Crying Because Of A Video Game Shouldn't Feel Like Losing A Battle

"Did you cry?" I ask it curiously, almost flippantly, whenever I talk to someone about the ending of The Walking Dead. (No worries, no spoilers about that here.) I'm not the only one that talks about the ending of The Walking Dead this way; crying, in its heartfelt sincerity has long been a (misguided) measure of the ultimate achievement for a video game.

Did you cry when Aeris died? Did you cry at the end of Shadow of the Colossus? Did Journey make you cry? Did the ending of Mass Effect make you cry? Did Planescape: Torment make you cry?

On and on.

Perhaps more common than asking each other if we cried or not is assuring each other that no, we did not in fact cry at [insert moment here.] There's an element of pride in saying that, too.

I don't talk about books, movies or comics in this way. I don't interrogate people immediately on whether or not they cried, and if they did cry, it's not this huge deal or anything — not in the same way. Stuff can make you cry. Crying is human. Who would have thought?

Focusing so much on crying makes me feel weird when I do cry. Like it's not supposed to happen, because well, most of the Tough Guys I've talked to about this game didn't cry and, oh, here I am, tears welling — is something wrong with me?

The way we focus on this moment, this supposedly-elusive moment of tears, bothers me. It bothers me even though I've been deferring to it a lot lately — so right after I ask the question I mentally kick myself for falling prey to it.

I feel like when I ask someone the question, I'm testing them to see if they gave in. That framing poses a game and its sentimentality as an obstacle that we can overcome, and I need to see if it 'bested' the person I'm asking.

That's ridiculous when you consider that I cry readily, and easily, enough that I'm embarrassed to share when and why because I know it'll elicit ridicule. How dare I be touched by a game? Do my plebeian tastes not call for more sophisticated moments of sentimentality? Oh no, if you didn't cry, are your emotions more complicated than my emotions?

That's a stupid way of looking at it, and I don't think I am alone in approaching it that way. I can't help but wonder how much, if at all, we hide when something makes us cry, only to turn around and ask each other when it happens as if it's supposed to be this super rare thing that never occurs.


Comments

    The Walking Dead had me bawling, and that's a great thing, because it shows the emotion and power that the game created.

    Maybe it's noteworthy because so few games manage to elicit that sort of reaction in so many people?

    I've cried at the end of one game. Okamiden. That ending was the saddest thing I've ever witnessed. I'm not really ashamed to say it or anything.

    The moment when the screen goes grey and all you can do is slice right through the kid you formed such a strong bond with. So sad :(

    Only game that's ever brought me close to crying is a boy and his blob. That scene, near the end. Such a shame you can only trigger it the one time, then never get to see it again without restarting the game.

    Yakuza 3 is the only game I can recall making me cry.

    Rikiyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

    Assassins Creed Revelations got me.

    Fuck you game. You're going to make ME do this?! I hate you so much... I'm not doing it! I'm... I'm not.... OH GOD WHY AM I SHEDDING SO MANY TEARS?

    Terranigma for me.

    No, harden the fuck up man!

    I may have shed a tear or two for both Duck and Clem. Especially for Duck when during a second play through, I made Kenny shoot him. Pretty powerful stuff when you have kids of your own.

    Revelations got to me as well, which surprised me. My first attempt to play through the game didn't grab me. When I came back to it it hooked me. The way the story ended for Ezio was fantastic. It really wasn't sad, but I teared up all the same.

    And yes, many moons ago, I was happy no-one was in the room when Aeris died.

    I'm not proud when media makes me cry, but I have to appreciate anything that can move me to do so, despite my wishes against it.

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