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 Video Game Endings

That's It ? Graphics may have improved but the endings in videogame still come up short.

Let’s face it; many videogames come with disappointing and anti-climatic endings. I guess to developers the logic is that a player has already bought the game, so why worry as much about the ending as they do about the gameplay. But, people talk you know. A person who finishes a game ultimately tells others about it and if a game had a lame-ass ending to not waste their money. And lest not forget, that developers don’t really want to “end” things and give us closure. They always want to leave a game open for a sequel.

To be fair, the endings are better now than they used to be. Most old, old games had endings like "Congratulations - you've completed the game.” But then again, back in the day you rarely played a game to "finish" it, you played it to play it. For example, the goal of Pac-Man, for all intents and purposes, was to keep playing. The game never really ends it just repeats from the beginning. You're playing for points, after all.

The ending, is the most important part of any story. The beginning sets the scene, the middle develops the characters, and the ending is the pay off of the whole shebang. You can develop the coolest and most interesting characters in the world, but what matters most is where they end up. Not to be a Negative Nancy or anything, trust me as a writer I do realize how hard it must be to write a powerful end to an entire videogame, I do. That being said however, I still reserve the right to complain about endings that suck!

SideNote: "Halo 2" can never be included in any “Worst Game Endings” lists for one simple reason: It doesn’t have an ending! That’s right, for those of you who didn’t already know this, it just leaves the players with a cliffhanger, gamers are left hanging (hence the term “cliffhanger.) Frank O'Connor, Bungie's content manager, in an interview with MTV News said "We thought our cliffhanger ending was going to be cool, but it backfired." Yeah, Frankie O it did big time! So now you know, there I just saved you 36 hours of gameplaying.

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Y’know something sad endings are irritating in the world of videogaming!. Dramatic and touching, okay fine. Understandable. But what’s the deal with all the sad, unhappy endings anyway? Why play a game if in the end all the work you put into it ends up with you failing your mission anyway? Most games are so difficult nowadays, with you constantly failing and dying within the levels before (and if) you actually beat the game it makes no sense that when you actually do everything right, the ending still comes out with you failing!

So what is the ideal ending? It’s simple really, gamers want big, gamers want explosives! Gamers want the ultimate in end-game challenges. Gamers want huge gunfights; gamers want a near miss escapes from exploding buildings; and most of all gamers want a huge boss battle!

Here’s an interesting piece of trivia for ya, Atari's “Missile Command”, released in arcades in 1979, was the first game to have an ending. Rather than a simple "Game Over" followed by a repeat of level 1, “Missile Command’ showed us the entire world explode, and the words "The End" flashing across the screen. Yeah sure, it’s not much an ending but it was a change.

Another interesting factoid, “Donkey Kong” released in 1981 was the first game with a narrative "story." Yeah sure, it wasn’t much of a story and was told through graphics but still. At the beginning of the game, we see a giant ape holding a girl captive, at the top of a construction site. The ape, Donkey Kong, grabs the girl and escape to another part of the construction site and it is up to Mario, our hero, to go and rescue her. Yeah sure, it’s not much a story but it was a change

And while we are on the subject, as great of a game as it is “Super Mario Bros.” had a less than satisfying ending too. I know I am going to make a few Nintendo fans angry for this, but here goes. After jumping my way through eight worlds of tough, turtle-stomping madness and FINALLY saving the Princess' royal ass from Bowser, I didn't much appreciate her simply telling us to do it ALL OVER AGAIN. "Thank you Mario! Your quest is over. We present you a new quest. Push the B Button to select a world.", What the hell is that? No, really what the hell is that?

In closing, why should an ending be a time to relax? Why should an ending be short and sweet and something easily wrapped up? Why shouldn’t an action game deliver an edge of your seat action packed final boss fight? We need to feel like we accomplished something, don't we?

I say leave us with something great to remember your game by. And that's the end of it!

Posted by oxyjen on Dec 10, 2007


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