End of Year 2018: "That Time When..." - Moments in Games that Sparked Our Senses and Stuck in Our Minds


#1

"That Time When..." - Moments in Games that Sparked Our Senses and Stuck in Our Minds

We laughed. We cried. We fought through adversity. We accomplished something. This thread is the place to share your most memorable stories and impactful moments from games in 2018. Maybe it was something you pulled off that made you feel great about yourself. Maybe the game’s clockwork systems interacted just so, and something incredible happened. Or maybe it was a completely scripted moment that was deeply thought-provoking, side-splittingly hilarious, or just hit you right in the feels. At their best, these moments can stick with us for years.

There is no one true way to experience a game, and we don’t want to downplay the value of emergent storytelling. As such, this category will be discussion only, with no nominations or voting taking place. We hope this encourages folks to share stories that are more personal and specific to what they enjoy about games, rather than focusing on moments that might have a broader appeal.

Given the spoiler-heavy nature of this topic, we’d like to remind everyone to please be courteous and blur your spoilers, annotating what game (and roughly what part of the game, if applicable) the spoiler is from. That way other folks reading through the thread have the opportunity to experience that moment just like you did. Thank you!


Discussion Thread

This category is not involved in our nomination/voting process and instead is all about discussing your favs!

Be sure to check the Q&A section below if you have questions, otherwise feel free to reach out to one of us! We hope you enjoy this event and we’re excited to see what sorts of discussion each category inspires!


Q&A

Q: End of Year? What's that?

A: I’m glad you asked! Just head over to our pinned topic if you need a catch up! You can also find details on the process for the event here.

Q: What is eligible to be discussed?

A: Though we’re still largely looking for discussion of things that released in 2018, given that this is a discussion thread separate from the nomination process we’re happy to be a little more lax on items that might fall into a grey area. You’re free to use your own judgement with that, and to reach out to us if there’s anything you’re not sure of.

Credits
  • Thank you to @Emily for the banner!

End of Year 2018: Waypoint Community's Favorites
#4

Assassins Creed Odyssey, during one of the last real world segments:

When Kassandra walks up behind Layla all “sup i’m immortal here’s that artifact you were looking for”. It was absolutely fantastic not just because I had predicted it in a jokey hopeful way several hours earlier, but for another reason. Kassandra is easily my favorite Assassins Creed character, and now they can do literally anything they want with her over the 2500 years she’s spent between her time and Layla’s. I don’t know if they will but that potential being there makes me very happy.

Crosscode, near the end- doing the hidden quest for the best ending.

This is where Crosscode (my game of the year) hit its story peak for me. Everything about how Lea convinces this tech executive that she is 1)an AI, and 2) deserves to be treated as a person is fantastic. The absolute best part is how he determines that she is in fact an AI and not a human pretending to be one. He sends her a data packet that includes an audio sample that near the end of the 30 second length asks her to hold up the number 3 with her fingers. The reasoning being that as an AI she’ll be able to scrub through the data near-instantly and give the response (from his perspective) immediately after he sends the file, while a human would have to listen to the full 30 seconds first. Maybe that sort of thing has come up in other media before but having it play out in this game as an action you are performing as Lea was just incredible.


#5

An essay on the penultimate scene of Florence:

The latter act of Florence is all about that worst period in a relationship’s arc: the post-break up. The game forces you to distance the title character from her now-ex by removing any and all remnants of her past relationship. A corkboard with a map and polaroids taken during memorable dates, a picture of Florence and Krish where you must literally tear out his presence, packing up Krish’s stuff in a desaturated colorgrade that makes differentiating the line between your possessions and his a legitimate challenge, a sequence where you cannot interact with your screen so Florence can literally walk away from the memory of her partner and ‘move on’ – After spending the previous half hour becoming so invested in the happiness Florence felt with this guy, I felt gutted every time I had to actively push her away from what no longer is there. But then something happens. At some arbitrary point, she gets out of her rut. She finally picks up that painting kit that was gifted to her years ago and she begins to feel passionate for something again. She finds success in her painting, grows a stronger love for herself, adopts a cat named Loaf, and she quits her dull accounting job.

It’s the scene where she leaves this job that I want to talk about. All of that previous paragraph is the lead up to the penultimate scene of the game: packing up your office supplies. A stapler here, a decorative cat figure there. You tap on every not-so-hidden object to continue progression and the now-joyful music makes this chore something to delight in. And then, once you think you’re done, Florence moves the her keyboard and finds a stray polaroid underneath. It’s a photo from that discarded corkboard of her Krish, both smiling, being genuinely happy together. The memory of their break up was still there for me, as it was with Florence I’m sure, but the game cuts to a reverse shot of Florence staring at the picture, smiling and happy again. Seeing that reaction, that signification that you don’t have to define your past relationships by the pain that came with their endings; that you can think back on a relationship and not just feel OK, but genuinely *good about how they affected you – I became an emotional mess for a bit there. I don’t think a game has encouraged me to reflect on my own past and psychology this much since maybe playing Persona 4 for the first time. I’ve been devastated by break-ups, and some still linger with me today. I’ve always wanted to be “OK” with what happened, but being able to actually feel that without force can be so hard. To not feel resentful, to remember what was good, to recognize how those good things remain with you today: Florence showed me that it’s possible.

I may never see most of my ex’s again. I may still feel some remorse or wistfulness for how those relationships ended. But seeing a person (even if she’s a cartoon character inside a video game) find a way to move on from her pain, finding the strength to think positively on what was and to recognize what her time spent loving another person did for her – that was something I really needed to see.


#7

There are soooooo many individual moments from Red Dead Redemption 2’s story I could go with. Do I pick the opening trudge through the snow? The raid on the Braithwaite manor? Arthur’s confession to Sister Calderon? The final brawl with Micah? John proposing to Abigail? I am spoiled for choice!

But, instead, I’m gonna go with being able to say nice things to my horse. That little interaction, where I remind my horse that I love it unconditionally, defines RDR2 for me.


#8

Ashen is full of these moments, the end of that first dungeon, the castle before the second, it’s a real treat.

Obviously RDR2 has some incredible moments.


#9

Experiencing the Tiger Fight in Yakuza 2 Kiwami was like hearing the tall tales of an epic exploit over the internet campfire for years, then finally seeing it for yourself.

Add the facts that Kiryu was suffering from a brutal shank wound, he was fighting in a golden place INSIDE of another, larger palace, and Haruka is watching the entire thing, shaping her perception of future men in her life until the day she dies.


#10

We gotta talk about the big smiles on ALL of our faces when Forza Horizon 4 played it’s intro:

(I’d strongly advice experiencing this over watching it.)

Talk about one of the best openings to a game, GOAT.


#11

Iconoclasts, the boss fight near the end where Elro fights Lawrence. At this point Elro has undergone enough trauma and injury that his ability to even stand is shocking—if I’m remembering correctly, one of his arms is gone, and he’s been repeatedly tortured before you’re finally able to rescue him. All he has to fight with is a broken sword, and the entire fight is just a process of repeatedly staggering forward and parrying/hopping over Lawrence’s shots until close enough to get in one weakened hit. At which point he punches you back to the other end of the stage. The music in that scene is incredible and the background—these flocks of birds that fly past (with just a little bit of slow-mo added at the start), the swirling orange clouds, the rocket in the background—it’s one of the most atmospheric fights I can remember in any game. In a game where the fights were usually fairly hit-or-miss, it floored me. I’m sure you could feel that it’s overdone—but at that point I’d fully bought into that game’s fiction, and after it was over I just had to sit and savor it for a while.

Also, speaking of atmospheric fights, I feel like a broken record continually bringing up Celeste, but the sequence in Chapter 6: Reflection fighting against Badeline was just a masterpiece of everything that game had set up to that point. The platforming gets so kinetic and so flowing that it just gives such a rush. Couple of brilliant boss fights in platformers this year.


#12

I don’t think any game has quite shaken me to my core this year like Subnautica did. I love marine biology and exploring the ecosystems in Subnautica was a treat (something I may write more about in fav environment another day) but once you begin to venture out of the shallow waters of the starting zones and into the depths of the open world, Subnautica quickly becomes a horror game.

There’s a moment I distinctly remember from the latter half of my playthrough. By this point I had already experienced my share of encounters with big (and I mean big) creatures, and had finally gathered enough materials to build the Cyclops (a mini submarine). To take it for a spin I decided to venture out into the Craters Edge, an ‘ecological dead zone’ the game told me. It’s also giant, near-bottomless and acts as Subnautica edge of the map. Still, I was curious what was out there, if anything, and it acted as a good wide-open space for me to get the hang of the Cyclops’ unwieldy controls.

You should know that the cockpit of the Cyclops is essentially a giant dome window that looks out into the ocean, with a little wheel placed in the middle for you to stand in front of. When you’re piloting the vessel you are left staring straight out into the void in front of you, and you feel tiny. So imagine the tinge of dread I was feeling as I piloted this thing into the pitch black darkness of Craters Edge, not quite sure of what I’d find. And then I heard something.

What I would later learn is the way Subnautica gates you from going too far off the map was aware I was somewhere I shouldn’t be and was not happy about it. I could hear distant screeching & roars from something and it wasn’t long before that something revealed itself to me. From the darkness in front of me a blue, bio-luminescent shape appeared and before long I could see a very large, very angry creature barrelling towards me. I could feel a pit in my stomach as a scrambled to back away and get the heck out of there. And then a second creature showed up. Turns out the game will spawn up to three of these monsters to ‘encourage’ you to leave the area. It was terrifying, and before I could so much as turn and leave the creatures had already wrecked my submarine. Faced with the choice of reloading a save or leaving the safety of my sinking vessel to join these gigantic beings in their territory, you can probably guess what option I took.

The game offered up more moments like that over the course of my playthrough but that one was definitely the most frightening.


#13

Wow. I have been fantasizing about a game that could recapture the tension of Jaws for a really long time and you make Subnautica sound like a dream come true.

On the other hand, holy fuck, I think this game would literally give me a heart attack. That gif was one of the most frightening things I’ve seen this year. I bet the thassalaphobia subreddit is drowning in footage from this game.


#14
  1. Celeste: The summit. I don’t know if an entire level counts, but this is where the story and the mechanics coalesce into one perfect whole.

  2. Into the Breach: your first victory. Your first victory, and probably a lot of victories after that, will be a messy affair that should never have worked.

  3. Hitman 2: Becoming the bird. It’s funny and fun offing Sierra Knox by pushing her into a conspicuously open shaft in an alley, but the best part of this little side story is 47 chatting up one of the guards about the mascot life. I won’t spoil it if you haven’t done it, but the voice actor for 47 has mastered deadpan comedy.


#15

I miss-clicked while playing Medival 2: Total War. I wanted a single unit of spears to join the main force.

~3000 enemy combatants were massacred in the ensuing battle.
~5000 civilians were massacred in the ensuing sack of Milan.
The commander of my force received the Despoiler trait and a Torturer joined his retinue.


#16

I’d forgotten that I want to play Iconoclasts! Thanks for the reminder!


#17

Of all the moments in God of War that made me love that game in spite of it’s flaws, it’s not any of the fights with the Valkyries, or mural at the end that reveals Faye is short for ‘Laufey’ and that Atreus is Loki and the giants knew all of what was to come and carved it out as a mural. It’s not freeing the dragons or climbing the giant or the confrontation at the end of the game.

I liked watching Kratos talk with the dwarf brothers and Atreus helping them reconcile. I liked helping Freya gather herbs and save a wild boar in her giant turtle house. Most of all, I liked riding around on that boat and listening to Kratos tell Atreus bad stories, then listening to Mimir do the same when he starts to accompany the party. For me, the way God of War has changed shines through in the little things rather than the big.


#18

I bought into Return of the Obra Dinn almost immediately when I started playing. Seeing the deaths around the Captain’s Quarters immediately made me feel like this was going to be the best kind of detective game, but it was the next set of scenes that got me.

Using the pocket watch and seeing the ship under attack by a giant kraken was amazing and totally unexpected! This wasn’t just a human drama, but danger could come from more monstrous and even supernatural forces. The art direction and music really made an otherwise static scene come alive with drama and danger.


#19

I never got far to use the Cyclops yet, but holy crap that is terrifying.

It made me think of an earlier moment in Subnautica that blew my mind. It started with the radio from the ship answering the Aurora’s SOS and was inbound to pick me up. I wondered how they’d do that on the ocean, but I followed the waypoint anyway.

First off, I was surprised that there was an island, I didn’t venture far enough on my own to see it yet. Then the next surprise came when I saw the alien superstructure (I came in at an angle where I didn’t see the underwater portions of it), I wasn’t expecting that to be a thing and introduced a whole new sense of mystery to the game.

Finally, that moment when the ship is coming, but then the superstructure activates its gun and shoots it down in this fiery explosion is just…I had to pause the game and take a walk because it was something I was not expecting at all with this type of game.

Moments like that and the other stuff you encounter made me really love this game. It’s like someone watched The Abyss and said “yeah, lets make a game revolved around this”.


#20

I have a story about my first victory.

Henry Kwan had shown up in a time capsule on the first island while my inexperienced pilots battled to secure a power plant.

My Riftwalkers with the aid of the new time traveling pilot dismantled the Vek bit by bit. On the final turn of the final battle they surrounded Henry’s mech. The Vek knew their fate in that timeline was sealed so they decided to doom Henry as well. They trapped him on a tile that the environment was about to destroy.

Henry sent a final broadcast to his fellow pilots as the earth swallowed him, “It wasn’t supposed to end like this.”


#21

For me, the Return of the Obra Dinn had the most memorable moment in all of 2018.

After completing the first chapter, and you find the body that puts you into the next, my mind reeled at realizing how large the possibility space was for the fate of the crew. With the first chapter only having deaths of the crew at the hands of the other crewman (Captain shoots a guy, then knifes another, followed by bludgeoning a third, before taking his own life), I had a notion that the story was that there were multiple factions of crew trying to keep a treasure for themselves or something. I figured that the different factions maybe clandestinely started offing each other, before it became too obvious and it became all out warring.

So using the body of the Abigail (the Captain’s wife), we thrust ourselves into the middle of Obra Dinn’s journey. The screen is black, and we hear Abigail calling for her husband. An officer is shouting over the sea and the storm to tell her to get inside, presumably because of the storm. People in the background are shouting, and Abigail is still calling for the Captain, until it at all stops with a tremendous thudding sound. Just at that moment, we are immediately met with Abigail getting bludgeoned by a significant portion of the mast.


The initial framing of the scene is incredibly important. We are looking at Abigail with a pained expression on her face, still technically standing, but noticeably falling forward from the large beam that landed on her. You can see the railing of the ship in the background and rain is frozen in space. And you see all this without ever having to move the mouse. It isn’t until you look in basically any direction that you see the giant tentacles of the Kraken, one of which is holding the mast that killed poor Abigail. It was at this moment that I realized how small I had been thinking.

That moment propelled me through the rest of the game. I was hooked from that moment on: I needed to know what happened next. After I had solved every single death, for an entire week afterwards (and occasionally still) I would just think about everything that happened to the crew, and often times think about this one defining moment.

I recognize that my amazement with this moment is helped by the fact that I did not look at any trailers or really knew much about it, but this moment stuck with me in a way that I don’t think any other game has before.


#22

I thought of my runner up to punching the Fierce Tigers in Yakuza 2 Kiwami,
and that’s finishing the cardboard piano in Nintendo Labo kit #1, the culmination of long journey of folding cardboard. And it actually worked.


#23

Honestly, the first time my team succeeded in overrunning capture points in Battlefield 1’s Operations mode. The remaining defenders scatter back to their next line of defense, the map opens up and there’s a cacophony of whistles, gunfire, and yelling as we charged forward to the next objective.

BF1 might have had the best “immersion” of any of the Battlefield games.