The argument for games becoming an art form is growing increasingly stronger by the year. Games are now being used as a means to tell some truly emotional stories. Whether these are joyous moments, emotional roller coasters, or just a means for the developer to get some stuff off their chest, they all bring something unique to the table.
With That Dragon, Cancer releasing on Steam today and telling the incredibly emotional tale of the developer, we took a look at the new release and five other games that have made us feel all kinds of emotions in our careers gaming.
That Dragon, Cancer
That Dragon, Cancer means a lot to a ton of people, including the developer. That Dragon, Cancer is an immersive, narrative game that tells the story of four-year-old Joel Green. Joel was the late son of the game’s developers Ryan and Amy Green who sadly lost his battle with cancer. Through a two hour journey of poetic and imaginative storytelling, Joel Green’s story has been forever immortalized in a beautiful and unique experience created by his parents.
If there’s a game that’s sure to tug at your heart strings, That Dragon, Cancer is it. Just make sure you’ve got the tissues ready to wipe away the tears.
Originally released in 2008 as a free-to-play mod for the Source game engine and later re-released in 2012 by The Chinese Room, Dear Esther is a unique and beautiful narrative-driven experience. Your objective in Dear Esther? Explore the uninhabited Hebridean island as you listen to a series of letters addressed to Esther.
While this may not seem entirely captivating, exploring the island is a treat itself. The Hebridean island is nothing short of beautiful and will have you admiring the lush green fields and delicate waterfalls for hours. As you reach a new area of the island, another fragment of the series of letters is read out loud by, someone we must assume to be the author.
The beauty of Dear Esther not only lies in the prose of the letters, or the beautiful environment you’re exploring but instead the ambiguity of the story. What you may consider to be a straight forward story may be interpreted completely differently by someone else and will have you thinking long after you finish the game.
Dear Esther will make you feel a lot of things, but it’ll certainly make you feel a lot more appreciative of those you have around you and the time you get to spend with them.
To the Moon
To the Moon is a story-driven experience about two doctors traversing backwards through a dying man’s memories to artificially fulfill his last wish. If that sentence doesn’t give you an insight into why it’s gonna make you feel emotions and stuff then I don’t know what will. To the Moon is different from most of the other entries in our list. It won’t just make you feel one thing. One moment you’ll be smiling, then sad, then angry and frustrated at what’s going on , all before making you feel like you could just bawl your eyes out.
With its pretty retro graphics, charming music, and simple but enjoyable gameplay, To the Moon is a great (and cheap) choice if you want to get an insight into the truly shitty implications of growing old. Seriously, this one will get you right in the feels.
The Last of Us
If you’ve got a PS3 or PS4 we really hope you’ve played this by now. If not then you’re severely missing out. The Last of Us isn’t just any other Naughty Dog game. Yes, it’s great and has some really fun gameplay, but the story and character development is where this game really shines.
There are a number of moments that are more obviously going to get you feeling pretty damn sad, and one of them is within the opening few hours. While these have been expertly voice-acted by the likes of Troy Baker, Ashley Johnson, and Nolan North, it’s the smaller moments of The Last of Us which will give you both a glimmer of happiness in an otherwise morbid world. Whether it’s a bit of small talk between Joel and Ellie, the moment of natural beauty toward the end of the game as you’re on a rooftop, or seeing the slowly decaying civilized world gradually being reclaimed by nature, The Last of Us will make you feel much more than just a hatred towards plant spores.
Actual Sunlight is not your ordinary indie experience. Putting you in the shoes of an incredibly depressed man, Will O’Neill’s interactive story of a game quite literally fills your mind with depressing thoughts with the intention of making you realize just how the events of everyday life can mount up as an impassable barrier to happiness for those dealing with depression.
As outlined in our review, this isn’t a game that’s going to make you feel things as a side effect of playing through an enjoyable experience. Instead, Actual Sunlight offers some dark and real insight into the inner torments those who suffer from depression deal with.
Life is Strange
Life is Strange made us feel all kinds of different emotions last year. The episodic series from DontNod Entertainment left us devastated, pissed off and tearing up at numerous times throughout the series, mostly at the end of each episode. While the voice acting and storyline of Life is Strange was emotional enough to make us feel all of these emotions, the soundtrack played a large part in perfectly encapsulating some of these key moments.
By the end of our time with Life is Strange we cared way too much about these characters. We wanted everyone to be happy but ultimately we weren’t really sure that we could pull off such a feat. If you want a game that’ll have you more attached to a group of characters than a lot of games that have come before it, give Life is Strange a try.
What games have you played that have made you feel all kinds of different emotions? Let us know in the comments below.
Check Out More
- 10 Things Only Witcher 3 Fans Will Get
- 10 Game Series We Wish Never Ended and Can’t Stop Thinking About
- What Oculus Rift’s Price Means for Players and Its VR Competition