Musings Of A Mad Hatter: The End
You’re probably looking at the title and thinking: “Dammit, another looney talking about that Mayan thing that’s probably not going to happen and is an idiot for thinking that it will,” but you would be wrong. Ladies and gentlemen, today I will talk to you about game endings and why you shouldn’t really give a damn about them. I know, this might be worse than the whole Mayan thing and a select few of you are probably already typing up a comment telling me that I can go swim in a kiddie pool full of penises.
But hear me out for one second. I recently finished Assassin’s Creed III and the ending was… kind of disappointing. After watching the ludicrously long credit roll (it’s about 30 minutes long, no joke) I didn’t think about how the ending ruined the experience for me. Hell, it was one of the most fun games I have ever played in my life. To give you an idea of how much I loved it, I played for 30 hours in the space of 3 days. That’s 10 hours average per day. I stayed up till 6 in the morning just so I can finish the game. I did basically everything I could in the game when I could. That involved collecting stuff, doing side-missions, doing naval battles, hunting animals and just everything that the game had available.
Then I had a scary thought. Some people would dismiss the game entirely because of the lacklustre ending. I’ve seen many people on my friends list just bum-rushing the story and not caring about all the other things you can do in between and that is wrong on so many levels. A game like Assassin’s Creed III wasn’t made just to play the story and do nothing else. The naval missions in particular were one of my favourite parts of the game and I always did them the instant they became available. Now I’m left thinking that someone else might have thrown the game aside in a fit of rage because they had a “strong disagreement with the game’s story direction” (read that in the voice of a 12-year-old Call of Duty player) and they never got to experience the magic that comes with being a captain of an 18th century battle vessel.
I’ve seen it happen in a ton of games now where the ending suddenly ruined the entire experience altogether for a player. The most notable would be Mass Effect 3. If that ending never happened the way it happened, people would carry the game on a big chair and shout Game of the Year in every direction possible. I don’t understand why people do this to themselves. Why would you ruin a game for yourself because you didn’t like a 5 minute cutscene. Get over yourself and just remember the time you had with the game.
All endings suck. Be it movies, games, books, cartoons, sex, careers or whatever. Someone, somewhere is always going to be disappointed with an ending. If it’s a happy ending, then it was too happy. If it’s a tragic ending, then it’s too sad. If it’s a conclusive ending, then it wasn’t vague enough. If it’s a vague ending, then it wasn’t conclusive enough. You will never ever in the history of time have a perfect ending. Something will always be hated by someone. If you make peace with that fact then you might find yourself happier than you are now.
Of course I don’t like or even approve of a disappointing ending, but I will say this: It shouldn’t matter. If you had fun playing the game then nothing should take that away from you. Don’t get caught up in the mass hysteria and tar-and-feather a game based on some impossible ideals and expectations. Just think of how hard it is to craft an ending. Do you piss off a bunch of people by making it vague or implement some deus ex machina to make everyone all happy and provide a conclusion. It’s an impossible art.
Like the famous moniker says: It’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey.