The Most Devastating Video Game You’ve Never Played

Prepare to cry.

Before Your Eyes
GoodbyeWorld Games

There's no shortage of emotionally devastating video games. The Last of Us 1 & 2, Final Fantasy VII, The Walking Dead Season 1, Gone Home, Firewatch, To The Moon, the list goes on and on. However, nothing has left me as wrecked as Before Your Eyes.

Released in April 2021 and developed by GoodBye World Games, this quiet PC title probably passed you by. I know it went straight over my head, and it wasn't until seeing it included in a best games of 2021 video by Jacob Geller that I even knew it existed (he's also released a video essay entirely about Before Your Eyes too, which you should totally check out.)

So, what makes this game so special, and why did it leave me in a flood of my own tears?

The story of Before Your Eyes puts you in the shoes of Benjamin Brynn, someone who has died and is awaiting judgement in the afterlife. In the opening you're picked up by the otherworldly Ferryman, who's taking you to plead your case to the mysterious Gatekeeper, and thus needs to know everything about Benny and his life. So, you're taken on a first-person trip down memory lane, as Benny relives his first memory to his last.

The twist is though, that the entire game is controlled by the player's own eye movements. Every time you blink in real life, you skip to Benny's next memory.

Now, you might be thinking "sure Josh, that sounds like a nice gimmick, what else you got?", but I can't oversell just how well this feature works. Through your computer webcam, the game tracks your eye movements with surprising precision. Every time you see a metronome symbol on screen, it means the next blink will jump you to an unknown point in the future. Betting everything on a feature like this could have made Before Your Eyes feel like a tech-demo, but the developers committed to it, and committed hard.

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Writer. Mumbler. Only person on the internet who liked Spider-Man 3