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Tear Jerker / The Binding of Isaac

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In a game about an abused little boy and the nightmares awaiting him in the unknown depths below, you'll naturally have moments that will max out your real-life Tears stat faster than you can say "soy milk".

  • The whole premise of the game is pretty bad, what with Isaac's mother wanting to kill her son. It doesn't help that Isaac is crying throughout the game.
    • On that note, every memory he has during level transitions are just horrible to look at. The poor kid just never got a break...
    • The original Isaac theme does a good job at setting the tone for a sad and sinister game.
  • Ending 13. It depicts Isaac, his pre-insanity mother, and a skinny man who's presumably Isaac's dad, the first few pictures are of all of them living happily, then it gets dark, it shows Isaac crying by a chest, a demonic him in the mirror, and the very last photo? Isaac, with his mother setting her hand on his back to comfort him, looking out to the hill where an earlier picture showed the family picnicking at, that now shows Isaac's father abandoning the family. The End.
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  • Somewhere among this and Nightmare Fuel is Isaac finding Guppy's head (a real cat's head at that) in one of Rebirth's trailers, where he holds it in his hands with despair.
  • The new endings of Rebirth also count. The first, number 15note , shows that Isaac has gone missing, with his Mother desperately searching for him. The second, 16, shows Isaac locked in his chest, as his breathing gets faster and harsher, and his heart beats quicker and quicker. Flashes are shown of him turning into a demon, and as his heartbeat slows down, Isaac morphs into a demon, and stays that way. A harsh Downer Ending.
    • This ending is extended further by Afterbirth's Ending 17, which confirms for good that Isaac is dead. His mother finally decides to look in the chest and finds nothing but flies and bones inside. Isaac's spirit is then seen looking over the afterlife's wastelands while a demonic shadow emerges from him. At least he seems surprisingly calm about it.
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  • Ending 18, obtained by clearing Greed Mode. After successfully defeating Ultra Greed, Isaac is buried by a cave-in. He hangs himself, and his corpse becomes the next Greed.
  • Many of the items that increase Isaac's tears are, understandably, Tear Jerkers:
    • There are several tear power-up items that take the form of the severed body parts of cats and dogs, heavily implied to be Isaac's pets. Isaac's reaction to the "Max's Head" item, a severed puppy's head, is especially notable.
    • Isaac can find food items that increase his maximum HP, all of which are rotten and at least two of which are dog food. The fact that they're referred to as "Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Dessert" has some rather sad implications.
    • One item, a brass knuckle, causes Isaac's face to become badly bruised and occasionally replaces some of his tear shots with teeth. The item is named "Tough Love."
    • The Torn Photo item in Rebirth, which is a torn half of a photograph showing what appears to be Isaac's mother holding him. Picking it up increases Isaac's tear fire rate and makes him look absolutely miserable.
      • It's a torn family photo. Isaac's father has been torn off.
      • Becomes much worse in hindsight as noted below in that Isaac blames himself for his family being torn apart.
  • Some of the text flashes that randomly appear when you start the run, presumably written from Isaac's point of view, just ramp the sadness up with lines such as: "Mom?" "Where are you?" "Do you really want me to die?"
  • Not precisely game related, but the notice that Guppy, Edmund McMillen's cat and the base behind the Guppy-related items in the game, passed away. Becomes Harsher in Hindsight, considering that in the game, Guppy is obviously dead.
  • The definitive final ending of the game, Ending 20. Where to begin? It serves as a Mind Screwdriver to all of the other endings. In it, Isaac is within his toy chest, his life flashing before him. You hear his mom and dad arguing, and see a shot of Isaac watching his mother cry in front of her TV. As Isaac begins to turn blue note  from the lack of oxygen, we see Isaac holding a family photo with his dad's face burned away, and (perhaps most heart-wrenching) a series of Isaac's drawings, showing his descent into self-loathing and suicidal insanity. Finally, we see a shot of Isaac's skeleton within the chest as his mother opens it, and the missing poster from Ending 15 flies away, symbolizing Isaac's demise. The final shot of the ending is Isaac walking through the afterlife from Ending 17, while a somber remix of the title theme plays.
  • Isaac's life in itself is a massive tear-jerker. Everything that is presented to us about him only makes him look more and more miserable, and we're still in the dark about many other aspects of it. Not that the game leaves that many possibilities for a happy ending, and if it does, it's more than likely it won't last long. And now that we also know the true ending and the nature of the game itself, it's little wonder Isaac thought ending his own life was a valid option...
    • It's doubtful by this point that Isaac's mother is chasing her son around the house and into a basement with a knife on her hands, but there IS enough evidence to support that she's cold and unloving at best, and psychologically abusive at worst. Isaac is still deprived of his clothes for most of the game, one of the endings shows that his bedroom window has metal bars on it, he perceives his own mother as a literal monster, laughing maniacally as she tries to stomp him to death, and to top it all off, he's had a pet cat (likely more than one, if items like Tammy's Head and Bob's Brain are taken into consideration) which has been long dead - most likely due to his mother's negligence - and all he has to remember Guppy by are his torn body parts. The loading screen showing his mother giving Isaac a turd as a gift is probably one of the least awful things she's done, and she did that out in public for others to laugh at her own son, and, as previously mentioned with the other item examples above, there's a lot more leads to her treating her son like an afterthought, if not worse.
    • Which leads to a topic that isn't as touched upon: Isaac's school life. The loading screen flashbacks have quite a few instances of kids pointing and laughing at Isaac's misfortunes, even when he's not doing anything but just trying to mind his own business, hinting at a possible history of bullying from cruel classmates. Granted, the validity of these flashbacks is questionable, given that it's still from Isaac's perspective, his mind is shutting down from oxygen deprivation in the chest, and one of them involves his junk falling off. But with the inclusion of a schoolbag as a passive item in Afterbirth+, one has to wonder if he really did go to school at one point, and how long he stayed there.
    • And then there's his father, a man we know very little about besides the fact he left Isaac and his mother behind after an angry scuffle, and the items that mention him in-game, none of them too flattering. If anything, he seems very much like his ex-wife. The items are "Dad's Lost Coin" (which increases the Range stat and make Isaac look positively miserable) note , "Dad's Key" (opens all doors), "Dad's Ring" (creates an aura around Isaac that petrifies enemies) and, albeit only implied to be his, a belt (increases the Speed stat).
  • This bit of promotional art depicting Isaac weeping in fear to the point of flailing, clutching his head and wetting himself while a group of bosses looks on with worried expressions plastered on their faces.
  • The Forgotten, from the fifth and final Booster Pack. The reanimated skeleton of Isaac and a buffed version of The Lost would seem cool, but when one remembers the story, it's downright devastating. After Isaac's death in Ending 20, his soul is eternally chained to his bones, unable to move on. After the absolute hell his life was, he will find no peace in death.


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