Regardless of what anyone else has said, video games are an art form. And sometimes when an art form is powerful enough, it can move us in ways we never thought we could be moved. When a piece of art, no matter what it is, has the power to move someone to tears, then you know that artwork has done its job. If you haven’t played any of these games before, I just want to warn you there are major spoilers ahead. But these games moved me in more ways than I’d like to admit. WARNING: SPOILERS.
1. When Jodie Finds Out Who The Entity Really IsIn Beyond: Two Souls, Jodie, played by the beautiful Ellen Page, is a young girl who is gifted with the ability to sense spirits, more specifically a spirit that has attached itself to her. This entity, that you take control of many times in the game, lives to protect Jodie by creating distractions and causing a ruckus. One such scene is when Jodie is dancing with a boy at a birthday party and the entity, which she calls Aiden, gets mad and creates a disaster when the boy treats her poorly. Well, at the end of the game, you come to find out Aiden is actually Jodie’s twin brother who passed away right after birth. Then all of a sudden everything Aiden did to create a mess suddenly made sense—he was just a protective brother. I bawled my eyes out knowing this whole time it was just a serious case of brotherly love.
2. When Jackie Estacado Witnesses The Death Of JennyThe Darkness was an older game and one of the first action RPG’s I ever picked up on the Xbox 360. I instantly fell in love with Jackie Estacado’s character and his charming story of growing up in an orphanage with his girlfriend, Jenny. He seemed like a rough tumbler on the outside, but on the inside he turned into mush around Jenny—and I loved that. So I, and many other players, didn’t expect to see Jenny face such a gruesome death in the first game. I mean, it was perfectly set up to tear you apart, with following Jenny’s childhood memory around the old orphanage where they grew up. I didn’t really cry during this scene, i screamed and held my hand to my mouth as I watched the scene unravel. Definitely one of the most shocking and heartbreaking scenes I’ve ever experienced, even to this day.
3. The Ending Of JourneyThere’s a funny story behind my emotional experience with the game, Journey. I was told to play the game and that it would make me cry. I scoffed, saying “I’ll play it, but I definitely won’t cry.” Well, in the ending sequence of the game as you’re walking into the light, I started bawling, red nose and red eyes and all. It was a combination of the music, the thought that I had completed this journey with someone I didn’t even know, who helped me along the way with very little knowledge of who I was, and that my time was done, that I was dying. I hadn’t had a game make me cry like that in a long time, but all of the emotions made me lose it. The ending is extra long, but it’s a sentimental moment of clarity where I learned to grieve and then accept the fact that my time was over. That my journey was complete.
4. Clementine Shoots LeeIn Season 1 of The Walking Dead game by Telltale Games, young Clementine went through hell. But this scene, when she is faced with the task of killing Lee before he turns into a Walker, was almost too much to handle. Just listening to her plead with Lee to not leave her alone and turn into a Walker is so hard to watch, from her meek little “Pwease,” it almost seems like the begging will never stop. When the sound of the bullet finally rings out, it felt like the breath was literally blown out of me. While I didn’t cry during this scene, it was really hard to watch. It was bad enough to twist up my stomach into knots.
5. Choosing To Sacrifice Chloe In Life Is StrangeLife Is Strange was a narrative adventure riddled with questions of morality based on the decisions you made in each episode. When it came to Chloe’s character, I didn’t like her at first. I found her pretty annoying, actually. But she eventually grew on me and soon, I felt I had to do everything in my power to protect her. But come the end of the game, the only right thing to do was to let Chloe die. It was heart-wrenching. After spending the entire game making decisions in favor of Chloe, I couldn’t do it anymore. I chose the town over Chloe, and I watched as everything went back to normal. During Chloe’s funeral was where I choked up a lot, but instead of crying, I felt a pang in the back of my throat that ached.
While it’s not always easy to admit to crying during the gameplay of a video game, it does reiterate the fact that video games are so much more than just a game. They are a collection of art forms that work in harmony, from artwork to the narrative to the music. And as long as games continue to make me cry, I’ll know they are doing their job.