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Five in-game deaths that actually made us sad

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!

106 comments

  • embyrz - December 31, 2013 11:35 p.m.

    AERITH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • phoenixwright13 - June 25, 2013 9:48 p.m.

    (SPOILER ALERT!) What about Augustus Sinclair and Mark Meltzer and... yourself in Bioshock 2?
  • RaenefEclipse - May 25, 2011 4:22 a.m.

    !!!SPOILER ALERT!!! What about Jak's dad at the end of Jak 3?
  • RogueHippie130 - May 24, 2011 12:23 a.m.

    Look on the bright side: Price is still alive. How could he possibly get vanquished while in possession of that epic 'stache of manly British-ness?
  • Recon4165 - May 22, 2011 1:33 p.m.

    Big Bosses death at the end of mgs 4 made me shed a tear
  • hullonotna - May 21, 2011 7:10 p.m.

    One more moment that I would personally add is Captains Price's first death ever in COD 1. Sure the characters weren't to developed but his death on the German ship was shocking especially because it doesn't register right away. As you walk down the ship cargo his dot on the minimap just disappears, and you're left with finishing the mission. You don't realize he is dead as you don't think that he is supposed to die. He just dies like any random AI in the game and that makes it the more tragic because he deserved an epic death. Sgt. Waters statement that Price was a good man and its a shame that he is gone when you jump inot the boat really nails it home and tells you that yep that body from who you grabbed the MP30 actually was captain price. That death put me in shock and made me feel dirty becasue I thought that he died because of a mistake I did. Only after the 2nd playthrough I finally understood that he is gone. :( COD 4 deaths are also deserving the spot on the list, especially Griggs. Seeing that bullet blow a hole in his head as he tried to save me left me speech less. The end came to fast and unexpected.
  • sohaibifikhar - April 21, 2011 5:45 p.m.

    What about mayu's death in fatal frame..???? To think that we we through all that shit in the village just for this.. Although afterwards i realized that it was for the greater good and all... But it was still so friggin sad...
  • MassEffective - March 12, 2011 2:44 p.m.

    the first time i beat mass effect 2 tali and gunt both died... and a little piece of me died too. :(
  • Guardian88 - March 12, 2011 7:27 a.m.

    heres a list of deaths were sad. Im sure everyone will agree. Trish Daily from InFAMIOUS EVA and Naomi from MGS4 Zach, Angeal, and Genesis from Crisis Core Think about it. :)
  • Michael-x15 - March 12, 2011 5:30 a.m.

    If u keep walking in COD, if you go far enough, you can actually hear children laughing and giggling.....brought a tear to my eye...
  • insertdisk - March 11, 2011 10:50 p.m.

    Although choppers death in ace combat 5 wasn't actually so sad to make me cry the aftermath where you have to continue to fight off the enemies regardless was very moving. Not only that but the way your squadmates fall silent except for a few strained grunts as they fight through tears was also great.
  • tifanity - March 9, 2011 midnight

    Um, if I am wrong then I apologize but I could have sworn that Price is alive. He fights with you at the end of Modern Warfare two.
  • greenwolf248 - March 3, 2011 9:49 p.m.

    This list is desperately missing Steve Burnside from RE:CV and Harry Mason from SH3. Both of those deaths made me want to cry.
  • ThundaGawd - January 6, 2011 7:36 a.m.

    What about when Lavitz Slambert died in "Legend of the dragoon"? the interaction between him and Dart was so well done, what with the harmless jokes and teasing remarks during cutscenes. But when they save the King from the prison and lavitz morphs into a dragoon and jumps towards The Hooded Man in a fit of rage, only to have the guy pull out a magical sword and impale Lavitz then calmly walk away, I shed a few tears :,(
  • JosephMichaelConway - November 29, 2010 6:23 a.m.

    What about john marston in red dead redemption.
  • pintofbeer786 - November 27, 2010 9:12 p.m.

    john marston???
  • Overlord153 - November 27, 2010 6:06 a.m.

    I really didn't feel the impact of the ending of COD4 because i killed by the two guys with guns. But come on how is The World Ends With You "death" (I think) not on here. I found myself crying along with Neku.
  • AppleIQ - November 27, 2010 4:02 a.m.

    I thought you would have Eli Vance's death from Half-Life 2 Episode 2 up here...
  • EricGirasole - November 26, 2010 4:48 p.m.

    Emmmmm Aerith in Final Fantasy 7 ANYONE !!!!!!
  • sveini22 - October 26, 2010 8:42 p.m.

    Ghost ?

Showing 1-20 of 106 comments

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