Deny it all you like, but video games are a powerful medium. I would say just as powerful as any other forms of entertainment such as movies, music and books. Much like these other methods of telling a story or exploring a theme, video games continue to prove that they are able to evoke emotions within us we never thought we would feel – Sometimes even going so far as to make us hurt, ache and of course, cry.
Whether it’s through the power of the game’s storytelling, artistic nature or even a sudden turn of fate for a character you never saw coming, there are many games we can look back on and appreciate for their enjoyment, but what are those few games that made us feel the opposite way, wrenching out our heart and leading us to think; “this isn’t fair!”.
To find out, we’ve pulled together a list of the top 10 video games moments that made us cry. Tissues at the ready, our allergies are about to play up big time!
Cowboys don’t live forever (Red Dead Redemption)
Red Dead Redemption is an interesting open-world game not only in the sense that it places an unusual but welcome amount of emphasis on story for a game in its genre, but also because this narrative is paced and laid out entirely in reverse. Whereas most games start of quiet, eventually crescendo-ing to a bombastic climax, by Red Dead Redemption’s final three hours as John Marston you get to enjoy American life with your family.
This makes it all the more devastatingly heart-wrenching then when the crooked government agents you initially made a deal with decide to tie up all loose ends, riddling your carcass full of bullets and robbing you of the quiet life you had been fighting for the entire game. A hero’s death in every sense of the phrase, John Marston you died an honest man and we will always remember it.
The Fate of Dom’s Wife (Gears of War 2)
As silly as it may sound, masculine military bromance can be a powerful thing in a video game, when caught up in the midst of an alien war you really do find yourself latching onto the most human aspects in order to never lose sight of what you’re fighting for. Surprisingly no series proves this more so than Xbox exclusive series, Gears of War.
Throughout the majority of Gears of War 2, as stereotypical badass Marcus Phoenix you and your bro-buddy Dom spend a lot of your early time in the game hunting down the latter’s wife, in one last effort to retain a shining light in such a grey and war-torn world that is Sera. When eventually discovered within a Locust imprisonment camp, it’s all too heart-breaking to realize that all that is left is a shell of the person Dom once knew. We really were fighting back manly tears in this one.
Passing on the Torch (The Walking Dead)
There aren’t too many people on the planet who feel the need to criticize the sheer genius that is Telltale’s first season of The Walking Dead, and for good reason. The relationship you build with young girl Clementine over the course of 5 emotional episodes is enough to make you do anything for her, even die. It’s just a shame that by the end of the season finale, we experienced something we should have probably saw coming.
The final few moments and pieces of dialogue between Lee and Clementine carry a lot of weight, meaning and honesty, it’s in these values that makes the passing of the torch to Clem as the new series protagonist tougher than perhaps most games would struggle to achieve. As you’re given the choice for her to shoot you once turning into one of the undead or let you live out life as a walker, you make the first decision that notably sets the tone of survival for the following seasons to come.
Altair’s fate (Assassin’s Creed Revelations)
Believe it or not, some of the most emotional and heartfelt moments in a piece of media can be the ones in which we don’t see the tragedy that occurs, Assassin’s Creed is a series that we thought would be the least likely to choke us up in this manner, but when Revelations came along we were easily proved wrong. The game was a send-off for two beloved and honorable men and it is done rather beautifully.
Upon unlocking Altair’s library once collecting all of the appropriate keys as Ezio, only then do we learn of the legendary assassin’s true fate, gazing upon his skinless skeletal frame still clutching the powerful apple of eden he swore to protect. In many ways Altair was the unsung hero of the Assassin’s Creed games, setting the template for what was to come but only to pass the limelight onto franchise favourite Ezio. Discovering that the first assassin we knew died honorably off-screen was a mark of genius and an emotional moment.
Sarah doesn’t make it (The Last of Us)
So, picture this. You’ve been chomping at the bits to get your hands on developer Naughty Dog’s next game, following all preview coverage, scrolling through the E3 trailer too many times to count and putting down your pre-order only to discover that in the opening moments of the game you’ve been Hideo Kojima-ed. You’re not playing as Joel or even Ellie for that matter, and the only thing running through your mind is “Oh, this isn’t good”.
One of the boldest ways to begin a game by far, The Last of Us successfully sets itself apart from the developer’s previous games by placing you in a dark world amidst a dark event only to suffer the ultimate loss within the first 10 mins of the game. Sarah’s accidental death at the hands of a government soldier feel so devastating because as Joel you are powerless to prevent it, as in real life the event happens so fast, only leaving you to cradle Sarah in your arms praying that she’ll wake up.