Every once and a while there comes a moment in entertainment that makes you sit back and say “Holy sh*t.” It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it usually defines an experience. We thought it would be fun to pick 10 such examples within the realm of gaming. Every moment listed here made our jaws hit the floor when we first experienced them. We hope the same applies to you. And if we missed anything, let us know in the comments below.
Also, there are spoilers below. You’ve been warned.
Link to the Agahnim!!!
Agahnim is the name of the sorcerer in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. See, Agahnim is placed as the heir of the Seven Sages of Hyrule once he earns the king’s trust. When players start the game, it seems that Agahnim has gone mad and is a puppet of Ganon. Link fights Agahnim, wins and winds up in the Dark World. It’s there that Link finds out that Agahnim is being controlled by Ganon to use the minions of the Dark World to infest and take over the Light World.
What’s crazy about this story is that players assume Agahnim is a man serving Ganon. That mantra repeats until the end of the game when players defeat Agahnim for a second time and Ganon himself appears in his weird pig, ogre form. It’s then that Ganon drops the straight dope and tells us that Agahnim is his alter ego.
May sound cheesy now, but it blew us away back then.
Humans are the descendants of Forerunners
This one’s kind of a slow burner, in a good way. Throughout all of Halo, you’re pretty much bathed and flooded in the language of the universe. What’s common sense for the Covenant or, say, Guilty Spark, has to be learned by players.
That leads to a lot of interpretation. And it’s in all of that interpretation that you slowly learn that humans in the contemporary canon share a lot of similarities with the Forerunners, the source for the Halo tech and Flood weaponry.
Is this one 100% true? Maybe? What’s mind blowing is that you’re constantly considering humanity’s connection to the Forerunners. You’re always wondering what Master Chief’s role is in the galaxy’s plot. Humans may not be Forerunner relatives at all, but the shear fact that this is a source of debate and discussion is crazy enough for us.
The origin of Kratos’ pasty, white skin
When we started playing the original God of War we just chalked up Kratos’ pale skin to a lack of moisturizer in ancient Greece. Then the game took a turn and revealed that Kratos was duped into murdering his own wife and daughter by the Gods, and his pale, white skin was actually the ashes of his family tattooed to his body as a constant reminder of his sins.
All of a sudden we felt sympathy for the ‘roid-ragin’ Spartan. This plot twist also added plenty of fuel to the fire to make us determined to reach Ares and kill the son of a bitch. We might have completed that mission, but Kratos’ torment over butchering his own family never vanished. Poor fellow.
KOTOR’s big twist
We always thought it was a little fishy that the main character of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic suffered from amnesia. But then again, we didn’t question it for too long. Truthfully, we were too busy playing the awesome BioWare RPG set in our favorite fictional universe to really care.
Then BioWare revealed its hand and floored us. The whole game you’re lead to believe Darth Malak is the last remaining Sith Lord after turning on his former master, Darth Revan. However, that’s not entirely the truth. In fact, you’re Darth Revan. Only now you’re basically a good guy after having your mind wiped to forget that you used to slaughter baby kittens and Jedis, but mostly kittens.
The reveal of the player being the most powerful Sith Lord in the galaxy was a jaw-dropping twist in Knights of the Old Republic. It also added a ton of new layers to the game’s already complex narrative. But that shocker is what we remember most about KOTOR. Oh, and HK-47, because he was hilarious.
Eternal Darkness craziness
Eternal Darkness is all about staving off insanity. What breeds insanity? More insanity… and darkness, eternal darkness…… yes…..
Sorry, lost our train of thought.
This game is a lot like the madness Psycho Mantis can pull in Metal Gear (also on this list). Players will be told that their save files are corrupt, that their controllers are unplugged or convinced that their TV screens have switched off.
The killer is that all of that stuff happens as your madness ratchets up. Which leads to your physical sanity playing tricks on itself. It’s a wild, crazy ride to the end that redefined the fourth wall in gaming. And it was effing crazy!
All of Alan Wake
Trying to remember every twist and turn in Alan Wake right now, without looking it up on some sort of fan site or wiki, is a bitch. There’s a lot of them. The entire last hour of the game, if our heads are on straight, is complete insanity.
Players play two games in Alan Wake. First, there’s the actual quasi-survival horror happening in the foreground. Then there’s the mystery you’re piecing together in the background. Is Alan actually responsible for all of the problems around him?
Or, better yet, is Alan Wake a creation of Thomas Zane? Zane was another writer said to have the same ability, and possibly fate, as Wake. He could write things and make them come true. We’ve thought maybe, possibly, Zane could be the brain that came up with Wake and that players were just playing out Zane’s fantasy.
In Braid you are the villain
Outside the game’s time manipulation powers, the setup to Braid, at face value, should feel very familiar to fans of Mario: princess gets kidnapped by some muscly brute and you set out to save her, traveling from one castle to the next. But by the time you reach the game’s conclusion the rug is completely pulled out from under you. That’s because you discover that the Princess is actually running away from you. WHAAAAAATTTTT?!
Yea, like many of life’s problems, blame alcoholism.
Psycho Mantis knows your every move
The boss fight against Psycho Mantis in the first Metal Gear Solid is one of the biggest mind f&^*s the gaming industry has ever seen. After a few minutes of failing to lay a finger on the guy, Mantis begins taunting you by discussing the other games you’ve recently played on your PlayStation 1. “How the hell does he know this?!” is the thought that instantly crosses your mind.
It’s a WTF moment that has you looking around the room to see if you’re on some kind of hidden camera show. You’re not. The truth is, Kojima Productions just wanted to screw with you and programmed the game to read the data on your PS1 memory card. We don't know which scenario is better, honestly.
But then things get even crazier, as the only way to beat Psycho Mantis is to unplug your PS1 controller and plug it into slot 2 so he can’t read your mind and predict your moves. We know, bat-shit insane. Our question: who was the first person to realize this in a time when gaming strategy guides weren’t readily available on the Internet? That person deserves a medal, stat!
Samus is a girl
It may be rude to suggest that a girl couldn’t do all of the alien slaying that Samus did in the original Metroid. It may have been sexist to think she couldn’t have been female. It was. Well, both things were.
But beating the game earned you the truth. Moreover, beating the game well earned you a bikini-clad version of the truth. Samus is and always was a girl. Now it just comes as second nature for Nintendo fans and the gaming public at large. “Oh, yeah, the chick from Metroid, Samus!”
But back then when we were kids? My god, this moment was mind blowing. I remember hearing some kid say it in school and promptly deciding he was lying. Stupid liar.
Would you kindly?
BioShock was a great game. But after the “Would you kindly?” reveal, BioShock became a masterpiece. Over the course of the entire game it is constantly reinforced that Andrew Ryan is the bad guy of the situation, and that Atlas is your buddy who is just trying to help you escape the death-trap that is Rapture.
Then Atlas hits you with the bombshell: his name is actually Frank Fontaine and he has been using you this whole time to kill his business rival, Andrew Ryan. He’s also had you under mind control, using the phrase “Would you kindly…?” as a trigger to get you to perform his nefarious deeds against your own free will. Suddenly, the player is no longer in control of his/her own destiny. The player is now nothing but a pawn to a fictional character. God damn brilliant.