VGC Day 9: Cutting Onions

AmbiGaming continues its “30 day” video game challenge! Missed a couple days? You can catch up here.

Sniffle sniffle *wipes away tear*

Who left these onions here?? Today’s challenge asks:

Day 9: What is the saddest game scene you’ve experienced?

Spoilers for Metal Gear: Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and Mass Effect 3, in that order, because I can’t pick just one, as per usual. I also don’t know how to black things out as “spoilers,” so read at your own risk 🙂 (And if you know how to cover spoilers, please let me know).


#3. Sniper Wolf’s death in Metal Gear: Solid Snake

Even though she shot Meryl, I really liked Sniper Wolf. She seemed to have a connection to Snake, as well, as she told him her story, called him “Hero,” and then asked him to kill her at the end of their fight. It seemed like their battle was nothing personal, just business, and Sniper Wolf’s fatalistic attitude was heartbreaking, especially after hearing her backstory. And then wolves started howling mournfully in the background and… sigh.

“But you’re different… untamed… solitary. You’re no dog [of war]… you’re a wolf,” says Snake to Sniper Wolf.
#2. The Boss from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Darn you, Hideo Kojima!

After mentoring Snake during the first few missions of the game, betraying the USA, and defecting to the USSR, The Boss reveals that she had been ordered by the USA to pretend to defect to the USSR in order to… okay, well, it’s really complicated, but the US told her she had to “betray” the country and then be killed by Snake – her protege – in order to avoid an international incident between the USA and the USSR. And she did, because she loved her country so much.

death of the boss.jpg
Snake looks down on his fallen mentor and friend.

But the worse part was that the killing shot had to be dealt by the player. The cutscene ended and literally the only action you could take was to shoot her as she lay helplessly on the ground, telling you to end her life. I stared at that screen for minutes on end. I had to watch the final cutscene twice because I missed the first few minutes of it, so upset was I.

#1. Thane from Mass Effect 3

… Let me preface this by saying I don’t cry often. And I’ve certainly never cried during a video game, not when The Boss or Sniper Wolf died, not when Midna disappeared back into the Twilight Realm… nope. Maybe I felt sad, but that was it.


Then this drell walked into my Shepard’s life. While I haven’t (yet) romanced him in Mass Effect 2, his death brought me to tears. I played through that part many times, trying to desensitize myself, but… no luck. There’s just something about his death… Perhaps it was how, in his final moments, he wanted to pray for his friend Shepard, who I suspected – even though they weren’t romantically involved in that playthrough – he shared a special bond with. He was close to death, she had died once already; he was a tool for killing, she was called in to rain down destruction on the galaxy’s enemies (read: a tool for killing). And now, he was dead.

Credit to jj0ck33
So it’s not my Cmd. Shepard, but… yeah. Sigh.

I was a mess. It was terrible. I’m glad no one was there to witness it.

… So… I have no snappy transition for this, but those are my top three saddest video game moments. See you next time for a hopefully happier question.

What is the saddest video game moment you’ve ever seen?

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon





  1. Sniper Wolf’s demise was probably the first time that I was emotionally moved by a game. I havn’t played it in years, partially because I suspect it will seem dated, particularly in its emotional content.

    Another big tear jerker for me was ‘To the Moon’ . I don’t want to spoil, but there were scenes there where I was weeping over my keyboard. It’s all the more impressive being entirely done in a 16bit era RPG visual style.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, Sniper Wolf’s death really crushed me. Isn’t that interesting? She’s “supposed” to be a villain, but fans mourn her passing?

      Anyway, I’ll have to check out “To the Moon.” That name seems familiar to me, but I haven’t played it. Sounds like it’s a powerful game, though.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. ME3 has got to be the only video game that’s sent me to tears MULTIPLE times. I swear I cried for Thane, Mordin, the end, and when there was a possibility that a few of my characters weren’t going to make it. I was such a mess, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Boss scene in MGS3 sticks with me to this day. Pulling the trigger yourself was a master stroke and a knife in the heart in equal measure.
    The obvious one for me is the end of season 1 of the Walking Dead as Lee sends Clementine on her way in one fashion or another. Heartbreaking.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Awesome post! I’m horrible and I cry all the time with video games and movies (no shame in my game lol). I would say one of my saddest moments comes from fable. I want to say Fable 3 where at the beginning people are killed by the evil king for literally nothing. Fable 3 in general was sort a depressing with some of the decisions you “HAD” to make. Each decision affected our city or sanity in some way. The right thing to do often times released a more perilous threat. It really makes you think, ruling can’t be as easy as we would want to think it is. Oh, am I babbling? lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not babbling at all! Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I always appreciate when choice systems are a little more nuanced, because the “right” decision isn’t always the easiest *or* – gasp – the one that’s going to help the most people IRL. It makes for an emotional and stressful game journey, like you said, but definitely a rich one, as well!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it was fun. But it also made you sympathize with the mad king. You began to understand why he made his decisions, he was facing the same turmoils that you face as a king/queen. Basically he wasn’t mad, he just didn’t know which decision would be the best in the long run. He tried to do what was best for everyone, but that meant killing others and to the outside world he looked like a crazed, power obsessed ruler. It’s funny as he mentions before he dies that you have no idea how hard ruling is… he was right lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Never once has a video game made me cry… and Metal Gear Solid 3 is no exception. But it had such a powerful ending that I will admit it came closer than any game I’ve played before or since. My stance when it comes to emotional moments is that you have to well and truly earn them; I’ve seen way too many authors gladly kill off a one-dimensional character who has a special connection with the protagonist, and it always comes across as cheap regardless of how good the acting is. I’ve also seen some games go overboard by having way too many emotional moments, making the experience very tedious to play through. The reason The Boss’s death is such a good moment isn’t necessarily because of the death itself, but that moment afterwards when you learn of the truth behind her actions. The Metal Gear series is rather hit-or-miss when it comes to storytelling, but that was a moment Mr. Kojima knocked out of the park. Easily one of my all-time favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fair enough! I’m not sure what you mean by “earn it,” though. I understand that some writers kill off well-liked characters to purposefully add drama, and that’s never handled well, story-wise or reception-wise, as you mentioned. And you’re right that The Boss’s backstory is what makes us relate to her and mourn her passing.

      But overall I think emotional poignancy, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. With Thane, for instance, the reason I was upset (that I mentioned in the article) has some personal associations for me (that this isn’t really the forum to discuss), so it was a very emotional moment. Maybe someone hated Thane and thought he was a jerk, and was glad he died. Maybe another person didn’t care one way or another, and dismissed his death as just part of a story they were experiencing. So was that sad moment “earned”?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I admit it’s difficult to express in words, but the short explanation is that you can’t simply rely on the deceased’s status to make an emotional moment; you have to set it up so that audience will care for both the killed character and the ones who were most impacted by the death. It would be like if a work began by killing off the protagonist’s child, but it was pretty clear in hindsight their only purpose was to die that poignant death. Now, if the child’s personality had been fleshed out and they had plenty of screentime before being killed off at the halfway point, the moment in this hypothetical scenario would have a higher chance of landing (assuming it’s done in a way that a savvy person wouldn’t be able to predict, which is the other tricky proposition). Then again, there’s also the issue where if you do it too often, it makes it difficult to care even if the characters are likable. It’s a balancing act, to be sure.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh I see what you mean. Scenes inserted to create a (forced) emotional moment haven’t been earned. Well I certainly agree that a proper handling of characters and good storytelling are the most important aspects of making the audience care about the characters and their fates!

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Let me just get my cliched and iconic moment out of the way. There’s this little scene in FFVII at the end of disk one. It’s very well known and to this day considered the biggest shock ever. People still talk about it and bemoan it to this day 20 years later.

    That being said, Super Paper Mario has two scenes in it. One in Chapter 8 whete a character finds out they’re a MacGuffin, and then the end of the game where two characters disappear. They’d been lovers kept apart for centuries and the final scene shows them together, and it’s so touching.

    Then there’s this scene in Child of Light where the main character Autora needs to tell another character, a little girl, that her parents are dead, and she plays the bittersweet song on her flute. Brings the tears every time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wait, I know this one… there’s a guy with weird hair and a sword, right?? 😛

      I’ve been enjoying reading about gaming moments that have touched people; it’s so interesting to see what folks connect to 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So this is hilarious. I JUST had a moment watching ME3 where I teared up a bit. Shepherd goes down to talk to Cortez, the shuttle pilot, and he’s replaying the last message he received from his husband. He’s still plainly grieving over this, and it’s just heartbreaking ;_;

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ahh! Yes, poor Steve 😦 I felt so bad for him when I saw that part.

          I know some folks think he’s whiny, but his story arc is really nice, and he’s such a genuinely sweet and gentle guy. I love his relationship with James, too!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I had to skip the spoilers. I can’t remember if I mentioned that I really need to play Mass Effect and MGS at some point. 🙂

    20 minutes into the Last of Us I was crying like a baby. This is the only time a game has ever made me that emotional. The whole game was such a dark and depressing experience. I was so caught up in the story that I literally couldn’t put the controller down until I beat it. I needed to play a Mario game to cheer myself up after, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

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