Playing this disturbing videogame level has given many gamers nightmares

Any mature person can tell the difference between a videogame and reality, but sometimes the lines get blurred and things can feel a little too real for comfort. That has been the case with a particular scene from a game called Spec Ops: The Line, which came out in 2012 and was relatively well received.

It’s rated 9/10 on Steam, and 8/10 on IGN. Published by 2K games, you can still pick up a copy on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC/Mac/Linux.

One of the goals of this modern military shooter is to challenge your morality, and to allow you to test yourself to see what kinds of decisions you would make when faced with dark choices. There’s one scene, in particular, that really took things to the next level…

We’re seen plenty of violent and gore-filled games in the past, but they never seen to stick with us because there’s always a kind of cartoonishness to them. Even the more realistic ones. But with Spec Ops: The Line, there’s just something haunting about this scene that will disturb you to your core.

Players have reported having to take days off from gaming after experiencing this level:

It begins with your squad coming across an enemy encampment, but being way too outnumbered to go in there on foot. After some debate, they decide to use white phosphorous on the camp.

As you approach, they hear people screaming, and yelling, and one guy asks them “Why?”.. You respond “You did this to yourself”, at which point he says “We were trying to help…” and a startling realization sweeps over you…

You had bad intel.

The camp was filled with innocent civilians. Families, kids, moms, dads…

A mother looks up at you as she cradles her daughter, in their last moments. You made the decision to do this, and it hits you like an 8-ball in a sock to the face.


Normally, violent scenes in games don’t have a huge impact on most of us. We’ve been there, done that, but this one really hit home for a lot of people. Having to slowly walk through the carnage and face your mistake isn’t something we’re used to seeing. The consequences of war are put front and center, rather than a glorification. Your character becomes a war criminal right before your eyes.


The humanization of the victims of your attack sets this level apart. The sound is probabally the worse part. You hear them suffering as they crawl, legs blown off, knowing full well it’s already over.