31-Day Mage Challenge: Day Twenty-Two – “Most Emotional Moment in a Video Game?”

31 Day NES Well-Red Cover

Less than ten challenges left, ladies and gents! We’ve all played some video games which have moved us. Just as much as literature, poetry, music or movies, video games have the capacity to provoke joy, tears, exhilaration, anger… a whole range of emotions. Let’s bear that in mind that we’re not exactly asking for the “saddest” moment in gaming. We’re talking about the most emotional. Beware of spoilers!

What is the Most Emotional Moment in a Video Game?

 

 

timemage The Timely Mage

There have been a few games that got me really choked up or even brought me to tears and often times those are some of my favorite games because I was able to connect with their characters and world enough for me to become emotionally invested. Some amazing examples in recent memory include the opening for The Last of Us, the end of Journey, a moment between Drake and Elena in Uncharted 4, and the midpoint of Thomas Was Alone but probably the game that just wrecked me was Final Fantasy X. Honestly I don’t know how anybody can play that game from beginning to end and not shed a tear.

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blackmage The Black Humor Mage

Which emotion? Angry? Sad? Happy? Let’s go with sad, since that is usually associated with the word “emotional”. Perhaps the saddest moment in a game, for me, was in The Last of Us. It wasn’t the beginning scene where Joel’s daughter died, or when Tess died, but when Sam and Henry died. Not that those other moments weren’t sad, but the moment where Henry has to shoot his zombie-turning brother, and then kills himself in grief was shocking and I could not stop crying afterward. I think it has to do with the fact that I could relate to it so easily. I have a younger brother that I care about, and take care of all the time. Henry had to take care of his younger brother in a very scary world, and he failed him. He had to kill him, and he couldn’t live with that. I tear up thinking about that, and it hurts to fathom.

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ragemage The Rage Mage

I only suffer one emotion. Bet you can’t guess what it is, you blubbering nerd.

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FF3-NES-Summoner2 The Green Screen Mage

Crisis Core and Undertale fought hard to have this one. Those final moments with Zack and Cloud. The moment you discover the truth about Flowey. Both very emotional moments, but they just lost out to Halo 4.

The final moments in Halo 4 were utterly crushing for someone who has been playing these games since she was nine years old. Watching Chief lose the one thing, the one person, he cared about more than anyone else. The one he had to protect at all cost. One of the few he hadn’t lost yet. It was devastating. Throughout the game you see little hints of what is happening to Cortana and you sit hoping against hope that somehow she can hold on, that Chief can find a way to save her. Instead, you’re left watching your constant companion for four games now try to cling to what is left of her sanity and knowing how unlikely it is that you can save her. The final moments between her and John left me crying for 20 minutes straight.

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“We were supposed to take care of each other. And we did.” – Cortana

 

 

whiteoutmage The White Out Mage

My well-red hubby and I were playing through Final Fantasy X and there’s that scene where Yuna breaks down crying with Tidus in Macalania woods. I broke down with her too. Had to pause the game. It was the first time I’ve ever cried for a video game character.

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Untitled2 The Well-Red Mage

There are several moments that could come into play here: the grief of Aeris’ death, the suicide attempt of Celes, the realization of Yuna’s sacrifice, the death of Sniper Wolf, the end credits of Arkham City, the baby metroid saving the day in

Super Metroid, Sora and Kairi losing touch with each other at the end of Kingdom Hearts, the trusty steed Agro falling off the cliff to save Wander, or finding out the princess was actually in another castle. But I’m going to go with a moment that isn’t a tear-jerker.

The conclusion of Journey. It’s intensely emotional without being a cry-fest. If you haven’t played the game, you must. It’s short enough to complete easily and the way it’s so designed to minimize and strip down interactions between strangers to build up to this massive pay off is utterly unique. I haven’t played any other game that has ever captured the feeling of ascending up the mountainside, wafting through the air, to the soaring score of Austin Wintory. A kind of irresistible surrender to profound joy. It’s the only game I’ve played that touched upon what it must be like to leave the earthly plane and ascend to Heaven. And without commentary, without dialogue, it’s a universally human experience regardless of color or creed. It was like walking into “the Light”.

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32 thoughts on “31-Day Mage Challenge: Day Twenty-Two – “Most Emotional Moment in a Video Game?”

  1. I nominate the end of Tomb Raider: Legend. The story of the game revolves around Lara’s attempt to discover the whereabouts of her mother missing since a plane crash during Lara’s childhood. At the end of the game, she learns more about the incident and the villain’s role in the disappearance. It shows Lara’s emotional change from surprise to see her mother to frustration as her warnings go unheeded to anger as learns the truth. The part were she draws a gun and angrily commands the villain, while punctuating each word with a fired bullet, adds excitement as the player wonders whether she will shoot her enemy. It ends with her rendering her opponent unconscious and her continuing the next part of the journey.
    I also considered Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TIme (the phrase “Saria will always be… your friend”, creates a sense of loss for Link), Lylat Wars (the image of Fox searching the skies for the ghost of his father) and the end of Metal Gear Solid 3 (when it is unclear whether the fighter pilot will shoot down the heroes and ignore his orders). What did you find emotional about the death of Sniper Wolf?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just played through Aeris’s death in FFVII, and even though I knew it was coming it got me a little.
    I find the Quantic Dream games to be really emotional, not just sadness but also a little terror, disgust, etc. They can be really intense at times.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. About 20 minutes into the Last of Us, I was sadly crying like a baby… That whole game literally had my on the edge of my couch, and in a heightened emotional state the whole time. It was one of those rare games that I couldn’t put down until I beat the main story. It was quite an experience, and no other game has ever moved me like that.

    The ending to Final Fantasy X also had me in tears… *sniff* I need to go play a cheerful Mario game now.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Journey was such a beautiful game, very emotional indeed. I dunno how anyone can play FFX and not cry, they’re made of stronger matter than me (^_^;) As a child I cried rivers over Aeris, she’s still my fave char from 7 ಥ_ಥ

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  5. I’ve been moved to chills by many a video game. The end of FFVI filled me with such hope I smiled for days. I was utterly shocked by Aeris’s death in FFVII even though I played it about a year or so after the game came out, but managed to avoid spoilers (the internet not being as dark and full of them at the time). Years later, I found out more about what the original game was supposed to be about and the tragic reasons that influenced the changes that made VII what it is today. Then there was Super Paper Mario when you find out the true nature of the 8th Pure Heart and later the underlying reason for Count Bleck’s nothingness crusade.

    While I don’t remember many distinctive times I was brought to tears (sadness does seem to be the go-to when “emotional” is mentioned), there’s one I do. It was doing my play through of Child of Light where the main character Aurora has to tell a little girl Gen that her parents are dead, but instead of doing so in words, she plays the saddest song possible on her flute, and the other character starts crying. Hell I’m tearing up now just writing about it. It was so heartbreaking, poignant, and beautiful. Afterwards, Gen’s despair changes to rage, and she joins your party to try to ensure her parents’ deaths weren’t in vain. Honestly, that entire game is one gigantic feel fest.

    Life Is Strange keeps hovering around me, too. I didn’t realize it was a Squeenix game. For some reason LIS keeps popping up whenever I also find Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.

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  6. The way you described Journey’s ending was spot on. Of course, it’s metaphorical and open to interpretation but that’s pretty much how I saw it. That’s possibly the same for my most emotional moment, apart from FF8’s ending… where Laguna visits Raine’s grave and Balamb Garden flies overhead. It’s beautiful :’)

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    • It’s been a while for me since I completed FFVIII so I can’t comment on that. But I do think that the success of Journey’s ending is because it’s open to interpretation. If they had gone to closely with imagery and commentary or even exposition from one religion, like Christianity in my case, it would have alienated others who don’t adhere or believe in those tenets of that specific religion. But by stripping away explanation they managed to make something universal that becomes personal, allowing you to reflect your own beliefs upon it. It’s the nearest thing I could compare it to.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice post, as always. I love two you’ve already posted and that I also covered in the blog, the one in The Last of Us (the game has some really great moments from start to finish) and Journey’s ending, beautiful and touching game. Also agree with Mr. Panda, Telltale Game’s The Walkind Dead first sesion’s ending was incredible and past year’s Life is Strange’s has some great emotional moments.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m getting so emotional just reading all of these answers. FFX, Crisis Core, and Journey are definitely among the top emotional games for me. I get very attached to characters in adventure games and visual novels. Some big games that have affected me are the endings to Life is Strange, Telltale’s The Walking Dead S1, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, and the Phoenix Wright trilogy. I won’t say what it is about them that makes me emotional because of spoilers. However, I love story-based games and will usually play a good one ahead of other games.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. This moment showed me why people make love.

    The first film I can remember seeing is The Italian Job, which starts with one of the most iconic scenes of all time – a Lamborghini Miura driving through the Swiss Alps. That film stuck with me through my childhood and was initially the reason that I developed such an interest in film.

    At around the same time, I was introduced to – wait for it – …the Driver series (yes, that again). That had a similar tone to it, and I followed the series with every release.

    Which brings us to the latest instalment, Driver: San Francisco. One of the cool features is Movie Challenges, which are missions that recreate famous movie car chases, unlocked by collecting Movie Tokens from around the city, with each one needing more than the previous. Part of the fun is anticipating which Movie will be the next Movie Challenge. I think it’s pretty obvious where I’m going with this. Driver: San Francisco’s final Movie Challenge is Bel Viaggio, inspired by The Italian Job. In Bel Viaggio, you drive a Lamborghini Miura through the hills of Marin County to a track homaging the song that opens The Italian Job. I’ve never felt more joy playing any video-game level. To be seeing these two things come together in the most beautiful way… I can’t lie, I did cry a little bit. Two became one. And that’s why I love, not just video games, but fiction. Everything we grow up loving becomes a lovely blur in our memories, inseparably. Our minds combine what was once separate. Art is unleashed upon us and become united together, to become more than what they could ever have been alone.

    Compare:

    It’s not the level itself that’s emotional in anyway, but what it means to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This was a really good share. Good to hear about someone being moved not just by sadness but by the strength of joy. I had something of the same feeling when I played the Batman ’66 DLC racing stages on Arkham Knight. Thanks very much for sharing about the substance and value of art.

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