You will be doing this by the end.
is the Japanese portmanteau for "depressing/melancholy game". As the name implies, these games' goal is to make the player cry. Most of them are of the Visual Novel
variety, in which the player is guided through an increasingly (melo)dramatic story, Deconstruction
Games of this type contain lots of typical tear-jerking
material, with death, mental problems, loneliness and rejection as central themes. A lot of them contain at least one girl with a serious disease
, who has to be helped by the player
. Downer Endings
are very common, when the player fails to achieve this goal.
are often populated by Bishoujo-style
characters and aimed squarely at a Seinen
audience. By far the most of them take the form of Dating Sims
, where the dramatic material is used to give the on-screen girls more depth and character. In some of those games, the drama actually becomes much more prevalent, overtaking the premise of simply trying to date girls. Most Utsuge
, being Dating Sims
, also contain quite a bit of the erotic content
that comes with the territory.
Another term with essentially the same meaning, but different connotations is "nakige
" ("crying game"), which usually refers to games with depressing stories that get resolved in the end
It is rare to find examples without any erotic content whatsoever
, although some H-Games
have been re-released without adult material
to appeal to a wider audience, usually without suffering any negative consequences for the story or playability. Still, gaming companies generally don't explicitly market their games as Utsuge, instead emphasizing their Dating Sim
-nature to appeal to the typically male audience.
- Air Pressure, but it's not obvious on the first playthrough.
- Da Capo
- ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two, which has been adapted into ef: A Tale Of Memories and ef: A Tale of Melodies.
- Ever17, especially Tsugumi's and Sora's paths, or worse yet, the Tsugumi/Sora bad ending.
- Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni and its Spiritual Successor Umineko No Naku Koro Ni form an interesting variation. Their main objective is not to make the players cry, but to scare them. Despite this, the games still manage to move the player emotionally. They succeeded in doing both in both series.
- The question arcs are supposed to confuse and scare us, but the answer arcs are straight Utsuge. Well, except for Matsuribayashi-hen.
- Tatarigoroshi-hen is also fueled by tears.
- ICO also qualifies: the main character is a lost little boy, the "love interest" is a frightened girl you can't communicate with who ends up being sacrificed and, after being resurrected, sacrifices herself again just to rescue you, the battle music is nothing but a depressing dark hum, and your enemies are the souls of boys just like you who didn't make it. Yeah. It has a happy ending, though.
- Shadow Of The Colossus — the music is exciting action-adventure stuff (except for the final boss), but the ending is possibly the most bitter-sweet thing ever in gaming. And then there is the music that plays as a Colossus dies...
- Nie R is probably the most utterly depressing game of 2010. The backstory doesn't help much either.
- Kana Little Sister
- Most anything by Key Visual Arts:
- Devil Survivor is an extremely dark RPG example.
- Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien. The anime version doesn't let up on the tears, either.
- Depending on how familiar you are with what PTSD does to people, you may think the anime amps it up from tears to trauma.
- Muv-Luv. Alternative is definitely one of these considering how practically the entire main cast is killed off.
- Chapter 7 of Alternative, titled The Unforgiven, stands on par with KimiNozo in all its gut-punching, PTSD-triggering, tear-jerking and râge-inducing glory. Good morning, Troper-kun.
- Symphonic Rain seems like a slice of life visual novel at first but reveals its more depressing elements later on.
- Private Nurse — Come for the marketing as an h-game, stay for the many, many moments of crying your damn eyes out. There is basically one path that leads to a triumphant ending, the rest count as Bittersweet Ending if not outright Downer Ending.
- Saya no Uta is a Cosmic Horror love story. Besides the gorn, the nature of the bishoujo, and the other delightful elements, it fits this trope perfectly.
- Type-Moon's games, particularly the routes leading up to a "Normal End". "True Ends" tend towards bittersweet.
- Sakura's route in Fate/stay night (Heaven's Feel) is particularly warped, with her "Normal End" the most depressing of all the endings.
- Which leads some people to regard it as a bad end. So reload that save and stay alive, will you?
- Tsukihime, the Far Side routes (Akiha/Hisui/Kokahu) in particular. Akiha's Normal End, as well as Hisui's True End, will Player Punch you in the face.
- In a strange, meta-example, Tales Of Symphonia counts. It's a pretty brutal Deconstructor Fleet on its own and has a good number of Tear Jerkers and mind-breakingly bad Fridge Horrors (all masked by deceptively colourful graphics) but none of these are the reason why it's depressing. That is the fact that it's a distant prequel to Tales of Phantasia. In short, the heroes of Symphonia shed all of their blood, sweat and tears to make a world without discrimination and it didn't work. Not only that, but the changes they made to the world have arguably made it even worse in the long-run. There's also the fact that nobody remember them, their moral lessons, the people they helped, or the system they fought to change the world... Oh, and just in case this wasn't bad enough, one of their reasons for fighting the Big Bad was because they didn't share his belief that allowing mana back into the world would result in a world-sundering magitek war. Well, guess what part of Phantasia's plot revolves around. In short, the heroes of Symphonia changed nothing and ultimately ended up proving that The Extremist Was Right. *Sniff*.
- Surprisingly for Square Enix, Final Fantasy XIII-2 could qualify. The ending is one of the worst endings to hit a Final Fantasy game, and this is in direct contrast to its predecessor. It's even been noted noted on the game's main page that there are multiple bad endings, thanks to the game's "Paradox Endings".
- Yume Miru Kusuri has three paths - one for the socially isolated school idol, one for the druggie kid, and the last one for the poor girl who is bullied with tasers in a classroom while the teacher assumes she is constantly falling out of her chair and screaming for no particular reason.
- A Dance with Rogues is a Break the Cutie story for the player character. In the opening sequence, your entire family gets massacred by an invading army and you get raped. Then you are forced into working for the city's equivalent of The Mafiya, and just when you are getting settled and used to it your friend Caron gets brutally murdered right in front of you. Then, just when you are getting over that, all of the Family's leadership that have been much nicer to you than they could have get killed or taken prisoner by the same band of people who killed your family in the first place. And it doesn't stop there.
- Mother 3 is an RPG example *. Oooh, boy, is it ever.
- To clarify, Hinawa dies, her son Claus goes to get revenge and never returns, her husband Flint goes looking for Claus and neglects his other son Lucas, Tazmily begins to transform into a modern town where the people don't like each other and is eventually abandoned, Salsa is the victim of Fassad's animal abuse, Lucas sees his mother's ghost in a field of sunflowers, everyone hallucinates about their friends and family insulting them, there's a sad plot twist, another sad plot twist, Porky gets sealed inside the Absolutely Safe Capsule, Claus turns out to have been the Masked Man, Claus beats up Lucas and Flint before committing suicide to be with Hinawa, and the whole world is destroyed. That last one isn't true, but after all of that, the player probably isn't going to stick around to find that out.
- Gears of War (more specifically 2 and especially 3) is a rare western example of this trope.
- Oracle Of Tao may qualify. It has a number of Downer Ending events, depending on what you do. Although some of these tend more toward the Fridge Horror/Nightmare Fuel category. Most notably, many of the dreams either result in a variant of Dream Apocalypse or Dying Dream, though some actually involve the physical destruction of the universe. And then there's a Naughty Tentacles ending... Even the good endings tend to be set up as a Tear Jerker.
- School Days. Some of the routes are just wallowing in melodrama and end with someone unexpectedly dying horribly through suicide or murder.
- Cross Channel can be like this early on, but it's definitely this by the very end.
- Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky somehow manages achieve this of all Nintendo franchises.
- The first game in the series too, for that matter. You play it because it's a Rougelike Pokemon game, then get caught off-guard by how depressing the story gets at times.
- You will cry as you play Corpse Party, either because of all the Tear Jerker scenes or because of all the horror. Possibly both.
- 99 no Namida (99 Tears) is solely made to make you cry. NO EXCEPTIONS!
- Katawa Shoujo falls under this heading as the routes can be heartbreaking. Every route has at least one Downer Ending and even some of the good endings are Bittersweet Endings
- Rin Tezuka's route fits this trope the most. Hanako's route isn't too far behind, either.
- Hatoful Boyfriend. Most of the endings to the otome routes range from bittersweet to out and out tearjerkers - and that's just the main game. When you've finished all of those, there's still Bad Boys Love, the second half of the story, which, well. Let's just say it's nicknamed Hurtful Boyfriend for a reason.
- Crescendo ~Eien Dato Omotte Ita Ano Koro~ has more than one shade of this as well. Specially in Yuka Otowa's path.
- The Nitro Plus BL game "DRAM Atical Murder" is a nakige, surprisingly. The character routes of Clear, Koujaku and especially Ren have the most positive endings. Ren's is specifically considered the True Ending since 60% of the story is revealed in it.
- Fragile Dreams was so depressingly sad that even the translators for the English release were brought to tears.
- The Crooked Man is pretty sad. At the beginning of the story, the main character David has a really bad life; his sick mother can't remember who he is, his fiancée has just left him, and he's moved to a squalid little apartment. David is constantly haunted by the fact that he can never achieve his dreams of being a pilot due to his colour-blindness. Over the course of the game the ghost of the previous tenant, who was severely depressed, tries to drag David down with him. A lot of the endings feature David killing himself. At the end, just after confronting the Crooked Man, David's mother finally remembers who he is, before dying. It gets better for David, fortunately.