Coping with "The End"

ame over, huh? We know the feeling. You completed every quest and every achievement. Aside from your final task, you did everything.

Soon as you kill the last guy, it's over. No more epic quests and story expansion. All that remains is an empty void filled with hollow credit rolls. No matter which game you’re playing, it never gets any easier if you’ve made it this far.

I’ve sometimes even quit playing certain games near the end because I didn’t want to get it over with. You know, sort of like a “death on my own terms” kind of thing. This is especially common in Final Fantasy titles, and specifically those I've already played the most. There's something special about reliving those favorite memories from the game, and the Final Fantasy series has plenty. Between interesting battles with colorful creatures and cinematic scenes to (usually) die for, you can't go wrong.

Sure, you could always save time by finding these moments on YouTube, but where's the fun in that? It’s better to say you went through every last crevice of the game and finished like a champ. You like bragging to your friends about certain moments they rage-quitted, or ridiculous accomplishments that cause them to go walleyed as they wonder to themselves, “Why in God’s name did you do that?”

The difficulties involved with ending a game also depend on what kind of game you’re playing. If it’s a longer story with a crafted protagonist like the Mass Effect Trilogy, it’s extremely difficult. Quicker games, however, remain easier to run through, and sometimes even promote quicker completion rates. Popular Nintendo games like Mario, Metroid, or Zelda encourage swift gaming decisions when you know there's going to be something sweet -- cliché princesses, more or less -- waiting for you at the end.

Hell, sometimes the way you play affects what you see at the end of the game, or how content is presented. Even newer titles like Bioshock take advantage of this element, which allows players to see different story endings based on how "good" or "evil" they were.

And finally, we have our "end game" content, which involves the tasks we could do but don't essentially have to. Again, RPG franchises like Final Fantasy loved to milk the hell out of these concepts, even well before the words "achievement" or "trophy" had anything to do with video games. Feel like taking on an extra dungeon and making the boss fight easier? Go right ahead and have fun! Want to get the hell out of this game and make "Metazaxximous Zero" your bitch? Screw those extras, step right up and get your ass kicked until you're ready to grind for revenge!

However, we’re still left with one key issue -- what on Earth do we do when it’s over? We literally have no idea after reading “The End,” followed by some copyright statement we’re compelled to read, almost as if we’re convincing ourselves it’s that much more time with the game.
“Yep, there it is,” we tell ourselves during the final moments. “1985, Nintendo.” Yeah, so now what? It’s almost like ending a longtime friendship or relationship.

Well, like anything good that ends, you simply move on. Maybe take some time to grab a snack or read an article, but think about other games that could hook you just as easily. If you have a gigantic untamable backlog like the rest of us, this shouldn’t be a problem. If you played a longer game like an RPG, perhaps considering similar titles could help the transition. Of course, this is much easier when sequels get involved, even though it’s sometimes -- Bioshock and Bioshock 2, for instance -- somewhat disappointing.

Ever had a moment where you just couldn't bring yourself to finish a game? If this doesn't even sound close to something you'd do, what about that game you just couldn't wait to complete?

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