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The Gaming Tragedies that Didn't Kill Us (But Nearly Broke Us)

My proudest moments as a tap dancer are displayed in my parents' house in the form of sparkly, obnoxious trophies.

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My proudest moments as an actor sit on shelves represented by photos and signed scripts.

Even my proudest moment in horseback riding was when I won a golden hoof pick for "Best Dressed"–-which, now that I think about it, is probably the most patronizing award you could ever win in a serious competition. Thanks, jerks.

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But my proudest moment in video games was nothing more than a very large number inside of a 1" DS cartridge… and it's gone forever.

I knew that cartridge was going to disappear. As soon as I ejected Tetris from my DS and stuck it in the front pocket of my purse, that nagging pessimistic portion of my brain said, "You know that's going to fall out and vanish forever, right?"

Well, EXCUUUUSE ME Princess, but apparently that's what I get for trying to be positive. I ignored that warning and sure enough, my cartridge, containing a high score that took me months to achieve, has either been sent to the dump, run over by a car, or eaten by a dog or small hungry child–-and now I have nothing to show for months of hard work and sore thumbs.

Ever since losing my Tetris cartridge, I've felt no further desire to fit blocks together. Why bother spending more hours trying to re-accomplish something I've already accomplished? Who knows if lightning will strike twice? And who's to say a new Tetris cartridge won't disappear? Or get struck by lightning, twice?! THE HUMANITY.

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The first thing I did in preparation of this column was hit up my Facebook friends to gather more tragic gaming stories–-partially for your reading pleasure, but mostly to make myself feel better. Today, I am proudly hosting the gaming world's biggest pity party.

Take a seat and grab a pack of Corn Nuts: Here are some of the best (or worst?) stories of video game heartbreak. These people need hugs. (More sad stories are in the video up top!)

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• Rich T, Minecraft:
"I built an entire mining system, automated minecart transport, water features, a column of diamond, and an entire friggin mountain with a friggin castle in the clouds! One day... gone. Just gone."

• Jamie L, Magic Cards:
"I lost over 1,000 1st and 2nd edition Magic The Gathering cards by leaving them at my mother's place in Scotland. She has no idea what happened to them. They completely disappeared, and they could probably pay my entire college tuition."

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• Charlie B, Back to the Future (NES):
"I was playing Back to the Future and I told myself, I HAVE TO BEAT THIS! I struggled and struggled to beat the level where you have to catch the hearts. Hours later, I finally reach the last stage. You have to reach 88 mph in the DeLorean while avoiding lightning bolts that slow you down. YOU ONLY GET ONE TRY AND I GOT TO FREAKIN' 87 MPH AND HAD TO START ALL OVER! I wanted to cry."

Illustration for article titled The Gaming Tragedies that Didnt Kill Us (But Nearly Broke Us)
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• Jeremy B, Pokemon Red:
"One of my friends pulled out the cartridge right after I caught Mewtwo… erased the whole game."

• Hamza Aziz (D-Toid), Yoshi's Safari:
"I was excited as SHIT when Yoshi's Safari came out for the SNES. I begged my mom for the game and she finally caved. I get the game, go home, put the cartridge in and… find out you need the Super Scope to play it. No way were my parents going to buy that overpriced piece of junk and I wasn't able to return the game because we opened it. The most pathetic part? I pretended like I was playing Yoshi's Safari during the demo that would play if you didn't press Start immediately. So, there I am. Six years old playing along with the same looping demo because there was nothing else I could do."

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• Richard W, Final Fantasy VIII:
"All my FFVIII save games corrupted just after getting the Ragnarok… that hurt."

Regarding Cats…

• Avi C:
"My cat Ember Mi-Go Doomkiteeh has managed to unplug my router midgame, hit the reset button on my PC during a World of Warcraft raid (in effect, giving the 1 Finger Salute), and, also during WoW, jump on my keyboard while flying and dismount my character… leaving me to plummet to my death."

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• Kyle W:
"I was playing FFVII when my cat woke up and walked over the PS1, opening the disc tray. I lost many, many hours of gameplay. :("

Regarding Siblings…

• Je'an-Luke D:
"Nearly 100% Diddy Kong Racing on the N64 (almost got all the balloons, too) when my dearest sister decided to start a new game… I was 12 and have never touched that game since."

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Illustration for article titled The Gaming Tragedies that Didnt Kill Us (But Nearly Broke Us)

(Sad gamer | Gamefly commercial)

• James Paul K:
"The Legend of Zelda 98% complete meets an upset sister. D:"

And finally, David Y. with a huge "ouch":
"My roommate formatted my PS2 memory card without asking. I lost my 100% complete FFXII, 100% Tales of the Abyss, and 100% Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne."

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***

Well, readers? Time to post some of your stories and join the Sadface Club! We have jackets. Really uncomfortable jackets.

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Kotaku columnist Lisa Foiles is best known as the former star of Nickelodeon's award-winning comedy show, All That. She currently works as an actress/web host in Hollywood and writes for her game site, Save Point. For more info, visit Lisa's official website.

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Pokemon Diamond: Had a really great save with numerous hours in it, and a damn great team. Then one day, the cart decided to completely default.

FF VIII, PSN version: Did a mega-grind save with every item, all abilities, 100 of all magic, and most importantly, all cards. Somehow, despite backing it up on my PC, I completely lost that save. The previous backup left me at Lunar Base, where I'm not sure if I have the rare cards(I kinda got too pissed to check). It took me waaay too long to beat everyone on that base, especially with those damn rules.

FF VIII, PS1: Did something similar on my very first playthrough. I'd played the game so much that I ran the clock over into the red. But while the game shows it as running, say, 00:39, the game's save does not. I just so happened to have a backup of my original file at Ultimecia's Castle, with about half of my abilities unsealed.

Had to delete a save one day(a few years later) so I could play another title, and saw I had a lone little FF VIII save sitting on a card. Figuring 99:59 must have meant the half-finished save, I deleted it. Wrong card. Wrong save. I'd spent a lot of time grinding at both Island Closests, building up 300+ stock of Aura, Ultima, etc. All just...gone. That sucked.

Mabinogi: I'd had to leave the game for the bulk of 2010 due to moving, lack of motivation, and simply not having the golds to pay to keep my extra inventory paid for. So when I finally came back, I was invited to join along for a new(to me) Theatre Mission. Being hungry, I'd also had some fries heating up in the oven, snacking happily while still being able to stab things in the face quite easily, despite the year hiatus. I was even just about as unkillable as I'd been in the past, though a bit slower in fighting compared to my partymates.

It was a hard runthrough, and when we'd finally gotten to the boss, it was simply amazing. So were those fries, they were seriously damn good. In the midst of fighting, I somehow moved my arm over too much, and knocked the plate onto the floor. Leaving my character on the floor as a corpse, I nearly cried as I picked up a plateful of tasty seasoned fries off the floor, barely able to even enjoy them. In a rage, I came back from the dead, rev'd my dead teammates, and shoved my claymore up the Grim Reaper's ass and flew upward, killing it.

My reward was a Trinity Staff worth millions, but that didn't matter to me, nor did it being an even rarer gold-tipped one. Those fries were fucking bliss, man. Since then, I haven't been able to face a homemade plate of fries, because it makes me too sad.