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Games That Take You By Surprise Emotionally...


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Unlikely a candidate as it is, Terminator: Redemption took me by surprise!

I had expected the game to simply follow the films story, but when TX throws you back into the future and you're told mankind has been wiped out, I really felt quite desperate to win, and bring humanity back.

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.::: To be honest I wasn't that much affected by it. Crono's sacrifice though (Chrono Trigger), I moved him in front of Lavos myself and all that, but was still staring in disbelieve at the screen...

For about an hour I was still waiting for him to pop back into he party. Only then did I realise he was REALLY gone. Some kind of delayed shock I suppose.

Problem was I ddin't really wanted him back after learning Magus, Lucca en Robo's Omega Flare. :unsure:

But in the end the loss of Crono had a far bigger impact than Aeris ever did.

Yes, and I think part of the reason why Crono's sacrifice is moving is because you do it yourself (even though no other choice is available).

The bridge scene in Ico is great (someone said "returning the favor" and that's absolutely right). Excellent sequencing of brief cutscenes with gameplay -- I instinctively knew it was in my control again and ran towards her and jumped. It didn't even occur to me that I had a choice and that I could have left her (turns out you get trapped if you try to just cross the bridge alone, but that's not the point). I was so intensely wired into the game that I knew when I could act again and I knew I had to go back to her. There never was a choice in it for me.

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Ico:

Click For Spoiler
When Yorda falls off the bridge it was the first time I thought "my god, I actually care about what happens to her!". Probably the first time in a game I actually felt genuine concern, very strange.

Operation Flashpoint:

I was surprised at how scared and tense you could get, creeping around, hiding in bushes and from tanks and surrounded by enemy patrols. With the knowledge that if you make one mistake you're dead. It made you feel very alone and vunerable, I kept thinking, christ, if this is how it feels in a game, how fucking scary must it be in real life?!

FF7:

Click For Spoiler
When Aeris died I wasn't weeping like some people. I was however left with an empty kind of feeling, I guess a lot like a real death must feel. The amazing music helped a lot in that scene and the battle afterwards. Still completely overrated as the most emotional moment in a game ever though.

Horror games don't really count because their whole intention is to stir the emotions of fear and disconcert.

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One moment that took me by surprise in a game was in Golden Sun for the Game Boy Advance, mainly due to the fact that I was so cynical and was thinking about the fact that it's a role-playing game on a handheld and that I shouldn't expect much from it. So when Felix landed in the drink on the first time I played the game, I took a look at him - bobbing up and down in a cute little animation - and thought to myself "That animation is going to last forever, or at least until the game sees that I've figured out how to rescue him. This gives me a little time to explore my surroundings." But it was just after a fight with some typically hideous enemies that, after a few moments, the screen faded out from where I was and faded back to show Felix again, still bobbing up and down in the water. "Ah," I thought to myself, how's our friend Felix getting alo-"

Felix had gone under.

When it comes to emotional moments in videogames, the first point of reference for most is the death of Aeris in Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation. However, what people don't realise, what made Felix's death in Golden Sun so much more heartbreaking - in my opinion - is the fact that you had the option to rescue Felix and you didn't. Aeris' death was fated, if you will: the scriptwriters deliberately put that bit into the story to make the moment memorable and to put another bullet point onto the list of things that make FFVII a classic. Meanwhile, Felix's death was not fated, it was optional. I had the choice to rescue Felix and instead I left him to die.

Back to the recollection, I was shocked. I was just staring at the GBA screen open-mouthed and horrified, thinking "how could I have been so cruel as to neglect the poor guy?" In short, NPC deaths are so much more emotional when you are partly responsible; when you have the choice to save them and you turn it down.

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In short, NPC deaths are so much more emotional when you are partly responsible; when you have the choice to save them and you turn it down.

Great point and great story. I just want to point out that, in FFVII, a PC dies, not an NPC. That wasn't all too common back then. Yes, there was Chrono Trigger. But also remember that FFVII brought a lot of new people to RPGs, being on the PS-X and all. It was a little bit of a rennaisance, and killing a PC, however scripted, helped a lot. I agree with your point entirely, however.

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Sonic Adventure surprised me when I played through the story shared between Gamma and Amy...I was really touched by their friendship, and none of the other characters' stories were anywhere near as inspiring because they were all macho twits.

EDIT: let me elaborate. It all happens when Gamma is in the room where Amy and her bird are being held captive, and Amy is begging for release. A quick search reveals that GameFAQs has the Sonic Adventure script online, and so I can show you here (in spoiler tags). Zero has just grabbed Amy and Birdie and taken them prisoner in the Egg Carrier, whilst Gamma is on guard:

Amy: What do you want? 

E-102: Hand me the bird.

Amy: Nope.

E-102: Now agree to hand over the bird.

Amy: No.  Never!

E-102: Why not?

Amy: I don’t need to tell you anything.  You tell me why you want it.  Now! 

E-102: Does not compute.

Amy: You don’t even know?  I know you might hurt us both. 

Please, Mr. Robot.  Won’t you help us, please?!

E-102: Insufficient data.  You have feelings for something you know nothing

about.  Illogical.

Amy: I pity you.  To mother isn’t a part of your programming.  You are missing

something good.  Hey, birdy!  Come back here!

(The bird flies over to E-102, and E-102 releases Amy from her cell)

E-102: Go!  Escape.

Amy: You what?  You sure?

E-102: It’s dangerous here.  We’ll be at the Mystic Ruins base soon. 

Amy: You’re really nice.  You’re different from the other robots.  You’ve got

a soft spot inside your metal brain.  If you want, we can be friends, okay?

It's then that I was both saddened by the realisation that Gamma is a machine who doesn't understand love or compassion, and touched by Gamma's change of heart when it (he?) releases Amy. A simple scene, but executed very well (with great musical cues and the moment when Gamma has a change of heart, and how Amy is able to reach to the humanity that is somewhere within the machine) in my opinion.

No offence, but that's totally shit.

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Speaking of NPC's, there is one moment that stands out on Disk 3 of Shenmue II that isn't in Yellow Head building. When you are making your way to Yellow Head building with all the fights you have to fight the women on a platform suspended in mid air with just a drop around it. As you approach you see a fight ending and once the woman has won she holds her opponent by the wrist over the gap and then just lets him fall to his death. My immediate reaction was :lol: because it was the first real death in the game since the start of Shenmue I but it kind of reinforced the fact thar Ryo was hitting the rougher end of his journey.

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The one bit that really got me was during my first play throughof Deus Ex. Right at the start of the Area 51 level near the end, Jock, my pilot, had dropped me off and warned me of an enemy sniper.

Now I had kinda formed an affection for Jock over the course of the game, he was the one character out of the whole tangled web of lies that was Deus Ex to not have some kind of hidden agenda or ulterior motive. he was just an all round nice guy who was always on hand to pick me up and drop me off as and when I needed it, he even gave me the keys to his apartment in hongkong so i could ransack it at my leisure.

However, a few seconds after that final takeoff, I hear him go "Oh my god JC a bo-" over my infolink, I hear the explosion and look up to see that his chopper explode and the radio fall silent.

Of course, on subsequent play throughs I discovered a way to pre-empt and prevent his death, but I was absolutely gutted that first time. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. :lol:

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Speaking of NPC's, there is one moment that stands out on Disk 3 of Shenmue II that isn't in Yellow Head building. When you are making your way to Yellow Head building with all the fights you have to fight the women on a platform suspended in mid air with just a drop around it. As you approach you see a fight ending and once the woman has won she holds her opponent by the wrist over the gap and then just lets him fall to his death. My immediate reaction was :lol: because it was the first real death in the game since the start of Shenmue I but it kind of reinforced the fact thar Ryo was hitting the rougher end of his journey.

I agree completely. By far the most hard hitting death I've ever seen in a game.

It's just so out of place with the world you were in so far; collecting capsule toys, the odd scrap, loading boxes etc.

(Bear in mind I never played the first one, so never experienced Ryo's initial mourning)

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I found the text adventure game Photopia recently. Not many puzzles, more like a puzzle in itself.

Something about it though hit me right in the guts. I still can't put my finger on it.

Then there's this.

http://www.ifiction.org/games/play.phpz

Aisle.

It's a text adventure set in a supermarket.

You have one move.

The game ends.

You start again. The response to that one move raises questions. Further games answer some questions but raise others.

What games have hit you right there, either with surprise or an unexpected emotional response?

If you like IF then get this

http://www.ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/zcode/curses.z5

It's an old infocom adventure, it's superbly written. I've never managed to get all the way through it, but it's a fantastic piece of work

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  • 4 years later...
The bridge scene in Ico is great (someone said "returning the favor" and that's absolutely right). Excellent sequencing of brief cutscenes with gameplay -- I instinctively knew it was in my control again and ran towards her and jumped. It didn't even occur to me that I had a choice and that I could have left her (turns out you get trapped if you try to just cross the bridge alone, but that's not the point). I was so intensely wired into the game that I knew when I could act again and I knew I had to go back to her. There never was a choice in it for me.

Tears came to my eyes reading this, and remembering my own feelings at the same part. ICO, subtle though it was most of the time, hit me harder, emotionally, than any game previous or since.

Aisle is cool, btw. Thanks for the link, topic starter guy.

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Grand Theft Auto: China Town Wars near the beginning:

The girl who you pick up, and who later gives you gun training. There's some flirty banter going on, and I'm thinking, "Oh this is the love interest for the game." Next mission, BANG! She's dead! For some reason, it shocked me. I thought I was beyond being shocked in a GTA game.

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Trauma Center. The one where the former suicide attempter started crying, begging me to cure her, pleading that she wanted to LIVE! It got me good.

Then they tried to replicate the exact scene with the same character in the sequel. Monster fail.

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One of the more emotional moments I can recall was while playing Medal of Honour: Frontline.

I can't remember the level name but it involved moving from house to house via the back gardens in some Dutch village and then meeting this old man dressed in his gardening clothes who very kindly and bravely offered to help you out.

Only problem was he got his head blown off by a German sniper the second he stepped onto the street.

It wasn't bloody (EA game after all) but it really took me by surprise and I felt quite sad for the old bugger afterwards.

What did you think about Arnhem Knights? it was the level when you were helping trapped Brit soldiers in a ruined town, really sad music

from youtube

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What a great thread.

Anyway, mine:

The end of Space Channel 5, when you lose the sound system and everyone you've rescued in the game sings an acapella version of the main theme to get you up and fighting again. Everyone's cheering you on, everyone's yelling out the moves as you perform them - it's jubilant. The only thing that matches the joy at leading the galaxy against the game's villain is the sheer dismay at letting them all down when you miss the very last CHU!

Sly Raccoon 2. It has some of the best character development in any game series, let along for a cartoony platform game, but the end of the second game where Bently is crippled and Murray blames himself for it, forcing himself into exile is such a downer.

Soldier of Fortune. Michael Clarke Duncan-voiced Hawk being executed was pretty upsetting, but the end of the game was much worse. John Mullins finishes all the missions, kills the terrorists and stuff, and right at the end of the game he's introduced to his new partner/liason, some generic sexy girl with guns. And I wanted to Mullins to get angry that Hawk was being replaced without so much as a mention, that his best friend was gone and nobody gived a shit. Instead he just gives a nod and that's it, the end of the game. I glared at the screen and called him a very bad name.

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For me it's Test Drive Unlimited, I know that it's rather dated, and that Burnout Paradise does everything it does a lot better, but it's the tone that matters. Burnout is all sound and fury, focus tested for the 14 year old with ADHD, whereas with TDU, the act of driving somewhere without purpose is just fundamentally relaxing, it's just bliss. I still pop it in every now and again and go for a tour around the coast when I've had a stressful day.

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Playing Metal Gear Solid 4, tramping through the snow unable to see far, slowly make out some structures through the blizzard, I suddenly recognise the Shadow Moses site from MGS1, soft haunting music plays......me, nostalgic as hell, walking slowly about the helicopter pad, staring about me, all the memories flooding back as I remembered my attempts to infiltrate the place like it was yesterday, flashbacks, fleeting voices of old.......just an amazing emotional moment.

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For me it's Test Drive Unlimited, I know that it's rather dated, and that Burnout Paradise does everything it does a lot better, but it's the tone that matters. Burnout is all sound and fury, focus tested for the 14 year old with ADHD, whereas with TDU, the act of driving somewhere without purpose is just fundamentally relaxing, it's just bliss. I still pop it in every now and again and go for a tour around the coast when I've had a stressful day.

It is glorious,just cruising by the seafront is awesome. :(

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