On Endings

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Does anyone remember the ending of Grandia II (preferably the decent looking and bug free Dreamcast version, and not the hideous PS2 port?). Of all the games I ever played that one still sticks with me as one of the coolest, most cathartic amounts of closure I have ever experienced in a game. After the final battle is fought, and the story arcs are all finished, you are left, still in control of one of your characters, the young boy, as the credits roll. The world is safe, peace reigns, and power and mass transit have been restorred to the lands. So you can now easily retrace your journey going back to all the towns and NPC's you have encountered, interact with them again, and see how the changes you have wrought to the world have impacted their lives. Just amazingly immersive.

RandV80:

Hallowed Lady:
Well, the endings in the Oddworld series were pretty good, with bad endings that were a little lacking but darkly funny and realy ones with humour and a lighter note. The Breath of Fire series nomrally had good endings and there are others. I think that many modern games seem to keep thing open ended, in case of a follow-up.

Really? Breath of Fire? The only one I've actually finished start to end was the first, and that goes down in my books as one of the worst endings I've ever experienced. After a long, difficult, epic quest, you're party finally confronts the final boss and defeats him. To paraphrase:

Defeate final boss

Character 1: "...So what do we do now?"
Character 2: "I know, let's rebuild our towns!"

Roll credits

That was seriously it.

On the good side of things, of course one of Yahtzee's other favorites Shadow of the Colussus earns top marks for a very powerful ending. Not for the amount of work put in (though they do get high marks there), but just how perfectly everything wrapped up.

For the developer effort category, top spot has to go to Lunar 2. Overall it's nothing special and more on the cheesy side, there's a regular ending that ends on kind of a sad note as the hero doesn't get the girl through forces beyond their control, etc etc. They could have just left it there, or switched things around to make it a happy ending, but instead you're given a bonafide epilogue 4-5 hours long to set things right! So you get to start out from the begining again by yourself, travel through all the towns again as the world hero, recruit your old allies, searching the world over again for some obscure legend. Like I said the ending itself wasn't the best but this huge amount of extra work really made it stand out.

Play the others in the series, the endings are better in those, though I agree with you on the rest.

-Drifter-:

Hallowed Lady:
Well, the endings in the Oddworld series were pretty good, with bad endings that were a little lacking but darkly funny and realy ones with humour and a lighter note.

"Is the water... free?"

Okay okay, so lighter was the wrong word.

Misterian:
Well, I thought the Fallout 3 main quest ending was alright in that sense; SPOILER ALERT.

Without Broken Steel: You're faced with a choice that truly defines what you think your fate, and fate of the Wasteland should be. Sacriface yourself to activate the water purifier, or let someone else do it and die in your place. Infect the purifier so it kills everyone in the Wastes, or not.

Broken Steel: the project purity choice becomes less concerning as you witness the aftermath of your choice yourself. But in the end you still make a choice that effects the fate of the Wasteland and the Brotherhood's war with the Enclave.

The Broken Steel expansion makes the end of the Project Purity quest abit lofty, but it doesn't bother me that much somehow. Either way, I still think Fallout 3 is my idea of 'best game I ever played', and I'm not only looking forward to Fallout New Vegas meeting the standards of it's predessessor, but I'm hoping to see how the Canon Lone Wanderer approached the choices to be made in Fallout 3's storyline.

What made fallout 3's ending so bad was how pointless it was. In real life it easily possible to filter water through things like sand to get rid of radiation, so having to build a giant purifier is pointless.
Broken Steel, well firstly most of the Enclave was already destroyed in Fallout 2, so they shouldn't really be that powerful in 3 in the first place. Also no blowing up either the Citadel or Enclave Base doesn't do anything either. The Brotherhood of Steel was never a major faction to begin with, just a bunch of self absorbing assholes who care only about themself most of the time. Ironically the Brotherhood Outcasts are more like the BoS from Fallout 1 and 2.
Fallout 3 was a fun game for me, but it did have its faults. Also New Vegas is a continuation of Fallout 2, not Fallout 3, and is being made by the people who made the originals. So it has the expectations to outdo the first two, not 3. Also no characters from Fallout 3 will appear in New Vegas, that was confirmed a long time ago.

I sold Other M for Civ 5

Oh god I made a text wall. FYI, the quotes were more of a jumping-off point than for a direct response.
Summary for the impatient: the games industry is too broken to nurture great artists and too lacking in incentives to keep them.

BloodSquirrel:

oranger:

When I said "you can't make it big..." I meant there is and will be no great game writers until something in the field changes. As it is, a potential Van Gogh level writer will simply have his "paintings" thrown out instead of being passed from gallery to gallery until they achieve acclaim,
because there is no interest in a writer becoming great. That won't line the pockets of the corporations and trends that currently control the industry.
That's objective reality.

No it isn't. Van Gogh didn't "line the pockets of the corporations" either, yet, somehow, his work got by.

Art having to work within such a system is not new. You know Shakespeare, the OMG greatest write of all time? His plays were considered popular entertainment in his day. They were written for the crowds.

Great writing in video games exists. It has managed to sell. It has even managed to sell well enough to get people to buy suplimental fiction.

I think you may have glanced against his point and then shot off in the wrong direction. It is true that constraint and money are usually beneficial to art, rather than the demons they're made out to be. Although an artist's best work is usually not made within those constraints and oversight, a large body of his or her most notable work typically is. But it's not working "within the system" (which doesn't make any sense anyway - if you're making a game in the first place then you are, by definition, inside the system) that suppresses the artist's best work, it's the way the system is built.

A good system begets good results. For games, that system is built terribly. The entire industry is a ramshackle of conflicting, inefficient, and counterproductive organizing principles stolen from a myriad of different fields because the business-side doesn't know how to define itself. But on the art side, it's even more of a mismanaged dump, collectively speaking. That's why good games (and good game endings, by proxy) are the exception rather than the rule (as opposed to the Film Industry, where good movies are at least closer to a dice roll. Game stories are more like a dice roll loaded against you)

The reason that Shakespeares and Steven Spielbergs can enjoy the fame from creating great works within their big-business entertainment of choice is because those forms of entertainment were, and are, designed in such a way that properly rewards the better artists. And even with all their faults, most of the reason they can exist in that manner is because they're organized well from a business standpoint.

On the other hand, the reason you can have penniless painters and writers who become famous after death is because those art-forms have organized their business around two important things that game creation ignores/can't afford: 1) an obsessive cult of preservation, built into the system - I'm not referring to fans who collect things, only those who make money off it. The droves of "patrons of the arts" in other words, who account for a majority of the income (or fame, depending on whether there's a heartbeat) that those types of artists receive. And 2) the celebration of the lay savant, which is a nice thing to shoot for in games but is realistically outside the abilities of an industry that uses vastly expensive hardware as their canvas and brush.

Let's try playing this out

Thus, consider a hypothetical "Van Gogh" of video game writers (and pretend he isn't catastrophically manic-depressive in this version). Let's say he writes his best story yet for a game. It's not only moving but it compliments the mechanics and evokes the themes of the art direction (or maybe he's the art director and it's vice versa. The specifics aren't important). Hell, lets even say that it's only botched slightly after the management gets their hands on it. Then the game is released and it's a smashing success, even though the mechanics are a bit buggy and the auto lip sync was implemented poorly. The studio, meanwhile, has already started working on the next game, but now half the team is laid off because their jobs won't be important till later. Most of the creativity that complimented his work has now spread itself thin into the industry. Also they started on the sequel before even contacting Mr. Gogh, so most of the next story will need to be shoehorned into whatever the designers are goofing around with at the moment. Also, they're not offering him a very big raise, even though there's another developer on the East Coast that will net him a huge pay increase for a preexisting IP (they'll filter absolutely everything he writes through focus groups, ruining it...but that's moot because he doesn't know and hasn't decided to accept the offer yet). Also, I forgot to mention, little detail - juuust before the project ended, he was laid off and the producer's second-cousin was brought in to finish up some of the dialogue trees. Since he didn't see the project all the way through, his name is saved for a less important section of the credits if it was even included at all, because the games industry doesn't have the infrastructure of unions that the film industry does, making sure everyone is getting credit. This means that even the few players who sit through the credits won't know he was responsible for the storyline.

This all may sound ridiculous to you, like I'm putting way too many caveats in Mr. Gogh's role here. But unfortunately, everything I mentioned here has been told/complained to me firsthand by various friends of mine, and friends-of-friends, who work in the games industry. This is basically an averaging out of what probably happens to the majority of creative talent within the field.

No chance of fame, monetarily he'll actually be rewarded more for disloyalty, and the next company will most likely scrap his best work because it's too risky. So, the thought experiment: how does he make "Starry Night" in this scenario, and who will be there to give a shit if he does?

As much as I liked Armored Core 4 and for Answer, I have to say that the endings were both really underwhelming. Not that the story was particularly great, anyways. But that's probably the only game I liked which has very little story or character development.

Or an ending.

I also hate poor endings. After spending weeks playing Spellforce 1 you get a totally crap ending. /spoiler The man you have been working for the ENTIRE game suddenly just goes, OH BAI TEH WAI i IZ EVUL hurrrrrrrrr. Then he proceeds to cockup the whole world with magic from the one item you spent ages to get for him.

Electrogecko:
When's the last time you turned on a game and said "Oh my god I can't wait to find out what happened to so and so at the thingy majig?" (I don't think I've ever had such a reason to start playing) Even in games that have amazing stories start to finish, the story is second to the gameplay.

This is the kind of comment that shows why games became shallow. A good story can save flawed gameplay as it also works the other way around. Graphics and gameplay are the first thing you notice about a game and if you're only excited because of them, developers don't need to convince you in any other way.

There's a reason why Silent Hill, Valkyrie Profile, Fatal Frame, Final Fantasy, Xenogears, Persona, Shadow Hearts, Shenmue, Heavy Rain and so on are very present in the gaming community. And that's not because of their often clunky gameplay.

Xerosch:

Electrogecko:
When's the last time you turned on a game and said "Oh my god I can't wait to find out what happened to so and so at the thingy majig?" (I don't think I've ever had such a reason to start playing) Even in games that have amazing stories start to finish, the story is second to the gameplay.

This is the kind of comment that shows why games became shallow. A good story can save flawed gameplay as it also works the other way around. Graphics and gameplay are the first thing you notice about a game and if you're only excited because of them, developers don't need to convince you in any other way.

There's a reason why Silent Hill, Valkyrie Profile, Fatal Frame, Final Fantasy, Xenogears, Persona, Shadow Hearts, Shenmue, Heavy Rain and so on are very present in the gaming community. And that's not because of their often clunky gameplay.

I second most of Xerosch's comment, people have the attention span of gnats nowadays and couldn't care less about real people, let alone fictional ones, honestly the amount of shallowness I see in games I see reflected in real life as well (I'm not saying the two are cause and effect but more like, well yeah, cause: people became shallow assholes, effect: game stories went out the window in favor of giving 12 year olds the ability to shout at people for "hacking" a game just because they are losing)

To Electrogecko: I have always turned a game on and wanted to know what was going to happen to characters, in fact I've howled in rage when one of my favorite characters (me loving JRPGs like I do) dies in battle, causing me to go utterly into character and scream things like "I'm gonna tear you nuts of for killing (insert character name here)!" So the last time I played a game to find out what happens is always, I would never, and have never, kept a game I bought that had, what I felt to be, a shallow plot with flat uninteresting characters, I agree that gameplay is important, but I've played and beat many games that had horrid gamepley just to see what happens, there are a few rule breakers (eternal poison for one) but that comes down to how interested I am in the characters/plot vs. how much bottled up rage I have stored in me from dealing with this horrible gameplay. Balance is nice, but not always required.

I don't want to read through 4 pages of posts, so if this was already mentioned then sorry for the repetition but the end to Final Fantasy Tactics (the original on PSOne) is one of the greatest endings in any game.

Great read, but considering gamers can't even make a boycott stick, how can we demand better endings in a way that will make the greedy execs actually notice?

Yes endings are important. What I really hate are when endings are too short. Especially when the games take their time to introduce the character. So I really liked the ME2 ending were you chatted a little bit about your decisions and the future events.

I liked the good ending of Bioshock because it was a good wrap up of the story and showed the consequences of your actions over a long time. I never could "harvest" a little sister after I finished it with the good ending.

I hated the Fallout 3 ending. Because all the good you did over the game was in vain if you decide not to sacrifice yourself. And it was way to short.

And I get the feeling that way to many games end with a sacrifice ending because the developers seem to be clueless what to do with the character when the game ends. So they just decide to kill him if they aren't panning a sequel already. If they are planning a sequel (although they might not release it) you will get a generic cliffhanger because the can't let the story end properly.

[edit:] a few more endings I liked: Chrono Trigger and Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines

I guess Metroid Other M just worsened the issue.

And let's pray that Yatzee will never become a bloodthirsty dictator.

While it is sad to admit, Mario games are above average in terms of endings. At least he gets a kiss on the nose - or got to stomp a shrinked down Bowser and eat apples from a cake with Yoshi like in Super Mario Galaxy 2

Yahtzee:
Turns out the asshole is you: Once you've ruled the world together for a while, you break off and form an opposing faction that plunges the globe into civil war over which one man will rule all. And I appreciated that, because it was exactly what I would have done in real life.

You magnificent bastard. Someone who is willing to admit you want to rule the world, and not share it!

....Anyway, I find good endings also terribly hard to come by. I think everyone has caught "Sequel Fever", and everyone wants to leave their endings open so they can try to cash in later. The problem that everyone seems to have with this particular setup is that even if you do plan on a sequel, you can still have a damn ending! Way too often, all the questions are left, and then in the next game are often barely noted, or completely forgotten. Makes me want to ask if anyone is thinking of the story as a whole any more?

I'm going to go a bit classic for an example of a good ending, but it's appropriate given your Zero Punctuation this week: Super Metroid. A brilliant example of storytelling done with gameplay itself, and geeze when you get that super gun is it ever satisfying.

You want to talk bad endings? Borderlands.

Hey, Escapist, if you're going to put links to Amazon.com pages in the body text of the article (and are you really THAT desperate for ad revenue?), you might want to double-check that the links match up to the game name...

Anyway, if we're listing games with good endings, I'd like to point out the No More Heroes games as a (rather polarizing) example. They are the pinnacle of "love it or hate it" endings, though, in that they are avant-garde to the point of embarrassment.

The "perfect" ending to Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (for which you have to beat all four bosses, save Cremia's ranch, and reunite Anju and Kafei, all in one three-day cycle) is one of the greatest moments in the history of the medium.

I also thought Super Mario Galaxy's ending was interesting.

And, of course, Final Fantasy VI, and SMRPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, and... in fact, Squeenix is pretty good at endings, overall (at least, from games where the REST of the game doesn't suck), as are the Mario RPGs.

blakfayt:

Xerosch:

Electrogecko:
When's the last time you turned on a game and said "Oh my god I can't wait to find out what happened to so and so at the thingy majig?" (I don't think I've ever had such a reason to start playing) Even in games that have amazing stories start to finish, the story is second to the gameplay.

This is the kind of comment that shows why games became shallow. A good story can save flawed gameplay as it also works the other way around. Graphics and gameplay are the first thing you notice about a game and if you're only excited because of them, developers don't need to convince you in any other way.

There's a reason why Silent Hill, Valkyrie Profile, Fatal Frame, Final Fantasy, Xenogears, Persona, Shadow Hearts, Shenmue, Heavy Rain and so on are very present in the gaming community. And that's not because of their often clunky gameplay.

I second most of Xerosch's comment, people have the attention span of gnats nowadays and couldn't care less about real people, let alone fictional ones, honestly the amount of shallowness I see in games I see reflected in real life as well (I'm not saying the two are cause and effect but more like, well yeah, cause: people became shallow assholes, effect: game stories went out the window in favor of giving 12 year olds the ability to shout at people for "hacking" a game just because they are losing)

To Electrogecko: I have always turned a game on and wanted to know what was going to happen to characters, in fact I've howled in rage when one of my favorite characters (me loving JRPGs like I do) dies in battle, causing me to go utterly into character and scream things like "I'm gonna tear you nuts of for killing (insert character name here)!" So the last time I played a game to find out what happens is always, I would never, and have never, kept a game I bought that had, what I felt to be, a shallow plot with flat uninteresting characters, I agree that gameplay is important, but I've played and beat many games that had horrid gamepley just to see what happens, there are a few rule breakers (eternal poison for one) but that comes down to how interested I am in the characters/plot vs. how much bottled up rage I have stored in me from dealing with this horrible gameplay. Balance is nice, but not always required.

Games can do anything in the world. While they are a great forum for storytelling, they can also give you experiences that are not possible in other entertainment mediums. Obviously, a good story can make any game better and can sometimes be the driving force behind playing it, but what's much more important (to me, and to what I believe is the majority of gamers) is creative, challenging (skillfully and intellectually), and deep gameplay. And with fantastical and unique gameplay, it gets harder to maintain a good story. If I want a story, I can read a book or watch a movie, but to me, video games are fun because they give a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, and self-discovery that experiencing a story doesn't give. My favorite games of all time (mostly Mario, Metroid, and Zelda series) all seem to have a "story" that miraculously involves travelling to the far reaches of the world and collecting items through feats of skill, puzzle solving, and combat. Stories are an added bonus, but to me, never the reason for buying a game.

TheGreatCoolEnergy:
You want to talk bad endings? Borderlands.

Ah, but it's not over yet! Claptrap's Robot Revolution will hopefully give the series a satisfying conclusion.

I only know details about how a bad ending came to be for one game. It's System Shock 2. The main game designer years later posted details about how that happened.

System Shock 2 is a game with rather good writing, and it is that game which managed to pull of that famous twist in midgame (a twist, which at that time the rest of the team were against. The designer pushed this idea through against the concerns of the rest of the team, which was afraid that cheating the player - not his character - would be too much of a dare).

The ending however seemed rather boring and uncreative - both in scripting and execution. It was just lame, and at the time, i was asking myself how one could mess up such a great buildup with such a crappy climax. Well, apparently, the designer DID write a good ending. However, it was almost at the end of the devcycle and they'd only have time left for one single attempt at rendering the cutscene. He'd write the script, send it to some other studio that would render the cutscene, and that would be the end-sequence. So he sent in the script - but for reasons which he does not explain, his script apparently was ignored - instead, something else was quickly made up by a non-writer, and the cutscene guys then rendered that. The designer was himself surprised when he saw the game ending the first time.

Electrogecko:

blakfayt:

Xerosch:

Electrogecko:
When's the last time you turned on a game and said "Oh my god I can't wait to find out what happened to so and so at the thingy majig?" (I don't think I've ever had such a reason to start playing) Even in games that have amazing stories start to finish, the story is second to the gameplay.

This is the kind of comment that shows why games became shallow. A good story can save flawed gameplay as it also works the other way around. Graphics and gameplay are the first thing you notice about a game and if you're only excited because of them, developers don't need to convince you in any other way.

There's a reason why Silent Hill, Valkyrie Profile, Fatal Frame, Final Fantasy, Xenogears, Persona, Shadow Hearts, Shenmue, Heavy Rain and so on are very present in the gaming community. And that's not because of their often clunky gameplay.

I second most of Xerosch's comment, people have the attention span of gnats nowadays and couldn't care less about real people, let alone fictional ones, honestly the amount of shallowness I see in games I see reflected in real life as well (I'm not saying the two are cause and effect but more like, well yeah, cause: people became shallow assholes, effect: game stories went out the window in favor of giving 12 year olds the ability to shout at people for "hacking" a game just because they are losing)

To Electrogecko: I have always turned a game on and wanted to know what was going to happen to characters, in fact I've howled in rage when one of my favorite characters (me loving JRPGs like I do) dies in battle, causing me to go utterly into character and scream things like "I'm gonna tear you nuts of for killing (insert character name here)!" So the last time I played a game to find out what happens is always, I would never, and have never, kept a game I bought that had, what I felt to be, a shallow plot with flat uninteresting characters, I agree that gameplay is important, but I've played and beat many games that had horrid gamepley just to see what happens, there are a few rule breakers (eternal poison for one) but that comes down to how interested I am in the characters/plot vs. how much bottled up rage I have stored in me from dealing with this horrible gameplay. Balance is nice, but not always required.

Games can do anything in the world. While they are a great forum for storytelling, they can also give you experiences that are not possible in other entertainment mediums. Obviously, a good story can make any game better and can sometimes be the driving force behind playing it, but what's much more important (to me, and to what I believe is the majority of gamers) is creative, challenging (skillfully and intellectually), and deep gameplay. And with fantastical and unique gameplay, it gets harder to maintain a good story. If I want a story, I can read a book or watch a movie, but to me, video games are fun because they give a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, and self-discovery that experiencing a story doesn't give. My favorite games of all time (mostly Mario, Metroid, and Zelda series) all seem to have a "story" that miraculously involves travelling to the far reaches of the world and collecting items through feats of skill, puzzle solving, and combat. Stories are an added bonus, but to me, never the reason for buying a game.

Movies are about sound and visuals. Movies are fun because they show stuff. Having good story in a movie is an added bonus, but never a reason for watching a movie.

If I want a story I read a book.

And screw, having sound isn't that important in movies. It's just and added bonus. Radio is the medium to go for if you want sound.

I mean honestly, what the hell is up with breaking down mediums to their sub-mediums and putting them in the order of importance? That's not how they work.

Always felt the Fallout series games had good endings. I liked the end to Bioshock as well, at least the 'good' one. Didn't
do the bad one, so can't comment. Deus Ex was a good one too.

As long as games want to be a storytelling medium, this will be an issue. Fortunately, with more focus on Multiplayer, it may not be an issue long.

Thinking about it, though, the producers really don't need to care about satisfying us, which is annoying. Yahtzee's right, and I was totally going to argue that they need decent ending to help sell more titles, but the fact is, the intro is going to be the focus of their next game (whether it's a sequel or not), and the mediocre ending will be forgotten, ignored, or forgiven.

So we're really screwed.

Another part really resonated with me. I've been chopping down a novel to make it more publishable. I've been through this thing four times; first write, second write/first edit, second edit, third edit. Every time, I start off with some energy, then the middle sort of becomes a slog. Even in fiction, there are things you MUST do. Then I get towards the end, and I'm suddenly very, very motivated again. Energetic, excited, whatever.

Not to compare myself to game designers or established storytellers. I am neither. Still, I identify with that sentiment.

Axeli:

Electrogecko:

blakfayt:

Xerosch:

Electrogecko:
When's the last time you turned on a game and said "Oh my god I can't wait to find out what happened to so and so at the thingy majig?" (I don't think I've ever had such a reason to start playing) Even in games that have amazing stories start to finish, the story is second to the gameplay.

This is the kind of comment that shows why games became shallow. A good story can save flawed gameplay as it also works the other way around. Graphics and gameplay are the first thing you notice about a game and if you're only excited because of them, developers don't need to convince you in any other way.

There's a reason why Silent Hill, Valkyrie Profile, Fatal Frame, Final Fantasy, Xenogears, Persona, Shadow Hearts, Shenmue, Heavy Rain and so on are very present in the gaming community. And that's not because of their often clunky gameplay.

I second most of Xerosch's comment, people have the attention span of gnats nowadays and couldn't care less about real people, let alone fictional ones, honestly the amount of shallowness I see in games I see reflected in real life as well (I'm not saying the two are cause and effect but more like, well yeah, cause: people became shallow assholes, effect: game stories went out the window in favor of giving 12 year olds the ability to shout at people for "hacking" a game just because they are losing)

To Electrogecko: I have always turned a game on and wanted to know what was going to happen to characters, in fact I've howled in rage when one of my favorite characters (me loving JRPGs like I do) dies in battle, causing me to go utterly into character and scream things like "I'm gonna tear you nuts of for killing (insert character name here)!" So the last time I played a game to find out what happens is always, I would never, and have never, kept a game I bought that had, what I felt to be, a shallow plot with flat uninteresting characters, I agree that gameplay is important, but I've played and beat many games that had horrid gamepley just to see what happens, there are a few rule breakers (eternal poison for one) but that comes down to how interested I am in the characters/plot vs. how much bottled up rage I have stored in me from dealing with this horrible gameplay. Balance is nice, but not always required.

Games can do anything in the world. While they are a great forum for storytelling, they can also give you experiences that are not possible in other entertainment mediums. Obviously, a good story can make any game better and can sometimes be the driving force behind playing it, but what's much more important (to me, and to what I believe is the majority of gamers) is creative, challenging (skillfully and intellectually), and deep gameplay. And with fantastical and unique gameplay, it gets harder to maintain a good story. If I want a story, I can read a book or watch a movie, but to me, video games are fun because they give a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, and self-discovery that experiencing a story doesn't give. My favorite games of all time (mostly Mario, Metroid, and Zelda series) all seem to have a "story" that miraculously involves travelling to the far reaches of the world and collecting items through feats of skill, puzzle solving, and combat. Stories are an added bonus, but to me, never the reason for buying a game.

Movies are about sound and visuals. Movies are fun because they show stuff. Having good story in a movie is an added bonus, but never a reason for watching a movie.

If I want a story I read a book.

And screw, having sound isn't that important in movies. It's just and added bonus. Radio is the medium to go for if you want sound.

I mean honestly, what the hell is up with breaking down mediums to their sub-mediums and putting them in the order of importance? That's not how they work.

That's a load of crap. The difference is that it's impossible for some games to work a decent story into the framework. If you were going to "break down" movies into sub-mediums, (which I only did to games because they are the combination of every entertainment form ever created) the story would be the most important and good visuals and sound would be the "added bonus." Yes it is true that some stories are better suited for video games, some for movies, and some for novels- but a movie or novel without a story can't be redeemed, while video games without a story can still be life changing experiences. Are you saying that Picross for DS isn't worth playing because it doesn't have a story? What about Tetris? Limbo? Super Mario Bros.? Imagine trying to build a logical narrative around Super Mario Galaxy- one of the best games of this generation. What about Portal? If there were a movie that showed nothing more than the events of the game, it would be a physics lesson, the shortest story ever told, leave out a shitload of information on the setting, and would have little impact on it's audience. It would make them say "wow I wish I had a gun like that." Well you can't....UNLESS YOU PLAY THE GAME!!!!! I don't know how anyone can disagree with what I said in my previous post. Stories in games are great. You'd be a fool to deny it. But you'd also be a fool to say that all great games have stories. This is the nature of our medium- it's not all about literary value- get over it.

I absolutely love the ending of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. It's one of those 'love or hate' kind of situations.

Mass Effect 2 also had a great ending.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Extra Punctuation: On Endings

Wherein Yahtzee has a tough time finding games that actually have a decent ending.

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Sam and Max The Devils playhouse had a great ending...But that is adventure game So they always have good endings and stories and character development...hmmm wonder why other games dnt have this

Thinking briefly of endings, one in particular comes to mind. For a series with relatively strong endings, I was considerably upset when the ending of Silent Hill 4 had a single in-game cutscene with text overlay. Especially for the game with the greatest concentration of escort time. I'm not exactly asking for a J-Bishoujo scenario, but I'd like a little gratitude.

No game shall top the ending of Karnov!

Halo Reach had a great story and ending. Is it even out yet Down Under? Or even legal?

Also, to add to Yahtzee's, venting of seemless infinte anger, of reality, on video game stories. Most stories are woven around the gameplay itself. As in, halfway through the making of the game, the creators seem to hire a B grade movie writer, that he/she never attempted to make a plot for a videogame! Metal gear Solid, however did the opposite. Minus the anti war bullshit and David Hayter's crokey voice acting, the story itself is... tolerable none the less, good for 'video game mediums'. Now 11 years later Hideo fucked that all up from, homosexual ninjas, to villians that have a arm attached to them because... Oh just wikipedia the fuck'n plot.
Serious Sam which belongs to a deceased genre of games, since Doom 3 turned all horror on my nostalgic ass. And Wolfenstein(2009) decided to remake itself because the original was too good. Serious Sam had no story, in the end he goes into the mothership, rings up the universes parking warden and orders pizza or something?

The only thing I understood after reading this is that i have to buy his book... just kidding, I also have to buy Silent Hill 2 and Prince of Persia !

Grand_Marquis:
Oh god I made a text wall. FYI, the quotes were more of a jumping-off point than for a direct response.
Summary for the impatient: the games industry is too broken to nurture great artists and too lacking in incentives to keep them.

Yes, the games industry is thoroughly shitty, or maybe not. But hey, cheer up; nothing is perfect... or even good really. Our salvation is our refusal to see the imperfections in the system or maybe we like it like that. The point is, were the games industry better structured, you wouldn't be any more grateful for it. Think about it.

This was a really good article. As someone who has been a writer for six years i can see where Yahtzee is coming from and say that i agree with him entirely. The beginning of the story is, perhaps, the most fun for me because i like the feeling it gives me to realize i'm on the threshold of a new idea filled with unlimited potential. The middle of a story, however, is where the most content is being presented and, sadly, for the one creating the story finding the best way to present that content can take a tedious amount of time and patience that most people these days don't seem to have. The ending, by far, is the most important but often times hardest part for me for; despite how much work the writing process was and how many "writer's blocks" i had to smash down with a sledge or someone else's head; its always sad to see a good story come to an end.

Podunk:

TheGreatCoolEnergy:
You want to talk bad endings? Borderlands.

Ah, but it's not over yet! Claptrap's Robot Revolution will hopefully give the series a satisfying conclusion.

I wouldn't know, I am not spending another cent on Pandora

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