Games that make you feel lonely

EmperorSubcutaneous

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Okay, so if I have anything remotely resembling a reputation on this site, it would be as that person who can never shut up about Silent Hill 2 and Riven.

To continue with the theme, here is something I started thinking about today.

I played Ico for the first time this week, which has now settled in as #3 in my list of favorite games ever so far. I started considering what all the games I like have in common, which is actually a hell of a lot, but the one thing that stood out the most in all of them is that they make me feel lonely when I play them.

My first question is, does anyone know why I would enjoy that feeling so much? It's true that I'm not a particularly sociable person, and if given the choice I'd happily build a little hut on a mountaintop and live out my days tending to goats and a garden all by myself. But these games actually cause an almost painful feeling of loneliness in me, which isn't something I usually feel, and I'm usually alone. (Also, when I have a bruise, I poke it a lot. This might be related.)

And my second question, for people who don't care about my feelings and only care about discussing games, is: have any games made you feel lonely? Which ones and why? I don't mean things like "Dragon Age 2 because no one else likes it," I mean ones where playing them evokes a feeling of loneliness in you.

Also you can tell me if you enjoy that feeling too, because I would like to know how crazy I am.
 

Scrustle

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Not surprisingly, Shadow of the Colossus is probably the only game that has made me feel truly lonely. I don't like survival horror games so I won't get anything like that from them. But my feeling of loneliness from SotC wasn't really a painful feeling. It felt very eerie, open and mysterious. It felt kind of desperate because of the reason the character is there, and also I felt like I didn't really belong. Not in a way that made me feel like I was disengaged from the game, but like I didn't understand the land and I shouldn't really be there. Like I didn't really know what I was doing, but I was only doing it because there was no other option. I had to do anything I could to revive my dead companion. I guess the atmosphere of that game really worked exactly how it was intended. I cared far more about that dead girl who you don't even see for most of the game than I do about 95% of all game characters I've ever known.
 

Zack Alklazaris

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I never played ICO so can't answer your question perfectly. But if your like me its probably because feelings are just good to feel in a video game no matter what they are. And I really hate escort missions. And babysitting. So I prefer to be alone rather than with an ai.

I would say the original Half Life made me feel that way. But I really haven't come across any games like that in quite a while.
 

AlternatePFG

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Demon's Souls/Dark Souls. While there is a multiplayer component, I think it's well made in the sense that while you can see the spirits and messages other players leave behind, there is no way for them reliably communicate with you. Even if you summon a white/blue phantom, they only help you for so long and for the entire game, you're pretty much on your own. Hell, half the playerbase seems to be actively out to kill you while you're in human form.

It doesn't help when it feels like the entire game's world essentially hates you.
 

silvermorning624

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Zack Alklazaris said:
I never played ICO so can't answer your question perfectly. But if your like me its probably because feelings are just good to feel in a video game no matter what they are. And I really hate escort missions. And babysitting. So I prefer to be alone rather than with an ai.

I would say the original Half Life made me feel that way. But I really haven't come across any games like that in quite a while.
Have you played Limbo?
 

The Funslinger

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I'm sure there have been games like that. But I'm struggling to remember. However, I shall endeavor to contribute. It's not a game, but in the book, Angel's Game, as a writer I identified with the protagonist and I got about half way through before becoming so depressed, I had to retreat into the Discworld series to recover.
 

Zack Alklazaris

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silvermorning624 said:
Zack Alklazaris said:
I never played ICO so can't answer your question perfectly. But if your like me its probably because feelings are just good to feel in a video game no matter what they are. And I really hate escort missions. And babysitting. So I prefer to be alone rather than with an ai.

I would say the original Half Life made me feel that way. But I really haven't come across any games like that in quite a while.
Have you played Limbo?
No but I've heard good things from it. Something I should pick up on steam?
 

EmperorSubcutaneous

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Scrustle said:
Not surprisingly, Shadow of the Colossus is probably the only game that has made me feel truly lonely. I don't like survival horror games so I won't get anything like that from them. But my feeling of loneliness from SotC wasn't really a painful feeling. It felt very eerie, open and mysterious. It felt kind of desperate because of the reason the character is there, and also I felt like I didn't really belong. Not in a way that made me feel like I was disengaged from the game, but like I didn't understand the land and I shouldn't really be there. Like I didn't really know what I was doing, but I was only doing it because there was no other option. I had to do anything I could to revive my dead companion. I guess the atmosphere of that game really worked exactly how it was intended. I cared far more about that dead girl who you don't even see for most of the game than I do about 95% of all game characters I've ever known.
I hear that about SotC a lot. And I honestly haven't played it yet, though I'm planning on doing so soon. I've seen other people play it, but I'm kind of intimidated by the gameplay. I don't enjoy feeling like I'm being timed.

As to the painful feeling, it's always mixed in with, like you said, that eerie/open/mysterious feeling, like there's all this world out there to explore and you're just one tiny person, and the world doesn't necessarily like the fact that you're there. All together, it really draws me in.

It seems to me, now that I think about it, that "atmospheric" in reference to games tends to mean "lonely." I wonder why that is.
Zack Alklazaris said:
I never played ICO so can't answer your question perfectly. But if your like me its probably because feelings are just good to feel in a video game no matter what they are.
That's true. If a game legitimately makes me feel sad, angry (not at the game itself), amused, awestruck, or curious, I'll enjoy it at least ten times more than I would otherwise. I guess I'm not really capable of playing games "just for fun," they have to make me feel something.
Zack Alklazaris said:
And I really hate escort missions. And babysitting. So I prefer to be alone rather than with an ai.
You probably wouldn't enjoy Ico, then. :p Unless you played it co-op.
 

Ordinaryundone

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Red Dead Redemption stands out in my mind as a game that wasn't really designed to be lonely, but is. There are a lot of characters and NPCs, but you only really interact with them in towns or during missions. Otherwise, you spend a lot of time out in the wild by yourself. Traveling from place to place without fast travel can get pretty lonely, epecially when the game isn't doing any ambient music and you are just sort of plodding along. At least until some bandits jump you, that is. Undead Nightmare is even worse, as it still has the lonely factor but now nearly everything you meet wants to kill you. So not only is it lonely, its also oppressive. Fallout 3 was kind of the same way (I never had the same feeling in New Vegas).

Also, Demon's/Dark Souls, but that was mostly in response to the oppressive world. I didn't know why I was there, what I was doing, and everything kept trying to kill me. Even the "friendly" NPCs are dicks. The loneliness stemmed from being ally-starved, more than anything.
 

T-Bone24

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Shadow of the Colossus doesn't make me feel lonely, it makes me feel cold.

EmperorSubcutaneous said:
I hear that about SotC a lot. And I honestly haven't played it yet, though I'm planning on doing so soon. I've seen other people play it, but I'm kind of intimidated by the gameplay. I don't enjoy feeling like I'm being timed.
If you've seen gameplay videos with a timer at the top then that's only in the Time Attack mode, which you have to beat the game to unlock. Nowhere else in the game are you under any kind of time pressure or any real pressure at all, which is what makes it so affecting.

Read Dead Redemption made me feel lonely. Yes, you interact with a bunch of kooky characters but none of them make any real attempt to contact John Marston and he is on his own for most of the game, that is the point, after all. Galloping across the Wild West with nobody but your horse and that mysterious, invisible harmonica player is a lonely experience, especially when you go into the wilderness and set up camp.
 

Scrustle

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In SotC you are only timed on your second playthrough, and the only reason to do it is that you get a small bonus. I forget which, I think perhaps whistling arrows or something. There's also a hard mode, and a hard timed mode too. Completing each gets you some small bonus. They don't really change the way the game plays in a significant way. I haven't managed to get any of them so far.

I know what you mean about the atmospheric = lonely thing, but I can't really think of a reason why that is either.
 

EmperorSubcutaneous

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T-Bone24 said:
EmperorSubcutaneous said:
I hear that about SotC a lot. And I honestly haven't played it yet, though I'm planning on doing so soon. I've seen other people play it, but I'm kind of intimidated by the gameplay. I don't enjoy feeling like I'm being timed.
If you've seen gameplay videos with a timer at the top then that's only in the Time Attack mode, which you have to beat the game to unlock. Nowhere else in the game are you under any kind of time pressure or any real pressure at all, which is what makes it so affecting.
Actually what I mean is the grip gauge. Just seeing it dwindling down there in the corner would make me feel rushed and panicky, which would make me start failing at the game.

But I'm still planning on playing it, and not stopping until I throw the controller at the screen and collapse into a weeping puddle of insecurity. And maybe I'll get used to the grip gauge, like I got used to the frustrating combat and camera in Ico.
 

chaosyoshimage

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Anything with online multiplayer, because I have no one to play them with. A more a bit more serious answer, The World Ends With You, the moral of the story is to open up to people which is something that's impossible for me to do and it only reminds me of how hard it is. Doesn't help that the game is set in bustling Shibuya and I live in the middle of nowhere...
 

Spygon

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I have the opposite problem everytime i have a major break up with a girl a month later a fallout game seems to come out (no i do not plan this).It is like the best "get over someone cure ever" spending lots of time lost in a game about survival and loneliness against a hostile world.Is a surprising head clearer and heart healer for me for some reason

Due to my very recent break up this month still expecting bethesda to launch fallout 4 by the end of the month.No not announce fallout 4 actually have it on sale come on bethesda dont fail me now lol
 

T-Bone24

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EmperorSubcutaneous said:
T-Bone24 said:
EmperorSubcutaneous said:
I hear that about SotC a lot. And I honestly haven't played it yet, though I'm planning on doing so soon. I've seen other people play it, but I'm kind of intimidated by the gameplay. I don't enjoy feeling like I'm being timed.
If you've seen gameplay videos with a timer at the top then that's only in the Time Attack mode, which you have to beat the game to unlock. Nowhere else in the game are you under any kind of time pressure or any real pressure at all, which is what makes it so affecting.
Actually what I mean is the grip gauge. Just seeing it dwindling down there in the corner would make me feel rushed and panicky, which would make me start failing at the game.

But I'm still planning on playing it, and not stopping until I throw the controller at the screen and collapse into a weeping puddle of insecurity. And maybe I'll get used to the grip gauge, like I got used to the frustrating combat and camera in Ico.
The honking great monster trying to throw me off its back was the thing that made me tense about Shadow of the Colossus. The gauge increases with every colossus and there are collectibles in the environment that you can hunt down which expands your grip gauge. It was a concern for me as well, but there are plenty of opportunities to recharge the meter whilst on the colossus. If the meter weren't there, then the game would be far too easy. Think of it as like an ammunition counter in a shooter; when you're attacking, you lose ammunition.
 

El Poncho

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When I'm on minecraft doing whatever and then the music starts randomly playing, it reminds me that I seem to be stranded on an unknown world with no one there with me.
 

Deverfro

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Well Silent Hill 2 did, but I guess thats a obvious one. inFamous 2 did it as well. Being this outcast and hated by everyone for having super powers, can be heavy stuff if you play it too long and it really gets into your head. Which is why I can never be evil in that game, despite how ace Nix is.
 

hazabaza1

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AlternatePFG said:
Demon's Souls/Dark Souls. While there is a multiplayer component, I think it's well made in the sense that while you can see the spirits and messages other players leave behind, there is no way for them reliably communicate with you. Even if you summon a white/blue phantom, they only help you for so long and for the entire game, you're pretty much on your own. Hell, half the playerbase seems to be actively out to kill you while you're in human form.

It doesn't help when it feels like the entire game's world essentially hates you.
This.
Surprisingly, I find it really relaxing to sit by a bonfire when other people are around it. Sure, they disappear soon, but it removes a lot of the solitude.
 

Nouw

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When I arrived in the old Aperture Science, in Portal 2, I felt lonely as hell. And then GLaDOS came :)