games / Columns

The 8 Ball 08.21.12: Top 8 Depressing Video Games

August 21, 2012 | Posted by David McGregor

Welcome to another edition of the 8 Ball for the games section, I am David McGregor and I still don’t understand the title of these articles.

Last week I missed out Super Mario World, and I apologies. I actually got it confused with Mario Land and then by the time I had realised there wasn’t much time to redo the entire entry. Funny thing is that game is actually my second favourite of the Mario series, behind 64.

Oh and last week someone said I don’t listen to you guys when you suggested articles a few weeks back. I read all of them; I just don’t like doing topics that I don’t have enough knowledge on. Someone said RPG’s and I hate that genre, I suck at it and have zero interest. That’s not an article I would enjoy writing or you guys would like to read. Believe me. Also this week I will be bringing back 3 choices for you to choose what you want to see next week, in a sort of last-ditch attempt to gain back the audience I seem to have lost.

This week we are going dark. I go back to university in about 2 weeks so I am depressed, which why this week I will be counting down the Top 8 Depressing Video Games. Actually the reason I thought of this was from playing number 5 on the list. Let’s begin.

8th – Red Dead Redemption

There will be spoilers in here so please don’t bitch and complain. The main character dies. There lets get it out of the way at the beginning, and it makes for a very morbid feeling when it does happen. The game goes on but more in an epilogue way as apposed to a continuation of the story, so the ending of this game is your character dying. That is a kick in the balls, especially as you have went through all of this with this character seeking redemption and then you get shot to death. I’ve never been a fan of the lead character dying at the end of a game; it just makes the experience feel a bit pointless and cheap. But still one of the most depressing games I have ever sat through.

7th – Grand Theft Auto IV

Now this is depressing on many levels. Is it because your brother in the game is an absolute moron that does nothing but piss you off? Or is because your so-called girlfriends in the game are about as multidimensional as Howard the Duck? Or is because both of the boring characters couldn’t have died? I jest but GTA IV definitely had a very gloomy ending indeed. No matter what you did a close character to you was going to die, there is little more depressing than having no choice but to kill one of your supposed closest loved ones.

There is also the sinister aspect of the game that many people have realised, that being that you can commit suicide in various creative ways. Obviously this isn’t in only GTA IV but it seems that there are even more ways to go in this game, specifically jumping off the empire state building. GTA IV was a lot more serious and way more miserable than it had any right being.

6th – Halo: Reach

Red Dead Redemption was depressing because at the end of the game you are shocked that the character dies and you feel that the game was pointless. But in Halo: Reach you know the character is going to die, you know that from the very beginning. But somehow it doesn’t feel pointless and you can’t help but get a little attached to the character you portray throughout. And yet you still know he is going to die, and it is a weird build up to the inevitable.

The game is still a decent affair and the morbid aspect of the game doesn’t hinder it in any way, but when you really think about it this game is absolutely miserable.

5th – One Chance

This is the game that inspired me to do this list. It is one of the most thought provoking and morbid games I have ever played, and yet the graphics and game play are about 20 years out of date. But that just shows how much that stuff is arbitrary to the actual message of a great game. In the game you have one chance to save the world from a deadly disease, one that you created which was supposed to be a cure for cancer. But it all goes wrong and ends up killing every living cell in the entire world. The game has you trying to save the world, but you only get one chance. No replays, no retries and no reloading the game to start again.

The game is quite emotional for a little online game, especially when there is no happy ending at all. I guess this is a spoiler but the absolute saddest part is when you come home to see that your wife has succumbed to the disease, the music that plays is perfect. It is amazing how sad a 8 bit character dying can be.

4th – Half Life 2

What is more depressing than a post-apocalyptic game in which everyone is dead? How about a game in which humans are harvested by an alien race that have banned the reproduction of the human species. That is a pretty shitty way to end the world. The game takes you through the fight from a group of people living in City 17, only underground, and they are trying to fight back against these condom-loving aliens.

It is about as bleak a future as you can possibly imagine and it is definitely a depressing sight. The idea that the human race falls to an alien race bound on harvesting us is one that not a lot of people would like to imagine. The game is absolutely brilliant and the storyline is reminiscent of a great science fiction movie, and one of the games that is macabre as hell.

3rd – Nier

Most of these games tug on your emotional heartstrings, with things happening to characters you have become attached to. But Nier is more depressing on a personal note. You have to play the game a few times before you get the chance to save your friend, as in you need to play the entire game 3 or 4 times before you get this opportunity. But when you eventually do get the chance to free your friend there is a hefty price to pay. For her freedom your character must be erased from history, no big deal right. Wrong! This erases your entire save data for the game, everything and anything you have saved in this game.

It is a high price to ask as it eliminates everything you have done, you can’t go back to the game ever again without playing it all over from the beginning. It is sort of bittersweet I guess, but it is incredibly depressing to think that you have put so many hours of with work into this and the only way to truly end the game is with you deleting all of that hard work. Nier is definitely one of those games that gets you where it hurts.

2nd – Heavy Rain

This is one of the few games that I still haven’t played yet, which is something that really bugs me, as the game looks brilliant. But I have spoiled myself because I know just how horrible this game gets, there are decent endings but then there are the endings that not only tug at the heartstrings they pull them apart! There are various endings but the one that is best remembered is when the main character Ethan commits suicide die to the death of his son.

In no way does this feel pointless or a cop out, this feels horribly real and feels like a genuine ending. This is a terrible situation the character is in and while you aren’t expecting it, it definitely feels like a solid and accepted ending. It isn’t a nice game when you get the horrid endings and definitely depressing, but from what I’ve seen and heard it is an excellent one.

1st – Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill is pretty much the king of dark and sinister gaming. But for me Silent Hill 2 is the point at which the series should have came with Prozac. You play through the game as a man who suffocated his with to death and then some crazy residents of Silent Hill are created to punish him for his deeds. The only reason he is in Silent Hill is because his supposedly dead wife is sending him letters directing him there. Can I just take a minute to understand how screwed up the premise of this game is? You don’t get many games in which the protagonist is a murderer who is about to be punished for his deeds.

This is by far the most gruesome and sinister game I have ever played, it is like every one of the others on this list mixed into one. There are scary settings, horrifying antagonists and then in one of the endings the guy commits suicide. Nice work Konami, we will all be on antidepressants for a long time after playing this one.

YouTube Video to Counter the Depression!
It’s about Pokémon, always a good topic.

What do you want the 8 Ball to be about next week?

Top 8 Sega Games

Top 8 Biggest Disappointments

Top 8 Happy Games


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David McGregor
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