10 Video Games That Wanted The Player To Feel Terrible

Feels bad, man.

Last Of Us Part 2
Sony Interactive Entertainment

While the vast majority of video games are made to provide escapist entertainment, sometimes they can serve a more ambitious and unexpected purpose - to make the player feel like an absolute bag of crap.

Not every game wants to give players a shiny, happy good time, but in fact quite the opposite: some developers yearn to immerse their customers in a deeply miserable world where hope is just a faint flicker.

This is often achieved by having the player control a terrible person, for though many games - such as Grand Theft Auto - effectively celebrate their scumbag protagonists, some actually dare to make the player feel the full grim extent of their character's behaviours.

Then there are games which make the player feel awful through their bleak social commentary, from highlighting the futility of existence to the sheer toil of living in an unfair, often uncaring world.

These 10 games are all deeply depressing experiences in their own rights, and absolutely cannot be recommended to anyone in desperate need of a good laugh.

However, their emotional complexity is also incredibly valuable in a medium that's still struggling to be taken totally seriously...

10. Silent Hill 2

Last Of Us Part 2

Silent Hill 2 is a sustained, stamina-draining exercise in dread, a game which beats the player down with its relentlessly miserable atmosphere.

This isn't merely some junky survival horror game filled with gooey monsters for the "hero" to slay. Instead, the game serves as a giant, sprawling metaphor for protagonist James Sunderland's own grief-infused depression at - spoiler! - killing his terminally ill wife, Mary.

Though Silent Hill 2 keeps the particulars of Mary's death somewhat ambiguous - namely whether it's murder or euthanasia - playing through an entire game as a suicidally despondent protagonist is a heavy load for the player regardless.

That's not to ignore the numerous supporting characters and subplots, which often touch on cheery subjects such as sexual abuse and drug addiction.

To make matters worse, the majority of the game's endings are intensely bleak, and even if you do attain the "happiest" ending, it's really just the least-upsetting one.

Basically, Silent Hill 2 - or, really, any game in the franchise - isn't one to play if you're feeling a bit low.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.