed to monitor the status of all troops on the battlefield in real time instead of using a brigade of human officers to do the same significantly slower. It became especially noticeable in Tiberian Sun where the EVA installed onto the Kodiak is a fully sentient AI and no longer just spouting pre-recorded messages like its predecessor. Red Alert, since it was originally intended to be a prequel, gave the player an experimental EVA prototype but from Red Alert 2 onward, there is a Mission Control in the form of the Featureless Protagonist's female intelligence officer instead.
- The only exception might be Yuri who's personally commanding his forces. The "commander" is implied to be a split personality of his and therefore doesn't need this trope.
- The Terrans in StarCraft have a similar situation, with AI "adjutants" responsible for distributing orders and collating intelligence.
- Hendrix of Red Faction is one, although you see him in person on a few occasions.
- Roll Caskett from Mega Man Legends 1 and 2.
- Blackbird from the early RPG/FPS Strife. One of the first such characters in a computer game and once referred to by PC Gamer as the sexiest thing to ever come out of your PC speakers.
- Dan. Subverted in that you do encounter him in the flesh at a few points, and at one point he's taken hostage and can be killed if you don't make plans to ensure otherwise.
- Interestingly, later in the game a Komato Berserker may take up residence in the control room and acts as this AGAINST the player, which openly pisses Iji off.
- In Mercenaries, Fiona Taylor, your mission support, serves as this. In the first one she's generally helpful, but get's so repetitive during the sequel it quickly gets into Stop Helping Me! territory.
- The later Rainbow Six games usually have this, and they typically are pretty helpful. Except for the NSA Agent. He turns out to be The Mole anyways, so his bad info that almost gets you killed over and over again actually makes sense in context.
- Eye of the Beholder 2 has Khelben as "Voice with a Crystal Ball" (this being a fantasy game) that pops up a few times to give unnecessary advice. Subverted in that one of the times he pops up, it's actually the disguised Big Bad who tells you that the only way to get past the next room is to let the monsters there kill you and let an "amulet of resurrection" bring you back to life.
- Tomas in Spyro Shadow Legacy does this through telepathy.
- In The Conduit, both Mr. Adams and Prometheus fulfill this role.
- In the Sly Cooper series, almost every main and supporting character qualifies for this trope, though, It's usually Bentley.
- BlazBlue: Iron Tager has one that goes by the name Kokonoe in his story.
- Touhou pulls this off in Subterranean Animism, as the "options" in the game are effectively two-way radios to the Youkai on the surface, who also have the ability to sense the world around the options. The protagonist is essentially sent into harm's way simply as a proxy for the Youkai you choose, since the surface youkai are barred from going into the underground. The youkai partners tend to make statements about just how comfortable they are at home while the protagonist is risking her life.
- Batman: Arkham Asylum
- Like in the comics, the Oracle serves this role to the player.
- Early in the game, the Riddler hacks the channel they use, and he harasses Batman on it at intervals (usually when you solve one of his puzzles) for the rest of the game.
- Inverted for the goons with the Joker talking over the speaker system. He alerts them when you take down one of the suicide-collar-wearing henchmen. He's otherwise about as helpful as you'd expect the Joker to be.
Joker: Listen to me Batman, I want you to hurt these guys, they mean nothing to me! Do your worst! Hahahaha!
- The "Guardian Angel" in Borderlands is a definite portrayer of this trope.
- In the first Penumbra, you're guided by Red, a miner who's been trapped underground for decades and has pretty much gone insane. After a while, he loses track of you and doesn't even know if you're still alive, but he's so lonely that he keeps broadcasting radio messages anyway. The second game replaces him with Clarence, the Tuurngait's personal representative inside your skull, who spends half his time trying to get you killed because he hates his existence, and the other half trying to keep you alive because he's scared to die.
- Alien vs. Predator 2
- Multiple characters, from the Marine's campaign. Mostly Tomiko though.
- Initially Tequila in AvP 2010, but when she's incapacitated you get administrator Katya. Ironically, Tequila complains about Katya talking too much, completely forgetting the time when she refused to shut up.
- Depict is based around a Voice with an Internet Connection that actively lies to you. Whatever it says, you must do the exact opposite to stay alive, no matter how much it pleads with you to trust it and how often it tells you you're going to get yourself killed.
- Minerva: Metastasis and its prequel Someplace Else has the player being directed (as well as regularly reminded of their chances of survival) by an unseen character named Minerva-the Roman name for Athena. The titular voice makes reference to various mythological characters and stories, equating the character to Perseus. At first its clear that Minerva views the player as a mere pawn in her plans to undermine the Combine's control of humanity, but as the mission progresses she becomes more concerned with the player's well being.
- At the start of MadWorld, Jack dons an earpiece that lets him contact his sponsor, Agent XIII. In his other ear, he has a CODEC that lets him speak to Amala, his contact with the Bureau of Justice. Partway through the game, he breaks XIII's earpiece, but XIII/Lord Gesser continues to give advice by hacking into the CODEC. At the finale, Jack punches out the CODEC as well, abandoning the Bureau.
- EDI, the Normandy's resident artificial intelligence (who, surprisingly, is not out to kill Shepard) in Mass Effect 2.
- She does enjoy seeing humans on their knees. That was a joke.
- Before she came along, and to a limited extent afterwards, Ace Pilot Joker served as your eye in the sky and general coordinator.
- Mass Effect 3's multiplayer mode features a nameless Alliance commander who gives you updates as your mission objectives change. He can be rather insistent.
- Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones provides a rare, possibly unique, fantasy example. The Dark Prince, the manifestation of the Prince's darker side from the Sands of Time, occasionally gives the Prince tips on enemies and how to proceed - when he's not urging the Prince to give in to his more violent desires.
- Psi Ops the Mindgate Conspiracy uses telepathy as a Psychic Powers equivalent.
- Overlord has Gnarl, your chief minion, who communicates with the Overlord through the Tower Heart.
- The Guildmaster from Fable. Unfortunately, he's the king of the Most Annoying Sound.
- In a rare villan version, Dr.Eggman becomes this in the Sonic Adventure 2. During the Cannon's Core stage, he'll either tell you where the security door that you'll need to destroy (Tails), or your objective for a particular point. (Rouge, Knuckles, Sonic) During Eggman's segment, Tails fills in this role.
- The Pet Professional's unseen assistant/dispatcher is actually named Voice.
- Wrench in Antihero for Hire is another female example, but occasionally becomes a little more involved in her role as Queen of All Hackers.
- Multiple in Homestuck, although somewhat subverted in that all of the Voices later appear in the flesh. At first, Rose was this for John, although later (particularly after Rose entered the Medium) the trolls started taking over this role more.
- Fides in Shadowgirls.
- Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond, who basically continued to be Batman into old age vicariously through Terry McGuinness.
- It's even lampshaded in the first episode featuring the elderly Barbara Gordon, who wants the new Batman to back off from a case, only to turn to Bruce and wonder if she should be talking to the older Batman.
- Wade in Kim Possible in the early seasons. However, in later seasons he was shown to be a more active field member.
- Beyond Mission Control, Jérémie of Code Lyoko has this role, especially in Season 4 where the heroes are translated close to some supercomputer in various remote places on Earth. Good thing that Everything Is Online.
- Gimpy was this for Nitz and co. in Undergrads after he went off to Tekerson Tech, though he also had video feed.
- A somewhat amusing example in the case of the 21st-century Afghanistan campaign was "Widow Six Seven", a forward air controller in Helmand Province who would at times flirt in a British accent with female pilots... only to be later revealed as Prince Harry of Wales, third in line to the British throne.
- Used by televangelist/faith healer Peter Popoff for the personal information about his congregation he was supposed to be getting from God, as exposed by James Randi.
- The Siri application for the iPhone.
- and by "anything", we really mean anything