One of the many wonderful things about video games is they allow us to live out fantasies better reserved for the commute to work. You could say the same about novels and movies, but within the world of your favorite game you're completely active in the adventure. Like a lucid daydream.
And with this comes the obligatory wow moments, occurrences that make you sit back and think "holy shit, I just did that!" Moments so great you'll instantly jump to social media, your friends and loved ones and share the wonder of this particularly mind-blowing set piece.
I wanted to share a few of the set pieces from modern games that really forced my jaw to drop in wonder and see what you guys think. Do you agree?
10 Truly Unforgettable Moments In Video Games
1. Seeing Hyrule Field For The First Time
in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
And what other way to start the list than the Zelda series' switch to the realms of 3D. Ocarina of Time's opening act was a total barrel of emotions!
You've just defeated that big, spidery bastard Queen Gohma inside the Deku Tree, you watched the Great Deku Tree fall into an eternal slumber, left the Kokiri Forest, shed tears saying goodbye to Saria and then. Then Hyrule Field appears in all of its lush splendour.
Everywhere you could see you could reach, and believe every nook and cranny of the space was filled with wonders to find.
2. The Descent
in Journey (PS3/PS4)
Man, alright, so everything in Journey up until its fourth chapter had been an absolute dream of exploration and cryptic exposition. There isn't a fault. But then the pilgrim takes us on a tonal shift and down onto a literal descent into the belly of darkness. The sand-surfing sections of this game were utterly stunning and filled with sweet jumps to pull off.
The soundtrack to this section was utterly sublime, the visuals breathtaking and tell me you didn't stop to catch your breath after you fall into Journey's faux-underwater section. Amazing!
in Super Mario Bros. (NES)
Possibly the first secret area I discovered myself in games, much alike many of you reading this now, that moment when you drop into Super Mario's underworld level and realize you can spring to the top, break the bricks and run across to the end where three pipes are waiting to shoo you off to other distant levels, was out of this world, man. Quite literally actually...
4. Stumbling Across "Hydrus"
in Shadow of the Colossus (PS2/PS3)
This hat tip could have easily gone to Valus as the first Colossi you come across. The sheer scale of that bumbling giant was wonderfully intimidating at first. But then 7 Colossi in and Hydrus appears.
A massive sea beast that didn't seem so intimidating at first glance thanks to the PS2's shoddy draw distance (I forgive you, please don't hate me, PS2!). But watching it break through the waves for its first hello left my jaw agape.
in The Last of Us (PS3/PS4)
I'm a fairly sentimental guy, me. I shed tears at TV shows and films. Boy you should've seen me at the end of Game of Thrones' latest slayer of emotions 'The Door'. But the opening act of Naughty Dog's finest hour broke me.
What with the watch, and the excitement of a town in chaos, running through the night in attempt to escape and protect Joel's daughter Sarah, and then she ends up getting shot by a patrolling soldier. Man. I never knew games could make you feel so f**king much!
6. Marston's Last Stand
in Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360, PS3)
Arguably Rockstar's greatest game of the past two console generations, Red Dead was an emotional roller-coaster for the ages. But despite the game having numerous stand out wtf moments, the double-crossing of John Marston reigns supreme.
After fending off waves of attacks from Edgar Ross' men, Marston stays behind to act as a decoy as his family flee to safety. His and our adventure ends with the heroic rogue being riddled with bullets from the very same men he was once bound to aid. Best video game ending of all time? I'd say most likely...
7. Psycho Mantis
in Metal Gear Solid (PS1)
How many boss battles have ever required you putting the controller in the 2nd port in order to defeat the big bad? Seriously, man, learning this after the 4th, 5th time of having my ass handed to me by this floaty bastard was excellent. Like a true "ooh shit" moment that still has me rushing to play through this wonderful game on the odd weekend.
8. The First Visit To Hoth
in Star Wars: Battlefront (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
I've been fairly critical of this game, because as a game it's not a particularly good game. But one thing DICE did manage to nail was the feel of the Star Wars universe. The sounds, the sights, the sparks, they're all there.
But where all of this visual splendor comes together is when you first put boots on the crunchy, snowy surface of Hoth. I lost my shit when I first headed up a hill, flanked by my squadron, and was totally obliterated by hulking AT-ATs and the terrible might of the Empire. The amount of fun to be had boosting up onto hilltops and sniping enemies from afar. I think I might play this later...
9. Alduin Says Hello
in The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
So you're about to be beheaded by an Imperial Legion goon and then this giant dragon, horned and terrible, lands on top of a building and messes up a lot of people's days. Like literally everyone who lived in Helgen. After surviving Alduin's firey onslaught, the realization hits. "How the hell am I supposed to fight something that big?!" What a summer child I was. And what monumental occasions all dragon battles were.
in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4)
It's completely unsurprising that Naughty Dog's second finest hour should be on this list. A Thief's End is an absolutely resplendent game, one of the best looking games I've ever seen anyway. And ascending the cliff face beneath a glorious Italian villa displays the game in all of its visual wonder effortlessly. I don't want to give to much of that particular mission away, it has to be seen to be believed!
What's your biggest wow moment with games?
Let us know in the comments!