Times Video Games Broke Our Hearts

Even though they're just pixels on a screen, video games have a way of tugging at our heartstrings. Developers know any good story needs to have some drama or tragedy along the way, and not every tale deserves a happy ending. Let's take a look at some of the all-time saddest gaming moments.

[Spoiler Warning: This article contains descriptions of important scenes, deaths, and endings of popular video games. If you haven't played these games, we recommend you scroll past if you don't want the story spoiled. Don't say we didn't warn you!]

Sarah - The Last of Us

Even though you only know Sarah for the first 20 minutes of The Last of Us, the developers do a good job of making you care about her. When she's fatally shot as her father carries her to safety, by a soldier who is just "following orders," it's a gut-wrenching moment. The gasps and whimpers as she bleeds out in her father's arms tear you apart as if you're watching your own child die.

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Tidus - Final Fantasy X

Final Fantasy X really knows how to make you care about its characters. As we watch Tidus transform from a spoiled, angsty man-child into a mature adult, you can't help but care about him almost as much as Yuna does. That's what makes his ultimate sacrifice that much harder to bear, especially when it happens right in front of his beloved Yuna.

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John Marston - Red Dead Redemption

In another "bad guy turned good guy" story, Red Dead Redemption gives us no choice but to root for John Marston on his quest to save—and be reunited with—his family. Even now, thinking about John finally getting his family to safety only to be brutally gunned down by the authorities still fills us with rage.

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Bloodwing - Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2 is packed with emotion, and the death of Mordecai's faithful companion Bloodwing is perhaps the most emotional moment of all. The desperation when you realize what's about to happen is unbearable, and your inability to do anything to change the outcome is crushing. The game developers may have made the most reprehensible video game villain ever when they created Handsome Jack.

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Aerith - Final Fantasy VII

This is probably the video game death that tops them all. Aerith/Aeris, a sweet girl who loves to collect flowers, bonds with Cloud throughout the game. You come to love her too, which makes her violent death by impalement on Sephiroth's sword even harder. For many of us, this was the first game to ever make us cry.

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John - To the Moon

The entire plot of To The Moon is mysterious and depressing. Once you finally think you've achieved a happy ending, the developers rip the rug out from under you with the beeping of a heart monitor. The entire game was just the result of some scientists rummaging through John's memories in a simulation, and the heart monitor finally flatlines as the credits roll.

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Dominic Santiago - Gears of War 2 and 3

You don't really expect a shooter game to have many impactful moments, but the story of Dominic Santiago is a tragic one. First, in Gears of War 2 we see Dom finally find his beloved Maria, only to discover nothing is left but an emaciated husk on the brink of death. He's forced to shoot Maria to put her out of her misery, and if you've ever seen Old Yeller, this is just as bad. Then in Gears of War 3, with the team surrounded and no other way out, Dom takes a truck on a suicide run to save his best friend Marcus and the rest of his team.

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Cortana - Halo 4

Throughout the Halo series, Cortana has been our constant guide and companion. In a series mostly lacking in solid character development, the relationship between Cortana and Master Chief was a major exception. Even though the Spartans were trained to not show emotion, you can feel the desperation in John's voice as Cortana sacrifices herself to save him: "It was my job to take care of you," he says. She replies, "We were supposed to take care of each other... and we did." Oh man, the feels.

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Midna - Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

The ending of Twilight Princess caught us off guard. With Ganondorf and Zant defeated and the realm of Hyrule saved from eternal darkness, we knew that Link's companion Midna would have to return to the Twilight Realm. But we figured they'd keep in touch, using the mirror like an ancient walkie-talkie or something. Instead, Midna takes the practical route, explaining that the best way to prevent this from ever happening again is to sever the connection between the realms forever. Her single tear shatters the mirror, and just like that, Midna is gone forever.

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Agro - Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus doesn't give you much of a choice about bonding with your faithful horse Agro. Since Wander is all alone in the world, there is literally nobody else to bond with besides Agro. He's always got your back, and when he throws you to safety before plunging to his (apparent) death, it's almost impossible to continue on to the fight with the final Colossus. Even though the ending reveals Agro survives, he's got a broken leg—which usually doesn't end well for a horse.

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Soap MacTavish - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Even if you're not a fan of the Call of Duty franchise, the single-player mode has offered up some emotional moments. Perhaps the worst is when Soap (who you frequently play as throughout the series) is cut down before being able to exact his revenge on Makarov. His death comes as a huge shock, as Soap seems almost indestructible to that point, taking bullets and surviving on several occasions. It just isn't fair.

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Mordin Solus - Mass Effect 3

Bioshock always does a great job of creating a bond between the player and the characters, and Mass Effect 3 is no exception. We come to care about Mordin, and when he realizes the mistake he made with Genophage and gives his life in order to disperse the cure, there isn't a dry eye in the house. "It had to be me... Someone else might have gotten it wrong."

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Lee Everett - The Walking Dead

Nothing like spending a huge amount of time protecting little Clementine, teaching her how to survive in the cruel and violent world of The Walking Dead, only to be bitten by a zombie. The game cruelly gives you the choice of how to proceed, with Clementine forced to either leave Lee for dead or kill him to put him out of his misery. "Keep that hair short," he tells her. Clementine will remember that. And so will we.

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