I don't know about you, but I'm quite the emotional mush. It's just how I ended up. I reckoned it had to do with being "raised by my mother" as I always put it. Regardless, I find this makes me a tad more predisposed to feel a strong emotional connection in general to something I involve myself in. In particular - I, unlike others, have found myself crying at points in video games. I'm not ashamed to admit it in the least.
Now, I could easily fill this blog with nothing but experiences from a single game - Undertale. That game struck me in a way I had never thought possible. Because of the intensity, I choose to abstain from using examples from this game. That is for another time, and it will be filled with an intense amount of spoilers.
You'll never guess the game I chose to mention first. Seriously, go ahead and guess. Keep it in the back of your mind and if you wouldn't mind, tell me what you think it was. I can almost guarantee you'll be wrong.
That's right. Luigi's Mansion, released in 2001 on the Gamecube in the United States. I love Luigi's Mansion. I think it exemplifies everything that the Gamecube had to offer in terms of power and it's unique controller. I've beaten the game a bunch of times and found every last secret and easter egg there was to find. I've basically perfected it, and it takes a lot for me to do that with a game - I'm not someone who platinum's games, or gets every last achievement. Games I've completed down to the last drop are few, so maybe my emotional attachment to this game has served to increase my enjoyment.
I bet I got most of you though! "Why Luigi's Mansion?" you might ask. Well you might also be surprised to hear it wasn't because the game scared me at a young age. I wasn't that spooked by the game, although it certainly surprised me from time to time. No, what truly broke me in this game was Luigi finally saving Mario.
It took me quite a while to beat this when I was younger, I put a lot of time into it, and I loved every bit. This ending was perfect. I felt so much of what Luigi felt. Happiness at saving his brother, and the intense relief that it was finally over, amplified by intense fear Luigi held throughout the entire game. Luigi went through such a long and emotional struggle, no wonder he cried when Mario was finally safe - he could have lost his brother forever. I couldn't help myself, I just teared up right alongside old greenshirt. Maybe it's because I have a brother (although we're distant now,) that this scene hit me so hard.
This was probably not the first, nor would it be the last time that a game would make me cry. That honor extends to a few more that I must mention. I think the next likely game in a chronological sense would be...
ELITE BEAT AGENTS
Yeah! AGENTS ARE GO!
Who remembers this DS title? A localization of/sister to/spiritual sequel to the Osu! game series in Japan, who's simplest and albeit a little uniformed description is best put as "Japanese Cheerleaders." EBA follows a team of elite agents who use the power of song and dance to influence people's actions and help make their lives better. Basically, they're secret agent cheerleaders instead of following the Japanese aesthetic of Oendan. Let me tell you, it works! The game is amazing fun, and also turned me on to some songs I may not otherwise have sought out. The rhythm mechanics are spot on and great fun, and the game provides a good learning curve. To this day I still enjoy booting it up and playing "September."
Except, there is one song, that one level that no one ever expected...
Oh, you selected the level on the world map. "What? This song? This is a slow song, what the heck?"
Then you played it, and you failed on the first try, and you know why. It's because you couldn't see the screen properly anymore.
Yes, the story of the little girl whose father never came back home for Christmas. Set to "You're The Inspiration" broke me down. It's a straight sucker punch to the gut watching this little girl work so hard to keep the memory of her father alive. You don't want to fail this level at all, it's heartbreaking. I never expected a quirky rhythm game to make actual tears fall down my face. I have to hand it to iNis - They did an amazing job. Thank you, Agents.
Flash forward to the future, after having been in college, having to leave home. I decided to replay Kingdom Hearts 2. Man, does that tutorial drag on and on. I didn't really care all that much about Roxas my first play through. I didn't hate the guy, but I was never quite attached to him. Bit of a nobody if you ask me. This time though, I empathized with Roxas a bit more, perhaps knowing the futility of his actions made his attempts to fight all the more heartbreaking. That tutorial still dragged on though!
Regardless, I wasn't expecting my eyes to water on a scene I knew was coming though. Maybe my life experiences up to that point had caused me to have some deeper understanding than I previously had.
I feel for you Roxas, saying goodbye is hard, I know. It's a scary prospect, especially when there are no save points.
Now, what would drifting through time be without a little introspection? I can say with some confidence that as I've grown, the reality of certain things have set in quite heavily. I have become more aware of the fragile world surrounding me, and it frightens me to no end. Fear of the unknown keeps me awake at night, making it near impossible to fall asleep. The panic sets in and I end up in tears.
I think I can pinpoint one of my earliest moments of this level of awareness. It was whilst playing Lost Odyssey - a wonderful game that was to meet a tragic fate of lackluster sales and poor review scores due to bugs they would fix before release. It's a JRPG for the Xbox 360 - which nearly spells doom, and written in part by Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of Final Fantasy. The game has just enough gimmick in its turn based combat to make it not too dull for me, making use of a "ring" system that can augment your attacks by overlaying another ring on top of it when attacking. The game play is still very traditional turn-based, which many cry out for nowadays. It is the story of immortals, who have lived for one thousand years.
Some of these moments of their lives are revealed through the "A Thousand Years of Dreams." Highlights of events experienced by Kaim and the other immortals. There is one in particular that I will never forget, titled "A Chorus of Cicadas."
That sound in the background, I know it well, for it is the sound of summer itself, regardless of it being cicadas or not. I hear it every summer without fail. It never occurred to me how much it meant until I read this story, and imagined a summer of silence. The frailty of life presented itself quickly and without warning. I cried reading this. I felt afraid, I felt angry at how someone could deprive others of a summer filled with the sounds of life. I felt for Kaim, having been there, and being so noble as to make sure it did not happen once again. The thought of the future, of what the children of tomorrow will inherit filled me with dread. I wondered if this was what it was like to be an adult.
Perhaps it is.
Feel free to share your experiences below. Maybe like me, you have felt sadness at a moment you find no other person has.