10 Video Games You Weren’t Expecting To Make You Cry

Pong/Space Invaders/Spyro/Crash Bandicoot
Pong/Space Invaders/Spyro/Crash Bandicoot

Way back when Pong and Space Invaders were the tip top of video game science, and even when Spyro and Crash Bandicoot were the prime gaming mascots, few could have expected games to have the capacity for emotional devastation that the past few years have given us. Gamers have always known the potential that video games have, but nobody could’ve predicted the impact that narrative games have made over the past few years.

Games easily rival Hollywood in terms of plot intricacy and emotional involvement, especially as the interactivity makes it a much more engaging source of entertainment. Both indie platforms and mainstream studios have now started painting incredible worlds with characters that we inevitably grow to love, and choices that are physically heart-breaking to make.

Everyone knows that games like This War Of Mine are made specifically to smash your feelings into little pieces, so it’s almost expected that you need to pause here and there to scream to the sky “Oh God why?!” when confronted with a particularly brutal choice and consequence.

This War of Mine
This War of Mine

But what about those games that sprung it on you without notice? Those games that were marketed as a straight up RPG, a shooter or a puzzle etc., and then as it turned out they could rival Heavy Rain in terms of sheer emotional pain. Some of the most simple, generic, and even boring-looking games that have been brought out over the past few years hold inside of them a secret sucker punch right for the feels, and it’s often even worse when you have no idea it’s coming. There will be spoilers, and there will be tears. You have been warned.

10. Silent Hill 2

Pyramid Head
James facing his demons

“Hm, Silent Hill, that’s that horror game with all the weird monsters isn’t it?” you say, or at least said back in 2001 when it was first released, blissfully unaware of what was to come. In Silent Hill 2, you play as James Sunderland, who comes to Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his dead wife, Mary. So far, so spooky. You battle various creatures and meet an ally called Maria who is quickly killed off by a terrifying being called Pyramid Head, a brutal humanoid monster with no face and a pyramid-shaped head. The beginning of Silent Hill 2 is fairly standard horror genre fare. While the original Silent Hill was much more of a psychological thriller than previous horror games, it certainly couldn’t prepare the player for the emotional turmoil that lay within its second installment.

Things get even darker as you go along; discovering another version of Maria who, among other distressing details, denies ever having died. As you tumble haphazardly down the through the story (and once Maria is murdered again, this time by two Pyramid Heads), it then becomes clear that Silent Hill is largely a representation of James’ psyche. You see a video of him killing his ill wife, and as it unravels, this disturbing world falls apart. Even as an arguable mercy killing, James is consumed by guilt and has created Pyramid Head as a figure to punish him for his crime.

Depending on your actions within the game, you will receive an ending that is determined by whether you’ve played as a character who is worthy of moving past this trauma, or whether you should just kill yourself. Interestingly, this determination isn’t totally formed by your necessary actions or obvious choices within the game. The ending you receive is assigned by the smallest of details, such as how many times you read Mary’s letter. James’ outcome is judged, as are you as the player, on an almost unquantifiable non-binary moral scale which forces you to participate in the psychological nightmare on a much deeper and more affecting level.

9. To The Moon

To The Moon
Johnny on his death bed

To The Moon presents itself as a rather cutesy throwback to classic 16-bit RPGs in what starts off as a very satisfying nostalgia trip. You play as a doctor who is part of a corporation called Sigmund Corp. Your job is to implant false memories into the minds of the dying and gives them a sense of “wish fulfillment” on their death beds so they believe that they have done the things they always wanted to do in life. You meet Johnny at the beginning of the game. Johnny wants to go to the moon but doesn’t remember why.

The game relies on classic RPG puzzle formats, searching through the house for clues, solving riddles, and interpreting information. Like many of the games on this list, the soundtrack is a big part of the key as to how it plays the heartstrings so effectively. From the very beginning we’re treated to delicate piano which is equal parts cheesy, nostalgic, and beautiful. Paired with the touching story, the two compliment each other perfectly to make an excellent tear-inducing recipe. Technically, you could argue that To The Moon isn’t even much of a game, but a click-through film of epic proportions.

It’s the conclusion of To The Moon that really smashes you in the face, emotionally speaking. The game elegantly deals with love and loss, and looks at the fleeting missed connections that can transform an entire existence. The rest of the entries on this list are pretty spoiler-heavy, but there won’t be spoilers here. If you haven’t already played it then, please, get it, play it, and sob into your pillow. To The Moon is a gorgeous story, and deserves the hype that it’s received.

8. Fallout 3

Fallout 3
The desolate landscape of Fallout 3

Fallout 3 isn’t one that may have touched everybody who played it. Part-RPG, part-first person shooter, it’s not particularly a game that you could predict to be as emotionally intense as it is, especially if you, like many players, are new to the Fallout series. You could easily play the game as a straight FPS, blasting down ghouls and super-mutants with the both the main story and the side-quest stories as the trimming to the main event. Let’s be honest though, you’re missing out on a lot doing that. Fallout 3 is made to be an immersive experience, to the point that you witness, in first-person, your character being born. You control your character as a toddler, through school, and eventually to your escape from the Vault into the Wasteland.

That first burst into the Wasteland is one that affected many players. Having spent the whole game so far in a claustrophobic, underground living space, suddenly you can see for miles across a barren, yet beautiful landscape. When you explore the land, you come across instantly recognisable landmarks, such as the White House, which are crumbled, broken, and filled with radiation. Fallout 3’s world shows us a possible future of our own which, no need to mince words, is jarring and frightening.

What makes it worse is the stories that you discover, often by accident, throughout your exploration of the Wasteland. When you investigate certain vaults, it becomes clear that these were not vaults designed to protect, as their inhabitants had been promised. Many vaults were used for governmental experimentation, and the stories that come from them are harrowing to hear.

This is even before we touch the main story, which is a Hollywood-worthy story of familial loss and, in all honesty, deserves an entry apart from the setting. Many of the choices that you must make along the way are surprisingly affecting, as self-preservation can lead you to (sometimes unintentionally) destroy whole communities. Framed in the bleakest of backdrops, Fallout 3 serves up a truly cold dish of emotional pain.

7. Thomas Was Alone

Thomas Was Alone
Thomas Was Alone’s narration is permeated by a sense of hopefulness in the face of oblivion

Thomas Was Alone is one game that you generally feel quite emotionally safe about playing. You’re making blocks jump on other blocks to get to a portal at the end. You’ve probably been playing flash games like this for around ten years – there’s no way something like this can make you cry. Sure, the reviews go on about how you’ll never care so much about a bunch of polygons but, come on, you’re going to be fine. You sweet, arrogant fool. Thomas Was Alone will destroy you.

The game is literally bouncing rectangles and squares around to each get to an end goal. For the most part, anyway. The actual gameplay is teamed up with the kind of atmospheric music that Sigur Ros would be proud of, which really punctuates the punch to the feels that this game packs. Add this to the omniscient narration that happens throughout the game, and Thomas Was Alone becomes the truly emotional experience that it is. As you go from level to level, a soothing voice gives the player insight into each of the polygons’ thoughts, and how they’re reacting as artificial intelligence to their own blossoming consciousness as they navigate their environment.

What makes the game quite so affecting is the way that each AI has a distinct personality, and we get to see their hopes and fears when they discover themselves as part of this group. The game calls into question the meaning and status of existence as the AI discover and break into the “outside world”. Thomas Was Alone proves that you don’t need incredible graphics to present a beautiful story. Its writing and presentation was enough, with Danny Wallace’s narration won a BAFTA for the game, and rightly so.

6. Metal Gear Solid 4

Snake prepares to commit suicide
Snake prepares to commit suicide

Metal Gear Solid has always been a core gaming franchise. Back from its humble (and awesome) beginnings when the Metal Gear series was remade for the original Playstation, MGS cemented itself as the high bar for all other games to follow at the time. Playing as super stealth soldier Solid Snake, the series has made a name for itself as an often action-packed military game. Every game has (mostly) had a stellar story, so it does make sense that there would be some surprise emotional intensity to come around at some point, and the fourth installment definitely delivers on this. MGS, as a franchise, has always had excellent writing and voice acting (remember Sniper Wolf in the first game?), but has never really been a series that goes after your feelings. Metal Gear Solid 4 turned this around with fierce dedication.

MGS4 involved a lot of characters that seasoned players knew from the beginning, most notably Dr. Naomi. Despite having not been a totally friendly character in the first installment, she was fairly integral. The discovery that she had cancer in MGS4 was a shock, and her decision to end her own life was intensely difficult to watch. With the graphical capabilities that blessed the game, along with the aforementioned talent behind the scenes of this franchise, there is no difference between this and an emotional scene in a film.

In addition to this, MGS4 played with the heartstrings in a storm of false passes. Using some deft smoke and mirror twists in the story, you are led to believe that several characters had died when, in reality, they were fine. A bit of a cheap trick, but very effective, particularly with Snake himself. Thanks to the mutated FOXDIE, Snake has become a biological weapon. He prepares to commit suicide (and so prevent a pandemic), placing a gun inside his mouth. A shot is fired, leaving you to believe that this is how our hero ends but – thankfully – this shot was not for him, and he was allowed the chance to live a normal life once the FOXDIE is neutralised. While the end of the game was seen as somewhat underwhelming, it was definitely fitting. As Otacon says, Snake had a hard life, so he should be able to live out his remaining days in peace.

5. Papers, Please

Someone trying to enter the country refuses to leave
Someone trying to enter the country refuses to leave

Papers, Please comes across as a fairly simple detail-orientated game where you play as a border control officer for the fictional country of Arstotzka. As people seeking to enter the country come to your desk, you check over their immigration documents to ensure there’s nothing suspicious, such as an expired passport or that they’re a wanted criminal. The game presents itself as putting you in the world of a fairly humorous dystopia and, quite honestly, sounds a bit boring. The gameplay is fairly standard checking-of-documents fare, until tighter, and stranger, restrictions are placed upon the border control, and the Arstotzka government appears to become more and more frightening. This is when the game becomes increasingly absorbing, and checking over hundreds of passports goes from dull to compulsive.

If you make any mistakes with the documents (and you will), then your daily wages are docked. This often means that you cannot pay for heat or food, and without heat or food your family soon become sick. In these situations you must choose whether to, for example, feed one family member at the expense of another dying of cold. You passively continue at work while your family members drop fairly quickly at home. As the political situation in Arstotzka worsens, you then also have to cope with increased terrorist threats at work.

The story of Papers, Please puts you within an intensely difficult situation where you must choose between the bonds of following orders to protect your family and yourself (even when these orders involve shooting people), being compassionate to those that come into your booth, and whether rebellion is the righteous path (but one you need to be willing to die for). With twenty possible endings (take that, Mass Effect), Papers, Please can be an emotional rollercoaster without much context or story, and a stark commentary on civilised society. Some of the choices are as draining as The Walking Dead’s, and depending on how you play, you can come to an abrupt and shocking end.

4. Journey

The vast and lonely landscape of Journey

Journey is a truly one-of-a-kind game in which you play as an unnamed figure wandering through the desert towards a mountain. It’s described as a puzzle platformer and, in all honesty, it’s a little difficult to describe the story. Journey is a wordless experience, showing you the rise and fall of a civilisation through cut-scenes. The graphics are fairly minimalist, but with music – oh the music! – that encourages intense emotional engagement, even in a single player scenario. It’s no surprise that, among the masses of awards Journey was up for, best score soundtrack was one of them.

One of the key components that makes Journey so individual is the revolutionised approach to multi-player experience. If you play online then you will find yourself matched with another player, and the two of you will explore the landscape together. You can only communicate through a chime sound that each of your characters can make, but as you travel together it becomes clear that, sometimes, this is all you need. Players connected in this way can help one another through the levels and, if they complete a level at the same time, are kept together throughout their journey and so can maintain their wordless relationship.

With this relationship in mind, it can be a real kick in the face once you reach the your goal. You build a bridge together, but once done your partner disappears, leaving you to cross it alone. While the relationship between the two of you is literally nothing, this loss can leave an emptiness inside of you, as you complete the game on your own. Journey is known as an emotional game, but it is a real surprise when you realise just how attached you were to this random stranger, and the feelings that this detachment invokes come suddenly and mercilessly. Despite its short play time, Journey’s simplicity allows for the player to get inside their character and, to an extent, feel the journey for themselves.

3. Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII
Aeris’ death

This is almost a cheat entry, as most gamers worth their salt know the exact premise of Final Fantasy VII even if they haven’t played it (infidels). However, back in the late 90s when arguably the best Final Fantasy game was released, there were no avenues that could spoil the impressively vast story that lay within those three discs of gameplay. Final Fantasy VII follows Cloud Strife, a mercenary with a very distinctive haircut and sword, who is hired to help out the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE. Friends and followers join the group as you go along your mission to try and save the world from the Shinra corporation who are draining the world of life force and, naturally, you become somewhat attached to them.

While FFVII proved itself to be an epic story along the way, nothing could prepare you for the cruel twist of fate about halfway through the game. After a standoff with super villain Sephiroth, Aeris, arguably the most peaceful member of AVALANCHE, chases him while the rest recover from their encounter with him. This was clearly a stupid move, but in a world where you can just take a Phoenix Down when you run out of HP, nobody could really expect what would happen next.

As the rest of the team come to Aeris’ aid, they find her praying to the planet in the Forgotten City. She looks up to see Cloud, before suddenly being skewered through the stomach by Sephiroth in an uncharacteristically brutal execution. When Sephiroth disappears, Cloud carries her lifeless body out to a lake so that she can be at one with the planet again, and we all cried hot tears of loss and frustration. Whatever you felt about Aeris as a character (let’s not beat around the bush, she’s quite annoying), this death was so sudden and so merciless that it remains, to this day, one of the most shocking scenes in video game history.

2. The Last Of Us

When Ellie is driven to kill
When Ellie is driven to kill

Yeah, you sort of knew that The Last Of Us would be here, didn’t you. The Last Of Us, if you were unaware, is probably one of the best games to come out of anywhere in the past few years. In just two short years, The Last Of Us has cemented itself as an indisputable classic that has changed the mainstream perception of game narratives. Not bad for what could’ve just been another standard zombie game.

In The Last Of Us, we are faced with a world that has succumbed to a mutant fungal infection that turns people into very zombie-esque cannibalistic monsters. When we enter the game, the vast majority of civilisation has already been destroyed, with most of those left living in quarantine zones or beyond the law. Starting play as Joel, you act as a smuggler outside of the law. You become responsible for Ellie, a girl that a rebel group want smuggled to them, presumably because, as you discover, she has immunity to the fungus.

Admittedly, The Last Of Us looks very familiar. We’ve all played as a grizzly bearded white guy with a gun before, and when gameplay teasers were first released it looked great, but no different from the large amount of post-apocalyptic adventure games that swamped the market at the time. Nobody could’ve predicted the emotional impact that The Last Of Us is responsible for. By creating interesting and compelling characters, it’s a game that is truly skilled at emotional manipulation.

The game is unrepentantly tragic from start to finish and, like Fallout 3, even the environment is a master of mental devastation. When meeting the giraffes, most people definitely had a little guilty thought in the back of their mind of “maybe the world would be better if people were mostly wiped out”. Pair that with the emotional journey of a teenage girl discovering herself and having to grow up too fast (by way of murder) and you’ve got yourself a winner. The entirety of The Last Of Us is incredibly intense, right down to the endlessly bleak finish. An incredible game, but just make sure you’ve got someone to hug nearby for when you complete it.

1. Shadow Of The Colossus

Discovering the true implications of your actions
Discovering the true implications of your actions

Shadow of the Colossus is definitely a law unto itself. When you first begin the game, you’re given very little context or story as to what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. You play as Wander, a boy who intends to resurrect Mono, a girl who was unjustly sacrificed as it was believed she was cursed. Fairly simple so far. So you set off into the Forbidden Land after the mysterious character Dormin promises to bring Mono back to life in exchange for the destruction of the colossi. The colossi are massive entities that line the Forbidden Land but, it’s cool, if a video game sets you off on a quest to destroy something like that it’s usual that they’re the baddies so it’s all good.

While the game is beautifully rendered, for the first part of the game it would be easy to not immediately understand what you’re doing. You fight the colossi, kill them to complete your mission, and it’s all good. However, the further you get in the game, it slowly but surely becomes clear that the moral implications of your actions aren’t quite as sound as you may have assumed. Killing the colossi releases parts of Dormin that were previously scattered to render him powerless, and Wander experiences a physically draining effect from these as Dormin slowly possesses him.

The key emotion that Shadow of the Colossus elicits is guilt, plain and simple. As you realise that the colossi haven’t actually done anything to warrant being attacked and killed out of the blue, you start to feel that your mission is not for the greater good, and you are simply killing innocents. This is something that is almost unheard of in other video games. How much guilt have you felt shooting everyone you see in Grand Theft Auto? Just a guess, but none? None.

While you’re, in theory, saving the “heroine” from an unjust death, you’re causing sixteen unjust deaths as a result and also releasing and becoming the host for a demonic spirit. Some of the colossi don’t even fight back, which arguably confirms their innocence and makes your character even more of a villain. If that doesn’t get you where it hurts, well, congratulations scumbag. Shadow of Colossus has always been held as evidence for gaming as art, and a beautiful, heart-wrenching example of it too.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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  1. RiseAsh

    While not sad for the most part, Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward has one character ending that just flat out had me bawling, while also making one of the best cases in sci fi media about how Artificialy Intelligent beings can be just as, if not more human than us even while working within the classical framework of Azimov’s robotic laws.

  2. Cousins

    Did no one else cry when Joel loses his daughter Sarah ten minutes into the beginning of The Last of Us? My god I did not see that coming.

    • Ryan Errington

      It was quite a devastating moment. Then again, it was the perfect set up for a game like The Last of Us by engaging a player’s emotional investment into the storyline.

  3. the walking dead was really very saad

  4. What about Beyond Two Souls? I felt it was sad all throughout…

  5. Demetrius

    Not a cryer. But I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I have atleast one title to add to this list. Final Fantasy XIII (XIII-2 maybe, Lightning Returns no clue). But Final Fantasy 13 was incredibly emotional, there were some points I thought I felt it building up, but I believe it belongs on the list.

  6. Deadly Premonition is absent from this list. :/

  7. The (joyful) conclusion to Journey brought tears to my eyes.

  8. Rea Conaway

    Suikoden made me cry a LOT. Maybe it still can. Actually, I’m certain it can.

  9. No Heavy Rain!? Really?

  10. I will only say Mother 3.
    Mother 3. Always.

  11. Fabiola Denson

    Mass Effect Spoilers

    When Mordin goes up in the elevator to sacrifice himself to cure the genophage (if you choose), and he’s singing “I am the very model of a Scientist Salarian…” and it blows up….

    I lost it, man. LOST IT!

  12. What about the ending of LIMBO?

  13. The game that keeps coming up in this sort of article is Mother 3 which I should definitely check out, but I definitely don’t want to buy a Wii U, just so that I can play that game. Still, great list all the same.

  14. Great article, and I completely agree with your selections!

    I contend that people often miss the immersion value of a really great video game. While the audience may think, after they cry or rejoice at Joel’s decisions, or after they turn off Shadow of the Colossus, they’ve finished the experience. However, having gone through these truly powerful games is enough to affect us on a deep level, and perhaps make us reconsider our actions.

    Who knows, maybe one day video games will be considered an artistic medium like great novels or golden-age movies because of this ability?

  15. Monique

    Great article topic. A lot of fantastic writing in the game industry gets ignored b/c it’s “just” video games.

    Elder Scrolls: Oblivion spoilers —

    After more than 20 years of playing TES games, when the last Septim heir died in Oblivion, I sat and cried like a baby. Never saw it coming, though I should have.

  16. The ending of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is just perfect. The way they used a piece of plastic (the gamepad) to express emotion is unique.

  17. FF7 Crises Core had me crying the others didnt FF10 was close.

  18. occonell

    Literally the only game that has made me cry was Walking dead.

  19. Cantwell

    No Red Dead Redemption?

  20. The ending of Half-Life 2 EP2 is reallly saddening.

  21. no FF7….. is the game becoming too old for these lists???

  22. Last Of Us? YES! The other games? Not so much…

  23. The one that made me cry the most was the Ending cut scene of Kingdom Hearts. It was really sad when Sora and Kairi had to let go of each others hand especially when they finally figured out they love each other.

  24. final fantasy ix ending monolouge was way more sad than anything

  25. Mass Effect 3 nearly brought me to tears multiple times.

  26. I definitely cried when I finished The Last of Us. Touching story of how a man loses his daughter and learns to love again in a sense.

  27. IMO Journey is the most emotionally affective game to date, by far.

  28. Visenya

    What sets games like Fallout 3 and The Last of Us apart from other games in the post-apocalyptic genre is the deep and long lasting emotional connection that is established between the characters and the gamer. It suddenly becomes more than a zombie shooter because the characters could be us and a fantastical landscape becomes much more real because of the character-gamer connection.

  29. I had heard about Papers, Please on The Patch podcast, but I never imagined it would be so gruelling. I get very into my video games, especially ones where I have to make the choices, but it sounds like Papers, Please would be the one to finally crush my spirit.

    Also I totally expected to cry playing Last of Us

    …I just didn’t expect how much =(

  30. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was the first video game to make me cry. It was done so well that just pressing a button on the controller made me lose it.

  31. Lexzie

    If The Last Of Us wasn’t on this list I might have cried. I started playing that game expecting The Road with Uncharted humour and what I got was an experience that was uniquely The Last Of Us. It may not be the most original of ideas but the execution of it is masterful. Also, I am so glad you put Silent Hill 2 on this list. Mary’s letter to James still gets to me. Silent Hill 2 and The Last Of Us are my top two games of all time probably because they evoke emotion.

    If I had to add a game to this list it would be Red Dead Redemption. I was expecting a shoot ’em up Western and I got that, but there was a whole lot more to that game that I didn’t expect. I don’t want to spoil it for anybody so I’ll just say that the climax of the game is one moment that shocked me, even though it was foreshadowed, and defiantly brought on the tears.

  32. Cojo

    I don’t like that a lot of recent Indie games are trying to go for that “make them cry” sort of emotion. Games like Brothers: A tale of two sons, Ori and the Blind Forest, Child of Light etc go for the gut punch and really hit at the emotional core of people right away. I find it somewhat exhausting to be completely bummed out at the very beginning of the game then told to play on to continue to feel sad. I understand that lots of people do like it and that’s great, but its not for me.

  33. Great find for these games. I am impressed that you picked up on Shadow of the Colossus as it is such an oldie. I absolutely agree with your description of the number one and it is a truly deserving title.

  34. Jeffrey MacCormack

    Here’s an app that definitely belongs on this list: A Dark Room. It’s a text based adventure for mobile; it has every reason to be a non-experience. But this game, whoa momma, it’s a terrific trip. I finished it and felt stunned. Transformed. Check it out.

  35. heaven save me from lazy listicles.

    While I will admit this is an interesting topic. I think the closest I’ve come was To The Moon and even more with The Ocarina of Time simply because when you win that game the game makes you feel like you’re literally the champion of time.

  36. The last of us gets me every time. The weird thing is it’s not the clickers or the fact that the world is in ruins that makes me sad. It’s that in TLOU we see just how low our species has sunk. One particularly poignant scene for me was when Ellie is trying to get Joel to stop his car for someone faking injury. “Trust me, he ain’t even hurt.”

    Such a good game and such a wonderful (albeit depressing) critique on humanity.

  37. I remember rummaging through a house in Fallout 3–nothing really special about it, unmarked on the map–only to discover the remains of a couple who must have shared one last embrace before the bombs fell. It’a a great bit of simple visual storytelling, and something that I found far more emotionally affecting than some of the story turns towards the end.

    Probably alone in this, but also had a considerable lump in my throat during the final act of BioShock 2.

  38. Good list, but there’s one game missing: Story of the Seasons, the last Harvest Moon game! You wouldn’t expect it, but there’s a particularly emotional scene in there that brought tears to my eyes while sitting in a packed commuter train. Just the one scene of course, but you just don’t expect that in a farming sim!

  39. I think that indie games are especially good at hitting you in the feels, since they can choose to focus so much energy on storytelling and character development.

    The endings for To The Moon and the Banner Saga destroyed me, especially since you spend the game bonding with each of the characters.

  40. Although I love most this list, I feel like To the Moon and Thomas Was Alone should be higher on here. To the Moon is one of the saddest games I’ve ever played, but simultaneously one of the most beautiful. Whenever I hear “Everything’s Alright”, I can’t help but break down and realize my own mortality- nothing inspires me to seize that day like realizing that this might be the only chance I have. Thomas Was Alone, on the other hand, was a genuine gem. I’m not sure I laughed as hard at any game than at Claire’s entrance- and I literally had to stop playing when John started hoping that he wouldn’t die last so that he wouldn’t have to be alone. Both of these games are fantastic indie games, and just games in general- and need to be played by more people.

    Another recent game with some fantastic emotional scenes is Telltale’s comedy/drama ‘Tales From the Borderlands’. Episode 4 in particular had a ton of emotional keys it hit, such as a character wondering what a ‘home’ actually is, someone saying goodbye to a friend for possibly the last time, and one of the most emotional video game character deaths I’ve ever seen. It’s definitely worth a look- you’ll laugh, you’ll feel, you’ll scream at your computer, all that jazz.

    Thanks for the list- it’s nice to see a list of emotions in games. Be well!

  41. I wouldn’t say that I expected to cry when I started to play Walking Dead: Season 1. Although I knew it would come with heartache, I did not expect the characters introduced to carry the weight with me that they did.

  42. Christina Airola

    Like you said, FFVII kind of goes without saying. Anything that Square has a hand in is guaranteed to make you cry. They always utilize the same progression in their games: happy-go-lucky character is happy-go-lucky, then he must do something big (like the save the world or save the girl, etc.), and in the end, he makes a sacrifice that leaves fans in tears. Needless to say, though, Square is brilliant at story-telling. FFX is one of my favorite games in the world. I don’t know why I always go back to it. It always makes me sob like a child.

  43. I’m a lover of books and a huge fan of movies, but I don’t think any story line has ripped my heart out like a video game has. You spend so much time in the mindset of a character building them as a person that it makes the story so personal. There are some new games I need to play now, thank you!

  44. Emily Deibler

    Oh man, Silent Hill 2, Fallout 3, and The Last of Us were hard hitters when it came to emotions. Great list.

  45. The Walking Dead is also a very emotional game, especially the first season. I cried my eyes out near the end and could hardly continue playing. You don’t expect a game like that to break your heart.

  46. Somehow, the gauge of how much I like a game has become how much the game makes me cry. Solid list.

  47. Gavroche

    I didn’t know Thomas Was Alone, and if I had stumbled upon it, the sole description probably wouldn’t have drawn my attention as much as games like The Last of Us or Detroit Become Human for instance, but your article makes me want to try it! So, thank you very much!
    I also found very interesting how you point out the importance and effect of music to create emotion.
    [I hope my (tardy) comment was understandable, as I am neither a native English speaker nor fluent in English – yet!]

  48. Samantha Leersen

    I’m not much of a gamer at all, so it’s definitely interesting to learn of such emotionality within them. I’m used to games like Spyro, the games that don’t delve too deep.
    Fascinating read 🙂

  49. Doki Doki Literature Club had this reaction for me.

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