TSA Talks #8: Iconic Moments and User Reviews

WARNING: This article mentions the ending of Red Dead Redemption so if you’re still concerned about “spoilers”, you might want to avoid it.

The team have re-assembled for yet another TSA sound-off and it isn’t all doom and gloom. We kick things off by recalling our most treasured moments in gaming, followed by a discussion on user reviews and their role in the gaming industry. If you have a topic for the team, don’t be shy and send them to jim[at]thesixthaxis[dot]com, or if you want to vent your anger or approval on a personal topic, send an entry to the same address; entries should be no more than 125 words.


We start with one of the more personal topics featured on TSA Talks. Some of us have been playing video games for what seems like decades, others only recently getting into the hobby, however we all have those iconic moments in gaming that stick with us forever such as taking down your first Colossi, stepping out of Vault 101, or inadvertently discovering the doomed city of Rapture. Here are some of the team’s most memorable game set pieces (note that there will be spoilers.)

Jim: Without hesitation I would cite the return to Shadow Moses (Metal Gear Solid 4) as the finest video game set piece in recent years. For me, the original MGS was my first proper taste of “real” gaming and without it I probably wouldn’t be sitting here, spouting my opinion on the entertainment medium today. Treading the same ground that I had done some years before from a top-down perspective, Kojima’s recreation of Shadow Moses was pitch perfect, housing a number of pivotal moments in the Metal Gear timeline. Completely unforgettable.

Blair: Any single moment of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. That game is just magical, and thinking of any part takes me back to when I was young. If I had to choose a moment, it would probably be the very end with the camera swooping across Hyrule. Portal 2 also had some suitably awesome experience, Chapter 5 springs to mind.

Aran: That scene from Red Dead Redemption, y’know the one, with John Marston’s final shoot out. We’re used to games giving us extra lives so if you fail go back to a checkpoint, try again. Suddenly, the protagonist isn’t coming back. I couldn’t believe it. That scene had a large emotional impact and really, however many games I play that scene will be hard to top.

Peter: My most memorable scene in a videogame from recent years is probably from Grand Theft Auto IV. I loved the first mission that took you into the game’s version of Manhattan. I got married in City Hall in Manhattan and spent a couple of weeks there about six months before the game came out. I adore New York City, it’s a magical place for me and seeing the little similarities and nods to real life locations as I drove my car up the length of the island really reminded me of everything I was missing. The other GTAIV moment was the first time I went up in a helicopter and saw the sun rise (or set, I can’t be sure through the mists of time) over the city. It was astonishingly beautiful.

Kris: I thought long and hard about this, mostly because I’m normally awful at picking a favourite anything. The only thing I think I’ve ever settled on is High Fidelity as my favourite film. So I sat, and I struggled and struggled thinking about this question, and then the answer hit me. It’s so obvious really, and there was only one answer I could give.

Green Hill Zone. I know, I know, I picked a level from Sonic; how predictable. Hear me out though. That stage never gets old to me, it’s always as good as it’s ever been and for an opening level there’s a surprising amount in it. If you look at how relatively simple 1-1 from Super Mario Bros is, the level that’s the most obvious comparison, I really enjoy the amount that’s in Green Hill Zone. You’re presented with so many kinds of enemies, so much variety that will stick throughout the rest of the game.

For me though it’s more than that, within seconds that level throws me back to a time nearly twenty years ago when I sat down in my front room above a noisy pub and played Sonic for the first time. That will always be something that sticks with me, and anything that has that kind of power just can’t be overlooked.

Tuffcub: If you want the honest to gods answer, the most memorable moment in my gaming history is the final cut scene from Dante’s Inferno. If you have finished the game then I don’t think I need to explain why, suffice to say Beatrice was a very lucky lady. Truly a jaw-on-the-floor moment (which is just wrong considering what is on screen).

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  1. Some great gaming moments. I can agree with Peter on GTA, only been the New York once but it was amazing, and the games setting was so similar. Standing on the balcony of the empire state building was the best moment in the game…much better in real life though ;)
    I saw a 5/10 score for UC3 on Metacritic, says it all really.

  2. I would say the cutscene of Snake and Liquid beating each other up and the love theme playing is one of my iconic moments as it sybomlises the end of an era.

    Another one would be in DMC3 where Dante activates his devil trigger for the first time as you can see his demon side taking over and his human side in pain.

    There is plenty of iconic moments for me but i won’t list them as it would break TSA.

  3. Greatest gaming moment for me is still Snake Vs Psycho Mangos memory card reader bit. This gen, the standout moments have cine from Mgs, Heavy Rain, Dead space series, killzone series, uncharteds, god of wars, infamous, deus ex, mass effect 2, GT 5, resistances, batman I could go on forever…

  4. If I had to pick, my favourite single moment in a videogame is in Abe’s Oddysee, just before he falls down the cliff after escaping the factory. He looks up at the moon and sees it has his handprint on it, and soon discovers he is destined for great things. It was just magical.

    • Great pick. Oddworld really seems like a magical place and I’d love to find out more about it. It has so much potential.

  5. I use metacritic, but only rarely, and with a tablespoon (or ladle if i can find one) of salt, I generally ignore the hugely negative comments and only take note if an issue is reported over and over. It’s easy to spot the trolls and fanboys, some idea as to a games quality can be had though. Though TSA is always my first stop for reviews, then youtube, then metacritic…

    As for top moments, in Fallout 3, when I gave the old woman her stradivarius, then reverse pick pocketed a land mine to her and watched her repaint the walls – I’m not sadistic, in real life anyway… It was just an eye opener as to how open the game was, it was the first RPG I’d played properly and I loved how I could do anything, and how choices that seemed innocent at the start altered quests massively at the end, it was amazing. Other than that, Shadow of the Colossus, it made me feel really sad after killing any of the colossi, they hadn’t done anything to me, and yet I’d slain this majestic, one of a kind creature of impeccable level design and PS2 graphics. To me, that was a really stunning feeling and I have a huge emotional tether to that game – best impulse buy ever. I remember buying it, and my brother telling me it looked bad and trying to stop me. How wrong was he…

  6. Most iconic gaming moment for me? I don’t think I could pick one. As soon as I come up with one I think of another one and how unfair it would be to rate one higher than the other. If someone pointed a gun at me I’d probably go with Final Fantasy XI.

    I spent a ridiculous amount of time playing this and I enjoyed every second of it. Vanadiel is probably the greatest game world I have ever set my virtual foot in and I have so many fond memories of my achievements in the game and of all the great people I met there. I couldn’t pick a single moment that was the most iconic because the whole journey was a blast from beginning to end. Killing the first enemy after leaving the starting city for the first time felt just as great as killing a boss for a story mission.

  7. Most iconic memory for me would be in Final Fantasy VII, the first time the party leaves Midgar and enters the world map. I’d already clocked a good few hours in the city itself, but I was suddenly overwhelmed by the scale of the rest of the world versus the city I’d just come from – that feeling of an adventure only just beginning when I thought it’d be underway for quite a while.

    It’s possibly happened a couple of times since, though FF VII was my first RPG that offered that sense of scale given by the world map, as opposed to the screen-by-screen progression of games like Zelda (at the time the only other games remotely RPG-ish I’d played were Link’s Awakening and A Link to the Past).

  8. One of my most memorable moments this gen was infamous 2 evil playthrough about a cutscene or two from the end with Cole and Zeke. Very rare a game prevokes a response from me but that scene did. I wont spoil the scene for anyone who hasn’t finished/played it yet but it is truly awesome

  9. Doing 3 aces in a row on COD4 hardcore search was a memorable moment however in single player gaming by far the most memorable was completing Uncharted 1 and platting it-loved the game and the finest in the series from a narrative perspective.

    Metacritic is useful to get a feel for opinion however there is rarely a complete look at variation about the product. Games like Homefront have suffered as a result.

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