Video games that can make me really feel things are a rare and wonderful thing. When I play games, I’m mostly just looking to be entertained and have fun. But some games go beyond that. Here are a few of them.
I’m trying to be as unspoilery as possible here, but that’s hard in some instances – so read at your own risk.
I’ve been fascinated by space since I was a kid. The Dig came out when I was 12 and put me in the shoes of an astronaut who got to explore an entire alien world. Every step of the way was filled with wonder and curiosity as I tackled puzzles and discovered gorgeous new vistas.
Shadow of the Colossus
The first time I spotted a colossus in this game, there was a sense of wonder. It was so gigantic, so impenetrable. The thought of fighting it was thrilling. Then, as the game went on, excitement started turning into sadness. These were not natural enemies – if anything, they seemed to be protecting something. I was an outsider, invading their lands and destroying them. Each kill felt more difficult and painful.
Dragon Age Origins
This one’s a bit embarrassing, but I found the whole courtship with Alistair completely delightful. I was like a blushing schoolgirl, endeared by his nervous stammering. That whole scene with the rose made me giddy. I may have immediately replayed it when it was over.
The Walking Dead: Season 1
Not many video games have made me cry. This one made me sob. I cried for Lee, for Clementine, for myself. I knew what was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier.
I started the game sitting in an office, at a desk, in front of a computer. I ran through the corridors, made different decisions each time. But in the end (or the beginning) I always ended up back in that same office. The first time it happened didn’t affect me too much. But the 2nd, the 5th? I began to feel trapped. Helpless. My choices were futile.
Every day I go to an office, sit in front of a computer. Is this a game, or is this my life? Panic. Let’s turn it off now.
The opening scenes made my heart thump in a way that doesn’t happen often. I could feel every injury with the vibration of the controller, the sounds, and the blurring and colour draining from the screen. I held my breath every time I had to push the right button or die.
I’ve spun out my car and ended up facing the wrong way on the highway and had steadier hands afterwards than I did during the first playable parts of Tomb Raider .
The Last of Us: Left Behind
Ellie and Riley, two girls living in a world that had become violent and terrible, sneak away and just have fun.
This scene was absolutely brilliant, a reminder of the amazing powers of imagination and friendship. The game goes on to another scene which gave even more feelings of being carefree and joyous.
And then it ripped my heart out.
Feel free to share your gaming feels with me.