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*WARNING: Spoilers below*
I’ve played all kinds of games in my 15-year track record as a gamer, and some games I have played have had a strong emotional impact on me.
The first time I remember getting emotional over a game was when I played Super Mario Galaxy for the Nintendo Wii. When I think about that game, I get all warm and fuzzy inside. The combination of the brilliant soundtrack, the stunning visuals and level design, and the sheer fun of the gameplay makes this game incredible.
Probably the most emotional game I have ever played is Heavy Rain. It really had me thinking, ‘if I was in this situation, would I do all of this to save a loved one?’ There were times when I was almost forced to pause the game to make a really hard decision that would affect the fate of my character(s).
This next one is one of my favorite indie games ever. The Unfinished Swan is Developer Giant Sparrow’s first game, and it’s best described as a “first-person painter.” The story follows a young boy named Monroe. His mother was an artist, and she was “better at starting things than finishing them.” When his mother passed, he was left an orphan. His orphanage only let him keep one painting, and he chose his mother’s favorite: the one of the unfinished swan. He wakes up that night to find that the swan is missing from the painting, and Monroe jumps into the now blank canvas to follow it. This is where the game begins. The Unfinished Swan ignites that creative spark that many of us have lost in the process of growing up.
When you look at it from an outsider’s perspective, it looks like a game made for kids. After all, you’re using a paintball gun and reading a storybook. However, the themes in the game, such as the main character being an orphan, feel a lot darker than you would except from looking at this game. The ending is very emotional, and I recommend this game to any gamer who enjoys a unique gaming experience and a great story.
*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
Red Dead Redemption ended up impacting me more emotionally than I anticipated. At first, I didn’t really like or dislike John Marston. He was kind of just…there. I didn’t have an emotional connection to him until about halfway through the game. The way his character developed and the way he was so close to his family just really hit me hard. I started to really love him when he took his son, Jack, hunting with him. The relationship between father and son seemed really close, and I started to really care about the fate of John for his son’s sake. At the end, when he gave up on living, I cried and cried. I was just really starting to love John Marston, and then he had to die. But, what made that ending so damn awesome was the way the camera panned out on John’s grave and showed his son, now an adult, standing in front of his father’s grave wearing almost the exact same outfit that John always wore. I remember putting my controller down and literally giving a round of applause. I was taken aback; I didn’t expect to be able to continue playing the game after John died. This was a brilliant move by Rockstar; they managed to deliver a breathtaking story while also allowing the player to continue exploring the world upon completion of the story mode.
What are some of the most emotionally impactful games you have ever played? Let me know in the comments below.