Games are quite unlike any other art form in the world. They bring together all of the major arts, including the visual, musical and storytelling that we love from other media, into one whole package and then hand us the reins.
This provides videogames with the opportunity to pull on the heartstrings like no other art form. While it would be a fallacy to claim that they all do that, there are many moments in gaming that have caused players to shed a tear, make exclamations of joy or demonstrate a myriad of other emotions.
Here we will take a look at five of the biggest tearjerkers in this ever-evolving form of entertainment. Bear in mind, this is by no means a definitive list, as different things affect players in varying ways.
5. Aeris’ Death – Final Fantasy VII
For many of a certain age, particularly in the UK, Final Fantasy VII was the first game to really showcase just how much the medium could do when it came to telling a story. Featuring a stellar plot and engaging cast of characters, it was a whirlwind success.
Amongst the many defining moments in the game is Aeris’ death. While by no means the first death suffered by a party character in a Final Fantasy game, as fans of the fourth in the series will be able to tell you, it is amongst the most shocking and visceral. That music only serve to bring on the waterworks faster.
4. Sam and Henry – The Last Of Us
The Last Of Us hits the player with so many gut punches that it is easy to become a little desensitised to the constant violence by the time you meet Sam and Henry. These two brothers are just trying to survive, but they manage to form a solid bond with Joel and Ellie for a good portion of the story.
Unfortunately, nothing gold can stay. During an attack of infected, Sam gets bitten and ends up attacking Ellie. Left with no other option, Henry shoots his brother before turning the gun on himself.
3. Agro’s Death – Shadow of the Colossus
It is an underplayed gem, but everybody who has had the benefit of getting to grips with Team Ico’s masterpiece will know that it is a beautiful game that raises serious questions about the morality of gamers and the purpose of even playing.
However, in the context of the story, it is easy for players to become attached to Wander’s trusty horse Agro. That makes it all the more heart-breaking when he dies, falling victim to a collapsing bridge but not before flinging his rider to safety first.
2. The Nuke – Modern Warfare
The Call of Duty games are known for their gung-ho nature and fairly haphazard storylines these days, but when Modern Warfare came out it packed a punch that few gamers were expecting.
Following his efforts to prevent Khaled Al-Asad’s efforts to detonate a nuke in the Shock and Awe mission, thus starting World War III, Sergeant Paul Jackson is picked up by a chopper just as the blast happens. He doesn’t get away in time and is instead left to crawl helplessly in the rubble until his life fades away.
1. The Last Stand – Halo: Reach
Halo has an enormous amount of lore behind it, for those who are into that kind of thing, but even if you just play the standard games it has the ability to create truly tragic moments.
One of those occurs right at the end of Halo: Reach. After ensuring the Pillar of Autumn launched and Cortana survives, the sole surviving member of the squad, Noble Six, stages a last stand against the hordes of Covenant that tried to stop him. Slowly but surely they get the upper hand. His visor cracks and that’s the end of Noble Squad.
Lee Price is a freelance writer and general miscreant who enjoys video games, movies and making dreary situations better by adding copious amounts of alcohol. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Lee2112 to read his random musings.