Fanatical Five: Top 5 Saddest Video Game Moments

Video games have come a long way. They used to be nothing more than a recreational activity to kill some time or being only a place to hang out with with your friends at the local arcade after class or on the weekends. Video games back in the day were very black and white. The biggest dilemma we were faced with was “You have to save the princess!” or “The world is counting on you to destroy the evil Dr. Bad from blowing up the world!” but not much information beyond that was given. What we were faced with was very straightforward. That’s the bad guy, this is the good guy, kill all the bad guys, save the girl. There was hardly any emotional investment from the players end. The only crying that we’d probably ever see is after we’ve spend a whole 5 dollars in quarters at an arcade cabinet and we still failed to defeat the boss at the end.

There’s no denying that retro games are still awesome to play, and we love them simply for that reason, because of the gameplay mechanics. But nowadays, video games have managed to take us on emotional journeys that before were only ever thought possible through film or books. We have our highs and our lows in video games. We feel happy for characters when they get the girl or save the galaxy, embarrassed for them when they make a mistake, and of course sad for them when they lose a significant other.

Now that brings me to what this post is really all about. The top 5 saddest moments in video games. Before you read on any longer, know that there will be massive spoilers within. Titles of games will be in bold so feel free to skip over them if you haven’t played them yet. Or if you don’t feel like taking your chances turn back now before it’s too late!

Now, without further ado, let’s get to the games in question.

[box_dark]Spoilers ahead! You have been warned.[/box_dark]

5. Dark Souls


Over the course of Dark Souls you meet a man called Onion Bro several times. At the beginning all you learn from Onion Bro is that he’s looking for “something” with not much information other than that. You continue on your journey and eventually find out that the something he was looking for was actually his daughter, Onion Sis. As fate would have it, you bump into her along your journey and find out that she too is looking for someone and of course, that person is her father Onion Bro.

With a bit of help you learn that Onion Bro and Onion Sis were eventually reunited. And I say WERE because their reunion was short lived. Of course having everything end fine and dandy with the whole “Happily Ever After” ending would be all too easy. You find out that Onion Bro is now dead, and to add on to predicament, he was killed by none other than his daughter, Onion Sis.

Onion Bro went hollow and lost his mind. He had to be killed by his own daughter. You grow closer to these characters along the entire 70+ hour journey you have throughout the game. And in the end, even though you helped the two reunite you find out that fate never saw them being together for long.

4. Red Dead Redemption

In Red Dead Redemption John Marston, the outlaw cowboy turned family man tried to escape his past of running from the law. He used to run with a gang, but he gave that all up to be with his family. His wife Abigail, son Jack, and uncle called Uncle. That was all behind him, or so he thought. His family has been taken away, and government agents tell him that if he kills the remaining members of his old gang they’ll be returned to him safely. Without much options, John commences his mission across the old west. The leader of the gang used to be Dutch van der Linde, but he’s nowhere to be found, so now the gang is lead by Bill Williamson.

With the help of a few friends made along the way, John breaches the gang’s fort and kills everyone except for one sneaky bastard, Bill Williamson. John comes to learn that Bill Williamson has run off to Mexico. Marston chases off after Williamson and finds out he’s with Javier Escuela, a man who was also a former member of the gang. After taking care of business, John thinks he’s in the clear. Of course, killing an entire gang, chasing men across borders, and fighting a revolutionary war wasn’t hard enough. The goverment agents, Edgar Ross and Archer Fordham, tell John that he can’t return to his family just yet.

Dutch van der Linde has recently been sighted in the mountains. If John wants to see his family he will have to take out the former leader of his old gang. Several run-in’s with Dutch ultimately lead to the end of a cliff where he commits suicide by jumping off. Before he does so though, he tells Marston that the government wont let John off so easily. He says that the government will betray him to justify their pay.

John is told that his family is safely back at the ranch. Now he’s is able to continue his dream of becoming a rancher and finally settling down. We’re given a few missions on the ranch like sending out the cattle to graze on the field and picking up supplies from town. A completely different feel from most other missions in the game where gunfights and chases on horseback are usually involved. We’re given the feeling that everything is finally looking up and the dust has settled on Marston’s past. Eventually though, a few men are spotted riding into the ranch. Ross has launched a full out raid on the Marstons.

The gunfight between both sides leads to Uncle’s death. In an attempt to save his family, John gets his wife and son on a horse and tells them to ride off and that he’ll catch up with them later. Of course, we all know this isn’t true. John is now left inside the barn alone. He opens up the doors slightly to get a peak of the situation outside. He sees that he’s surrounded by rifles and pistols on the outside. The only thing left for him to do is face his death head on. The part about this level that left me so startled was that once John opens up the barn doors and looks into the eyes of 20 or so men pointing guns at him. A few seconds later the Dead Eye turns on automatically. It made me think that maybe, just maybe there was a small glimmer of hope that I could take out all of these men. I let out no more than 3 shots when the cutscene kicked in. John was being fired upon by all of the men in front of him. He was covered in blood and riddled in bullets.

We hear a few heavy breaths from John before he eventually drops to the floor. My jaw literally dropped when I saw what had happened to him. I was pissed, I was mad, I was crying. I kept asking myself “Why?” I wanted nothing more than to kill Edgar Ross. And the game gave me just that opportunity. If you continue on the game playing as Jack Marston you can run into Ross. He’s found fishing by some river. After a bit of talk Jack tells Ross that he’s John Marston’s son and an old west quick draw duel commences. You kill Ross, and then the credits roll up.

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3. Mass Effect 2 and 3

The Mass Effect series is known for tugging at the heart strings of anyone who plays it. You become so emotionally invested in the characters involved that you don’t want anything bad to happen to any of them. If anything ever ends up happening to someone you care about, the water works kick in. After cradling on the floor in the fetal position for a while you pick up the controller again and push on.

One death in the Mass Effect series that struck me was Mordin’s. We all know that he can die in Mass Effect 2 during the suicide mission dependent on what you choose to do. It was such an unexpected death that some players actually thought it was a bug. They couldn’t believe that BioWare would do something like that. The Mordin death that I really want to talk about though is one of the few possible ones in Mass Effect 3.

Mass Effect 3 was the last game in the Mass Effect series. So much time has been invested in keeping characters alive across game saves, all the way from the very first game. You’ve built the perfect squad, made some allies and enemies along the way, and in the end, one of your most beloved allies has a choice to make.

Of course, Mordin’s life is dependent on your actions in Mass Effect 3, he himself doesn’t actually decide if he lives or dies. In Mass Effect 3 Shepard first encounters Mordin on Sur’Kesh. Shepard is sent there to assist in the rescue of the last remaining fertile female krogan from Mealon’s experiments, Eve. Upon completion of the mission Wrex, Eve, and Mordin board the Normandy and join Shepard. There they discuss what they’ll do about the genophage.

During the moment of truth, Mordin boards an elevator to get to the top of Shroud Tower to release the cure. After a brief conversation between Shepard and Mordin, Mordin then boards the elevator. Just before the doors close and the elevator makes its journey to the top of the tower Mordin says, “Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong”. If Mordin sang to Shepard in the previous game, as the tower is being torn apart by explosions all around him, he starts singing his favorite song “Scientist Salarian”. The tune is then quickly interrupted by an explosion. Mordin is no more.

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If Eve and Wrex are both alive, Eve insists that their first child be named after Mordin.

2. Halo Reach

Halo is also one of those long time running series like Mass Effect. Players become so attached to the world and the struggle that characters within that universe have to endure. Reach was a bit different than Mass Effect 3 in the sense that from the start of the game we all knew how it was going to end. We all saw it coming. Reach took place before Halo: Combat Evolved. 

During the final moments of Reach players have to secure the artificial intelligence known as Cortana. Noble Team ends up in one of the final surviving colonies which also happens to be home to the UNSC’s main military hub, Reach. Six has to break through the Covenant’s ground forces while Emile provides cover fire on the railgun to secure Cortana and hand it over to Captain Jacob Keyes. Emile is slain by Elites shortly afterward, and Six remains behind to control the railgun and ensure the Autumn’s escape. The Autumn flees from Reach and discovers a Halo ringworld. The Halo franchise comes in full circle and the credits then roll in shortly afterward.

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Just when you thought the game was over, you’re put back in control of Six in what will be their final struggle. An exhausted and overwhelmed Six takes off their helmet, and then is overcome by Covenant forces.

1. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Metal Gear Solid 3 has one of the most beautifully complex stories to ever be crafted in video games. Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid series is known for playing out almost like a movie. In fact, most of the time spent playing most of the MGS games will be spent viewing cutscenes. That is, if they aren’t skipped.

The events of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater took place during the Cold War. You play as a CIA agent who is given the codename Naked Snake. There are two missions that are played out during the course of the game. The Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater.

During the Virtuous Mission, Snake is sent into the jungles of the USSR where he must find and retrieve a defecting Soviet scientist called Sokolov. You find out that Sokolov was developing a tank equipped with nuclear missiles called that Shagohod. With the help of Snakes mentor The Boss and Major Zero, the mission goes just as planned. Suddenly, in an unexpected turn of events, The Boss defects over to the Soviet Union. The Boss and Snake have a bit of a scuffle during which The Boss breaks a few bones in Snakes body and he’s tossed over a bridge to a river down below. A team called Cobra Unit then takes Sokolov and The Boss provides her new leader, Colonel Volgin with two Davy Crockett missiles. In an attempt to cover up the theft of the nuclear missiles, Volgin fires off one of the missiles and destroys the facility. The event is then later blamed on The Boss.

The Soviet Union discovers the aircraft that Snake used to drop into the Soviet Union during the Virtuous Mission. They then blame the nuclear event on the US. In turn, both nations are left on the verge of an all out nuclear war. In an effort to keep things on the down low, the US formulates a plan. They say that they’ll take care of Volgin and his faction, destroy the Shagohod that was stolen from them, and kill the defector, who happens to be The Boss.

After killing all of Cobra Unit and destroying the Shagohod, Snake is only left with one final task. Kill the US defector, his mentor, The Boss. After an intense battle between your mentor and upon completion of Operation Snake Eater, you’re awarded the title of Big Boss. Snake listens to a tape left by one of his allies during Operation Snake Eater. In it, it’s revealed that The Boss never actually defected to the Soviet Union. She was only made to look like she did so that she could retrieve the Philosophers Legacy. The Philosophers Legacy was a large sum of money that the US wanted all to themselves which Volgin knew the location of. During the Virtuous Mission however, Volgin fired one of the two nuclear missiles he had recently received from The Boss. Things changed now, instead of retrieving the Philosophers Legacy herself, The Boss’ final mission was to be killed. To truly “defect” over to the Soviet Union. She had to die, but not just by anyone’s hands. To make it look like she in fact was a traitor she had to be killed by none other than her greatest pupil, Snake.

Snake stands at the The Boss’ grave. A grave set upon hundreds if not thousands of anonymous graves, nameless graves. He sets down a bouquet of flowers along with her favorite gun, and bids his mentor farewell with a salute. Nobody will know what she did for her country. She knew what she was up against when she took the mission on, and she never faltered. She saw it through to the end.

“Future generations will revile her. In America as a despicable traitor with no sense of honor and in Russia as a monster who unleashed a nuclear catastrophe. She will go down in official history as a war criminal, and no one will ever understand her. That was her final mission, and like a true soldier she saw it through to the end… Everything she did, she did for her country. She sacrificed her life, her honor, for her native land. She was a real hero, she was a true patriot.”

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