Greetings! This is our weekly GameSided Roundtable feature, where our writers converge to provide their opinions, wishes, statements or critical thought on one general topic centered around video games. Sometimes it can be funny, sometimes it can be serious. Contemporary, classic; we hope to cover a wide variety of things in this segment as a group. If you wish to submit an idea for a GameSided Roundtable discussion topic, you can leave the editor an email at: email@example.com. We’ll totally give you (and your Twitter account, if applicable) a shoutout!
This week’s GameSided Roundtable topic: “What is your most touching or powerful moment in gaming?”
Warning: The following feature includes spoilers for Elite Beat Agents, Mass Effect 3, Final Fantasy X, The Walking Dead Season 2, Bastion and The Last of Us.
Annie Narae (Twitter)
The most powerful moment I’ve experienced in gaming was in the 2011 indie game Bastion. Near the end of the game, you’re given a choice to either lay down your heavy weapon and carry Zulf with you, who has been betrayed by his fellow Ura for bringing the Kid and destruction into their home, or to leave him and fight your way through the Ura. Being the sucker I am, I opted to take Zulf with me. Everything about that scene electrified me – the forcibly slowed controls, the Ura attacking on all fronts and the screen going hazy, Darren Korb’s “Mother, I’m Here” in the background (which contributed hugely to the tone of that moment) – and to realize they’ve stopped attacking, watching me curiously, and you trek slowly, but safely, to the portal to transport back to the Bastion.
As soon as I arrived, I let out a sigh of relief. It was the most intense moment in gaming I’ve ever experienced. There were many touching moments from other games, but in this game, every element worked together to invoke this emotional response from me. Huge props to Darren Korb and his excellent composition.
I knew what my answer to this topic would be immediately: the “Christmas Gift” level of Elite Beat Agents. When I first popped that title into my DS nearly a decade ago, I expected a fun touchscreen game. I certainly got that, but I wasn’t expecting to experience the most touching moment a video game would ever give me. Okay, so using Chicago’s “You’re The Inspiration” as a backing track is a surefire way to get anyone’s emotions going, but the story that goes along with it is just so powerful you forget the ridiculousness of the game’s premise.
It took me forever to perfect that level because I had a hard time seeing the screen through all of my tears. Frankly, I can barely watch the above video of someone else playing it without tearing up a bit right now. Not bad for a 2006 Nintendo DS rhythm game.
Martin Benn (Twitter)
The most powerful moment in gaming for me was making the decision between the Geth led by Legion and the Quarians led by Tali in Mass Effect 3.
I chose the Geth or at least I tried to choose both, but ended up failing to convince the Quarians. When Tali jumps to her death to be with her people after the Geth destroy them, I really had to quit the game for a minute after that. I had successfully navigated Mass Effect 2 with everyone alive and this was the last drop of hope I had left of creating a large, united army and like most of the rest of the game it brought about the impending doom of failure.
So much of Mass Effect 3 is refinement for refinements sake, but the feeling of loss, failure, and suppression is real. Love Mass Effect 3 and when I think of powerful moments in gaming, the moment Tali takes off her mask is always among the first things I think of.
Next: Three Games That Include Sacrifice In Very Different Ways.