Whether it be Games, Books, Movics, comics, Manga, or anime. One of the most important parts of anything we enjoy is the ending. It is the thing that makes us feel that what we’ve just watched, played or read was worthwhile. It has the responsibility of not necessarily giving us closure, but recognizing at least what has happened.
I also personally feel that the quality of an ending also should really be held to standards based on how much time we’ve spent with the characters and their conflict. something i really think shows in alternate unlockable endings, or games in which the ending is decided based on how you played the game.
I wrote yesterday about a game that was a phenomenal example of this, Fable.
In fable there are good and evil conflicts that last the duration if the game, as well as characters you can kill or let live which come back to be a help or hindrance later.
This peaks at the end of the game where you can either kill your sister and take posession of the sword of aeons, dawn the mask of jack of blades, and essentially take your evil intentions to the max to become the most powerful Villian Albion has ever seen, Contrarily you could play the game as the good guy and become a slightly less-powerful, but widely renowned Hero. Your choices matter, and you feel either punished or rewarded for your actions throughout the story.
*END FABLE SPOILERS*
Fable was an excellent display of how tell and finish a story while making the player feel accomplished. So many other games, I’M LOOKING AT YOU FINAL FANTASY, have you invest dozens and dozens of hours into a game just to finish the main storyline, I’m using Final fantasy 13 as a reference point here, because it managed to slurp up over 50 hours of my life. and i feel it is a pretty good example of a game where you really get a lot of time to get to know your character, and to really feel like you are in the midst of something. You care for them, you WANT to know what happens to them, and usually the Final Fantasy series is very good at wrapping things up pretty handily, at least if nothing else in the unlockable alternate endings they almost always seem to include.
And i think they should, you’ve paid them to suck you into a fantasy world, and to suck you into it, you PAY them to convince you to care what happens in their story, that’s why People play these blockbuster games at all, to be part of a story. ( We’re going to discount games here such as Call of Duty and Rainbow warrior which most people just buy for the multiplayer, i read somewhere yesterday that 40% of people that bought call of duty black ops haven’t even played the campaign.)
This doesn’t just apply to games mind you, Movies and books have just as much a job to do, if not more so. With games, there’s always that safety net of ” well the story kinda sucked, bit god was it fun to play”, In a movie, book, or tv show, all you HAVE is your story, and your characters. They are what will make your creation great or awful and there’s no getting around it. Which i think brings me back to the point of endings. Now many say, a story is made up of a beginning a middle and an end, and that’s true. the beginning has to snare the reader, the middle has to keep the interested, and the ending has to keep the reader fulfilled. This is all quite true, but beyond pleasing the reader, nothing can make a story forgettable like a bad ending.
What if the avengers had ended with the tesseract overloading and blowing loki to be picked up and put in handcuffs.
What if Vader was made aware of the famous cooling duct on the death star, patched it, led the alliance into a deathtrap.
What if cimba in the lion king had just died in the stampede.
What if after being resurrected Lord Voldemort slipped in the tub and cracked his skull to be found lifeless by whatever they call the magical paremadics.
Clearly these stories wouldn’t be rememebered anything like they are now. The ending is that final piece, that last bite of your favorite meal. The ending is the writer’s final chance to thrill or disappoint their watchers/readers/players when they are drawn the deepest into your story. So in that way i feel endings are just that little bit more important than the rest of the story, and that it is most likely what it will be remembered by.
I’ve been discounting games for a while now, and it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room, Video game endings. Games have the heaviest importance on their endings because they also signify a victory for the user. The ending of the game is what we play for, and for me personally, nothing makes me feel like my time wasn’t worthhwile like an ending i don’t necessarily think lives up to what i feel i deserve. Some great examples of this came from games in the past, Ghosts and goblins probably holds the first place position for worst video game ending ever, but today i finished playing Farcry3.
I deliberately saved before the final mission so that i could get both endings in a single play-through. and while neither ending was what i expected, neither was what i was hoping for after hours of crawling through the jungle making clothes from dingo pelts, I must say i was throoughly disappointed with both options. Both of them seem to grind the momentum of being a badass jungle man who’s killed hundreds of poeple, to a screeching…flaming… rusty….. halt. I was so disappointed all my excitement of capturing the last few radio towers was immediately gone, and i turned off the game and decided to write a blog post about the importance of endings.
To anyone that read this whole thing thanks, and I’d like to know what your most disappointing gaming experience was, What game has disappointed you so much that you didn’t want to play it anymore?