How things end
March 6, 2017 1:35 PM   Subscribe

So what happens? An absolute diaspora of ending models. Games where you're expected to die. Games where you literally have to die. Games which remember your past achievements into future tries. Games which try to delete themselves when you're done. Games with permadeath, games with semi-permadeath, games with undeath. Idle RPGs which you play when you're not there, and never finish. Roguelikes and roguelites and roguelikelikes. The only way in which a game is guaranteed to end is when the player abandons their device. Everything else is game design: Alexis Kennedy (Fallen London) on the progress of progress and the history of endings.
posted by not_the_water (8 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Interesting to think about game endings and world persistence, as he discusses— Minecraft comes to mind, a game where 100% world persistence is the only rule, and the game never ends... until the update some time back that added a new dimension for accomplishment-hungry players, literally called "The End."
posted by Zephyrial at 1:55 PM on March 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Very interesting article, but the end was, ironically enough, not good news:

This will be my last EG column: my day job is soaking up too much of my time.
posted by chavenet at 2:34 PM on March 6, 2017

This is a cool article, and I would love to read a version that was about 10 times longer.
posted by teraflop at 2:34 PM on March 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Kind of disappointed that he didn't mention Mass Effect, since the disappointing ending to the third game not only hurt public perception of the game, but arguably of the parent company, EA, in general. (I don't think that it was a coincidence that EA was Consumerist's Worst Company in America two years in a row, in 2012 (the year that ME3 came out) and 2013, when it didn't even place or show in other years.) The new game in the series, Mass Effect: Andromeda (which comes out in two weeks, hurrah!) is a sequel of sorts, but has an interesting way of dodging the question of which of the four canon endings of ME3 would be the "real" ending: it takes place in the Andromeda Galaxy 600 years after the events of the original trilogy, with space arks that took off before the events of the third game. Thus, you have some elements from the original trilogy (some of the alien races, the N7 program, some of the tech) without being bound by what happened in the Reaper War.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:08 PM on March 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Haven't read the article yet, but Alexis Kennedy's day job is with Bioware. I suppose that he might have have essentially recused himself from discussing current Bioware properties?
posted by suckerpunch at 3:13 PM on March 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Games that keep going on and on and on and shit keeps happening to the player character and you're supposed to care but you can't any more because there's no real narrative, just a bunch of little narratives one after another and they don't even really connect to the same theme or anything I'm looking at you Gravity Rush 2
posted by egypturnash at 12:47 AM on March 7, 2017

One game ended when I made a ball so big that entire galaxies stuck to it and then some guy vomited a rainbow at me outside of space and time. Top that, Will Wright.
posted by ardgedee at 3:29 AM on March 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

Reminds me of a book I had read some time ago called Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse. It's actually less about games and more about life, but well worth a read if you can get your head around it
posted by OwenC at 3:40 AM on March 7, 2017

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