I Don’t Know Whether to Laugh or Cry

Emotion in gaming 

Spoilers may follow for the following games: XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Mass Effect 3, Deadly Premonition, BioShock, and Far Cry 3.

The emotion that the interactive medium of gaming can evoke is one reason that I love the gaming industry. Interactive describes a giving and taking of sorts. When I put time and effort into a single player campaign, I expect an experience that is thought-provoking, entertaining, exciting, or visually stunning. When I play a game and experience one of the aforementioned qualities, I consider my time with the game a success. It is a rare, yet welcome, surprise to find that some games can accomplish all of these things. I expect the same from any other entertainment medium. However, for me, there is always something stronger about the emotion that games can evoke.

So, I have collected a few screenshots that summarize some of my moments in games that I found especially emotional. I will attempt to describe a little about what was going through my mind at the time I first experienced these games. Spoilers may follow. However, if you can divulge any plot from these screenshots, it is probably because you already know what is going on in the picture. Maybe, I take some of this stuff too seriously. But, that's okay. I'm having a good time.


XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Death of a Soldier

My Thought: NOOO!!!

XCOM is a spectacular game that is equally satisfying and devastating. Losing my sniper who had 28 kills and shared my name was horrible.





Mass Effect 3 - Mordin’s Sacrifice

My Thought: Mordin, you will never be forgotten.

This is my favorite cinematic cutscene in any game. I will not discuss the events surrounding this scene, but I have to say that I choked up a little. This moment of redemption is one of the best moments in any game. 




Deadly Premonition - The End

My Thought: I know the choice that I have to make. I will do everything in my power not to make that choice.

Deadly Premonition's ending supplies you with the means to understand the best choice that you can make. Don't allow your fear keep you from making the right choice. Sometimes, there is no other way.



BioShock - Meeting Andrew Ryan)

My Thought: BioShock is a different kind of game. This is new territory.

Coming face to face with Andrew Ryan is my favorite revelation/plot twist in any game. The quality of this game is shown by how they give me everything to prepare for the truth and yet I could not have been less prepared.



Far Cry 3 - Definition of Insanity

My Thought: You will die.

No game had ever made me want to kill anyone before. I always did so to further the story. Far Cry 3 changed that. As I journeyed through Far Cry 3, I became a better killer, and I did so to be ready for Vaas. This scene made me want Vaas dead. It also made me question whether I should feel that way at all.


Games can be very powerful. The screenshots above capture a few of my favorite emotional moments from this generation. Were there any that I missed? Did the scenes above have a different effect on you? If so, let me know.