Nobody Ever Shed a Tear

"Nobody ever shed a tear over a video game character’s death."
-Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel Movie Critic

Truer words have never been spoken. Indeed, it is a preposterous notion that any form of media, save for that which has been labeled "art" by society, could contain any emotional merit. After all, it’s a widely-known fact that only Casablanca, Beethoven and a smattering of Cassatt or Picasso paintings deliver heartrending emotion through media, and that humans are otherwise not intelligent enough to recognize it.

Should a grown man or woman ever be reduced to tears when the truth is revealed about the Boss in that reprehensible, overly-dramatic entry to the Metal Gear Solid series, one should consider that individual emotionally retarded. Realizing that you have been fed lies for a good 15 hours or so after you have based assumptions on the information you were given is hardly grounds for shedding tears. There was no real connection forged there. Besides, she was only a collection of pixels — absolutely no meaning whatsoever.

How could one feel for what is being displayed on a television screen? What individual in their right mind could tear up over the death of marine Paul Jackson in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in his last few moments of life? Soldiers die all the time. To become misty-eyed over such an insipid attempt at storytelling is completely outrageous. Saving Private Ryan is much more deserving of emotional distress. Because you know, you sit and watch.

The death of a flower girl from an incredulously long sword through the torso? Yawn. It’s been done, and better. What purpose did that wide-eyed, innocent beauty serve anyway? Even though most of the game was spent by her side, it was really of no consequence that Sephiroth skewered her like a kebab. Who has ever mourned the loss of a teammate? Ridiculous.

Take Grand Theft Auto IV’s Roman, that sociopathic juggernaut. Sure, he was always around for Nico and provided much of the game’s comic relief when the going got tough. Did anyone really miss him when he was gone? It’s not like he was any kind of important or intriguing addition to a game that corrupts the youth of America already.

Of course, movies or even paintings are much different. Viewers are often treated to different facets of characters’ personalities, backgrounds of the characters involved. The artistry that goes into a movie is far superior to that which is put into a mere video game. Movies are built on scripts in which hard-working individuals often contribute all their time and money. Since when has a video game ever introduced any real, solid characters that you could get to know? We all know gaming has never become any more complicated than "save the princess" or "eat the dots." To think that such a notion could ever be conceived is simply laughable.

Why would you ever want to interact with characters, make your own decisions and become a part of action that movies just can’t deliver? Isn’t that the most outrageous thing you’ve ever heard? Doesn’t it make more sense to mourn the loss of Old Yeller off-screen as Travis is being forced to put the dog down? After all, they’re “real people”, so the fact that they were “real” must mean its okay to cry about.

As humans, we need some sort of permission from those intellectually superior to ourselves in order to actually feel. We need movie critics, artists and self-righteous commenters on the Internet to grant permission before we can make our own decisions about what is sad or what is not. There is some standard in place that dictates whether creations of others can invoke that feeling of emptiness in the pit of your stomach similar to when a loved one has passed.

No. Rather, it is a sad day for humanity when one movie critic can dictate whether or not anyone (that he is aware of) has ever shed a tear over a much-loved character’s death.

I cried when Aerith Gainsborough died. I felt like I had murdered a family member upon saying goodbye to the Boss, and even now when I reach the end of a title I have particularly enjoyed, my eyes swell with tears. My heart swells with pride. My heart goes out to the creators of the numerous amount of well-crafted games, because God knows they will spend all of their careers creating their own brand of art that will only be snubbed by those who fancy themselves superior.

"Nobody ever shed a tear over a video game character’s death."

…and nobody will shed a tear when ridiculous statements like these cease to be made.

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