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shmoove

A happy end

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You save the world. You rescue the princess. You win the race. When you win a game you usually reach a happy end. I remember reading a couple of interviews with game designers that said you must have a happy end to reward the gamer for all the effort he put in. It makes a lot of sense. But do we really need the happy ending? I've enjoyed many a movie that didn't have a happy end. I didn't feel betrayed because things didn't go like the protagonists would have liked them too. Sometimes a bad ending just feel a lot more "right". What if, at the end of a shooter, right after you kill the big boss, you are caught by the police and thrown in jail (you did kill a lot of people to get there, didn't you?)? What if after rescuing the princess she tells you she had fallen in love with her captor and now she hates you for killing him? Or if even after all your work defeating an entire alien army single-handed you find out they managed to hit the self-destruct button and the planet asplodes? OK, so these examples might not be the best examples because I've used generic game plots that were written with a happy end in mind, but is the happy end really that necessary? Would you feel betrayed if all the effort you put into beating a game ends up being "for nothing" because things don't turn out right? Isn't seeing the plot to a conclusion reward enough? As an aside, if anyone can refer me to games that didn't have a happy end I'd be thankful. shmoove

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Max Payne 2 didn't have a happy ending in my opinion, and yes, it did piss me off.

-Mezz

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Oh yeah, I forgot about that game.

And I liked the ending. A great example of how the not-so-happy ending fits the feel of the game much better than a rosy pink ending. Anything happier in Max Payne would've pissed me off actually.

More please.

shmoove

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In a game with multiple endings it would be okay to have a lousy score at the game result in a lousy ending, but yeah I am definitely pissed off if I did everything the game asked me to and got a lousy ending anyway.

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Also, during a game, the player dies every time he makes a mistake.
I think happy ending is just the best way to state that the end has been reached. An "unhappy ending" makes you feel like you missed something.

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Starcraft, both the orignal and the expansion arguably both have non-happy endings. Ditto with Warcraft 3. Of course, the there are the games where there's a sequel and everyone knows there's a sequel up front, like Digital Devil Saga. Some endings aren't completely happy, like what happens with Tidus and Auran at the end of FF-X. And I don't think it's possible to convince me that either ending of Shadow Hearts 2 is happy. I don't recall all the details, but Vagrant story sticks in my mind as not having a happy ending.

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Max Payne 2 did have a happy ending if you finish the game on hardest difficulty (which you must unlock first). Still happy endings are bullshit, if the story is good a happy ending isn't necessary at all.

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Half-Life 2's ending is not happy unless you were really annoyed by all of the resistance types. FreeSpace 2's ending is not very happy, especially if you are too slow on the last mission and get caught in the shockwave. Diablo's ending is not that happy, especially if you have played Diablo II and know the rest of the story. I could probably go on for a bit. I was not disappointed in any of these endings because they felt natural and fit with the rest of the story, and because although definitely not happy, none of them told me that it had all been for nothing. Instead they their endings were realistic: they said that I had accomplished something, but not all that I had hoped to.

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How about something really anticlimatic? A "Thelma and Louise" game where at the end you have no other choice but to drive off the cliff in order to "win" the game, for example.

EDIT (some more examples):
* At the end of the game, you find out the hero is actually paranoid and psychotic and all the bad guys weren't really bad.
* Similar to the previous example, a conspiracy theory game, and at the end you find there was no conspiracy after all.

After all, in most games the odds are against you. While this probably is the reason beating can feel so good, it's not very realistic. Is realism only desirable in graphics?

shmoove

EDIT: Ooooohh, my 1111th post.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Operation Flashponit, a realistic FPS had more endings, you had to find a scud and destroy it IIRC, you could fail and get a not so happy ending, I didn't really want to try again because I got the enemy general :D.

The addon to OFP, Resistance, had a unhappy ending and I was really pissed.
Khm *spoiler*
You save the whole island but you die! Damn...
I wish they would make another ending where you survive.

So I Im a fan of multiple endings :)

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