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Top 5 Saddest Moments in Gaming
We now live in a world where if our games don’t make us feel something whether it be happy, sad, or angry then we write them off. The best selling games often include gritty stories that are meant to rend us emotionally and gear us toward empathizing with the main characters. But emotional manipulation does have a formula and that can work against a game. If we already know how this story is going to go, it’s up to the writers of the game to figure out a way to elevate their prose past the usual cliches. And when they succeed in creating a true connection to the player they can break your heart.
Of course this list is just an opinion and certainly there will be spoilers. I mean a lot of spoilers, so yeah spoilers. Anywho let’s get started.
5. Final Fantasy VII- Aeris/Aerith dies
If I didn’t put this moment on the list, I’d probably lose all credibility as a gamer. But seriously as a kid this shattered my innocence. I remember sitting on a pillow in my living room in front of the TV. My jaw dropped, tears pouring from my eyes after seeing Sephiroth (incidentally my favorite character from the game) swooping down and just stabbing Aerith/Aeris. The music, the necklace just falling to the ground, and the knowledge that I couldn’t bring her back made me inconsolable for days.
Today there isn’t a gamer in the world that doesn’t know about this scene. Even if you haven’t played Final Fantasy VII, you know that she dies. Everyone knows that she dies. This one moment has influenced a generation of not only gamers but game-makers. It is the moment that we ju every other sad moment by. If you can’t make me feel the way I did when Aeris/Aerith died then you sir have failed.
4. The Last of Us – Sarah dies
I know that The Last of Us just came out five minutes ago, and maybe it’s taking the place of a classic sad moment. But if you didn’t feel emotionally hurt and confused when Sarah dies then I don’t want to know you. The first ten minutes of the game takes place during the outbreak where Joel along with his daughter Sarah and his younger brother Tommy are trying to escape their town while the world is going to hell around them. No one knows what’s happening only that cannibals are running around killing everyone. At some point during their escape Joel and Sarah get separated from Tommy and end up near a military installation. There they are confronted by a solider who gets some ominous orders. Joel with Sarah in his arms ends up being shot at by the soldier and goes down. Joel is okay, after Tommy saves them but Sarah… she’s dying and in her father’s arms this little girl is gone.
Now you spend a few minutes in this girls skin during the beginning of the game, and it’s enough that I felt an attachment to her. And extreme guilt when she was gone. So thanks a lot Naughty Dog.
3. Portal – Companion Cube
I know what you’re thinking. Really a hunk of metal over a little girl dying? But hear me out for second before you judge. In Portal you spend a long time with the companion cube. It’s your only friend, and having to kill it broke my heart. It’s all you have in the world and it’s like killing your dog. Could you kill your dog? Wouldn’t you be heartbroken if you had to kill your dog? It’s the Old Yeller scenario without the rabies and one of the saddest things that I have ever seen in a game. Also there was no cake.
2. Heavy Rain – Ethan’s whole life
Every single moment of this game is a downer. First the protagonist, Ethan’s favorite son gets hit by a car. Then the other kid get’s depressed, then Ethan is depressed, and his wife is depressed and decides to divorce him so the sad parade keeps marching in. And then because the universe hates Ethan his living son get’s kidnapped by a crazy person who forces our hero to brutally murder people to get the one living kid back.
Watching Ethan’s life implode and him slowly breakdown during the course of the game is tragic and if watching the sad scenes don’t get to you then watching Ethan scramble to clutch what little he has left together will.
1. The Walking Dead game – Lee dies
Really there’s only one thing in this game that elevated it’s tragedy past Heavy Rain and that’s Lee and Clementine. To this day, I’m still attached to that relationship, and I sigh heavily wondering if I could have prevented Lee’s death. And it isn’t really Lee dying that does it for me, it’s the fact that I had Clementine do it. The fact that no matter what decision I made the last person to care for this little girl is dead, that she is all alone in this world where people are awful and there are Zombies and there is nothing I can do about it. Knowing that you have to send her out in the world on her own, this scared and lonely little girl after she begs Lee to live is tragic and the last ten minutes of this game just makes it it’s mission to break you down and make you cry. Well fine Telltale Games you win.
Seriously look at this face and tell me you aren’t sad.