Video games are filled with poignant deaths and heroic sacrifices. We've gotten so used to our games killing our most beloved characters that we can usually see their deaths coming from a mile away.
The best friend, the love interest, the beloved parent figure or sibling - all are almost certainly doomed. Oh, and a cute animal companion? Definitely gonna die.
But sometimes those deaths are our fault. With games becoming increasingly cinematic, we've been conditioned to assume that narrative choices will always be spelled out with dialogue options or button prompts asking us, This or That?
It's so refreshing when games give us choice without telling us. At the same time, however, it's also done so rarely that we can hardly be blamed for letting these characters die. We can't be, right? Just because we did nothing or ran away like little coward babies doesn't mean it's our fault. Does it?
Either way, rest assured that we will be confronted by these vengeful spectres of regret in the video game afterlife, of that I am certain.
10. Paul - Deus Ex
Deus Ex is famous for being one of the earliest games to give players the kind of choices we now take for granted, many of which were never lamp-shaded and left completely to the player's agency. Such is the case with Paul Denton, brother to protagonist JC Denton.
After the organization the Dentons work for discover that Paul has been secretly working with the bad guys (who are actually the good guys) they send a massive hit squad of soldiers to his Hell's Kitchen apartment to kill him.
Paul orders you to run away through a fire escape and save yourself so you can keep up the good fight. In the moment, it doesn't feel like you have a choice. This is Paul's big hero moment in the story where he sacrifices himself to save his little brother.
Or is it?
If you simply choose not to run away, you'll be able to fight the attacking enemies with Paul. And if he survives the battle, he'll be there through the rest of the game to provide... words of encouragement.
OK, so it doesn't make a huge difference, but you still feel nice about it.