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By Jess McDonell | @JessMcDonell and Edmond Tran | @EdmondTran on January 25, 2016 at 7:00AM PST
Join Jess McDonell every week, as she gives you five things to ponder about the latest issues in gaming. Warning: may contain opinions. Mondays at 12pm PT
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I think that the Game of Thrones game (the RPG, not the Telltale) was.. well maybe not that sad, but definitely depressing as hell. There's four different endings and each one more depressing than the next.
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Wait! Where's the cat lady?
Ok, first of all: SPOILER warning, for those who haven´t played through the MGS series.
Personally, I wouldn´t really say MGS3 is depressing, its really just sad at the end (VERY sad, true, especially when you have to pull the trigger...which I tried to avoid for like 5 mins first time through, to no avail...) but I can´t really think of any other really sad moments throughout. There are definitely good moments that elicit some emotional response, but usually not sadness...and the general vibe of the game doesn´t feel nearly depressing enough to be on the list.
MGS1 is to me far more depressing, at least if "depressing" can mean "number of sad moments". Maybe its just because its one of my very favorite games and so I care more about stuff that happens in it, but I think its probably the only game I remember where I get "leaky-eye" syndrome after killing almost every villain, especially Sniper Wolf, but even the Mantis and Raven deaths make me feel kind of bad, once they´ve had their final speeches. Then there´s the whole Meryl situation, which is pretty depressing (especially if you pressed SELECT..) and to this day Gray Fox´s martyr scene still gets me, even though I´ve seen it like 20 times probably..Also, when you finally unravel the plot you realise that everything you did until entering entering the PAL cards basically had the opposite effect to what your mission was, and that you´re basically just a viral host which will probably die sooner or later even if you do complete the mission. Not to mention that Snake starts out as a pretty depressing guy himself, who says stuff like "unfortunately, killing is one of those things that gets easier the more you do it" and that he doesn´t care about anyone else, although he does change by the end.
@Darri:I haven't played MGS3 (yet), but I agree that MGS1 was quite sad. Even at the end, with the 'happy' ending, I was still left quite raw and uneasy about all that happened. But the Wolf's thing with its soundtrack theme is just devastating.
I think the Longest Journey was pretty sad as it moved forward and realisations were made.
Hey Jess, nice hair and lip color.
You listed off a few of my favorite games; Snake Eater, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Walking Dead. I have A Bird Story and Brothers, but have yet to play them.
My sister and I have always had a tendency to play video games together as a way to deal with our most depressing times. Two years ago she flew from the other side of the country to come back home because our grandmother was in her last days; she passed away a day or two after my sister arrived. The day after her passing, my sister and I were looking to rent something from a Redbox to help get our minds off of things. It seems morbid looking back on it, but since my sister is a big TWD fan, we rented that. I had never seen a single episode of the show. We ended up playing through the entire game together in a single, very long sitting that day.
**Spoilers for The Walking Dead**
At the end of the fourth chapter, when Lee is bitten, we lost it. We agreed to start that chapter over again, thinking that we must have missed a button prompt to avoid it. It was unavoidable. By the end of the game we were entirely choked up. You played as Lee, but his role ended up being to teach Clementine to survive without him. Being bitten, quick time events that, no matter how fast you hit the button, you just can't complete... you don't know entirely what differences your choices make and what's inevitable the first time through. It felt like an analogy for life and death; you CAN make a difference, but sometimes the choices you have to make WILL hurt people-- and some things will be taken from you, painfully, no matter how hard you fight it.
Although I love it and have the utmost respect for it, I'm honestly not certain if I'll ever be able to play the game again because, for us, it was the right game at exactly the right time. I'm afraid that playing it again might somehow cheapen what was.
Penumbra: Black Plague was pretty remarkable in this regard.
@Xan26: Yes... But don't play Requiem please.
I think no one of you has an idea of what an really really depressing game is
@omotihNo that was a sad part in a non-sad game. This is about sad games, and Ken & Lunch was not a sad game, it just had sad parts in it, along with crazy and happy parts!:
@Humorguy_basic: really, must have missed the happy parts though ^^ ... no these games really depressed me as a person
Thanks for noticing and including Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons in this thread. It was a good game indeed. And yeah, sad too.
There were quite a few games which made me sad. One is certainly the Mass Effect 3 ending, as well as deciding who you want to sacrifice in Mass Effect 1. It was my hardest decision making gaming moment ever. I was really sad to let Ashley die and see her name in memorial wall afterwards.
@khatibi22: Sacrificing Kaiden(?) was easy for me. I wanted to bone Ashley. Even though she was a racist for half the games.
heavy rain missing here
TWD's finale indeed literally made me cry in tears which was the first ever for a game.
I would only add The Last of us. No other game made me cry in the first 15 min for a character i just met. And it is really depressing the realistic depiction of how humans would react on a post apocalyptic world
Spec Ops: The Line
My vote goes to FF7. While the entire Aeris thing is obviously a point for this I would go further. From the very start of the game the feeling is one of oppression and hopelessness which is backed up by an excellently sombre soundtrack. It may not have much to make you cry, but it sure is depressing from start to finish which is what this article is about.
@timmerous: I agree. But for me it was also the whole Cloud thing as well and figuring out who he is (and isn't) was one of the best things about the whole story.
I avoid the sad games like To the Moon and That dragon, Cancer. I can understand and respect the story they are trying to tell but it not a mood or atmosphere I like to bring into my gaming time.
Telltales Game of Thrones was a depressing slog from episode One to the disheartening final episode.
life is strange deserves a spot here but i think the list was pretty accurate and i agree with it for most parts.
This War of Mine; so crushingly depressing...makes you hope the day will never come, where you'd have to go through war yourself
@Sargoroth: Oh dude, that'll never be on my Games that depressed me when I played them list because it's on the "games that depressed me so much when I read about them" list, which means it'll never be on the "games I've played" list. Sounds like an amazing game, but....
Limbo, Heavy Rain, Mass Effect 2 and The Last of Us made me feel like garbage hahaha
Life is Strange is definitely a contender here for biggest tearjerker. It does a good job of building up characters and once it reaches a certain point it's just relentless. Episode 4 was just one huge gut punch.
Another game that I feel flies under the radar for most is Trauma Team, and particularly the forensics portion. While Trauma Center has always been about performing surgery, some of the most powerful moments in the game happened during investigations. You gradually piece together crime scenes until the truth behind the murders become painfully clear. Having a strong, sympathetic female character leading these investigations only made the truth more gut wrenching when retold in her own words. On top of that, the feels only get worse as the game reaches its conclusion and you perform that final surgery.
Year Walk is quite a creepy game with a very sad ending.
Well I would add Pathologic, Stasis, Penumbra, Soma, Silent Hill 2... These are really depressing games.
I like your selections, Jess. I have a bunch of matches on a couple different variant lists:
Games that made me cry (though I won't necessarily say are "depressing"):
Gone HomeTo the MoonBastion (saving Zulf)JourneyBrothers - A Tale of Two Sons (not just the obvious part, but also at the kept-true mechanics at the end)Walking Dead Season 1 and 2 Valiant HeartsWD and Valiant Hearts were minor tears. Gone Home and Journey I cried well enough. To the Moon, Bastion, and Brothers I absolutely bawled.
Games I find genuinely depressing (though not all made me cry):
The Last of UsShadow of the ColossusWalking Dead Season 1 and 2Valiant HeartsLimboThe SwapperRed Dead RedemptionHeavy RainThis War of Mine
Journey was very touching towards the end but it didn't reflect sadness. On the contrary. It was very relieving. However the most recent depressing game has to be life is strange. I also think mgs4 ending is the most depressing. And I really got moved by neir most of the time.
Heavy rain is very depressing. Also soma is surprisingly very depressing too. Also the last of us winter section is very very depressing and provoking.
It's very rare for me to get emotional about a game, or at least to get sad. I think it's just too disconnected for me, I find movies where I'm seeing a real person to be far more powerful. I know there have been a few games that struck me in that way, but the only one that comes to mind right now is Ni No Kuni, the big event early in the game, though I didn't finish it so I don't know if there are more moments later.
Side note I love that she addressed the issue of games she might not have played. It's something I and I would guess many others have often wondered about when watching episodes of this show.
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***Spoiler for Ni No Kuni***
At one point in the game you learn who your mom really is and that she doesn't have any alter-ego as she is from the magic world. and well, it is anti-climatic and in the end. you save the world but the hero pretty much lost everything outside of his friends
@hystavito: Yeah, I have the same thing. Games don't really tend to get to me as much as movies do, unless they're really cinematic. The ending of Mass Effect 3 got to me, but not because it was good, but just because it was your typical bombastic hero ending and I had just played all 3 games in relatively quick succession. It was like a movie.
Apparently, "That Dragon, Cancer" is supposed to be good.
Thanks! now I wanna go check out Brothers. One of the most emotional games I've played has got to be Chrono Cross and ICO.
Longest Journey I thought had a sad ending, and Mass Effect 3 had sad story resolutions though the finale just made a lot of people mad instead.
For me the worst one was shadow of the colossus I was a kid when I played it around 16-17 years old, I didn't understand the deep of it until some years later but still, every time I killed a colossus I felt something, like if something was getting ripped of the character the pain he got every time he "absorbed" the essence of the colossus was something that was quite intruiguind and bloody painfull to see and at the end when everything it's revealed you learn what you knew everything was bad from the beggining to the end, two bads don't make a right. Also honorable mention to telltale walking dead really I have a daughter right now and every time I had to teach something to clementine I felt it like if I was teaching that to my own daughter and the end got me it really did. nice list keep it up.
Hum, I guess the first season of the Walking Dead was depressing. Life is Strange too. My fav is still Shadow Of The Colossus.
I also think of Final Fantasy VII as Cloud can't let go his guilt toward Aeris.
The ending of Final Fantasy Tactics is quite interesting too, very Game Of Throne-y.
Final Fantasy Lightning returns is also a little bit depressing at time even though they never go deep in the depressing state of people, as everyone lived for 500 years, lost some loved one, lost memories, less and less space to live.
Limbo is also quite depressing
Ah Nier, the forgotten gem.
Probably the most depressing game I've ever played.
tfw you learn what you've been killing the entire time...
@Celldrax: yea neir's various endings were pretty sad too..but the saddest part of the game for me was the when the king's wife got killed by the wolves on the day of their wedding..
The games can't be as depressing as the 3fps the video is currently running at.
Edit: I give up. Not worth sitting through as the player is utterly broken.
@varmintx: I had problems with this video and one other today as well, although a bunch played fine. I'd assume that all videos get processed into standard specifications before being posted but I don't know, maybe some have higher bitrates or something?
MGS2 is much sadder than 3.
@DepressiveMan: im pretty sure i cried in most of the MGS games
@DepressiveMan: EE dying was sad and all, but wasn't nearly as tragic as The Boss' "final mission". She was one of the most intricately written characters in the whole series.