Top 5 Emotional Gut Punches in Gaming
- by Ninja Ross, 29 January 2014
Some games have you running around blowing up enemies in the most creative ways possible. Some games have you spend hours making your character look perfect before you’ve even started playing. Some games have you literally dancing. But there are games that will make you FEEL FEELINGS. Like... Sadness and stuff.
And now I am going to inflict upon you memories of some of the saddest moments in video games. Because reasons, that’s why. Needless to say, there’s gonna be some serious spoilers here. I’m talking REAL spoilers. Like... The end of stuff.
GUT PUNCH NUMBER FIVE: Mass Effect 3
Not everyone likes Mass Effect 3, especially due to its controversial ending, which ignored a lot of decisions made in previous games and was, unfortunately, a bit of a letdown in general. But the rest of the game was pretty sound and had some excellent character moments, something I think Bioware has always done rather well.
One of the most effective moments is the death of Mordin Solus, the slightly insane and traumatised Salarian crew member Sheppard met in Mass Effect 2. If he survived your playthrough in Mass Effect 2, you’ll find Mordin working on a cure for the Genophage, which he originally helped design and improve (Don’t ask, just play the game...). After a big, awesome fight with a Reaper, Mordin detects a problem with the creation of the vaccine, due to explosions and other cool stuff, and must create it manually. This leads to his death with the line “It had to be me. Someone else would have gotten it wrong.” Easily one of the saddest alien deaths of all time. Yes, I’m including Predator’s death at Arnie’s hands... I know you were thinking that.
WATCH THIS GUT PUNCH ON YOUTUBE
GUT PUNCH NUMBER FOUR... OH, MY EMOTIONS: Metal Gear Solid 3
Ok, this one’s gonna take some explaining. Metal Gear Solid 3, set in the 1960s, is a prequel to all of the other games. It features Big Boss, one of Solid Snakes antagonists, as a good guy with his original code name of Naked Snake. His mentor, the Boss, helps him complete a mission on Russian soil where she betrays him and joins crazy Russian guy Colonel Volgin. But she didn’t betray anyone. She was sent undercover to stop Volgin and his men. Things change when Volgin detonates a Nuke on Russian soil. To stop America taking any blame for this, The Boss completely defects and takes all blame. Not knowing this, Snake is sent on a mission to take her down by any means necessary. There are fights, sneaking, eye-popping and all sorts of nutty things. It’s a fantastic game from start to end.
But it’s the end I’m talking about. Snake and The Boss battle to the bitter end. When you finally take The Boss down, Snake will stand over her, pointing a gun at her head, until you finally pull the trigger.
SOMETIMER LATER: Snake hears a taped confession proving The Boss’ innocence, that she sacrificed her life to protect her country. This moment isn’t powerful just because of the writing; the main thing is Hideo Kojima’s directing. Every shot seems so depressing that you just want to sit and cry for hours, calling for hugs.
DEPRESS YOURSELF. WATCH IT ON YOUTUBE.
OH GOD, MY GUT! PUNCH NUMBER THREE: Red Dead Redemption
Another incredible game, Red Dead Redemption is a little easier to explain than Metal Gear Solid 3. You play John Marston, an outlaw looking for redemption by becoming a clean living family man. But the government don’t want that to happen, darn it! They force John to track down every member of his old gang, using his family for leverage. This leads to cowboy awesomeness. Gunslinging, poker, drinking, horses and cattle herding!
John has to fight his way along the Wild Wild West and bring down the bad guys, just to see his family again. And it all works out! Aw, isn’t that nice!
Yup, he lives happily with his family. He trades crops and cattle, he hunts wit5h his son, he works hard on the ranch and he generally gets on with life. Aw, isn’t that nice.
NOPE. You do spend a fair while living the family life, helping John live his well earned dream but it was never going to last. When the government suits decide John is the last loose end that needs tying up, they invade his family home. Forced into the barn, John decides that, to save his family, he needs to make one last stand. He bursts through the door taking down as many of the spooks as possible.
Man... This game is dark and gritty in every way. There’s some real dark comedy in there, too, which is something Rockstar are known for. But that ending is really miserable... I’ve actually only ever completed it once, despite starting several new games.
JOHN DIES ON YOUTUBE
SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME! I'M FEELING! GUT PUNCH TWO: The Walking Dead
I didn’t play this one when it first came out, same with the game coming up next. If I had, my Top Five Games of 2013 would have been almost impossible to write.
The Walking Dead is set in the comic book universe, created by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. You follow two new protagonists Lee Everett and Clementine as they try to survive the start of the zombie outbreak.
This is a freaking sad game and there is a heck of a lot of sad moments to choose from. Some of these moments don’t have to occur and some of them occur at different times each time you play, which a testament to Telltale’s abilities when it comes to creating games.
But there is one moment or, rather, subplot that I found particularly depressing; the death of Duck.
You come across Kenny, his wife Katjaa and their son Duck. You get to travel with them for a while, meeting up with other characters along the way and developing relationships.
After bandits attack, shortly followed by zombies, they’re forced to abandon camp. Unfortunately, Duck is bitten in the escape and you have to watch him slowly die as you travel. In my playthrough, Duck’s final moments were outside a train that everyone was trying to fix up. You have the option to decide Duck’s fate. I chose to kill him before he turned but Kenny and Katjaa requested a moment of peace in the woods.
Oh, you’re depressed just reading about this? Yeah, then Katjaa shoots herself leaving Kenny and Lee to deal with Duck as he turns. These are some difficult choices and Telltale implements them extremely well. These choices affect the entire game in a way that other developers can only dream of matching.
ALAS POOR DUCK... ON YOUTUBE
PLEASE... MY EYES HURT... GUT PUNCH... ONE: The Last of Us
Plenty of people probably think that The Walking Dead had more depressing moments and that they were more effective. I disagree. And, by now, you know I’m always right. Except for those times I wasn’t...
But the Last of Us had one specific scene that was so well acted; it blows the majority of sad movies I’ve seen out of the water.
This scene happens only a few minutes in. There’s news of a strange infection on the TV. Joel, our protagonist, is nowhere to be seen as his daughter, Sarah, gets a strange phone call from her uncle Tommy (... not that kind of strange) asking where her father is.
Joel comes crashing in, followed by their crazed, infected neighbour. Uncle Tommy comes arrives to see Joel gun down crazy zombie guy and they all set off to get out of the city.
A whole lot of stuff happens, leaving Sarah unable to run due to a sprained ankle and Tommy heading off somewhere else. Joel carried Sarah right to the edge of town and bumps into a frightened soldier. You know where this is going, right? Frightened soldier guns them down but only manages to hit Sarah.
And this is where things get sad. It’s a kind of predictable start to the story, easily creating a grumpy, cynical protagonist that sells so well but the death of Sarah was genuinely well acted by Hana Hayes (yeah, I’ve never heard of her, either). The fading sobs and cries of agony are genuinely heartbreaking. Plus Troy Baker (Joker in Batman: Origins) is fantastic as the grieving father.
WATCH IT ON YOUTUBE
Oh, man... So, there you have it. Sadness! Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope I ruined your good mood! Now, I need to go replace the oil in my eyes, as I appear to have been leaking. I do not want to rust.
Did I indeed ruin your happy mood? Have any other sad gaming moments to add?
Tagged: video games.