Storyline! Yeah, that’s an important part of videogames these days. It may be something that’s been lauded by gamers since the days of Zork, but only fairly recently has it become so in vogue. As a general rule, the cycle goes: experiences wanted by players from games of old > indie games do it > becomes cool > triple-A developers do it > becomes uncool, and around again. And it makes sense in a vague kind of way. Big budget development teams don’t want to waste money experimenting with something new if people won’t buy it. They’re a business after all. Let the bedroom devs take the plunge, they’ve got nothing to lose. If it works, then copy them.
And when those money-machines have killed an idea to death, it’s time to spit it out and devour the next one. To some degree it’s beneficial to gamers as we end up with things like Portal, but for every Portal there’s a MindJack, where poorly mimicked puzzle gimmicks are distilled and shoehorned into mindless, tumescent cash-ins. But the worst offender? Emotion. Indie developers had the audacity to make feeling something other than ‘mildly entertained’ cool again, and began taking us on roller-coasters of raw sentiment. The publishing giants dutifully jumped on the bandwagon, and what we were left with was an abomination unto mankind.
Why didn’t it work? Well, you see, those games that effortlessly and callously invaded your heart before leaving you balling up more tissues than the entire population of England during Princess Diana’s funeral could do so because they operated within context of their subject. Shadow Of The Colossus. Journey. Mother 3. To The Moon. All games where your heartbreak is a component of the central theme. What we have here, however, are seven games where sensitivity absolutely isn’t within the context, but they still flatly attempt to manipulate your emotions anyway, likely because the developers felt like they had to superglue some ‘sad bits’ onto a game in order to connect with us. Ugh.
Click on to see what lame, wooden cutscenes made it onto our list! And I guess it’s worth noting that there’s spoilers ahead, assuming you’ve spent the last 10 years living in a Guatemalan sink-hole.