Endings, What We Lost At Some Stage
Endings. Dear developers, games deserve an ending. Let them end. Once we the users install them, they aren’t yours anymore. You gave your game birth, you taught it to fly, but it can’t be linked to you ever after.
Yes, it may be great to achieve 20 zillion points in Temple Run and share that via Twitter only to get a better score next week to share it too, but sooner or later that won’t be enough. I want to end the game, I want to win.
Because today games are usually neverending and unbeatable. In other words, player always loses, and that’s an awkward feeling. It’s not only that the princess is in another castle, it’s that all castles have the same map and there are infinite castles; or even worse, there’s only one castle you cannot get to the throne room. Believe, once you realize that a game has no possible ending, you don’t get lured by in-app purchases anymore, no matter how many witty achievements you get meanwhile. I’m sure you get the point.
Perhaps you are afraid of players uninstalling your game once they have beaten it. If you took the hint, it’s likely to be your case. That would only be true if your game was linear, but there are quite a bunch of options to make it otherwise. When in doubt, cling to old school SNES or older classics: sometimes it’d be as easy as starting the game anew like a “new game ” with a higher difficulty (known nowadays as “unlock hellish difficulty level when you beat the game in normal mode”). This also goes along with rewards: even pinball machines understood that score for score’s sake wasn’t fulfilling enough and introduced, at least, artwork. The chance to share screenshots via social media is a compulsory feature in the time to come. Given that I defeat a boss (final stage bosses, where did you go?) I’d like to save and share the pic of the defeated boss. And if I happen to discover a secret chamber (secret rooms, where are you?) I’d like to tell anyone how to find it out.
Don’t think for even a blink that casual games are free of guilt. Bubble blasting, brick breaking and pacman-like games would like to have something to motivate further playing. Even the most hardcore shmups, beat’em-ups and fighting games require of something even if distantly related to a story line. However, whatever the reason, this aspect of mobile game development is getting lost and worse with every passing day. Anyway, we wouldn’t talk about this if games weren’t fun, of course they are, but they also have to be profitable for both sides. Users should get their dosage of self-indulgence and self-realization in exchange for free games wisely seasoned with rewards and fees. Of course, there are a lot of developers who knew the lesson beforehand (oh, Angry Birds, for how long will you be the paroxysm of perfection?) but the vast majority believe that an infinite game brings infinite in-app purchases when it’s obvious that it doesn’t.
Which memorable endings do you remember? Do you agree that games must have endings? How important are story lines regarding videogames? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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