From the outrageous to the unbearably awkward, the grotesque and disturbing to the “okay but why though?,” cringeworthy moments are almost unavoidable in video games, both past and present. There will always be a developer who insists on that extra bit of code, that extra joke or punch line that falls flatter than Rihanna in 6 inch stilettos. Those moments that give us the “feels” or make us want to turn away from the screen, shut off the console and search around for a better use of our time. Maybe something outside (sorry, just wishful thinking)?
Some of these moments can even be so slick as to sneak right under our noses and be less overtly detectable at first. However, if you’ve ever taken a chance to notice your flared nostrils during an unnecessarily droll cut scene, or the wincing squints of the eyes in the middle of a gag-inducing mission task, it’s obvious that these rather unpleasant mishaps have more of an effect than you may have thought. Even the greater games of the generation have been known to fall victim to the cringe syndrome, giving us far more than we ever would have asked for. Literally.
So prepare to have your stomachs churned and eyes burned with regret, as we list the top 15 cringeworthy moments in gaming you can't un-see.
Warning some of these entries contain lewd content, so reader discretion is advised.
15 "That One Love Scene" - Ride To Hell Retribution
Ride to Hell Retribution is one of the most infamous games in recent memory. With low scores from nearly all gaming publications, it’s widely regarded as “the worst game of the seventh generation.” With over the top migraine-inducing antics, an impossible to follow story line and hilariously cliched dialogue, Ride to Hell Retribution could arguably be deemed as setting the bench mark for everything NOT to do in a video game.
Though the game as a whole falls short of lasting impressions, one cut-scene in particular has made its mark on the culture... and not in a good way. In a moment that screams “what am I watching?,” we see our hero Jake Conway partake in one of the most cringeworthy sex scenes ever played out in a video game. Showing awkward animations with fully clothed characters, who are providing hard to stomach grunts and moans, it’s a mixed bag of regretful decisions.
14 Removing The Transmitter - Metal Gear Solid 3
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater’s “remove the transmitter” does a great job of exemplifying the dirty mind of Hideo Kojima. Though a genius in his own right, there’s no doubt with dialogue like “it’s so small…yeah, but it gets the job done,” Kojima lets his perversions leak from time to time.
During Snake's meet up with Eva behind the waterfall, Eva takes the liberty in helping Snake remove a transmitter in a very unconventional way or, as Snake puts it, “how they do in the KGB.” From there, we see the two performing what only can be described as interpretive dance and awkward motions shadowed against the cave wall. It all comes to a head in a climax, with the transmitter removed and a feeling of WTF just happened.
It’s a moment that will either have you rolling on the ground laughing or pressed back in your chair looking puzzled and confused. One thing is for sure, it cannot be unseen and you won't get it out of your head.
13 God Of The Ladies - God Of War
Any God of War fan out there can tell you that when it comes to the ladies, Kratos is indeed the “mac” of Olympus. Throughout the series, he's consistently knocking boots with one or more fair maidens. It's just another day at the office for the son of Zeus. However, one moment in its earlier iterations leaves a feeling of awkwardness that’s so unnecessary. In the original God of War, Kratos comes across two concubines inviting him to engage in the throes of passion within the bowels of a ship. So, of course being the gentle blood-smearing warrior he is, Kratos obliges. The thing that puts this moment on this list is not the act itself, but the battle cry Kratos lets out just before and the zooming pan on the vase rocking with the bed. It’s creepy to hear and unpleasant to watch. Seriously Kratos, get it together.
12 LMFAO - Final Fantasy X
Quite possibly the most annoying and downright flabbergasting entry in the cringeworthy Hall of Fame comes in the closing hours of Final Fantasy X. For reasons unknown to the rational brain of gamers the world over, the main protagonist Tidus, in an effort to cheer up Yuna, literally laughs out loud. Seconds feel like hours as excruciating voice acting and unrealistic actions take place. To add a cheery on top of this heap of a cut scene, Yuna decides to get in on the fun, bringing even more pain to our ears. Though Final Fantasy may be one of the more beloved series around, this moment does leave a stain on its good behavior record.
11 Cleopatra - Dante's Inferno
Cleopatra, the Alexandrian Goddess known throughout history for ruling the ancient land of Egypt with an iron fist. That sounds like a great character indeed to draw inspiration from, especially in a video game. However, zombie-like pale blue skin and tongues for nipples may have been a stretch.
The opening scene to this epic boss battle in Dante’s Inferno is cringe at first sight personified. The appearance of the queen, representing the seventh deadly sin of Lust, is enough alone to want to turn off the console and read a book instead. That coupled with the small explicit exchange between her and Dante before her demise gifts us with all of the feelings we never wished to have.
10 The Honey Bee Inn - Final Fantasy VII
Yet another Final Fantasy entry to grace our list. Now the thumbnail alone should be enough to raise a few eyebrows. As you can see, even with all of the high acclaim Final Fantasy VII has received, the Honey Bee Inn remains a place that should be given a second thought before checking in. I will say that I do enjoy the high levels of camaraderie. Honestly, where else can you go with ten muscle bound men who want to “wash the sweat and dirt” off of each other together in a hot tub seething with team-spirit? What an uncomfortably pleasant way to spend a weekend. Thanks FFVII.
9 "Can You Stand The Rain" - Metal Gear Solid V
Quiet is a very peculiar character indeed. Her mute, combat ready nature adds a different element to the Metal Gear Solid universe, even if her choice in clothing leans a bit on the scantily clad side. Despite all of the seriousness surrounding her, it would be ludicrous to believe the girl doesn’t enjoy herself every once and a while, but here is where we have a problem.
Possibly paying homage to Bobby Brown and New Edition with “Can You Stand the Rain?,” Quiet dances through the rain with the grace of a toddler first learning how to walk. The dance alone isn’t what makes the cut0scene hard to stand, but the fact that it doesn’t fit Quiet’s character at all and can be argued as just an excuse to get a half-naked woman out in the rain. Either way, it’s not something gamers care to remember.
8 Mr. Slaves' Abortion - South Park: The Stick Of Truth
South Park: The Stick Of Truth is a game with no limits and non-existent filters. Offensive and over the top are its bread and butter and it lives up to the hype almost without fault. However, just like any other game, even it has its tipping point.
That climatic “wish I never saw this” moment takes place in the rectum of a certain South Park resident named Mr. Slave, as you and the gang are tasked with traveling deep within his colon to give him “an abortion.” There are honestly no words that can make any sense of this mission. Honestly, I don’t think any reader would want me to go into detail. Just remember that situations like these can be easily prevented with safe-sex.
7 Good Thing I'm A Righty - Heavy Rain
Heavy Rain is all about choices. No matter how disturbing or unsettling, the player is always kept on his or her toes, letting their decisions play out on screen, looping into unpredictable results. Now, with that, comes a ton of situations that just make you want to put down the controller; from having to strip and twerk your way to victory in front of a greasy looking middle-aged night club owner to chopping off your own finger. Yes, you read that right.
In a scene straight from the mind of Jigsaw, one of the story missions sees you amputate your own finger following the trial instructions from the “Origami killer.” Gruesome as it may seem, you will have to complete the task to stay on the right path. It's gut-wrenching and really plays games with the player’s mind, as I’m sure performing self-amputation is one of those things that will definitely require therapy down the road.
6 Trevor Goes Ballistic! - Grand Theft Auto V
If you were to rank the most outrageous characters in video game history, Trevor from Grand Theft Auto V would have to grace that list.
Rockstar took no time at all to introduce us to this lunatic fringe in his opening scene. A moment that ripped us out of our chairs and gave a Bruce Lee punch to the heart was getting our first glimpse of this crack pot in action. With pants around his ankles, he's found plowing a prostitute looking for drugs, being confronted by Johnny from The Lost and the Damned for having sex with his girl, consoling Johnny for taking his girl, then stomping a mud hole harder than Steve Austin in Johnny’s head for interrupting. The sequence of events went by so fast and were so shocking they could never be un-seen.
But still you got to love that crazy oaf.
5 Transorbital Lobotomy - BioShock: Burial At Sea
BioShock is one of the most convoluted series out there. A game with so many loops turns and plot twists it’s hard not to be invested in the action.
BioShock: Burial at Sea, the extension DLC for BioShock: Infinite, is the glue that pieces the puzzle together, as you find out the secrets behind Emily, Comstock, Rapture and Colombia. One moment in particular takes place as Fontaine kidnaps a wondrous Emily and, in an effort to get information out of her, he performs a “Transorbital Lobotomy.” With every hammering blow against the needle, we can literally feel the need to turn away, as it’s hard not to visualize that pain. I mean I’ve never been a snitch, but if it ever came down to this, this little birdie is singing. Sorry, not sorry.
4 It's A Beautiful Baby Bomb - Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zero
Though the title may be a joke, this cut-scene definitely is not. A brutally, lurid event where pressing the skip button has never been more tempting. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zero takes the player out of all comfort zones when a captive of the compound you just liberated happens to have a bomb implanted in their abdomen. With no tools, or anesthesia, the only option is to perform an impromptu C-Section to get that little bastard out of there. Stomachs churn and vomit begins to make its way to our collective mouths, as the doctor ignores the patients’ blood curdling screams and lines of intestines to get to the device. To say it’s not pretty would be an understatement, but unfortunately that’s the only way to describe it.
3 The Blob! - Inside
There are only three words that can accurately describe this entry, “what the f***?!” The blob from Inside gives us a monumental cringeworthy moment from such an unexpected contender.
We first get our glimpse of this behemoth of a monster during the final moments of Inside, the sequel to the dark-adventure world of Limbo. In this scene, after swimming into a tank surrounded by on-looking scientists, you are absorbed, along with what looks like hundreds of other humans into a clumping pile of flesh, equipped with multiple arms and legs. As you break free from your entrapment, you storm through the lab in search of a way out. The look of this thing is beyond unpleasant and its movements similar to that of a centipede, will make the hairs on your neck stand on end.
To the people dawning those lab coats who thought splicing people together was a good idea, please do less.
2 Stick A Needle In Your Eye - Dead Space 2
“Crawl inside, the screws go tight, cross my heart hope to die, stick a needle in your eye.”
Definitely one of the creepiest instructions ever spoken by a machine and a moment that had gamers screaming “oh, hell no!” at the screen. Dead Space 2 presents us with an eye-opening experience to the say the least (no pun intended). The NoonTech Diagnostic Machine, used to unlock blueprints and information for Isaac Clarke, takes a more unconventional approach to medical practice.
During the cut scene, the player has to line up their pupil precisely with the eye of the needle or risk it jamming straight through their skull instead. If battling anxiety isn’t your strong suit, then be prepared for a violent end.
1 Talking Baby In The Sink - Silent Hills: PT
Quite possibly the most disturbing moment in recent memory comes from the dark and eerie Silent Hill: P.T. A demo of a great game that never came too past, P.T. left us in a state of unchained fear and nauseous paranoia. Around every corner was a new threat that required quick thinking and no other assistance beyond our own instincts.
The most bizarre encounter came from a fetus in the sink of the bathroom. Not only was the sight of this creature terrifying, but what really sent a chill down the spine was the fact that it talked. It spoke in riddles and gave warnings of what evil lied ahead. It has to be one of the most unnerving "cringey" moments in a game that can’t be unseen.