Author Topic: A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.  (Read 2430 times)

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Offline Barbarella

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A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.
« on: August 30, 2013, 07:43:38 pm »
I'm not a gamer & I don't play video games. That said, as I regularly surf the net, I sometimes read about different games. I noticed that some tend to have sad endings where you don't really accomplish much no matter what you do. Case in point, stuff like Red Dead Redemption. Call me a stupid old-timer & a total noob but I assumed that these were games....something that's possible to beat or win if you play it right.

I don't deny that many of these games are stories in themselves with a full plot, message, storytelling & such but still, being a game, there should be an ability to "win" it somehow, otherwise it seemed "fixed". It makes no sense to me.

It seems these games are played out like set movies with a predetermined ending, rather than something where the ending is determined like game play. It's like being a pro-wrestler rather than a real athlete playing a real sport.

Can anybody explain this to me? I don't get it. I guess I have a very old-fashioned concept of what a video game is.


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Offline Sleepy

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Re: A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2013, 07:52:17 pm »
If the game only allows you to win (giving you a happy ending), that's also "fixed", by that logic. In most games, winning is the only option (or just never completing the game, I guess). In games with karma or another similar system, you have a good amount of freedom and are sometimes able to "lose", depending on the game and its story. But it really depends on your definition of "win."

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I don't like it when people say a game is pointless just because of a sad ending. There are games with tragic endings that were fantastic due to the engaging store and gameplay. It doesn't have to be happy to be good.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 07:55:40 pm by Sleepy »
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Offline Hofstadter's Tortoise

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Re: A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2013, 08:16:02 pm »
Games now are generally about resolving the story line, thats the win now
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Offline Sigmaleph

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Re: A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2013, 08:20:30 pm »
Winning a game is, typically, getting to the ending. There can be different endings, depending on how you did during the game, or there can be one. Doesn't really matter, as long as the game is fun.

I am reminded of a Flash game called Culmination, part of a saga, that is essentially the details of one specific scene omitted from a previous game when one character chases after the Big Bad. Since you already know that the Big Bad has to survive the chase (to be killed by the protagonist of the other game), the final fight of Culmination can only end with the Big Bad winning. So you can deal the final strike to your opponent, only to trigger a cutscene of him killing you (the exact same you'd get if you lost). Here's the thing: a five second cutscene doesn't negate all the preceding fun I had, and games should, above all, be fun. If a happy ending helps, great. If a sad one helps, also great.
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Offline Barbarella

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Re: A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2013, 08:29:44 pm »
Yeah, but I still don't understand. If you play a GAME you can either win or lose (or maybe somewhere in between). You'd think there would be different endings based on how you play. Sure, there should be tragic endings, if you play a certain way or make the wrong choices/moves. What I mean is is that a GAME should have a few different endings, designed by developers like a sort of digitized "Choose You Own Adventure Book", allowing different endings depending on what you do in the game....otherwise it feels like an exercise in futility....like a fixed football game where the winner's picked before the opening kickoff. It makes no sense to me.

Now, granted, in some story worlds, things are so gloomy that a "bunnies & rainbows-happy happy" ending would be ludicrous but that said, you should still be able to actually accomplish something by the end, otherwise you did all that stuff for nothing (even if the playing & the journey was fun).

Granted, the guy in the Red Blood Redemption game....
(click to show/hide)

If you're designing a game with a set storyline, it only makes sense to write it like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book. It's a game....winning or losing should be your options, not just losing. Otherwise, it's not a GAME.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 08:43:44 pm by SpukiKitty »


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Offline Sigmaleph

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Re: A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2013, 09:46:39 pm »
If you're designing a game with a set storyline, it only makes sense to write it like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book. It's a game....winning or losing should be your options, not just losing. Otherwise, it's not a GAME.

Why? Why restrict games in this way, when there are people who have fun playing games with set storylines and sad endings?

You don't like sad endings, which is fine. De gustibus non est disputandum and all that. You can still respect the fact that others have different tastes.
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Offline SpaceProg

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Re: A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2013, 09:52:23 pm »
Some games are sort of like choose your own adventure books.  Silent Hill games are pretty good examples of it.  There's several endings you can get depending on what you do in the game.  For instance, varying from the "bad" ending to the "good +" ending (for the 1st game), and several different named endings for Silent Hill 2 that also range from "Oh, that's good then," to "... Damn what a bummer...".

Part of why they're my fave horror series.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 09:54:27 pm by SpaceProg »

Offline Art Vandelay

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Re: A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2013, 01:09:47 am »
Granted, the guy in the Red Blood Redemption game....
(click to show/hide)
(click to show/hide)

That said, why should always making the right choices lead to a happy ending? There are plenty of movies and books and other media where a likeable and capable character's story ends badly for him/her, despite said character making the best possible decisions. Why should games, particularly those that are trying to have a serious storyline, be any different?

Getting back to Red Dead Redemption.
(click to show/hide)

If you want another example of excellent yet dark video game story, I recommend you check out Spec Ops: The Line. You don't have to play it, just watch this Let's Play. Games can do a hell of a lot more than simple "fun" (for want of a better term). There's absolutely nothing wrong with exploring what exactly that can be.

Offline Morgenleoht

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Re: A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2013, 03:08:51 am »
There are games like Dragon Age: Origins, which have multiple endings both happy and sad.

For instance, your character can die killing the archdemon, Alistair (a potential and popular female-only love interest) can die killing it, or Loghain, a former hero turned traitor, can die killing it. You can spare Loghain and lose Alistair, with him either becoming King (if hardened and married to Loghain's daughter) or a drunk in Kirkwall. You can talk Alistair or Loghain into a life-saving but dark ritual, saving all of your lives. You can make Anora Queen and keep Alistair as a Warden. If you play a female Cousland (noble) you can marry Alistair and become Queen - or marry Anora as a male and become King.

Dragon Age 2, on the other hand, has you railroaded into either supporting the mages and the templars and starting a war - and both sides are equally contemptible.
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Offline Sleepy

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Re: A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2013, 09:03:34 am »
So are you okay with winning being the only option, as opposed to losing? Do you want every game to have a "winning" option? Or should every game have multiple endings based on the choices you make? In most games, that sort of thing isn't feasible due to the story and gameplay. The ending isn't the most critical part of the game. It's important, yes, but the best part of most games is the journey.
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Offline Barbarella

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Re: A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2013, 09:09:26 am »
Granted, the guy in the Red Blood Redemption game....
(click to show/hide)
(click to show/hide)

That said, why should always making the right choices lead to a happy ending? There are plenty of movies and books and other media where a likeable and capable character's story ends badly for him/her, despite said character making the best possible decisions. Why should games, particularly those that are trying to have a serious storyline, be any different?

Getting back to Red Dead Redemption.
(click to show/hide)

If you want another example of excellent yet dark video game story, I recommend you check out Spec Ops: The Line. You don't have to play it, just watch this Let's Play. Games can do a hell of a lot more than simple "fun" (for want of a better term). There's absolutely nothing wrong with exploring what exactly that can be.

Ah, I understand. Now, I accept the bit about the self-sacrifice so his family can have a normal life, no problem. In a sense, given the circumstances, that would be a "win" (in fact the title foreshadows it). Again, I have no problem with "Bittersweet Endings" & "Esoteric Happy Endings". I guess I have to expand my mind & see that computer games are more than just "winning & losing". Perhaps it's better to refer to them as "Interactive Stories" rather than "Games". I guess it's the semantics that throws me off. I understand, now.

I also notice that a lot of these "Interactive Stories" seem to have a point about human nature or commentary on the world. For example, there was a war game (can't remember the name) that came out that pretty much had the message of "War is not fun or glorious, it's pure hell & a horrible thing". Others seem to be about confronting one's darker side (sort of a computer game equivalent of the movie 'Funny Games').

I guess something clicked inside & I realize now what these computer stories are. The confusion came from semantics. When I think "game", I think "win or lose/competition/earn points". I think these things should be re-dubbed "Interactive Story". Now, stuff where the point is "win/lose" can still be called "games" but the stuff with a set storyline & ending can should be called "Interactive Story".


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Offline Art Vandelay

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Re: A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2013, 09:35:19 am »
Ah, I understand. Now, I accept the bit about the self-sacrifice so his family can have a normal life, no problem. In a sense, given the circumstances, that would be a "win" (in fact the title foreshadows it). Again, I have no problem with "Bittersweet Endings" & "Esoteric Happy Endings". I guess I have to expand my mind & see that computer games are more than just "winning & losing". Perhaps it's better to refer to them as "Interactive Stories" rather than "Games". I guess it's the semantics that throws me off. I understand, now.
Fair enough. Personally, I wouldn't be opposed to that sort of thing, were it to catch on. In fact, the Japanese have taken to calling certain genres "visual novels", though admittedly, most of them have very little in the way of actual gameplay.
I also notice that a lot of these "Interactive Stories" seem to have a point about human nature or commentary on the world. For example, there was a war game (can't remember the name) that came out that pretty much had the message of "War is not fun or glorious, it's pure hell & a horrible thing". Others seem to be about confronting one's darker side (sort of a computer game equivalent of the movie 'Funny Games').
That's most likely Spec Ops, and yeah, it does an absolutely fantastic job of it. By the end of it, even the loading screens are making you feel bad about everything you've done over the course of the game.

Offline SpaceProg

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Re: A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2013, 10:27:05 am »
The story could be viewed as apart from the actual gameplay itself, really.  The 'game' of the story could be keeping alive to see it. 

Offline RavynousHunter

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Re: A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2013, 05:20:03 pm »
I also notice that a lot of these "Interactive Stories" seem to have a point about human nature or commentary on the world. For example, there was a war game (can't remember the name) that came out that pretty much had the message of "War is not fun or glorious, it's pure hell & a horrible thing". Others seem to be about confronting one's darker side (sort of a computer game equivalent of the movie 'Funny Games').

If you want something that'd be a good example of a serious game that's...not exactly consistently sad (depends on the choices you make, of course), I'd suggest Katawa Shoujo.  Just to let ya know, its got some NSFW content, as its an eroge visual novel, but it is a very, VERY far cry away from your typical "find girl, fuck girl, repeat" game that's in the same genre.  The writers of the game did a fantastic job, and there are some parts that really will tug your heartstrings.

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Tis totally free, and very good.  Probably a bit of a plug, but if you want a game with a good story with a good point behind it that's not like Spec Ops, then I highly recommend it.
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Offline Cerim Treascair

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Re: A Question About Computer Games With Very Grim Endings.
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2013, 10:06:07 pm »

If you want another example of excellent yet dark video game story, I recommend you check out Spec Ops: The Line.

I'd actually advise against that one... because, having played Spec Ops: The Line, I feel that's a game best personally experienced, rather than just watched.  Mind you, I'm probably biased due to having military family members, but I'd still say it's better to play it yourself than view it through someone else's eyes as they play.
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