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Can Games Make You Cry? 379

Ground Glass writes "'Can games make you cry?' is a ridiculously simple question to ask about a hideously complex issue. Worse, it's possible that the very question itself muddies the answer. Next Generation's approach is a little more thoughtful; by figuring out what questions each medium tries to answer free of the art issue, it cuts to the heart of what games can do. With the tools made clear, it then theorizes what said tools can do emotionally." From the article: "In film, you can show a character staring at a point before him and then change perspective to show what he was staring at; it is the proximity and timing of the imagery that lends significance to the second shot. In painting, you can play with the two-dimensional space and qualities of the material at hand to create similarly suggestive juxtapositions of imagery, color, symbolism, perspective, lending greater insight into the workings of the medium, the subject at hand, the painter herself, and - ultimately - the viewer and his own perspective on the world around him."
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Can Games Make You Cry?

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  • Starfox 64 (Score:4, Funny)

    by ronz0o ( 889697 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @01:32PM (#15792480) Homepage
    It was starfox...i was at the end boss...hardest mode...would have unlocked everything......... ...then I died. =(
  • by vasqzr ( 619165 ) <vasqzr AT netscape DOT net> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @01:33PM (#15792484)
    Nothing like seeing a kid not be able to get past a level, and breaking into tears.

    Hell, it happens with adults too. If you've played Battletoads or Ghost and Goblins you know what I mean.
  • One Word... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by poodlehat ( 919902 ) <angela DOT anuszewski AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @01:34PM (#15792498) Journal
    • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @01:49PM (#15792681) Homepage Journal
      It's not as emotional, if like me, you named her "ugly slut".....
    • Re:One Word... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Conception ( 212279 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @01:52PM (#15792713)
      I have to put my money on Wing Commander 3. When Hobbes betrays you and you see the death scene for Angel... man... I've never been so engulfed by both sadness and rage by fictional characters.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Would it have been that hard to write "SPOILER WARNING" somewhere on your post??

        Some of us are still working our way through the WC...
      • That's nothing compared to when Anna died from dysentery.
    • Re:One Word... (Score:4, Informative)

      by MuNansen ( 833037 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @01:55PM (#15792760)
      Supposedly there's a pretty sad moment in Shadow of the Colossus with the horse.

      And the trailer hints to some loss in HL2: Ep. 2 that could be pretty sad.
      • Yes, your horse falls off a collapsing bridge after throwing your character to save him from the same fate. I actually reloaded it and tried to save the horse a couple times.
      • I thought the saddest part of Colossus was the part of the ending when you're given control. I waited there for minutes or whatever it took for the entire grip meter to run out on the staircase.
        • Re:One Word... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by nat5an ( 558057 )
          At the end of Metal Gear Solid 3, you have to kill one of the main characters (trying to keep this spoiler-free), and, instead of a cut scene, the game forces the player (i.e. you) to pull the trigger manually. Likewise, at the end of Shadow of the Colossus, you have control but you cannot prevent the inevitable from happening. The inevitability and lack of control is what makes it tragic (see every tragedy written for the last 3000 years). Games provide an interesting medium for this, since the gamer ha
    • Re:One Word... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by meanfriend ( 704312 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:21PM (#15793016)
      I have to disagree with this example. The whole Aeris thing is a pre-rendered cut scene with no interactivity. It's just a movie and we all know that movies can make people cry.

      The question posed here is can a *game* make you cry. Not a video stuck into the middle of a game, but from the actual gameplay. How many times have you cried while actually playing a game as opposed to sitting there with the controller in your lap watching some CGI whose trigger and resolution you had absolutely no control over? Not many, I'd wager.
      • Re:One Word... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:42PM (#15793220)
        Hate to break it to you, but simply saying it was a FMV in a game doesn't make it not part of the game. The death of Aeris wouldn't have been important at all if you just saw the cutscene so that wasn't what made it sad. It was all the interactions with the character that made you care about her and then you watched as a giant sword ripped through her.
        • Re:One Word... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Evanisincontrol ( 830057 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:09PM (#15793488)
          Half of me wants to agree with you, and the other half wants to disagree.

          Initially, I was on the same train of thought you were on. All the actual in-game interactions develop a sense of connection with the characters, specifically Aeris, who dies, and Cloud, who catches her in his arms when she collapses. Up until this point in the game, you'd played with Cloud as the main character throughout the story (or close to it), and it's almost like you ARE Cloud, watching Aeris die. (stretch your imagination a little, people)

          But on the other hand, how much interaction is there with this game, really? Sure, there's long conversations between the characters, and they go deep into their past... but it's all forced. You don't get to make-up Cloud's past, that he thinks he's a SOLDIER and that he likes Aeris, etc. It's all forced upon you, just as much as the story of any movie is forced upon you. (Exception: You get to "pick" who you're going on a date with in the Golden Saucer. Sort of. Can this be enough to justify a more "connected" feeling with the characters of a game than the characters of a movie? Maybe, in someone's opinion.)

          So what's my point? I don't think I have one, other than to say that I can understand and argue both sides of this debate. In the end, I think it comes down to how much you LET yourself feel like you're part of the world you're playing in. People cry in movies because they let themselves feel like they're in shoes of the person watching their war buddy die, or seeing their true love pass away of cancer, or whatever you cry about when you watch a movie. Just the same, if you feel like you're standing in front of Sephiroth, watching a 7 foot sword stab through a girl you like/love, you are probably more prone to feel emotion than if you think "it's just a game."
      • Re:One Word... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by grumbel ( 592662 )
        ### How many times have you cried while actually playing a game

        How often have you cried in an action sequence in a movie? Not so often I would guess. Isn't the nature of those cry-moments in movies that they are all slowly paced and filled with little or no activity and in addition to that don't almost all cry-moments get initiated by some non-hero controlled force (Titanic sinks not due to the actions of any of the protagonist)? And if so, isn't it rather unfair to judge cry-moments in games by their amoun
      • Good point (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DesireCampbell ( 923687 ) <> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:34PM (#15793768) Homepage
        That's a good point. Such an event is emotional because you can't control it. That's why people become angry or sad when such things happen in other mediums. You are sad or angry because it 'happened' and you aren't in the frame of mind to think that it can be changed. In a game, you're always thinking about how to 'win'. If something bad happens (like one of your teammates dies) you aren't as effected by it because you are not 'in' the scene like you would be if it was a movie. You are, in a way, 'outside' the scene as an omnipotent observer with the ability to affect the world. Like a god. You have great power over the game's 'world'. You can try and help the characters, and if it doesn't work you can always try again. In a non-interactive medium you cannot do that. You expect that you're able to find some way out of the level with everyone alive. You expect that you'll be able to 'save the world'. In a non-interactive story, you don't expect that, so you don't think in such a way, but in a game you cannot take such consequences as seriously.

        Perhaps games need to evolve into a more 'all or nothing' mindset. Currently all games are based on the idea that you can restart at any time and try again. Maybe the game that finally causes us to evoke major emotions will be one where you can't just 'try it again'. Maybe 'the next great game' will start you on a quest to save the world, give you teammates that you grow to care about, and not let you get them back when they get killed. Imagine playing a game and getting careless and having one of your teammates killed. The emotional impact could cause you to take the consequences of your actions much more seriously. You will start to think about characters as much more human if they stay dead.

        That said, it doesn't mean it's impossible for a current game to evoke such strong emotions - just harder. I was playing 'Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood' some time ago and had grown attached to my squadmates. In one level we were ambushed and one of my men couldn't get to cover fast enough and screamed out as he was riddled with bullets. My heart stuttered and, for a moment, I froze. It wasn't enough to make me cry, and it was only momentary (I reloaded the level and kept him out of harm's way), but I certainly felt a very strong, very real emotional shock.

        Can a game make you cry? Yes. They can, and they will.
        • There was this time when I was at the threshold of a Black Mesa parking garage. My good buddy Barney, the Black Mesa security guard, was helping me get through this dimension shift snafu. Anyway there was a huge Garg monster on the other side of the door that couldn't be killed. Barney says to me "Let's get him!" and runs out the door at this behemoth pistol blazing. I shouted "Nooooo! Barney!" and in a flash he was a pile of ash. I was choked up bad. Poor little guy. It took me a while to get ove
      • Spend 30 hours of interactive gameplay building up love for the characters only to have one of them impaled on a six-foot sword? Would you have had the same reaction if your choices prior to the event could have changed it, or if it were rendered in the normal then-good-now-laughable graphics? What if you were having an early battle with Sephiroth and he had some move that decapitated her? It was vital for the progression of the story, and if that's your reaction, then it's probably for more reasons than
      • Sounds to me as if you are trying to redefine 'game' to exclude cut scenes. Cut scenes are part of the game, there to expose the plot or help with emotional nuances. Excluding cut scenes is rather like someone excluding a particular movie scene on the grounds that 'it wasn't the movie that made you cry, it was just the music and dialogue.
      • I find my eyes start to water after about 14 hours without blinking...
    • Celes, trying to commit suicide by throwing herself off a cliff if you fail to save Cid in the first bit after Kefka's apocalypse.

      Aeris got more of a, "What? That's f---ing b---s---!" when I saw it.
    • Katamari Damacy
  • by krell ( 896769 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @01:34PM (#15792504) Journal
    Not if you have the right game coach! []. "There's no crying in Warcraft!"
  • by DesireCampbell ( 923687 ) <> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @01:38PM (#15792554) Homepage
    Games are an art form just like films or books. These other art-forms can instill a wide range of feeling into those playing/watching/reading them. Interactive media has come a long way since it's inception a few short decades ago, and already there are games which can made you happy, excited, they can move you, or they can scare you, some even make you laugh. It stands to reason that a game can make you cry, it's just a matter of "what game", and "when".

  • by jandrese ( 485 )
    I cried when everybody raved up and down about Black and White, so I bought the thing and was so disappointed I cried.

    Ok, it wasn't quite that bad. I almost cried in Starcraft when (spoiler) that bastard guy left Kerrigan behind to die. Especially since my base was in absolutely no danger whatsoever of being overrun at that point.
  • They used to. But I'm over my grief.
  • Can games make you cry? Duh! []
    • Re:Can they? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by muellerr1 ( 868578 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:47PM (#15793267) Homepage
      If the person holding the camera is that kid's parent, this is unbelievably mean--that kid was clearly traumatized. How messed up do you have to be to do that to your kid? And once you've done it, pass the video around?

      This kind of underscores the link between surprise, fear, and humor. I thought it was pretty funny until the very end. Then I just felt bad for the kid, and kind of angry at the person behind the camera.
      • Define "traumatized".

        The only traumatic pranks to play are the ones that maim and kill.
      • Wow, I had just the opposite reaction - I was bored out of my skull until the end.

        Maybe I'm just an asshole though.
      • Re:Can they? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Agreed, if this was his parents, they have just shit on his trust. This is not a cool thing to do to a developing child. Know why he is continuing to cry well after the event? This is him realizing that the person that is responsible for protecting him, used this trust to humiliate him, to be recorded and passed around to strangers. The scaring thing isn't as big of a deal as the set-up and recording of it.

      •     Nope, not his parent. A parent would have done something / said something at the end. It's easy to think this is a funny ideea, but to stand and tape while the kid is crying you have to be a) a teen b) a jerk c) a stranger or d) all of the above. Definitely not a mature person related to the kid.
      • Oh come on... My parents did a lot worse things to me than scare me, and I turned out just fine. It's not like the kid was in an actual scary situation, he just had something jump out on a computer screen. I bet there are plenty of people whose parents had them watch scary movies as a kid. It's the same thing.
  • by Eudial ( 590661 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @01:42PM (#15792593)
    PC games series that are adapted to consoles (at the expense of gameplay) make me cry. Deus Ex II for an instance, that made me cry.
  • Of course they can (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cloud K ( 125581 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @01:43PM (#15792600)
    The Final Fantasy series has made me shed tears (however mildly) on a number of occasions. I am a 24 year old male.

    It's difficult to pinpoint what it is, until you turn the sound off. It's the music. I can watch (FF7+10 spoilers) Aerith die and Cloud's reaction, Tidus fading away as Yuna tries to hug him and falls through (end spoilers) without the sound on and barely batter an eyelid. Put the sad music in there and I'm blubbing like a girl. The emotions are there with or without, but the music is like a magnifying glass.

    • by Darth Maul ( 19860 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @01:58PM (#15792796) Homepage
      But that's not really a game at that point. It's a rendered movie. You're just watching. So then how is that different from a film that makes you cry?

      That's my big problem with the FF series and games like it; they've become movies. Sure, you can hit a few buttons here and there to make you think you're "playing", but really it's just to get you to the next cut-scene.

      I certainly know that games can frighten. Playing Metroid on my NES in a dark room at midnight finally getting to the Mother Brain freaked me out. 'Course I was ten, but still, that was scary.

      • No no no. You still guide the character to that point. It's a lot deeper than just watching a movie, instead of being the onlooker you *are* that person. In a well-immersive game anyway.
      • I certainly know that games can frighten. Playing Metroid on my NES in a dark room at midnight finally getting to the Mother Brain freaked me out. 'Course I was ten, but still, that was scary

        I've never experienced a game where I ever felt sorrow or loss or sadness, but I have definitely felt afraid. HalfLife 1, alone, lights out, on a stormy night...

        Although I think the greatest emotion I've ever felt is in sports games when playing against others. Nothing quite as exciting as having a well-fought gam

    • by corbettw ( 214229 ) <{corbettw} {at} {}> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:16PM (#15792982) Journal
      The Final Fantasy series has made me shed tears (however mildly) on a number of occasions. I am a 24 year old male.

      Thank you for demonstrating the subtle difference between "male" and "man". ;)
    • I was going to make the same point about music, but I wasn't sure if people would see the connection to the topic.

      It is very easy to add emotion to music, because every aspect of a piece, from the scale used to the placement of individual notes and rests, carries emotion. (Yes, rests. Silence can be extremely emotional if used properly).

      What the game can do on top of the music is focus that emotion on a certain situation or character, amplifying the emotion present in the story alone.

      I find that the music r
  • King's Quest IV - That damned crying ghost baby at the zombie house thingy place.

    (hey, I was just a kid then...)
  • I'd go as far to say most games evoke emotions...

    Usually it begins as dismay when the installer crashes.

    Followed by confusion when the developers message boards are bursting at the seams with people complaining about the same handfull of issus. Of course the front, and support pages mention nothing.

    Perhaps a bit of joy that I find some obscure board that the workaround usually involves using virtual drive software to get around the copy protection.

    Sadness when I find that my CD rom drive doesn't support the
  • Rather, what Bowen might have asked is how innately bound any emotion is to the current fabric of videogames (that is, whether it has anything to do with what the medium is trying to accomplish)

    A much worse question, since insofar as gaming is a "medium" at all it is not a unified one with a single purpose or style.

    As far as "emotional maturity" in games goes, we'll see more of it once the game design process becomes more about game design and less about physics and graphics and character/world modelli
  • IIRC, Chris Crawford [] raised this exact question about 15-20 years ago. I find the question interesting since I don't believe in my ~30 years of playing computer games I've ever had one move me to tears. I've had movies do it, books do it, speeches do it, songs do it, and (sad to say) really-well-done-and-emotionally-manipulative TV commercials do it. But never a game.

    Hmm. ..bruce..
  • 'Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!' gave me a lump in my throat, on the level when I had to help the dead guy haunt is grieving girlfriend.
  • I was crying by the time I finished the first level in Daikatana.
  • by eddy ( 18759 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @01:59PM (#15792810) Homepage Journal

    As someone who just completed Planescape: Torment [] for the first time about an hour ago [], I can say YES.

    FFG: "No cage shall separate us, and no Plane shall divide us." Fall-From-Grace's face becomes like stone. "Keep thinking of me, and we shall meet again." TNO: I SHALL NOT FORGET ALL YOU SACRIFICED FOR ME.
    FFG: She shakes her head. "Just do not forget me."
    FFG: "Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

    PS. Best. Game. Evar.

    • I was JUST going to say Planescape: Torment.

      (I agree: Best Game Ever. I actually have 12 legit copies expressly to give to avid gamers who missed it for whatever reason.)

      Depending on how you played through the game and what choices you made at the end, P:T could be deeply, deeply affecting. I always liked video games, but it was P:T that convinced me that my pretty graphics could be just as involving and compelling as a book or movie or even a television commercial.

      I cried while playing Final Fantasy

  • How i see games. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EnsilZah ( 575600 ) <EnsilZah AT Gmail DOT com> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:00PM (#15792817)
    I think story-based games are basically movies that give you illusion of control over what happens.
    I think that illusion sort of breaks your identifiability with the character, there sort of an ambiguity for me between me as the character and me as the guy playing the character and i sort of find it easier to identify with a character that's not supposed to be me.

    Examples for games that i can think of right now that stirred emotions for me are:

    Fallout - I remember the end especially, when the hero saves the vault for the second time he is told he can never return to his home because he changed too much and would be a bad influence on the vault dwellers.

    Homeworld - I love it how they added a whole spiritual side to what could have been just a space strategy game, and the music in the second one really contributed to the atmosphere.

    Planescape Torment - The whole "What can change the nature of a man?" theme, search for identity.

    There is a place for games that concentrate on skill developmenet.
    But i think that as a form of art, a story-based game that doesn't stir emotion in you is missing its purpose.

  • by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:02PM (#15792839)
    Once we get past this 1920-film era of video games, I'm sure we'll have some more emo.
  • Dupre's actions in the crematorium were heartbreaking.
  • The only time a video game has ever brought tears to my eyes was one of the Call of Duty or Allied Assault games depicting the D-Day landing. I'll admit I shed a tear for the folks who had to live through the real thing.
  • Anything can make you cry as long as it's inspired and effective in conveying the scenario. In a game you can get attached to characters as you nurture them to maximum power in the game and direct them along their journey with your own effort, so if they die, you know the hardships they've been through, etc. Why ask this question about a game specifically? Anything with a story or even just a picture with no words that strikes a chord with you can make you cry. Anything can evoke human emotion. It all
  • If a movie can make you cry, and your game has a NON interactive movie in it, then of course, it's trivial (from a film-maker's perspective).
    If the game has a fully interactive movie in it, then it is still possible, but it isn't the game making you cry so much as your choices and the reactions elicited from the game's responses that make you cry.
    Finally if the game is fully interactive and fully immersive (insofar as 2D video technology and controllers allow), then it is quite possible that a game that cre
  • I've always heard that it was common for people to cry when Floyd is killed in Planetfall.
    • I didn't cry, but remember as a young boy getting a lump in my throat -- playing a TEXT based adventure.


      Note: Would this be considered more intune with literature vs a game? Perhaps we need to set some parameters, e.g. 2d/3d, interactive, result of player's actions?
  • But I do feel a twinge of hurt and betrayal when one of my Animal Crossing buddies suddenly decides they're sick of talking to me and instead starts yelling at me or making fun of me.

    Then I whack them on the head with the net for a while and I feel better.

  • I almost cried during Ace Combat 04 and 5. I don't think I've ever truly cried over a video game, but those got me the closest of all. Beautiful games, beautiful music, amazing storylines and gameplay that just doesn't get old. Ace Combat Zero didn't quite do it for me, though.

    And honestly, people, since the subject's been brought up so much, Aeris was a ditzy flower girl who happened to be a good healer. I didn't like her at all and didn't miss her when she bit the dust.
  • Toru Iwatani (sp?) posed this very same question 20 years ago. In fact, I believe he specifically went on to investigate this, although I don't have a link. He was very interested in the range of emotions possible through computer games.

    In the past I thought a 3D virtual suicide simulator would be pretty cool. Perhaps it could even be used in therapy (like fear of heights VR therapy). Could you capture the anxiety up to and including the very end? I got the idea from while rewatching the classic flick
  • I bought a copy of Quake 2 for my PC and went to install it. I think with all the settings turned down I was getting about 5 fps. I went back to the pc store and was bawling as I forked over a couple hundred dollars for extra RAM and a new video card.
  • The only game I've shed a tear to is Homeworld, and the moment when you get back to Kharak and it is being obliterated...

    ...having said that, I think it was more due to the music and the perfect choice of them using "Adagio for Strings" to convey a such a sense of loss. So every time I hear the track, I start welling up and always think back to that moment!

    • Every time I hear that bloody music I get a mental image of Samuel Barber bonking me on the head with a fistful of violins and ordering me to feel sad. Then I smash up his violins and use the strings to garotte him.
  • There's one movie I can think of that can just about make me cry on demand... I don't remember what it was called, but it was in the DC Jewish Film festival a few years back. It was about an Israeli Taxi driver whose son recently committed suicide. Very short, very simple, and actually kinda boring until it hits you at the end.

    OK, I gotta stop typing now, starting to tear up already... It was that powerful :>
  • Grim Fandango (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:32PM (#15793119) Journal
    The ending of that ... more of a happy tears thing, but it was so cute. "This little light of mine ... I'm gonna let it shine ..."

    Also the flashback in the sensorium in Torment. And that was just text.

    Serpent Isle was trying to be a tearjerker in the scene where Dupre dies, but since most of my party had died and been resurrected dozens of times before, it's just too hard to get attached. That and LB really just can't write drama (as U9 showed us)

  • Both the Cinema displays and the music.... Yuzo Koshiro at his best and the people from Falcom with a great storyline... Enough said (grabs a tissue)
  • Face it, video games are nothing more than a way for severely socially alienated nerds to pass the time (and waste their lives).

    Just drop it with the "art" crap already, it's bullshit.
  • Crying is for sissies!

    However the Planescape: Torment story is so well-written that you do get drawn emotionally into the game.

  • Someone once said that "fiction is lies told about others that tell the truth about ourselves." Anything with decent story-telling causes many to provide the "willing suspension of disbelief" needed for good stories that cause us to care about the characters.

    Add the interactive aspect of games, and the situation is magnified. At one point, Homeworld gives the player an enemy race that the story later shows to have been an offshoot of the player's race that went collectively crazy. I myself found that to be
  • That's enough to make anyone cry, when you have to pause a game, you can't save it, and you lose power, or your kid sister fucks it up, or something, and you lose a night of magically great strategy and level-beating prowess!
  • Can Games Make You Cry? Uhhh... yeah, have you tried playing Star Wars Galaxies?

  • the question 'can games make you cry' is about equivalent to asking
    the question 'can books make you cry' -- how about wood chips.
    perhaps the content which we have paid people so much to create,
    can trigger certain responses -- if we're susceptible to them.

  • Deus Ex Machina [] made me cry.

    But then, I was only fourteen... I hadn't discovered Vaughan Williams then. (Though I knew some works by his famous nephew, John...)

    • Well, minus ten style points for replying to my own post, but I had to point this out... according to this review [], the original Spectrum version only sold 1000 copies! Lordy, and I saved my pocket money for weeks and weeks to get my copy. I thought everyone would be as into it as I was.

      Then the whining School Child, with cassette and shining morning face creeping like a snail unwillingly to databank. . .

      *choke*... they don't make 'em like that any more. Mel Croucher, where are you?

  • by amrust ( 686727 ) <> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:06PM (#15793458) Homepage
    That came as close as anything ever would. Very emotional ending (showdown with The Boss).
  • "This room is an illusion and is a trap devised by Satan."

    I cried.
  • Of course... []

    Maybe I should have read the article....maybe even the summary...
  • Two weird answers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sage Gaspar ( 688563 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:23PM (#15793648)
    When I was young and stupid, the endings of Illusion of Gaia and Link's Awakening both got me choked up. In my early 20s, I haven't cried at anything in a good long while, but the rare game like Shadow of the Colossus can still resonate with me on the same level as a sad part of a movie or book.
  • ...anything can make me cry if it's the right time of the months. Video games with gore. Chocolate. Being out of chocolate. YOU. Not getting any. Not getting hugged. Movies. Video games with cute lil' critters...being bludgeoned to death by big bad guys with machetes....
  • ....when my Second Life girlfriend broke up with my lesbian character. I cried like a girl.

    I miss the simulated lesbian sex.

  • by monopole ( 44023 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:32PM (#15793747)
    All your base are belong to us! ...
    Gentlemen, make your time! ...
    For great justice!

    Sorry (sob) I just can't go on!
  • Ever play a steaming pile of poo called "Evergrace" for the PS2? Driv3r? Games make me cry all the time to know I spent any amount of money on a game I expected to be great that ended up sucking beyond belief...
  • Since you are (usually) in control of the game, the primary emotion I get when something bad happens is anger or annoyance. I'm angry I couldn't make things work out well, and often replay a segment to prevent a character I like dying.

    Still, a good story within a game can come close. The two I remember are Planetscape Torment and Fallout. PsT during the scene where each of the characters sacrifices themselves for you, admittedly a scripted movie part of the game that you can't change, but i still get t

  • The Longest Journey (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Phoenixhunter ( 588958 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:13PM (#15794152)
    The original The Longest Journey has been the only game wherein I found an ability to empathize with the protagonist, even when the graphics were already considered subpar. I've never found a way to put to words the reason why. I played Syberia and other similar titles, but I never really felt the same degree of connection. When I recently picked up the sequel, Dreamfall, I was let down.

    Any recommendations on titles?

  • by kinglink ( 195330 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:52PM (#15794541)
    Guys, I applaud you for being symmetrical down to the clothes, but come on. I don't come to Slashdot to hear the same thing three hundred times. Why not make one thread of it rather then all posting your own "unique" way of saying it in new topics.

    Yes Final Fantasy VII may have made you cry but one game in 500 making you cry doesn't prove the theory. The question is can they make you cry, not which one.

    And even worse, thanks for NOT reading the article, he clearly discusses Aeris' death and why he doesn't feel it really matches the standards he sets.

    However at the same the question is "duh". Games can be beauty and are portrayed with stories, how can they not be impactful. It's the same as reading books, or watching movies, but even more involved. I would be willing to say games can have a large impact on our emotions. It's not just crying.

    Rage, and fear came to me early, through a game called System Shock. Shock and despair in Chrono Trigger (the major character dying? not saying who). Happiness and Joy comes from many games.

    So why focus on Crying, it's obvious games while interactive are just as story driven as any industry. It's true stories are not required (see madden or other sports games) but at the same time for a book or a movie you don't need a story. (See Comedy, books of stats, and a few movies that just show images rather then tell stories)

    But if you want to know can games make you cry, ask any serious gamer. One who tries all types of games, they'll tell you, yes. For me it was Final Fantasy VI, tears of sadness when Cid died in the world of ruin, tears of joy when you find all your friends, tears during the opera scene (truely great).

    There's others too of course, but that's one of the major ones. Chrono Trigger's reunion. The FFIV where rosa rejoins the group. Legend of Zelda Ocerina of Time was wonderful. Shadows of Colussus. Metal Gear Solid (more of tears of rage when I realized what had happened to Meryl).

    So yeah the answer is yes. It's true almost all these things are non interactive but that's the point. If you really want to see if something interactive can make you cry that's fine, there's a couple games when a friend dies in a battle, but at the same time it's either extremely scripted so it's like a cutscene or it's a chance happening and a random guy dies you have little connection to.

    If you want an example of interactive versions look into things like Knights of the Old Republic. However it's uneffective in getting people to tear up because they always seem to give an obvious way out, and the fact is you probably arn't going to get people killed unless you're trying to go down the evil path, and if you're evil you're not going to be crying, you're going to be cheering the death.

    So the long story is yes, games are emotional and can move people to tears, however we are not yet at the point where a game can have a true moment of sorrow with out it being completely planned out to drive the maximum impact to the player. This is not because of bad game design but because we have yet to have true "freedom" even in open-world games.
  • by __aahlyu4518 ( 74832 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:57PM (#15794578)
    Sure they can.. depending on how hard it is thrown at you, if the console/pc is still attached, and where it hits you...
  • It's hard to make a game that truly uses the medium to create powerful emotional scenes. Take one example, the death of Aeris in Final Fantasy VII. Most people acknowledge that it was a powerful scene, and with good reason. In some sense, you'd grown to know her character throughout the game, and so seeing her die was an emotional moment. Still, how does that use the nature of the medium? If I'm watching a good movie, I'll have the same reaction. If anything, the Mines of Moria scene in Fellowship of the Ring was more powerful. Might it be possible to use the interactivity of a game to create a branching path, with powerful and resonant consequences, no matter which way you choose?

    I'm not saying this because Final Fantasy VII was so heavily FMV-based, either. In fact, it would be possible to create a game which was 95% FMV, but still used the interactivity present in a game to create emotional impact. The difference lies in the fact that FFVII had very little in the way of hard moral decisions. What if it were possible to save Aeris, but it ultimately meant the destruction of hundreds of other, innocent lives? Imagine this:

    You're given two options. One, you can use some kind of evil materia you've picked up earlier in the game. It summons the life out of hundreds of others, and uses it to channel some sort of force which turns Sephiroth's blade aside, and drives him away. Cut to a scene of a small child desparately crying for his mother and father, who have died simply so your friend can live. Pull back and see the devastation - hundreds have died so that you could save Aeris, you selfish bastard. She stays with you, but never sees you in the same way. Or, choose option two: Cloud enters and watches Sephiroth kill Aeris, knowing that he (and you) could have done something, but that the end couldn't ever justify the means. Neither one is satisfying, but the choice defines who Cloud is, and what he's willing to do for his cause and his friends.

    It's difficult to create a game which can allow you to make weighty moral decisions, but the result of a game which does this well is nothing short of incredible. Consider Planescape: Torment, or, to a lesser extent, the Knights of the Old Republic and Fallout games. They're all truly role-playing games; you can create your own character, with your own moral code. If you're out to save the world, might that justify shaking down peasants when you need the cash to buy that +57 Super Armor? After all, if you die, then they're doomed; better that they be short some cash rather than souls trapped in the Ultimate Doom Machine. On the other hand, aren't you fighting for these people? Heck, maybe you're just power-mad and psychotic, looking to take control of the Ultimate Doom Machine for yourself.

    To me, a really emotional game would allow me to step into someone's shoes and make these decisions. In the real world, if I were to be some kind of super-powered hero, I'd have to make hard choices. A game which wants to make a strong emotional impact should force you to make hard choices as well; if the game makes your choices for you, then it can only ever operate on the emotional level of a movie. That's not a bad thing, but as a game, it's possible to use the nature of the medium to go further.

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