The PixeList: 4 of the Saddest Moments In Gaming -
This week's PixeList is about some of the most heart-wrenching scenes ever experienced in the glorious form we call video games. Needless to say, this is chock full of spoilery goodness. You have been warned.
All of these moments were written and performed so well, we all find ourselves reaching for the tissues to hide our silent tears. Don’t kid yourself; you felt something when Aerith died—or you are just dead inside. Here is the list of the saddest, most depressing moments in video games.
I hope my keyboard is waterproof.
4) Batman Arkham City – The Killing Joke
This may strike you as a little odd, but I feel that this deserves to be on this list. After thwarting the Joker on Arkham Island and infiltrating Mayor Sharp’s Arkham City, Batman discovers the Joker is slowly dying from Titan intoxication. Of course, you don’t deduce this due to your detective work, the Killer Clown captures him and doses Bats with his own blood.
For the rest of the game, you fight and deal with some of the most prominent members of Batman’s rogues gallery to find a cure. The Joker figures you’ll get it for yourself and him, because what would Batman be without his defining nemesis? He believes Batman needs him in order to exist.
In the game’s climactic ending, you fight with Clayface, who has been posing as the Joker in the role of his life. After cutting your way out of Clayface to retrieve the antidote, you take a swig and all of those pesky symptoms go away. Bats then realizes the Joker wants to take a dip in the Lazarus Pit and tosses Ra’s al Ghul’s sword into the machine, causing it to crash down and knock the frozen Clayface into the pit. A big explosion follows.
Batman awakens to find himself still clutching the antidote with the Joker begging for the cure. He goes on and on about the deeds he has done before breakfast, finishing with “We all know you’ll save me.” We see Batman falter a little bit here. He struggles with the fact that the Joker always escapes and kills people. There’s no end to it. And suddenly the Joker pops up to stab Batman in the arm in an effort to take the cure.
This was his mistake. Batman drops the vial and it shatters to pieces, spilling its contents on the ground. The Joker of course blames Batman for it. Batman utters, “You wanna know something funny? Even after everything you’ve done, I would have saved you.” The Joker laughs and takes his final breath, smiling.
We see Batman carry the body out of Arkham City, and laying him on Commissioner Gordon’s car. He walks away without a word, wondering what comes next. What happens when you lose you other half?
3) Final Fantasy X – Ending
Ok, I had to pick just one moment in Final Fantasy history to make this list. I know a lot of them deserve to be on here (Celes’ attempted suicide) and some of them are so overdone that they aren’t sad anymore (Aerith). I picked one that gets me every single time. I have played through this game so many times I have lost count, and this ending gets to me every time. Final Fantasy X.
The main character, Tidus, gets taken from his home of Zanarkand by Sin and winds up in Spira. He meets Yuna and her guardians and decides to help her through her pilgrimage to defeat Sin. In the journey, Tidus learns that his father, who abandoned him as a child, is Sin. Even more determined, he encourages Yuna to keep pushing forward, saying that after they are done, they can go to Zanarkand.
Tidus discovers that to defeat Sin, the summoners sacrifice themselves and the one person they share the strongest emotional bond with to make a final Aeon. He can’t take it, and says they will find another way. He can’t lose Yuna.
They come upon a fountain of faith on top of Mt. Gagazet and when Tidus gets close, he has a dream of his Zanarkand. He learns that he is a dream from the faith and when they truly defeat Sin, he will disappear. After the dream, he accepts his fate and decides to keep it to himself.
Fast forward to the end, they defeat Jecht (Tidus’ dad) inside Sin according to plan. No one dies. Yay! Then Yu Yevon, the “god” of Spira shows up expecting another Aeon to inhabit. They realize that to get at Yevon, they have to defeat every single one of Yuna’s Aeons. After doing so, the party destroys Yu Yevon and defeats Sin forever.
Auron, his mission fulfilled, asks Yuna to send him to the Farplane. She starts the sending, and Auron disappears and Tidus starts to as well. Yuna turns, notices and shakes her head. Tidus says he has to go and that he’s sorry he couldn’t show her Zanarkand. He starts walking off, Yuna chases after him, reaches out and falls through him. As she gets up, she says “I love you.” He moves to embrace her from behind, but he is fading away fast. He walks through her and jumps off the airship, fading away into the clouds.
Yuna is then found on a pier, whistling. Hoping he would come running, as he promised. She goes inside the stadium to make a speech to all of Spira. “Everyone has lost something precious. Everyone here has lost homes, dreams, and friends. Everybody, now Sin is finally dead.” She goes on for a bit, then end with my favorite quote from any game, “The people and the friends that you have lost, or the dream that have faded….never forget them.”
2) Mass Effect 3 – Killing an Entire Race
For me, this was one of the saddest moments in my personal game history. It happens right at about the two-third mark of the game. You are on the planet Rannoch, old home planet of the Quarians and new home planet of the Geth. After surviving a standoff with a Reaper in one of those “Hell yeah!” moments, you are provided with a terrible choice.
You can upgrade the Geth, giving them free choice and the ability to side with you against the Reapers. Or you can take Tali’s advice and not give them the upgrade, leaving the Quarians to destroy them. Both races have ships pointed at each other in the space above, ready to fight. All that they are waiting for is your choice. Which race do you leave alive? I’ll be honest with you, I stood there for fifteen minutes staring at my screen. I couldn’t choose. I didn’t want Tali to be angry with me, but I didn’t want to lose Legion either.
I made my choice; I chose to upgrade the Geth, figuring they would be more helpful in the fight with the Reapers. I resolved within myself to not load up the save and choose differently if I didn’t like the outcome. And I’ll tell you, I really didn’t like the outcome.
First, to complete the upgrade, Legion had to die. Before he finishes uploading the code, he says “Thank you.” There was no way for me to save him. The music helps dig deep into your heart and makes you feel the loss. Then it cuts to the fight in space, ships being blown to pieces. The Geth fleet, now upgraded, proves to be too powerful for the Quarians. You can’t do anything to stop the destruction of an entire race.
The camera cuts back you Tali on Rannoch, watching as the ships of her race rain down in flames, sobbing. At this point, I was thinking Shepherd would come and apologize, that it was for the greater good and she would understand. I was wrong. She takes off her mask, turns toward Shepherd and says, “I’m sorry.” as she throws herself backward off the cliff. There’s a Paragon action mid-dive, but even if you click it, Shepherd comes up short.
Watch this and try not to cry. I can never do it.
1) Metal Gear Solid 4 – All of It
Like God of War on a previous list, the Metal Gear franchise could fill out this entire list. From Otacon’s emotions in MGS 1 and 2 to the bittersweet ending of Snake Eater, it’s hard to pick just one of these truly sad moments. So I chose Metal Gear Solid 4. All of it.
The entire game is comprised of Snake, who is aging rapidly due to his design as a clone, getting kicked in the gourds every time he turns a corner. Snake is called into action once again to take out his brother Liquid, who has taken over Ocelot’s body (long story).
As you progress through the game, some of the best characters from the franchise start to drop dead. Big Mama for example, who is revealed to be Snake’s surrogate mother for the Les Enfants Terribles project, dies in your arms trying to retrieve Big Boss’ corpse from a fire. Snake isn’t the only one to experience these losses, however. Otacon forms a relationship with Naomi Hunter and we learn two very important things about her.
One, she is haunted by all the wrong she has done in her life, like injecting Snake with FOXDIE and helping Liquid. And two, she has an incurable form of cancer and she has been basically on life support. Over whelmed by her guilt, she takes herself off of the nanomachines keeping her alive and dies right in front of Otacon, who promptly starts bawling.
Let’s not forget the infamous microwave tunnel scene, where Snake endangers his own life, crawling through the tunnel to get to the Patriots’ core. While this is happening, all of his friends are risking their lives in the battle against the Patriots.
Even after Snake makes it through all of this, it still isn’t over for him. It come to light in this game that the FOXDIE virus is mutating and it could start spreading and cause an epidemic. Snake has had a harsh life. He has been cursed with rapid aging. His job meant that he couldn’t be with Meryl, who is now married. He can’t have children, and now his genes are corrupted by a virus. And so Snake pulls out a gun, puts it in his mouth…but he can’t go through with it.
After that, he turns around to see the unexpected. His father, Big Boss, standing there, very much alive. Big Boss raises his rifle, and as Snake gets ready to fire, he drops the rifle. He disarms Snake and proceeds to hug him, like a father should.
After a lengthy explanation of how he is still alive, he tells Snake that the virus in him was overwritten by another, one that won’t cause a pandemic. But FOXDIE does its job, and causes Big Boss to collapse into Snake’s arms. In his last moments, Big Boss tells Snake that because this decades long war in over, he should quit wasting his life with violence and live as a man should. “The world would be better off without Snakes.” As an act of finality, Snake helps Big Boss light a cigar and he passes on.
The game is so immersive that when a character dies or suffers, we feel it. Supposedly, Hideo Kojima wrote the game to be a massive tear-jerker, and the way the entire scene, no, the entire game is written and acted along with the score, I think he achieved his goal.
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