The beauty of video games is how they can take us to far-off places in a way that no other medium. It's an immersive experience that allows you to discover worlds full of magic, excitement, unique characters, and unforgettable moments. Sadly, that freedom of expression can also deliver grimace-inducing moments you’d rather soon forget.
While video games beautifully balance intense visuals with captivating narrative, it is not removed from terrible voice acting, awful scripts, and exploitative scenes – not so different from similar mediums such as film or television.
What makes video games unique as a medium is that it puts you in complete control of the action, captivating you in the digital story unfolding before your very eyes as you control the perception and adventure according to your perspective. Video games are a profoundly personal experience. It gives the visuals a sense of realism and plots life as it unravels according to the choices you make as a player. Video games may be more sophisticated and complex than they’ve ever been, but that doesn’t mean that the industry has shifted away from its crude juvenile humour or its desire to deliver quantity over quality. Many games still cater to a wider audience rather than challenge the norm. This means that there’s still a plethora of ill-conceived moments we gamers can uncomfortably revel at.
Here’s our definitive list of the most uncomfortable cut scenes in video games. They’re cringe-inducing, awkward, and deeply embarrassing.
Honorable mention goes out to Dead Space 3's needle in your eye scene, which starts off as a cut-scene, but then has some interaction from the player.
Be warned, potential spoilers ahead.
15 The Death of Sarah
With an opening that immediately plunges you into the emotional story of The Last of Us’ savage post-apocalyptic world, it’s hard not to get drawn into the narrative built before you.
A heartbreaking opening sequence to the game, The Last of Us puts us in the shoes of Sarah, the protagonist’s daughter, as you try to make sense of the unravelling world around you. It’s an intense opening segment that sets the tone for the game and the emotional trauma you’ll endure.
It only takes 15 minutes to build an emotional connection with Sarah and perhaps a lifetime to get over the emotional toll of witnessing her getting gunned down in the arms of her father. You can only look on in helpless disbelief as Sarah suffers in agonizing pain. And as she utters her last breath and Joel’s devastating pleas goes unheard, the scene fades to black.
14 Far Cry 3’s Ending
Far Cry 3 is a heavy game.
An immersive open-world game, it makes you wrestle with your moral compass as you decide just how deep the rabbit hole really goes. The emotional weight reaches Atlas-like proportions the further into the game you go and the choices you make along the way have devastating consequences.
Like a twisted Choose Your Own Adventure book, the choice you make at the end of Far Cry 3 determines the cut scene you’re rewarded with. If you choose to venture along the path of the Sith, you’re rewarded with an awkward and violent sex scene.
A narrative whiplash that showcases the diminished shred of your humanity, this sex scene is as perverse as it is disturbingly intimate. The soundscape of Jason enjoying the sins of the flesh is only cut short by Citra stabbing you in the chest post-coitus, a welcome release from this horrific visual assault you’ve just witnessed.
13 Silent Hill’s Lisa
Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is a generational artist. It should come as no surprise then that Silent Hills P.T., a collaborative work between del Toro and Metal Gear’s Hideo Kojima, would be lauded as one of the purest and smartest horror games to come out in recent years.
In the playable teaser, you encounter a hostile and unstable apparition, a tormenting spirit that can spell your grisly demise. When the ghost of Lisa attacks, it is terrifyingly scary and unexpected, yet the tension buildup within the game makes it an immersive part of the experience rather than a mere jump scare tactic. It's a brief cutscene, less than fifteen seconds long, which is than enough time for you to mentally curl up into a fetus position and perhaps even soil yourself a little. And you can only stare at the screen helplessly as Lisa munches on your decaying corpse as everything fades to black.
12 Dead Or Alive
A series that has spawn numerous spin-offs, Dead or Alive has a collection of in-game moments that fall beyond the simple scope of uncomfortable, but rather, the embarrassingly creepy.
Every time a new Dead or Alive game came out, fans would revel in only one thing – and no, it wasn’t the colourful cast of characters, all with their own unique backstories, nor was it the unique fight game system – rather, it was the shameless “attributes” of certain characters. Attributes that seemed to move with a mind of their own.
A now defunct franchise, if Dead or Alive can be noted for any sort of service to the video game industry, it could possibly be their greatest achievement to date – their graphical innovation of impossible physics – namely video game breast physics. Wicked’s Defying Gravity comes to mind when you play this game with its juvenile humour. It was a fan service to 12-year-old brains everywhere.
11 Kratos' Sexcapades
Kratos may have been known as the God of War, but he would have been better served as the God of love and sexual desires.
For the most part, the God of War series is a straight-up masculine fantasy series where the Hulk-like protagonist barrages through swarms of mythological beasts and undead, hacking-and-slashing, with fun puzzle games thrown in-between to keep the gameplay fresh. But the game is still a gratuitous male fantasy, as evident in the needless mini-games throughout the series. Kratos fighting style and kill count is only matched by the number of women he’s bedded – as passionate when he swings his sword as when he swings... his sword.
Despite the gratuitous nature of these mini-games, they still fall within the narrative of Greek mythology. After all, Zeus did impregnate the wife of a king while transformed as a swan. Though that still doesn’t mean these scenes aren’t awkward af.
10 Raiden Hangs Loose
The sequel to the much beloved game Metal Gear Solid surprised fans of the series when they introduced the more agile Raiden, a ninja-like character who stands in place for Solid Snake. It came as even more as a surprise when in the third act of the game, you were “exposed” to just how emotive and “vulnerable” Raiden could be.
After being captured, Raiden escapes, completely butt-naked of course, and as you sneak your way through Arsenal Gear, you're presented opportunities to see if you can catch glimpses of Raiden’s virtual crown jewels. Admit it, you tried to position Raiden in such manners (You can tell us, we won’t tell a soul).
You may have felt a little undignified as you ran around naked, always tactically keep one hand well-positioned, but just imagine this – some poor developer had the job to render all of this – crown jewels and all.
9 The Probing Of Randy Marsh
South Park has had its controversial moments. No religious, political figure, or famous individual is safe from the clutches of Trey Parker and Matt Stone. A show that’s hilariously clever and on the borderline of downright offensive, South Park carries this legacy on in their game, South Park: The Stick of Truth.
A lampoon of the RPG genre, The Stick of Truth has many moments of shock value. But none stand out more than the awkward and outrageous scene involving Randy Marsh. Having been abducted by aliens, you’re required to free Randy Marsh to progress the story via a mini-game reminiscent of Bop It. Failure to follow the button presses of the mini-game results in Randy’s punishment. It's a scene that’s vulgar, yet unforgettable – even if you wash your eyes out with soap.
8 The Princess And The Hedgehog
What is it about endearing animals that we just love to anthropomorphize? The anthropomorphic sub-genre is big business, creating memorable characters and games that we all love – Ratchet and Clank, Club Penguin, and Pokémon. However, perhaps no character is as beloved as the titular hero Sonic the Hedgehog.
A series with its innocence value cranked to 10, Sonic games have always had a touch of child-like wonder, that is until you play Xbox 360 exclusive Sonic the Hedgehog.
The game titters between the creepy and uncomfortable as you’re forced to bear witness to the protagonist and human princess Elise flirt with each other. It's a nightmarish fan-fiction come to life. The climax between Elise and Sonic’s relationship is cringe-inducing as you’re forced to watch human Elise kiss Sonic on the lips, in true Sleeping Beauty fashion. You can only look on in disbelief as the scene unfolds and the image is forever burned into your memories.
7 Singing In The Rain
Enigmatic, deadly, and decidedly mute. These are just the few words to describe Big Boss’ sniper companion, Quiet. Making her appearance in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Quiet became an immediate fan favourite thanks to her skills in the battlefield and her impressively, not-so-subtle, virtual “assets” that are always absurdly positioned in a way that borders on the creepy.
While there are numerous “erotic” cut scenes we could have chosen from – her lengthy shower scene with Snake or how she dangles over you in a helicopter, we’ve decided to go with the rather unnecessarily lustful scene of Quiet playing in the rain at Mother Base.
A cut scene only available after you’ve bonded high enough with her, return to Mother Base during rain season and Quiet with disembark the helicopter and seductively play in the rain – wearing practically nothing as the rolls around on the Mother Base platform in full view of her comrades and the player.
6 Tidus’ Laugh
As classic fan favourite when ranking video game cut scenes, Tidus is the main protagonist of Final Fantasy X, a game with a rich cast, intriguing narrative, and cut scenes that only Square Enix can deliver.
In the infamous Final Fantasy scene that’s captured the Internet, spawning memes and numerous recreations, Yuna and Tidus are up against the impossible – which can weigh down even the most determined hero. In order to try and cheer up Yuna, this cut scene unfolds, with Tidus bellowing the most forceful and unnatural laughter anyone’s ever heard. The writing for this scene is terrible, but it's the almost robotic laughter emitting out of Tidus that makes you wonder what the developers were thinking when they put this scene together. Yuna best captures our thoughts when she utters the words, “you... probably shouldn’t laugh anymore.” We couldn’t agree more Yuna, we couldn’t agree more...
5 Be-Witching Magic
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is a beautiful fantasy world built in the realm of magic and unbelievable beauty. However, that’s not to say that it doesn’t have it flaws. Or unnecessary dirty dad jokes.
Take the cut scene where Siska has fallen ill for example. To remedy her back to health, mage Philippa must heal her with a magical flower, which requires application by means of a kiss. An endearing scene right? It is until the dwarf Skalen Burdon declares, “My favourite type of magic – Lesbomancy.”
Somehow in this magical world, dirty dad jokes have found its footing, yet inner monologuing is awaiting to be discovered. It’s a lame remark that's completely unnecessary – considering the considerable amount of good mature content available throughout the game. The sheer awkwardness of the remark and its poor timing is a facepalm moment the game did not need.
4 I Wonder What’s For Dinner?
If you were able to guess the next game on our list purely from the title alone, pat yourself on the back because you’re a true Legend of Zelda fan.
Considered by fans and critics alike as one of the worst video games ever, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon is an obscure Legend of Zelda game released in 1993 by Phillips CD-i. Infamous among fans for its terrible script, dialogue, voice-acting, and animation, The Wand of Gamelon is a disservice to one of the most enduring video game franchises of all time. The scene’s direction feels forced, with its embarrassing animation sequence and voice acting that’s similar to a middle school class play that you’re forced to sit through – uncomfortably because your child is in the play. In this case, it's because you’re a true Zelda enthusiast, for which we’re forever sorry.
3 Buried At Sea
Bioshock Infinite: Buried at Sea is the game’s episodic expansion – a DLC and prequel to the events of the original Bioshock.
The scene in question takes place in Episode Two, where the protagonist, Elizabeth, must endure a transorbital lobotomy at the hands of Rapture antagonist, Atlas. Set in a first person perspective, the scene is so vivid and masterfully crafted that the player can’t help but feel a fragment of Elizabeth’s pain – helped thanks in part to the scene’s red flashing visuals. Utterances of agony are endured while Atlas continues to interrogate Elizabeth about Andrew Ryan’s “Ace in the Hole.” An incredible sense of realism induces anxiety and panic thanks in part to the vibration of your controller as Atlas picks further into your brain. A flash of white light ends the excruciating experience, but this cut scene is one you won’t immediately forget.
2 You’re Special
The winter portion is a dark time in The Last of Us. Joel and Ellie get separated and we’re introduced to David – leader of a merry band of raiders and, of course, cannibals.
The definition of creepy, David stands out in a game filled with a memorable cast and supporting roles in part because as a player, you can’t immediately put your finger as to what’s off about his character. That is, until David approaches Ellie in her jail cell to try to recruit her over to his side with a sales pitch of food and the idea that Ellie’s “special,” all the while disturbingly laying his hand on top of hers. Vomit-inducing and immediately sends shivers down your spine.
If there’s any scene that makes you feel like you need an adult, it’s this – just not David. We don’t need that kind of adult supervision.
1 No Russian
“Remember – no Russian.”
The utterance of these three words and a cut scene no longer than 20 seconds has sparked one of the most controversial scenes in any video game, let alone the Call of Duty franchise.
The fourth mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, "No Russian" places you undercover as CIA agent Joseph Allen, implanted in Makarov’s terrorist cell as Alexei Borodin partaking in a mass shooting at Moscow International Airport. As a player, you get the choice of participating in the murdering of civilians or not, or you can skip the stage entirely. If you choose the former, you fire randomly in the unsuspecting crowds, causing mayhem and carnage as you send people running and screaming away in fear and terror.
It’s a scene so egregious it causes uneasiness, even among those with the most iron constitution. An examination of interactive atrocities, solidifying itself as number one on our list.