Video games are extraordinarily well-known for conveying emotions much like books or movies. At the surface, we all experience the fun and joy of a playing a game - if it is good, anyhow. But, deep within, these games can provoke other emotions.

Games such as Final Fantasy, Pokemon, and The Elder Scrolls provide the excitement and wonder of a world like our own, but different in ways we can find desirable. Others, such as Call of Duty and Halo, in my opinion, make me think of post-apocalyptic worlds that are virtual playgrounds, but unbelievably scary to really live in. Some, such as the many reincarnations of real-life games, give a feeling of competition and rivalry. And, of course, we know games like Grand Theft Auto can provoke looks of wonder ... and not necessarily the good kind, if looking at it from an ethical standpoint.

One emotion sometimes undermined is that of sadness. After all, games are sometimes stereotypically defined as violent or meant to induce fun - why should they make us sad? In this Top 10 List, I shall delve into ten of the saddest moments in video game plots I have ever encountered. Some will make you simply depressed; others, when truly experienced, will make you sob like a baby.

Please note that, for the sake of providing a more tear-jerking experience, I did provide a bit of background going up to that moment in the game. Therefore, there are plot spoilers to these entries, often summarizations of the whole plot. Reader, beware.

I will also note that there are undoubtedly greater choices than these. I was limited by my own stock of games. My apologies, but I hope you can still enjoy this list.

One of the unique things about this game is that, for one song, Activision ended up having the band Rush record a vocal backstory to "2112", one of their prog rock songs made in 1976. A short storyline, not related at all to the game's Quest itself, but still...

The Moment and Prior Plot:

It is the year 2112. Religion is the leader of the world and the priests control everything; where you work, what you do, how to do it, everything. One man goes to his "quiet place" and, there, finds an instrument of marvelous wonder. (Guess what it is?) He teaches himself how to play it in a very skillful manner.

He, one day, with good intentions, takes this instrument to the priests to try and show them its value. After a presentation, the priests smash it into bits. The man walks home through silent, dark streets to his home, where he falls into a fitful sleep.

He has a dream; a prophecy of sorts, but of what once was. He sees our civilization as it essentially is, before religion controlled the world. He realizes the true value of the instrument; not the music, but the free expression it represents. When awake, he wonders if this life, in his time, is really worth living...

The storyline ends there, but I'm sure you can connect the lines. So ends stop one on our dark journey.

The Moment and Prior Plot:

We begin our game in a small port town in a world not unlike our own. One day, the peace is shattered, for the princess of the local castle has gone missing! No one in the town really does care, though, until the soldiers come and arrest you (for a separate reason).

Your long journey thusly begins. You'll travel across the world for many months, often a group of small friends, one who you secretly long for and who longs for you. You and she, alone, go to face the cause of all of the evil on the planet.

Amazingly enough, it's a comet. You defeat the spirit within and watch the beautiful planet Earth from a distance in space, wondering if this is what is feels like to be God (only in the Japanese version, though). Alongside your loved one, you watch as the face itself of the Earth changes...

... Earth reverts to a more real-life scenario. You no longer remember anything of your past life; you no longer love the one you once loved, nor does she love you. Your biggest concern, rather than saving the planet or the one you yearned for, is now just passing school exams.


Hey, it was sad to me. Maybe if you think moreso of beauty than sadness when looking at the Earth from a distance?

The Moment and Prior Plot:

Aeris, the typical damsel in distress, you meet her in a church in one of the urban slums of Midgar, fleeing from the Turks (mercenaries, of sorts). You help and she joins your party for the long journey to save the world. Sadly, you become somewhat attracted to her, though it is more revealed in crossover games such as Kingdom Hearts.

At one point in your journey, you encounter the person who you are trying to stop - Sephiroth. After a lengthy, harsh battle, with one deft blow, he strikes the Masamune through Aeris's chest, killing her instantly. All so he can destroy the world - and it is obvious none will get in his way, not even what little morals he has left.

The Moment and Prior Plot:

Tidus, your main character, sent along a wormhole in time to another time and place called Spira. Or so he thinks, but that's later. Being unable to prove to others that he really came from a pre-ruined Zanarkand, Tidus decides to join a party with a summoner, Yuna.

Over the course of this very long journey, from the oceans to the deserts, mountains to valleys, Tidus and Yuna quickly hit it off and such is displayed quite visibly at one point in the game.

But it is at one point in the game Tidus hits upon a realization. He is naught but a dream of the Fayth, those that allow the use of the summons; the Aeons. Should the evil, Sin, that plagues Spira die off, so will he, as the Fayth themselves will no longer dream.

He tresds onward faithfully and finally, Sin is defeated. But, eventually, when in front of Yuna and company, a light envelops him. Yuna shakes her head, effectively saying "No, you can't go!" Eventually, she leaps at him to prevent him from leaving, but to no avail. Her love goes off into the distance, never to be seen again. (Until another entry in the series.)

Yeah, continuing with the Final Fantasy trend.

The Moment and Prior Plot:

It is an ancient, agriculturally-based world you now live in, on the brink of a technological revolution ... and on the brink of destruction, for the Crystals that govern the elements are weakening rapidly. A meteorite lands near you and you go to check it out. You save one girl, Lenna, from the grips of Goblins and find an amnesiac old man next to the meteorite. He has but one memory of his name ... Galuf.

You and he eventually join forces reluctantly. You soon find out that he, himself, has saved the world before and that you are on a similar quest with him to find Exdeath, the evil warlock, and save the worlds.

Over the course of your journey, his rough humor and his random mistakes quickly close a friendly bond between the two of you. Until one day, your party, which includes Galuf's grand-daughter, is attacked forcefully and powerfully by Exdeath. With all of the might that his creaky body can muster, Galuf stands up to Exdeath and forces him to flee, saving the four of you...

... but at a cost. The cost of his own life.

The Moment and Prior Plot:

A war is being waged between one half of the world, focused around nature, and the other, focused on technology and advancement. At the forefront of the team of fairies trying to intervene and end this war is a human child, Toan.

Toan goes on an epic journey from his lonely rural village in Norune, to the forests, to the ocean, the desert, the moon, and even a floating castle! One of the many people he meets along the way is a hypnotized king, King Seda, leader of the aforementioned floating castle. He, however, came from the past.

For he is the cause of this war. Four centuries ago, he brought forth the Dark Genie to end a war and, in doing so, let the Dark Genie go forth on its own to try to take over all eras. Seda came to the future to try and aide the special human Toan, but got entranced in the process and became misguided.

It was only near the end of the journey that Seda was able to finally take full control of himself and get rid of the Dark Genie's curse upon him. And only in one way could he do so. He opened the Gallery of Time for Toan to go through to find the Dark Genie ... then stabbed himself in the chest with his own sword.

The Moment and Prior Plot:

I'll be going back a bit further into Kingdom Hearts I for this plot background, you know.

This journey all began when a boy named Sora, along with his friends Riku and Kairi, dreamt of worlds beyond their little set of islands. Little did they know of their destiny. A dark energy attacked the islands one day and Sora gained the power of the Keyblade (for which my GameFAQs account is named). He went on a long journey and meet up with Goofy and Donald and, together, stopped the darkness from spreading and hurting more people.

In Kingdom Hearts II, a year has passed. Sora awakens in another town and goes on a similar journey as before, heading from world to world sealing the Keyholes. But weren't they sealed before? Why are the Heartless here?

It seems that an organization of Nobodies (bodies without hearts), powerful Nobodies, called Organization XIII is making them appear so that Sora can claim enough hearts from them to open Kingdom Hearts. This really sends the two forces into a deep physical and ideological conflict.

This all climaxes at Hollow Bastion. Sora and company have reunited with their lost friend and Keyblade Master Mickey when Organization XIII uses computer technology to create thousands of Heartless. As the four proceed to the generators, Goofy is knocked on the head hard by a heavy rock, presumably dead to Sora, Donald, and Mickey.

This sends them all into a rage and they go and slay many Heartless in anger. Goofy does turn out to be alive. But imagine having been friends with him for so long as they were, then just to think he died.

The Moment and Prior Plot:

Imagine that you were in your normal day-to-day life when, one day, one of your friends finds a book and says an incantation from within it. The next day, you'll find yourself in a desert-like town, alone, and greatly confused.

The only person (and that's a stretch) that comes to help you is a Moogle named Montblanc. His generous and kind nature actually lets you join his clan - sort of a group of people that work together, rather than extended families.

The two of you quickly become best friends as you work to find out how you got here, why, and how to get back.

There was a reason why I said Montblanc potentially dies. He doesn't have to. Why?

See, as with all Final Fantasies, you'll have to do battles. The Laws governing the land prevent you from dying. But, in a lawless area, you can die if the battle ends before you're revived. If Montblanc dies, it is not a Game Over.

But it is depressing all the same to see Marshe cry, "Montblanc? Montblanc!" Not to mention you'll have to deliver the news to his brother and another good friend of yours, Nono. It's all pretty saddening.

Yes, I'm talking moreso specifically on Ethan Mars' own story than the four main characters as group, mostly looked at from a bystander aspect, mainly because I found his to be more moving the others' own stories.

Okay, so our character Ethan Mars has recently had one of his sons die and he has been divorced by his wife. Just as he finally begins to his life somewhat back on track, the Origami Killer strikes his life, shattering it.

Or more like splitting it. You'll end up living two lives of sorts - one where you go through these tortuous tasks by the Origami Killer to stop your remaining son from being killed, and the other where you'll try to be a decent dad to your remaining son, Shaun, whether that means playing with him or making him do his homework.

The fact that Ethan is trying to do for Shaun what he couldn't for Jason, his dead son, makes the Origami Killer's trials all too more real. He often comes out on the other side of these trials battered, bruised, and overall pathetic-looking.

And that's why this made #2 on my list, and just barely. Unlike other games where you cannot really have a Game Over, or games where you character is unrealistically powerful, or games like #1, there is an unusual sense of realism here displayed in Ethan and his life. Admittedly, it's a little bit far-fetched for real life, but imagine if this was your next-door neighbor. Imagine what they'd must be going through. You'd probably shed a tear at that.

No, I could not pick any specific generation here (between Red/Blue Rescue Teams or Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky). They end fairly similarly, and both got me to sobbing anyways.

The Moment and Prior Plot:

Imagine that you wake up one day alone. You have no memory of anything, except your name and that you are a human. Or WERE a human - somehow, you've turned into a Pokemon! You soon meet another Pokemon, who you quickly befriend - after all, he's the only Pokemon you know in this world.

The two of you, indeed, quickly become the best of friends and start up a rescue team together, as partners. The two of you will go through many trials and to many places; from the forest to the desert, from the ocean to the sky, from the valleys to the mountain. You'll see many beautiful landscapes and help Pokemon on the way.

But, eventually, you learn something. You came here for a reason - either to end the disaster coming in Red/Blue Rescue Teams, or to fix the flow of time in the Explorers games. For this reason, you were turned into a Pokemon and lost your memory, so it and past experiences wouldn't hold you back or put pressure on you.

As a result, fixing the problem will make you return to a human and leave the world in Red/Blue Rescue Teams, or make you disappear, as you don't belong in this time, in the Explorers game.

You decide not to tell your partner about this; it would make him too sad. The two of you trudge forward along your hardest journey thus far, and your supposed last adventure. You successfully save the world.

However, as you and your partner are alone, you suddenly become weighed down ... you suddenly are enveloped by lights. You let loose with the whole story of that you have to disappear, for it is meant to be so. Your partner tearfully refuses to let you go, but it cannot be done. You must go, despite the mutual sadness between the two of you...


And so, that ends my list of the Top 10 saddest game experiences. I'll be the first to admit that it is not a perfect list; after all, most of these games are relatively old, and almost half are Final Fantasy. My own stupidity in not making a wider game selection is to blame.

Regardless, I hope you enjoyed this list and didn't use too many tissues.

Thanks for reading.

List by KeyBlade999 (05/04/2012)

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