Roughly translates to "your promised reward is merely a fictitious motivator". Popularized by the game "Portal" (found on Half-Life 2's "Orange Box" game release for PC, X-Box 360, and PS3). During the game, an electronic voice encourages you to solve intricate puzzles using cake
as a motivating perk. When you have "broken out" of the game's initial testing phase (from threat of death), you find scrawls on walls of the innards of the testing center warning you that "the cake is a lie".
Employee #1: Yo, Dave, manager says we will probably get a promotion if we meet the sales expectations for this quarter.
Employee #2: Yeah, so, don't get your hopes up on that one, Ed. The cake is a lie.
Employee #1: Really, aw crap.
Implies that a promised reward for one's work is false, with the one proffering the reward never intending to give it in the first place, possibly because the reward never even existed (see also: "there is no spoon"). This phrase can be used to express grief or frustration regarding any situation where there is an imbalance between effort and reward. This phrase was popularized by the game "Portal" by Valve Software Corporation.
During the game, GlaDOS, an artificially intelligent operating system and the game's passive-aggressive guide, uses the reward of cake as a motivating factor in an attempt to manipulate the player. It is first mentioned during the "impossible puzzle room", where she urges the player to "quit now and cake will be served immediately". In a later stage, the player can access a "hidden" area of the testing chamber to find a previous test participant had scrawled "The cake is a lie!" among other warning messages. Cake continues to remain the promised reward for completing the test and/or obeying GlaDOS, particularly in the final stages of the game. Finally, in the ending song, GlaDOS cheerfully sings about how "there's no sense crying over every mistake, you just keep on trying 'till you run out of cake."
In the game, cake serves as a carefully calculated motivational device, but there are suggestions that it also serves as an essence of humanity--the ability to eat cake, taste it, and experience emotional pleasure from it--which a computer ...
expression used when something great has been promised from a third party but it ultimately is not so.
(six months prior to Vista release) "Vista will be the greatest operating system ever!"
(three months after Vista release) "The cake is a lie."
a phrase meaning something to the effect of "you know that thing you where promised to be rewarded after you completed this task? well, it doesn't exist". could also be described as being trolled. the term was coined by the video game Portal in which your player would navigate through a labyrinth of tests while being driven to continue by the promise of cake. towards the end of the game, i becomes clear that there is in fact no cake and your efforts where in vain.
Employee 1: "I am soooo gonna get that raise man."
Employee 2: "Nah man, the cake is a lie"
Employee 1: "Well shit...."
guy: "omgz, awesome! if i complete these 4 offers from this pop-up, i can get a free ipod nano!!!1!"
prosecuting attorney: "we are finally going to put this person away!"
Jose Baez: "nope, the cake is a lie"
When they say there is cake, but there is an alternate motive that usually ends in ones humiliation/demise.
Jeffrey Bonheimer: Man, I am so glad my ex-wife decided to invite me over to her basement for cake, even though I won the custody battle over the children!
Evan Sailhamer: Jeff man, isn't it obvious?
Jeffrey Bon-whatever: Is what obvious Easy E?
Easy Evan: The cake is a lie man. Like, it is blatantly obvious
When a transsexual tricks a strait male into thinking he's a girl in bed.
Hugo: So I said, 'Hey, let's turn on the lights..'
Hugo: Then she said, 'Oh silly, you can have the garage okay. The porche is still in the shop..'
Jerry Springer: So you slept with a guy?
Hugo: I ain't gonna lie Jerry.. The cake is a lie. * He's then punched in the nose and the transsexual yells, 'Oh no you d-ent' and someones wig falls off in the tussel, Jerry picks up the hair and makes a mustache with it
Jerry Springer: *Walks off stage and plays pocket pool* We'll be back!
A joke that has gone on for far too f*cking long.
John: The cake is a lie. HAHA
Jack: For god's sake, the game came out 4 years ago, give it a break