Games are truly a sight to behold.  They represent a true melting pot of various types of media, converging to form one emotionally charged entity.  Ok, that might be a bit much.  But games, more than any other medium, offer the chance for a true connection with the experience at hand.  Where else do you find a melding of music, storytelling, character development, AND interactivity on the same level as games.  Yeah, it's tough to find one.


Because of this, video games are in the unique and advantageous position of being able to control how we feel, and delivering a strong message that we can really put our faith behind.  Take, for example, the events toward the end of Final Fantasy VII.  Unexpectedly, one of the main characters was killed, and it left many a gamer stunned, and deeply saddened.  Some people even cried.  That's a long way from the days when moving a block into a position where it could fit with other blocks was as deep as you got.  

I myself didn't cry for that moment, and for a long time, didn't cry for any other moment - in ANY game I'd ever played.  However, that all changed in 2005.

Many gamers are familiar with the Final Fantasy series, and quite possibly, were touched by that very moment in FF VII that I mentioned above.  For an exceptionally long time, Square has been crafting stories that will forever stand with the elite tales in video game history, and they don't look to be stopping anytime soon.  Pry enough, and I'm sure you can get a very sizable number of gamers to admit an event in a Final Fantasy game that really effected them.  That could not be said for me, until I decided to go back and finish one of their games, that I had never quite had time to complete.


That game was Final Fantasy X.  Many different people think many different things of FF X.  Tidus has an annoying voice.  Tidus is a jackass.  Tidus looks like a complete loser.  All very sensible statements.  But unfortunately, those very attributes often cause some people to overlook the true brilliance of Final Fantasy X's story.  I should say that X is my favorite game in the series, and was so before the moment I'm about to share with you.  That moment being the first, and to this date, only, time I have ever cried from playing a game.

Something you should know about me, is that I always connect with one particular character in any given Final Fantasy game, more so than all the others.  For example, in Final Fantasy VII, it was Vincent.  In Final Fantasy XII, it was Balthier.  In Kingdom Hearts, it was Riku.  I just tend to pick out my favorite, and they're generally not the main character.  I don't know why, but I find the supporting casts' stories to be much, much more compelling.  Anyway, in Final Fantasy X, that character was Auron.  Maybe it was he cool shades, or his even cooler outfit, or his EVEN cooler sword - I can't be sure.  All I know is that I latched onto him, more so than Tidus, Yuna, Rikku, or any of the other characters in the game.


I spent most of the game building up the idea that Auron was, in fact, the coolest character ever created.  I still believe that.  However, the funny thing about Auron is that he isn't technically alive.  He is kept so by his need to protect, and to see his mission completed, but for all intents and purposes, he should have been laid to rest.  This only served to bolster his awesomeness.  However, when you find out his reasons for remaining part of the living world, you're taken aback by the lengths he has gone to to help others.

Auron became what was known as an Unsent.  He finally reveals this to Tidus toward the end of FF X.  A bit of a 'Sixth Sense' twist, and it was pretty cool to learn.  At that point, I was pretty much expecting everything Auron did to be awesome.  What I wasn't expecting, however, was my reaction to his fate.  At the end of the game, Yuna finally sends Auron to rest in the Farplane, where he joins Jecht (Tidus' father) and Braska (Yuna's father).  During this scene, I was speechless.  I should point out that there have been plenty of times in my gaming career where I've been speechless.  When I believed Master Chief dead at the end of Halo 3.  When Sora is ripped from his homeworld in Kingdom Hearts.  Too many to count.  The difference here, was that there were tears running down my cheeks.  I didn't notice them at first, and when I did, I was surprised.  This had, obviously, never happened to me before.  That moment will forever be embedded in my mind as a gamer, as one of my favorite moments in a video game, period. 

I'm sure that many of you have similar moments, and I'd love to hear about them.  Games can have a profound effect on our lives, and ignoring that fact is a foolish mistake.