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Saberball

Losing

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Saberball    122
Ok I have simple question I was curious about. What would you guys think of a game were in the end you lose the game. Well not entirely lose the game. Ok I think an example will better illustrate what I'm talking about. Lets say in the end of the game you fight the final boss now when fighting that boss your charater realizes that he can't possibly win or something happens so that you can win the fight but in the end you find a way that you can gives hope for the future. In the end the game would end with your character dead but a cutscene or something would show that there was hope that you actually opened up a possibilty for a victory in the future against the enemy. Perhaps by saving someones life or something. Thanks in advance for any comments and feel free to ask any question or make any comments even if they are negetive.

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dmoonfire    200
I had a rant recently on losing but I also think it is a critical thing in a game. I hate forced loss, like those three fights in Radiata Story. On the other hand, I think that loss is where you learn the most. That said, there are a lot of games with a bad and good ending, based on if you lose or not. So, why not have the "bad" ending actually positive? If you look at games like Dark Kingdom's, the good ending looks pretty damn depressing, so why not the reverse?

So, I'm in favor for it. Specially if makes your next game easier. :)

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Telastyn    3777
Winning is just the goal of the game. If the goal is to sacrifice yourself to save someone's life rather than kill the end boss, it's not really losing is it?

That said, I imagine not a few people will be perturbed that you rigged the game against them so they can't beat the final boss.

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TheKrust    104
Let me tap into my psycic powers here for a minute.... **hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm**

I see, I see...

The player fighting the end boss 15 times because he's convinced that he did something wrong and there's an alternate end. Giving up frustrated, he tries to find an answer.

He googles the game and the first thing he sees are 100 angry posts entitled "YOU CAN'T WIN THE GAME" and "I want my money back!" and "Does anyone know how to beat the final boss?"

He then goes to youtube where countless kids have made gameplay videos of how to "beat" the final level. Under it are about 50 posts with the same gist: "man, the ending blows. Is there seriously no way to beat the game?"

**snaps back into reality**

ok *sniff* wha'd I miss?

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Trapper Zoid    1370
If done well it can work - Planescape: Torment is the example that springs first to mind, where the whole purpose of the game is to "die". There are others that I can think of, although I haven't played them: for example the "good" ending in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain involves you making a noble sacrifice.

However in these the ending at least felt like you won, even if the protagonist technically died. You'd have to make sure it looks like a win for the player. You'd also have to phrase the rest of the story in the right sort of way so it doesn't come as a shock to the player. If your game has the marks of a tragedy (like Hamlet, which also ends with a fight scene), then it feels like a fitting end to have the protagonist die. You'll need some pretty skillful writing and character development to pull it off.

Also note though that you've cut short your options for a potential sequel. There's a disabled ending for Knights of the Old Republic which ends with the protagonist sacrificing themselves, but it was cut at the last minute to remove complications with the next game.

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Nytegard    839
As Trapper Zoid stated, you need to make it feel like they won, even if the character died.

But you cannot have the enemy win at the end, regardless of how innovative it may be. All you'd be doing is frustrating the player into thinking about why they just spent X hours playing your game in a worthless pursuit. Games are not movies in which surprise or negative endings can be a factor into creativity.

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Delphinus    200
I can't think of any games that use this exact concept, but Tales of Symphonia uses all characters in the party seemingly sacrificing themselves to let the protaganist through the final rooms to the last boss (although it is actually revealed they survived later on, after the final boss trounces you). Nonetheless, even though the main character sacrifices himself at the end (and ascends to a higher state of being) to reunite two divided worlds, it feels like a victory, due to the fact that he both is not dead, and also that you see the Tree of Life reborn. (OOC: I advise anyone making an RPG or planning to to try it; at first it seems like a run-of-the-mill RPG, but once you get about 10 hours in, everything changes)

Anyway, it should definately feel like a win, or at least a spring of hope, if the player does die. I think that a cutscene would actually convey this message better, as far more emotion can be added, or else a scene after the battle - it would work best in a story-driven game, like an RPG. Although almost all cutscenes in ToS were skippable, I became so charmed by the story that I carried on reading and playing. So, again, I think that if well executed and in the right context (self-sacrifice in Tetris? How?), it can be a poignant and moving story mechanic. Although it should have some kind of ending if the player beats the boss, possibly negative, and instead of being unbeatable the final boss should simply be very hard. Example, as always:

Player loses battle:

Player: Hah... So it was all for nothing, after all.

Evil Dude: Yes indeed. I strike you down! (Strikes player down)

Mage: That was unwise.

Evil Dude: How so? You're next, you know?

Mage: The powers of darkness he kept stored within him are now free - and they are not happy with you for double-crossing them.

Evil Dude: You bluff.

Mage: No. See for yourself.

(Dark spirits burst forth from the dead player's body, and they drag the antagonist to their realm)

Mage: What torture for the sake of the world. An innocent life lost to save all people.

(Cut to scene of young girl looking up. The clouds clear from the sky, and she laughs.)

THE END.

Or... the player wins.

Evil Dude: You... you beat me. But how?

Player: These dark spirits sealed within me grant me power beyond yours. You shall pay!

(Player thrusts sword through antagonist's heart)

(Player drops to floor)

Player: Wha... What is this? The spirits... they call me.

Mage: No! Don't let yourself be-

Player (Now possessed): Too late. This world shall pay for sealing us within those lower realms... But now we are FREE!

Mage: N-no!

(Player kills mage with bare-fisted punch, dark aura swirls about them)

Player: Now shall the mortals pay for sealing the king of demons away!

(Fade to black, white text: THUS DID A NEW ERA OF DARKNESS BEGIN.)

THE END.

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Limdul    109
I am with Trapper Zoid.

IMO, the 'Losing' part should be feeling like a pleasant surprise or reversion of the entire story flow. Thus, you simply cannot use it on adrenalin based blood boiling action unless you are pretty sure your plot twist be supported by all those underplots you provided during the game.

Speaking of the topic 'Sacrifice', it's a fragment of philosophy heavily used in Asia, in inductive analysis.

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