In the meantime, I'm just a guy who writes about videogame theory and how the medium can achieve better cinematic emulation (while keeping its own indentity). Though, if that's too boring, you can always find something delightfully fluffy in the following:
Andrew W.K. once sang ĎI get wet without even tryingí and while Iím sure it was about partying really hard and thus sweating with ease, I canít help but share that same sentiment, but in a different (non-sexual) context.
Iíll cry at anything when the conditions are right. I will embarrass myself in the cinema when people have to push past me, as I sit in my seat bawling to the ending of a film like Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind. I see the shame on their faces as they have to make physical contact, but I just donít care.
You want to know why?
Mainly because Iím someone who will needlessly project a ten year old event on to a piece of fiction.
I donít cry much at videogames, but when it happens, you better leave the room since itís a horrendous sight. I donít know why, but while the truly downbeat ending to Alan Wake didnít necessarily make me what to cry, it did stir up tearful feelings Iíve had when it comes to the end of many videogame journeys.
So hey, letís laugh at my misfortune as we take a look at some of the stuff that made me bury my head in my hands, wept like a teenager and thus made into the man I am today - a quivering mess of neurosis.
Silent Hill 2
The original scared the living hell out of me when I was seventeen. So I was really apprehensive about the sequel. At first, I dismissed the deceptively Ďgothic noirí tale of loss in favour of the atmosphere; purposefully looking for scares that werenít there, until I stopped a third of the way through and restarted. Second time around, I invested more into the story than the atmosphere and eventually it became my favourite videogame of all time.
After the horrific finale, I achieved the ĎLeaveí ending where James exorcises his demons and departs with Laura to start a new life. As the little girl playfully wanders through the woodland, with James following in a fatherly fashion, an unedited version of the infamous dead wifeís letter is read out loud; all the while, highlighting the way their relationship disintegrated through the fear and frustration of heading towards the inevitable. Maryís narration becomes increasingly strained and broken up with stifled crying as the letter goes on.
The whole effect of Maryís forgiveness and James starting anew hit a chord with me because it was exactly how I wanted one relationship to end just a few months before I played the game. Nobody said the right words and we were too stubborn to fix things.
In the end, I rang this girl up to apologise and get the outcome I always wanted.
She promptly told me to fuck off.
Oh man, if there was ever a game that nailed growing up and moving out, it would be Persona 4. Sure, Persona 3 and the epilogue to P3:FES had an epic battle and a charming ode to growing apart, but it also had a bloody robot and a sequence where the friends had to fight to death over some keys.
It was dumb and sharks werenít just jumped, they were flambťed with rocket skis as the plot hit the ramp.
Persona 4 on the other hand was more intimate. The main character and his friends solve a murder, rescue his cousin and save the town from its own dark thoughts; as you do when youíre that age. Once you near the end, youíre painfully reminded that you have to head back to your real home in the city because your parents are back from a business trip.
Itís probably the most tearful goodbye I have ever watched.
I originally come from a small dead-end town in The Valleys, but after all was said and done, I hopped on the train to Cardiff to move in with my now girlfriend and never looked back. So once I saw this whole scene on the train station, I was obviously a bit distraught. Of course, maybe I would have been fine if it wasnít for the fact that the characters enter a world by jumping through a TV screen.
When nobody was looking, I did the same thing and apparently I owe my girlfriend a new TV.
Itís no secret that Yakuza is a game designed for men who fantasise about being tough and primal, have a penchant for calling their biceps Ďgunsí and being seductively stared at by beautiful women.
Like a misogynist version of Paul Hogan in Crocodile Dundee II.
Personally, I think the games are a great tool for pure escapism and it teaches a thing or two about honour. Just ignore the glorified praise of the Yakuza and the game is immensely fun in a skull cracking way.
Plus, you get to punch a tiger in the face!
While the original was a pure melodramatic soap opera with hard boiled action, the sequel goes for a more subtle approach. Itís a darker affair and when it comes to the exploitive emotional scenes, itís actually quite understated when it needs to be.
The end involves an injured Kazuma and his love interest sit on a rooftop in each otherís arms, waiting for a bomb to kill them. As Silent Night plays over the panning shot, itís actually heartbreaking after all theyíve been through.
Oh yeah, the bomb didnít explode and they survived for more sequels.
Thanks for working me up over nothing, Sega.
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
Iíve discussed the ending in detail before, but I guess it should be said that when you invest so much time into the character, itís hard not to get wrapped up in the bittersweet ending.
That last image and final line made me shed a tear. After so many human mistakes and unsure directions, Max Payne finally understands how to move on with his life. Thereís finally a light at the end of this dark tunnel and itís all summed up in a single hard-boiled line.
ďI had a dream of my wife. She was dead, but it was alright.Ē
Which makes the idea of Max Payne 3 the dumbest (and needless) cash-in of a franchise ever conceived.
Iíve said before that Steambot Chronicles is like the Studio Ghibli film that never was and the way the game ends confirms it. After all the decisions and input you have with the sub-plots and character backgrounds, you canít change the inevitable fate of two characters and the dissolution of your travelling band.
The whole event is so stressful that the band pack it all in and the caring relationship between Corrie and Vanilla ends. So Vanilla decides to continue his original journey of travelling around the world and decides to come back in a yearís time. The post-game epilogue has you searching for Corrie by tracking down old friendsí whereabouts. Finally on the beach where you first met, Vanilla and Corrie are reunited and profess their love.
Since it leaves the player in control of Vanillaís responses, choosing how to say it made me blub like a whaleís body fat...
...Or something equally and poetically tenuous.
Seriously, youíd cry like a big girlís blouse after playing what must be the most soul crushing final mission in a game ever created. You have to make a perfect run in a car that defies the laws of physics, moves like a fat person trying to get out of a hammock and will take immense axel damage by driving over a pebble.
Yeah, I cried alright. Cried over the fact Iíd never get £30 back because I bought into the hype machine.