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Have you ever cried at a video game?


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The most recent one that nearly made me go over was in Mass Effect believe it or not. Having to make that choice was horrible (players will know what i mean).

I personally would have found that choice more difficult if:

1. Kaidan was a useful character.

2. Kaidan had said anything new in the last ten hours.

3. Ashley was not totally into me at that point.

On topic, while it doesn't actually make me tear up or anything, the

isn't something I'd listen to on an off day.
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Spoilers in white.

I cry extremely easily at movies, books, etc. so it's not unusual that I'd cry at a game. But the most memorable one that I cried at was FFX. The part when Tidus finds out that Yuna is going to die. And then during the ending when Yuna is looking for him and she does the whistle thing. OMG so sad.

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I'll be honest: I laughed my ass off when Aeris died. I thought she was an extremely irritating character, and to the extent that I actually gave a shit about any of the characters (not much), I wanted Cloud to end up with Tifa.

FFVI -- When Celes tried to commit suicide. Her theme just fits the scene so perfectly, makes it a real tear-jerker. Also the whole thing with Locke and Rachel.

Chrono Trigger -- The ending. Watching Chrono and Marle drift off into the sky with that beautiful music playing, it really got to me.

Radical Dreamers -- Several of the endings, several parts within the story -- all of them accompanied by either the music box theme or Star-Stealing Girl. Both of those themes have always had a very powerful effect on me.

FFIII -- I started playing this right around the time Avien died. I heard Winds of Eternity before I actually got to the point in the game where that source plays. When I got a bit further in the game and heard the original, I definitely shed a tear or two.

LoZ: Twilight Princess, Xenogears, Shadow of the Collosus, Beyond Good and Evil, and Prince of Persa: Sands of Time came close at a couple of points, but I don't think I was ever actually in tears.

Interesting, now that I think of it: I have a much more powerful emotional response to the older console games than I do to those with more realistic graphics. I think it's because the older games leave the gamer's mind to fill in the details and give the characters life, which gets us far more attached to them.

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Several others, too. MGS3 was pretty intense.


The ending of Wind Waker was pretty emotional, with the King of Hyrule, lingering on to drown with his ruined kingdom. Everything leading up to it was great, too--especially Ganondorf's monologue just before the final battle. Hit me pretty hard.

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FFVI - There are so many scenes where I bawled when I was a little kid. Music is like no other. Esp the scene when Celes is about to commit suicide... I went to look out the window and cried so my middle brother wouldn't see me.

- Opening to Sim City used to make me cry as a kid too. T_T It's so beautiful.

Obviously Aerith's death too....and the ending to A Link to the Past. Same reason, the music was touching.

Zircon shared last Magfest how the ending to Crisis Core touched him and such like he mentioned in this thread... I shook my head to agreement when he talked about it. I felt the exact same way.

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So this thread got me thinking about what causes a strong emotional response from a game, and a posted my thoughts in a rambling note on facebook:

There was a thread on OCR about scenes in videogames that make you cry, and it really got me thinking about what in a game makes it effective at creating an emotional response.

First off, a confession: I cry easily while watching movies. I cried at the end of Gladiator, I cried at the end of My Dog Skip, I cried at the end of Millennium Actress. And there are a few videogames that have brought me to tears as well, however there are a couple points mentioned a lot by other forum members that really didn't have the same effect on me (for example, Aeris's death in FFVII; far from making me cry, that scene makes me laugh every time).

So what causes me to respond emotionally to a game? There are two patterns I noticed when I put together a list.

First (and hardly surprising) is that music seemed to play at least as big a role as narrative. In Chrono Trigger, I didn't cry because Crono and Marle had finally defeated Lavos and were floating off into the night sky; I cried because To Faraway Times was playing in the background. In Radical Dreamers, I didn't cry because of Kid's tragic history; I cried because Star-Stealing Girl was playing while I learned Kid's story (regardless of which alternate plotline I was taking, the scenes with Star-Stealing Girl playing almost always brought me to tears). In Final Fantasy VI, I didn't cry JUST because Celes tried to commit suicide (though admittedly that was a very emotional scene on its own) -- I cried because her mournful themesong fit the scene so perfectly. Another scene in FF6 is the scene with Locke and Rachel.

Second (and rather more surprising) is that every instance I can think of where I was genuinely brought to tears by a game was with an old game with very simple graphics and sounds. Not one game with voice acting has ever brought me to tears. Not one game where the characters have detailed facial expressions has ever brought me to tears. Not one game released within the last 10 years has brought me to tears.

My theory for why this is has to do with how much character development takes place onscreen and how much takes place in the player's mind. If the character onscreen is a simple pixelated avater with no voice and no detail, the character develops in the player's mind; because the player must put part of him/her self into the development of the character, the less-developed character becomes (paradoxically) much more compelling to the player.

In Final Fantasy VI, Celes is only a basic sketch of a character within the game, but the few details given about her are just enough to construct an complete and compelling character within the mind of the player. To see this character that we have built up in our own minds despair to the point of suicide is absolutely heart-breaking.

Chrono Trigger's ending is perhaps an even better example. Marle doesn't talk much, and Crono NEVER talks, and so we are given, aside from the central narrative, almost no set-in-stone character development -- but it is precisely this that causes the characters to become so compelling. The player can project his own personality onto Crono, and can project onto Marle his ideal fantasy girlfriend. When Crono conquers evil, saves the world, and sails off into the night sky with the girl of his dreams, it's not somebody else's character doing all these things, but the player's own character.

More advanced technology in gaming has essentially killed both of these aspects in gaming. Back when game music was limited to a few channels with simple sounds, the only way to make good music was to write a strong, compelling melody. The music had to get by on the strength of the composition alone, as shortcomings in that area could not possibly be covered up with stellar production. But now that fully recorded audio reigns king, music doesn't have to have a compelling melody; it just has to create a decent soundscape. Limitations always bring out creativity, and true brilliance almost always shines most when strained by limitations. Once those limitations vanish, the true brilliance and creativity in the process go with them.

Graphical advancement has had the same effect, though for slightly different reasons. When the character on screen is a simple avatar with very little detail, we are free to imagine their facial expressions and their body language. But when the character models are detailed enough that these aspects can be presented on screen, the designers are faced with a crippling dilemma. If the designers do not give these characters human characteristics, it seems very unnatural; we can see their faces and know they SHOULD be expressing something, and we can see their bodies and know that they SHOULD be moving a certain way. The absence of character where there very clearly should be one is disconcerting and unnerving, and completely destroys any possibility of an immersive experience. If they attempt to make these non-human characters imitate human body language and facial expressions, they plunge the character into the uncanny valley AND eliminate the opportunity for the player to create his own character to fill the role. Advanced graphics present character designers with a lose-lose situation in most cases. (for anybody not familiar with the uncanny valley, I suggest you watch Daniel Floyd's video on the phenomenon:


Now, there are semi-acceptable work-arounds for the graphical issues (as Floyd defines quite well in his video).

The first is to employ a style that does not depend on realistic animation. When characters are stylized, even caricatured, it is not so unforgivably creepy when their mannerisms don't seem flawlessly human. Beyond Good and Evil did an excellent job of this; the main characters are two very-caricatured humans and an anthropomorphic pig. Because these characters are clearly not meant to be real, it doesn't bother the player when they aren't. We still have a little bit of room to imagine what the characters would be like if they WERE more realistic. However, it should be noted that this still doesn't always give the player the imaginative flexibility that can be obtained with a simple pixelated avatar.

The second is to develop the characters -- both in image and in personality -- to the point where the player can internalize and believe in the characters without needing to fill in the details (in other words, make the game more like a movie). While this is theoretically possible, I have yet to run into a game that I felt truly accomplished this. Furthermore, for a developer to attempt to do this is ridiculously expensive and time-consuming. It would be cool to see it work, but if I were a developer or designer, this would not be my method of choice.

So will newer games ever be able to elicit the sort of emotional responses gained from many older games? It's hard to say. As far as emotional content in games is concerned, we are in a lull at best, and a downward spiral at worst.

That said, Team Ico's latest project ("The Last Guardian) looks like it has the potential to be a real tear-jerker -- too bad everybody already knows roughly how the game will end.

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no, lots of close ones though, end of MGS3, false end of ICO, cele's in FFVI, a lot of credits especially in zelda games, it makes me sad when the game ends and they always have great music. I'm kind of strange, I get emotional very easily but rarely cry

I agree with a lot of what taucer said. the game soundtrack always has a large impact on me and I think that, aside from production making strong melodies less essential, it's even more marginalized by voice acting much of the time. I remember reading something once where it was said that they actually try to make it less of a focal point because of voice acting :/

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It's mostly game endings for me. I don't proceed with crying, but I get choked up and manage to fight the tears off.

The end of Final Fantasy 4 for the ending being so happy, and the end of Super Metroid (awesome but so damn sad). I have to hold back the tears on Blanka's ending on Street Fighter 2 because it's so happy.

Let's see, is there anything else that made me cry? I can't think of anything, but there are some parts that make me sad. The ending to Mega Man 2, the ending of Super Mario Bros. 3, Zero's demise in Mega Man X1, Ryu Hayabusa having to fight his own father.

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Um guys? Silent Hill 2

ESPECIALLY the In Water ending of Silent Hill 2... That ending had me balling for over an hour.

I think that's probably it for me. Mother 3 got me close though, and now that I think about it, Lufia II ending got me close as well. I think FFVII and FFVI both had sad scenes that struck me in a certain way too.

But the only game to ever really strike my senses emotionally is Silent Hill 2. There are no words for the experience that game gave me.

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I cried when I couldn't beat Byte from MMX3. He was so fucking irritating. About a week later I figured out how simple it was to beat him and I felt so stupid.

Oh and I almost cried on Earthworm Jim 2 on the stages where you have to bounce the puppies over to the other side of the screen. I wanted to save every single one of them cause they reminded me of my dog when he was a puppy, but I couldn't. He got hit by a car, so if I missed one and it hit the ground, that splat sound really got to me. I got smart and played those stages with the tv on mute.

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