I play for the feels

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[When Destructoid reader PatBateman17 blogs, we listen. -Jordan]

If you’ve seen me lurking on any number of AMA posts here, you know by now my absolute favorite gaming question is, “What is your most emotional gaming moment?” Gaming is by far my primary hobby, but I want more than just good action, cool design, or grand setpieces. I want a deeply emotional story that goes places. I want a dev that takes me on a journey from start to credits — and if you can absolutely demolish my heart in the meantime, I’m even more here for that!

Give me an emotional game any day

Sure, I enjoy my shooty bang bang games as much as the regular lot, my puzzle games with minimal story, the highs and lows of Mario Kart… but what I really enjoy are the games that rip my heart out of my chest and leave me gaping at the screen after I’ve wrapped, totally distraught and in awe of the journey the developer has taken me on. NinjaSpeed’s excellent blog got me thinking about what I really connect with in the games I’ve played throughout the different times of my life. I could go on and on with this one, but I figured I’d hit the highlights that immediately come to memory.

Final Fantasy VII – PlayStation

Middle school Pat played the absolute hell out of FFVII on release. I’m pretty sure I sold my Sega Genesis collection to get a PS1 and probably spent a month playing the intro to this one over and over again because I didn’t realize you needed a memory card too… FFVII was my first epic game. I loved every second of it and the heart-rending story never let up from start to finish across every disc. I remember beating this game and honestly not knowing what I was going to do or play next. Pretty sure I went into Metal Gear Solid from here, which was also quite an emotional playthrough. I was hooked!

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII Remake – PlayStation 4

But Pat, you say, isn’t it cheating to have FFVII on here twice? To which I say, hey, I’m in touch with humanity! I wasn’t sure what to expect with FFVII Remake but I knew I loved the original and was pretty sure Remake could never touch the highs I felt all those years ago. Well… I was dead wrong. FFVIIR was pure magic for me and I didn’t even mind it just being the first in a whoever-knows-how-many part series spanning two console generations. I didn’t care. Seeing Aerith and experiencing the full voice acting I was hooked all over again, but this time as “grown ass adult” Pat. I adored this game and every moment I spent with it. I can’t wait to play more at some undetermined time down the road.

Wolfenstein: The New Order

Wolfenstein: The New Order – PlayStation 4

Wolfenstein: The New Order???” you say, incredulously. To which I say, “Have you played it???” — I was surprised with how effective TNO‘s story was and how Machinegames knocked it way out of the park for me in design, presentation, and how they made BJ’s story both full of blood and action, and also emotionally tender. I really dug the whisper monologues and very much look forward to playing The New Colossus at some point.

Telltale's The Walking Dead

Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 1 – PlayStation 3

Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 1 broke my heart the whole way through, and I absolutely loved it. I won’t go into any story beats or spoilers here, but whew, what an arc. I recently picked up the PS4 complete TWD collection and look forward to playing Season 1 again and experiencing the rest of the seasons that I somehow just never played.


Spiritfarer – Nintendo Switch

I was not prepared for Spiritfarer in any way. Playing during the loneliest heights of the 2020 pandemic, surrounded by loss and grief everywhere I looked — I played Spiritfarer handheld and the intimate experience of curling up on the couch with Stella and her passengers was at once both a delightful and absolutely heartbreaking experience. I loved getting to know all the stories, including Stella’s own. Learning that each passenger’s tale came from family members of the dev team made the whole experience even more impactful. Say what you will about the resource management, boat Tetris play, but it’s all in service of a wonderful story that I won’t soon forget.

Now you, Faithful Reader. What’s your most emotional gaming experience?

Remember to tag your spoilers, and thanks for reading!

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Image of PatBateman17
Dtoid’s resident American Psycho. I love gaming, movies, books, questionable fashion decisions, and having a better haircut than that nitwit Marcus Halberstram.