Can a Game Make You Cry?

I have never played a game that made me cry. Well, cry with laughter, maybe, as the few parties we’ve had at which someone broke out DDR were quite spectacular. But tears of actual sorrow from an in-game occurrence? Nope.

Clearly, from the above comment about DDR, I have found amusement in games. I’ve been angry at games (but generally, more at some annoyingly hard, twitchy jump I had to make 52 times before I performed it correctly). I’ve even jumped out of surprise and fright while playing a game. No weeping.

And it’s not that I have no capacity for empathy. In fact, it’s quite opposite. Just like all the women in Sleepless in Seattle, I cried at An Affair to Remember. I went to see The English Patient in the theater, and came out a bit red faced and puffy about the eyes. I cry every time Goose dies in Top Gun, and I cried again when he died in ER (well, not Goose, but Dr. Greene). I’ve been moved to tears at some arrangements of Pachelbel’s Canon in D and by the soaring melodies of Handel’s most inspired Messiah.

But never a game.

Maybe I haven’t played the right ones. But Dana Massey makes an interesting point in his article this week: Most of the games we play would be akin to blockbuster action flicks. And while these films certainly get your adrenaline pumping, they’re not well-suited to be overly emotion-inducing.

Along similar lines, but coming from a different angle, newcomer to The Escapist, Rod Humble, discusses where the true art of games is found. Rod feels that rules are what make games unique and able to have the most impact on the player’s experience. Perhaps by considering rule sets and new gameplay mechanics we can broaden the potential emotional connection able to be produced by games.

Kieron Gillen also returns this week and writes about a game that has bent the rules a bit and offered a fresh play experience. In “More Than a Feeling,” Kieron discusses his recent playtime with Guitar Hero.


-Julianne Greer

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