I recently came across a discussion about powerful moments in gaming in recent years. A couple of years back, I wrote about the exact same thing, and since then I’ve had so many amazing digital experiences. Here are but five of those instances and, please note, there will be no major spoilers here, though I will have to vague up some bits due to the subjects involved.
Abzu is arguably one of the most beautiful games in recent years. I struggled with the mechanics of the game, but I powered through and am ever so grateful I did.
Through your underwater journey, you come into contact with many sea creatures, but one in particular stands out to me: the great white shark. In the proximity I experienced him, I went from terror, to devastation, to elation. It’s a relationship I won’t quickly forget.
Inside is a game open to interpretation. I like that about it. It’s a layered mystery where the atmosphere is both oppressive and enticing. It’s one of the strangest experiences I’ve had in recent years.
The ending left me in wonder. I had so many thoughts and yet no thoughts at all as I stared at the final moments. I felt horror. I also felt relief. It’s been many months since I played it, and I still don’t quite know what to make of it. But it left me feeling moved in a way I can’t adequately explain.
The Last Guardian
Earlier this year I wrote a review of The Last Guardian, in which I talked about my fascination with Trico. I firmly believe he is an unmatched marvel in modern game design. Even though you are consciously aware you are playing a game, he is believable in a way other characters in games are not. Whether he is trying to reach you, making his way through a narrow passage, or enjoying a pool of water, he is desperately believable.
Throughout the game, I was more emotional than usual (I am very receptive to creatures), but by the end of the game, I was an inconsolable mess. I was a pile of hiccupy, heaving sobs.
I will never forget the game, and that’s solely because of Trico.
Virginia was my #1 game from 2016, and I stand behind that just as much today as I did then.
Virginia is a game without any dialogue yet it manages to tell a more powerful story than many bigger and louder games in recent memory. From the art style to the music to the jump cuts, I was all in as soon as I started it.
There is a montage towards the end that I think more powerfully conveys certain feelings than words could hope to. I both want to talk about it, and yet I would also like to encourage anyone who is interested to play it for themselves. Thinking about it now, my mind races through all the feelings I felt then.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Specifically, the Bloody Baron quest line.
I’ve made no secret of my love for The Witcher 3, and one of the things I enjoyed most about it was that your decisions actually felt like they carried weight.
The Bloody Baron quest was one of the times in the game where I felt like no matter what I did, it wasn’t the right choice. I tried to follow both heart and logic to come to the best conclusion and, even so, the aftermath stuck with me.
Man, The Witcher 3 was an amazing game. I really should go back and play the DLC.
What games (and specifically which moments) left the greatest impressions upon you? And please, let’s try to keep responses spoiler free. I’m super looking forward to hearing which games have meant something to you.