We never saw these coming! I am shocked! Appalled! Amazed even!
Not all video games are meant to just be played. Sometimes, they are meant to tell a story, and sometimes that story can have some of the craziest twists and turns you've ever seen. I compiled a list of some of the best twists in all of video games. Take a look and tell me what you think.
10. Samus was a woman the whole time! (Metroid)
I will admit, this is a little bit before my time, but man what a twist. In an industry that usually gives male characters the starring role - it must've been a jaw-dropping moment for men who realized Samus was a woman the entire time! Way before Mad Max: Fury Road tricked you into supporting amazing female action heroes, the developers of Metroid were changing the game.
This twist still remains relevant, because it was one of the first games that featured a female character in a central role - and of a difficult action game! And while I didn't get to experience this twist first hand, I will always be grateful for its existence.
9. The cake is a lie. (Portal)
The cake is a lie! And sure, this whole thing seemed fishy from the start, but when I played this as a young teen - I wasn't expecting the second half of the game. After you complete the final chamber, the evil AI, GLaDOS informs you that you have won - right before she stars you on your slow path to incineration. It was a delightful twist, that told that this game was much more than it seemed to be.
I expected to come face to face with GLaDOS, or some sort of evil scientist, when I completed the final chamber. Luckily, the game didn't disappoint and gave a super fun extra half that defied my expectations and gave this game its iconic status.
8. The world ends. (Final Fantasy VI)
This is one of three Final Fantasy games on this list. Believe it or not, there was a time when Final Fantasy told good stories. In Final Fantasy VI, you take control of the recently escaped Terra and company as they attempt to defeat the Empire and the evil clown, Kefka. After spending most of the game pursuing him, you finally catch up to him on top of a large mountain. But it's too late, Kefka ends the world right before your eyes - and that's not even the end of the game.
This twist was difficult, I played this without knowing anything about the game initially and I couldn't believe my eyes when Kefka actually won. I thought I had lost the game, or did something wrong, but no. This is just the game. And, a year later, you don't even have your whole party - you have quest around the world to find them! It was a lot, a whole lot. And it was great.
7. Tidus is a ghost? (Final Fantasy X)
This twist is still really hard for me to swallow. Apparently, back when Zanarkand and Bevelle were waging war, the people of Zanarkand all became fayth - which create aeons - and created their own Dream Zanarkand separate from the real Zanarkand of Spira. And Tidus, the main character of the game, hails from this Dream Zanarkand. So, the entire time, he is not real. In the end, when you have defeated the final boss, the Dream Zanarkand and Tidus disappear, leading to one of the most heartbreaking scenes in gaming history.
Now, this was a lot to take in and honestly I think that it's one of the most convoluted of the whole list. But, it ranks higher than the others, because it was unsuspected and unlike anything I'd ever heard before.
6. You were a sith. (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)
Amnesiac characters are always set up to have some sort of twist in the end, but I wasn't expecting this. Throughout the game, you are working with the scattered and struggling Jedi forces to take down the evil, Darth Malak - current Dark Lord of the Sith, and all around asshole. However, what you don't know, is that you were actually his Master, the evil Darth Revan.
During a battle, you were defeated and taken prisoner, and the Jedi modified your memory so that you would no longer be a threat to the Galaxy. In the end, depending on your alignment you can either succumb to your dark past and become the new Dark Lord - or you can be savior and a hero.
It's a typical twist, but it's still one that you never see coming.
5. It was all your fault. (Telltale's The Walking Dead)
I fell to the floor when this happened, because I wasn't used to my actions actually affecting the game beyond a character death or two. When I found Clem was kidnapped by this man, this stranger that we've never seen before, I was confused. Then, as he told me that it was because of me that his family perished because we stole his station wagon and his supplies.
Obviously, this isn't something that would have been prevented, but it was still a punch in my gut when I played. It really drove home the idea that this world was hard, and unlike the show, was much deeper than I'd been lead to believe. I felt for this guy, and while I didn't agree with what he did, this twist really made me think about what I'd done in this game up to this point.
4. It's the Joker! Wait. No it isn't. (Batman: Arkham City)
Honestly, I am so glad that they got rid of the giant, evil Joker thing in this game? This twist was so welcome, because I was wondering what was going on the whole time. I knew that something was going on, after all, when Talia impaled the Joker - I knew that wasn't the end. But then, when the second Joker came out and impaled her, my mouth dropped to the floor. And when the "dead" Joker turned into Clayface, my mouth dropped to the floor even more!
The twist was satisfying and earned, and it was a great change of pace from the stupid Giant Joker from the previous game.
3. The colossi were good guys. (Shadow of the Colosuss)
There's nothing more heartbreaking than the tale of Wander of the Colossi. At the beginning of the game, you as Wander are crossing through the Forbidden Lands to bring your fallen love back to life. A mysterious spirit tells you that the only way to do this is to go and kill the sixteen Colossi of this Forbidden Land. But what you don't know is that every time you kill this Colossus - you are losing yourself and eventually you are possessed and sealed away with the dark spirit who gave you your mission.
And the worst part? Your dead love comes back to life, and finds your baby-fied self. This is one of the most beautiful games ever made with one of the most powerful stories I've ever seen. It will break your heart.
2. Would you kindly... (Bioshock)
Would you kindly not get annoyed at me for sticking this choice second on this list? Bioshock was a beautiful piece of art, and it all culminates to this one scene. Throughout the game, you are tasked by the mysterious Atlas, to help him take down the tyrannical Andrew Ryan. Throughout the game, he always asks you to something, but begins with the phrase, "Would you kindly..." and it is revealed that you have been conditioned by Atlas. You were a slave the entire time and you didn't know it.
This twist killed me, because the entire time you think you're the good guy. And on some level you are, because Andrew Ryan is an evil son of a bitch, but so is the man you're working for. You were a conditioned dog, sent to kill a man, and you never even knew.
It was brilliant.
1. . Aerith's Death (Final Fantasy VII)
This still kills me. FFVII is one of the first games where I really felt the sting of a character loss. Not just any character, either, the main love interest and the emotional crux of the game up to this point. The second I heard the dramatic music play, I know something terrible was about to happen. When Sephiroth descending from the sky and pierced Aerith, my mouth dropped open.
I felt a visceral anger, and a deep sadness. I had grown so attached to Aerith's character, and while her death seen was done beautifully, the shock stayed with me for the rest of the night. This was one of the most intense twists I've ever experienced, and the tearful monologue that Cloud gives afterwards only made me feel more worse.
It's truly one of the best twists I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing.
Shann Smith is a lover of video games and has played games since he could hold a controller. He is a freelance writer, playwright, screenwriter, and also writes the Video Gay-Mer column on Popdust! If you have any games you'd like him to unpack, hit him up!
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Breaking down the bias of comfort films.
With the constant onslaught of complicated news that 2020 has brought, sometimes you just want to be able to shut off your brain, relax, and feel happy.
Enter comfort films. These are the feel-good movies that feel like a warm hug when you finish them, the ones that allow you to escape for a short while. We often turn to these types of films in times of trouble or extreme stress, and when we're not sure what films of this nature we should watch, we turn to the Internet for options.
Rivera's "Glee" character was not just important, she was groundbreaking.
As a young queer girl growing up in the south, I was lucky that my parents weren't homophobes.
My parents believed that people were sometimes born gay, and while they wouldn't "wish that harder life" on their children, they certainly made me and my sister believe that gay people were just as worthy of love as anyone else. I was lucky.
Still, in my relatively sheltered world of Northern Virginia (a rich suburb near Washington D.C.), homophobia wasn't as blatant as hate crimes or shouted slurs, but it was generally accepted that being straight was, simply, better.
In high school, it wasn't uncommon to use "gay" as an insult or for girls to tease each other about being "lez." While many of us, if asked, would have said we were in support of gay marriage and loved The Ellen Show, being gay remained an undesirable affliction.
Even more insidious, I was instilled with the belief—by my church and my peers—that if gay and lesbian people could be straight, they would. But since they were simply incapable of attraction to the opposite sex or fitting into traditional gender roles, we should accept them as they are as an act of mercy. At the time, this kind of pity seemed progressive and noble. Those in my close circle of family and friends weren't openly dismissive or condemning of gay people, but we saw homosexuality as a clear predisposition with no gray areas.
Specifically: Gay men talked with a lilt, giggled femininely, and were interested in things that weren't traditionally "masculine." Meanwhile, gay women dressed like men, had no interest in makeup or other traditionally female interests, and probably had masculine bodies and features. In my mind, before someone came out as gay, they did everything in their power to "try to be straight" but were eventually forced to confront the difficult reality that they felt no attraction at all to the opposite sex. I viewed homosexuality not as a spectrum, but as a black and white biological predisposition that meant you were thoroughly, completely, and pitiably gay.
As a child, when I began to experience stirrings of attraction for other girls, I would reassure myself that not only had I definitely felt attraction for men in the past, but I also liked being pretty. I was a tomboy as a child, sure, but as I got older I recognized that my value was increased in the eyes of society if I tried to be a pretty girl. As it turned out, I even liked putting on clothes that made me feel good, I liked applying makeup, and I liked some traditionally "feminine" things. In my mind, this meant that I couldn't be gay, because gay women didn't like "girl" stuff.
As a teenager, I began to learn more about the difference between gender and sexuality, and the fluidity of both. I began to let myself feel some of the long-suppressed feelings of queer desire I still harbored.
Still, in the back of my mind, the instilled certainty of sexuality as an extremely rigid thing sometimes kept me up at night. What if I was gay? Would I have to change the way I looked? Would I have to give up some of the things I liked? In my mind, being gay meant your sexuality was your whole identity, and everything else about you disappeared beneath the weight of it.
But then, Santana came out as gay on Glee.
GLEE - The Santana 'Coming Out Scene' www.youtube.com
If you didn't watch Glee, than you might not know the importance of Naya Rivera's character to so many queer young women like myself. Santana was beautiful, she was popular, she had dated boys, she was feminine, she was sexy, and she was gay. There's even evidence that Santana had previously enjoyed relationships with men.
But the character came out anyways, not because she had to or because it was obvious to everyone around her that she was gay, but because her attraction to women was an aspect of her identity she was proud of. It wasn't an unfortunate reality she simply had to make the best of; it was an exciting, beautiful, aspect of her identity worth celebrating.
Before Santana, it had never really come home for me that being gay wasn't an entire identity—that it wasn't an affliction or disorder, but just another part of a person. She also didn't suddenly start wearing flannels or cutting her hair after coming out. She was the same feminine person she had always been. I had never realized that being a gay woman didn't have to look a certain way. Santana and Brittany's gay storyline showed two femme-presenting women in love, and for me, that was a revolution.
If it wasn't for Naya Rivera, we may never have had that important story line.
"It's up to writers, but I would love to represent [the LGBTQ community] because we know that there are tons of people who experience something like that and it's not comical for them in their lives," Rivera told E! News in 2011. "So I hope that maybe we can shed some light on that."
While Rivera herself wasn't gay (the importance of casting gay actors in gay roles is a separate conversation), she understood how important her character was to the queer community. "There are very few ethnic LGBT characters on television, so I am honored to represent them," Rivera told Latina magazine in 2013. "I love supporting this cause, but it's a big responsibility, and sometimes it's a lot of pressure on me."
Rivera wasn't just a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community on screen. In 2017, she wrote a "Love Letter to the LGBTQ Community" for Billboard's Pride Month. In it, she wrote, "We are all put on this earth to be a service to others and I am grateful that for some, my Cheerios ponytail and sassy sashays may have given a little light to someone somewhere, who may have needed it. To everyone whose heartfelt stories I have heard, or read I thank you for truly enriching my life."
Now, as we mourn the loss of Naya Rivera, at least we can take comfort in knowing that her legacy will live on—that the light her Cheerios ponytail and sassy sashays gave us won't go out any time soon.
Excuse me, I have to go weep-sing-along to Rivera's cover of landslide now.
Glee - Landslide (Full Performance + Scene) 2x15 youtu.be
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