#0046: Video Games With GREAT Endings

I remember playing “Super Mario Bros.” for the Nintendo Entertainment System.  8 worlds with 4 sub-worlds each, tons of castles, lots of bad guys, and a whole LOT of things to find and do.

At the end of each level, I would fight Bowser and, after either shooting him or jumping over him and removing the bridge to drop him in the lava, Mario would enter into the next part of the castle… only to find a mushroom guy named Toad telling you that the princess you were there to save – Toadstool – was “in another castle.”

And so, I ventured on, level after level, in the hopes that I’d finally save the princess.  More importantly for me, though, was that I wanted to see how the game would end.  Would they show Mario and the princess heading back to the her castle for a party? Would there be any extensive dialog between Mario and the Princess? 

Since this was 8-bit technology at its earliest they couldn’t create endings as flashy as they can today, but I figured there had to be SOMETHING worth seeing at the end of this 8-world journey.

Imagine my EXTREME disappointment then when, upon beating Bowser in World 8 and saving the Princess, I received the following ending: Princess Toadstool saying to Mario: “Sorry, but your princess is in another castle… ha ha ha, just kidding!”

…and that was it!

No extensive dialog, no journey back to the castle, no resuce-saving celebration – nothing! And I thought to myself: “What kinda crap IS this?!? Is THIS what I worked so hard to see – a mini-dialog blurb followed by credits and the start-up screen?!?”

Now, I understand the idea that the journey itself should be reward enough.  But I say, TO HECK WITH THAT! If I’m going out of my way to spend 20 to 40 hours or MORE playing a video game, I expect my journey to be rewarded with a GREAT ending.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be long, but if the game has some kind of story or plot to it, it wouldn’t hurt to add a 2 to 5 minute video end clip to it to make you feel like the journey was worth it!

Some quick examples of games with endings that are pretty sweet include:

1. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: Just pick a game – just about ALL of them (or at least the ones I’ve played all the way through) not only have great plotlines, but SPETACULAR endings that greatly tie up the events in each one.

2. STREET FIGHTER IV: I recently played through, and it’s nice to see that each character gets their own story plot AND ending.

3. LATER MARIO GAMES: The early Mario games had endings that generally sucked.  However, once the games moved to the 3D realm they were able to flesh out the endings a bit.  The RPG versions of Mario games have also been pretty good at continuing a story line all the way through the ending.

4. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG: Okay, so not all of the games have necessarily been that great, especially the 3D ones… but at LEAST they tend to have pretty decent endings (even if the plot lines were kinda goofy).

Seeing a good ending to a video game makes a player feel validated, like the time they spent mastering the game was actually WORTH it.  And now that technology has advance to the point where fully-rendered videos can be placed into games, there really is NO excuse not to include an ending that’s as good as the game that preceeded it.

Ah, video games with GREAT endings… now THAT’S something to be thankful for!

Have your own idea for something to be thankful for? Email 1001ThingsToBeThankfulFor@Gmail.com!

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