What's the saddest moment you ever experienced in gaming?


Community Contributor
This probably won't sound sad when I write it, but I created a map for Timberborn where the residences would be built up the sides of a mini-mountain. Now playing the map, I had plotted out where I wanted everything built and then went off to do something else.

Some time later I went back to the residential section and saw that a child had been trapped by the construction and was starving/dying of thirst. The children run around and play in various places, and he was in the wrong spot when the last house was built. In real life, there is nothing I love more than children, and I couldn't help but to think of my own children when I saw him there. I really, really wanted to save this child.

I plotted his exit and all it would take would be for one set of stairs to be built. I plopped the plans down and set the stairs to the highest priority for builders. Then I went ahead and created a path for him to follow. That's when I noticed a drought was about to hit.

To build stairs, you need planks. We were fresh out due to all the construction, and you can't make planks during a drought because you need power supplied by water mills. I sighed and sped up time to try to get past the drought, and then I just watched him rock back and forth as the drought ravaged everything. When midnight hit, the boy turned 8-years-old. It was his birthday.

He didn't make it to morning, and suddenly my bright and happy game about beavers wasn't so bright and happy anymore.
Not the individual-style event of Zed's, but I found Ravenholm in Half Life 2 pretty haunting and disturbing. "We don't go to Ravenholm anymore" had been teased a few times beforehand, so clearly Valve had something setup there.

Ravenholm had been a Resistance—ie goodie—town, but the baddies had found a way to convert all the inhabitants into zombies. So the encounter was with former allies.

It may or may not be the best shooter level ever made, but it sure is an all-time classic. The zombies had some indefinable tragic aspect to their nature—encapsulated by the wonderful sound design—rather than just the usual cannon fodder—while you had to kill 'em, and you were putting 'em out of their misery, it still felt… sad.

There was the added element of local Father Grigori who was 'tending' to his flock—ie dispatching as many souls as he could with his shotgun.


Community Contributor
Jan 13, 2020
He didn't make it to morning, and suddenly my bright and happy game about beavers wasn't so bright and happy anymore.
Jesus CHRIST dude. This got real dark.

I try to think of a moment in any game that has made me cry, but I struggle to think of one. As a dad anything involving kids dying always gets to me. The infamous cut scene from Spec Ops: The Line comes to mind as well as
the death of Phoibe.
All made me upset but games don't have the same dramatic effect on me that movies do. I cry like a baby watching movies.


Community Contributor
I've got two - tough call to decide which hurt the most.

The infamous death of Aerith. I was too busy being stunned to be sad at first. Aerith was the alternate love interest, not the wizard that needed to be killed half-way through so the hero could shine! It wasn't even a "sacrifice myself to save the team" kind of thing. It was just Sephiroth murdering her out of the blue!

But, over time it did get sad. Aerith's great theme probably helped that feeling through, along with how the story plays out - particularly the ending. Then I replayed the game and that hit even harder! Watching Aerith and Cloud start falling in love again, knowing how it ends... that gets me.

Long, long ago, in the days of Infocom's 'infinite graphics of the mind' (i.e. all text) days, there was a game called Planetfall. It's similar to Zork, but more humorous. A lot of that humor comes from a companion robot you find named Floyd. So, I went through the game, solving puzzles and laughing with Floyd until near the end. At that point, I needed a circuit card to get through a puzzle to keep going - a card that Floyd had, but it was critical to Floyd functioning. He offered it, but I refused and went back through the rooms of the game to find another card.

There wasn't one. I searched through every single room to try and find another card, but there wasn't one to find. I would have checked on the Internet, but this was the early 80's, so I couldn't even get on a BBS to ask about the game. The only way through was to pull the plug on Floyd. So, I did it. (According to the Wiki, the player sings him a song as the lights in his eyes go out.) OUCH!!

But it was pretty near the end of the game, anyway. Once you finish, you restore your ship's crew, and somebody fixes Floyd - but I sure didn't know that when I was playing!
Maybe that's why they made the NPCs beavers in Timberborn, because they knew most players would fail to keep their colonies thriving sevral times until they figured out how to play it, and if the NPCs were human, that would make for many depressing tragedies.

Don't get me wrong, I love beavers and think they are incredible, not to mention vital to the food chain, but humans are obviously more relatable.

Anyway, the saddest thing I can think of in a game, I actually saw via previewing the gameplay of the first few minutes of The Last of Us Part II, which I've not played yet. It's the part where...
...the daughter of the father whom Joel killed in Part I, the doctor trying to make a cure from Ellie's antibodies, comes for revenge and brutally beats him to death via several strikes to the head with a golf club.


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