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


The confession scene for Red Dead Redemption 2 is probably my favorite cutscene moment of 2018. There’s some genuine feeling in the writing there, which makes me CONVINCED Dan Houser had nothing to do with it.

Obvious spoilers for the vid below:


The fact that it was Michael Unsworth who accepted the Best Narrative award at the Keighley’s DOES make me wonder just how exactly R*'s writing team works and who exactly does what.


I think Houser is so arrogant, that he WANTS to be involved in the writing process, even though he shouldn’t. But I like the idea of Rockstar handing over writing to people who actually care about the characters they write about. RDR 2 has it’s problems with how it treats its marginalized characters, but the story revolving around Arthur and his redemption is fantastic.

Though, knowing how GTA V came out, I’m scared how the cycle back to GTA will be handled narratively.


My moment is one of those grey areas. I played No Mans Sky for the first time when the Next update came out.

I spent 20+ hours just kinda stumbling through my starting solar system. I wanted to explore everything, scan everything on every planet, save up for a cool ship (even though the prices seem exorbitant (lol out of my orbit? - space puns? lmao), and ended up being confused by what you are supposed to do in this game. I played through the base building quest up until the point where I had to recruit a scientist, and to do that I had to go to another solar system. Sorted out the antimatter housing and antimatter and I was finally ready to jump.

I looked at my target destination on my galaxy map and… “What the fuck—” the target galaxy is my name- like my IRL given name. At this point I wasn’t sure if this was just part of the game’s design and Hello Games just pulled your info off your PS4 or whatever, but that seemed very weird too. I jumped into the new solar system, and looking around, everything is named after (?) me. 40m Minor, 40m Major, 40m Station, etc, etc. I finally figured out that someone else named it after looking around in the menu (still not sure if it was their starting system or not), but still… so weird.

Did the game know? Was it all just one weird cosmic coincidence?

That’s stuck with me since then lol. This game is kinda brilliant maybe.


Right before the end of World of Light in Smash Ultimate, You set Master Hand and Crazy Hand free from the control of Galeem and Dharkon, and they open a big rift in the ground in front of your character. Naturally, you expect them to jump in, but instead Master Hand takes the plunge, putting you at the helm of the series’ original boss for the very first time (glitches aside). It might not be difficult to take down 50 weak CPUs, but it gives you plenty of time go around your controller pressing every button to call forth moves iconic and new alike. It’s embarrassing how excited I got about this brief moment that didn’t even seem particularly necessary to the plot, as you still have to take down Gharkeem the old-fashioned way afterwards, but it was just so fucking cool. Everyone is here, never ask me for anything ever again, etc.


No spoilers to be had, but completing the Journey in Tetris Effect was one of the most purely joyous moments I’ve ever seen a game create.

I’ve worked my way through a variety of levels, 36 lines at a time. The last level requires triple that. Like all the other parts of the Journey, it’s not a steady ramp-up. The difficulty waxes and wanes.

Then I start to get close. The speed falls into a nice comfortable difficulty. Not too slow, but if you’ve made it this far, you can handle it. All sound is washed away as the game’s New Age Pop music inspires me to reach the end. The game wants me to win.

Then, with about 15 lines left, it decides I may as well have won already. The soundtrack swells. Every new line cleared results in a BURST of sound and color. I haven’t even finished yet, but the game is giving me fireworks. It’s already celebrating, and it feels like it’s celebrating me. Then you clear that last line and soar off into the universe.

Not in a million years did I think a Tetris game, of all things, could bring me to tears, but that’s what this game did.

Tetris Effect wants you to love it, but more importantly, it wants you to love yourself.


Fighting the final boss in Dead Cells. I’ve only beaten them 2-3 times, but no matter whether I succeed or not my heart is always, always pounding by the end. It’s such a furiously engaging challenge that I cannot help but smile.

I’m not too far on in Ashen, but there have already been a couple of fantastic creature reveals that the game has done a wonderful job of showing their scale.

Finally, I’d say that moment in Into The Breach when you line up all the enemies so they all kill each other in a single round.


My most memorable gaming moment this year was also from Return of the Obra Dinn, but is far less spoilery than the (excellent) moment that @Pam and @mooseman456 highlighted. Mine came after 6 or so hours, when I had seen all the available vignettes, and I had 15-20 more fates to solve. I had just started to get the feeling that I was stumped, and that, God forbid, I would have to look up a guide. I went through each scene again, to no avail. Just as I was about to give up, I was staring at the page with the pictures of the crew, and something clicked. I noticed something that helped me identify someone. Exhilarated, I put his information in the book, then used the information I inferred to identify someone else. Soon I had three correct identifications. From there I began to understand the roles of other crew members, and before I knew it I had three more. In a flurry of activity I finally managed to get the message that I had correctly identified the fates of all possible crew members, less than 10 minutes after that revelation.

Return of the Obra Dinn is excellent throughout, and made me feel smarter than any other game I have played, but that moment in particular set it aside as the best detective game ever in my mind. All the information that was necessary to figure out each fate was in front of me, and none of it required leaps of logic to solve, all it took was a moment of insight.


I’m gonna pick a few choice scenes in Iconoclasts here. This is an incredible game and not enough people have talked about how good the story is. The end of that game is just one brutal punch squarely in the genitals after another.

  1. The boss fight against Agent Black at the rocket launch. Agent Black is set up on the menus like she might actually be a playable character, instead she’s actually just an enemy. All game she’s going increasingly insane as everything around her collapses. (Your awful brother killed her non-gendered lover, her country collapses, etc.) and you manage to defeat her like the other Agents. However, instead of dying, she goes full Akira and becomes a huge gross monster chasing after you. Her ruined body even slides off the rocket in a sad bitter way. It is bitterly sad

Then, if that isn’t enough:

  1. On the Moon base you have to leave Royal behind. The game gives you a countdown timer kinda like FFVI, so you think that if you just wait he’ll come back like Shadow. Nope, Royal dies no matter what you do. There’s several options that seem like they would work - your teleporter gun, a staircase that goes nowhere, all kinds of tricks, but there’s no answer. It is just the game telling you, “you will fail, no matter what.” Then your character Robin rides the Escape Pod all alone in a silent moment of total defeat.