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Ten Games That Made Me "Care" Recently (Broken)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on August 06, 2002   |   Episode 41 (Show Archive)  

   
WALL OF TEXT EXPLAINED: What you're looking at is an episode of Countdown w/ Defunct Games published before 2006. As you can tell, something has gone horribly awry. I won't bore you with the technical details, but it has to do with the old layout being incompatible with the new. Eventually, we would like to retrofit these old episodes of Countdown, but that will require a significant amount of time. As Defunct Games has only a limited staff, we aren't sure when we'll have the chance to fix this article. If you absolutely need to know what this article said, get a hold of us on Twitter or leave a message in the comment section below. Sorry for the inconvenience. I hope you will enjoy the episodes created post-2006.

#10 Final Fantasy VII When Final Fantasy VII was first released, gamers were blown away by the phenomenal graphics, cinematic story telling, and of dynamic music. What many players weren't ready for was the abrupt death of one of the most developed female characters in any game. The moment that Aeris died at the end of the first disc, gamers everywhere questioned why they even played games. Now that we've had enough time to get over our loss, Square has brought her back in Kingdom Hearts. At least in this game she won't be able to die. #9 Phantasy Star Online Here's a game that requires you to care enough about your character to not only go adventuring, but spend hundreds of hours perfecting themselves. The game doesn't offer a story, but rather lets you and your adventurers chat and develop character. It might not be the most emotional game of all time, but I defy anybody who has spent enough time to get his or her character up to level fifty or so to say it's not a personal experience. #8 Silent Hill It's hard to feel sympathy for most survival horror games, even though the characters are put in situations far beyond their control, usually they are cops or even special forces and it's their job (and they've been trained). In Silent Hill there's somebody who you can really feel some sympathy for. He's not a fast runner, he's not very good at shooting a gun, and he's not extremely weak. But in his mission to find the truth, he's about to be put into situations far worse than anything Jill, the master of unlocking, will ever know. #7 Metal Gear Solid There's a point in Metal Gear Solid where the woman who has helped you the entire way, is taken down by a well-aimed bullet. The death of Meryl is enough to almost bring me to my knees. It felt unjust, horrific, and inhumane, and made me feel all the more angry to avenge her death. Through one of the best stories in video games, Metal Gear Solid allows you to both love Meryl, as well as hate what happens to her. Few games can provoke such emotion, and it should never be discounted. Solid Snake may be a statue of a human, but it's the supportive cast that brings the heart to the game. #6 Prince of Persia Okay, I confess, it's not exactly a "recent" title, but it still represents a few things missing in a lot of games these days. Prince of Persia forces you to beat it in a certain amount of time, and frankly, it's not a short game. So what makes me "care" about a game like Prince of Persia? It's urgency, for one thing, is something that I feel adds to the overall excitement, plus forces you to care about the adventure. Games will a slow pace, and no time limit can often times make you lose interest, but this give you no time to even think about anything but the goal at hand. Whether this is done on purpose, or a byproduct, it's up for debate. For me, though, Prince of Persia is an extremely personal, and emotional game. #5 Eternal Darkness You'd think, with so many different stories, a game like Eternal Darkness would be hard to "care" about. After all, it seems like when you just start to really meet a character, something bad happens. But this game truly excels in both giving us 12 people we can really "care" about, but ALSO conveys the helplessness involved with each of these vignettes. This is not only one of the best GameCube games, but also gets you thinking about all kinds of wayward issues. It's truly tragic what happens to some of these people, truly tragic. #4 The Sims Even though it's questionable whether or not this is really a game, there's one thing for certain, you connect with your "family" more than most other games. There's still a certain disconnect between you and them, after all you are controlling just about everything, and so it's up to you to put the effort to care about these people. This is the sort of game that is in the eye of the beholder, but there's no denying what it attempts to do. #3 Munch's Oddysee Munch represents something most of us can feel, being alone in a new place, with no friends. This sad little creature is both sympathetic and cute, but also rather smelly. This Xbox launch title might not be the best adventure in the world, but it does make you "feel" something for the characters. And there are so many different cinema segments that help convey how sad it must be to be the last of your kind. Wandering the countryside all by yourself (in a wheelchair) can be lonely, and this character tugs at your heartstrings, at least until he passes gas. #2 Final Fantasy X Like the movie, and earlier Fantasy's, Final Fantasy X offers a downer of an ending, not to mention a cast of characters worth investing the time with. Frankly, what happens at the end of the game could be viewed as being unjust, perhaps even cruel in the nature of videogames, but Square doesn't flinch away, and gives us at least three characters we're sad to part with at the end of the game. Then again, when you have 60 hours of gameplay to deal with, you can develop those characters. #1 Ico I'm sure you're sick and tired of seeing Ico on these top ten lists, but it's one of those games so filled with character, personality, and intrigue that it makes you wonder why it couldn't succeed. But truth be told, it's also one of those kinds of games people don't pay a lot of attention to. But you know, it's for a reason that critics keep drilling this name into your head, and this is the category to prove that. Frankly, I haven't cared more for a game character in YEARS. Poor little Ico and his adventure is not unlike that of many people, his is a little more literal, perhaps, but frankly it's all relative. This horned boy not only has a struggle on his hands, but has to deal with a girl who he can't even understand. And really, there's just a whole metaphor there. Question: But the question is, do you suppose they actually have a point that not enough games actually make you "feel" or "care"? Oh you bet. There's no question that most games are made to represent as little emotion as possible. And frankly, when they do it's usually pretty forced. But then, let's look at this realistically; most games these days have you playing an action hero, or something like that. How many action MOVIES actually have a lot of emotion, and when they do, doesn't it feel pretty forced? It takes a skilled action movie to have both emotion AND action, it's hard to balance the two. This is also difficult in video games, and that's why I feel the need to point the ones that do it well out. Hopefully as the graphics get better, companies start hiring writers to make deep stories.
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