The Games That Destroyed You

The Games That Destroyed You

There’s nothing like a good, solid emotional breakdown to really liven up your day. And when it happens in a video game? Even better.

The following post and comments contain things that might be perceived as spoilers. Also, if you’re going to post something with a spoiler in it, give us a big, bold head’s up.

Today we’re talking about games that hit you right in the feels, entirely out of nowhere. Think Pixar’s UP. Think about times where you collapsed into a puddle on the subway. Think crying alone in a parking lot.

The following are just a few of the games that have left me a gibbering, inconsolable mess. For the sake of avoiding spoilers, I’ll try to be a bit cryptic and you can just nod knowingly if you agree.

1. Huge swaths of Earthbound and Mother 3:

2. The scene where this music plays in Okami:

3. Pretty much all of Papo & Yo.

What games left you an emotional wreck? Did it happen at an inopportune time or place? Leave your stories in the comments.

Lead image via The Walking Dead Wiki


  • Just so spoilers don’t get out of hand, I just wanna remind people that spoiler tags are a thing.

    To the Moon & the ending of Beyond : Two Souls.

    for both of those, I may have had something in my eye… well… both my eyes.
    I totally cried

  • My recent one was beyond two souls. I lost my dad in 2004 and my younger brother in 2008, and the game brought back a lot of the emotional stuff, made me a little teary. Usually I am a hard shell when it comes to this stuff.

    Made me kinda wish I could see the other side. Just to see them again.

  • Final Fantasy 7, Metal Gear Solid 4 (yes, 4), Gears of War 3, Mass Effect 3 and The Walking Dead.

    • Ok, this happens at the start of the game but still, it’s pretty plot heavy, so dont read the spoiler if you plan on playing the game.
      Flint (Guy holding the wood) found out that his beloved wife had just died from causes beyond his control, so he lashes out at everyone out of grief. Would include more spoiler, but seriously play the game, it’s great

    • I spent ages trying to figure out why his moustache disappeared.
      Then I finally realised that he turned around.

  • -Metal Gear Solid 4 (The ending)
    -Chrono Cross (Having to kill Miguel)
    -Xenoblade (Death of Fiora)
    -Xenosaga Episode III (The ending)
    -Xenogears (Too many)
    -Final Fantasy VII
    -The Walking Dead Season 1

  • Im normally a person that plays a game, but give up and never plays it again after one sitting. But in saying that, when i do finish a game, it must of been hella awesome!

    ME2/3 endings got me
    Halo4 with Cortana doin her thang
    And then i cried at the end of a 24hour Forza 3 race, did the whole thing in one sitting and i cried for joy once i completed it! (never touched the game since)

  • Spolerising, but if you don’t know FFVII’s story by now, you should be ashamed. As a person.

    The ending of Crisis Core actually made me tear up a little, as a grown man. The scene with Cloud and Zack in the rain as Zack passes his sword and legacy to Cloud was very well done.

    Spec Ops : The Line didn’t make me tear up, but I felt many parts of that game right in the pit of my stomach. Powerful stuff.

    • I forgot entirely about Crisis Core. Yeah, that was an awesome ending.

      And yes, Zack was totally a hero!

      • ‘Zack the Puppy’ – he was great. Such the offset to Cloud, and a great character. Crisis Core is such an amazing game.

        • Crisis Core
          that game messed with my emotions so bad, I think cause you know what the inevitable outcome is. I already loved Zack as a character and seeing so much character development with him builds a really strong attachment. Playing the last bit felt horrible because you know that you’re taking him to his doom.

          • Yeah, FFVII is particularly dear to me – Advent Children preceded Crisis Core and only strengthened my attachment to many characters. Then came Crisis Core, and not only was it a brilliant game that I sunk unhealthy amounts of time into finishing as many missions as I could (and still never got them all, because goddamn, they got hard) it was also amazingly well told.

            Zack’s story was always a tragic one, because he was just such a good guy. Yeah, he wasn’t necessarily the brightest crayon in the box at times, but if there was ever a pure hearted and just plain good character in FFVII, it’s him.’You will be my living legacy.’ Hngh. Something in my eye, brb.

          • did you see the Anime that came with the japanese version of Advent Children “Last Order” I think it was called, was really well done with some excellent action scenes and really tugged at the heart strings as well “Cloud Run!!!” *sniff*

          • Yeah, that was fantastic. It came with the complete edition of Advent Children on BD as well.

  • I haven’t really got upset over a videogame for a long time. The last one I can remember was in Phantasy Star IV, when Alys died. I spent ages trying various urban legends to revive her (back before a quick internet search could provide the answer).

    This generation of games has been pretty lame when it comes to getting me emotionally attached the characters (or maybe I’ve just become a grumpy bastard).

    I first realised their feeble attempts when I was playing The Darkness.
    Not only was I sure Jenny was going to die right from the start, but by the time she bit the dust, I’d barely spent 5 minutes with her. I wasn’t given time to form a bond. Not to mention that her interaction with Jackie during this time was pretty laughable.

  • the end of the snow level in journey, and the ending of kingdom hearts 358/2 days come to mind.

    • oh god Journey.
      cant think of another games thats gone from ultra sad & depressing to HOLY SHIT YEAH AWESOMENESS so quickly.

    • I may have been a little teared up at the end of the original kingdom hearts and 358 days…

      Mass effect 3
      Legion and Mordin

      Shadow of the colossus
      When you start to realise what you are doing

      Boss was one of the worst boss fights ever, but it wasn’t because of any mechanical issues… that guilt.

      The walking dead
      At the end, knowing what was coming

      • I agree with you so much about ME3, Vaegrand.

        Those two bits made me tear up badly. I love games that make you so attached that you get such a reaction.

  • Walking Dead S1
    Heavy Rain
    Spec Ops: The Line (for sheer gutpunch)

    But the tearjerk award goes to … Metal Gear Solid 3!

  • Brothers: Tale Of Two Sons.

    When the older brother died and the younger brother had to bury him.
    Then when the little brother, now all alone, had to overcome the two-person obstacles on his own.
    Then when he got home and had to tell his Dad.

  • FF VII and FF X would be two I can remember as being heartbreaking to play and watch.

    Plenty of games have given me the feels over the years but only a few made me cry manly tears

  • The Walking Dead, Metal Gear Solid 3, & Persona 3. For TWD, I was bawling uncontrollably.

  • Heavy Rain, by a long way – No game has affected me emotionally as much as that one did. And I have played a lot of games.

    • I still haven’t finished the game, but

      The part where you have to find Jason holding the red balloon in the crowd made me feel really nervous, being a father myself. I thought I lost my son once in a store. He was playing hide and seek, ran around the corner into the next aisle, I came around the corner and couldn’t see him anywhere, talk about panic, after calling out his name a few times with no answer I just started running around the store yelling out his name asking everyone I came across if they’d seen him, we ended up finding him, but If I lost him I would never have forgiven myself.


      The part where Jason runs out in front of the car and dies made me tear up. Don’t know what it’s like for people who don’t have kids to play through that, but for a parent it just makes you think about if that happened to your own kids.

  • Gears of War 2.
    Where Dominic finally found Maria, it looked so promising then, oh damn… 🙁

  • Final fantasy 7
    the last of us
    mass effect 2&3
    the darkness.
    i still shiver when i think about the emotional weight of that game, and i havnt played it in 5 years…
    also the original bioshock to some extent

  • I loved The Last of Us. The most emotional scene for me was, however, right at the start when all hell breaks loose and a certain vulnerable character is killed.

    The whole thing was so movie-like yet interactive and immersive, I actually found it hard to watch. That was one of just three or so moments that had a real impact in my two decade gaming ‘career’. Heavy Rain was responsible for another moment of hell, when I screwed up a scene and permanently lost a great character – I’d never experienced that in a game before: True regret and a sense of loss (although fleeting).

    • Agreed. After the death of Sarah I was seriously considering stopping the game. But I eventually realised that if they could evoke that sort of emotional response in the first 20 minutes, I had to see what they did with a dozen hours.

  • Unreal 2.

    For an FPS, this had a hugely emotional ending which came out of nowhere and hits you hard.

  • The Walking Dead. I have a young son and the scenes with Duck and the kid in the attic pretty much had me crying like a little bitch.

  • Red Dead Redemption
    When John gets gun downed like that. Man, i lost it.

    Metal Gear Solid
    When Liquid killed Gray Fox. Never have i been so angry and sad at the same time; not before then, and not since then either.

    • RDR just annoyed me, because if I hadn’t been forced to walk out the front door, or had been given the full amount of focus, I totally could have killed all those guys.

          • ha ha ha. was satisfying

            to assume the role of his son to go kill those sons of bitches in the end though. having said that Jack was still no John 🙁

          • When I read the title, I was thinking, no one at all. I can live with or without many of the characters because they seem to be written with a teen audience in mind, are poorly written (cheesy or clichéd), poorly acted or the have major flaws (to me at least) in some way that pops that immersive bubble for me. I’ve don’t think I’ve ever really had bonding moments with many, if any, game characters who’ve met a fateful end.

            But the second you said Bigfoots in Red Undead… I did that once, felt terrible, reloaded an earlier save, then never did it again. Ever. I think I even refilled my scotch and felt a bit bummed. That’s a bell I couldn’t unring. And a bastard move by Rockstar! :p

  • Last of Us, from start to finish. I was an emotional wreck that entire time. The Giraffes? Tears of joy and weird happiness. The prologue? Utter gut wrenching horror.

  • The end of Grim Fandango got me pretty damned good.

    A certain scene involving Thane in the Citadel DLC for ME3 was also a bit on the emotional side

    Trevor’s intro in GTA5 had me wanting to kill him

    Kate’s murder in GTA4 really hit me hard too, I actually rather liked her

  • I am sure that it was said already but… The ending of The Walking Dead season 1 (Not to be confused with The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct what was nothing more than a big turd)

  • Was gonna say Okami (a few parts of it), good thing I’m not alone! Also the ending of Okamiden. Oh god, that was kinda devastating 🙁

  • A lot of the games that did this to me I share with everyone else, but one more recently that I never expected to get me was Assassin’s Creed 4. Slight mission spoiler ahead, but nothing that spoils anything story-wise.

    A few chapters into the game, you… get out of the Animus and run an errand for the tech guy. In the same place you get the information the tech guy needed, you can look at another terminal which ends up having a recording Desmond made for his father. It details how when he was younger, his father told him that he would be up in a particular room of the house reading, and Desmond needed to attempt to sneak up on him and put his hand on his shoulder without alerting him beforehand. Failure would mean they’d have to start over until Desmond got it right. Desmond takes this really seriously, waiting hours upon hours before carefully making his way to the room. Desmond very slowly makes his way over to him, but when he gets close, his father ever so slightly startles, but then pretends as if nothing had happened. After a little while, Desmond steps forward and puts his hand on his father’s shoulder, and his father jumps up, congratulating him and giving him a big hug, even though Desmond knows his father heard him.
    Desmond says that he wasn’t sure what to make of what happened when he was younger. Had his dad written him off as an Assassin and was just humouring him? Was it pity? It was only when Desmond was older that he realised that his father had let him win because he’d been extremely patient and tried so hard, and that he was proud of him. Desmond posits that maybe at that time, he’d decided to be his dad for once, rather than his mentor.

    This hit me HARD. Like, rivers of tears and having to walk away from the game hard. Having lost my dad a few years ago, it got me thinking how my father used to do similar things with me. He’d set me up with a task, and then praise me for completing it, even if I didn’t actually manage to achieve the complete goal (and seeing as I was a gangly, uncoordinated kid, this occurred a LOT). At the time I thought that he must pity me or felt that I wasn’t really up to these tasks, and it pissed me off a ton. But as an adult I’d come to the same conclusion as the character in the game did; that my father was just being my father, and was proud of me just for trying. My father’s golfing buddies told me at one point that when they were out playing, most of the people in the group would have a bitch about their families, and yet my father always had a positive word to say about us (even when I’d been a little shit). While I haven’t been as successful with my life as I would’ve liked thus far, knowing my father I’m very inclined to believe them.

    Tl;dr – A game hit me in a way I didn’t expect; it’s funny how certain things in a game can touch one person deeply and another not at all.

    • I sort of found that as well, we learned a lot about desmond during AC4 about how vulnerable he was and how he pretty much guessed his number was up and how he was “your spoiler tags”

  • The end of Bioshock, Bioshock 2 and Bioshock Infinite.
    The final gameplay section in The Last of Us in the hospital
    Ophelia’s drowning scene and Doviculus tearing her heart out in Brütal Legend.
    Not a game per se, but the final scene in Assassin’s Creed: Embers.

  • The Unfinished Swan made me feel pretty sad the entire time I was playing. Really enjoyed it, but it got to me a bit for some reason. I think it was the whole orphan thing, and how it was like he was chasing after a memory of his mum (i.e. the swan).

  • the last thing in a game that actually made me cry was when Your daughter dies at the start of the last of us.

  • Twice in Gears of War. First when Dom chose to put his wife out of her suffering and when Dom died.

  • I just remembered another devastating moment, when I realised I’d paid $90 for C&C generals.

  • FF10
    Tidus’ big breakdown after he realises that
    Yunas pilgrimage ends with her death

    The Last of Us
    OK… credits
    and that whole bit right before it where you lie to her, you know she knows you lied but believes it anyway because reasons, also Davids end and the dulled out music and sound and mouthed words with no speech

    Walking Dead S1
    many parts here and there, difficult to pick any one part

  • Recorded a playthrough for Brothers: a tale of two sons. Was so shocked first time. Editing it and watching it again made me tear up.

  • Infamous 2
    worth a mention, don’t think i teared up but Cole’s sacrifice at the end (Good Storyline) to save humanity was pretty touching. Also Bad Ending was a bit tough when you had to take out your friends especially Zeke (was that his name?) he’d redeemed himself and the way they dragged out killing him was cruel

  • I haven’t played many of the games everyone has listed :/

    But one that comes to mind is in Gears of War 3:
    When Dom sacrificed himself.
    Did they really have to pick that Gary Jules cover? Really. Got pretty teary.

  • Tales of Symphonia; the slow deterioration of Colette until finally she becomes an unresponsive puppet.

  • The Last of Us
    When Joel’s daughter dies at the start, and the giraffe scene. The ending cutscene… for a completely different reason. I liked Joel, right up until that last level, and then that cutscene cinched it – he’s a selfish git.

    Also, can’t believe no-one’s mentioned Gone Home yet; that ending reduced me to a snivelling wreck for a good half an hour after the credits finished.

  • First time my wife accidentally killed her horse in Red Dead, she came running into the room I was in, bawling her eyes out. She’d had that one horse for the entire game, I think about 90 days had passed in-game and she was near the end. She even named it too (Chuckles I think). It was simultaneously the funniest and saddest thing I’ve seen her do.

  • well recently AC4 black flag
    when Mary Read(James Kidd) dies after losing her child

    Mass effect 3
    when Mordin Solus sacrifices himself to help the Krogans

    Halo 4
    When Cortana sacrifices herself for you

    there are probably plenty of others but those are the ones that I can remember right now.

  • Some of those stories in Lost Odyssey. Some are heart warming while others just smash it to pieces!

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