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Tear Jerker / Video Games

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What kind of incident was sad enough to make Peach cry?

"Fail 'You're The Inspiration'? Are you insane, or just evil? I've done many questionable acts in games, but let that poor little girl down? I draw the line there. Cut off my hands, and I'll beat the level with my stumps. I. Will. Not. Fail. Her."
— This page's section for Elite Beat Agents

For the most tearjerky-ness, listen to this, this, this, this, this, or this while reading.

Some people may argue that video games can't be art. Others say that they could be, but haven't achieved that status yet. Perhaps scenes like this may change their minds...

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Other examples:

Note: If a game has its own Tear Jerker page, add examples to it there rather than here.
  • A rare iPad game, Infinity Blade III, has one in the first quest after beating Soulless Raidriar. "Goodbye Radriar. I'll make sure your sacrifice was not in vain." Even though they didn't like each other, it's amazing the sympathy felt after Raidriar died because of the years spent locked up.
  • Odd World: Munch's Oddysee- The game opens with Munch swimming with his fellow Gabbits. But then the net comes in.
    One time, there were lots of us. But that was before there was any webs. Now, I can't find anybody. My name is Munch, and I've been singing for them ever since. [Beat] But nobody sings back.
    • Stranger's Wrath had a pretty heartbreaking scene. The Stranger goes on another mission to find the doctor needed to perform an operation he was saving up for hung. He is then knocked out, only to wake up to find out that the outlaws found out that he is a Steef. If that weren't bad enough, the Clackerz turn on him upon this revelation. Stranger just runs while being fired at, with his only reliable friends being the Grubbs.
    • The fates of the Mudokons in the first two games, Oddysee and Exoddus. Enslaved, locked away and forced to scrub floors in the first game and even mine the bones of their dead for their evil overlords, the Glukkons. You can save every one from the factories and mines but even in the good ending of Exoddus Abe remarks "we knew there had to be more of us out there", with a montage of the Mudokons behind bars saying "we're screwed..." quietly.
      • The Mudokon variant who have their eyes stitched shut forcibly blinding them.
  • The obscure Wii game Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure features a boss stage in which Wiki, a cute, golden, flying monkey thing is frozen inside an ice lion. If you screw up trying to free him once too many times, Wiki will tell Zack, "I'm feeling sleepy... thanks for everything..."
  • It really depends on how the game is played. You may die alone with regret.
  • Or... when your love dies, you can choose to stay by her grave and join her.
  • And the character is the creator, Jason, of the game himself. And his mate is his real life wife.
  • Jason Roher's other game, Gravitation is also heartwenching. To get by, you must play ball with your girl. If you are greedy and go for the box points for long, you'll fall down and find that see it gone and your environment gets darker. And the little girl is modeled after his own girl.
  • On the topic of flash games, The Last Stand: Union City. Towards the end, you meet the protagonist of the first two Last Stands, Jack. He sacrifices himself so you, your spouse, and your ragtag group of friends can escape via boat. If you recall from the first two games, most prominently the second one, the only hope for Jack and his small crew is to get to Union City as there are still boats and planes taking people out. When Jack simply says to go on without him, he'll cover our exit, it's almost too much.
  • The entire game Broken Hearted. It's a kinetic novel (without any sort of gameplay other than pressing the space bar and crying) about a guy who loses his closest friends, including one he was going to propose to, in the 9/11 incident. Since it's based on reality, you get no happy ending, but damn, EVERYBODY that was ever important in his life.
  • Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, surprisingly. Although it seems like just a cinematic shoot 'em up, the story hits hard sometimes. Throughout the first few levels of the game, Kane is sent on a job to steal something for a gang of mercenaries that have his wife and daughter. After botching it, they are brought before him as he's lying in a ditch, helpless. They shoot his wife in the head, and are about to kill his daughter before he becomes enraged, grabbing a shovel and beating the shooter to death, screaming "YOU SHOULD HAVE LET ME TALK TO THEM!" Oh, and let's not get into the ending...
    • That ending is made worse considering you can save her. All it requires is leaving Shelly, Riffic and Lynch to die out in the jungle, once again betraying everything you know and knowing that your daughter hates you even more now.
    • Either ending is a Tear Jerker. In the save Jenny ending, there is no Big Damn Heroes moment. You instead arrive in the town to find that Rific is already dead. You very nearly reach the dock to escape, only to have Jenny gunned down by the last man between you and safety. It's made even worse by Kane's frantic denials of the fact she's dead, yelling at Lynch in deranged fashion to shut him up and carrying Jenny's limp body on his shoulders to the boat. And Shelley dies too.
    • The developers know. The achievements in the 360 version for getting each ending are, respectively, "Damned If You Do" and "Damned If You Don't."
  • The ending credits of The Munchables where Munchy, Chomper, Great Elder are bawling their eyes out and staring at the night sky simply because the game was over.
  • Though it's not exactly related to playing video games, there's the Dreamcast page on this site. It's like a farewell to Sega hardware and the greatest Sega console that died out too early. It's Still Dreaming...
  • In the Mobile Phone Game Chronicles of Inotia: Children of Carnia, to defeat the God of Darkness once and for all, Lydia has to be sacrificed. Lucio tries to argue with her, that they would find a way to avert it. The way she explains that there is no other way is simply depressing and even more depressing when the screen shows the Spirit Kings saying "The sacrifice was completed." And then, the memories of the party are erased, while rolls a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, at the voice of Ji Yoon Park.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat has you form a Five-Man Band with four guys you have come to know and be friends with to get through a dangerous pathway into Pripyat. A cheerfuly optimistic deadbeat, a reformed Monolith member, the hapless surviving pilot of a military operation-gone-wrong and a former Dutyer that you first met after he drank you under the table. With snorks, hamsters, zombies and Monolith cultists all gunning for you, there is a very good chance that one or more—possibly all—of them will not be coming out of that tunnel with you. And even if they all do, the reveal that you are an undercover military agent leaves the ex-Dutyer feeling betrayed and he walks off, never to be seen by you again. You can find him duking it out with some snorks, after which he may thank you by giving you a custom light machine gun.
  • The Sims brings a few of these. Whenever your sim dies and you invested a lot of time into building them, you can feel this way. If they weren't happy during their lives, they try to take the hourglass away from the Grim Reaper.
    • If it's a big family, try listening to the sound of their relatives crying.
    • But if you have been a nice "User" and helped them live a rich and happy life, it's a Tear Jerker crossed with Funny Moments as the Reaper shows up with dancing hula girls and wearing a lei to escort the happy Sims into their next life. Someone must have been watching Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.
    • Agnes Crumplebottom. The Scrappy from The Sims. However, when we see her in The Sims 3, she's more of a Jerkass Woobie. She lives alone in a mansion built for three, having lost her husband during their honeymoon. If one checks, you can see the half-built nursery in the mansion as well.
    • Parents divorcing and their child crying.
  • The flash game Viricide ends with a massive, very sad Player Punch. Throughout the game, you've been helping an AI named EXADI repair herself by killing the viruses that are infesting her various systems. You also find out that EXADI's been deeply depressed, and for good reason. Her designer, whom the AI thinks of as her father, killed himself. At the end of the game, EXADI is fully operational, but she still has one more task for you, and it's not viruses that you're fighting this time. She asks you to destroy her Personality Chip, rendering her emotionless and no longer self-aware. The dialogue is just haunting, helped immensely by very good voice acting. Before the Final Boss, EXADI justifies her suicide by reminding you that she's not human and that she can't bear being able to feel anything any more. As well, at the very end, EXADI reports that her Personality Chip is totally out of commission, and that only the designer could bring her back online. She's permanently dead, by your hands and her choice.
  • The Final Fantasy Legend: Near the end of the game, you'll find a fallout shelter, and inside the remains of a family fleeing the nuclear armageddon that made the World of Ruin so ruinous. On one of the bodies you'll find a journal left by the father as he watched his children starve to death as the game over music plays. Incredibly tear jerking, especially given the amount of censorship at Nintendo at the time.
  • Lollipop Chainsaw of all games has an unexpectedly sad cutscene during the final chapter. Juliet and Nick are inside Killabilly, and the only way they can finish him off is if Juliet attaches Nick's head to Swan's corpse, which is attached to Killabilly's heart. The conversation between Juliet and Nick that unfolds in this scene, as well as Juliet giving Nick one Last Kiss, is incredibly gutwrenching, and the extremely well-done voice acting from Tara Strong and Michael Rosenbaum also doesn't help.
    • Prior to this, The apparent sacrifice of Juliet's father, which manages to be both sad and badass at the same time.
  • In the flash game Once Upon A Life, you help a spritely old man retrieve the scattered photos of his scrapbook. It's a mix of awesome, heartwarming, and funny as he has to go on a wild and crazy adventure to retrieve them all and reminisces about his long and fulfilling life. After getting them all back, he returns to his retirement home, satisfied with his adventure which the narration describes as an "encore" to a life well lived. It's implied the old man dies in his sleep that night.
  • Not one in a game, but during the Wii-to-Wii U system transfer, the process is depicted as Pikmin gathering the bits of data in the Wii console and moving them to a rocket that's set to fly to the Wii U console. However, at the end, one last purple Pikmin will stumble and fall just as the rocket closes its door. The Pikmin will have an obvious look of sadness on it, and the player may feel sorry for it being left behind on the now empty Wii console (considering what Pikmin regularly go through in their own series, this would not be out of the ordinary for it). Luckily, the ship opens back up to allow it to enter before launching off.
  • Can be a little tearjerking if you spent years playing on your Wii console prior to the Wii U's arrival, seeing the names and save icons of familiar games you poured hours into dart by. The kicker comes especially when the last of the Pikmin loads up your save data, and the Wiiware and Virtual Console library you've built over the years rocketing off and leaving the Wii, never to return again, much similar to looking at your empty childhood bedroom before closing the door and leaving for college, knowing that an era is well and truly over.
  • Ether One is set in mind of a patient suffering from dementia and includes bits of mental notes and diary entries that are both heartbreaking and sadly very realistic. Examples include:
    • A memory of the patient attending a funeral and not understanding why everyone (including themself) has been crying. The funeral is for the patient's spouse.
    • A memory of the patient meeting people and hearing their names, and being unsure of whether they should be familiar. One of them is the patient's son.
    • A memory of the patient trying to figure out why an old music box doesn't work. His son points out that it's actually a cushion. This is not played for laughs.
    • Several memories of the patient becoming angry and acting out (sometimes physically) over small incidents, such as losing keys or being asked to write rather than paint during a therapy session.
    • The ending itself is also bittersweet and can invoke this. At the very end of it, the patient (who is actually the player character, contrary to the game's opening premise), awakens and again becomes cognizant of reality. Then he asks where his wife, Jean, is and he must be reminded that she passed away. The game's epilogue includes a note from a doctor stating that she has had to give the patient this sad news multiple times.
  • Alien Target is a pretty disappointing lightgun shooter that probably would be forgotten today were it not for two things. The first one being that if you do well you get treated to a bonus round in which you shoot innocent Polish civilians for fun and the other one being its intro, which is so depressing that it might very well make you forget the above statement due to the way that it represents the tragedy of an alien invasion: Just take a look.
  • The Kongregate game Innkeeper is pretty light-hearted fare for the most part as you take the role of a young man named Manuel trying to run a successful inn with the help of his family, particularly his mother Nanay. Then you find out Manuel died years ago, and you've actually been playing as Nanay, and she's working herself to exhaustion making the inn a success just so she can keep pretending Manuel is still alive. The entire game is really about Nanay learning to accept the reality of her son's death.
  • The Talos Principle:
    • Alexandra's final messages. The ones you find throughout the garden are mostly positive, Patrick Stewart Speeches about how great, or at least interesting, it was to be human. The ones in the Tower are made much nearer to the end of her life, when most of the people she knows are dead and she's not sure if the project is complete enough to have any chance of success. She starts to worry that all her effort was for nothing. One of her last messages mentions that unlike pretty much every other scientist on the project, Alexandra never went home; she didn't talk to friends outside work, she didn't visit her parents. She spent every waking hour trying to make sure the project would be completed until she dropped dead at her desk.
    • A subtle one in Road to Gehenna. Though the bots' messages on the Gehenna message board are pretty upbeat and seem like the typical activity of a message board, if you watch the actual bots in their prisons they frequently exhibit body language indicative of extreme anguish. This seems contradictory, but if you pay close attention to the stories and text adventures, most of them feature a protagonist who is in some way trapped, either by a physical obstacle, the circumstances of their life, or their own limitations. Rather than being freed, many of the stories end with the protagonist coming to terms with their own restrictions. To a great extent, Gehenna's culture is a desperate attempt by its inhabitants to convince themselves that their entrapment is acceptable.
  • Red Orchestra: The game averts the Instant Death Bullet trope in the most tragic and dramatic way possible, and any of the dying men's agonised moans, whimpers and gurgles are utterly soul-crushing. Men will weakly murmur that they don't want to die, they'll curse the enemy, or they'll cry out for their mothers. It gets worse in the Rising Storm when the Americans get introduced and you don't have to understand German or Russian to know what is being said.
    "Pa... Pa, is that you?... No, pa, I just fell off the tractor is all... I'm gonna... I'm gonna be fine... Just help me up, pa..."
  • Minecraft Dungeons: Upon beating the Heart of Ender, you’re treated to a cutscene of the Orb of Dominance shattering in the Arch-Illager’s hands. That’s not the Tearjerky part. The Tearjerky part is when Archie is shown cowering in fear before the heroes. It’s a stark reminder of who Archie really is: a child. A child caught in a whirlwind of anger and suffering, and nearly died because of it. Fortunately, the cutscene turns Heartwarming when the heroes lift Archie to his feet.
  • MediEvil 2: Dan tries and fails to save Kiya from being killed by Jack the Ripper. The Big "NO!" he lets out is bad enough, but when he returns to the Professor's lab, he is utterly broken, to the point that he outright refuses to stop Lord Palethorn from collecting the last pages of Zarok's spellbook.
    Professor Kift: I'm picking up some bizarre signals from the Cathedral, we must investigate.
    Dan: No, not me, I can't go on. I quit.
    Professor Kift: No, Dan, that's just what he wants. If we give up now, all of London will be his. And with London, the rest of the empire will follow.
    Dan: He can have it. I don't care. [Walks out of the lab]
    Professor Kift: Dan! Dan!
  • The Happyhills Homicide
    • Madison Carpenter's death. Madison was the only person that treated John Wade with kindness. Even when John gained a crush on Madison and started sending her gifts, it appears that she did not hold it against him and even thanked him. Then two jocks played a cruel prank on John, almost burning him alive, and he snapped, murdering all of her classmates and teachers who abused him when he was still a janitor. John eventually went after Madison and accidentally killed her. Because Madison treated someone who was an outcast with kindness, she was killed for it. John was heartbroken by her death, revealing that he did not want to kill her, only reunite with her, and writes in blood on her window, "I'm so sorry".
    • In John Wade's previous life, he was an outcast in his job as a janitor, being mistreated by his co-workers and the students at school. It's implied that John was both mentally unwell and friendless. He also developed a crush on a student, Madison Carpenter, that was becoming an obsession because she was the only person who treated him with kindness. One day, two jocks pulled a prank on him by lighting a fire in front of his closet door. When the fire went out of control, even though the jocks noticed that he was trapped, they chose not to save him, feeling that he was not worth saving. After narrowly surviving the experience, John snapped and went on a killing spree in his new persona the Clown, murdering everyone who abused him. He also ends up killing Madison, the only person that was kind to him, much to his horror.
  • The Artificer's 'ascension' ending in Rain World. She initially appears to be a violent psycho who explodes everything she touches and has a particularly violent hate-on for Scavengers in particular. Suffice to say, her Karma is ruinously bad and she comes across as an Omnicidal Maniac... until you get to the Void Sea, where the Void Worm ignores you, forcing you to dive yourself. And you learn that she's actually a grieving mother whose pups were killed by Scavengers over a single Pearl, and this entire episode has been her Roaring Rampage of Revenge. At the end, her Karma is too low to ascend, but at least she gets to see the ghosts of her lost slugpups and cradle them one last time before she dissolves into the dark.