Top 10 Most Paused Video Game Moments Ever

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Top 10 Most Paused Video Game Moments Ever

VOICE OVER: Callum Janes
Sometimes, video games present you with moments where you have to pause and take it all in. For this list, we're looking at moments that meant you had to put down your controller and take a break to compose yourself. There will be spoilers ahead for some shocking plot twists. Our countdown includes seeing Midgar in "Final Fantasy VII" (1997), the UFO in "Red Dead Redemption II" (2018), making the choice in "Mass Effect 3" (2012), and more!
Transcript
Sometimes, video games present you with moments where you have to pause and take it all in. For this list, we’re looking at moments that meant you had to put down your controller and take a break to compose yourself. There will be spoilers ahead for some shocking plot twists. Our countdown includes seeing Midgar in "Final Fantasy VII" (1997), the UFO in "Red Dead Redemption II" (2018), making the choice in "Mass Effect 3" (2012), and more! Let us know in the comments which gaming moment made you walk away and collect your thoughts.

#10: Asylum Demon

“Dark Souls” (2011)

Though it wasn’t the first in the series, “Dark Souls” was many people’s introduction to FromSoftware, and the Asylum Demon was the very first boss they faced. Any “Souls” veteran will tell you that the Asylum Demon is easy as pie because you’re supposed to run past him and come back later – unless you want that hammer. But new players who don’t know the game will understandably be in shock when they try to fight the demon with the broken sword and get destroyed in two attacks. Many people will, of course, keep going, but it’s still a wake-up call that will leave you contemplating whether you want to continue as soon as you respawn at the bonfire.

#9: The UFO

“Red Dead Redemption II” (2018)

Like other Rockstar games, “Red Dead II” is so full of secrets and Easter eggs that we’ll likely still be finding them decades later. Players have spent lots of time ghost-hunting in-game to find the ghost train and the ominous specter of Agnes Dowd (xref), but what about alien hunting? If you visit an abandoned shack just a little ways north of Emerald Ranch, you’ll stumble across the aftermath of a gruesome ritual. If you read the letter, you’ll find mention of an alien envoy arriving during a half-moon at 2 AM. If you diligently return to this place at that time, a UFO will appear overhead. Gamers were screenshotting this like crazy to get a good look at the flying saucer.

#8: Giraffes

“The Last of Us” (2013)

This is a moment Naughty Dog really wanted not just the players to savor, but Ellie and Joel themselves. Near the end of the game as the pair finally get near the Fireflies, you’ll be treated to this stunning moment of reprieve. The giraffes at the nearby zoo have long since broken out and are now freely roaming America’s urban landscape, ignored by the zombie hoards. We could spend hours petting those giraffes. It wouldn’t be the last time Naughty Dog would make players pause, however. After the release of “The Last of Us – Part II”, many players paused the game after Joel’s murder (xref). And some of them never un-paused it.

#7: Harry’s True Whereabouts

“Marvel’s Spider-Man” (2018)

True to form, “Marvel’s Spider-Man” was complete with an after-credits stinger that answered many questions fans had been having. Namely, where was Harry Osborn? Peter spent much of the game helping him with his research projects while he was supposedly in Europe, but by the game’s conclusion, we know that’s not the case. It turns out Harry has a rare disease, and we see him in a large, green tank in an Oscorp building surrounded by what looks suspiciously like the Symbiote. That brief scene has been paused and analyzed to death by gamers and Marvel fans alike, and we’re sure to see some iteration of the Green Goblin in the sequel.

#6: Seeing Midgar

“Final Fantasy VII” (1997)

Rendered in glorious 3D in a first for this landmark franchise, you’ll always remember the first time you saw Midgar. While you can’t actually pause this opening cutscene for a closer look, the scene is so beloved and so immediately recognizable that when the remake was announced, seeing Midgar was all we needed to get excited. The excitement in that E3 press conference room was palpable, with people cheering every part of the city they saw. But “Final Fantasy VII” holds another shocking moment that leaves you needing a break: when Sephiroth mercilessly takes down Aerith midway through.

#5: First Encounter

“Alien: Isolation” (2014)

There have been many “Alien” games over the decades, including the disastrous “Aliens: Colonial Marines” released just a year before “Isolation”. But none makes you experience the terror of being stalked by the xenomorph more than this one. Not only will it scare the hell out of you, but you got to see a photo-realistic rendering of one of the most iconic horror movie monsters of all time. It drops from the ceiling right in front of Ripley and she’s forced to hide under a desk and pray it doesn’t sniff her out. She survives, this time, but you may have still waited underneath the desk for another ten or fifteen minutes. You know, just to be extra safe.

#4: The Dragon

“The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” (2011)

Though it’s been meme’d to death, the appearance of the first dragon in “Skyrim” remains a moment that will stick with you. For a start, the dragon saves you from being executed, but it also wants to kill you and at this point you have no way to defend yourself. It burns down the town and you need to escape, making a critical choice along the way. It’s definitely a bad time to pause the game with your blood pumping so much, but when it’s all over you’ll definitely need a few moments to collect yourself. The novelty of the dragons will quickly ware off when they spend the rest of the game griefing you, so savor this encounter.

#3: Making the Choice

“Mass Effect 3” (2012)

It was notorious for its impossible ending decision, largely because none of the options seemed good. If you did all the side content and some of the multiplayer, you may have unlocked what’s generally accepted as the best ending, the green one. But otherwise, it’s a choice between red and blue, and every ending has the Mass Relays getting destroyed. Shepard was really caught between a rock and multiple hard places, and you probably spent a long while agonizing over which terrible decision you should make. BioWare later patched the game and added a fourth ending, “refuse”, where Shepard won’t make any of the choices, which speaks to just how tedious the trilogy’s climax was.

#2: The End

“Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater” (2004)

The boss fight against this veteran sniper is one moment where Hideo Kojima probably wanted you to pause the game. At the very least, he put in a funny scene if you did pause it and leave your PS2 on standby for a few days. If you engage the End in battle, a fight that can be tricky, but then switch off your PS2 and either wait a few days or change your console’s clock, he’ll die of old age. To be fair, he was already over a hundred years old by the time you fight him, but he really couldn’t have held on for a few more days to kill Snake?

#1: Would You Kindly?

“BioShock” (2007)

It’s the greatest plot twist in gaming for a reason, and you can probably still remember exactly how you felt after learning this revelation. Once you get about two-thirds through the game, you discover that you’ve been a slave all along, incapable of refusing a request that begins with the words, “would you kindly?” You see a flashback to the dozens of times Atlas has said these words to you, and then you’re forced to murder Andrew Ryan – who, by the way, happens to be your father. Presented with this truth and then Atlas’s immediate betrayal and reveal as the true villain, you’ll definitely need to take a break.
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