What Moments in Games Left you Stunned (Spoiler HEAVY)

ETPC On the Discord started a conversation asking the question (paraphrasing), “What are the jaw dropping, shocking, stunning, memorable moments in games? What moments in games are like The Red Wedding?”

Stuff like The Nuke Scene from CoD 4, Aeris from FF7, Nier E, various moments from the recent Wolfenstein games were immediately mentioned.

But there are all-time “oh shit” moments that are unrelated to emotional investment as well. For me, the first moment that popped into my head was in Dark Souls 1, when I unlocked the first shortcut door in the Undead Burg and my eyes went wide at the implication of what that meant for the rest of the game.

What are yours? Please be extremely free with the use of blurring/spoiler tags here, even if it’s games from ten years ago or more, since we’re talking big moments.

(CW Suicide)

Hacknet: even though it was spoiled for me, actually playing through the mission where you help someone commit assisted suicide by remotely hacking their pacemaker was really something else. Watching and listening to the hearbeat monitor change and then go dead after hitting the enter key was incredibly effective at being deeply unsettling. This reminds me: why the hell haven’t I bought the Labyrinths expansion yet? Ugh.

The Beginner’s Guide: Seeing Coda’s maze at the very end of the game as you ascend.


Tales of the Abyss: Luke being manipulated into slaughtering an entire village of sick and dying people, the party watching them fall into and melt in a sea of poison, and Luke having a complete breakdown as everyone abandons him for his betrayal and what it cause. That’s not even the halfway point.

A New Beginning: Faye was lying to you the whole time to try and use Benson’s algae to prevent climate change from going out of control in her future. Salvador reveals they didn’t stop fifty years in the future, but in the 25th century, and the nuclear plant blowing up was a climate event horizon. Rather, he was sent back to find that plant and destroy it, the damage to the rain-forest it would cause would create a minor crisis situation and push humanity towards exploring green energy faster to prevent the slow building disaster that destroys the future.

Always Sometimes Monsters: The ending of the con ticket side quest, where you’re left having watched a kid get shotgunned into a pool and then beat a man to death with his own crowbar…for about a hundred bucks.

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The Rachel Amber reveal from Life is Strange got me bad. It was a combination of seeing how powerless Max was in that situation, how realistic and distressing the voice acting and writing were in that scene, and the idea that you never even stood a chance of saving Rachel. I was devastated.

And of course, The Last of Us. I actually replayed the scene in the operating room a few times because I wanted to find a way for it to go differently. It’s one of my favorite examples of developers taking control away from a player and saying, “actually, this is the story we’re trying to tell, and you’re gonna sit there and think about it no matter how much you hate it.”

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The intro to Mass Effect 2. It was like a gut punch watching my Shep drift into space. I genuinely thought she was dead for good.

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At the end of Iji, when you defeat Tor, end credits kick in. And you finally realize what a mess Earth became. It was an emotional trip to get to the end and repel invasion. When you find a closure, I was left with tears understanding how much planet was damaged.

Portal 2: Putting a portal on the f’n moon!

It was just this absurd moment that stretched the portal technology to its logically bonkers limit. I genuinely laughed out loud when I realized that was a possibility.


Mass Effect

Rudimentary creatures of blood and flesh. You touch my mind, fumbling in ignorance, incapable of understanding.
In the end, what they choose to call us is irrelevant. We simply are.
We impose order on the chaos of organic evolution. You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.
My kind transcends your very understanding. We are each a nation. Independent, free of all weakness. You cannot even grasp the nature of our existence.


The end of Kingdom Hearts: I bought this game cause it had Donald and Goofy in it, and now I’m on the back of a surreal-looking Tetsuya Nomura designed biochemical alien spaceship, fighting this giant shirtless inter-dimensional anime god for the sake of the entire Disney multiverse. I was 8 years old.

Also that moment in God of War (2018) where Kratos and his son are sharing a bottle of wine, Kratos takes a big gulp and then lets out a big, satisfied “Ahhhhhhhh!”. This moment just really struck me because the way he did it suddenly brought back a vivid memory of sharing chocolate milk with my Dad, who I didn’t see much growing up, and passed away suddenly a few years back. I have mixed thoughts on my father overall, but that moment sharing chocolate milk with him seems nice looking back.

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End of Walking Dead S1: Nuff said, friends and neighbors.


KOTOR: The Revan reveal. Still one of my favorite moments in gaming. Just thinking about it makes me want to go play the game again.


Shadow of the Colossus: I’ll never forget the ending scene where you transform into a colossus only to fight a losing battle with the warriors tracking you down. The realization that I was the monster in this situation really left me devastated.


So many moments in Life Is Strange!

When you go to an alternate line where Chloe is paraplegic, you have the best day of her recent life together, then she wants to go so her parents don’t spiral even further into debt.
Having spent hours upon hours getting to know both Chloe and the people of the town, then having to decide which to save. That seriously shook me.

In The Darkness when your GF gets fridged. The game actually gives you some time to hang out with her, so it’s not like she’s anonymous like in God of War.

Realising in Planescape: Torment what an absolute shit you have been in past incarnations.

The last scene in Half-Life 2: Episode 2. Worst cliffhanger in games ever, not that anyone didn’t know that already…

Realising in Hellblade that you can’t “win.”

I still don’t think any game has traumatised me as much as the beach scene in Under The Skin.

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Wolfenstein: The New Colossus

The head scene. I just sat there for a while and stared. I played the original, and I figured I was in for some heavy shit with a generous helping of absurdity. I thought I was prepared for what the game might dish out, but holy god damn.


Every 14 seconds in Wolfenstein II

Otherwise the biggest one from the last few years is the ending of Inside. I’m not gonna even say what happens under a spoiler tag. If you haven’t played it and somehow haven’t already heard what happens please do yourself a favor and try it. It’s the wildest shit I can think of recently. Completely turns the entire experience on its head and I actually covered my mouth in shock and horror for like the duration of the sequence.


Fucking yes to both of them.
I’d also add
Fez: the sunglasses
Fez: the quick brown fox…
Pokemon Blue: playing the game 11 years later, managing to use a trick that allowed me to encounter and capture Mew.

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So many good ones come to mind…

The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone - The spoon. Up to this point there had been a creepy, otherworldly menace around Gaunter O’Dimm, but when he freezes a bar full of patrons and slowly inserts a spoon into the eye of a man who mildly insulted him, you realize the stakes. Turns out you are dealing with the actual devil himself.


Inside is a good shout! I’d completely forgotten about that.

I wasn’t even high and still found it weird as fuck.


lol that twist. It would have been impressive if Bioware actually did something with it, but the writing was so bad and their priorities so focused on lore that they forgot to actually use this cool idea they came up with, ESPECIALLY if you’re on the light path.

That said, I would definitely put down KOTOR 2: Finding out the Exile is a wound in the force, similar to Nihilus, and is basically changing people with just their influence was actually shocking. It wasn’t just because of how it flipped RPG systems on their head, but in that it turned a hero’s journey power fantasy into a semi-eldrich horror story. The fact we also get tossed that Kreia knew this the entire time and that her real goal is to destroy the force or use you to reshape it, the jedi you worked to reunite if you did light are killed to save you from them, and Nihilus is about to go eat the entirety of Telos.

I mean fucking hell.


Nier: Automata. The [E]nd of YorHa, the battle through the credits, the encouragement and (ultimately) assistance from other players, and the final choice to sacrifice your save for the benefit of a total stranger. I mean, what a thing for a video game to do.

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