Gaming provides moments of euphoric highs and crushing lows and I'd like to hear about yours. I've had plenty of occasions where I get so utterly snared by a game that I can rant, rave and philosophise about its innovation and genius for days and to complete strangers. Equally however, there are some moments that just hurt my face and make me question whether some obstacles will be too difficult for gaming to ever overcome.
I advise marking spoilers throughout as we don't want to ruin the moment for anyone else.
Bioshock 1 reveal and gaming surprises (Spoilers)
Even though the final scene with Andrew Ryan will be touted as the most emotionally charged, the reveal from Fontaine had my head spinning for days. The way a player implicitly trusts the quest giver and carries out all objectives makes it very difficult to dispute manipulation and mind-control in-game. There have probably been others that have done this little twist before but this little manoeuvre had me literally questioning the way I play games for some time after.
Something similar had been done in Oblivion (the quest where you hallucinate and kill goblins/villagers) and provided a good measure of guilt on conclusion. The game actually had a quite frightening bug on my return as for some reason the slaughtered citizens were still standing outside their houses and slowly slid backwards with no reaction into the ground and behind a rock all the while staring into space...
I may be alone here but the twist in Gears of War 2 (not a major fan in any way) with Dom and Maria (IIRC) was crushing to me. I'm a big softie at heart so the reveal of her condition actually gave me goosebumps. It may been a twist that others saw coming but it was an emotional moment dropped in a game I had written off as a bit of macho shootie fun.
The Witcher 1's possible bombshell with Alvin at the very end blew my mind for days. The subtle hints and player involvement in the outcome really staggered me. I'm yet to get through Witcher 2 and am hoping for more!
Mass Effect, The Witcher 1 and romance in gaming
Despite strong efforts to move this forward from companies like BioWare this is definitely where mainstream gaming as an art form regularly struggles. While we often play games to feel like omnipotent overlords of our little sandbox I would like it if practically every female character wasn't falling all over themselves to fall at my feet. I can't attest to playing as female characters with enough experience to make any kind of a judgement so maybe another gamer could fill in here.
I understand, yes Geralt is an exotic sterile STD free bad ass, yes Shephard is a strong leader with diamond cheekbones but I would love for NPCs to be able to react with a little more agency to their advances. As it stands it just seems to be a case of picking the 'right' dialogue options or carrying around a rose in your inventory to have your way with most of the characters. A little more emotional involvement and development as opposed to 'I've got a case of the pre-final mission randy' would be great. I tend to get emotionally involved in most media so after gravitating to someone like Tali in ME2 her shy/nervouse dispotion came across really well while Shephard bleeted inanities like 'you're the one for me' and 'I want to be with you'. I understand that this is difficult for developers but I would love for a character to really grow into this situation rather than toss a coin towards the end of the game.
I really enjoyed the Bastila sequence in KOTOR 1 for instance, even though it was most likely mired in many of the same difficulties, I felt a real progression. Games such as Fable basically reducing a relationship to a few emoticons feel like they break immersion. I remember in Morrowind trying desperately to get a Khajiit lady's ex off Skooma and moving in with her, only for her to disappear a few days later in some kind of a bug. That was actually quite a horrible moment and made me feel quite lonely.
Anyways that's my input for now. I'd love to hear some of your own memories.