10 Video Games That Punish You For Caring

Keep your heart strings taut, lest they be torn out for caring too much about these games.

Metal Gear Solid V

It's an understatement to call gamers "passionate" about their pass-time of choice. Unfortunately, that passion can range widely on a spectrum that goes from just a strong emotional investment in a story and its characters all the way to sending developers death threats because they changed Peter Parker's face.

But the majority of us fall somewhere in between. We form attachments with our favorite games because those games feel like being invited into another world. And when you spend enough time there, having your expectations subverted carries a lot of weight. Sometimes it's because of something you do and sometimes it's because of something the developers or publishers do to you, especially in a medium as expensive as the game industry, where business decisions will almost always outweigh creative ones.

Whether it's by your own agency as a player, choices made by the developers, or just misplaced hopes, some form of disappointment is inevitable. But there aren't many games that can escalate that disappointment to full-blown heartbreak and betrayal.

The best fiction draws you in so deeply and thoroughly that you care about its world and characters. However, there's also a lot to be said for not caring TOO much and managing your expectations. With that said, here are ten games where you did care too much - and were punished for it, you nostalgic sap.

10. The Witcher III

Metal Gear Solid V
CD Projekt RED

CD Project Red's games based on the popular Witcher franchise were notable for making player choice a matter of actions and consequences, rather than good or evil. And that's exactly why it's best to go into any situation in this series with no expectations because chances are, whatever you do will blow up in your face one way or another.

Choosing the seemingly good or compassionate choice in The Witcher rarely works out the way you want it to. Cure a severely wounded woman with one of your potions, she becomes catatonic due to its toxicity; save a deserting soldier from a lynch mob, he forms a group of bandits who rob refugees; show mercy to a spirit and return her bones to her lover for a proper burial, she kills him and goes on to terrorize the region. And the severity of ways your ward, Ciri, can be screwed over as a result of your best nature is staggering.

At times the game can be a little too edgy in how many choices result in tragedy no matter what you do, but you'll often find that cold, sometimes cruel logic will yield better results than a bleeding heart.


At 34 years of age, I am both older and wiser than Splinter.