Death is a funny old game. Especially in games. As such a frequently recurring part of virtual life it's really nothing more than cheap currency that carries very little meaningful value. You die, you start again. It's a perpetual cycle of reincarnation that, depending on your temperament, is usually met with either mild irritation or white-knuckled anger.
Because of its ever present recyclable nature, it's no wonder that videogame death struggles to produce the same weepy emotional response from its audience than books or movies when portraying a supposedly significant bereavement. Will the games industry ever produce something that prompts an epidemic of sobbing on the same scale as, say, Spielberg's dying rubber animatronic puppet in ET, for example?
Well, while we think our tissues will stay dry of eye juice for a while yet, games are undoubtedly moving towards much deeper, more meaningful and touching emotive experiences. More and more games seem to be plucking our heart strings to great affect and eliciting a genuine sense of woe amongst players. Here we look at five recent videogame deaths that have made us appropriately gloomy for all the right reasons and ponder how they succeeded in stoking the melancholy flames of our sadness.
Obviously MASSIVE SPOILERS live here, starting straight after the picture of a crying lady.
Game: The Darkness
The deceased: Jenny Romano
We knew something bad was going to happen to Jenny. We just knew it. After all, why else would a videogame built on mob violence and supernatural gore go to great lengths to portray with such touching tenderness the loving relationship between Jackie 'Yes, That Is A Demon In My Pocket' Estacado and his very lovely, very normal girlfriend, Jenny Romano? Honestly, when we were given the option to snuggle up on the sofa with Jenny and watch To Kill A Mockingbird in its entirety, we could almost smell the looming portent of doom.
To get some emotional context, check out the scene on the movie below before continuing. WARNING: this video contains some mild swearing.
With all the smoochy lovey-dovey insight, it was no surprise that Jenny's violent exit from the game was upsetting on a very personal level. Her frightened sobs were painful to hear. When Uncle Paulie vented her brains it triggered all the emotive responses that we're sure the game's developer, Starbreeze, was aiming for - shocked disbelief, a sinking sadness and a desperate urge for revenge.
Would we have been so cut up if Jenny's character wasn't so normal, so recognisably human? Not a monster, mobster, magical pixie or spectacular super-being. Just a regular girl that liked slouching on the sofa in jeans and trainers. It was easy to identify with and that helped make her death so incredibly powerful. You can watch the whole ordeal on the movie below. WARNING: this video contains bad language and scenes of graphic violence and as such should be considered Not Safe For Work!
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