Sleeping Dogs: When to Let a Game Lie

Sleeping Dogs

As I talked about last week, I’ve been doing a remarkable job when it comes to my gaming backlog. The most recent casualty on my seemingly ever-growing list (seriously: I just added Ni No Kuni to it this weekend) is Sleeping Dogs, Square Enix’s Hong Kong crime drama.

I’m generally down on open-world GTA style games, but Sleeping Dogs was a welcome treat, providing fun hand-to-hand combat, some nice diversions, exhilarating driving and a well-told story to boot. But one of the things I loved most about Sleeping Dogs? It knew when to call the game quits. Continue reading Sleeping Dogs: When to Let a Game Lie

GamerSushi Asks: Do Games Fail at Endings?

Red Dead Redemption

We’ve talked about video game endings multiple times on this site, but I just had to bring the issue back up after reading an excellent article about today by Christian Higley over at Digital Hippo about How Video Games Fail to End.

In it, Higley explores the idea that many games fail at a very basic level of storytelling: narrative structure. While stories typically have a first, second and final act, most games end the game right after the second act, before the real conclusion can actually set in. Red Dead Redemption is one of the few games I can think of that actually gives gamers a third act (and does it to great effect), in that Marston is allowed to return home, and the player spends time winding the story down before its sad but powerful conclusion.

While that’s not a new argument, the writer goes a step further by pointing out that most games are even missing the first act, choosing instead to thrust players right into the second act. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how true it is: games typically begin at the “inciting incident”. It’s the equivalent of starting A New Hope at the very moment Luke’s aunt and uncle are killed. Or in many cases, even after that. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Do Games Fail at Endings?

Gaming’s Most Bizarre Endings

Solidus Snake

There’s nothing more satisfying than beating a video game that you’ve been sinking a lot of time into. For me, watching the resolution of all of those hours of gameplay is pure bliss, especially if it comes on the heels of some long dungeon grinding or a particularly epic boss fight to tie off the whole experience. I love that feeling of setting the controller, and then kicking back to see what kind of ending I earned. You know, unless that ending sucks.

Sadly, this has happened more times than ought to, and I think the most recent examples of this for me would be Alan Wake. My wife even looked over at me after it was finished and asked if I was mad, following that question up with “I would be if I just played that crap.” Usually, when I’m slapped in the face with a bad ending, I just kind of stare at my TV in shock rather than anger. I don’t know, maybe I hope there’s a secret ending hidden somewhere.

It seems that I’m not the only one who’s experienced bad endings though, seeing as how UGO put together a list of the 11 Weirdest Game Endings of all time. Here’s a hint: MGS2 is number 1, because of that weird Solidus Snake business. Definitely worth the read, and you’ll be able to laugh at it alot, unless of course you played those games and were burned by them.

What game endings have left you dissatisfied with the outcome? Any games that were particularly weird? Go!

Source – UGO

This Is The End: Video Game’s Best Endings

In the olden days, a high score was the only goal gamers had in mind. But once games went from being something you play at the arcade to something you do in front of the TV, things began to change. Suddenly, a threadbare story was slapped over the gameplay and some games even had endings! Granted, most were crap, such as a “Thank you for playing” message, but every now and then, you would rewarded with something truly special.

We tend to take endings for granted these days, with any ending to any game just a small trip to Youtube away, but some games have touched us with their endings. The nice folks at 1UP decided to gift us with The Best Video Game Endings, which is a nice feature to start the weekend off with. There are some obscure ones on there, but all are pretty deserving. The Streets of Rage is a favorite of mine, although we all know that Final Fantasy VI warms my heart the most.

What endings do you still remember vividly? Do you think game endings have improved or decreased in quality as the years have gone by? GO!

Source: 1UP

GamerSushi Asks: Finishing Games?

Game OverOver the last few weeks, we’ve gotten to do a lot of great getting-to-know-you type posts here at the Sushi. We’ve covered topics like FPS preferences, games that changed the way you thought about games and that’s just barely scratching the surface. One of the things that’s been on my mind lately as I’ve been clearing out the backlog is the idea of finishing video games.

This actually comes from a couple of places. The first would be my great addiction to achievements, which I’ve come clean about here on multiple occasions. It’s a healing process. Anyway, one of my favorite things about achievements (in addition to being a revival of the top scores of the 80s) is that you can see at a glance how far your friends are in games. For instance, I can check out Anthony or my buddy Miles’s profile to find out where they currently are in Mass Effect. It certainly makes for easier conversations about the game. However, one of the things I notice as I browse my friends’ achievements is how few of them actually finish games. And this isn’t unique to my friends, either. Apparently, there are a lot of people out there that don’t finish games. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Finishing Games?

On Video Game Endings and Falling Action

fable2If there’s one thing that not too many video games have, it’s a solid, well-thought out ending. In fact, many games just throw you up against the final boss, show the heroes riding off into the sunset (or helicoptering, if you’re Chris and Sheva) and ready to face another adventure in the oh-so-exciting and inevitable sequel. But is this the way it needs to be?

The dudes on the 1UP podcast had an interesting discussion about the idea of video game endings, recently. Namely, that most good stories are structured so that they have a denouement, or falling action that occurs after the climax. A sense of wrapping things up towards the conclusion. Video games, however, don’t do this at all. They build and build until a climactic boss battle, and then end within 5 minutes of the action. Very rarely do they offer any real resolution for the player, much less in a playable form.

This is interesting stuff. Check out what the 1UP guys say after the jump:
Continue reading On Video Game Endings and Falling Action