Game People Calling: The Games That Hurt

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Game People Calling: The Games That Hurt

Why do we love the games that run rough-shod over our emotions?

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I love any game that can give me a tear-jerker ending. Funnily enough I haven't played any of the games on that list though I'll add a few personal ones.

Heavy Rain. It broke my heart to see Ethan's devotion along with the music that accompanied. I know it was me that made Ethan like that but still.

Bioshock 2. The ending. I got the Happy One. But it still made me a little sad. And I watched the other endings and there are some that just break my heart. Those are the two that are freshest in my mind.

I have a similar tick with films or TV Shows where I love ones that make me cry. Heck I'll rewatch specific episodes because they made me cry. Weird.

I think its just human.

I love games that can give me a response, emotionally. I remember some great games I have played and at moments they have made me mad, angry, sad, tearful.

One such moment I can remember off the top of my head is the last battle in FFX. When you had to kill off your own summons...knwoing what was going to happen at the end.

Games that can make us feel emotional, I believe, certainly create a deeper and more powerful connection with the plater

Damn, still have yet to play Shadow and Metal Gear Solid 4 so I had to skip those sections. Otherwise, fantastic article. I too love a game or movie that tugs at the heartstrings, so long as it is in a meaningful way, not just prying for cheap tears. FFVII did this perfectly in my opinion.

Game People:
Why do we love the games that run rough-shod over our emotions?

Ever since I got into Japanese visual novels, I've asked myself that exact question more than once. Hell, since I started playing Kana: Little Sister, I've asked myself at least once a week.

Couldn't read too much of the articles, since I have an instinctual aversion to spoilers, but the stuff I got made perfect sense. I'll have to reread after I play Shadow of the Colossus one day...

Most games I play can't do that, I felt a bit bad when

... but not many others have brought me to anything. That said I haven't played any of the Bioshock series and I don't have a PS3 to play Heavy Rain.

There is the notion that games are just fun escapism. But most of us know better that there's more there, including the ability to render emotional moments that resonate with the audience. Sometimes it's all around you, as in Shadow of the Colossus, but the point about it seeping in slowly is very important.

Though that game also has an element of the second, sudden loss too

Now, that's emotional investment. Everything is just so desolate, and yet the game is never gimmicky.

We're human, and it's only natural to want to explore the range of emotion. That said, yes, of course some developers will want to create fun experiences. But even in 'fun' games, there's an opportunity to explore tough emotions. Take Psychonauts, for example.

I think it's also only natural for a well-rounded gamer to encounter some of these experiences and pay close attention to them. Life is emotionally draining sometimes, but sometimes a book or movie that is so, can still be incredibly satisfying. Games too.

And, even knowing exactly what was going to happen (since I only played Final Fantasy VII three years ago), I still wept uncontrollably at the moment of Aeris' death. Moreso, actually, since because I knew what would happen, the whole trek through the ruins was filled with dread.

MSG 4, was just one of those "How much can you PUNISH the hero" Games.

I loved the scene moving through the microwave panels and the screen starts to split of everyone else getting beat down, ripped apart, stabbed, shot, just destroyed and the game makes it look like you going to die... and you keep crawling with that big NO screw that, how much more do you have to torment this man?

As for FF7 I was pretty shocked when Areith died...

But more shocked Cloud then Drowned and sank her motionless body.... Yo spiky... two words Phoenix down!
Why did this time change? You could just popped her a PD and bang...but no...

Great list, I totally had moments with all of those games. Especially Shadow of the Colossus. A bigger gut-wrencher for me in the Final Fantasy series was the ending of FF-X. It was a little easier for me to get invested in a love interest that didn't look like a Super Mario Bros. character.

Shadow of The Colossus is as always the usual supect in evoking sadnness, but Silent Hill 2 had a good number of sad moments aswell.

Maria dies like three times in this game, but everytime she did it was heart wrenching.

Speaking for myself I'm a romantic, I play games as a form of escapism to get away from the negativity of reality for the most part. I don't mind some dramatic tension, and scenes of loss, but I feel ultimatly a good game ends on a high note. It doens't have to be overblown and dramatic, but shouldn't be gut wrenching either, despite the lead in.

Some of the games above did things well, other games not so much. For example I think "Shadow Of The Colossus" is more emo than simply dealing with a bit of loss. Final Fantasy VII was generally okay, but truthfully I didn't care for the ambigious ending despite it being one of my favorite installments in the series (okay, well my favorite).

I guess you can consider horror games an exception, but even so I tend to feel that there should be a "good" ending.

As far as Fable 2 goes, that should probably be considered an example of what *NOT* to do in a game dealing with these kinds of themes. Largely because not only do they not go through with it entirely (ie you can kill your spouse but not your kids if your going that way) but most of the major plot points about loss and morality are incredibly arbitrary, which to some might be "realistic" but here it was just annoying. You have to choose between sacrificing someone, or being turned into an octogenerian. If you win the game in order to be "good" you need to sacrifice your dog which makes it difficult to play the game on past that point (though arguably by doing so you probably bring back the person whose youth you sacrificed for your own). To me I felt little attachment to these kinds of things because I ultimatly had no real control over them. Ditto for the whole attitude in Fable 2 that if your going to be anything but a vegan, your going to turn into a giant porker within like 20 minutes.

Casual Shinji:
Shadow of The Colossus is as always the usual supect in evoking sadnness, but Silent Hill 2 had a good number of sad moments aswell.

Maria dies like three times in this game, but everytime she did it was heart wrenching.

The moment when she dies,

was devastating. The music that played right afterward when James went down, Magdalene, just punctuated the loneliness and trauma.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgWGzp053f8

Shadow of the Colossus is the only one on this list I haven't played yet, but of the other three none affected me as much as Fable 2, because I had to choose.

I didn't feel loss for Aires death (partly because back when I played it most people still thought she would return), and by the end of MGS4 I was just begging for the cutscenes to wrap up (not the games fault I shouldn't have completed it at 3am) though the aging and loss of youth did remind me of seeing my own fathers health slowly degenerate and touch me deeply because of that throughout the game. Fable forced me to be selfish or self-sacrificing, and because I was then able to reenter the world, my choice persisted.

True most of the sadness I will experience in life will be fated, unchangeable, but those of for losses of people I have spent a significant part of my life forming bonds with, not an artificial character.

Almost every Final Fanatasy (A huge nod to 13) is like that.

Thank you SO much for bringing up The Wire, best show on television.

The Dog in Fable 2. Fuck the world, that son of a bitch killed my best friend.

Final Fantasy 7 also has Cait Sith's "last stand", which is equally as touching.

And finding Cloud again...

Ezio_fangirl:
Almost every Final Fanatasy (A huge nod to 13) is like that.

Pretty much. Final Fantasy IV actually does this a lot.

And XIII was awesome.

We play those games that hurt, for within the sadness is a spark of life, our life, proof that we can still feel and be moved.

I've played through most of FFXIII, and it is such a dissapointment, the series was usually known for its deep compelling stories and complex characters, but the story is incomprehensible, the characters are melodramatic and unlikeable and one bit which I honestly thought was a stroke of beauty, turned out to be a fraud. I really hope they can pull it together for the next game.

The only game that really broke my heart was Army of Two: Fortieth day. I could feel my soul weeping at the end.

Fable 2....fuck no. I can see manufactured sadness coming a mile away. And I remember being able to kill children in, say, Ultima VIII. There you'd simply have the local sorcerer appear out of nowhere, accuse you in stunned disbelief (and pretty grand prose, from what I recall) at the enormity of your deed, and fry you on the spot. Might have been 'imposed' morality, but it at least didn't break the whole immersion bit. (There was one spot outside of the town sorcerer's teleport radius where presumably starving, feral children would all attack you at once, but there was no in-game penalty for killing them there.)

FFXII and Tactics do sad moments far better. It's much more a universal, inevitable sadness that comes from having to kill at least partially good people because of irreconcilable differences, despite actually being able to see all the good they've done before.

In other words, a far more accurate portrayal of what happens in real warfare, especially in the information age.

Zelda: Majora's Mask is the undisputed KING of tear-jerking. My favorite moment, out of MANY?

Game Arts also does good tear jerking, but that's kind of cheating. They seemed to do it far less well when they had the backing of a major company like Square Enix, though. So far, Grandia 3's emotional scenes are simply far less impactively done than those in Grandia 2.

But being a guy, and thus possessed of the more focused sensitivity that women seem to lack, I appreciate all the smaller meaningful, conversational moments over the orchestrated set pieces. Actually, most of the games that focus on this sort of emotion are the really difficult, stat-intensive, fiddly, intentionally obscure storyline titles. A game that does it's best to keep that majority of silly women away from its storyline is a game I can fully appreciate. (Which is another reason I really, really, REALLY like FFXII.)

Ezio_fangirl:
Almost every Final Fanatasy (A huge nod to 13) is like that.

Definitely agree with this statement. I haven't finished 13 yet, but there have been moments that have caught me up.

I think we do it to remind ourselves that we can feel all those things, those special pains and joys, like everyone else. Same for the sad movies, and the sad parts in novels. There is a sweet kind of pain in sadness. lol that sounded kind of emo but its true :).

I really appreciate all the love Shadow of the Colossus gets; the game well and truly deserves it.

But more people need to be aware of its magnificent predecessor, Ico, a game that ranks among my all time favorites, and is without doubt one of the greatest games of the last console generation, or any other. Ico is as far above SotC as SotC is above most other games, and that's saying a whole lot.

If you enjoyed Shadow of the Colossus for its attempt to compel the player's emotion as much as or more than you enjoyed its excellent action, or if you're just interested in games that strive to be more a work of art than an electronic toy, then you owe it to yourself to play Ico.

I honestly felt sorry for Snake in MGS4, how much more punishment can one man take on?

Of course there is the demise of Aeris, I can actually remember shedding a tear at that part, even during the fight after it and her theme keeps on playing moves you too. The image of her being lowered into the water is still burnt into my mind because it was just so well done for the time, dont think I full got drawn into that game until that scene.

Even FF XIII had a scene which I felt was really powerful

Nice to know I'm not alone in my love of games that provoke emotional responses.

FF4 and Phantasy Star 2 are probably the earliest ones that really spring to mind for me, even if FF4 undoes a lot of it's most dramatic moments with nice but unnecessary twists near it's end. Nei's fate in Phantasy Star 2, and the fate of the rest of the heroes as well, is something that will always stick with me.

I must say that I'm not sure I'd put Fable 2 on that list though. It just seemed too forced and lacking in real connection to me to really stir up honest emotions.

All this talk about loss and no mention of Mother 3, which deals with loss of family, loss of innocence, loss of childhood...

For shame. For shame. Mother 3 is one of the few games that makes me cry every time I play it.

Shadow of the colossus, when agro "died"

i didn't cry but i was pretty sad, he's such a good horse

also the ending in general is a massive bummer

I played Tribes for 10 years.

I'm pretty sure that I and those few dozen left of millions win this whole hurt thing.

I think Final Fantasy VII's one was kind of weak, she goes off on her own without telling any of her companions who could help her and gets killed for doing it.

I have to say I didn't feel sad at all.

The one that really got me was when you finally find Dom's wife in Gears of War 2. Just that whole sequence where you open the box and you see her and she wearing a red dress and she is beautiful, but then it slowly fades into what she really looks like.

Oh and i almost forgot about the companion cube

In addition to

, I was hit pretty hard by especially as I'd played the original Silent Hill.

Also,

was heartbreaking.

Heart of Darkness:
All this talk about loss and no mention of Mother 3, which deals with loss of family, loss of innocence, loss of childhood...

For shame. For shame. Mother 3 is one of the few games that makes me cry every time I play it.

Indeed that Lucas has gone through lots of travesty and it's sad but, kindly to say that it wasn't released outside of Japan so I don't think they know about the translated version of Mother 3.

I would not say that the death of Aerith from FFVII is a good thing but I certainly didn't weep from that scene probably because I play the game for four hours and barely understanding Aerith.

I consider FFVI where Celes opera singing better than that.

Mass Effect 2's Bad Ending hits home when you see Joker with all the coffins. Not too much of a spoiler. Course it's YOUR FAULT FOR BEING A SHITTY LEADER. Hell one loss is sad enough to me. I my BADASS SHEPARD I had to literally revert THIRTY MINUTES to save TALI even though she was my ROMANCE OPTION. Instead... I had BITCH ASS JACOB go into the pipes if I recall correctly. Wasn't CONTRIBUTING at all anyways. Just second guessing my BADASS decisions like a BITCH PARAGON. (I actually prefer paragon-ism) See what I did there?

And confession time. When I was like 11 or 12 at the end of Conker's Bad Fur Day. I seriously cried. I was like WHY DID THIS HAPPEN!?!?!? It stills upsets me to this day a little.

Epoetker:

But being a guy, and thus possessed of the more focused sensitivity that women seem to lack,

Uh, what?

Exactly what I said. Womenses emotional sensitivity is more general, and thus more easily manipulated. They need those big death scenes to cry properly, whereas most men of any experience see the telegraphing long before the event. The littler things of greater import pass far too often without notice.

Greater mental focus = deeper and more detailed investment in a story = events that would not normally pass notice have greater emotional impact. We simply get more out of the game, or book, or movie, or event, than most of you women do.

Which is probably why men actually MAKE the vast majority of video games.

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