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Old 04-14-2004, 10:32 PM   #1
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Default "...and my jaw dropped." (pivotal gaming moments)




Moments when I said to myself, "This is the beauty of what it means to be a gamer" :

* Half-Life - the elegant and seamless integration of elements in Half-Life. The tram car ride through Black Mesa that opens the game for you, in effect saying "This is the world you will be moving through to survive for the next several hours and days". The headcrab that jumps out of that pipe, effectively making me jump out of my chair. Coming across a battle between the Marines and various alien creatures and spectating before joining in.

* Thief - the dark, syrupy atmosphere of The City. The almost perverse pleasure in sneaking behind and blackjacking my very first guard. Finally figuring out, after nearly 30 minutes, how to sneak past that one guard in Cragscleft Prison (I shot a distractive arrow behind his head and crawled past as he looked the other way). The Haunted Cathedral, The Sword, The Bonehoard. Viktoria.

* Grim Fandango - the rich, vibrant world of it all. The memorable characters, falling in love with Manny's voice. The gazpacho poisoning (I couldn't stop laughing at that fucked up piano music).

* Max Payne - being floored by that opening level in the subway. I had no idea how eerily photorealistic a game could look until then. Going into Bullet Time for the very first time.


....your turn.
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Old 04-15-2004, 05:04 AM   #2
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First of all, all of the above and for the same reasons.

* Unreal - it was the first FPS I played and because of this it will always have a special place in my heart. This was back in 1999 and after having played many better FPS games after that I last year tried out Unreal once more. The feeling was still there: You wake up in a prison vessel on an alien planet and soon find yourself scared shitless just because of the sounds that meet your ears. You manage to find your way out of the vessel and you take your first look at the planet you will see much of in the coming days. You are amazed by the detail of this world and the waterfalls, oh the waterfalls.
By todayís standards this isn't a great game, but back then it was and I because I never had seen anything similar before, it had an enormous impact on me.

* The Longest Journey - the first shift was just amazing, and when the church doors opened and revealed Arcadia in all its beauty I was stunned. That was a great moment in my gaming life. The ending was also a once in a life time experience and when the game opened the sketches to me I almost shed a tear. That was one of the most emotional moments for me in any game ever.

* Outcast - You'll have to play it to understand. The screenshots don't show the whole picture. Although Outcast used old technologies, and the graphics was somewhat dated because of this, all the worlds in Outcast were and are extraordinary beautiful. You try to to find the highest place in every world and just let your eyes absorb the candy that is Outcast.
The AI of the characters is also something that amazed me. They all have their own things to do and they'll do them if you don't disturb them. They also react to shooting very well. The friendly guys tend to duck to not get in the line of fire. The hostile guys, well, they tend to shoot back. Also, if you've shot someone friendly and another friendly guy sees it, he'll refuse to talk to you for some time, which was a neat trick IMO.
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Old 04-15-2004, 05:26 AM   #3
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Nice moments, I shared similar reactions to certain single player games, like you the tram ride through the Black Mesa facility was fantastic. Especially watching it on a pair of (at the time top of the range) linked voodoo 2 cards on a pre release beta build. Earning a reputation as a Gigolo in Fallout 2. Setting foot for the first time on the desert surface of Tatooine in Knights of the old republic (damn those sun's look amazing in the blue sky against the desert surface). They're remembered moments of immersion when the sense of disbelief is successfully put aside by one or more features in the game be it glorious graphics or just interesting consequences to your actions.

They pale a little though in comparison to watershed moments I experienced online. Playing quake (with q95.exe) with fellow early internet adopters on our 14.4k modems at the isp's server (it was like ice skating), updating to quakeworld and soon after getting too caught up in the masterpiece that was the original Team Fortress, learning the classes and the best positions for each on a map, offence and defence tactics, learning to bunny hop, playing a role in a dedicated clan.

It was even more striking in Ultima Online, saving up money with a friend so we could buy ourselves a house near a local mine to make our fortunes, and then getting killed for the first time by another player. It was so violating I loved that game so much I volunteered to be a counselor and was one for almost 2 years, another great experience in its self being able to help others enjoy a game that meant so much to me.
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Old 04-15-2004, 06:05 AM   #4
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Grand Theft Auto III:
The very first time you got to get into a car after the intro stops was thrilling to say the least

Pain Killer:
Fighting the swampthing endboss was rather difficult cause I kept forgetting to shoot the monster and kept looking at the way it looked & moved

System Shock 2:
Just after you wake up and ran to safety, you sneak around this computer room, and every time I play that level I get scared shitless cause of this comuter that explodes next to you

Tron 2.0
When you walk around inside the firewall I had to keep looking at the huuuge rotating devices, awesome! And everything in the infected computers simply looks amazing
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Old 04-15-2004, 06:58 AM   #5
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Max Payne 2:

After realizing that Max actually DID shoot Detective Winterson. Really gave it a little more edge, though it kind of took the wind out of it when you find out she was Vlads girl.

Call of Duty:

While not my favorite game, it definitly has its spots. The airfield when you're desperately shooting down the bomber coming at you. And the Battle of Stalingrad, ripped right out of Enemy at the Gates, my favorite level from an awesome movie.

Starcraft: Brood War:

The very end, when you realize you just helped the bad guys (or bad girl, I guess...) win.
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Old 04-15-2004, 07:33 AM   #6
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Star Wars: KOTOR...the first time I took the elevator to the Upper City in that first level, I was in awe of the realism of the world. Ships zooming overhead...and underfoot...people walking by, the texture of the sky...awesomely beautiful.

Grim Fandango: The Bridge in, I think, Rubacava. The way the water shimmered, rippled and reflected the moonlight was just incredible to look at. I think my jaw literally did drop, lol.

Many of the levels in American McGee's Alice. They were creepy, beautiful, and I was often looking forward to seeing what was around the next corner. The "Skool Daze" level was wild just to look at, with the swirling portals, the floating building, the tentacles writhing out of portals in the sides of buildings...creepy fun!
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Old 04-15-2004, 08:38 AM   #7
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The Rubacava transition in Grim when Manny takes over the casino sent shivers down my spine. Oh man, even thinking about it...

Also, the introduction to Full Throttle. Talk about great game intros.

I've only played the demo of Call of Duty, but one moment that really got me was the first time the game went into slow-mo low-volume slow-shutter mode. Man, that was crazy. It really has that desired war-movie effect.

The intro to Brood War, while sort of a typical sci-fi kind of thing, had an ending that was quite well-composed and really made me feel the intended disgust at the Terran command.

There are others I'm sure, including some that have already been posted, but those are some of the ones that easily come to mind.
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Old 04-15-2004, 09:56 AM   #8
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How could I forget Call Of Duty! The first time you get to fire one of those MG42's with their insane noisemaking was awesome. I started grinning like an maniac It's so insanely loud it makes you hide as soon as you hear them fire near you. Even if you stand right around a corner
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Old 04-15-2004, 11:58 AM   #9
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I experienced few jawdropping moments in my gaming history, I have to say...
I do feel quite excited every time I launch a new game/demo for the first time, though.

Anyway, to name a few that impressed me...
Some game on Amiga I saw when I visited a friend. It had this wonderful intro.
You saw a car arriving at some kind of lab where there was a particle accelerator or something. After that, there was some kind of accident which made the main character travel through time or something. (all very vague, but it's been a while).

The first time playing battle chess (especially the queen killing a pawn was cool)

The first time playing wolfenstein3d (the danger lurking behind each corner, every door) and other Id games like quake and quake 2, single player and multiplayer (the sounds and movements of the enemies in quake 2, and its wonderful multiplayer maps; I still play quake2 online from time to time).
I admit, I'm maybe a bit of an Id "fanboy"

The first time I saw the intro of Final Fantasy VII on my then brandnew PC; the train that entered the station, the camera angles, Aeris and the echo of her footsteps, the music. That game has some of the best cutscenes ever...

The first time I saw Lara Croft in action.

The first cutscene and level of nolf2: the japanese with her katana, the wonderful environment a bit later; vegetation, water, bridge...
I loved the mood of that game.

In Grim Fandango, the cutscene where
Spoiler:
Manny thinks he sees Meche, but it appears to be a scary bird and so on...


Max Payne 2 and its physics engine. I liked it more than the first game. Although not very realistic, I enjoyed the physics very much (more than in DX:IW or Painkiller)

edit: I forgot the intro of KQV: especially the fact that they zoomed in on the owl Cedric (I had a non talkie version so I didn't think he was annoying). Those were the best gfx I had seen (better than mi1, which I played at the same time), such nice colors and drawings
Guess I have a weakness for cutscenes which use different camera angles

Last edited by Bird; 04-15-2004 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 04-15-2004, 12:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird
Some game on Amiga I saw when I visited a friend. It had this wonderful intro.
You saw a car arriving at some kind of lab where there was a particle accelerator or something. After that, there was some kind of accident which made the main character travel through time or something. (all very vague, but it's been a while).
I know that game! "Another World" was its name. That intro was amazing, for the time. The first time I saw it was also on an Amiga, my cousin's. The game itself, IMHO was also non-stop wonderment and amazement at the world you're visiting and its inhabitants. Thanks for reminding me of that one. Very worthy of the "jaw dropping" category. Especially, and I don't know if anyone else remembers this, at the begining of the game, running away from the black lion. I think I can safely say those were some of the most suspenseful and exciting moments in my gaming experience, ever, period.

-Beating Jaffar in Prince of Persia. The back and forth swordplay, ending with a sattisfactory stab (12 times)--also immensely exciting.

-Hearing the wonderful song "Ochi Charnie" (means "black eyes" in Russian and Serbian) in Syberia.
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Old 04-15-2004, 12:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mares
I know that game! "Another World" was its name. That intro was amazing, for the time. The first time I saw it was also on an Amiga, my cousin's. The game itself, IMHO was also non-stop wonderment and amazement at the world you're visiting and its inhabitants. Thanks for reminding me of that one. Very worthy of the "jaw dropping" category. Especially, and I don't know if anyone else remembers this, at the begining of the game, running away from the black lion. I think I can safely say those were some of the most suspenseful and exciting moments in my gaming experience, ever, period.
That's the one! I don't remember the title, but I remember this black lion
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Old 04-15-2004, 12:57 PM   #12
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(It was called "out of this world" in the US.)
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Old 04-15-2004, 01:08 PM   #13
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The Dig
I loved the whole game because of the atmosphere, but there were a few moments which really had an emotional impact on me, first and foremost the introduction which climaxes to the point where the sun emerges from behind the asteroid, the music reaches its thematical peak and Low states: "We have exactly one chance. We've got to do it right. Let all your prayers be with us". Time for shivers!

Grim Fandango
I agree with what has been said in this thread already. One of the defining moments in the game in my opinion was the cutscene between Year 1 and 2, where the camera tracks the cafeteria tower up to the sky, then dives down to the night, the cafeteria having turned into a casino. It somehow opened my eyes to see just how cinematic games can be at their best. It's sad that not many titles have gotten this far, as there's plenty of room for further improvement.
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Old 04-15-2004, 01:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ysbreker
System Shock 2:
Just after you wake up and ran to safety, you sneak around this computer room, and every time I play that level I get scared shitless cause of this comuter that explodes next to you
The first time you hear the zombies calling out for you as you hide behind some desk....the first time you get charged by a Rumbler....the log entries by one of the crew members, culminating with the final entry when he is moments away from being assimilated by The Many....chilling.

In Undying, you walk around the ruins of a monestary and see a large pool. Reflected in the pool is the monestary....in its fully restored original glory. Stunning.
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Old 04-16-2004, 06:01 AM   #15
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Tomb Raider 2
The first time you jumped in the boat on the venice canals.

Thief: The Dark Project
The suspense as you try to steal the eye from the undead in the Return to the Haunted Cathedral.

Half Life
Shooting down the helicopter with the newly found rocket launcher whilst being stood on the cliff.

Dungeon Keeper
The first time you attract a bile demon to your dungeon.

Doom & Heretic
Everything.

Quake 2
Seeing the first boss that looks like a tank.
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Old 04-16-2004, 06:48 AM   #16
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Of course there are a lot, but the most recent game that made my jaw drop at every turn and made me think "this is how gaming SHOULD ALWAYS be" was



Those dungeons were so well designed... yes, I was always aware I was playing a game, but ever realising how great this game was. And this is no nostalgic memory, mind you: I played the game for the first time half a year ago! Not only is it great, it stands the test of time superbly ^_^ Brilliant design simply never fades.


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Old 04-16-2004, 08:21 AM   #17
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Grim Fandango
My jaw dropped for the entirety of this game, but it actually unhinged on these occasions:

Spoiler:

When Manny runs down from the Casino and see's Meche, but as he gets closer 'Meche' turns around, and it's a crow.

When Lola dies.

The poisoning at the start of the game. So weird.

When Meche is going through the gates with the suitcase of Golden Tickets, and the crow flies out at her... She hits it with the suitcase and then throws it down to Manny, and Manny get's into the car with Olivia, and then she throws Sal's head into the back of the car.... and he says, "Hola Manuel!". That part was also hilarious in a completely disturbed way.

The shoot-out between Manny and Hector. Awesome.



Full Throttle

Spoiler:

The entire end sequence of events, but one moment that stands out in particular is when Ben and Ripburger crash through the windscreen, and Ripburger is hanging on the front of the truck...

Mo - "Ben!? Ben!??? Are you alive?!"

Ben - "I am, but I don't know about Ripburger..."

Mo - "I can see him. He's out cold."

And at the precise moment she says, "Out cold!" we can see Ripburger's eyes shoot open, unbeknown to our heroes.



Metal Gear Solid

Spoiler:

This entire game was awesome, but especially the part where the mindreader dude makes the PS1 controller shake... and the torture part... they just added such an interactive element to the game, they were such clever ideas....



Monkey Island 2

Tunnels!


Probably there are a whole bunch of other moments, but those stand out in particular to me.
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Old 04-16-2004, 08:32 AM   #18
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Grand Theft Auto Vice City:

The ending cut-scene plays, after that I just drive around the city for two hours on a motorcycle, listening to my favourites on the mp3 radio channel.
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Old 04-16-2004, 10:32 AM   #19
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I was just recently reminded of how much I was moved (I can't really say enjoyed due to the subject material) by Hitman 2. I was inspired to write down my experience of one of my favourite missions and it was hard to pick one. Perhaps its telling that the most brutal was the one I chose. All the others where either extremely clean and/or efficient kills but for some reason I really let fly on a poor Hacker.


Quote:
After dropping the time delay smoke bomb down a laundry shoot I walked as fast and unobtrusively as possible across the hotel lobby. Fire alarms go off and frantic firemen in long black cloaks burst from a door near the restrooms, all heading for the stairwell. They're too busy to notice me slip into the change rooms in their wake. I'm thinking only of grabbing one of their black cloaks but there's a fire axe just laying there. It seems almost sad left alone so I take it too. "Part of the disguise" I tell myself.
I'm taking too long.

I rush out of the change room hoping to shadow the firemen to the basement. A lobby guard gives me a cautious glance, noticing the distance between myself and the pack of firemen, but the metal detector goes off and the axe acts as both explanation and deterrent. You don't want to stop me.

I soon catch up to the firemen, but I don't want to get too close, I'm not one of them, they'll know. People push past us in the other direction, fleeing the 'fire' in an orderly fashion. We spiral down a flight of stairs and are soon rushing along a basement corridor. One or two guards are still down here, just exiting a control booth. Their reluctance to leave their post during a fire tells me where I have to go.

Obscured by smoke I crouch low and duck into the booth, taking a set of elevator keys and then swiftly through the rear door. After some more stairs I reach a turn in the corridor and I can almost feel an electronic hum reverberating off the concrete walls. Its quiet down here. Is the target even aware of the fire alarm? I can see him now, through a glass paneled door. He's at the far end of a large room maybe 30 feet away. Seated at a computer terminal with his back to me.

I step into the room and stand quietly still. The subterfuge to get me here was exciting, but its only now that my heart really starts to beat faster.

Knife?
Razor Wire?
Ballers?

It's like choosing flavours. My mind racing, my mouth watering! And then through its 'sudden' weight in my hands its as though the axe is making its presence known again. Like a drawn sword begging to be whetted. No more time for thought. They'll have found the smoke bomb by now. Act! I break into a run. Right between shelves to either side, straight at the target.

I can't hear my footsteps. I can't hear anything. I'm 20 feet from him and he still hasn't turned! Time starts to slow down. Why doesn't he notice me? Is he alive?. Has someone beaten me to the kill? NO! The thought makes me angry. His hands are moving, I almost feel relief. The axe swings up high over my head.

10 feet now, its like he's ignoring me. I don't like that. Either the noise of my boots disturbing the junk food wrappers strewn on the floor nearby, or the fierce roar that rips involuntarily from my throat shortly after startles him. I can't hear either myself. He jumps in his seat, a half glance over his left shoulder in terror and then his back is to me again. He's fumbling for the phone on the desk, trying to call for help and just as he raises the receiver to his ear, the axe falls.

That moment stops in time.
The immediate aftermath so brutally ugly as the body, stripped of all grace crumples under the blow. There's blood on the monitor. I can hear a distant, tin-like voice coming from the phone as the blood rushing in my ears slows with my pulse. The receiver's agitated sway as it hangs over the edge of the desk a mockery of the now still form at my feet. Still caught up in the moment I briefly consider hiding amongst the shelves now, just to steal of a glimpse of a reaction from someone, anyone. To see what it is they feel when confronted with what I've done. What I do. But that would be unprofessional.

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Old 04-16-2004, 11:49 AM   #20
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My jaw drops too easyly...
-That 96Kb game that I heard about in the forum made me jaw drop like a Tex Avery toon...
I'll just reduce the list to:
-"OMG! How did I do that! Sw33t!" situation.
-"What beautiful graphics/music!"

I know it's lame, but would you rather have a extremely long and boring post?
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